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heart healthy physical activity

Heart Healthy Physical Activity

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The heart is often used as a symbol of vitality for good reasons. The heart pushes blood and oxygen to every cell in the body to be used as fuel and carries waste away. Without this process, the body cannot function. The heart plays a role in many aspects of your health and wellness.

Efficiency Matters
The heart beats an average of 60-80 beats per minute, which can add up to millions of beats in just one month. When something works this hard, it is important that it also works efficiently. Well-conditioned athletes can have resting heart rates below 50 beats/minute. Even though their heart beats slower, it can do the same amount of work or more than a heart that beats 60-80 beats/minute. An athlete’s heart pumps stronger during each beat, needing fewer beats to get the job done. Over a lifetime, a difference of 10-30 beats/minute can add up to quite a few beats.

An Ounce of Prevention…
The heart can be affected by physical and mental stressors. You can feel your heart speed up when you sprint across a busy road or when you have a burst of emotion like anger or surprise.

Physical activity can decrease the effect of stress on the heart and body. A fit body and mind will help improve heart health. Regular physical activity can:

Improve physical abilities by:
• Improving the heart’s ability to pump blood
• Increasing energy levels
• Increasing muscle strength and endurance
• Improving agility

Change physical appearance by:
• Toning your muscles which gives you a tighter appearance
• Burning calories which helps with weight loss or maintenance

Improve overall wellness by:
• Helping with stress management
• Improving self-image
• Helping to decrease anxiety and depression
• Improving relaxation
Improving the ability to sleep
• Creating a social activity opportunity
• Promoting healthier cholesterol levels

If you have heart problems, physical activity can still play an important role. A strong and healthy body can help you manage your condition. Physical activity can help reduce the stress on a sick or weak heart and decrease secondary risks like obesity and diabetes. If you do have heart health issues, talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Even if you are healthy, but have not exercised in a long time, you may need to talk to your doctor to make sure that you are in good physical condition to exercise.

heart veggies

Where to Start
For most people, you can begin right away. Find an activity program that you enjoy. Do not pick an activity that does not fit into your schedule, does not fit in with your personal preferences, or has too many obstacles, because you may lose interest quickly. A program that starts with too much intensity is also likely to lose your interest.

Work towards reaching these basic goals:
• 30-60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week (total of at least 150 minutes/week)
• Include some strength activities at least 2 times/week

Make It Stick
Long-term regular physical activity will count more than a brief and spectacular burst of activity. Most people do not plan to become sedentary. It creeps up on you. Work to increase your physical activity the same way. Gradually add steps. Find activities you enjoy that can replace more sedentary activities.

Here are more tips that have been shown to be useful:
• Find an exercise partner. You are less likely to skip the activity if someone is waiting for you.
• Write it down or use a fitness tracker. Keep a log of your activities and how much you accomplished either by distance or time. It will help keep you honest.
• A long-term goal is fine, but also make short-term goals, because they provide quicker feedback.
• This is important, make it a priority. Plan it out. Find a time in your daily routine when you can regularly fit the activity in.
• Consider doing your activity in 10-minute spurts throughout the day. Spurts can be as effective as being active for 30 minutes straight.
• Be flexible. Life happens and you may find that you need to make adjustments to your routine. A rigid schedule and goal may not be worth the stress. Keep an open mind to new activities and schedules.

Make It Count
Any physical activity is better than none. But at least a few days per week you should aim for more than a leisurely stroll. A moderate intensity level is best to help you make health changes. Moderate intensity activity is enough to get your heart rate up and make you feel a little out of breath but not feel worn out when you are done.

Do not forget to enjoy your activity for the daily benefits it can bring and know that your heart appreciates it as well!

by Pamela Jones, MA

RESOURCES:
American College of Sports Medicine
http://www.acsm.org

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:
American Heart Association guidelines for physical activity. American Heart Association website. Available: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/American-Heart-Association-Guidelines-for-Physical-Activity_UCM_307976_Article.jsp. Updated September 10, 2014. Accessed October 22, 2014.

Guide to physical activity. National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/phy_act.htm. Accessed July 21, 2016.

Haskel W, et al. Physical activity and public health, updated recommendations for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Circ. 2007;116(9):1081.

How much physical activity do you need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html. Updated June 4, 2016. Accessed July 21, 2016.

Promoting physical activity with a public health approach. American College of Sports Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/acsm-in-the-news/2011/08/01/promoting-physical-activity-with-a-public-health-approach. Accessed July 21, 2016.

