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Posts Tagged ‘Diabetes’

March is National Nutrition Month

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

nutrition fitnessIn our ongoing effort to encourage subscribers and friends to be safe and healthy, we want to call attention to an important way to #BeSafe – through healthy nutrition. What better time to cover the topic than in March, which is National Nutrition Month? With the campaign slogan, “Take a bite out of a healthy lifestyle,” National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education and information program spearheaded annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

According to NationalNutritionMonth.org, the campaign focuses on “encouraging people to make sound eating and physical activity habits, which include consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.”

In recent years, health crises relative to lifestyles in the United States have reached epidemic proportions. Here are a handful of examples:

  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report the leading cause of death in the nation is heart disease. In fact, about 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–which is one in every four deaths. Most experts agree that the majority of heart problems stem from physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
  • More than one third of adult Americans are obese. Some economists estimate that obesity related costs account for more than 20 percent of total U.S. Healthcare expenditures and lead to dozens of serious, associated health problems.
  • Cancer continues to exact a heavy toll on Americans, causing in excess of 600,000 deaths annually. Understandably, the disease ranks highly among health challenges that face the U.S. Although cancer is not entirely attributable to lifestyle choices, there is evidence to support the reduced risk of certain types of cancer with healthy lifestyle choices—such as not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep.
  • Sometimes related to obesity, but certainly not exclusively attributable to it, diabetes currently affects 25 million diagnosed Americans (and likely millions more, who have yet to be diagnosed). A group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both, diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death. Fortunately, people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications through several means, including (but not limited) to lifestyle choices.

food_&_nutritionFew would argue that it’s wise to make healthy choices. But just what should those choices be? After all; there are virtually limitless opinions on the subject…many of which are contradictory. While some experts recommend whole grains and low fat dairy, others insist the answer lies in following a grain/dairy and legume-free Paleo diet or nearly the opposite – a meat-free and grain and legume-heavy Vegan diet.

And while some fitness gurus suggest running as the ticket to stay fit, others say that running is tantamount to suicide and that, instead, a mere 20 minutes of modest cardio a day will do the trick. With all of the conflicting information, no wonder so many decide to chuck it all and stay home watching TV and ordering a pizza! But just that sort of reaction is the root of our national problem.

So what is the answer? While this is not the definitive list, the following five suggestions should help get you on the right track. Little changes over time will result in big results. So use the month of March to get healthy!

  1. Stretch. Newton’s Law of Inertia still applies. Objects at rest stay at rest, while objects in motion stay in motion. So move your body.
  2. Move more. Once you have started to get your blood flowing on a regular basis, challenge yourself by introducing some basic exercise routines or lifting modest weights. If you are new to exercise, take advantage of introductory free trials at nearby gyms, which usually offer free fitness assessments. If your budget can’t handle gym fees, start by walking around your neighborhood, gradually increasing the duration and speed until you are taking 10,000 steps a day. Pedometers, which count steps, are inexpensive and readily available.
  3. Eat right. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad (full of several vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become a habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Kaiser Permanente nephrologist Steven Guest, MD, explains why: “Fluid losses occur continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine and stool, and these losses must be replaced daily for good health.”

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  5. Limit sugar and salt intake. While the debate rages about whether it is healthier to eat lots of animal protein or eliminate that source of food altogether, dieticians and nutritionists agree that sugar causes energy ups and downs and can add to health and weight problems. And too much salt can cause high blood pressure and lead to other health problems. So consume sugar and salt in moderation.

We hope that this blog post will help you take steps to eat right and be active in order to stay healthy. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. Visit rjwestmore.com to read about the many ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.

Are you at risk of Diabetes?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

diabetes healthy foodDiabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar (glucose). Vital to health because it is an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues, glucose is the brain’s main source of fuel. People who have diabetes suffer not only from the ill effects of the disease itself but are also at risk for many other serious associated conditions. To educate the general public about the disease and help increase fundraising efforts for prevention and treatment, the United States observes National Diabetes Month every November.

Although specific causes differ, any patient whose system has chronically elevated levels of glucose has some form of diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetic conditions include:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: usually diagnosed in children and young adults, this was previously known as juvenile diabetes. Only five percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, which is the hormone which converts sugar, starches and other food into energy. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage this condition and live long, healthy lives.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, this is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes glucose.With type 2 diabetes, the body either resists the effects of insulin or fails to produce adequate insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Although type 2 diabetes is more common in adults than in kids, type 2 diabetes increasingly affects children as childhood obesity rates increase. Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, the condition can be managed by diet, exercise and healthy body weight. In some cases, diet and exercise are insufficient to manage blood sugar levels, so treatment includes medications or insulin therapy.
  • Gestational Diabetes : occurs during pregnancy but often resolves after the baby is delivered. According to the Mayo Clinic, gestational diabetes affects how a pregnant woman’s cells use glucose. One of the main concerns about gestational diabetes is that high blood sugar can negatively impact the health of both mother and child. The good news is that most expectant mothers can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising and, if necessary, taking medication. In gestational diabetes, blood sugar usually returns to normal soon after delivery. Unfortunately, women who have had gestational diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Pre-Diabetes: a serious health condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to classify as full-blown diabetes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 of every 3 U.S. American adults have prediabetes. That is 79 million Americans, aged 20 years or older. The vast majority of people who are living with prediabetes do not know they have it. This is unfortunate, since (without lifestyle changes to improve health), 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

diabetes-infographicAccording to the CDC, 29.1 million people (9.3% of the U. S. population) have diabetes. What’s more, the CDC reports there are approximately 8.1 million people who have the disease but remain undiagnosed. Because that figure represents 27.8% of the affected group, education and intervention are critical.

Asses your risk:

  • Are you age 45 or older?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Does one or both of your parents have diabetes?
  • Has one or more of your siblings been diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Is your family background African-American, Hispanic/Latino, American-Indian, Asian-American, or Pacific-Islander?
  • Did you have gestational diabetes or did you give birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more?
  • Are you physically active less than three times a week?

Take action

Research shows that modest weight loss and regular physical activity can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by up to 58% in people who are prediabetic.

  • Modest weight loss means 5% to 7% of body weight, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person.
  • Getting at least 150 minutes each week of physical activity, such as brisk walking, also is important.
  • A free lifestyle change program is available through the National Diabetes Prevention Program, Led by the CDC, the plan can help participants adopt healthy habits needed to prevent type 2 diabetes.

We hope that this blog post will help inform you about ways to #BESAFE by paying attention to your blood sugar levels and taking necessary steps to improve your health and safety. The Allied Universal Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services is a convenient and affordable solution to helping improve and save lives. Visit our website for ways proper planning can make a difference in numerous aspects of your professional and personal life.