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.

 

Advertisements

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.

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.

Vionic Sandals – Spring Sale! 40% off!

We are all looking forward to better weather , and some of you have been lucky enough to have a vacation planned for some warmer weather! Don’t forget about your feet!

Don’t wear those flat $ 1.00 flip flops. If you haven’t figured it out yet, those puppies may be such a great price, you can afford them in several colors and styles. But, at what expense? Plantar Fasciitis?

Or, maybe you do not get the opportunity to wear those cute flip flops, because your knees, back and feet say “No Way!”. What if I told you that Pharm A Save Monroe has a solution?

Vionic shoes – Reclaim your footprint. www.vionicshoes.com

Feet were designed to walk on soft, natural elements like soil and sand, not the hard, flan man-made surfaces that make up so much of our modern world. With Vionic’s innovative biomechanical technology, Vionic shoe and sandals hug your arches like a matural footprint, giving you all-day support.

With all that, to the point ALL VIONIC SANDALS, SHOES AND SLIPPERS are on sale now thru April 31st, 2017! How about this — 40% off.  (In Stock Items Only!) 

Make your feet happy – Walk.Move.Live.

5 Tips to Help Save Your Vision

Eight out of 10 people living with vision loss worldwide could have saved their sight through prevention or treatment.1 Pretty amazing, isn’t it? Of course, seeing your doctor for eye exams and treatment is key.

Here are a few other things you can do help ensure your eyes have a bright future:

  1. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses that block 100 percent of ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B rays give you a big bang for your buck. They can:
  • Delay development of cataracts.
  • Prevent retinal damage.
  • Protect delicate eyelid skin from skin cancer, non-cancerous growths, and wrinkles.2
  1. Eat right. You are what you eat. It’s an old adage, but there’s something to it. And when it comes to your eyes, it may still hold true. Recently, the Coimbra Eye Study found a lower rate of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in people eating a Mediterranean diet. This includes lots of:
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes such as beans
  • Fish
  • Cereals
  • Fruits (In the study, those who ate just over 5 ounces of fruit a day were nearly 15 percent less likely to have AMD.)3

The researchers found that fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins C and E seemed to be most protective. (Surprisingly, people who consumed more caffeine also had less AMD.)3

Other research has also shown that zinc, lutein, xeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids may protect not only from AMD, but also cataracts and dry eye. You can find these nutrients in citrus fruits, vegetables oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish like salmon.4 Some people should not take large doses of antioxidants for medical reasons. So be sure to talk your doctor or me if you have any questions about this.

If you are at risk for diabetes or AMD, you may also benefit from a low-glycemic index diet. What is this? Avoid foods that quickly raise your blood sugar, such as sweets and white bread.4

  1. Quit smoking. Smoking is linked to AMD and cataracts.2 Yes, I know it’s not easy, but if you smoke, quit, and if you don’t smoke, don’t start! If you need ideas for quit-smoking resources, I’d be glad to help.
  2. Send kids outdoors. Here’s one for your kids: Recent research is pointing to a possible benefit of more time outdoors early in life, especially between the ages of 14 and 29. Although researchers don’t understand why, this appears to decrease the risk of nearsightedness (myopia). So, send your kids outdoors, but don’t forget the sunglasses and sunscreen.5
  3. Use eye protection. Two-and-a-half million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year. Using standard protective eyewear could prevent most of these injuries. If you or your child plays sports, make sure the eye protection meets the specific requirements of that sport. Not sure? Check with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).2

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. AAO: The Bright Future of Vision Care. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/bright-future-of-vision-care Accessed 2-3-17.
  2. AAO: Top 10 Tips to Save Your Vision. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/top-10-tips-to-save-your-vision-2 Accessed 2-3-17.
      3.  AAO: Mediterranean Diet May Keep AMD at Bay. Available at:          https://www.aao.org/eye- health/news/eating-mediterranean-diet-may-keep-amd- at-bay         Accessed 2-3-17.
  1. AAO: Diet and Nutrition. Available at:
    https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/diet-nutrition Accessed 2-3-17.
MedlinePlus: Can Extra Time Outdoors When Young Reduce Nearsightedness? Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_162315.html  Accessed 2-3-17.