2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. United States Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx. Accessed July 21, 2016.

Last reviewed July 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated:10/22/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

holiday stress

Tips for Reducing ADHD Related Holiday Stress and Anxiety

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Ah, the holidays. The lights. The carols. The food. The family. It’s the most wonderful time of year. Right? Well, for many of us, the holidays are far more jangled nerves than joyful noise. And if you or a loved one suffers from ADHD, the stress of the holidays can be almost too much to bear. If you have ADHD, you already know how lonely and frustrating it can be when the holidays roll around, and it seems that everyone in the world is in the holiday spirit but you.

Increased Stress, Fatigue, and Sadness are Common During the Holidays
The truth is, though, that the season of celebration is also the season of stress. No one is immune to the pressures of the season. But the disruption of normal, daily routines, the added responsibilities of social engagements and familial obligations, and the abundance of symptom-exacerbating holiday foods make the stresses of the holidays particularly acute for ADHD sufferers.

Nevertheless, whether you or someone close to you has ADHD, or you are just seeking to navigate the season with more pleasure and less pain this year, there are some simple things you can do to manage holiday stress. The following techniques, derived primarily from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), might just help you relax and enjoy the magic of the season.

1. Make a Plan
As much as we hate to admit it, there are only so many hours in a day and there’s a limit to what we can accomplish in those hours. So take some time before the rush and tumult of the holidays begin to prioritize what you want, need, and must do for the holidays. Figure out what matters most to you and yours and set up a clear, incremental strategy for getting it done. Knowing you have a doable action plan in place and working a little each day on your holiday tasks can minimize stress, worry, and fatigue, leaving you with the time and energy to actually enjoy the season. Whether it’s allotting five minutes a day for writing holiday cards or two hours of online gift shopping each Saturday, the best way to eat the elephant is one bite at a time.

2. Be Realistic
Yes, you’re good. You’re a rock star. But as awesome as you are, you’re still just one person. And trying to do it all is just not possible—and it’s also just not fair. The answer? Delegate! Have a sister who is a Mozart in the kitchen? Put her in charge of the meal preparation. Have a spouse who’s a Picasso of design? Let him handle the holiday decorating. Not only will this take some of the pressure off you, but it will enable you to enjoy what the holidays are really all about anyway: spending time and making memories with those you love.

stress

3. Forget Perfection
Face it, life is not a Frank Capra movie (and even good old George Bailey had it pretty rough there for a while). So let go of the fantasy of a Capra Christmas or a humdinger of a Chanukah. Inevitably, something is going to get lost or broken; invariably someone’s going to burn the bread or forget the cookies. And, yes, somebody is going to hurt anyone’s feelings. But that’s life. Real life—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just remember that the imperfections are what make it real, unique, and, in the long run, beautiful. These screw-ups and squabbles that we put such desperate pressure on ourselves to prevent in our pursuit of some fictitious “perfect” holiday are exactly the things we will remember so fondly, and laugh about most heartily with our dear ones, in the years to come.

4. Practice Extreme Self-Care
No matter what the greeting card companies say, the holidays are not the time for self-sacrifice. The only thing playing the martyr will get you is stress, exhaustion, and resentment. Ho, ho, ho. Instead of running yourself ragged, make sure that you do what you need to do to recharge your batteries, to nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Take an hour each day to do something that gives you joy: a warm bath, a long walk, a good book—a nap.

While you’re at it, don’t forget about exercise and nutrition. Indulging in holiday treats is fine. Complete denial will only lead to resentment. But everything in moderation. Rich, highly processed, sugary, and fatty foods can worsen ADHD symptoms. Be selective about what, when, and how much you eat, and remember that exercise, whether an hour of yoga or a brisk bike ride, can help to dispel the brain fog borne of these less-than-healthy foods—not to mention working off some of that holiday stress when it does come!

Begin Reducing Your Stress Today!
Whether you or a loved one has ADHD, or you only want to thrive and not just survive this holiday season, these few simple techniques can make it possible. For more information about ADD/ADHD in adults, please read: https://openforest.net/attention-deficit-disorder-adults/, Wishing you and yours less stress and more joy this holiday season!

Looking for a way to help manage ADHD? You can find natural remedies  here.

Written by Terri Beth Miller, MA, PhD. She is freelance writer and contributor to Open Forest, the online mental health self-help website.

