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Tag Archive | "exercise"

Stepping out for spring?


People with diabetes should check their feet first

(BPT) – Spring is finally here and it’s an ideal time to get outside and be more physically active. For those with diabetes, regular exercise helps increase circulation and is a critical part of staying healthy. But, before lacing up your sneakers, remember these important steps to ensure your feet are in shape:

* Get the green light from your health care provider. Discuss the type of physical activity that’s best for you and ask your provider to examine your feet. In general, your feet should be professionally examined four times each year.

* Be mindful of everyday foot care. Sometimes, people with diabetes have serious foot problems yet feel no pain. This may be due to nerve damage, a long-term complication of diabetes. Everyday self care includes inspecting your feet for scratches, cracks, cuts or blisters and washing and drying them carefully, especially between the toes.

* Wear socks and well-fitting shoes. Because of the higher risk of foot problems among those with diabetes, avoid going barefoot, even indoors. Wear socks and shoes that fit properly.

* If you do notice a problem, it may be a foot ulcer. Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers may also appear on the sides of the foot. Keep in mind, while some ulcers may not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your health care provider right away.

* Get foot ulcers treated. If you have a foot ulcer, innovative treatments can help, such as EpiFix, a wound care product from MiMedx, used extensively to rapidly and effectively heal diabetic foot ulcers. EpiFix is a dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane allograft that delivers essential wound healing growth factors, enhances healing and reduces inflammation and scar tissue formation.

* Let it heal. If you have an ulcer, help it to heal by staying off your feet. Walking on an ulcer may worsen the problem by making the wound larger or migrating it deeper into your foot.

“Foot problems, including ulcers, are common among people with diabetes, but they don’t have to hold you back if you take the proper precautions and seek early treatment,” says Dr. Matt Garoufalis, president at Physicians Surgery Care Center, Chicago, Ill., and immediate past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Before you step out to enjoy the spring weather, have your feet checked by a health care provider to make sure you’re good to go.”


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Breast Cancer in 2013: What you need to know


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) Thirty years ago, a diagnosis of breast cancer was thought of as a virtual death sentence for many women, but since that time significant progress has been made in the fight against breast cancer. Reduced mortality, less invasive treatments, an increased number of survivors and other advancements have their roots in breast cancer research—more than $790 million of it funded by Susan G. Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.

However, the reality is that breast cancer is still a serious disease. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held each October, brings awareness to the disease and empowers women to take charge of their own breast health.

This year, about 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the U.S. and nearly 40,000 women will die from it. Globally, 1.6 million people will be diagnosed, and 400,000 will die. Despite the increased awareness of breast cancer, major myths still abound. Women must remain vigilant against this disease by learning the facts and understanding how they may be able to reduce their risk.

The Myths and Facts on Breast Cancer

Myth: I’m only 35. Breast cancer happens only in older women.

Fact: While the risk increases with age, all women are at risk for getting breast cancer.

Myth: Only women with a family history of breast cancer get the disease.

Fact: Most women who get breast cancer have no family history of the disease. However, a woman whose mother, sister or daughter had breast cancer has an increased risk.

Myth: If I don’t have a mutated BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, I won’t get breast cancer.

Fact: You can still get breast cancer, even without a gene mutation. About 90 to 95 percent of women who get breast cancer do not have this mutation.

Myth: Women with more than one known risk factor get breast cancer.

Fact: Most women with breast cancer have no known risk factors except being a woman and getting older. All women are at risk.

Myth: You can prevent breast cancer.

Fact: Because the causes of breast cancer are not yet fully known, there is no way to prevent it.

Actions to Reduce Your Risk

Breast cancer can’t be prevented; however, research has shown that there are actions women can take to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer.

*Maintain a Healthy Weight – Postmenopausal women who are overweight have a 30 to 60 percent higher breast cancer risk than those who are lean.

*Add Exercise into Your Routine – Women who get regular physical activity may have a lower risk of breast cancer by about 10 to 20 percent, particularly in postmenopausal women.

*Limit Alcohol Intake – Research has found that women who had two to three alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer.

*Breastfeed, if you can – Research has shown that mothers who breastfed for a lifetime total of one year (combined duration of breastfeeding for all children) were slightly less likely to get breast cancer than those who never breastfed.

For more information on the facts about breast cancer and what you need to reduce your risk, or to find resources in your community, visit Komen.org or call 1-877-GO-KOMEN.


