HEALTH PORTFOLIO (H-Portfolio)
H-Asset: Family Wealth-Sun Insurance
The sun can warm us and uplift us, but can also be the skin’s worst enemy. Even a good H-Portfolio can fall into a potential trap and take a downturn. Don’t let this happen to you and your family. There is still time to invest in-your-skin and keep your beautiful and glorious H-Investment right where you want it to be for years to come.
Skin cancer is a major health problem, and the most common form of cancer (FDA, 2016). In 2014, the United States Surgeon General issued a landmark Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer. Skin cancer affects an estimated 3.5 million Americans a year (Murase, 2015). One in five Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Even children can be at risk for skin cancer; melanoma accounts for up to 3 percent of all pediatric cancers. Severe sunburns as a child can also influence the development of skin cancers later in life. In fact, there is an increased risk of developing skin cancer in adulthood with any sun exposure during childhood. Not only does skin cancer affect our family health, but it leaves us with a tremendous economic burden, with an estimated total cost of $81 billon a year, and most cases are preventable.
In the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. Types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma among others. BCC is the most common type of all skin cancers, with more than 4 million cases diagnosed each year. SCC is the second most common, with 1 million cases diagnosed each year. SCC can be very serious and can metastasize to other areas of the body if not diagnosed promptly. Melanoma is the most serious and deadly form of skin cancer, and more than 71,943 people were diagnosed in 2013 (FDA, 2016), while an estimated 65 percent of these cases can be attributed to UV radiation (Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d.).
The skin is one of the most vital components of the human body. A newborn baby’s skin, is as soft as a rose petal. The elements and the aging process will, unfortunately, wage a constant battle against your family’s health. One of the body’s first lines of defense is the skin. Skin acts as a physical barrier, but it can easily be impaired by the sun and temperature.
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What you can do to Fund Your Health:
Review of the H-Investments
My H-Investment: An ounce of protection, or in this case sunscreen, can preserve your H-Asset and that is always a great payoff. The skin is often the most neglected and abused asset we have. And don’t forget your lips! Here is my H=W (Health = Wealth) formula: Compliance, Compliance, Compliance=W. I have tried a lot of different types of sunscreen over the years and have finally found a few that I really like. When you like a product, you will be more compliant in engaging in this form of protection. It is wise to invest in a good sunscreen, don’t under value yourself if it is expensive. Purchasing a better lotion is cheaper than getting skin cancer, period. I have sensitivities to fragrance and chemicals as well having a reaction to certain types of lotions. For example, I can’t use a spray lotion, I hate the way it feels, I hate seeing the lotion spray in the air, and I hate the way it smells. I like a suntan lotion that feels like a regular lotion when I am putting it on daily. On a daily basis, I use an organic, unscented, 30 SPF or 50 SPF suntan lotion on my face, lips, and body. Keep in mind the more you H-Invest, the more H-Money you have in your H-Retirement for you and your family. Altitude, weather conditions, geography, season, and time of day (AAD, 2014) can affect your family wealth.
History of this H-Investment: The use of sunscreen began in the late 1930s, when a chemist, Franz Greiter, suffered a sunburn after climbing in the mountains. He made it his mission to develop some type of sun protection. Glacier Cream, as he named the product, is still sold today under the brand Piz Buin. This brand was the first of its kind to offer UVA and UVB protection. In 1944, Benjamin Green, an airman and pharmacist, used red veterinary petrolatum to protect himself and other soldiers during WW II. After the war, he added cocoa butter and coconut oil to the mix, which eventually became the product we know of today as Coppertone. In 1978, the FDA developed the SPF system and guidelines to offer some regulatory control of sunscreens (New York Times, 2010). According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, regular daily use of a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen SPF of 15 or greater can decrease the incidence of SCC by 40 percent and melanoma by 50 percent. Most dermatologists recommend applying one shot glass or two tablespoons of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, but when in doubt, slather liberally on any skin exposed to the sun! Remember, SPF does not relate to the length of time you can be in the sun without getting sunburned.
My H-Investment: Skin cancer is more likely to occur in people who have fair skin, who sunburn easily, and who have increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds. The more sunburns that a person has had, the more the risk of skin cancer. Invest-in-your-skin and use protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Recently, I discovered protective clothing from Athleta, which I find effective and comfortable. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends clothing rated UPF 50+. I collect hats, and hats should also be considered in the sun protective “hazmat” suit. Ideally, when out in the sun, I wear a wide rimmed hat, or a baseball cap, however, baseball caps do not protect the neck, ears, and sides of the face and, therefore are not a good long-term H-Idea. Keeping an extra pair of sunglasses in my bag makes it easier to be compliant. The American Optometric Association (2016) recommends sunglasses that reflect or filter out 99 percent or more of UVA and UVB rays with wavelengths up to 400 nm. In other words, sunglasses offering this protection would be rated UV400. Sunglasses should be worn any time a person is in the sun. And don’t forget our youngest H-Investors. Children’s ocular lenses transmit far more damaging UV rays than the adult eye.
