1 In 3 Adults Are Pre-Diabetic…Know The Signs

Over 85 million adults are pre-diabetic. That’s 1 in 3 adults. And over 90% aren’t even aware they are in danger of developing the full disease. This number is dangerously high. Our lifestyles are changing to combat this disease but signs should be recognized for prevention.

What Is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is when the blood sugar is high, not high enough yet for Type 2 Diabetes, but not in the healthy range. Prediabetes can develop into Type 2 Diabetes in as little as 10 years. But the good news is the condition can be completely reversed with lifestyle changes.

If the condition does worsen into full diabetes, your body will have trouble using or making the hormone, insulin. The insulin then builds in your system instead of being used as energy in the body’s cells.

This hyperglycemia can lead to serious health problems including skin disorders, vision problems, kidney damage, and neuropathy.

Know The Signs

Only 10% of adults with the condition know they have it. This is because the symptoms may not be recognized or there are no signs showing. It is always best to be aware if you have any changes in your skin, such as darkening in the armpits or on the neck. There may even be small skin growths or tags in these areas. Also, other possible signs might be if you are noticing increased hunger or excessive thirst.

What To Do

Although it is helpful when these symptoms are noticed, they don’t necessarily prove prediabetes. The only way to know if you are pre-diabetic is to be diagnosed by a medical professional through an A1C test. This is the best test as it will accurately determine your blood glucose levels for the past few months. A range of 5.7 to 6.4 is prediabetes. Anything higher is diabetes.

Chances for diabetes increases with age, so periodic testing is suggested for adults 45 and older. And as with any condition, family history plays a role, so it’s best to get checked if you are aware of that genetic risk. Also, Latin American, Native American, Pacific Islanders, and African Americans are more susceptible. Being overweight or having PCOS puts you in a riskier category.

This condition can be reversed, however. Changes now, limiting sweets, losing weight, and exercising regularly is the best way to avoid risk of developing diabetes.

The Top 3 Reasons Women Should Lift Weights

Lifting weights isn’t just for athletes and bodybuilders. And men are not the only ones who benefit from weight training. Women also need weight lifting to enhance physical health.

Weight Loss

For decades, cardio or aerobic activity was promoted as exercise for weight loss. While this type of exercise, does in fact, help to lose weight, lifting weights can help even more. Numerous studies have shown that lifting weights actually burns more calories than cardio exercise.

Besides the extra calories that are burned, the muscle that is being built, helps to eliminate fat. This also happens when the body is resting. Once muscle is built, or functioning to its full potential, it does its work even while the body is resting.

On top of burning more calories and eliminating fat, lifting weights can transform a body’s appearance much faster than cardio. Shedding pounds with cardio will be noticed with clothes not being as tight, but weight training will actually shape a body.

Strength For Everyday Life

The benefits for weight training don’t stop at weight loss.

Another benefit is overall strength for everyday activities. As we age, certain areas of the body aren’t used as much and need that strength for everyday functioning. Weight training, when focused, can strengthen the back and core. A stronger back and core ease other exercise, as an added benefit.

Risk Reduction

It is also important to keep that strength for our future selves. When not practiced, muscle deterioration can lead to problems with balance.

Joints are also strengthened with the use of weights. Adding strength exercises to a routine can lengthen a body’s timeline, putting off joint issues.

And muscles not only protect our bones, they help to strengthen them by building bone density. So, lifting weights to strengthen muscles can and will aid in avoiding osteoporosis.

Many women have not considered using weights in their routine for fear of transforming their body into a bulkier version. Lighter weights can be used safely to avoid large muscles, while enjoying the benefits of weight training. Implement them today!

Are Your Habits Hurting Your Mental Health?

Depression and anxiety have been increasing in numbers for decades. Could our routines and behaviors be leading to this increase? Are our habits hurting our mental health?

Activity

On average, we are sitting 9 hours a day, while sleeping an average of 7 hours. Compared to past decades, this is a large amount of inactivity. Mostly due to a working lifestyle, many jobs are behind a desk, creating hours of sitting. Our bodies were not designed for such inactivity.

This inactive lifestyle leads to possible weight gain, but more importantly, different chemical reactions that could lead to depression and anxiety.

Not only does consistent activity help mental health, but so does your environment. If you are heading to the office then back home day after day, you are not getting enough sunlight in your routine. Increasing activity, and also including the outdoors in your daily and even weekly routine, will help to guard against depression and anxiety.

Diet

Inactivity and poor diet not only lead to weight gain but also to increased chances of poor mental health. Weight gain does decrease self confidence, making it difficult to correct because of a dangerous circle of inactivity, weight gain, and depression.

But not only does watching calories matter with mental health, so does the type of diet. Usually, the same foods to avoid weight gain are the same to avoid depression and anxiety. These foods are usually high in sugar, or sugar from carbs. These foods will change the chemical makeup in the brain, leading to depression and anxiety.

