Tag Archives: Diabetes

Fifteen Tips to Care for Diabetic Skin, Part 2

Introduction

This post provides diabetic skin care tips!

diabetes-awareness

In the previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the frailty of  diabetic skin and discussed how that sets one up for skin infections, abscesses, ulcers, amputations and even death. Your best defense from these set of illnesses and tragedies is knowledge, prevention and prompt action.  Here are some steps you can take to better care for the diabetic in your life. In the event you know a diabetic who appears healthy, I want you to pay special attention to him/her. Diabetes is a chronic and insidious disease. These changes occur over years, and your challenge is to slow the process down as long as possible.

If you have diabetes, these tips may help prevent skin damage and infections:

Diabetic Skin Care Tips 1-5

1. Do the best you can to control your blood glucose levels. The more out of control it is, the more damage it causes.

2. You must check your feet every single day for the rest of your life. Diabetics develop decreased sensitivity to their feet. It is extremely common to step on a sharp object and not realize that you’ve done so. A splinter or nail is an excellent medium for an infection.

3. Eat fruits and vegetables. Your skin needs all the nourishment it can get.

Diabetic skin care tips

4. Develop better hygiene. Wash and dry your skin often and thoroughly; this will keep you less exposed to infections.

5. Make a point of keeping your groin, armpits and other areas prone to heavy sweat dry. Those moist areas in particular are most prone to becoming infected. Talcum powder is a good choice to use.

Diabetic Skin Care Tips 6-10

6. Stay hydrated. It’s an uphill battle with the frequent urination and high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Dehydration causes your skin to be more brittle and prone to infections.

7. Stay moisturized! Apply lotion early and often, especially after baths. Note those dry, cracked feet and get ahead of that happening if possible.

dmgangrene

8. Remember: if you’re diabetic, at some point your hands will retain sensation longer than your finger. It’s common to see scald injuries from stepping in water hot enough to burn you without you feeling it initially. Check the water with your hands before stepping into a tub.

9. Use a milder, less irritating soaps that includes moisturizer. Speaking of tubs, avoid bubble baths. Sorry.

10. Consider investing in a humidifier to prevent skin drying, especially in dry or cold climates.

Diabetic Foot

Diabetic Skin Care Tips 11-15

11. Always take any skin wounds seriously, especially those on your feet. Avoid placing alcohol on any of your wounds.

12. Invest in some sterile gauze. If you develop a scratch or other wound, control the wound with it after cleaning.

13. Limit your self-help to cleaning and gauze wrapping. Only place topical antibiotics or take antibiotics for a skin infection under your physician’s supervision.

diabetic-general-footcare

14. Always ask your physician to check your skin during an examination and ask him/her to teach you what to look for.

15. Immediately consult your physician or access the local emergency room if you have a burn, scratch, abscess (boil) or laceration that seems serious.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

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Straight, No Chaser Diabetes Vlog

Diabetes Vlog

The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today’s Straight, No Chaser offers a diabetes vlog. Learn about the early indicators of diabetes, over 18 Million people are undiagnosed. Please don’t let that be you!

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Diabetes Basics and the Importance of Education

Introduction

Today we focus on diabetes basics.

diabetes basics treadmill

Diabetes is a disease in which education is vital. For a diabetic, knowing the disease well allows him or her to better prevent long-term consequences of the disease. It also allows the diabetic to make real-time adjustments when sick or otherwise  in danger acutely. In Straight, No Chaser, we’ve provided a series of posts meant to empower diabetics (and you can review any or all of them via the search box on the right). Remember, it all should start with a basic understanding of the disease.

Diabetes Basics

We eat, and the process of digestion is for the purpose of converting food into glucose (sugar) that’s used by our body for energy. The blood delivers the glucose to different organs of the body where the cells take it up for use. In order for that process to work, an organ that’s part of the digestive tract called the pancreas has to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin facilitates the glucose getting from the blood to inside the cells. Diabetes is a disease where insulin isn’t being made by the pancreas or isn’t working optimally.

