Take Care Community Outreach, Inc.

Dedicated to addressing health disparities through advocacy, health promotion, and education.

My Blog


view:  full / summary

Helpful Information About Lupus

Posted on July 16, 2013 at 10:24 PM Comments comments (63)
Happy July Friends of Take Care Community!
Thanks everyone for the support! I have sincerely enjoyed my journey thus far!  July is LUPUS Awareness Month and I must admit, this one was tough for me!  Lupus is a heredity disorder and often runs in families for generations.  Let’s focus on the signs and symptoms of Lupus and what to do if you suspect you or a loved one may have Lupus.
What is Lupus?

Simplified:  Lupus is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks healthy cells and tissues instead of harmful cells.  This act often damages your skin, joints, blood vessels, and some organs.  

What makes this disease so nonspecific is that there are several different types or classifications of Lupus, the most common being  Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which is broad and affects many different body systems.  

Lupus is a lifelong disease without a current cure, but many different treatment options.  Lupus will have its “quiet and active” cycles where one may feel healthy and then have a flare up.  

During a flare up, you may experience symptomsQuiet times, often referred to as “remission”, are when you may have no symptoms.  A period of remission may last anywhere from a month to years. (NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
What are the Risk Factors?

As stated before, Lupus is autoimmune, meaning it is caused by antibodies naturally present in the body. The cause of these cells attacking healthy cells is unknown at this point. Lupus cannot be transmitted or caught.  Risk factors are as follows:
  • Gender- Lupus is seen mostly in women (NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases). 
  • Race- Lupus is more commonly seen in women of African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American decent. (NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases). 
  • Taking hormones or other medications such as hydralazine and minocyclne. (Micromedix: CareNotes/Lupus)
What are Some Signs and Symptoms of Lupus?

The symptoms are very broad and can be a sign of a number of problems, so as always, I suggest a thorough medical history and exam be performed by a Physician!

Many women will become alarmed by a very distinguishing symptom of Lupus because it occurs on the face and may not be as vague or as easy to disguise. This symptoms is referred to as Malar or “Butterfly Rash”.

 (Photo sited via: pdfcast.org)

What testing is done?

Lupus can be diagnosed by:
A simple blood test that may show inflammation, infection or a common symptom, anemia. Any one test often cannot give a diagnosis of Lupus alone; but by putting symptoms together in a complete clinical picture a doctor can diagnosis and begin treatment.

Treatment can range from:
Simple pain management to immune suppression, as this disorder is different from person to person.
Again Community, As I’ve done in the past, I continue to urge you all to find ONE DAY in your year for a health screening by a qualified healthcare professional in your area. 
Knowledge is Power, and Prevention is Key

Don’t forget to leave any feedback or comments. Enjoy your summer, and TAKE CARE!
Take Care Community Outreach Volunteer Nurse,
Denise Starr, RN, CEN

Prostate Health Awareness

Posted on June 10, 2013 at 11:54 AM Comments comments (63)
Happy June 


This months blog will be especially dedicated to all the wonderful Fathers out there....                                                                                               



Truly this picture is ONLY an icebreaker, NOT AT ALL what you should expect! :)

I'll begin by affirming again that my blog DOES NOT replace a doctors care and advise is used in my scope of Registered Nurse to help spread the word of prevention and wellness with cited sources and research.  QUESTIONS anyone?

I. What is a prostate anyway??!
     Its a normally walnut sized gland that sits under a mans bladder. Its function is to produce the fluid that carries semen. (National Institute of Health, NIH)(MedlinePlus) (And p.s. WOMEN as well have a prostate and will have them routinely checked later in life with a normal vaginal exam! Although our chances of having abnormalities are VERY low, just think, its DOUBLE the fun for us!)

(photo cited via prosventexpert.com)

As men age the prostate may enlarge causing problems such as problems passing urine (dribbling or inability to fully empty bladder or pain),  low back pain, or pain with ejaculation. It can even lead to prostate cancer. (NIH)(MedlinePlus)

(photo cited via mhlclinics.com)

II. Am I at risk?      
     Problems are usually rare in men under the age of 40. Problems are typically seen in those 65 or older. With that being said risk factors include:

  • Family history of prostate disease
  • Genetic changes
  • Being African American

If any of the above criteria apply to you, early detection is urged! (NIH) (MedlinePlus).
Point blank, if your physician takes a proper medical history and recommends the test at any age, I encourage you to do it!

III. OK! I'm ready to proceed with a prostate wellness exam, what can I expect?
      For starters, I do NOT have a personal opinion about the actual procedure itself, but I know in my nursing experience, its never as bad as you think!!
      Your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, or insert ONE gloved and lubricated finger a little more than an inch into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities in the prostate. You may feel mild discomfort during procedure but it should not be painful. Its last a few minutes or less.(NIH)(MedlinePlus)

 (photo cited via National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov)

Once the procedure is done, your doctor will know whether the prostate feels normal or abnormal. If abnormal, the appropriate test will than be ordered and performed. 

PREVENTION is always the key, and EARLY DETECTION is always more successful! 

Thanks again for letting me share!   TAKE CARE COMMUNITY!!

