August 2013 - Advanced Physical Medicine
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Diabetes In America: Preventing, Controlling and Reversing the Disease

When talking about diabetes, the word 'epidemic' seems to be used more often than not. It's a great attention getter. Epidemic brings to mind movie-esque scenarios with CDC tents and hazmat suits. But really, diabetes, in its most prevalent form (type 2/adult onset), is a serious disease we can do something about. What's required of us is simply knowledge and dedication to our health.

So let's start learning...

What Should We Know?

Just in the US population:

  • 8.3% of children and adults are diabetic = 285 million people.
  • The US has the 3rd largest number of confirmed cases in the world.
    • The other countries with high statistics are generally those with lower income and fewer health care options.
  • An estimated 7 million people are undiagnosed diabetics.
  • These numbers increase by 8% each year.
  • The CDC predicts 1/3 of adults will have diabetes by 2050.
  • The estimated annual burden diabetes places on the US economy is $245 billion.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect the glucose levels in your blood. If you are diabetic, your glucose or blood sugar is too high. Too much glucose can lead to potentially serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage and lower limb amputation.

What Should We Do?

Now that you know the basics, what we can do is pay attention to our health, and the health of those we care for.

Diabetes can be prevented, controlled and even reversed with active dedication. It's all about daily efforts and small consistent changes.

Developing a daily, health conscious routine doesn't mean that everything has to change all at once. Just the reality of diabetes or prediabetes being a problem is incredibly overwhelming. Dropping everything, clearing out your fridge and running 5 miles a day on top of that, is too much. Stress is also a factor in blood sugar, and a drastic change is always stressful. So take it one step at a time.

  1. Understand what's happening to your body and why. Not everyone is the same, diabetes can be a result of a variety of causes including genetics, lifestyle choices and eating habits. Knowing how you got there, will reduce the stress of dealing with the disease, and help show you the path toward controlling and reversing its effects.
  2. Talk to your doctors, and find a dietician. You don't have to deal with this alone. Discussing a long term plan with professional guidance and establishing accountability with someone other than yourself can go a long way.
  3. Test often and keep track. The only way you will know if the changes you make are working, is to closely monitor how your glucose level reacts to tDiabetes Meterhem. Not every body is the same, and testing often and keeping track will help you fine tune your future decisions.
  4. Look at your diet and the diet of those around you (especially in your home). Start avoiding excess sugars, salts (preservatives), carbohydrates, fats and cholesterol. Switch to water or unsweetened teas.
    • If counting ounces and percentages down to the last detail stresses you out, the best thing you can do is start eating fresh. Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, unseasoned, fresh lean meats, all of which will ad to your fiber and protein intake. A lot of people don't realize that frozen foods last that long because they are loaded with salt and other preservatives that have a negative impact on your body's chemistry.
    • Changing your eating habits is much easier if those around you are doing the same thing. No junk in the freezer means you won't have anything tempting to give in to.
  5. Start moving around. If walking is all you can handle, three ten minute walks a day is a great place to start changing your health. Here are 10 Activities That Don't Feel Like a Workout to get you started. Even if you don't have to lose weight, the exercise alone will lower your blood sugar and increase energy. A pedometer or mobile fitness app are fantastic motivators. Check out some great ones in our article 10 Fitness Apps You Can't Miss.

Use the infographic below to remind you how serious and great the risk of diabetes is for us all, and look for upcoming articles for more specific information and advice on preventing, controlling and reversing the diabetes epidemic that affects us.

 

Diabetes Facts Infographic

What You Can Do About Childhood Obesity

The CDC has reported that the childhood obesity statistics have dropped slightly since 2008 (1%) in some states, which is fantastic. But that doesn't mean it's no longer a serious problem. In 2010, over 1/3 of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, and a significant drop in those numbers has yet to happen. Like it or not, that is a big fat red flag that can't be ignored.

The Serious Risks

Childhood obesity is not something that will just go away as they grow up. In fact, the younger they show signs of being overweight, the more likely they will be obese in adulthood. Here are some of the medical issues that develop in overweight children.
  • Metabolic Syndrome: a precursor to cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome is characterized by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess belly fat.
    • 70% of obese youth are at risk of heart disease developing as an adult.
  • Pre Diabetes: high blood sugar that in an indication of type 2 diabetes developing in adulthood.
  • Bone and Joint Problems: excess weight puts too much pressure on growing joints causing problems that only exacerbate later on, requiring special medical attention.
  • Early Puberty: hormone imbalances become a problem in overweight children, causing them to begin puberty earlier than the average child.
  • Asthma: breathing problems due to extra weight can also manifest in the form of asthma or sleep apnea, a potentially serious breathing disorder in which breathing stops and starts during sleep.
  • Social and Psychological Issues: this is a big one. Children who are overweight tend to be victims of bullying and as a result of insecurities, maintain a higher anxiety level than the average child.
    • Anxiety can lead to serious behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

Other factors

Some children who have large body frames are not obese. They are normal. So just looking at a child cannot accurately determine if they are at risk. Ask your child's doctor. Most pediatricians have been tracking their patients growth and Body Mass Index (BMI) since birth, and those charts can tell you if they are on the right track. Genetic disease and hormonal disorders can also play a part, but according to the Mayo Clinic, environmental factors are more likely to be the cause of excess weight gain.

