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May signals Stroke Awareness Month. Strokes are the no. 4 killer in this country. A stroke occurs when the blood flow to the brain abruptly stops. The biggest risk factor is uncontrolled high blood pressure – remember, high blood pressure is called the Silent Killer for a reason. And researchers state that 80% of strokes could have been prevented with quick action at the first symptoms.
To prevent a stroke, act F.A.S.T.:
(1) Face drooping – ask the person to smile
(2) Arm weakness – ask them to raise both arms
(3) Speech difficulty – ask then to repeat “the sky is blue”
(4) Time to call 911 when you first see a symptom
Stroke Risk Factors:
Time to take action when you observe in a person or you yourself have:
The key to preventing strokes is to act FAST. Take action now and don’t wait. A person needs to get to the ER for early medication treatment to stop cold a stroke that might be coming soon.
TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually only last a few minutes but, if left untreated, people who have TIAs have a high risk of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke.
More information at www.americanheart.org.
Have you heard of insulin resistance? Perhaps in relationship to pre-diabetes? It is a condition that occurs when certain cells in the body, especially in the liver and muscles, lose their sensitivity to insulin. There is resistance to insulin. Since the cells are not taking up as much insulin as usual, more insulin is needed to help keep your glucose levels in the normal range. And that means the pancreas eventually will not be able to keep up with making enough insulin.
Risk Factors for Insulin Resistance:
How best to reduce your risk for insulin resistance:
Insulin resistance can lead to pre-diabetes and then type 2 diabetes. Since the pancreas has to compensate for your body’s inability to efficiently use insulin, it has to work even harder by making more insulin to get the job done. And this is stressful wear-and-tear on the pancreas.
I am reminded each week, when I see patients for individual counseling, that some folks need to lower their cholesterol numbers by primarily diet. They may be unable to tolerate cholesterol-lowering meds, or there may be other reasons that the meds are just not right for them. So that means lifestyle is key!
To get cholesterol down, focus on healthy fiber foods at each meal:
To get cholesterol down, focus on healthy fats each day:
To get cholesterol down, focus on natural plant sterols in
Other tips to get cholesterol down to reduce fatty plaque build-up in artery walls:
Thinking about going vegetarian? There is a national movement called Meatless Monday – it began about 10 years ago – it’s an effort to help folks move toward some meatless meals in an easy, non-threatening manner. Hospitals, colleges, restaurants and workplaces are giving their support to this program. Do you want to try this?
Meatless Monday might be a painless way to ease your family into some vegetarian meals. Why is this such a great ideas? It can reduce your intake of artery-clogging saturated fat, and reduce your risk for developing certain cancers, including colorectal, esophagus, lung, and liver cancers.
It’s Meatless Monday – what’s for dinner?
Meatless Mondays can have a lasting impact on your family habits. In one large Meatless Monday study, there was a lasting effect, with 40% are incorporating more meatless meals into the rest of their week, 73% are eating more vegetables; 64% eating more fruits, 42% eating more beans; and 47% eating more whole grains.
Making lifestyle changes for better health? There is help! If you have Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes:
Making lifestyle changes for better health? There is help! If you have Heart issues:
Making lifestyle changes for better health? There is help! If you have Weight Management issues:
Other health issues where a Registered Dietitian might be able to offer some guidance with your food choices:
Our Nutrition and Diabetes Education Department will get a referral from the MD office. And YOU can call insurance to see if there is coverage. There is more coverage in disease prevention than ever before, so it is worth checking it out.
It’s such a growing problem world-wide that I want to discuss pre-diabetes at the beginning of this new year. It you have pre-diabetes, then you join 79,000,000 Americans. Worldwide, diabetes experts predict that 470 million will have pre-diabetes by year 2030!!! IF you have pre-diabetes and don’t do something NOW, you will probably develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. So, let’s get into action NOW!!
Even with pre-diabetes there can be early signs of chronic kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy and vascular disease. You’ll want your glucose numbers to be in good control (fasting glucose is 70-99 mg/dl).
What lab values put you in the pre-diabetes range?
Lifestyle changes that can reverse pre-diabetes:
Usually two things are going on in pre-diabetes: the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin and there is insulin resistance from the tummy fat. Fortunately lifestyle changes are often the only thing that needs to happen to get glucose readings back to the normal range. How cool is that???
Eating healthier is probably one of your 2013 health goals. Did you know that throughout the day you can make as many as 200 food and eating decisions – that’s right – 200!! And many of those choices are completely mindless – we make them without thinking. This can lead to overeating, and therefore, weight gain. Here are a few thoughts about mindful, healthy eating for the New Year.
Assess when you overeat:
Give attention to food when you are eating:
Losing weight gradually and/our maintaining a healthy weight means giving attention to what, how, when and where you eat. Eating healthy doesn’t just happen – you need to make it happen:
A recommendation on sodium intake has been made by the American Heart Association. It’s pretty aggressive. But these heart researchers feel very strongly that lowering sodium/salt intake can help the 76 million U.S. adults with high blood pressure, AND may prevent high blood pressure in millions of other Americans.
The average daily sodium intake: 3,400 mg. The USDA sodium guidelines: less than 2,300 mg, and the American Heart Association sodium guidelines: less than 1, 500 mg.
Sodium intake adds up quickly when you rely on convenience items. For example, a homemade spaghetti sauce has ~50 mg sodium in ½ cup but ½ cup jarred spaghetti sauce can be as high as 800 mg of sodium.
As much as possible, have dishes prepared from scratch, with flavorful herbs and spices for seasoning rather than salt. Remember, every time that you omit 1 teaspoon of salt from a recipe, you save 2,300 mg of sodium!! Holy cow!
Be alert when shopping. The Nutrition Facts label on each and every packaged food item MUST list the sodium content per serving. And the American Heart Association reminds us that reducing our sodium/salt intake can help keep the blood pressure of ALL family members in good control. And that will reduce cardiovascular disease risk!
How do you sleep at night? Sleeping well and adequately is so very important health-wise. A recent study found that weight loss, especially in the belly, in obese or overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes improved the quality of their sleep. Isn’t that interesting?
Common sleep problems in folks:
Chronic sleep problems can lead to:
Even a modest 15 lb. weight loss makes a difference in sleep. And in the study it did not matter if folks lost weight by just making changes in their diet, or a combo with added exercise, there was a sleep benefit.
Sleep health – that means sleeping restfully and long enough – is important for physical as well as mental health. Sleep well…..and losing weight might help you to do just that!
National guidelines for fruits and vegetable intake are not being met by young adults aged 19-30 years of age. At least 2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups vegetables are suggested. A 10-year study of over 1,000 teens and young adults had some interesting results about what factors promote a great intake of produce.
Current produce intake by teens and young people only ½ cup per day of fruits and 1 cup/day of vegetables. Far below the recommendations.
What predicted a higher produce intake when the youth reached young adulthood?
When raising kids, it is so important to let fruits and vegetables be front and central in your daily menus. Serving limp, colorless, dull over-cooked produce will never be appealing to your family. Think opposite… interesting, colorful, in-season, slightly cooked, and flavorful!