Now think about what happens when you’re not getting sugar into your cells. It’s as if you’re starving (because physiologically, you might as well be). You get symptoms such as weight loss, hunger, fatigue and excessive thirst. Because your cells don’t have energy, they aren’t functioning well. In fact, blood and nerve vessels lose significant function, resulting in significant vision loss and lack of sensitivity in your extremities. Anyone who’s been a diabetic for about 10 years know this because you’re wearing glasses and because you’ve lost a fair amount of sensation, especially in your feet. There are other symptoms that are variations of the same theme, including excessive urination, dry skin, increased infection rate and slower healing from those infections – all due to poor function of your blood vessels.

Risk Factors

Sometimes diabetes is a disease that happens to you because of unlucky genetics (or simply a family history). Other times it is a disease that you find. Risk factors for developing diabetes includes obesity, older age, and physical inactivity. Gestational diabetes (i.e. that occurring during pregnancy) is an entirely different conversation.

diabetes-treadmill

Prevention and Treatment

Let’s take a moment to discuss prevention and treatment. There are different types of diabetes, but the risk of one form of diabetes in particular can be reduced by – you guessed it – diet and exercise. In fact, diet, exercise and medications are the three legs of the diabetes treatment stool regardless of type. Some patients require regular insulin injections and others require pills. Still others who are successful with diet and exercise are able to markedly reduce, and in some instances eliminate medications.
If you’re a diabetic, make an investment in your education. It could not only save your legs or eyes, but it may just save your life. I welcome your questions and comments.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Prevention and Treatment Considerations for Diabetic Eye Conditions

Introduction

This posts addresses prevention and treatment considerations for diabetic eye conditions.

diabetic eye live_right_save_sight_logo

Several of you asked about the treatment of the eye conditions resulting from diabetes. This last Straight, No Chaser addressing Diabetes Awareness Month will focus on treatment approaches.

The first point – and one that can’t be overemphasized – is treatment is not a cure. As long as diabetes continues (and especially continues to be uncontrolled), symptoms will progress, and the diabetic-related causes of eye disorders will create ongoing difficulties, even after treatment of past problems has occurred. Thus, the first consideration is to understand steps you can take to prevent or slow the progression of the effects of diabetes on your eyes.

Preventive Measures

There actually are several preventive measures within your control. Consider implementing these.

diabetes-eye-exam

  • Keep your blood glucose and blood pressure as close to normal as you can. This involves dieting, exercising and taking your medication as prescribed.
  • Have an eye care professional examine your eyes annually – even if your vision is normal, and especially if your vision is normal. If you have good control of your diabetes, your eyes will tell part of that story, and you need to stay ahead of evolving problems. Of course, discovering problems early and getting prompt treatment gives you the best opportunity to maintain normal vision and to prevent advancement to more serious stages. Be proactive and ask your eye care professional to check for signs of cataracts and glaucoma.
  • If you are diabetic and planning to get pregnant, ask your doctor if you should have an eye exam.
  • If you are diabetic and pregnant, see an eye care professional during your first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Don’t smoke.

Surgical Options

MoS2 Template Master

Recall that damaged older vessels or fragile new vessels has a propensity to bleed into the eye. This blood interferes with your ability to see normally. This severe, advanced diabetic retinopathy is treated with laser surgery, which helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels, thus reducing bleeding into the eye. The procedure involves 1,000 to 2,000 laser burns in the area of the retina (the lining in the back of your eye that senses light), causing the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Even as laser surgery saves much of your sight, patients often notice reduction or loss of side vision, color vision and/or night vision.

If the bleeding is especially severe, you may need a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. This procedure removes blood from the center of your eye.

VITRECTOMY

These procedures stabilize vision and in some instances may dramatically improve it. Focal laser treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent and the risk of blindness by 90 percent. However, laser surgery most often cannot restore vision that has already been lost. That is why finding diabetic retinopathy early should be your most important strategy to prevent vision loss. There are additional medical treatment options emerging meant to replace the need for surgery. If you suffer from diabetic retinopathy, discuss these options with your eye doctor.

Please remember, that although both laser treatments and vitrectomies are very effective in reducing vision loss, they are not cures. Once you have proliferative retinopathy, you always will be at risk for new bleeding. That said, people with progressive diabetic retinopathy have less than a five percent chance of becoming blind within five years of early treatment.

