4 Ways to Have a Healthier and Happier Holiday

‘Tis the season to overeat, overspend, and overcommit—sound familiar? Although it’s often easier said than done, there are ways to buck these trends. Focus on health and happiness—rather than the number of gifts exchanged. That can bring priceless payoffs to you and your family. Here are a few simple ideas to consider.

  1. Eat well, but don’t deprive yourself. Do you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or another health condition that requires healthy eating choices? Or are you simply among the crowd that packs on extra pounds during the holidays? If so, plan ahead.

Have one or two strategies that make it possible to enjoy yourself without hurting your health. Here are a few examples: Bring a healthy dish to share at potlucks. Go easy on the liquid calories, especially alcohol. Treat yourself, but set limits—maybe limit sweet treats to once a week.1

  1. Do some healthcare “housekeeping.” The flu or other illness is sure to put a big damper on anyone’s holiday. Take steps to make this less likely for you and those around you. Wash your hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. Get your annual vaccines, if you haven’t already.

The end of the year is also a good time to check if you need any exams and to sign up for insurance, unless you’ve done so already. Also, take advantage of family time to flesh out your family’s medical history.2,3 If you or someone you know is making multiple trips a month to pickup medication talk to our pharmacist about consolidating those trips and even set up automatic refills so your medication is always ready.

  1. Focus on experiences, not things. Studies have shown that helping others can increase your own levels of happiness. This could be anything from volunteering at a local food bank to simply picking up prescriptions for a neighbor. There is no shortage of ways to get involved during the holidays—and all year long.

Here’s another way to focus on experiences: Create your own holiday traditions. Try some caroling with your family or friends. So what if your Uncle Charles is tone deaf? Just have some fun. And there’s another bonus: singing lowers stress.4

Or maybe you’d enjoy cutting down your own tree, taking in a high school performance of the Nutcracker, or turning your holiday cards into gratitude cards. By adding personal notes that express your appreciation, you can boost your own happiness as well.4

  1. Turn down the “doer dial.” Does it feel as though everything speeds up during the holidays? That can be really stressful. This is not a race. And no matter the messages you’re receiving, you don’t need to do it all. Take breaks when you need them. (Introverts, this especially applies to you!) Put another log on the fire, take a bubble bath, snuggle up with your sweetie, or sleep in—guilt free. Remember: if you take good care of yourself, you can be more present for the people you love. And after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

 

Sources

 

  1. Huffington Post: 8 Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy During the Holidays. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/leana-wen-md/holidays-health_b_2341813.html Accessed 11-3-17.

 

  1. CDC: 12 Ways to Have a Healthy Holiday Season. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthytips/index.html Accessed 11-3-17.

 

  1. Consumer Reports: 40 Tips for healthy holidays: 40 ways to get the most out of the season. Available at https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/11/happier-healthier-holidays/index.htm Accessed 11-3-17.

 

  1. Prevention: How To Have 31 Days of Healthy, Happy Holidays. Available at: https://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/31-days-happy-healthy-stress-free-holidays Accessed 11-3-17.

 

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Free Vein Screening – Healthy Leg Day!

Join us on Tuesday March 6th 2018 for Leg Health Day!

Our friends from MediUSA will be at Pharm A Save Monroe are teaming up for FREE vein screenings.

Appointments are available between the hours of 10am and 2pm.

Please call 360-282-4462 or email bridgett@pasmonroe.comleg day 2018

RESOLUTION: A HEALTHIER NEW YEAR

Resolution: A Healthier New Year

Every January 1, you make a New Year’s resolution that this will be the year you get healthy, only to lose motivation by March. You’re not alone! But you can turn your goals for a healthier you into reality.

Set realistic goals

Hate running? Setting a goal of running a 5K is probably not the goal for you. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, your resolve is likely to crumble quickly. Similarly, restricting yourself from eating the foods you enjoy will only make you want those foods more. Set a series of small, realistic goals and create a plan to reach them. You’ll get there!

See your doctor!

How long has it been since you’ve seen your doctor? Before beginning any new diet or exercise program, it is a good idea to get an annual physical. You’ll have your blood pressure checked, follow up on any tests or vaccines you need, and discuss ways to stay healthier.

