4 Tips to Improve Your Diet Today

4 Tips to Improve Your Diet Today

According to the American Diabetes Association , more than 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and this epidemic continues to grow every year. Not only can diabetes alone cause complications, but it also contributes to other life-threatening issues like heart disease and stroke.
tips to improve your diet
Want to learn a good way to make sure you and your family don’t become a part of this statistic? Eat healthier. March is National Nutrition Month, so if losing weight was a New Year’s resolution that you haven’t gotten around to yet, now’s the perfect time.

1.Cut out the soda

Unfortunately, simply replacing it with the diet version doesn’t work. Although your calorie count may be less at the end of the day, the sugar substitute in diet sodas is just as harmful as high-fructose corn syrup. The insulin spike caused by the substitute sweetener blocks the breakdown of fats within the body. Also, switching from sweet to unsweet or green tea will also benefit you in the long run. Remember, it’s not just about the calories – it’s about the amount of added sweetener.

2.White to wheat

If you need to take baby steps in eating healthier, try a fancy whole grain bread like honey oat. When white bread is processed, two essential nutrient-rich parts are removed. Wheat bread, on the other hand, offers a large amount of fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium that white bread does not. According to the American Heart Association, switching from white to wheat can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent. Do this with your pastas, too!

3. Start with a salad

No,  you don’t need to go on an all-veggie diet. You can still enjoy your favorite meat dishes, but whip up a salad first. For each meal, eat a small salad as an appetizer. Keep it colorful with carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. And to keep your taste buds interested, lightly drizzle on a low-fat dressing. If you start with a salad, you won’t eat as much at dinner and you’ll feel full quicker.

4. Practice portion control

At restaurants, ask for a to-go box right when your meal comes. Before you dig in, half the portion and put the rest in the take-home container. At home, invest in smaller plates and portion out your meals. If you place a smaller portion in front of you, the less you will consume. Just try to steer clear of the pantry a few hours after dinner!

These simple steps won’t change your daily routine much and you’ll benefit greatly in the long run. Not only can these changes help you lose weight, but lower cholesterol, increased energy and lower risks of life-threatening diseases are all benefits of eating healthier.

It’s not too late to make a difference in your health

These tips aren’t just for people looking to lose weight – controlling your diabetes is just as important, if not more. Nutrition management is an essential step to healthy aging. Also, taking extra precautions, such as exercising daily, sticking to your medication schedule and identifying yourself with medical alert jewelry, are just as essential.

 

Complications of Obesity – Stop It Before It Starts

Obesity rates in America have steadily increased over the past few decades. To combat this epidemic, people need to know the consequences of unhealthy eating and a sedentary lifestyle.

According to WebMD, people with obesity are twice as likely to suffer a higher mortality rate than those of a healthy weight. Medical complications from obesity are common and include the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes reduces the body’s ability to regulate its blood sugar. The intake of sugars and starches is converted to glucose. Insulin in the body moves the glucose from blood to cells. If too much glucose is produced, it builds up in the blood, which causes Type 2 diabetes. Exercise and limiting your daily intake of sugars and starches significantly reduces your risk for developing diabetes.
  • Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. Obesity leads to high blood pressure, which is a major factor in heart disease. Angina, or chest pain, is the most common indicator that you may have heart disease. Other symptoms include a faster heartbeat, shortness of breath and sweating. People with unhealthy excess weight can suffer from a heart attack or stroke without even realizing that they have heart disease. If you are overweight, it’s best to get tested for heart disease so that you can take preventative measures before it’s too late.

  • Cancer is now linked to obesity as well in some cases. In women, excess body fat increases the amount of estrogen in the body, which raises the risk of developing cancer in reproductive areas such as the cervix, breasts, ovaries and uterus. In men, prostate cancer becomes a risk when overweight. Obesity also can make it harder for medical personnel to find tumors of any kind, lessening the chance of catching cancer before it spreads.

  • Osteoarthritis develops in the joints when cartilage breaks down. This disease also causes bone spurs, cysts and small broken fragments of bone. Obesity puts an enormous amount of pressure on bones, especially the knees, causing unrepeatable damage.

