Understanding diabetes and pre-diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a dangerous disease, and one for which there is no cure. In 2010, it was estimated that 79 million Americans ages 20 and older had pre-diabetes – and even more were at risk.

There are a number of factors that can increase your odds of diabetes or pre-diabetes. Some are controllable, while others are not. Some of these factors include:

  • Being overweight
  • Exercising fewer than three times each week
  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being older than 45
  • Having gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Having high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Having a history of heart disease
  • Being African-American, Hispanic, American-Indian or Pacific Islander
  • Having given birth to a baby 9 pounds or larger
  • Having a history of some other endocrine conditions, like polycystic ovary syndrome

Fortunately, pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes can often be prevented. Research shows that reducing your body weight by 5 to 10 percent – or 10 to 20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds – can cut your diabetes risk in half.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, however, the first thing you should do is set up a diabetes care team. The first step is to make sure you have a primary care doctor. Your physician can help you recruit the rest of the team, which should include a:

  • Diabetes or nurse educator to help you manage daily aspects of diabetes. This includes how to take insulin shots and how to identify low blood sugar reactions.
  • Registered dietician to help you plan a healthy diet.
  • Optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to watch for diabetic eye disease.
  • Social worker or psychologist to help you cope with the emotional side of diabetes.
  • Podiatrist (foot doctor) to help prevent, diagnose and treat foot complications from diabetes.
  • Dentist to take care of your teeth and gums.
  • Exercise physiologist to help develop a fitness program for you.
  • Pharmacist to answer questions related to medication.

To goal of managing diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels under control to prevent complications. Your team will tell you where your blood sugar level should be. You may need to check your blood sugar levels several times a day – this is especially important right after being diagnosed, starting new medication or changing doses.

Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent colon cancer

Colon cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States… but it doesn’t have to be. You can decrease your odds of colon cancer by making a few lifestyle changes.

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables so that you get an array of vitamins and nutrients.

Drink alcohol in moderation, if you drink it at all. You should limit your intake to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Stop smoking! SOMC offers free smoking cessation classes that can help you kick the habit.

Exercise most days of the week. You should try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you’ve been living an inactive lifestyle, you can start slowly and gradually build up to that level.

Maintain a healthy weight. Exercising and eating right can help you reach a healthy weight, and once you have it you need to keep it. Ultimately, weight loss comes down to a simple formula: aim to increase your exercise and decrease your calories.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent colon cancer, consult with your physician.

SOMC donates to Portsmouth Connex

The Southern Ohio Medical Center Development Foundation recently donated $10,000 to Portsmouth Connex, matching a $10,000 donation given by the SOMC Medical Staff. Portsmouth Connex is a local group proposing a series of activity routes throughout Portsmouth and its surrounding communities. The routes could be used to promote biking, running and walking. Present at the check presentation were, from left to right, SOMC President and CEO Randy Arnett, SOMC Community Health and Wellness Director Wendi Waugh, Dr. Cynthia Hamm of the SOMC Medical Staff, SOMC Development Foundation Chairman Dave Fowler, Barb Bradbury and Jeff Smith of Portsmouth Connex, and SOMC Director of Development Kara Redoutey. For more information about Portsmouth Connex, visit ConnexMoves.org

Understanding heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 600,000 Americans every year. That’s one out of every four deaths in the country.

But what is heart disease? It’s a term that refers to several conditions, most commonly coronary artery disease – which can cause heart attacks. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, can cause heart failure and prevent the heart from pumping well.

Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. Some people are actually born with it. It occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries, causing them to narrow over time and reduce blood flow to the heart. There are a number of factors that can increase your odds of developing heart disease. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet and not getting enough exercise are all culprits. Your risk is also increased by high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the type, but for most people the first sign is chest discomfort or a heart attack. Other signs include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, neck or back
  • Weakness, light-headedness, nausea or a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath

To learn more about heart disease, visit www.somc.org/heart

Shuffleboard champions donate winnings to Hospice

Billy Logan and Pat Malone recently donated their winnings of $832 to SOMC Hospice after coming in first place during a memorial shuffleboard tournament at the Stag Bar on U.S. Rt 23 in Portsmouth. Pictured here, Logan (left) and Malone (right) are seen with Sheila Riggs of SOMC Hospice following the donation. For more information about SOMC Hospice, visit www.somc.org/hospice

How to turn bad habits into healthy habits

It’s no secret that healthy habits can reduce your risk for a lot of diseases, but that makes it sound easier than it is. The truth is, adopting healthy habits can be hard – especially if you don’t approach them from the right angle. That’s why the American Heart Association has published a list of tips to help the challenge more manageable.

First, understand that you have to do something for 60 to 90 days before it becomes a habit. This is a critical period – whatever change you want to make, you have to make time for it no matter how busy your schedule may be. You should also understand that negative habits are easier to form because they offer immediate gratification, but you pay for it later in life. Positive habits, however, do not offer instant gratification but give you a bigger payout in the future.

