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Beyond the Scale: What you need to know about diabetes risk factors


 

Whether you have diabetes or not, understanding this disease and how it can be controlled can significantly improve your overall health.  PHOTO SOURCE: (c) MichaelJung - Fotolia.com

Whether you have diabetes or not, understanding this disease and how it can be controlled can significantly improve your overall health.
PHOTO SOURCE: (c) MichaelJung – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) When it comes to Type II diabetes, many only consider weight when examining their risk. Diabetes is complicated however, and risk factors are numerous.

Some of the confusion is potentially reflected in statistics. From 1980 through 2011, the number of Americans with diagnosed diabetes more than tripled, from 5.6 million to 20.9 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and millions more have prediabetes or are undiagnosed.

On the bright side, cutting-edge research has uncovered strategies for avoiding, controlling and even reversing diabetes.

“It’s tempting to think that there’s not much you can do except take medication and hope for the best,” says George L. King, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Joslin Diabetes Center, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of the new book, “The Diabetes Reset.” “However, anyone can improve their body’s response to insulin and its ability to metabolize glucose in the blood.”

Each individual’s glucose control problems are unique, which is why King offers a range of evidence-based, diabetes-fighting strategies in his book. Here he shares a few:

Diet

A recent study by Dr. King and his Joslin colleagues has shown that insulin sensitivity, glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes risk can all be significantly improved by switching to a low-fat, high-fiber diet consisting of 70 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent fat and 15 percent protein, including 15 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed.

This dietary approach, known as the Rural Asian Diet, is easy to maintain, as it doesn’t call for restricting calories or totally avoiding any particular food group. While many diabetes experts promote restricting carbohydrates, this diet distinguishes between refined carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates, which are high in fiber, and will be converted into blood glucose much more slowly.

Weight Loss

If your BMI is above 25 and you’re able to reduce your body weight by 5 to 7 percent, you can reduce your insulin resistance and improve your glucose metabolism. Be advised, many doctors feel that BMI is of limited value in determining a diabetes risk because it doesn’t distinguish between fat and lean tissue or between different types of body fat. Abdominal fat is the most dangerous type of fat in terms of diabetes risk, so many doctors use waist circumference as an additional measurement.

Exercise

Your muscles can lose insulin sensitivity due to inactivity. This can be largely reversed through a combination of 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week plus weekly strength training sessions. Together, these activities can increase your muscles’ ability to oxidize fats, glucose and other fuels, while also helping you lose weight.

Sleep

There is mounting evidence that lack of sleep can contribute to insulin resistance and possibly causes damage to the pancreas, putting you at heightened risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Attempt to get seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep every night to improve insulin sensitivity.

More diabetes-strategies can be found at www.workman.com.

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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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