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Stroke: Do you know the signs?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving the brain of oxygen and food and causing brain cells to die. Early action can minimize brain damage and complications.

The good news is 80% of all strokes can be prevented. Here are ways to reduce your risk of having a stroke:

  • If you smoke, quit – smoking doubles your risk of stroke.
  • Manage your blood pressure – high blood pressures causes damage to your blood vessels and increases your risk of stroke
  • Find out if you have AFib (Atrial Fibrillation) – AFib is an irregular heartbeat the contributes to clumping or clotting in the upper chamber of your heart. When these clots move, then can block blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. Your doctor can prescribe medications that can reduce clotting.
  • Lower your cholesterol. If it’s high, you can reduce the bad cholesterol by eating a healthy diet and by exercising on a regular basis.
  • If you’re diabetic, work with your doctor to manage the disease through medication if diet and exercise are not enough.
  • Even if you don’t have high cholesterol or diabetes, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise will reduce your risk of stroke.
  • Drink in moderation – those who drink more than two alcoholic beverages in one day greatly increase their risk of stroke

It’s also important to know the signs of a stroke. You don’t have to fit the profile of an overweight, diabetic, smoker to have a stroke. They can strike anyone at anytime no matter how much you weigh or how old you are. Watch for these F.A.S.T. signs:

Face: Does the person’s face droop on one side? Can they smile? Is it even?

Arms: Is one arm weak or numb? Can they raise both arms?

Speech: Is their speech slurred? Do you have a hard time understanding what they say?

Time: If a person is showing any of these signs, call 911 and get the person to the hospital immediately.

Every second counts with a stroke. It’s important to get medical attention within three hours after the first symptoms appear. The longer you wait for treatment, the greater the potential for brain damage. Be sure to stay with the person who is having a stroke and watch their symptoms so you can communicate with medical professionals when help does arrive.

Type 2 Diabetes: Risks, Symptoms, and Control

Last week we discussed Type I Diabetes, its cause, and how you can learn to live with the disease. This week, we’ll discuss Type 2 Diabetes, its symptoms, cause and how you control it.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Over 90% of people who are diagnosed with diabetes has Type 2 diabetes. A diabetic cannot produce the insulin needed to break down the glucose needed for their cells. When this happens, the cells are starved for energy and over time, the high glucose builds up on the blood and can cause blindness, kidney failure, and damage to to the heart and nerves. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is preventable.

How do you reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes?
The biggest way to prevent getting this disease is to manage your weight. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can manage health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, high blood glucose and type 2 diabetes.  Eating healthy and exercising are ways to manage your weight and your risk of contracting type 2 diabetes as well as these other diseases.

What are Common Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow to heal cuts or bruises
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in hands or feet
What should you eat?
This is a list of “Top 10 Super Foods” that will help you manage your meal planning. Diabetic or not, these will help anyone managing their diet.
  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Citrus fruit
  • Berries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Fish high in Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Whole grains
  • Tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Fat-free milk, and yogurt
Be sure to work with your doctor to check your blood glucose level and prevent and/or manage your type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating and exercise may not be enough —  your doctor may also prescribe pills and/or insulin to help manage your levels. Don’t risk your sight or other health issues… type 2 diabetes is manageable if you’re willing to eat right, exercise and follow your doctors orders.

To learn more about diabetes, visit  https://www.diabetes.org.


Living with Type I Diabetes

Each year, more than one million people are diagnosed with diabetes. Of those, only about 5% have Type I diabetes, while the other 95% has Type II.

Type I diabetes is also known as Juvenile Diabetes. This is because it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults generally ranging in ages from 10 – 25. The cause of diabetes in youth is generally a genetic abnormality when the pancreas stops producing the insulin that is needed to convert sugars and other food into energy. Symptoms can include frequent urination, wounds that don’t heal, increased thirst, and weight loss.

Here are some guidelines to help you or a loved-one living with Type I Diabetes.

First, you will need to monitor your blood glucose levels throughout the day and give yourself insulin injections as needed. Work closely with your doctor to make a plan to get the proper insulin therapy for your needs.

Making healthy eating choices is also important. In a world of drive-thru windows, this can be difficult. It’s important for you to make daily meal plans so you can manage your blood-sugar levels and know how different foods will affect you. Just because you’re diabetic doesn’t mean that you have to feel deprived. There are numerous cookbooks available that will provide healthy recipes for better eating of a wide variety of meals and snacks.

Exercise is a key ingredient in staying healthy. However, you’ll need to plan ahead to be sure your body is prepared. Be sure to check your blood glucose level prior to exercising and also during and after each type of exercise so you’ll have a better understanding how each type of exercise impacts your levels. Keep a journal so you can track the changes and keep a log of what you eat so you know how to pair certain foods with certain exercises. Once a routine is established, it will become easier to manage.

Lastly, a good support system is important to your success in living with diabetes. If you’re the parent of a child with diabetes, this can be a daunting task. There are family support systems available for you as well. And, helping a young person with balancing nutrition, exercise, and proper medication will help them become independent adults with a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, a diabetes diagnoses is not a death sentence, you can still do anything you set your mind to!

New generics are available this summer

For those of you being treated for osteoperosis or Paget’s disease, the generic form of Actonel is now available.

Those of you who suffer from allergies will be glad to hear that Nasonex will be available in generic form in July.

For those with glaucoma or ocular hypertension, the generic of Lumigan will be available in August.

Ask you doctor or pharmacist about these medications and if the generic version is right for you.

Any day is a good day to quit

You may have seen that Saturday, May 31 was World No Tobacco Day. If you haven’t quit smoking or given up tobacco products yet, here are a few reasons to quit and some ways to help you quit.

 For your health

  • your chances of having cancer, heart attacks, heart disease, stroke, cataracts, and other diseases will go down
  • you’ll breathe easier and cough less
  • your blood pressure will decrease
  • your skin will look healthier
  • your teeth and fingernails won’t be stained

 For your lifestyle

  • you’ll have more money to spend
  • your food will taste better
  • you don’t have to worry about when or where you’ll smoke next
  • your clothes will smell better
  • your house and your car will smell better

There are medications that can increase your chances of quitting. These medications will help reduce your cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) reduces withdrawal by giving you a little bit of nicotine. Over a period of time, you will uses NRT with less and less nicotine allowing you to get used to being nicotine free. NRT is available in patches, gum, and lozenges without a prescription. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using NRT.

Prescription medication is also available if you are unable to take NRT or it’s not working for you. These medications also can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms:

  • Bupropion – also known as Zyban, helps reduce nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. It can be used safely with NRT.
  • Varenicline – also known as Chantix, helps reduce nicotine withdrawal and the urge to smoke. It also blocks the effects of nicotine from cigarettes if the user starts smoking again.

If you need help and you’d like to create a plan to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).