  • Sleep apnea is when a person stops breathing for a short time while asleep. Each episode can last from 10 seconds to a few minutes and can occur up to 30 times an hour. According to Dr. Michael D. Myers, M.D., 95 percent of people suffering from sleep apnea are obese. Obesity can also cause breathing problems during the day. Asthma is severely worsened by strained movements caused by being overweight. U.S. News.com reports that those with obesity face an increased risk of hospitalization for severe asthma attacks compared to those of a normal weight.

If you are overweight, taking precautions now can help stave off the onset of disease. Even losing just 10 or 20 pounds can improve your health significantly. Shedding even small amounts of weight can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn, reduces your chances of health complications and premature death.

Another thing to consider if you have already been diagnosed with any of these medical conditions is to invest in medical alert jewelry. These come in all shapes and sizes from stylish bracelets to dog tags that can be worn under your shirt. Your health information is engraved on the jewelry, so that in the event of an emergency, medical personnel will know almost immediately how you should be treated. This will save essential time in getting you the care you need. Order yours today and take a proactive step in your health.

New CPR Guidelines from the American Heart Association

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, was first demonstrated in 1954 by James Elam along with Dr. Peter Safar. Safar wrote a book called “ABC of Resuscitation” in 1957. Since then the standard method of CPR has been A-B-C, as in A for airway, B for breathing and C for compressions. This is the order for performing CPR. But recently the American Heart Association (AHA) has come out with a slight variation.

How to do CPR

The AHA suggests that the A-B-Cs of CPR be rearranged as C-A-B. In other words, the order of CPR should now be compressions first, then airway and breathing.  The new AHA guidelines apply to all forms of CPR, except when performed on newborns.

Why chest compressions first? As a result of sanitary concerns some people hesitate to start with clearing the airway or performing mouth-to-mouth. Dr. Michael Sayre of the American Heart Association asserts that chest compressions alone “can be lifesaving” to many victims.

When you are performing CPR, the goal is to continue the circulation of blood. Under the original approach, there was a delay in starting the chest compressions. Those extra minutes can be critical to saving a person’s life. Dr. Sayre adds that other CPR procedures such as mouth-to-mouth are difficult to perform correctly if you are not trained.

Chest compressions are generally easy to do and you can normally be performed on a person without doing any harm. Most of the time a reserve of oxygen is left in a person’s lungs and blood following the last breath. Chest compressions performed immediately reduce the risk of a lack of oxygen flow.

The new CPR procedure is:

  • Call 9-1-1.
  • Roll victim on his or her back – check for medical ID jewelry for possible medical condition.
  • Begin chest compressions – place the heel of your hand in the center of the victim’s chest. Place your other hand on top of the other one. Your fingers should be interlocked.
  • The chest should be compressed about 2 inches for adults and children and 1 1/2 inches for infants. 100 compressions every minute is the suggested rate. Counting from 1-100 can help you keep the rhythm.

Many organizations offer CPR training and certification courses. Taking precautions such as wearing medical ID jewelry can help medical workers and even those performing CPR be aware of any medical conditions in situations where you can’t speak for yourself.

5 Superfoods that Promote Heart Health

If you’ve recently switched to a healthier diet, you might be surprised to learn that even some healthy foods are better than others. Select fruits, wines and fish, known as “superfoods,” help to promote heart health with extra benefits such as antioxidants and omega-3’s.

1. Red Wine

Red Wine_72In addition to being a relaxing and tasty beverage, red wine has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol – that’s the good kind. This form of cholesterol is essential in fighting the formation of blood clots. Rich in powerful antioxidants, red wine provides cardiovascular benefits as well. Moderation is key – a glass a day is sufficient to boost your heart’s health.

2. Blueberries

BlueberriesOne of America’s favorite fruits, blueberries have long been a staple of a healthy diet. While researchers initially advised against eating blueberries on account of the fruit’s low Vitamin C content, they have recently discovered that these tiny berries are rich in phytonutrients. Phytonutrients give the body an energy boost and have been shown to fight the formation of cancer cells.

