Diabetes: Protect Your Eyes In 6 Steps

18 Oct

October is Blindness Awareness Month.  What does that have to do with Diabetes?  A lot actually – according to the American Diabetes Association, diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness among adults in the U.S.

Over time, high blood sugar levels from diabetes can lead to damage of the retina, the layer on the back of the eye that captures images and sends them to the brain.

Eye damage can occur without any initial symptoms. This is why it is so important for people with diabetes to get regular eye examinations and catch problems before serious retinal changes occur.  What is the best way to preserve your vision?  Control your blood glucose.  “When you have vision loss from diabetes, it also indicates that your blood glucose levels are abnormal,” says Raj Maturi, MD, associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at Indiana University School of Medicine.  High blood pressure and kidney problems are also risk factors for diabetic retinopathy.  Follow these guidelines to protect your vision.

  1. Do your best to control your glucose by monitoring daily.
  2. Keep your A1C (overall measure of blood glucose control) within your target range.
  3. Avoid extreme and frequent high blood glucose highs and lows, even if your A1C is on target.
  4. Eat healthy foods and maintain a well-balanced diet.
  5. Do aerobic exercises to improve vascular function or check with your physician if you’ve been diagnosed with proliferative retinopathy, detached retina, or other eye problems.
  6. Maintain good eye protection habits such as wearing sunglasses to reduce UV light exposure, taking a multivitamin that contains vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and zinc. The National Eye Institute studied high-dose vision supplements and found that 500 mg of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta-carotene and 8 mg of zinc reduced vision loss from advanced age-related macular degeneration in some people. Discuss these supplements with your physician before taking for eye health.
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The Importance of Implementing Healthier Habits Earlier in Life

22 Sep

Nearly 1 in 3 Michigan children are overweight or obese.  Choosing convenience foods and sugar filled beverages over healthier options has become the ‘norm’ in many diets of Americans spanning all ages.

In addition to making poor food choices, serving sizes are increasingly exceeding what the body actually needs.  Implementing healthier habits earlier in life can ensure your child’s body is functioning properly while lowering risk of chronic conditions, and they are also more likely to make better choices as they get older.

Ensuring a Healthy Future

  1. Be a role model. Cooking meals at home encourages your loved ones to make smarter choices on their own and also is a great way to dive into healthier choices.
  2. Limit screen time. Signing up for a sport, playing outside or finding other creative ways to play and move around the house can stimulate young brains, endorsing healthier habits. Ensuring children get a break from phones, tablets or video games can positively impact their physical and mental wellbeing.
  3. Stop the Pop. Taste buds crave higher amounts of sugar, perpetuating an addictive sugar craving over time when children are allowed to indulge in sugary beverages on a regular basis.

Healthy Development

  1. Bones. Diets that include nutrient rich foods strengthen bone density and promote growth.
  2. Brains. A balanced nutritional diet helps young brains grow and function. A deficiency of glucose, vitamins, minerals and proteins can lead to a higher risk of mental disorders.
  3. Muscles. Well rounded nutrition also plays an important role in maintaining muscle function and skeletal development.

Lower Risk of Chronic Conditions

  1. Ensuring your child’s nutritional health helps to avoid serious issues later in life. Including chronic conditions such as: obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, depression and eating disorders.
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Can Step Counts Predict Obesity?

20 Jul

Did you know that smart phones could soon be a way for researchers to predict obesity rates across the world?

In a recent study published in the journal Nature, Stanford researchers worked with the mobile health company Azumio (which specializes in biometric mobile technology) to see if step counting on your mobile device could help to predict a country’s obesity level. The study tracked physical activity by population in more than 100 countries and looked at smartphone users’ age, gender, height and weight.  The study showed that in the United States, which has a greater obesity population, that there is a gap in the activity levels of men versus women. In countries with a small obesity population, men and women’s activity levels were ranked more closely.

Individuals who are active daily, taking more steps, are less likely to suffer from obesity. Individuals who are sedentary, taking less steps daily, are part of populations that have a greater risk factor of becoming overweight. One way to use this data is for city planning.  In cities and towns that have paths, walkways, parks, and less vehicle usage, the population is likely to count more steps and men and women activity levels will be closer to each other.

There are lots of ways to track your steps, FitBits, free smart phone apps, pedometers, etc. These devices will hold you accountable to yourself and challenge you daily to take more steps. Set goals for yourself at the beginning of each day. To help get your goal steps in each day, park farther away from work so you have to walk farther, take stairs instead of the elevator, and commit to a walk every day for 20 minutes on your lunch break, even if it is walking laps around the building. Focus on a healthier you.

Original Article Here:  http://time.com/4850108/obesity-rates-smartphones-study/

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Menopause and Dietary Choices

23 Jun

Did you know eating a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly can help alleviate symptoms of menopause? Menopause can affect our health in many ways!

Menopause may cause weight gain, hot flashes, mood changes or a feeling of tiredness. To boost energy, mood, metabolism, and overall health you should make sure that you consume low calorie, high fiber fruits and vegetables. This will help to give you a full feeling and keep your weight in check.

Menopause can also cause dry skin, bone loss and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.  Osteoporosis can be caused by decreased estrogen levels during menopause. This is when our body starts losing bone density. Calcium and Vitamin D are very important for our body during this time. Some calcium-rich foods you should consider adding to your diet are dark leafy greens, plain non-fat yogurt, and low-fat milk.

Post-Menopausal women are also at a risk for developing heart disease, caused by weight gain in their mid-section. Our heart is the most important organ in our body. To protect your heart you should consume Omega 3. A few good source examples that contain Omega 3 are salmon and spinach. These food choices will also help improve stamina and mood. Vitamin B, folic acid, and fiber are also needed to promote a healthy heart. A good source for this nutrition is from whole grain foods such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.

Exercise is also important during menopause and will not only will help reduce or alleviate side effects of menopause, but it can help you emotionally and mentally deal with other symptoms. Exercise may help you to fall asleep easier and to stay asleep during the night.

Original Article Here:  https://www.ahealthiermichigan.org/2017/04/05/dietary-tweaks-to-consider-as-you-enter-menopause/

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