Many people, especially men, put doctors’ visits on the back burner (men make 130 million fewer visits than women to the doctor each year1). It is important for everyone to see their doctor at least once a year and to see their doctor immediately should an issue arise. Sprained wrist? Changing mole? Blood in your stool? Deep sadness lasting more than a couple of weeks? Don’t wait – call your doctor.1,2

Resolve to be a healthier you

Whether you plaster your Facebook feed with daily updates on your progress or you’re not one to publicly declare a New Year’s resolution, you should strive to be a healthier version of you in the new year!

Whatever you do, just move

Yoga, spinning, hiking, put on your favorite tunes and dance in your living room – whatever you do, make it a goal to move more. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, too. Try snowshoeing, hiking, swimming, a dance class with your partner – even building a snowman can be a good cardio workout! Having fun is the best way to ensure you will keep being active all year long. 

Slow and steady wins the race

It’s the time of year for TV commercials touting prepackaged diet plans, gym memberships…and how many online posts about the latest can’t-miss fad diet have you scrolled by already? Save yourself from a month of deprivation and/or eating the strange concoctions your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s aunt swore worked for her! Trying to abruptly and completely overhaul what you eat is a recipe for disaster. Instead, make small changes one at a time.

Drink too much soda? Start by replacing one glass a day with water and work up from there until you gradually drink less and less. Can’t live without French fries? Don’t eliminate them from your diet but do try cutting your usual portion in half. Always eating on the go? Make sure you have healthy foods that you can grab on your way out the door to avoid the fast food drive-thru later. Little changes will add up over time.

You know what you should eat, but what about how to eat? Eating mindfully means paying attention to your food while you eat it. Taking the time to savor your food may help you be more emotionally satisfied by it and more aware of your body’s needs.3

  • Slow down. Really smell, taste, and chew your food before swallowing it.
  • Avoid distractions. Put down the smart phone and turn off the TV to put your full attention on the meal at hand.
  • Small plates. Using smaller plates helps with portion control.
  • Leave the food in the kitchen. Keep serving bowls in the kitchen so that you have to think twice before going back for seconds.
  • Put the fork down! To help you slow down, put your fork or spoon down in between bites.4

Take time for you

Stress can wreak havoc on your health. Taking time for yourself, whether it is to schedule regular “meetings” on your calendar for a quick workout or simply powering off the electronics and going to bed a little earlier (admit it, you’re not really getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, are you?), is important for your physical and mental health.2

Turn off the phone and take a walk in the park, listen to music, read a good book, try that new recipe you cut out of the magazine but never got around to trying…in this age of constantly being connected, taking a break from electronics can help ease anxiety and stress, resulting in a healthier you.5

Give yourself a break

So, you intended to stop at one but ended up eating the entire bag of cookies? Don’t beat yourself up over it. Tomorrow is another day, and you have the power to make it a healthier one.

New year, new you

Whatever changes you wish to make in 2019, making this the year you will be more present for yourself and those you love is one New Year’s resolution worth keeping!

Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.   

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources:

  1. WebMD: “5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Men.” Available at: https://www.webmd.com/men/features/5-healthy-new-years-resolutions-for-men#1 Accessed 12-4-17.
  2. Drexel Medicine: “How to Realistically Achieve 5 Common New Year’s Resolutions.” Available at: http://www.drexelmedicine.org/patient-services/primary-care/more-about-primary-care/how-to-realistically-achieve-5-common-new-years-resolutions/ Accessed 12-4-17.
  3. Self: “5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Are Easy To Keep.” Available at: https://www.self.com/gallery/easy-healthy-new-years-resolutions Accessed 12-4-17.
  4. Self: “12 Mindful Eating Tips That Will Change Your Relationship With Food.” Available at: https://www.self.com/story/mindfulness-healthy-eating-weight-loss Accessed 12-4-17.
  5. Forbes: “10 Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions To Try.” Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2016/12/31/top-10-health-related-new-years-resolutions/#447941ff3c3f Accessed 12-4-17iStock-638981580

Diabetes: What You Need To Know

It’s a startling number: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or high blood sugar levels, a condition called prediabetes. But a quarter of adults with diabetes don’t know they have it. And only about one in 10 know they have prediabetes.1

Could you be among this crowd of people?

