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Spring 2019

Focus Your Health

Prediabetes: Take control It’s more common than you might think. In fact, about 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. has prediabetes. Prediabetes means your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetes—yet. Prediabetes is a warning

sign. It gives you a chance to avoid or delay type 2 diabetes. Your first steps might be: Check your weight. Losing just 5 to 7% of your weight can lower your risk for diabetes. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, losing just 10 to

14 pounds can help. Start a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, when you eat, and how hungry you felt at the time. Eat healthy foods. Aim to eat a salad and at least one vegetable every day. Choose fruit over cookies or cake. Avoid soda and juice. Roast, broil, grill, steam or bake meat instead of frying it. Get regular exercise. Try brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Walk laps at a grocery store or shopping center when the weather is bad. Take medication the right way. Your doctor may prescribe medicine. Follow the directions closely. And speak up if you have side effects or can’t afford your medicine. Find support. At Health Plan of San Joaquin (HPSJ), we can help you find a local Diabetes Prevention Program to guide you through lifestyle changes to help you eat healthy, exercise, manage stress and stay motivated. Visit or call HPSJ at 1.888.318.7526 to get started. Sources: American Diabetes Association; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Standard U.S. Postage PAID Merced, CA Permit No. 1186

Are your meds covered? A drug list is a list of medications (meds) your doctor can use that will be covered by HPSJ. It lists safe and helpful meds that offer the best value without sacrificing quality of care. To see what meds are on the drug list, you can: ●● Use the online Med List Search tool at formulary. ●● Download a copy of the drug list at formulary. ●● Call HPSJ Customer Service at 1.888.936.PLAN (7526); TTY/TDD: 711. As a Medi-Cal member, you pay nothing for outpatient meds and some over-thecounter meds (OTC), if the three reasons below are met: 1 The med is listed in HPSJ’s drug list. 2 The med is prescribed by a doctor that works with HPSJ. 3 The med is picked up at a pharmacy that works with HPSJ.

Did you know?

HPSJ has an online search tool where you can find which drugs are covered and which providers are in our network. This can be found on the home page of No computer? Call HPSJ Customer Service at 1.888.936.PLAN (7526) or TTY/TDD: 711. 2 Focus Your Health

What’s this?

Want to learnmore about the topics in Focus Your Health? With our HealthReach Audio Health Library, getting the health information you need is as simple as 1-2-3. You can find a list of topics and codes at 1 Call 1.800.655.8294 anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 2 Once you are connected to the call center’s automated menu, press 2 to access the library. 3 Follow the prompts to listen to the topics that interest you.

Nondiscrimination Notice Health Plan of San Joaquin complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. Health Plan of San Joaquin cumple con las leyes federales de derechos civiles aplicables y no discrimina por motivos de raza, color, nacionalidad, edad, discapacidad o sexo. 遵守適用的聯邦民權法律規定,不因種族、膚色、民族血 統、年齡、殘障或性別而歧視任何人。

Language Assistance Services English ATTENTION: If you speak another language, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1.888.936.PLAN (7526) (TTY/TDD: 711). 简体中文 (Simplified Chinese) 注意:如果您使用简体中文,您可以免费获得语言协助服务。 请致电.888.936.PLAN (7526),(TTY/TDD 专线 711)。

Español (Spanish) ATENCIÓN: Si usted habla español, se encuentran disponibles servicios sin costo de asistencia de idiomas. Llame al 1.888.936.PLAN (7526) (TTY/TDD: 711). Information in FOCUS YOUR HEALTH comes from a wide range of medical experts. If you have any concerns or questions about specific content that may affect your health, please contact your health care provider. For more information about services available through your medical plan, consult your benefit booklet or call HPSJ. Models may be used in photos and illustrations. 2019 © Coffey Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Know your screening options Have you been checked for colorectal cancer? If you’re a middle-aged adult, it could save your life. Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of death in the U.S. It may not cause any symptoms at first, but treatment works best

when the cancer is diagnosed early. That’s where screening comes in. It can save lives in two ways:  1 Screening helps your doctor find colorectal cancer early. When cancer starts to spread,

it can become hard to treat.  2 Some colorectal screenings can help prevent cancer. How? These tests help your doctor find and remove noncancerous growths (polyps) in the colon before they might develop into cancer.

The right test for you Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get screened for colorectal cancer. It depends on your age and your health history. He or she can also tell you more about the different types of tests: Fecal occult blood test. This test looks for invisible blood in a stool sample. You collect the sample at home and send it to the lab.

DNA stool test. This test checks DNA in stool for signs of cancerous changes. A stool sample is collected at home and tested in the lab.

Sigmoidoscopy. This test checks the rectum and lower part of the large intestine (colon) for polyps or cancer. A thin, lighted tube is inserted in the rectum and used to view the rectum and colon. During the test, any polyps or abnormal areas that are found may be checked or removed.

Colonoscopy. This test examines the rectum and the entire colon. It also uses a lighted tube. The tool can also be used to remove polyps or other tissue.