History of this H-Investment: The concept of protective clothing began in Australia, in the late 1990s, and since then the fabrics have continued to be tested and rated for different UPF standards. UPF represents the ration of UV ray exposure without the clothing vs. with the clothing (Gambichler, Rotterdam, Almeyer, & Hoffman, 2001). Sunglasses were introduced to America in the early 1900s by Sam Foster, who sold them off of the Atlantic City boardwalk. Sunglasses became popular among actors and actresses to protect their eyes from the glare of stage lights, as well as, to provide a sense of anonymity when in the public. In 1937, the United States Air Force pilots required UV ray eyewear protection while flying. Ray-ban developed the Aviator, which offered the needed protection from the UV rays, and are still sold today. Hats have a long history and have been worn for many reasons, including as a status symbol. Ötzi the Iceman was found still wearing a hat 5,300 years after he died (Romey, 2016).
My H-Investment: As a physical therapist, preventing further deterioration or future illness is embedded in my core values. Having access to preventative health care is such an important component of assuring lower cost of care, and of course, for preventing illnesses before they begin. I have heard many patients and people complain over the years that the cost of prevention is too substantial, but I say this: the cost of treatments warrants this sort of H-Investment because our current path of health care spending will far exceed the cost of prevention. Your H-Retirement depends on this word, PREVENTION. Your H-Asset is counting on you.
History of this H-Investment: In 1736 Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” which is a proverb that means that it is easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair it afterwards (English idioms & proverbs). Further steps must be taken to stop health problems such as skin cancer so that the amount of treatments and surgeries can be reduced. Reducing exposure to the sun and damaging effects, avoiding tanning beds, and improving awareness of medication side effects are just some of the ways you can invest in-your-skin.
Overexposure to the sun can cause latent problems, such as skin cancer and premature skin aging. In addition, severe sunburns and exposure to high temperatures while being physically active can lead to dehydration, muscle cramping, and more serious issues such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke (CDC, 2011). Anyone exerting themselves in the heat of the day should stay hydrated, take planned breaks, and limit exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Athletes and weekend warriors who play in sunny locations (outdoor swimmers, volleyball players, golfers, tennis players), or in the middle of the day, have increased chances of damaging their skin. Golfers for example, in one hour, receive up to 3.5 to 5.4 times the amount of sun exposure needed to cause sunburn (Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d.). Tanning beds can be a very serious problem and deplete your family health. People who first use tanning beds before the age of 35 have a 75-percent increased risk for melanoma. More than 419,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States are linked to indoor tanning beds. Make sure your child does not fall into this potential trap. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for 25-29 years old, and the second most common common in those 15-29 years old. Sadly, despite this solid evidence, indoor tanning facilities are very popular and are even found in 48 percent of colleges—even the top rated schools (Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d.).
Abnormal reactions to sunlight can occur when taking medications or with certain diseases and can cause a hypersensitivity to the sun. Diseases that are related to photosensitivity include, psoriasis, rosacea, and lupus erythematosus, among others. This doesn’t mean your H-Investment is safe because you avoided the sun just when you were taking a medication, effects can surface many years after exposure. The list of medications that can lead to photosensitivity disorders is long, that I am including it as a reference from the FDA, The Sun and Your Medicine. For example, heart medications, NSAIDS (Ibuprofen), naproxen, steroids, diuretics, and antibiotics to name a few, can increase hypersensitivity to the sun. In addition, some topical medications for acne may also increase photosensitivity. Some medications may also change the color of the skin permanently. Amiodarone, a common antiarrhythmic, can cause the skin to become a permanent blue-gray color when exposed to the sun. Some hypertension medications could increase your chances of lip cancer (Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d.). In order to avoid abnormal reactions, it is important that you avoid direct sunlight whenever possible.