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Five germ-fighting tips to keep kids healthy this school year

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

While you can’t avoid germs, you can take steps to strengthen your family’s immunity and overall health. Soccer champion, Christie Rampone with daughters Reece and Rylie.

(StatePoint) School is a great place to learn, play and make friends. Unfortunately it’s also a great place for germs to get very well acquainted….with your family! With 20 to 30 kids in a classroom and even more on the playground, it’s hard to avoid the germs that cause such illnesses as colds, flus and more.

Three-time Gold Medalist, wife and busy mom of two, Christie Rampone knows the importance of good health. As captain of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, she travels over two hundred days a year, often with her young children in tow. So stress, fatigue and staying healthy are daily battles. Since days off are not an option for Rampone, she is offering five “stay healthy” tips that parents can follow all school year long:

• Eat healthy: It’s no secret, a balanced diet is key for a healthy immune system. By focusing on a variety of fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods and sugary snacks, your family will get the nutrition it needs to fight off germs during the school year.

“Some of my favorite healthy snacks are carrots, celery and apples. They are easy to pack and extremely nutritious,” says Rampone. “The trick is to create variety, because kids tend to grow tired of the same things quickly.”

• Get plenty of exercise: Frequent, moderate exercise is important for good health and strong immunity.  On a daily basis, encourage kids to play sports, run, bike ride or dance, all to keep their bodies fit, hearts pumping strong and minds happy. Better yet, join in on the fun yourself!

• Sleep at least seven hours a night: Sleep is crucial to good health, both mentally and physically. A recent study showed that when you get less than seven hours sleep at night, you’re three times more likely to come down with a cold or flu.

• Take supplements as needed: Government recommendations call for five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. But how many of us really get them?  To help fill the gaps, look for nutritional supplements supported by published clinical research. Rampone, who has battled Lyme disease, which wreaks havoc on the immune system, has been using such supplements for herself and her entire family.

• Don’t forget about you: As a parent, your first priority is usually the kids. But you need to make sure that you also take care of yourself too, especially during the chaotic school and work week. Make sure that you drink enough water and get a few minutes each day to relax and recharge your immune battery.

More tips to keep kids healthy this school year can be found at www.epicorimmune.com.


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Women’s Health

The Benefits of Exercise During Pregnancy

By James N. Martin, Jr, MD
President, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

It’s no surprise that pregnancy causes many changes to a woman’s body. Extra weight, changing balance, and fatigue can all make sitting on the couch seem a very attractive proposition. But staying active can provide multiple benefits to you and your baby, making pregnancy an excellent time to adopt and stick to an exercise program.
During pregnancy, exercise can reduce backaches, constipation, bloating, and swelling; oost mood and energy; promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance; and improve sleep quality. It can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Pregnant women who exercise may also have an easier time with labor and delivery and weight loss after childbirth.
Talk to your doctor before beginning or continuing an exercise program to be sure that you don’t have any health problems that would limit your activity. Women with certain forms of heart and lung disease, cervical problems, a multiple pregnancy that is at risk of preterm labor, vaginal bleeding, preterm labor, placental problems, and high blood pressure caused by pregnancy (preeclampsia) should avoid exercise. For most pregnant women, however, 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, if not all, days of the week is recommended.
Be mindful of the changes in your body when choosing your activity. Pregnancy hormones can cause the ligaments that support your joints to stretch and your balance shifts as you gain weight in the front of your body. These changes can lead to more injuries, less stability, and the increased likelihood of falling. The extra weight is also more taxing on your heart. If you can’t talk at normal levels at all times, you may be working too hard.
Gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, cycling, or low-impact or water aerobics is suitable for exercisers of all levels. However, you should avoid any sports or activities that could injure your abdomen or that have a high risk for contact such as ice hockey, soccer, or basketball. Skip activities that come with a high risk of falling such as downhill skiing, horse-back riding, or vigorous racquet sports. Stop exercising and call your doctor if you experience dizziness or faintness, increased shortness of breath, uneven or rapid heartbeat, chest pain, trouble walking, vaginal bleeding, calf pain or swelling, headache, uterine contractions that continue after you rest, fluid gushing or leaking from your vagina, or decreased fetal movement.
Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and a supportive bra and shoes. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and overheating. Most importantly, get out, get moving, and have fun!
For more information, the ACOG Patient Education Pamphlet “Exercise during Pregnancy” is available at www.acog.org/publication/ patient_education.