 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus Type 2; Insulin-Resistant Diabetes; Diabetes, Type 2)

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Definition
Glucose is a type of sugar. It comes from food, and is also created in the liver. Glucose travels through the body in the blood. It moves from the blood to cells with the help of a hormone called insulin. Once glucose is in those cells, it can be used for energy.

Diabetes is a condition that makes it difficult for the body to use glucose. This causes a buildup of glucose in the blood. It also means the body is not getting enough energy. Type 2 diabetes is one type of diabetes, and it is the most common.

Medication, lifestyle changes, and monitoring can help control blood glucose levels.

Causes
Type 2 diabetes is often caused by a combination of factors. One factor is that your body begins to make less insulin. A second factor is that your body becomes resistant to insulin. This means there is insulin in your body, but your body cannot use it effectively. Insulin resistance is often related to excess body fat.

Risk Factors
Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who are aged 45 years and older. It is also common in younger people who are obese and belong to at-risk ethnic groups. Other factors that increase your chance for type 2 diabetes include:
• Prediabetes — impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose
• Metabolic syndrome — a condition marked by elevated cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, and central obesity
• Excess weight or obesity, especially central obesity
• Lack of exercise
• Poor diet — high intake of processed meats, fats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and calories
• Family history of type 2 diabetes
• High blood pressure
• History of cardiovascular disease
• Depression
• History of gestational diabetes, or having a baby that weighs over 9 pounds at birth
• Endocrine disorders, such as Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, acromegaly, polycystic ovary syndrome, pheochromocytoma, or glucagonoma
• Conditions associated with insulin resistance, such as acanthosis nigricans
• Certain medications, such as glucocorticoids or thiazides
• Certain ethnic groups, such as African American, Hispanic, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander

Symptoms
You may have diabetes for years before you have symptoms. Symptoms caused by high blood sugar or include:
• Increased urination
• Extreme thirst
• Hunger
• Fatigue
• Blurry vision
• Irritability
• Frequent or recurring infections
• Poor wound healing
• Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
• Problems with gums
• Itching
• Problems having an erection

Diagnosis
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will also be asked about your family history. A physical exam will be done.

Diagnosis is based on the results of blood testing. American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends diagnosis be made if you have one of the following:
• Symptoms of diabetes and a random blood test with a blood sugar level greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L)
• Fasting blood sugar test is done after you have not eaten for 8 or more hours—showing blood sugar levels greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) on two different days
• Glucose tolerance test measures blood sugar 2 hours after you eat glucose—showing glucose levels greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L)
• HbA1c level of 6.5% or higher—indicates poor blood sugar control over the past 2-4 months

* mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter of blood; mmol/L = millimole per liter of blood

Treatment
Treatment aims to:
• Maintain blood sugar at levels as close to normal as possible
• Prevent or delay complications
• Control other conditions that you may have, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol

Diet
Food and drinks have a direct effect on your blood glucose level. Eating healthy meals can help you control your blood glucose. It will also help your overall health. Some basic tips include:
• Follow a balanced meal plan. It should include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
• Be aware of appropriate serving size. Measure your food to help understand ideal serving size.
• Do not skip meals. Plan your meals and snacks through the day. Having meals throughout the day can help avoid major changes in glucose levels.
• Eat plenty of vegetables and fiber.
• Limit the amount of fat (especially saturated and trans fats) in your foods.
• Eat moderate amounts of protein and low-fat dairy products.
• Carefully limit foods containing high concentrated sugar.
• Keep a record of your food intake. Share the record with your dietitian or doctor. This will help to create an effective meal plan.

diabetes

Weight Loss
If you are overweight, weight loss will help your body use insulin better. Talk to your doctor about a healthy weight goal. You and your doctor or dietitian can make a safe meal plan for you.

These options may help you lose weight:
• Use a portion control plate
• Use a prepared meal plan
• Eat a Mediterranean-style diet

Exercise
Physical activity can:
• Make the body more sensitive to insulin
• Help you reach and maintain a healthy weight
• Lower the levels of fat in your blood

Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate. Resistance training helps build muscle strength. Both types of exercise help to improve long-term glucose control. Regular exercise can also help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Talk to your doctor about an activity plan. Ask about any precautions you may need to take.

Medication
Certain medications will help to manage blood glucose levels.

