NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative

Health Observances

May

May 8–14 is National Women’s Health Week

What is National Women’s Health Week?

National Women’s Health Week is an observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. The goal is to encourage women to make their health a priority. This week also serves as a time to help women understand the steps they can take to improve their health. The 16th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 8, and is celebrated until May 14, 2016.

What diseases affect women more than men?

Osteoporosis, lupus, and fibromyalgia are among the diseases that affect more women than men. If left untreated, these health conditions can prevent you from fully participating in the activities you enjoy. Learn what you can do to manage and improve your health, whether or not you live with a disease.

What can I do to improve my health and safety?

To improve your physical and mental health, you can:

Where can I find out more?

For more information on managing and improving your health, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

For information on how sex and gender can influence health in important ways, download this helpful infographic from the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health.

For additional information about women’s health, check out these Federal resources:

How can I participate in National Women’s Health Week?

We invite you to join women across the country in the celebration:

  • Spread the word through social media. Use the #NWHW hashtag.
  • Organize events or activities to encourage women to make their health a priority.

May Is Arthritis Awareness Month

What should I know about arthritis?

Arthritis is a condition that affects your joints, the places in your body where two bones meet, like elbows, shoulders, and knees. People with arthritis can feel pain and stiffness in their bodies over time, sometimes making it hard to move or even causing their joints to become swollen. There are several different types of arthritis, and each person can be affected differently.

How can I manage arthritis?

Because arthritis can affect people in different ways, there’s no simple answer for how it can be prevented and/or managed. But there are a few things you can do to keep the damage from getting worse, and it might even make you feel better:

  • Try to exercise and move all of your joints. Walking helps circulation, supports the joints, and strengthens the muscles around the joints.
  • If you have a sore joint, you can use an ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables on the sore spot.
  • Do your best to maintain a weight that is right for you, since too much weight can make your knees and hips ache.
  • Tell your health care provider if your pain is improving or worsening. He or she may have better treatment options that can help.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on arthritis and related conditions, check out these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

May Is Lupus Awareness Month

What should I know about lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Your body’s immune system fights foreign substances in the body, like germs and viruses. But in autoimmune diseases, the immune system is out of control and it attacks healthy tissues instead of germs.

Lupus can affect many parts of the body. One person with lupus may have swollen knees and fever. Another person may be tired all the time or have kidney trouble. Someone else may have rashes. Different people have different symptoms.

How can I manage lupus?

Because lupus affects each person differently, there is no simple answer for how it can be prevented and/or managed. But there are some things you can do to help you cope with the disease.

  • Many people with lupus have limited energy, so slow down or stop before you get too tired. Learn to pace yourself. Spread out your work and other activities.
  • Pay attention to your body and don’t blame yourself for your fatigue. It’s part of the disease.
  • Consider support groups and counseling. They can help you realize that you’re not alone. Group members teach one another how to cope.
  • Consider other support from your family as well as community groups.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on lupus and related conditions, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

May Is National Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

What does my heritage have to do with my health?

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are a diverse group with many different cultures, languages, customs, and a deep sense of history that honors family and community. But some people in these groups may be at increased risk for certain health conditions like lactose intolerance, osteoporosis, and lupus. Staying informed about these and other conditions can help you live an active life.

How can I improve my health?

To mark National Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, pledge to do one thing to improve your health and your family’s health. Here are some ideas:

  • Improve your diet. Find a family recipe for a dish made with calcium-rich foods, such as oysters, sesame seeds, or green leafy vegetables.
  • Mix up your physical activity. Try learning a traditional, cultural dance, yoga, aikido, or tai chi.
  • Try to visit your health care provider at least once a year. If you take care of family members, help them schedule appointments as well. Monitoring your health is a great way to stay in control.
  • If you or a loved one needs to find a free or low-cost health center in your area, the Federal Government can help. Find a free or low-cost health center.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on managing and improving your health, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Find additional information about National Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month (Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

May Is National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month

What should I know about osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones in which they become weak and lead to an increased risk of fractures, or broken bones. And people with osteoporosis will most commonly break hip, spine, and wrist bones. While osteoporosis is the most common bone-related disease, it is often called a “silent disease” because it can progress without any symptoms until a fracture or similar injury occurs.

How can I manage osteoporosis?

  • Increasing your calcium intake can help protect against osteoporosis later in life. In addition to milk and dairy products, calcium can also be found in most green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin D also plays an important role because it helps your body absorb calcium and can improve your bone health. You can find vitamin D in milk, eggs, liver, and fatty fish such as salmon.
  • Like muscles, your bones can also become stronger through exercise. Try weight-bearing or weight-resistant exercises such as walking, playing sports, or lifting weights.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on osteoporosis and related conditions, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many of these publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

May Is Native Hawaiian Heritage Month

What does my heritage have to do with my health?

Native Hawaiians enjoy a history rich with culture and traditions, stories, and family ties. But sometimes cultural, financial, and geographic barriers can keep Native Hawaiians from getting proper health care. Certain health conditions can also prevent you from fully participating in the activities you enjoy with your family and friends. Take some time and learn what you can do to manage and improve your health.

What can I do to improve my health?

Having an increased risk for certain health conditions doesn’t mean you can’t take steps toward improving your health and minimizing those risks. You can even encourage your family, friends, and others in your community to do the same.

  • Improve your diet. Traditional foods like ahi and other fish, poi and other dishes made with taro, passion fruit, long rice, and yams are all rich in vitamins. Just avoid extra fat when cooking.
  • Try to visit your health care provider at least once a year. If you take care of family members, help them schedule appointments as well. Monitoring your health is a great way to stay in control.
  • If you or a loved one needs to find a free or low-cost health center in your area, the Federal Government can help. Find a free or low-cost health center.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on managing and improving your health, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these and other topics for free by visiting https://catalog.niams.nih.gov/ or calling toll free at 877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Many publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

Find additional information about Native Hawaiian health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).