Take Care Community Nurse
-Ms. Denise RN,CEN

Prostate Cancer Awareness Tips!

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 4:11 PM Comments comments (179)
We invite you to take a look at this article that is related to our "Health Issue of the Month". It discusses a study related to African American Men and Prostate Cancer. The researchers point out factors that may contribute to increased death rates among members of this racial group. It is our goal to help reduce these factors in the community!

Click on the link below to read the article:

Hypertension & Stroke Prevention Month Notes

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (78)


Let's take this last week to look at things recommended by the National Institute of Health (NIH) to help prevent hypertension and stroke:

1. Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.  
Limit salt added to food.  Prepared foods and restaurant meals can be high in salt!
2. Maintain a healthy weight (Know your BMI)

3.  EXERCISE (Dance, Walk, Swim, Ride your bike)  
Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight. It can also help lower blood pressure.  The Surgeon General recommends that adults do moderate-intensity exercise for 2 1/2 hours every week.

Smoking injures blood vessels and contributes to hardening of the arteries.

5. Limit Alcohol Use

6.  Have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly.
Visit your Physician for your yearly physical and follow up, if told to do so.

7.  Learn to cope with and manage stress

Along with the recommendations provided by the NIH, Take Care Community Outreach, Inc. reminds you to:

8.  Participate in services and events provided by Take Care Community Outreach, Inc. that focus on health promotion and disease prevention!

To learn more about Stroke, visit our new blog section, "Nurse Denise's Notes"

It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.  Hypertension is known as the "silent killer" because many people do not know they have it.  

When was your last blood pressure check?

Was it in the normal range?

What is the meaning of the systolic number?

What is the meaning of the diastolic number?

Do you need help finding a place to have your blood pressure checked or to be treated fro hypertension?  Contact Take Care Community Outreach, Inc.  We encourage you to post questions, comments or share your stories with us!

Stroke Awareness

Posted on May 12, 2013 at 11:54 AM Comments comments (182)

It's MAY! I can remember a not so happy May and June for me a short time ago as my family and I were going through one of the most difficult times in our lives:

(Image referencewww.activehealthcareinc.com)

My dear grandmother was secretly fighting this battle in her world, and died shortly after.

My blog is personal and very informal as I want relay the facts, not scold or condescend.  I will site my source of information for you to review later, but as said before, it's informal; basic registered nurse information!  I want to help, my "Granny Goo" always taught me to! 

How does it begin? Lets get started:

(Image referenceroseknowshealth.com)

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (HTN), High cholesterol, or Diabetes (DM); You have a higher risk for heart disease which often leads to stroke. Heart disease leads to many health alignments.  In this blog, my focus will be STROKE.

There are TWO types of stroke

INFARCT (blood clot), or HEMORRHAGIC (bleeding): 

(1st image reference:  floydmemorial.com, 2nd image: www.interactivebiology.com)

The Meaning:  

(A) HEMORRHAGIC: or BLEEDING                 

This form of stroke happens when a blood vessel or artery (transport of blood flow) in the brain leaks or burst, many times due to built pressures. This rupture (blood accumulation) then compromises the brains space in the skull leading to compromise = decreased functioning or LIFE! (Reference: WebMD)

(B) ISCHEMIC: or CLOT                  

This form of stroke happens when a blood vessel supplying blood to an area of brain becomes blocked by a blood clot. This form of stroke is more common and accounts for 80% of strokes that occur.  It is more commonly seen in diabetics. (Reference. WebMD)

What might be obvious?

(Reference: www.psastroke.org)

There are treatments for both types of strokes but TIME IS VERY IMPORTANT!  Please know the signs and symptoms and get help if you are experiencing them.

Always Remember: PREVENTION IS THE KEY!!! 

Thanks for the chance to share community!  Be educated and empowered! You have people that are educated in healthcare settings, and more importantly at home that love you and will fight for you!  Take Care Community Outreach, Inc is here for you as well!   

RIP Ruth Tooley Starr, you're loved! 

-Denise Starr, RN, CEN

April-Obesity Awareness & Education Month Info

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 12:17 AM Comments comments (68)
Obesity Awareness & Education Month

Obesity is Epidemic in the US 

  • 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children suffer from obesity.
  • Obesity puts you at risk for other health issues such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Please listen to the podcast below presented by the CDC to learn more about obesity.  You will also learn how organizations like Take Care Community Outreach, Inc.are helping to decrease this epidemic.

 We hope you have had time to calculate your BMI and to learn more about obesity and risk factors associated with obesity! If not, click on the picture below.  Type in your height and weight to calculate your BMI and learn more!

Data/Facts from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey & The CDC
  • About 12.5 million children and adolescents in the US are obese
  • The prevalence of Obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980
  • There are disparities that contribute to an increased prevalence of Obesity among children in the US.
  • Obesity is greater among children from low-income households.
  • Obesity increases the risk of low self-esteem and depression among children and adolescents.
  • Obesity increases the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, some cancers and Type 2 Diabetes in children and adolescents.  These diseases increases their chance of developing Cardiovascular Disease.