Stress

And as if worrying about diet and exercise aren’t stressful enough, avoiding other life stressors is also very important for mental health. Stress increases cortisol levels which does lead to a decrease in optimal mental health.

Increasing daily exercise is paramount in combating stress, but also taking time for yourself to put stress aside is the best plan. Just a few minutes a day to unwind, taking in some quiet time will also aid in improving mental health. And don’t forget, schedule some fun each week, doing what you enjoy. It is easy to forget these things with our busy lifestyles, but our mental health is too important to ignore them.

What Is A Silent Heart Attack? Know The Danger And Signs

In the United States, there are over 3 million heart attack cases each year. Fortunately lifestyle changes have made people healthier nowadays. But that number is still too high. What is not included in this number is ‘silent’ heart attacks. This means we can imagine a worse number of cases each year. Silent heart attacks often produce no obvious symptoms and are sometimes ignored. It is important to know the signs of a silent heart attack and to never disregard the symptoms.

The Danger Of A Silent Heart Attack

Over 85 percent of damage done to a heart is within 2 hours of having a heart attack. This damage can lead to future, more severe heart attack(s). Medical attention soon after symptoms of heart attack can help this damage. So, if some heart attacks can be silent, or don’t produce noticeable symptoms, how do we know one is occurring?

Risk Factors and Signs

Yes, certain factors make risk much higher in people. These include being overweight and not active, smoking, heavy drinking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and hereditary factors. People with such risk should make smart changes to decrease that risk and also have regularly scheduled tests.

But even without high risk, a heart attack may occur. This makes it very important to know other signs, besides chest pain and shortness of breath. Other symptoms could be unexplained, extreme fatigue, sudden weakness, unusual indigestion, a muscle-type soreness in chest, upper back, arms, or jaw. Even a feeling of anxiety could be a sign that a heart attack is happening.

What To Do

The most important thing to do is to not ignore what may be symptoms of a heart attack. No symptoms are insignificant when future heart damage is at risk.

Keep informed by having yearly checks of your cholesterol and blood pressure.

If you have any unexplained symptoms that cause concern, don’t hesitate a visit to a healthcare professional or facility. The provider will evaluate your physical exam and symptoms, either advising treatment or further need of medical attention.

You Stopped Working Out…3 Surefire Ways To Get Back On Track

Season and schedule changes are two of the biggest reasons people quit their workout routine. It may be hotter temps or kids being out of school, but if you set out to lose weight at the beginning of year, and now aren’t working out, you can easily get back on track with these surefire tips!

Set Small Goals

At the beginning of the year, you set a weight loss goal. Maybe you reached it or perhaps you were close, but you have started making excuses and getting back into bad habits. Now is the time to get back on track!

And just like the beginning of the year, you need to set goals. But not the same goals! The point is to get back to a healthy routine, so in order to start, goals must be small.

Whether it has been a couple of weeks or a couple of months, small goals will help you get back on track without undue strain.

Maybe you were working out for an hour or two, maybe 30 minutes a day. Your small goal is to set 10 minutes a day to working out. Add just 5 minutes a day each week and you will be back up to 30 minutes a day by the end of the month.

No Days Off

While the goals are small, the schedule has to be more consistent than ever. It is important to work out every day. By easing back into working out with small goals, you can keep the healthy habit up each day. While days off are needed to rest and recuperate with strenuous exercise, a slow start allows for working out each day, helping to make it a habit once again.

Accountability

Have you turned off your FitBit reminders to move? Have you stopped recording your achievements in exercise? These are ways to be accountable for the goals you set. But just like with new goals to get back on track, new methods of accountability should be set.

One way to be accountable is to work out with a friend or family member. Each person motivates the other and exercising is harder to back out of when there is a partner.

The Increased Risk Of Skin Cancer

Over 4 million Americans develop skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is on the rise, especially Melanoma. In fact, since the 1970s, Melanoma cases have tripled.

Types

Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer. While it isn’t the most common, it results in the most deaths. Death occurs because the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, due to it being left untreated. When caught early, it is almost always curable.

Basal Cell is the most commonly diagnosed skin cancer. Although it is not known to spread, an area can grow deep and wide. When left untreated, this could lead to the destruction of skin, tissue, and even bone.

While Basal Cell begins in the basal cells, the third type of skin cancer, Squamous Cell, begins in the middle and mostly outer layers of the skin. Although uncommon, because this cancer is aggressive, when left untreated, it could also spread and lead to death.

Risk Factors

In general, risk for skin cancer is increased with lighter skin, a family or personal history of skin cancer, a history of sunburns especially early in life, a history of indoor tanning, people with green or blue eyes, and certain type of moles.