Medication taken by mouth may include:
• Biguanides reduce the amount of glucose made by the body
• Sulfonylureas encourage the pancreas to make more insulin
• Insulin sensitizers to help the body use insulin better
• Starch blockers to decrease the amount of glucose absorbed into the blood
• Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors to increase glucose excretion in urine
• Bile acid binders

Some medications needs to be given by injection, such as:
• Incretin-mimetics stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin and decrease appetite, which can assist with weight loss
• Amylin analogs replace a protein of the pancreas that is low in people with type 2 diabetes

Insulin
Insulin may be needed if:
• The body does not make enough of its own insulin
• Blood glucose levels cannot be controlled with lifestyle changes and medications

Insulin is given through injections. There is one short-acting inhaled insulin which may be available for select persons.

Blood Glucose Testing
You can check the level of glucose in your blood with a blood glucose meter. Checking your blood glucose levels during the day can help you stay on track. It will also help your doctor determine if your treatment is working. Keeping track of blood sugar levels is especially important if you take insulin.

Regular testing may not be needed if your diabetes is under control and you don’t take insulin. Talk with your doctor before stopping blood sugar monitoring.

An HbA1c test may also be done at your doctor’s office. This is a measure of blood glucose control over a long period of time. Doctors advise that most people keep their HbA1c levels below 7%. Your exact goal may be different. Keeping HbA1c in your goal range can help lower the chance of complications.

Counseling
Depression can undermine your recovery and put you at risk for other complications. Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in your favorite activities that stay with you for at least 2 weeks should prompt you to call your doctor. Depression is treatable. Your doctor may refer you to counseling to help you better manage your depression and diabetes.

Decreasing Risk of Complications
Over a long period of time, high blood glucose levels can damage vital organs. The kidneys, eyes, and nerves are most affected. Diabetes can also increase your risk of heart disease.

Maintaining goal blood glucose levels is the first step to lowering your risk of these complications. Other steps:
• Take good care of your feet. Be on the lookout for any sores or irritated areas. Keep your feet dry and clean.
• Have your eyes checked once a year.
• Don’t smoke. If you do, look for programs or products that can help you quit.
• Keep track of your moods and be alert for persistent depressive symptoms.
• Plan medical visits as recommended.

Prevention
To help reduce your chance of type 2 diabetes:
• Participate in regular physical activity
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Drink alcohol only in moderation (2 drinks per day for a man, and 1 drink per day for a woman)
• Eat a well-balanced diet:
– Get enough fiber
– Avoid fatty foods
– Limit sugar intake
– Eat more green, leafy vegetables
– Eat whole fruits, especially apples, grapes, and blueberries

by Debra Wood, RN

RESOURCES:
American Diabetes Association
http://www.diabetes.org

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse
http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Diabetes Association
http://www.diabetes.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

REFERENCES:

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American College of Endocrinology. Medical guidelines for the management of diabetes mellitus. The AACe system of intensive diabetes self-management. 2002 update. Endocrine Practice. 2002;8(suppl 1):S40-S82.

American Diabetes Association Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2010;33:S62-S69.

Boren SA, Gunlock TL, Schaefer J, Albright A. Reducing risks in diabetes self-management: a systematic review of the literature. Diabetes Educ. 2007;33:1053-1077.

Causes of diabetes. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Diabetes/causes-diabetes/Pages/index.aspx. Updated June 2014. Accessed September 3, 2015.

Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/home/index.html. Updated August 18, 2015. Accessed September 3, 2015.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults. Updated August 29, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T901364/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated June 9, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.

Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2005;28(suppl 1):S37-42.

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10/5/2010 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, Khunti K, Davies MJ. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010;341:c4229.

1/4/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Pan A, Lucas M, Sun Q, et al. Bidirectional association between depression and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170(21):1884-1891.

5/6/2011 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Muraki I, Imamura F, Manson J, et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2013;347:f5001.

4/14/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Xi B, Li S, et al. Intake of fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(3):e93471.

7/21/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Afshin A, Micha R, et al. Consumption of nuts and legumes and risk of incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(1):278-288.

9/11/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Tovote KA, Fleer J, Snippe E, et al. Individual mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and cognitive behavior therapy for treating depressive symptoms in patients with diabetes: results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(9):2427-2434.

9/16/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113993/Diabetes-mellitus-type-2-in-adults: Zhou D, Yu H, He F, et al. Nut consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease risk and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014;100(1):270-277.

 

Last reviewed January 2016 by Kim Carmichael, MD

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