What Can We Do?

It really is all about your child's environment. I know we were told to clean out plates as kids, and if you're over 20, you remember your parents or grandparents reminding you that they didn't have what we do when they were kids. Grandma added sugar to everything for a reason, it was rationed during the war. It's a natural reaction to waste not and want not after an experience like that. After all, there are starving kids... wherever they chose to tell you. Which is true. But those reminders have been turned into overeating habits that we as a society, are now passing on to our own children. It is now up to us to change how we think about, and consume food.
Here's how:
  • Improve the habits of your ENTIRE family. Kids are observant. If you hand them apple slices and peanut butter, and then microwave a burrito to eat while watching daytime TV, they are going to notice a double standard. Children are more likely to follow what you DO, and not what you say.
  • Remember, home is not the only influential environment in a child's life. Find out if their school is a safe and supportive environment that provides education on healthy eating, and promotes an active lifestyle. If it doesn't, push for change. It's your child's health, and it's worth the effort.
  • Look into diet guidelines to follow, like the Mayo Clinic Kid's Cookbook and the American Heart Association's Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Children.
  • Share easy to understand information, like the infographic below, to start a conversation with parents and kids alike. Create awareness, and promote change.
Childhood ObesityTo learn more about the obesity problem in America, check out America's Obesity Problem Today and Tomorrow, and visit Advanced Physical Medicine for more diet and health tips for you and your family. 

10 Fitness Apps You Can’t Miss

If your schedule is already tough, and still seems to get busier every day, most likely you rely on technology to keep yourself going. When and where do health and fitness fit? You squeeze it in when and where you can. Fitness experts understand how busy we are, so they decided to work with us by building a variety of health and fitness apps we can access from out mobile devices, with the goal of keeping us motivated and on track.

According the MobileHealthNews.com, the mobile fitness app market is quickly growing, and will quadruple by 2016! Here are some of the best and brightest out there right now.

UP from Jawbone

UP, now for both Android and iPhone, is a holistic approach to fitness. You are encouraged to wear your wristband as much as possible (even when sleeping) for the most accurate welness tracking. Not only does it cover diet and exercise, but it also monitors how you sleep, when you've been sitting too long, and sends every step you take back to the app on your phone. The wrist band has a 10 day battery, so don't worry about it losing power midday. The program can also be integrated with other fitness apps on the market like MyFitnessPal (see below). The whole package adds up to $129.99, which is pricey compared to the dozens of free apps out there, but after using it, many fitness professionals reported they couldn't live without it.

Fitbit

Fitbit puts logging calories and activities in the palm of your hand, and provides a giant food database (plus room for additions) for you to choose from. The app also allows you to program your own personal fitness goals and keeps you on track. Although the app is free, if you would like to upgrade and add one of their tracking devices, similar to the UP system, the price will range from $60-$100.


My Fitness Pal

My Fitness Pal is a very popular fitness and diet app. Not only is it free, but it also boasts a searchable food database of 3,256,00 different items, room to add personal recipes and is flexible enough to work with you on any diet plan. It also has interactive discussion forums to share support and motivation with other like minded individuals.

Lose It

Lose It is a basic, free app for mobile devices that has one goal. Weight loss. Using the app, you are guided through a personalized weight loss program that tracks not only calories, but carbs, fats and protein, as well as exercise. Over time it creates a graph based on personal data to give you a look at how you are progressing.

Fitness Builder

Fitness Builder is seriously intense. If you want a good workout, there are 200 different options that the program can be prompted to pick automatically, in order to build the optimal workout to reach your goals. Beside the 5 fitness timers and multiple calculators (BMI etc.), you also have the option to contact professionals with any personal fitness questions. For $9.99, it's like having a personal trainer everywhere you go.

C25K (Couch to 5K)

If nothing else, you have to love the name Couch to 5K, and really the program is just that. Ideal for beginning joggers/ runners, for $2.99 an individual is taken through a nine week endurance building program. As you progress, the program will prompt you to warm up, cool down, walk and run. By the end of those nine weeks, you won't believe how far you've come.

Run Keeper

Run Keeper (free), and Run Keeper Pro ($9.99), make tracking your workouts an interactive social activity. The app uses your GPS to track route, elevation, and speed and then uploads it to the Run Keeper website to review and share. The pro version even shouts updates through your headphones every five minutes to keep you going.

Good Food Near You

The Good Food Near You app is ideal for road trips or traveling for work, because no matter where you are, it works together with your GPS to guide you to the nearest healthy food options. No more roadside greasy burgers necessary. Download now while still in Beta.

Fooducate

A fantastic app to take shopping, Fooducate uses your smart phone's camera to scan barcodes on different food, and returns with a grade (A, C-, etc) based on ingredients and nutritional value. Wouldn't it be great to know which foods actually pass? And what a great way to explain to kids what they should be eating. The basic version is free on Android and iPhone, but more specialized versions targeting diabetes or gluten allergies, may cost a few bucks.

InRFood

Did you know that in Japan, the most popular topping for pizza at Domino's Pizza is Squid? We didn't before checking InRFood today. The app and website have an enormous amount of information about food. It keeps detailed track of ingredients and nutrition values, as well as product recalls and health news worldwide. The app is still in Beta, so check it out before a price tag appears.

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