Risk also increases with age, mainly due to years of sun exposure. People with suppressed immune systems are at higher risk. And as for gender, men are at higher risk, although because of indoor tanning, the gap is changing.

A person’s lifestyle poses risk also. People who are exposed more to sunlight because of work or outdoor activity. Smokers are also at a higher risk and people who come in prolonged contact with certain chemicals.

How To Protect

Some risks cannot be avoided due to genetics, but lifestyle choices should be considered because of skin cancer possibility.

Because UV exposure is still the main cause of most skin cancer cases, it is important to use sun protection in the forms of sunscreen and clothing.

And with any changes under and on the skin, steps should be taken for the earliest treatment. All growths, changes in skin color, and mole growth can be examined by us. Do not hesitate coming in when you have any concerns.

Get To Know Your Weight Management Hormones

Last month’s blog explained the other reasons for weight gain besides too many calories. One of those was hormonal imbalance. As a follow-up, here is a further look at the particular hormones that regulate hunger, fat storage, and metabolism. Get to know your weight management hormones!

Ghrelin
The hormones in your body affecting hunger, fat storage, and metabolism, work together as a precise system. When one hormone is unbalanced, many follow suit, causing weight gain.
Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and it sends messages to the brain of hunger. It is the appetite-stimulating hormone and rises before meals with levels decreasing after. So, it would seem a solution for weight gain would be decreasing this hormone. Because hormones work together, this cannot be a fix. In fact, dieting can send hunger signals, making decreasing calories very difficult.

Insulin
This hormone is produced in the pancreas, so how does it affect weight management? Insulin is secreted throughout the day and it promotes glucose to make energy. But it also has the purpose of being the fat storage hormone, relaying messages to store fat rather than converting into energy. While also necessary, this resistance can build and develop unhealthy fat accumulation.

Glucagon
Also produced in the pancreas is glucagon. While insulin is released when blood sugar levels are high, glucagon is released when glucose levels are too low. That’s why it is important these two are balanced because they work together. Any imbalance will lead to a yo-yo effect, contributingto the wrong signals being sent to the brain.

Leptin
While insulin and glucagon balance each other, leptin works with grehlin. Leptin is produced by adipose or ‘fat’ cells and it regulates energy use by inhibiting hunger. Unfortunately, like with grehlin, this hormone cannot be the simple solution for weight loss. In fact, when calories are decreased, this starvation hormone will send the signals to the body to produce more fat in order to survive.

Cortisol
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, with highest peaks in the early morning, and decreasing throughout the day. But, during times of stress, levels do increase, leading it to being called the ‘stress’ hormone. This steroid hormone does have the purpose of protecting the liver
and reducing inflammation, however when the brain signals stress, it reacts by overproducing for survival situations, which leads to eating too much.

Adiponectin

This is the hormone that tells the body to use fat for fuel. The more adiponectin in your bloodstream, the more fat you will burn. However, the more body fat there is, the lower the level of adiponectin. This hormone might need an extra push for regulation by increasing magnesium, if levels are low.

But with all these hormones, the best regulation practice is eating good food, such as protein, fruits and vegetables. Processed foods and sweets should be avoided. Important also, is good sleep of 7-9 hours and plenty of exercise. Eliminating stress and keeping your body on a schedule is also best for optimal hormone function.

The Not So Obvious Reasons For Weight Gain

You’ve watched your calories and work out several times a week but you are unfortunately gaining weight despite your efforts. We know our own bodies. We know when the extra pounds will show due to the excessive splurging and little activity. But even with a strict routine, weight is increasing on the scale. What is causing it?

Thyroid
Your thyroid is located in the front and at the base of the neck. This endocrine gland mainly influences metabolic rate and protein synthesis. When the gland is underactive then hypothyroidism can occur. Symptoms of this disorder can include depression, tiredness, and constipation. Also, weight gain is a result from hypothyroidism. Sometimes symptoms aren’t noticeable, but if concerned, levels can be checked. Hypothyroidism occurs in more women than men, and increases with people aged over 60. The solution to this disorder is regulating the gland’s functioning again with synthetic medication that boosts thyroid stimulation. Tests of levels are then taken periodically to make any adjustments, if needed, with dosage.

Hormone Imbalance
Hormones are the tiny communicators in the body. Puberty is often thought about with hormones but that’s not their only purpose. Their function is to bind with receptors that signal off instructions with the systems in our bodies. This also includes digestion and metabolism. Metabolism is actually two different processes, catabolism which is the breaking down of organic matter to release energy, and anabolism, the building up of cells to consume energy. If there is any disruption in relaying the important message, metabolism and effective digestion may be caused to change. Hormone levels can be checked to see if there is a need for regulation.