Talk to your doctor about colorectal screening options. It could save your life. If you don’t have a doctor yet, find one near you by going to HPSJ’s website at find-a-doctor and find the right doctor for you!

Sources: National Cancer Institute; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

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Check them out

These recommendations are for most women.Talk with your doctor about what’s right for you.

Do you know the warning signs of breast cancer?


Chlamydia If sexually active, test yearly through age 24.

Blood pressure Be screened at least every 2 years.

Cholesterol Be screened every 4 to 6 years.

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Cervical cancer Starting at 21, have a Pap test every 3 years.

Chlamydia Continue screening depending on risk factors.


Cervical cancer Have a Pap test plus an HPV test every 5  years (preferred) or a Pap test every 3 years.*


Diabetes Be screened at least every 3 years (or earlier based on risk factors).

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Breast cancer Start having mammograms.

Colorectal cancer Talk with your doctor about screening options.

Lung cancer Be screened annually based on your history of smoking. Osteoporosis Start screening (or earlier based on risk factors).

*Women who have been screened regularly and had normal results can stop screening at age 66.

Sources: American Cancer Society; American Diabetes Association; American Heart Association; U  .S. Preventive Services Task Force

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Ask a woman to name a sign or symptom of breast cancer, and chances are she’d say a lump in the breast. She’d be right, of course. A new lump or mass is the most common symptom of

breast cancer. But it’s not the only one. And because it’s best to find breast cancer early, it’s important to know all the possible signs and symptoms of the disease.

Stay alert Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel is a key component of breast health. If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms in a breast, you

should see a doctor right away:

●● A lump. Cancerous breast

lumps tend to be hard, painless and irregular (rather than rounded) around the edges. ●● Swelling of all or part of a breast—or sometimes in the armpit or collarbone area— even if you can’t feel a lump. ●● Irritated or dimpled breast skin. ●● Breast or nipple pain. ●● A nipple that points inward. ●● Red, scaly or thickening nipple or breast skin. ●● Nipple discharge, which may

be bloody or clear. Any of these signs and symptoms, including lumps, can be caused by things other than cancer. But only a doctor can tell for sure. What happens next? If you have a lump or breast change, your doctor will examine your breasts. He or she may also order tests to take a closer look. These may include a diagnostic mammogram, which is just like having a screening mammogram except

more x-rays are taken; a breast ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create an image of the inside of the breast; or a biopsy to check a sample of breast tissue for cancer. It’s important to remember that breast changes are very common, and most are not cancer. But it’s crucial to get any follow-up tests your doctor orders. Sources: American Cancer Society; National Cancer Institute

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Cervical cancer: Take steps to prevent it The most important thing to know about cervical cancer may be this: It’s largely preventable. Here’s a look at how to protect yourself—or your daughter—from a disease that kills more than 4,000 women every year.

Get screened A Pap test can find pre-cancerous changes in the cells of the cervix that can be treated before they have the chance to turn into cancer. Most cases of cervical cancer are found in women who haven’t had regular Pap tests. Your doctor may also advise testing for the human papillomavirus (HPV). This sexually spread infection is to blame for

most cases of cervical cancer. The American Cancer Society advises the following cervical cancer and HPV screening schedule if you’re: ●● 21 to 39 years old: Get a Pap test every three years. ●● 30 to 65 years old: Get a Pap test and an HPV test every five years or a Pap test alone every three years. ●● Over 65 years old: Stop testing if you’ve had regular test results for the past 10 years and no aggressive pre-cancers in the past 20 years. Get vaccinated Still another powerful way to prevent cervical cancer is the HPV vaccine. In addition to protecting against cervical

cancer, it helps prevent: ●● Cancers of the vagina and vulva in women ●● Cancer of the penis in men ●● Cancers of the anus, tongue, tonsils and back of the throat in both men and women Given in a series of shots, the HPV vaccine is advised for all preteen boys and girls ages 11 to 12. Catch-up vaccines are typically given through age 21 for men and 26 for women. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine for men and women through age 45. Sources: American Cancer Society; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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Tuna and avocado Cobb salad Makes 4 servings. Ingredients For salad: 4 cups red leaf lettuce, rinsed and chopped (about 8 leaves) 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn, roasted (on a pan in the oven at 400 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes) 1 cup carrots, shredded 1 tomato, rinsed, halved and sliced 1 ⁄2 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed 1 6-ounce can white albacore tuna in water For dressing: 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or about 1 fresh lemon) 1 tablespoon lime juice (or about 1 fresh lime) 1 tablespoon honey 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and minced (or 1 teaspoon dried) 1 tablespoon water 1 tablespoon olive oil Directions ●● Divide and arrange 2 cups of salad ingredients in each of four serving bowls. ●● For dressing, combine all ingredients and mix well. Spoon 2 tablespoons over each salad, and serve. Nutrition information Serving size: 2 cups salad, 2 tablespoons dressing. Amount per serving: 224 calories, 9g total fat (1g saturated fat), 24g carbohydrates, 15g protein, 6g total fiber, 264mg sodium.

Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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Farmers markets: Local treasures The perfect place to find fresh food and fun From farm to table. That’s a popular phrase that makes anything it’s referring to sound better. You just know that honey straight from a nearby farm is going to taste amazing. The same goes for any of the plentiful produce waiting for you at a farmers market. Freshness is what makes farmers markets attractive. Most of the food you’ll find there has been picked at the peak of its freshness and flavor. If you like peaches from the grocery store, you’re going to love peaches from the farmers market. And if you have a picky produce eater at home, taking him or her to a farmers market may change everything. Surrounded by a festive atmosphere and vendors offering free tastes of things like gleaming golden raspberries or juicy purple pluots, your picky eater is bound to bite into something that triggers a smile. Here are some tips for getting the most from your trip to the farmers market: Go early. You may not need to be among the first arrivals for a weekday market, but weekend markets get busy fast. If you arrive too late, the best pickings may be gone. Bring cash and reusable bags. Transactions will go easier if you have a pocket of small bills. Plus, you need sturdy bags to carry your items home. Talk to the vendors. The sellers want to talk about their fruits, veggies, jellies and jams. Ask for buying and storing tips. They can often give you recipe ideas too. Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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Adult vaccines: 7 reasons to roll up your sleeve Still think shots are just for kids? Check out this list of reasons why you shouldn’t skimp on adult vaccinations. 1 Your age or situation could put you at risk for a preventable disease. For example, shingles and pneumonia shots are recommended for people in their 60s. You could be at risk for other diseases, too, because of your job or any chronic health conditions you may have, such as asthma or diabetes. 2 Vaccine protection fades over time. Just because you

had a shot years ago doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear. For instance, adults need a booster to renew protection against tetanus (lockjaw) every 10 years. And you need a new flu shot every year. 3 Your loved ones depend on you being immunized. Vaccines don’t just help protect you; some also help protect the people around you. If your

loved ones include children or older adults—two groups particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases—they could get very sick from diseases (like whooping cough or the flu) that they catch from you. 4 You could get very sick yourself. Every year, thousands of adults get sick from vaccine-preventable diseases. And each year, some people are hospitalized or even die from those diseases. 5 You’re a world traveler. Heading overseas? Some vaccinations are recommended before traveling to certain countries. 6 Not getting immunized could cost you time and money. You could miss work if you get sick from the flu or another illness that a vaccine could prevent. If you have to be hospitalized, that could cost you too. On the other hand, many immunizations are covered by health insurance plans. 7 Immunizations are safe. Most side effects, if they happen at all, are mild and go away on their own. Vaccines also will not give you the disease they are designed to prevent. Now that you know why you need to stay up-to-date on vaccines, be sure to ask your doctor which immunizations you might need. Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

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Vaping: Your questions answered The use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has become a common alternative to smoking traditional tobacco. However, its long-term health effects are not yet fully known. Here are some common questions about vaping and how it compares to smoking regular tobacco.


How does vaping work? A: Vaping refers to the use of electronic cigarettes, which are also known as vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigarettes, mods or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). E-cigarettes vary in shape and size, but they all contain a liquid that is heated until it turns into a vapor and then inhaled.


Is vaping addictive? A: Vapor from e-cigarettes usually contains nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. Studies have also shown that some e-liquids contain other cancercausing chemicals and toxins, heavy metals, and other addictive compounds.


What other health concerns are there? A: Another major concern is the number of young people who use e-cigarettes. Multiple 8 Focus Your Health

studies suggest that teenagers who smoke e-cigarettes are more likely to move on to tobacco or other drugs. This is because of the effect nicotine has on the brain’s reward system. Nicotine is also dangerous for a teen’s developing brain— it can cause problems with attention span and learning, and raise risks for mood disorders and long-term problems with impulse control.


Is vaping healthier than traditional smoking? A: Vaping is not good for your health. However, it is less harmful for you than smoking if used as a complete tobacco replacement. Because vaping can encourage the brain to become more easily addicted to other drugs, experts recommend that you don’t start using e-cigarettes if you have never smoked before.


Can vaping help you quit smoking regular cigarettes?

A: There is currently no sufficient evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit. In fact, some studies have found that people who tried to use e-cigarettes as a quit aid were less likely to quit smoking than those who didn’t. There are seven other smoking cessation methods approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can help smokers quit effectively and safely. The best option for your health is to quit completely. Health Plan of San Joaquin provides individual, group and telephonic counseling for members of any age who use tobacco products. Go to to learn more! A tobacco quitline can also help you quit for good. You can call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1.800.NO.BUTTS (662.8887). Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institute on Drug Abuse; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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Profile for Health Plan of San Joaquin

HPSJ Focus Your Health - Spring 2019  

Health Plan of San Joaquin Focus Your Health Spring 2019

HPSJ Focus Your Health - Spring 2019  

Health Plan of San Joaquin Focus Your Health Spring 2019