Heed the warning signs. Diabetes may be “silent” and not cause any signs or symptoms. However, these are common warning signs:

  • Increased thirst or hunger
  • Frequent peeing or urine infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss you can’t explain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches2

Know your risks. Discuss any warning signs you have, and ask your doctor about your risk of developing diabetes. For example, even a few extra pounds can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, which goes up 30 percent for every 11 pounds gained. Big weight gains—44 pounds or more—make you 10 times more likely to develop the disease.3

You may need a special blood test to confirm whether or not you have diabetes. And this could save your life. In the U.S., diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death, usually from heart problems.1,4 In addition to your heart, diabetes may lead to complications that affect everything from your brain and eyes to your kidneys and nerves. 2 And did you know that the dementia risk linked to diabetes is nearly as high as that of a gene that’s a risk factor for Alzheimer’s?5

Prevent or manage diabetes. It’s critical to do your best to prevent or manage diabetes. But most American adults with diabetes aren’t meeting recommended guidelines, which may include a combination of lifestyle changes and medication such as statins, aspirin, and drugs that lower blood sugar.4

I’m not saying it’s always easy, but you can do it.

If you have prediabetes, you can cut your risk of diabetes in half with exercise and a healthy diet.1 Here are a few lifestyle changes that can go a long way toward preventing or controlling diabetes.

  • Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and nonfat dairy. Limit foods high in fat and sugar.
  • Shoot for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week—do something that makes you sweat and breathe a bit harder.
  • Manage your stress, which can raise blood sugar levels. You know what relaxes you. It may be anything from yoga or meditation to gardening or petting a cat.
  • Pitch the cigarettes. If you have diabetes, smoking is like throwing coals on a fire. It increases all the risks you may already have, such as heart and eye disease.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. It can tweak your blood sugar level—making it go either too high or too low. If you’re a woman, have no more than a drink a day. If you’re a man, have no more than two.6
  • And finally, partner with your doctor and me. Whether you have questions about your risks, need tips about lifestyle changes, or want guidance about diabetes medications, you don’t have to go it alone. We’re here to help.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources

1.      HealthDay: More than 100 Million Americans Have Diabetes of Prediabetes: CDC. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167270.html Accessed 10-3-17.
2.      WebMD: Diabetes Warning Signs. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/diabetes-warning-signs#1-2 Accessed 10-3-17.
3.      HealthDay: More Evidence that Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167272.html Accessed 10-3-17.
4.      HealthDay: Heart Health Ignored by Many With Type 2 Diabetes. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167670.html Accessed 10-3-17.
5.      HealthDay: Midlife Behaviors May Affect Your Dementia Risk. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167647.html Accessed 10-3-17.
6.      WebMD: 6 Lifestyle Changes to Control Your Diabetes. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/new-diabetes-17/diabetes-lifestyle-tips Accessed 10-3-17.

What To Do If You Get the Flu

What To Do If You Get the Flu

I’m guessing that the flu isn’t on your top-10 wish list, right? But just in case you get sick this flu season, here’s a list of 10 things you can do to help ease your symptoms—and to stop the flu in its tracks and protect others.

  1. Stock up. A few supplies may make it a bit easier to manage the flu. It’s best to have these on hand before you get sick. Otherwise, send a healthy member of your family out on an errand, if you can.
  • Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen for reducing fevers and easing achiness
  • A thermometer
  • Cough syrup or cough drops
  • Saline nose drops or sprays
  • Drinks such as fruit juices or tea (avoid caffeine)
  • Easy-to-eat foods such as clear soups, crackers, or applesauce1,2
  1. Stay home! The first day you have symptoms, you may be tempted to venture out to work or school. Please don’t! Not only do you need the rest, but this is also when you’re most contagious.1 Try to nap—and read or binge-watch your favorite television episodes.
  2. Prevent the spread. In addition to staying home, wash your hands often and cover your cough and sneeze into your sleeve.2
  3. Drink fluids, breathe steam. This is a great way to thin your mucus, making it easier to cough up. This may help prevent a lung infection. Using a humidifier (a cool mist) or breathing in steam from a hot shower may also help ease congestion.1
  4. Calm your cough. It can be exhausting, I know. Try over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicines—an expectorant helps thin mucus. Do not give a child under age 4 any type of cough medicine. Sucking on lozenges may also help your cough or scratchy throat.1
  5. Ease nose woes. You—or your kids—can try saline nose drops or sprays to ease nasal congestion. First, put a few drops into one nostril. Then gently blow the mucus and saline out. Repeat on the other side.1
  6. Treat other symptoms. Sure, a fever—along with chills and achiness—is a sign your body is fighting off the virus. But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer in silence. Ask me if you have any questions about which fever reducer to take. But don’t forget: Never give aspirin to someone younger than 19—it can lead to a serious illness.1
  7. Ask about antivirals. Your health care provider may advise you to take one. If you do this within 48 hours of when symptoms begin, you have a fighting chance of reducing their impact.1,2
  8. Know when to seek medical help. If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, call the doctor:
  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness
  • Fever of 100 degrees F for 3 or more days
  • Returning fever or sore throat after feeling better