3. Tuna

TunaIn addition to being one of the most affordable varieties of fish on the market, tuna is ripe with powerful omega-3 fatty acids. Also called EFA’s, these fatty acids are shown to reduce LDL cholesterol – the bad kind, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease. Add in the numerous benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, like increased brain function and better skin, and there’s no reason not to enjoy some tuna every now and then.

4. Salmon

Salmon FilletThink of salmon as the “high end” alternative to tuna. Priced a little higher, salmon contains the same omega-3 fatty acids and carries with it the same health benefits. As an added perk, the recipes for salmon are a bit more diverse and salmon has a flavor many people love.

5. Cherries

Cherry TartWhile blueberries are notoriously low in Vitamin C, cherries have a great deal of this essential vitamin that helps to fight off disease by boosting the immune system. The antioxidants found in cherries help to prevent cancer, increase heart health and reduce aches and pains. They’re also rich in melatonin, which is essential in regulating the body’s internal clock.

Taking a proactive approach to health

All of these foods, when enjoyed in moderation, help to promote heart health and reduce the risk of cancer, dangerous blood clots, diabetes and more. If you have already been diagnosed with any of these medical conditions, these foods can also reduce symptoms, allowing you to have a better quality of life.

 

Diabetes Alert Day – Find Out More

Diabetes is a modern epidemic. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), over 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes. The ADA classifies diabetes as “a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.” This can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, nerve damage (pain and numbness), kidney failure, amputation, and vision problems or even blindness.

To raise awareness of this growing trend, the ADA has designated March 22, 2011 as Diabetes Alert Day. This is a chance for people to determine their risk for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes by taking the online Diabetes Risk Test and learning more about the disease to take a proactive step to good health.

Join the Millions in the fight to Stop Diabetes

By asking questions about weight, age, family history, exercise and other lifestyle factors, the Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test can predict a person’s risk of the disease in terms of low, moderate or high. This is important because the good news is that diabetes can be prevented or even held in check. Taking precautions is also important; eating healthy and getting daily exercise is key.

Diabetes Alert Day also kicks off the ADA “Million Challenge,” which runs through April 22, 2011. During this time, the ADA will rally with a goal of getting at least one million people to take the Diabetes Risk Test. The test is available year round.

You can get your FREE Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) by:

  • Visiting StopDiabetes.com to take the test.
  • Calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2382).
  • Texting JOIN 69866 (Standard data and message rates apply).
  • For more information visit the ADA website at www.diabetes.org.

If you already suffer from diabetes or related complications, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet. In the event of an emergency, medical providers are trained to look for a medical ID bracelet to provide prompt and accurate treatment. You don’t have to worry about wearing a clunky, unattractive medical ID bracelet – American Medical ID carries a line of personalized and stylish jewelry that speaks for you when you can’t.

Diabetes is a modern epidemic. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), over 20 million Americans suffer from diabetes. The ADA classifies diabetes as “a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.” This can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, nerve damage (pain and numbness), kidney failure, amputation, and vision problems or even blindness.

To raise awareness of this growing trend, the ADA has designated March 22, 2011 as Diabetes Alert Day. This is a chance for people to determine their risk for pre-diabetes by taking the online Diabetes Risk Test and learning more about the disease to take a proactive step to good health.

By asking questions about weight, age, family history, exercise and other lifestyle factors, the Diabetes Risk Test can predict a person’s risk of the disease in terms of low, moderate or high. This is important because the good news is that diabetes can be prevented or even held in check. Taking precautions is also important; eating healthy and getting daily exercise is key.

Diabetes Alert Day also kicks off the ADA “Million Challenge,” which runs through April 22, 2011. During this time, the ADA will rally with a goal of getting at least one million people to take the Diabetes Risk Test. The test is available year round.

You can get your FREE Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish) by:

Visiting StopDiabetes.com to take the test.

Calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2382).

Texting JOIN 69866 (Standard data and message rates apply).

