April 2nd of this year marked the 12th Annual Autism Awareness Day. In honor of the occasion, we wanted to present some autism facts and give thanks to those who are dedicating their lives to helping individuals with autism.
What is Autism?
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a neural development disorder. It is often characterized by impaired social interaction and communication as well as restrictive and repetitive behavior. Symptoms of autism typically present early in life and can be reliably diagnosed by 2 years old. People with autism also face elevated risks for a variety of other issues. For example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sleep problems, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and chronic gastrointestinal disorders are all much more common in those with ASD.
How Common is Autism?
Autism is impacting more and more individuals each year: the most current research demonstrates that autism impacts 1 in 59 children. Broken down by gender, 1 in 37 boys and 1 in 151 girls are diagnosed with autism. Experts are careful to indicate that these numbers don’t reflect an “epidemic” of autism. Rather, as ASD is being better understood, it’s more likely to be diagnosed. Part of why increasing awareness is so important is that with early detection, interventions can be implemented that have been shown to improve outcomes later in life.
New Autism Research Developments
Every day, experts are working toward developments and solutions that can make life easier and happier for individuals with autism and their families. Promising insights relating to various dimensions of autism have been inspiring. These developments in autism research are definite indicators that the efforts made by various organizations are making an impact in the effort to understand the complexity and factors surrounding ASD. For instance, many important steps forward were taken last year, including:
- Developing a more efficient system for personalized interventions for children with autism
- Creating a program to help reduce the stress of parents of children with autism
- Discovering increased cerebrospinal fluid in the brains of toddlers with autism, which could help to illuminate the biological underpinnings of autism
- Finding deleted and duplicated sequences of DNA that correlate with autism
Charting a Path Forward
There has been a lot of progress made in understanding the vast complexities across the spectrum. Plus, there are many people who help to spread knowledge and information about this disorder, including the teachers, friends, and relatives of those with autism. As a result, we are better able to embrace them and help them lead fulfilling lives. With more research and fundraising, developments will continue that help people all around the world.
We need to all take part in making others aware of how to recognize and embrace those with ASD. The more accepting we are, the better we can help. Autism can be difficult for individuals and their families, but getting an early start with interventions and treatments can make a real difference.
Interesting in doing what you can to support this cause? Check out our autism awareness apparel. April is Autism Awareness Month, so show your support all month long by sporting an awareness bracelet or autism t-shirt.
For too long, colorectal cancer wasn’t talked about nearly enough, especially given its significant impact on so many families. That started to change two decades ago when groups began advocating for increased awareness and research. March is now designated as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, providing a chance for people to inform themselves about this form of cancer that affects so many. We’ve gathered some colorectal cancer facts so you can inform yourself and spread awareness to friends and relatives.
Annually, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 lose their battle. Though colorectal cancer isn’t as well-known culturally as some other cancers, it nonetheless exerts a large impact. In fact, it ranks as the third most common cancer in the United States (excluding skin cancers) and the second deadliest among cancers that affect both sexes.
Colorectal cancer doesn’t always come with symptoms, particularly at the outset. However, many people do experience symptoms such as bowel movement abnormalities, stomach pain, and unexplainable weight loss. If you notice symptoms that seem unusual, be sure to talk to your doctor right away.
Colorectal cancer predominantly affects older individuals, particularly those over the age of 50. The median age at diagnosis for colon cancer is 68 in men and 72 in women. African Americans face an elevated risk of colorectal cancer. Family history can play a big role, too: one’s risk spikes if they have a close relative who has colorectal cancer. Men and women experience roughly the same levels of risk for developing colorectal cancer.
How to Minimize Your Risk
Fortunately, there are some measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer. The first step is to generally adopt a healthy lifestyle. Avoiding smoking and keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum are good steps to take. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are also powerful tools of prevention, as being overweight or obese increases one’s cancer risk. Red meat and processed meats, such as hot dogs and bacon, should especially be avoided, as they have been found to directly increase one’s colorectal cancer risk.
The Importance of Screenings
There are several types of cancer that can start in the colon or rectum, but the vast majority of these are called adenocarcinomas. To help detect these cancers or their precursors, screenings are recommended starting at age 50. The importance of this cannot be understated. If everyone over the age of 50 got regular screenings, 60% of deaths from colorectal cancer could be prevented. Examples of screening methods include colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, and stool tests.
There are numerous avenues available to those who are facing a colorectal cancer diagnosis. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are all common ways of treating colorectal cancer. Here is a useful resource with in-depth explanations for the types of treatments available.
Take some time this month to spread your knowledge of these colorectal cancer facts to those who can benefit, especially your friends and relatives who are older than 50. Sadly, awareness is not widespread enough: roughly 1 in 3 adults who need to be screened are not meeting the recommended guidelines. Support those battling colorectal cancer with personalized awareness gear!
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