And then there is February,

Hello, Sue here with my blurb of the moment:

Hard to believe that we are already into February of 2017! We are still being reminded that we could get snow, YET, the flowering bulbs are starting to peek out of the dirt letting us know that spring is around the corner. (I don’t know about you, but I am ready for some SUN). Once the big yellow thing in the sky starts to shine that means that we can step outside and start our outdoor projects such as gardening, cleaning and even exercising.

Speaking of exercising, have you used a FitBit? It is quite the little gizmo. It helps to monitor your walking, eating and all around health program. We are lucky in this day and age that we have phones that will utilize an APP for exercising, something to measure a distance walked, measure calories etc. Even play music while you are getting rid of the pounds or tuning up your cardio. I was given a FitBit by one of my daughters and that thing keeps you honest with your steps. Monitoring the sleep is another thing we all should look at. It is so important to get a good amount of rest. I am the last one on the planet to push or sell anything to do with exercise, but we do have tools to get us off of our rumps and start moving!

Nutrition is another story in itself. We all know that since there is a gazillion dollar business telling us how to cook, what to eat when and what not to eat. Just eat well! That is all that I know as I am not a great cook,  and I am not a nutritionist (ice cream is not on the good food list BTW). But I do know that if we stop and read our body, see what it is needing to function at it’s best, we can make good decisions of what we put in it. A struggle we all experience but remember, “Life is to be Enjoyed, Not Endured”.

Let’s talk again,

Sue Graafstra

“When you wake in the morning and you open your eyes, Give Thanks!

 

High blood pressure is a “silent killer”

Healthy Heart Habits: Life’s Simple 7

As you started into the new year, did you resolve to have healthier habits? Many people do. But a long-term study found that Americans are not doing as well as they were 20 years ago in maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle.1 And that increases their chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease.2

Life’s Simple 7. In the study, the percentage of Americans who met all these heart-healthy lifestyle goals—what the American Heart Association calls Life’s Simple 7—dropped from 8.5 percent to 5.8 percent:

  • Eat a balanced diet.healthy heart month blood pressure ad
  • Be active.
  • Manage your weight.
  • Don’t use tobacco.
  • Maintain ideal levels of blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Best for women. In the past, it was thought that hormones protected women from heart disease until menopause. Now we know that’s not the case. But two recent studies show that there may be subtle differences in what’s best for women and men.

In one study, women who followed these six habits cut their risk of heart attack by a whopping 92 percent.3                             

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Maintain a normal body mass index (BMI).
  • Exercise—moderately to vigorously—at least 2.5 hours a week.
  • Watch no more than seven hours of TV each week.
  • Drink no more than one alcoholic beverage each day.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish or omega-3 fatty acids. Limit sugary drinks, processed and red meats, trans fats, and sodium.

Even women who adopted just one or two of these healthy habits lowered their heart risk, with a normal BMI having the greatest impact.

Best for men. A Swedish study tracked 20,000 men and found that men with the following habits cut their risk of heart attack by 86 percent:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink no more than two alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Stay physically active, for example, walking or cycling at least 40 minutes a day.
  • Maintain a waist circumference of less than 37 inches.3

For men, healthy diet and moderate drinking appeared to have the most impact on reducing their heart risks.

Know your numbers. So where should you begin? One place to start is to know your numbers. That includes blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure—as well as your weight. The next step is to talk with your doctor about ways to improve.

I can also give you tips on tracking—and improving—these critical numbers. For example, if you want to track your blood pressure at home, I’ll advise you on how best to do that. Remember: High blood pressure is a “silent killer,” so the only way to know whether or not it’s lurking is to check it.

  • In fact, nearly 30 percent of Americans have high blood pressure. And, nearly half don’t have it under control with either lifestyle habits or medication.2 If your doctor has prescribed blood pressure medication, be sure to take it. For some people, that’s the only way to keep it at bay. And, don’t forget to check your blood pressure, especially when you are not feeling well. Having a blood pressure unit at home is inexpensive and needed, especially when taking blood pressure medications.

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: Fewer Americans Than Ever Sticking to Heart-Healthy Lifestyle, Study Finds. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155611.html Accessed 12-11-15.
  2. HealthDay: Nearly Half of Americans with High Blood Pressure Not Controlling It: CDC: Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155688.html Accessed 12-11-15.
  3. WebMD: Top Healthy Habits for Your Heart. Available at: http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20150107/healthy-heart-habits Accessed 12-11-15.