For more information visit the ADA website at www.diabetes.org.

If you already suffer from diabetes or related complications, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet. In the event of an emergency, medical providers are trained to look for a medical ID bracelet to provide prompt and accurate treatment. You don’t have to worry about wearing a clunky, unattractive medical ID bracelet – American Medical ID carries a line of personalized and stylish jewelry that speaks for you when you can’t.

Keep Your Special Needs Child Safe with a Medical ID Bracelet

When parents are confronted with the reality that their child has a medical condition, such as early-onset diabetes or autism, often the first reaction is to worry. Some may wonder how their child can live a normal life away from the safety of home. With a kid’s medical ID bracelet, it’s possible for your little one to experience life and stay safe in the event of an emergency.kids id bracelet

A child medical ID bracelet simply holds the key to understanding your child’s condition, should anything go wrong during their many adventures. A friend, parent or medical professional can read the information on the bracelet and immediately know the best course of action if an emergency arises. A child medical ID bracelet also gives you peace of mind when you can’t be with your child; you won’t have to worry that people will not understand his or her needs.

In addition to giving your child the ability to participate in the world around them with minimal worry, there are many summer camps and programs that cater to children with special needs. These programs help children bond with others who are like them, and it helps them to understand that they are not “abnormal” because of their special condition.

Your child has a vast array of options for safe playing, learning and growing — more than any generation of special needs children before them. Some precautions, a child medical ID bracelet, for example, as well as some unique social settings and heaping doses of love, can help them (and you) get much enjoyment out of life.

American Medical ID bracelets come in a wide variety of styles, so it’s a great way for kids and parents to talk about their needs, their preferences and (maybe most importantly) their personal style.

The 5 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

5 signs of alzheimersOne of the most frightening diseases to plague our aging population is Alzheimer’s disease. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, advances in science and medicine can help slow the onset of symptoms. Learning to detect initial signs of the disease is essential for getting treatment in the early stages. There are 5 essential things to look for if you suspect that someone you know may be developing Alzheimer’s disease.

1. Confusion

As we age, it’s true that many of us occasionally forget things now and then. However, people suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease become suddenly confused for no reason, forgetting momentarily where they are or what they were doing.

2. Memory loss

Similar to confusion, but a bit more serious, memory loss can have adverse effects on daily life. This can include forgetting to take medication, forgetting important dates like birthdays and anniversaries or not remembering names. This symptom of Alzheimer’s disease worsens over time.

3. Difficulty writing or speaking

You might notice, over time, that a loved one who may be suffering from this disease will occasionally lack the words to communicate. Alzheimer’s is known to have an adverse effect on a patient’s ability to put words into writing or speech. Also, penmanship may suffer as the disease progresses.

4. Personality changes

Alzheimer’s isn’t just about forgetting memories or words – this disease can result in drastic personality changes. The early may bring about loud outbursts of anger, happiness or sadness. Some people may experience anxiety or paranoia.

5. Poor judgment

As Alzheimer’s progresses, some patients make poor decisions and start doing things that are uncharacteristic or even dangerous. They will no longer know when enough is enough, and they may spend excessive amounts of money, start trusting anyone who knocks on their door and be easily influenced by others.

Safety Tips for Living with a Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a modern medical marvel. It regulates the beat of its owner’s heart through a system of leads and a small electronic device that is easily implanted with surgery. Pacemakers are very safe medical devices when used properly, but as they are electronic, there are a few general precautions that should be taken as outlined below:

Gpacemaker lifestyle tipset Regular Checkups – To make sure your device is functioning properly, it is important to receive regular checkups from your medical provider. As pacemakers run on batteries, it needs to be checked at least once a year to make sure it’s not running out of juice.

Also, certain medical devices and procedures can be dangerous for patients with pacemakers. It’s essential that you tell a new doctor, dentist and any medical personal who provide you with services that you have a device installed.

Avoid Certain Electrical Devices – Understanding the types of electrical equipment that can interfere with the operation of your pacemaker is essential. Some cell phones, for instance, can interfere with pacemakers, but this is usually not the case unless the phone is held right up to device itself. If you decide to carry a cell phone, keep it in your pants pocket or purse and never place it close to your heart.

