Obesity brings with it a roster of related health conditions, from cancer, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke, to gallbladder disease, mental illness, osteoarthritis, and type 2 diabetes — to name just a few. So it makes sense to try and maintain a healthy weight by eating right and exercising often. For adults, that means working up to working out five days a week for 30 minutes each; kids need 60 minutes of exercise daily.
The beginning of a new year is when most of us start thinking about fresh starts, and push the re-set button on food and fitness. The idea of ridding the body of poisons via a “cleanse” that promises to burn fat or lose weight may be tempting. But think twice: Starving yourself by excluding solid food for a week and chugging some low-cal/low-protein miracle drink doesn’t work for healthy weight
Winter means shorter daylight hours, along with colder temperatures. While extremes depend upon what area of the country you live in, that change can be a bear for those craving longer, sunlit days to extend activities into the evening. Those “winter blues” can start to creep in early, with feelings of wanting to hibernate until spring. They can also make you feel cranky, moody, unfocused, and craving carbs.
Did you know that a cough or a sneeze can spread the flu up to six feet away? Besides catching the flu months before the winter really hits, you can also catch it even later into the spring (a time not normally associated with flu season). Flu season is at its worst in January and February, and since the vaccine takes a couple of weeks to begin working in the body, the sooner you get vaccinated, the better.
Did you know that eye exams often provide the earliest chance of detecting diabetes at its onset? (Blurry vision can be a warning sign for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, although some with type 2 may not have this symptom. This is temporary, and vision will return to normal once blood sugars are under control.)
About 90 to 95 percent of the 30 million Americans who live with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. About 15 to 30 percent of people with increased risk for diabetes (commonly referred to as prediabetes) will develop type 2 diabetes within just five years. Here’s what’s scary: Many of the 84 million who have prediabetes don’t know it. With prediabetes, an A1C test will show blood sugar levels are high, just not as high as type 2.
We’re all acutely aware of the dangers of smoking, but if you’re dealing with other health conditions, it can also greatly impact your ability to effectively manage those conditions. If you have diabetes, smoking can worsen chronic conditions, like diabetes-related eye problems, blood vessel issues, foot problems, nerve damage, and more. Smoking is also a road that can lead to heart disease, in addition to bladder, kidney, lung, or pancreatic cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What causes a “break” in good food habits? Why get tempted by candy or chips, when you could reach for grapes, or whole-grain crackers? Why is it that you can work out for a few weeks, then end up in front of the TV for days later? These questions can haunt even the most dedicated of those trying to follow a healthy lifestyle. (No one’s perfect!)
Whether you’re taking “over-the-counter” medication, or a prescription drug from your doctor, it’s easy to lose track of what you take and when. Review health history, and talk with your doctor about the specific medications or supplements that you’re on now, or the ones he/she may be recommending. A medication checklist for the fridge (and a copy to have with you for emergencies) can help keep your meds routine at your fingertips. This “mini chart” should include your name, plus your doctor’s and local drugstore’s phone numbers, at the top. List what medication you take, the start date of taking it, why you take it, how much you take, when you take it, and if you take it with or without food. Include any drug (or supplement) interaction dangers as well (as in, “don’t take this, with that”). Also note when you should stop taking it. Leave room at the bottom to list any of your drug allergies.
It’s sometimes very easy to forget about getting and staying healthy. Life gets busy, and if you’re a parent, the focus is mostly on your kids, not on yourself. That includes getting them to their doctor when they get sick, going to the local walk-in clinic, or trying to treat them at home, if it’s something minor. If you’re a woman, you may only be getting your annual mammogram, or ob-gyn exam — both very important.