More serious symptoms require immediate medical care:

  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Balance problems or confusion2
  1. Talk to me! And of course it goes without saying: If you need guidance about any products—or any questions whatsoever—let me know, and I’ll try to steer you in the right direction.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources
1.      WebMD: “10 Tips to Ease Flu Symptoms.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/flu-guide/coping-with-flu#1 Accessed 8-31-17.
2.      Public Health: “Treatment of Flu.” Available at: https://www.publichealth.va.gov/flu/treatment/ Accessed 8-31-17.

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Need to shed 15 or 25 pounds? Try this trick: Pick up a 15- or 25-pound turkey in the grocery store (or a bag of soil at the nursery). Then carry it around for a few minutes. Did you find it tough to do? Extra pounds take a toll, don’t they? But weight gain is often such a gradual process that you might not even realize it’s happening.1

Sadly, more and more people are dying from weight-related health problems. This includes high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions. In 2015, 40 percent of 4 million deaths linked to weight were in people who weren’t even considered obese, just overweight.2 And for those who gain more, the risks are even greater. For example, 44 extra pounds in midlife increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 10 times.1 There’s an emotional toll as well. A recent study found that heavy kids faced three times the risk of depression in adulthood.3

Okay, enough of the scary statistics. I’m here to also say that even small changes can make a big difference. For example, did you know that losing just 7 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of diabetes by 60 percent?4

So what can you do? As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s no shortage of weight-loss tips out there. Here are a few backed by recent research:

  • Weigh yourself regularly, especially during times of life transition, such as pregnancy or marriage. See the number going up? Nip that trend in the bud before it gets even harder to do.1
  • Down water instead of other drinks. Following 16,000 adults, researchers found that drinking a glass of water instead of a beer every day reduced the risk of obesity by 20 percent. Substituting water for sugar-sweetened drinks lowered the risk by 15 percent.5
  • Be wary of artificially sweetened drinks, though. Among 1,000 subjects in seven clinical trials, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose showed no major weight-loss benefits. In fact, data from 30 observational studies involving 400,000 people showed a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These kinds of studies, however, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.6
  • “Keep on walking, keep on walking,” to paraphrase Dory from Finding Nemo. A global study looked at “activity gaps” and found that waistlines have widened in places where walking rates have declined.7 The great thing about this activity is that nearly everyone can do it. And it doesn’t cost much, just the price of a good pair of shoes. On your walks, you can also try a few quick bursts of fast walking or running to burn extra calories.8
  • Get enough sleep. This link might be something you don’t think much about. But studies have shown a lack of sleep may contribute to obesity.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to focus on healthy food choices, too. Eat more vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, and nonfat dairy products. And don’t tempt fate. Keep sugary, starchy foods out of your house, if you can.8

If lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough to be effective, your doctor may prescribe a medication or other measures. As you know, I’d be glad to share my insights. Good luck!

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

  1. HealthDay: “More Evidence That Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167272.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  2. HealthDay: “2 Billion Worldwide Are Obese or Overweight.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166514.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  3. HealthDay: “Heavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in Adulthood.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165743.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  4. WebMD: “Weight and Diabetes: Lose Pounds to Lower Your Risk.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-weight-loss-finding-the-right-path#1 Accessed 8-2-17.
  5. HealthDay: “Drink Water, Fight Fat?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165714.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  6. HealthDay: “Could Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Odds for Obesity?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167249.html Accessed 8-2-17
  7. NHLBI: “Treatment.” Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment Accessed 8-2-17.
  8. WebMD: “Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely#1 Accessed 8-2-17.