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Learn How to Live Well with Parkinson’s Disease

Attend Grand Rapids Victory Summit

The Davis Phinney Foundation, in partnership with Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Van Andel Institute, Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’s Association of West Michigan, and Saint Mary’s Health Care/Trinity Health West Michigan, invites people affected by Parkinson’s disease to share in an exciting day of information and inspiration by attending  the Grand Rapids Victory Summit.™  Featuring both local and national Parkinson’s disease experts, the Victory Summit will share the latest research advances and treatment options as well as offer interactive sessions on exercise, speech therapy, yoga and other activities to incorporate into daily living.

The Victory Summit will be held on Saturday, August 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, in Grand Rapids. The Victory Summit is open to people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones, and there is no charge to attend the event.

Victory Summit attendees will be informed and inspired by topics including:

•    Living well with Parkinson’s
•    Parkinson’s research update
•    Exercising for life
•    Speech therapy
•    Caregiver tools and guidance
•    Panel discussions on deep brain stimulation therapy, clinical trials and nutrition

For more information and to register for the Victory Summit, visit www.davisphinneyfoundation.org or call 1-877-208-1198.

Grand Cycling Challenge benefitting the Davis Phinney Foundation

The Davis Phinney Foundation and the Parkinson’s disease research team at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine are proud to partner with the Grand Cycling Challenge and give riders of all ages and abilities the opportunity to help people with Parkinson’s while enjoying this inaugural extended course through downtown Grand Rapids.

As a member of the Victory Crew™ on August 20, you can raise funds to support the Parkinson’s disease research team at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the Davis Phinney Foundation, sponsoring programs that provide the information, tools and inspiration that can be used to live well with Parkinson’s today.

To participate, you must first officially register www.active.com/cycling/grand-rapids-mi/grand-cycling-challenge-2011?int=29-39 for the Grand Cycling Challenge. Be sure you have registered on the Active.com Registration page <before creating your personal fundraising page.

For more information please visit www.davisphinneyfoundation.org or call 303-733-3340.

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Keeping your muscles healthy

You can rebuild muscle strength at any age. (c) Monkey Business - Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) Did you know you have more than 600 muscles in your body, including your tongue, heart and stomach?

When exerted, your muscles pull against your skeleton, causing your bones to become strong and durable. But a lack of exercise and nutrition can compromise your muscle strength, especially as you age.

“The average person can lose 8 percent of muscle tissue every 10 years after the age of 40,” says Dr. Vonda Wright, orthopedic surgeon, medical researcher and author of Fitness After 40. “When it comes to muscle, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”

In addition to age, a sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition can lead to loss of muscle. Many people are surprised to learn that a sedentary person may have 40 to 50 percent body fat. On the flip side, muscle burns more calories than fat during daily activities, including sitting.

A serious, temporary illness or injury or a diet lacking proper nutrition, especially protein, can also cause a loss in muscle mass. So muscle loss is not just a concern of the middle-aged or inactive, but for anyone who wants to stay healthy and active.

To find out if your muscles are in good shape, try the push-up test. Men of any age should be able to do 11 and women should be able to complete eight. If you fall short of your goal, don’t despair. You still have time to build muscle strength with these tips:

• Feed your muscle. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle. Get your protein daily from meat, poultry, fish, nuts, eggs and beans. You can also augment your diet with healthful protein and nutrition shakes, such as Ensure Muscle Health shakes, which contain Revigor (a source of HMB, an amino-acid metabolite), and 13 grams of protein to help rebuild muscle and strength naturally lost over time. They are perfect for a snack on the go.

• Get aerobic exercise. Try to get between 30 to 60 minutes of blood-pumping exercise daily to build muscle endurance. And stretch your muscles before and after to prevent injury.

• Carry a load. Resistance training is also essential to keeping your muscles strong and limber and retaining bone density. Use weights or the resistance of your own body weight to build your strength.

“We live in an amazing time when we really are able to have some control over how we age,” says Dr. Wright. “In fact, there’s new evidence that boomers and seniors who exercise three to five times a week are able to retain lean muscle like younger athletes. So don’t let your age discourage you from living a healthier, active life today!”

For more information about maintaining healthy muscles and to read more of Dr. Wright’s tips, visit www.ensure.com. Then get started rebuilding your muscle strength. After all, this is the only body you have.

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