And don’t think of your task as ending a habit so much as replacing it. In the 1970s detective drama “Kojak,” for example, the title character sucks on lollipops because he is trying to quit smoking. This is an example of someone using a new habit to replace a worse one. Of course, replacing smoking with lollipops is not as healthy as replacing it with running, but either option is healthier than cigarettes.

You should also remind yourself of why it is you’re making the change to begin with. Maybe you want to see your kids graduate, or walk your child down the aisle… or maybe you just want to look better so you can impress someone special. When it comes to why you should live a healthier life, there’s no wrong reason.

When trying to develop a new habit, it’s also helpful to break it into smaller, short-term goals. If your goal is to cut back on your alcohol intake, for example, start by reducing how much you drink by a little bit each day. Once you start to see how much difference a little change can make, you’ll be motivated to try larger changes.

Share your goal with someone you trust, and who will hold you accountable. It’s tough to change a habit when you don’t have the right support.

Allow yourself a cheat day once in a while. If you’ve avoided sweets all week and have been exercising, it’s okay to let yourself splurge a little. That’s a reward for your hard work.

You should also try to free yourself from the television, or at least exercise while you watch. Imagine how healthy you would be if all the hours you spend in front of a TV were simultaneously spent on a stationary bike.

SOMC PT completes Walt Disney World Marathon

Danielle and Kelly Wheeler are seen after the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon.

Kelly Wheeler has ran her share of marathons – and endured her share of injuries.

It’s part of what makes her so effective at her job – an SOMC physical therapist who also oversees the Runner’s Assessment Program. A running assessment consists of a runner placed on a treadmill and asked to run at a comfortable pace. He or she is then recorded and analyzed with Dart Fish software, which looks at each joint, measure joint angles and looks at symmetry in the running pattern.

It improves efficiency and helps determine what could be contributing to any pain the runner may experience.

“I understand the plight of being unable to run as desired because of an injury,” Wheeler said. “It’s my passion to help runners like me get back to their training regimens and reach their goals.”

Wheeler’s goals lead her to finish 24th out of 1,736 in her division (women, 25-29) during one of the county’s most unique marathons – the Walt Disney World Marathon. Running alongside her sister, Danielle, she likened the experience to a backstage tour of Disney’s parks.

“It was absolutely the most entertaining marathon we have ever run,” Wheeler said. “There were characters scattered throughout the race… When we ran through Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom, Elsa and Anna (from Frozen) were there waving at us with snow falling.”

Finishing 24th in her division in the Walt Disney World Marathon is just the latest highlight in Wheeler’s five years of endurance running. She also completed the 2010 Columbus Marathon, the 2011 Cap City Half Marathon, the 2011 Columbus Marathon, the 2012 Columbus Marathon and the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“I run because I enjoy challenging myself,” Wheeler said. “And I enjoy helping others do the same.”

For more information about how a runner’s assessment may help you, contact SOMC Rehab Care at 740-356-2400.

It’s not too late to make a resolution

If you didn’t make a New Year’s resolution last month, it’s still not too late!

There’s no wrong time to resolve to be a better you – and there’s no wrong way to do it, either. If traditional resolutions don’t speak to you, here are a few changes you can make that might feel like a better fit.

Go natural – at least once a week. After a long day at work, it’s easy to throw a frozen dinner in the microwave and collapse on the couch. But overly-processed foods contain high levels of chemicals, fat, calories and sodium.

Instead, pick up some fresh, seasonal ingredients from a local farmer’s market and use them to make a wholesome, well-rounded meal from scratch. You don’t have to do it every day, but you may end up enjoying it if you resolve to do it every Friday.

Spend 10 minutes a day writing in a journal. Good health means more than taking care of your body, it also means taking care of your mind. Spending time to write down your thoughts, feelings or just whatever pops into your head can be very therapeutic. Don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining good mental health, too.

Floss! It’s something you already know you should be doing. If you’re not, though, now is the perfect time to make it part of your daily routine. Studies have shown that flossing regularly, which helps fight periodontal and gingivitis, may actually reduce your risk of heart disease and respiratory disease.

Don’t take the morning for granted. Sure, you may not have time to do an hour-long spinning class before work, but you probably do have time for a 10-minute walk. You could also consider starting your day with some quick yoga or a few sets of pushups. Anything is better than nothing, and doing it first thing in the morning can set the tone for the entire day.

SOMC to host elder abuse in-service

Southern Ohio Medical Center will be offering an in-service on Elder Abuse Prevention/Reporting, as well as Elder Financial Exploitation, on February 10.

The in-service will take place in Room 4 of the Micklethwaite Education Building on SOMC’s Main Campus and last from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. It will be presented by Kaye Inoshita, RN, director of the Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for the Area Agency on Aging.

Professionals and community members are welcome to attend. For more information, call 740-356-6845.