Medication
In order to fix certain conditions, medication is necessary. Prescription drugs can come with unwanted side effects, however. Weight gain might be caused by changes in your system, due to the medicine. When this is noticed, with no changes in diet, a discussion with your provider can help. It may take time for the body to adapt to the medication, so it is important to keep a journal of your food intake and physical activity during this time, listing any side effects also. In some cases, there might be an alternativedrug that produces a more positive reaction with your body.

When weight loss is a goal, any of these happening, can be frustrating. But each of these circumstances can be evaluated by us and then treated.

Spring Health Concerns

Allergies are synonymous with Spring. However, allergies aren’t the only health concern during this season. From chronic pain to Lyme Disease, here are health conditions that arise during Spring…

Weather

Warmer weather is around the corner, but the transition period will present humidity, precipitation, cooler nights and mornings. These conditions can affect parts or systems of the body.

The humidity can make the head feel stuffy, increasing sinus pressure when leaving the air-conditioned indoors. Along with sinus issues, people who suffer from chronic headaches may see more headaches during this time. Warm compresses will help both, but also try a nasal flush with saline solution to remedy the sinuses.

Cooler, damp days also affect arthritis, with joints having more pain. In addition, consistent back or knee pain will be increased because of the weather. Epsom salt baths are helpful with all. Pain can also be reduced with alternating heat and cold packs. Adjusting your diet to help with inflammation is suggested, so is adding Vitamin D and Calcium.

Activity

Since there is more activity outside than during the winter months, other health problems present themselves.

As mentioned, allergies are affected during this time of year because of the pollen in the air. It’s best to be proactive with allergy season and begin treatment at least two weeks before it starts. Also, adding an air purifier to the home is helpful. These same conditions make asthma worse also. Please consult with your health care provider to be prepared for any asthma flareups that may occur during this time.

In Oklahoma, caution must be taken to decrease exposure for tick bites. Spring through Summer is the active time. Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just two of the illnesses stemming from ticks. Protective clothing and DEET spray will help, but avoiding heavily wooded areas is best. Always inspect body after being outdoors and never assume a bite was a harmless one, scheduling an appointment quickly.

Included with warmer weather, is more physical activity. Injuries from scrapes and bruises, to strains and breaks will be more prevalent.

Spring Forward

The days are starting to have more daylight. This is when clocks are adjusted forward one hour. This time change can cause a few problems, however. Mainly, while the body adjusts to the change, sleep is affected. This lack of sleep can be the catalyst for other heath risks. These are some, but not limited to, ulcers, high blood pressure, and even heart attack.

This change in time and season also can affect mood. Depression is increased during the Spring season. Along with that, contrary to most beliefs, suicide happens more during Spring, rather than during the holidays. Extra time with family and friends is a good idea for all.

Spring is a wonderful season that brings warmer weather and more activity. Be mindful of these health concerns so Spring can be fully enjoyed.

Your 5 Healthy Eating Habits For 2018

It might be a resolution for 2018 to eat healthier. So, we have gathered 5 easy habits for you to help stick with your resolution this year!

1. Don’t skip breakfast. Instead, prepare ahead of time and have it ready to go! Busy schedules get in the way of the most important mealtime, often leading to it being skipped altogether. Breakfast is what jump starts the metabolism! It is crucial for healthy eating. To accomplish this, fix it the night before, so it’s ready to go even with the busiest of schedules. You wouldn’t skip your coffee, so make this a priority as well. Boil an egg, mix a smoothie, prepare some oatmeal. All of these healthy options can keep until the morning, some may even travel well on the morning commute!

2. Bring your lunch. Yes, lunch breaks can be a time to decompress and socialize, which are very necessary, but during at least half of the week, consider bringing the healthy protein and veggies from home. As is the same with breakfast, this healthy eating habit is something that can be prepped the night before, or even for the week. Time saver for the win!

3. There are times you do go out for lunch or even dinner, so now what? Portion control! Restaurants can serve a very large amount of food for a meal, exceeding what should be a daily intake of calories. Especially when the caloric information isn’t listed, be mindful of your portion size. A good rule of thumb is a healthy meal is one that fits on a salad size plate, not a normal dinner size plate. Portion control can also be practiced at home. You will start noticing a lot of leftovers once you develop this habit, eventually saving you money!

4. If you haven’t already, it’s time to throw out and avoid packaged foods. Not only are these foods some of the most sodium-packed foods, there are other dangerous additives or chemicals that do not aid in healthy functioning of our bodies. The convenience might have been appealing at one time, but now is the time to avoid heavy processed foods and opt for the cleaner varieties.

5. Our favorite habit is make it all about color! Have you posted your pretty meal to Facebook or Instagram lately? If you are including fruits and veggies alongside your lean proteins, your healthy choices are making for some great photos. Healthier food is prettier! Compare that Chik-Fil-A sandwich and a salad with a range of greens, the deepest purple, and pops of red. You’ll never want unhealthy again!