My H-Investment: I really like my dermatologist and that makes it very easy to comply, so find one that you like. My H=W formula, Compliance = Wealth. Between my annual visits to the dermatologist, I find it challenging to remember what was where and for how long. A picture is worth a thousand words, so if you have an area of the skin that concerns you or your family, or find it difficult to monitor, take a picture of it. This will make it easy to examine your skin head-to-toe every month. Newborns should not be in the sun, but check them too. When in doubt, ask. Any concerns about changes in your skin or your family members’ skin should promptly be brought to the attention of your physician and/or a dermatologist. Not all physicians’ knowledge are equal on dermatologic disease, so do your homework (Murase, 2015). Melanoma for example, if diagnosed early can be curable, but if not recognized can be hard to treat, and spread and advance to other parts of the body, and become fatal (Skin Cancer Foundation, n.d.).
History of this H-Investment: Recommendations: Red flags which may indicate skin cancer can be remembered using the ABCDE system: A, asymmetry; B, irregular borders; C, color; D, diameter; and E, evolving. The Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Dermatological Association both recommend skin screening/examination at least annually by a qualified physician.
Are you investing enough? Do you know your ABCDEs? By considering your H-Asset, Family Wealth (Sun Insurance), as carefully as you would consider your own financial nest egg, you will improve your family health and never have it run out. This will lead you to significant returns and dividends on your “investment”!
LEARN HOW “H-INVESTMENTS” CAN MAKE A HEALTHIER YOU
What you invest in your health IS an important decision, and Dr. Lisa Williams can help you organize, prioritize, and maximize your H-Investments, using her unique Health=Wealth concept that will create health and balance, and empower you to invest and manage your own H-Portfolio. Take that first step and invest in your health and Contact Lisa today to schedule a free 15-minute phone, in person, or Skype consultation to discuss your individual health concerns. For over 30 years, Lisa has been helping people successfully overcome and manage a wide variety of ailments and conditions such as sleeping problems, stress management, digestive problems, sports injuries, orthopedic issues and musculoskeletal problems, among others.
About Lisa’s Fund Your Health Blog
Lisa developed the Fund Your Health Blog to inspire people to achieve their health and wellness goals, by sharing what she has learned throughout her career and from her own personal journey. With Lisa’s relentless pursuit to restore the natural healing process, she reviews specific health assets (H-Assets) and recommends sound health investments (H-Investments) for building health dividends (H-Dividends) that are the key to a healthy lifestyle and will pay off in years to come. Yes, it is all about the H’s in her Health Portfolio. Using her approach will empower you to find your own solutions for a healthy lifestyle.
About Dr. Lisa Williams
Lisa has developed a business culture of health equals wealth and a core philosophy that bridges the gap between health and wealth using what she calls H-Portfolios (Health Portfolios), which leads to overall health. Lisa’s quest for health answers began nearly 30 years ago, when she needed to start building her own H-Portfolio, and this led her to create a multi-pronged approach to health and wellness, and pursue other areas of medicine and attain her acupuncture license. Lisa has managed several health clinics and consulted in multiple corporate, health and wellness industries and branches of medicine. Her areas of practice and experience have included corporate wellness, fitness, health and beauty, internal medicine, neurology, pain management, pediatrics, rehabilitation, schools, scoliosis management, sports injuries, and weight loss clinics.
Photo credit: Lisa Williams
Disclaimer: This material is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information on this site is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. Doing anything recommended or suggested on this website/blog must be done at your own risk.
American Optometric Association (AOA). (2016). Retrieved from https://www.aoa.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2011). Extreme heat and your health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html
Gambichler, T., Rotterdam, S., Altmeyer, P., & Hoffmann, K. (2001). Protection against ultraviolet radiation by commercial summer clothing: need for standardised testing and labelling. BMC Dermatol, 1, 6. 9.
Murase, J. E. (2015). Understanding the importance of dermatology training in undergraduate medical education. Dermatol Pract Concept, 5(2), 95-96. doi:10.5826/dpc.0502a18
Romey, K. (2016, Aug 18). National Geographic. Here’s what the iceman was wearing when he died 5,300 Years ago. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/otzi-iceman-european-alps-mummy-clothing-dna-leather-fur-archaeology/
Suregon General. (2014). The surgeon general’s call to action to prevent skin cancer. Retrieved from https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/prevent-skin-cancer/call-to-action-prevent-skin-cancer.pdf
The American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD). (2014). Retrieved from https://www.aad.org
The New York Times. (2010, June 23). History of sunscreen. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/2010/06/24/fashion/24skinside.html
The Skin Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.skincancer.org
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2015). The sun and your medicine. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/resourcesforyou/specialfeatures/ucm464195.htm
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2016). Tips to stay safe in the sun: from sunscreen to sunglasses. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049090.htm