An Eye Health Checklist

diabetic eyechecklist

Please use the preventive strategies and understand the treatment options available to you. Failure to do so could be devastating.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Diabetic Retinopathy and Other Eye Problems

Introduction

Unfortunately, if you’re diabetic, diabetic retinopathy is likely in your future. Don’t ignore this.

diabetes-eye health

As you likely know, diabetics have a large amount of blood glucose (sugar) circulating in their blood. The high level of glucose can cause damage to many cells, including your eyes. If you are diabetic, your challenge is to learn how to slow down the process. This Straight, No Chaser addresses relatively frequent effects of diabetes on your eyes.

How does diabetes hurt my eyes?

Diabetes has direct (through the effects of high blood glucose) and indirect (through high blood pressure) effects on four parts of your eye: the lining in the back of your eye that senses light (the retina), the jelly-like fluid that fills the back of the eye (the vitreous), the lens (serves to focus light on the retina) and the optic nerve (the main nerve from the eye to the brain).

diabetic retinopathy and eye vision

How can diabetes hurt the retinas of my eyes?

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the term for the most common eye problem of diabetics. The retinas have tiny blood vessels that are easy to damage and do become damaged by high glucose levels. As retina problems get worse, new blood vessels grow. These new blood vessels are fragile and susceptible to leaking blood into the back of the eye. The leaking blood keeps light from reaching the retina. This can result in a sensation of seeing floating spots or almost total darkness.
  • Over time, these damaged blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of the eye, causing detachment of the retina. A detached retina can cause loss of sight or blindness if you don’t take care of it right away.

How do I know if I have retina damage from diabetes?

You may or may not have any signs of retina damage, but here are the more common signs.

diabetic retinopathy vision

  • blurry or double vision
  • dark or floating spots
  • pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes
  • rings, flashing lights, or blank spots
  • trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes

What other eye problems can happen to people with diabetes?

Cataracts and glaucoma are two other eye disorders that occur at a higher frequency in diabetics.

Cataracts

  • A cataract is a cloud over the normally clear lens of your eye. Remember, the lens focuses light onto the retina, so the presence of a cataract makes everything you look at seem cloudy. You need surgery to remove the cataract, which replaces the bad lens with a permanent plastic lens.

acute-angle-closure-glaucoma_3

  • Glaucoma is a condition resulting from pressure building up in the eye. Eventually, this will damage the optic nerve, which will progressively reduce your vision. Treating glaucoma involves eye drops to lower the pressure in your eyes or surgery for advanced cases.

Of course, you want to know what steps you can take to prevent or slow the occurrences of these eye conditions. These will be discussed in an upcoming Straight, No Chaser.

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Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Straight, No Chaser: Health Disparities

Disparities

In large part, this blog exists to inform individuals of all backgrounds about the risks that lead to abnormal health outcomes. Our hope is that once you discover the risks, you’ll be sufficiently equipped and incentivized to take the simple steps provided to improve your health.
Disparities are abnormal outcomes of a different variety. Disparities in healthcare lead to premature development of disease and death. The culprits are often insufficient access to care, culture barriers, habits and even discriminatory practices. It is critical for all involved, i.e., individuals, healthcare planners and practitioners, to understand these causes so that everyone can adjust habits and apply resources to combat this health hazard affecting both individuals and communities.
For the last 25 years of my career, I’ve had the unfortunate privilege of addressing this topic in national forums, including before the National Urban League, before the National Medical Association, recently, in the NAACP’s The Crisis magazine and in Straight, No Chaser to the extent that our service provides you with the information that can make a difference in your lives. Unfortunately for some, it’s almost never that easy.

 disparities_infant-mortality

As a statement of fact, according to the latest Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Disparities & Inequalities Report,  African-Americans suffer global health disparities that result in the following outcomes.