Please take a listen to the podcast below where Magdalena Berger, a researcher at New York Department of Health & Mental Hygiene talks more about the dangers associated with childhood obesity.

Healthy Eating & Physical Activity are the key to helping prevent childhood Obesity.  

Take Care Community Outreach, Inc. (TCC Outreach) supports Let's Move!  Which is an initiative, started by our First Lady, Michelle Obama that is dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity.  As an organization that focuses on the improvement of our community, we aim to help improve the health of families and children in the US.   

Click the link below to learn more about this initiative and to also view tips about healthy eating and physical activity.
If you are in need  of help to find funding so that you can provide healthy food to your child or children, please contact us.  Also stay connected to keep them involved in our community activities that help promote health!

Please keep checking the website or like us on facebook (click here) for exciting updates and information related to the health issue this month. 

As always, we would like to continue to engage the community in our outreach efforts.  If you have a story to tell about obesity or would be interested in volunteering to teach others in our community, please contact us. Simply click here.

High Blood Cholesterol Impacts Children

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 9:39 PM Comments comments (143)
We hope you have had a chance to view or listen to the information we have provided about high blood cholesterol!  

We want everyone to know that high blood cholesterol can impact children as well.  We invite you to view this wonderful site where Anne Kolker, a Registered Dietitian gives us heart healthy tips for the whole family!!

Here are the basics:

1. Increase Fiber Intake

2. Decrease Saturated Fat Intake

3.  Increase Intake of Healthy Fats


To learn more about each tip and visit this wonderful website, click on the fruit below!


Educational Information about High Blood Cholesterol

Posted on March 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (104)
Educational Information about  High Blood Cholesterol    

Take a look at the notes we've made for you about High Blood Cholesterol.  This information was provided by the National Institute of Health (NIH)-Heart, Lung & Blood Institutes National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP).  

The NCEP "aims to raise awareness and understanding about high blood cholesterol as a risk factor for CHD and the benefits of lowering cholesterol levels as a means of preventing CHD".   
Notes Presented by Take Care Community Outreach, Inc.   

Cholesterol-What is it?  
  • Fatty like substance that is found in the blood
  • Comes from cells in the body & food we eat

2 Types
  • HDL (Good Cholesterol)- Helps keep cholesterol deposits from clogging artery walls.
  • LDL (Bad Cholesterol) Produced by body naturally, however increased amounts circulating in blood causes an issue:
   -Build up of cholesterol deposits in the     
   -Arteries become narrow and hard.          
   -Blood flow to the heart is slowed down 
    or blocked.       
Blood supplies oxygen to the heart.  If you are not getting enough oxygen to the heart, you may experience symptoms such as chest pain.  If blood supply is completely cut off, this can result in a heart attack.
  • Usually none, many are unaware they have high blood.
  • Important to see your Primary Care Physician to find out what your cholesterol numbers are.  Working to lower levels that are high decreases the risk of developing heart disease and reduces the risk of heart attack and death due to heart disease.

What puts you at risk for developing High Blood Cholesterol?
  • Heredity (Family history of early heart disease)
  • Age (>45yrs for men, >55 years for women)
  • Smoking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Low HDL 


  • Eat a Healthy Diet (Low cholesterol & saturated fat)
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight (Losing weight helps lower LDL and raises HDL)
  • Engage in Physical Activity at least 30min/day!  Even a brisk walk is beneficial. (Helps to lower LDL, Raise HDL, and maintain a healthy weight)


  • Cholesterol-lowering diet (TLC diet)
  • Physical Activity
  • Weight Management
  • Medications

We encourage you to post comments, questions or share your story with us!  If you are in need of a PCP in the Prince William County area, or looking for an affordable healthcare option for you or your family please contact us

Also, if you are interested in volunteering to educate others in the community about high blood cholesterol, click here.      

Positive Outlook on life linked to Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 2:12 PM Comments comments (207)
Hello All,

March is here and this is our high blood cholesterol awareness and education month.  We learned a little about cholesterol last month when we focused on heart disease.  This month we will have a more in-depth study of high blood cholesterol.  We hope you took a listen to the podcast on the home page!  Stay tuned for educational information on the site, the blog and in the community!

Take a moment to read this article to learn how a positive outlook on life can help you have healthy cholesterol levels. 

How can we help you have a more positive outlook on life?

Heart Disease Podcast from CDC

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 8:29 PM Comments comments (268)
Learn More About Heart Disease

By now we hope you have had the opportunity to listen to the presentation about heart disease we created just for you! If you have not had the chance, please click here to check it out.

We wanted to share this podcast from the CDC where Judy Hannan from CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention discusses Tips for lowering the risk for heart disease and stroke: 
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Medical Screenings

Although we touched on these tips in our presentation, please take a listen to this interview to learn more!

As always, we invite you to leave comments and questions or contact us if you need assistance with:

  • Learning more about preventing the disease.
  • Caring for yourself if you have the disease. 
  • Help locating a quality care Physician in the area.

Also, if you are without insurance or under insured at this time, please contact us so we can help you learn about a discount plan that can be offered to help with your medical care, prescriptions, dental care and vision care.  

Thank You!