NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative

Health Observances

September

September Is National Hispanic Heritage Month

What does my heritage have to do with my health?

Being Hispanic means enjoying a rich culture and common language shaped by the history and personal experiences of multiple generations. But being Hispanic also means you may have an increased risk for certain health conditions, like lupus or osteoporosis. Take some time and learn what you can do to manage these and other conditions. In celebrating family and culture, what can be better than taking care of your health?

How can I 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. Hispanics often enjoy a diet rich in legumes, whole grains, vegetables, herbs, and fruits. Just avoid extra fats found in frying oils, creams, cheese, and pastries.
  • 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 Hispanic/Latino health (U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health).

Find additional information about National Hispanic Heritage Month (Library of Congress).

September is Healthy Aging® Month

What are some issues that may affect me as I age?

Back Pain

Back pain is more common the older you get. It can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain that makes it hard to move. Injuries from accidents or falls, mechanical problems with the back itself (such as ruptured disks or spasms), and certain diseases like arthritis or spinal stenosis can cause back pain. Acute pain, the most common type of back pain, starts quickly and lasts less than 6 weeks. Chronic pain lasts for more than 3 months and is much less common than acute pain.

Joint Pain

Joint pain is often a sign of arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, frequently affects older people. In osteoarthritis, the surface layer of protective cartilage on the end of the bones wears away, allowing the bones to rub together. This causes pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. Physical activity, weight management, and medicines can reduce these symptoms. If they continue, a doctor may recommend joint replacement surgery. This surgery involves removing a damaged joint and putting in an artificial one. Hips and knees are replaced most often, but other joints can be replaced as well, such as the shoulders, fingers, ankles, and elbows.

Falls and Fractures

Falls are serious at any age, and breaking a bone after a fall becomes more likely as you age. Among Americans age 65 and older, fall-related injuries are the leading cause of accidental death. Changes in vision and certain medicines increase the risk of falling. As you age, you also lose bone density. For some people, their bones are so fragile that they break under the slightest strain. The good news is that it is never too late to take steps to improve your bone health and prevent falls.

What can I do to improve my health?

To stay healthy as you age, you can:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Too much weight can make your joints, hips, and back ache.
  • Exercise often, and use proper techniques to help keep your muscles strong and take the strain off your joints.
  • Practice balance exercises daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet, and get the recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D each day.
  • Reduce the risk of falling by keeping floors clear of clutter and wear supportive, rubber-soled shoes to avoid slipping.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on joint and bone conditions, and on how to prevent falls, read these 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 8772264267 (TTY: 3015652966). Many publications are available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.