Identify Yourself – When dealing with a medical condition of any kind, it is important to make sure that those around you are aware of your situation. One of the easiest ways to do this is to wear medical alert bracelets, which are engraved with your specific condition. These bracelets are not bulky and can look very stylish as they come in a variety of colors and materials.

Doctors often recommend medical alert bracelets to patients with pacemakers. In the event of an accident or illness, paramedics are trained to look for medical alert identification to facilitate faster treatment. If your pacemaker malfunctions or you experience heart palpitations, this will come in handy, especially if you live alone.

Other types of electrical equipment can affect your pacemaker, including arc welding equipment and MRI machines. However, microwaves and standard household appliances will not affect the device’s operation. You can talk to your doctor for more information about the types of equipment that might pose a problem.

With the right precautions, a pacemaker can improve your quality of life. Patients with pacemakers are often more active and energetic, but as the devices carry some risks, understanding how your pacemaker works and how to keep yourself safe is very important.

Stay safe and stylish while living with a pacemaker by wearing a personalized medical ID bracelet from American Medical ID. Click here to view the many styles and fashions available to fit your needs. If you prefer something a little more discreet, consider a medical ID key chain or charm.

Photo: http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-12067655-senior-couple-exercising-in-park.php

Safety Tips for Living with a Pacemaker

A pacemaker is a modern medical marvel. It regulates the beat of its owner’s heart through a system of leads and a small electronic device that is easily implanted with surgery. Pacemakers are very safe medical devices when used properly, but as they are electronic, there are a few general precautions that should be taken as outlined below:

Get Regular Checkups – To make sure your device is functioning properly, it is important to receive regular checkups from your medical provider. As pacemakers run on batteries, it needs to be checked at least once a year to make sure it’s not running out of juice.

Also, certain medical devices and procedures can be dangerous for patients with pacemakers. It’s essential that you tell a new doctor, dentist and any medical personal who provide you with services that you have a device installed.

Avoid Certain Electrical Devices - Understanding the types of electrical equipment that can interfere with the operation of your pacemaker is essential. Some cell phones, for instance, can interfere with pacemakers, but this is usually not the case unless the phone is held right up to device itself. If you decide to carry a cell phone, keep it in your pants pocket or purse and never place it close to your heart.

Identify Yourself - When dealing with a medical condition of any kind, it is important to make sure that those around you are aware of your situation. One of the easiest ways to do this is to wear medical alert bracelets, which are engraved with your specific condition. These bracelets are not bulky and can look very stylish as they come in a variety of colors and materials.

Doctors often recommend medical alert bracelets to patients with pacemakers. In the event of an accident or illness, paramedics are trained to look for medical alert identification to facilitate faster treatment. If your pacemaker malfunctions or you experience heart palpitations, this will come in handy, especially if you live alone.

Other types of electrical equipment can affect your pacemaker, including arc welding equipment and MRI machines. However, microwaves and standard household appliances will not affect the device’s operation. You can talk to your doctor for more information about the types of equipment that might pose a problem.

With the right precautions, a pacemaker can improve your quality of life. Patients with pacemakers are often more active and energetic, but as the devices carry some risks, understanding how your pacemaker works and how to keep yourself safe is very important.

Stay safe and stylish while living with a pacemaker by wearing a personalized medical ID bracelet from American Medical ID. Click here to view the many styles and fashions available to fit your needs. If you prefer something a little more discreet, consider a medical ID key chain or charm.

Have Pet Allergies? 6 Tips for an Allergy-Free Home

Few things frustrate pet owners more than suffering from pet-related allergies. For many pet owners, getting rid of their furry friend to alleviate allergies is not an option. If you suffer from pet allergies but aren’t willing to give up your best friend, consider the following ways to create an allergy-friendly home.

