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.
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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.

Can I help you find something?

It happens all day long. People wander into Pharm A Save Monroe looking for a specific item. I ask, “Can I help you find something?”  I hear “Oh no, I am just looking.” After about 5 minutes, I see the same person is still roaming each aisle and looking back and forth in the Aids to daily living aisle. I ask , “Are you finding what you are looking for?” The response this time was, “I am getting ready for my father in law to move in with us, and I am trying to get a list together of the items we need before he gets there.”

That is where it all begins…..

From experience personally and within Pharm A Save Monroe, I have learned to ask a lot of questions to help get to a solution. You see, at Pharm A Save Monroe, we are not trying to sell you just “anything”, we are trying to help you make a decision on what best fits your needs.  More often than not, I help put a list together of items that may be helpful, and the customer leaves with a ideas and homework.  This give them the opportunity to discuss it with other caregivers, spouses and family. And, many times, that same person will purchase items from an “Online” store. Does this bother me? You may be be surprised with my answer.

Although every business needs to make sales to keep the doors open, Pharm A Save Monroe is focused on the patient and their needs. Each need differs from person to person. This also holds true for each persons financial situation and living environment. Pharm A Save does more that “Just sell prescription drugs”. The entire store is full of equipment and supplies. Sometimes some it up like this: You don’t know that you need it , until you need it.

I also supply information on local resources, insurance coverage reviews to see if an item is covered , and hugs. Hugs come free with the information.

So, does it bother me that so much time was spent with this person and there was no sale made? No, not at all.

You see, this was an opportunity for me to share my knowledge and expertise. And, this person was thankful for this knowledge. She left here feeling like she was better prepaired to make home adjustments for her father in law. In fact, this “person” and the “she” I am referring to is Jenny. I know this because I asked her what her name was. This was a personal interaction with Jenny, who was overwhelmed with where to start. I also gave Jenny my business card. I asked her to call or email anytime. I meant it, anytime. Not just if there was a question about a product, service or insurance. If I didn’t have an solution or answer, I could find someone who woud. But to call or email anytime. It is important for Jenny to have a way to communicate about different struggles she may run into during this transition.

Here is what happened next.

Jenny told her friend how happy she was that I took the time to help explain some of the available items and what obstacles may be coming in the future. Her friend, Saul, stopped in to purchase a Pik Stik. He did that because Jenny told him that Pharm A Save Monroe had these on the shelf. When speaking with Saul, he mentioned that he has a hard time getting in and out of his car. On most days, Saul did fine. But sometimes, it was just too much. I mentioned to him that we have a drive thru window, and if he called ahead, we could have items ready for him to pick up there. In the end, Saul transferred his prescriptions to Pharm A Save Monroe. Our Pharmacist packages them up for him each month in pill reminders. Saul is doing better managing his diabetes and blood pressure, now that he is remembering to take his medications.

And Jenny?

Jenny ran into one of those obstacles we discussed. She came into Pharm A Save Monroe and asked for me help. Jenny purchased the needed bed rails. The next time I heard from Jenny was at Christmas. She brought in a plate of fudge, peanut butter bars and a card.

To all of us at Pharm A Save Monroe, that is a success story.

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.

 

 

Managing Diabetes Medications

Your_Locally_Owned_Logo_Color

It’s not the kind of club you really want to belong to. Today, nearly half of all American adults have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting it.1

If you count yourself among them, you know that managing your diabetes medications is something you can’t afford to ignore. If not well managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications. They include cardiovascular disease; nerve, kidney, eye, and foot damage; and hearing problems.2

Recent research. A study of 350,000 people with type 2 diabetes found that people with poorly managed diabetes were also 50 percent more likely to have dementia.3 Other recent studies have found that diabetes appears to take a particular toll on women’s hearts. Looking at nearly 11 million people, one study found the risk was almost 40 percent higher in women than in men.4

Whether woman or man, however, staying on top of medication management clearly needs to be top of mind.

Types of medications. As you likely know, managing blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes control. If you can’t get the job done with diet and exercise alone, medications are essential. The drugs you take will depend upon the type of diabetes you have, along with other factors.5

Insulin moves glucose from your blood into your cells. This helps keep glucose in the right range. If your body doesn’t make enough insulin, you will need to take it by injection, pen, pump, jet injector, or infuser.5

There are also many types of diabetes pills, which work in different ways. For example, they may:

  • Decrease the glucose released from your liver
  • Stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin
  • Make your body more sensitive to the effects of insulin
  • Slow absorption of carbohydrates into your bloodstream after eating6

Some people take more than one pill, a combination pill, or a combination of pills and insulin. There are also new types of injected medicines available to keep blood sugar from going too high after eating.5

Medication review.  Be sure to follow your treatment plan, but let your doctor know if you experience any side effects. If you’re a senior, this is more important than ever. Your body responds differently to drugs as you age. This means you’re at greater risk of overtreatment, which can cause blood sugar levels to go too low. And this can cause problems such as confusion or falls. 7

You may need to cut back or change medications. Just because a drug worked well for you in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. If you have questions about this, I can go over your list of medications and see how they are working for you. Also, be sure to check in at least once a year with your doctor about your diabetes medications. Never stop or change your medications without first talking it over with your doctor.

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: Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes or High Risk of Getting It: Report. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154517.html Accessed 11-3-15.
  2.  Mayo Clinic: “Complications.” Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/basics/complications/con-20033091. Accessed 11-5-15.
  3.  HealthDay: Tight Control of Type 2 Diabetes May Help Prevent Dementia. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154639.html Accessed 11-3-15.
  4.  HealthDay: Diabetes Takes a Toll on Women’s Hearts. Available at: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_154609.html Accessed 11-3-15.
  5.  NIDDK: “What I need to know about Diabetes Medicines.” Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/diabetes-medicines/Pages/index.aspx#what Accessed 11-5-15.
  6. Joslin Diabetes Center: “Oral Diabetes Medications Summary Chart.” Available at: http://www.joslin.org/info/oral_diabetes_medications_summary_chart.html Accessed 11-5-15.
  7. HealthDay: Too Many Seniors With Diabetes Are Overtreated, Study Suggests. Available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155428.html   Accessed 11-3-15.