1. First, consult with your doctor to determine if medicine is available to help reduce or eliminate your allergic reactions. Over-the-counter antihistamines are often prescribed by allergists to treat pet allergies. This way, you can snuggle up with your pet and not worry about an itchy nose, watery eyes and bouts of sneezing.

make your home allergy free with pets2. Tackle your home’s flooring to help alleviate your pet-related allergies. If you have carpet, consider ripping it out and installing hardwood or laminate floors throughout your home instead. Carpet fabrics often retain a large number of allergens and, as a result, are much more difficult to clean. Hardwood floors, on the other hand, are more receptive to cleaning and you can often see pet dander or hair collecting on the floor for easy cleanup.

3. Consider leather furniture. Though a tad pricey, leather sofas and chairs don’t collect particles of pet dander and other allergens. If you can’t afford switching out your cloth furniture for leather, give your living room or other favorite lounge area a deep clean, and then designate it as a no-pet zone to help control your pet allergies.

4. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after touching or holding your pet. Also, avoid touching your eyes and nose before washing. Direct contact is OK as long as you take precautions.

5. Bathe your pet frequently. You don’t have to send Fluffy to the groomers several times a month – a quick rinse at home will work just as well. Use a mild soap and water to lightly scrub off any loose hair or dirt. Washing your pet on a regular basis will help reduce pet dander. Sometimes, water alone will do the trick.

6. Block off areas of your home to be ‘pet free’, such as your kitchen or other high traffic areas.  By using a pet gate, you can restrict the amount of pet dander and hair accumulated in these rooms.

If you suffer with pet allergies or asthma but still want to keep your furry companion, consider wearing a medical ID bracelet that denotes your allergies in the event of an emergency. If you have an asthma attack and can’t speak, medical professionals will know what’s wrong by simply looking at your medical ID bracelet. American Medical ID offers affordable medical alert jewelry in many attractive colors and styles. You can even purchase a medical charm to attach to your pet’s collar.

Becoming Your Caregiver’s Caregiver: 5 Tips for a Successful Transition

caregiver tipsOne of the hardest things many people go through is the role reversal that accompanies their aging parents’ loss of mobility, cognition or combination thereof. It can be a struggle to adjust to caring for those who, for so long, were your primary caregiver.

Here are a few tips that will make caring for your elderly parents a better experience for both of you:

1. Consider Assisted Living

Many people often feel as though they must take their aging parents into their own homes and provide primary care themselves. This often leads to a good deal of stress and anxiety, as the children of elderly parents typically do not have the time or resources to be effective in this capacity. In assisted living homes, elderly parents can lead relatively normal, independent lives — even tending to their own gardens and cleaning duties. But, should a problem arise, help is always available and accessible.

2. Support Groups

The task of supporting your elderly parent in this new situation can be a daunting one, no matter if they’re living with you or in an assisted living environment. Because these scenarios are becoming more and more common, support groups can help a caregiver find friends and advice from those dealing with the same issues.

3. Consolidation

After a life of medical care, treating the elderly can easily result in scattered medical records, various medical opinions and overall disarray. Getting your elderly parents’ medical records consolidated and in one easy-to-find location will help the assisted living staff, or yourself, when a problem arises.

4. Communication

This process is stressful for your elderly parent too. The lines of communication must remain open between parent and child for the best possible outcome on both sides of the issue. Ask about their needs and wants, and communicate yours clearly in return.

While the reality of caring for elderly parents may at first seem unmanageable, a few preventative measures can ensure peace of mind and a smooth transition into a new chapter of your life and theirs. Be open, honest and cautious, and it’s likely that things will work out quite well.

5. Medical Alert Jewelry

For elderly parents who have medical conditions or may be experiencing minor cognitive problems, medical alert jewelry can literally be a life saver. The styles of medical alert jewelry span the gamut from dog tags to truly classy pieces that look like they came from a traditional jewelry store, but both have a dual function.

If your elderly parent becomes ill or incapacitated in any way and is unable to speak, medical alert jewelry will list his or her medical condition and assist any emergency personnel who arrive on the scene. Medical alert jewelry, quite simply, eliminates the guess work of treating your loved one.

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