  • Life expectancy: In 2011, the average American could expect to live 78.7 years. The average African-American could only expect to live 75.3 years, compared with 78.8 years for the average White American.
  • Death rates: In 2009, African-Americans had the highest death rates from homicide among all racial and ethnic populations. Rates among African-American males were the highest for males across all age groups.
  • Infant mortality rates: In 2008, infants of African-American women had the highest death rate among American infants with a rate more than twice as high as infants of white women.

 disparitydm

The following disparities were also reported:

  • Heart disease and stroke: In 2009, African-Americans had the largest death rates from heart disease and stroke compared with other racial and ethnic populations, with disparities across all age groups younger than 85 years of age.
  • High blood pressure: From 2007-2010, the prevalence of hypertension was among adults aged 65 years and older, African-American adults, US-born adults, adults with less than a college education, adults who received public health insurance (18-64 years old) and those with diabetes, obesity or a disability compared with their counterparts. The percentages of African-Americans and Hispanics who had control of high blood pressure were lower compared to white adults.
  • Obesity: From 2007-2010, the prevalence of obesity among adults was highest among African-American women compared with white and Mexican American women and men. Obesity prevalence among African-American adults was the largest compared to other race ethnicity groups.
  • Diabetes: In 2010, the prevalence of diabetes among African-American adults was nearly twice as large as that for white adults.
  • Activity limitations caused by chronic conditions: From 1999-2008, the number of years of expected life free of activity limitations caused by chronic conditions is disproportionately higher for African-American adults than whites.
  • Periodontitis: In 2009-2010, the prevalence of periodontitis (a form of dental disease) was greatest among African-American and Mexican American adults compared with white adults.
  • HIV: In 2010, African-American adults had the largest HIV infection rate compared with rates among other racial and ethnic populations. Prescribed HIV treatment among African-American adults living with HIV was less than among white adults.
  • Access to care: In 2010, Hispanic and African-American adults aged 18-64 years had larger percentages without health insurance compared with white and Asian/Pacific Islander counterparts.
  • Colorectal cancer: In 2008, African Americans had the largest incidence and death rates from colorectal cancer of all racial and ethnic populations despite similar colorectal screening rates compared to white adults.
  • Influenza vaccination: During the 2010-11 influenza season, influenza vaccination coverage was similar for African-American and white children aged six months to 17 years but lower among African-American adults compared with white adults.
  • Socioeconomic factors: In 2011, similar to other minority adults aged 25 years or older, a larger percentage of African-American adults did not complete high school compared with white adults. A larger percentage of African American adults also lived below the poverty level and were unemployed (adults aged 18-64 years) compared with white adults of the same age.

disparityuninsured

Identifying disparities is a good start. However, to reduce them it is necessary to identify and implement solutions, both individually and institutionally. To this end, we will explore best practices in future Straight, No Chaser posts.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – Foods and Brain Healthy Habits

brainfood

I only get asked about this everyday, so let’s review keeping your brain healthy. Unfortunately too often some of you only ask at the point when early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has begun to develop, but this is another example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Also, these requests often seem to be related to some internet promise of health based on some fad or miracle cure. Remember the Straight, No Chaser dictum: your health won’t be found in a bottle.
In a previous post about how your brain works, we pointed out that your brain consumes a tremendous proportion of the body’s oxygen supply. So to begin the conversation, just remember that a diet promoting good blood flow throughout the body promotes good blood flow to the brain. I wish I could convince you that a baseline level of brain health is just this simple: consume a diet low in fat and cholesterol. If you’re not clogging the arteries in the rest of your body, you won’t be clogging arteries in your brain. The same things you’re doing to avoid diabetes and hypertension will help you here.
As such let’s provide an overview to five basic principles to keep your brain healthy. If you adhere to these, you can save the money you’re spending on ginkgo biloba.

brain health protect

Reduce your fat and cholesterol intake
It’s as simple as already discussed. High intake of these foods promotes a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Try these specific tips.

  • Use olive oil instead of other saturated fats.
  • Bake or grill your food instead of frying it.

brain health foods

Eat foods shown to protect and promote brain health
I want to make this simple. If you’re eating dark-skinned fruits and/or vegetables, you’re being good to your brain. These foods tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants fighting off damage to your brain cells. Here are some specific examples of brain healthy foods. Try working them into your diet.

  • Fruits – blackberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, red grapes and strawberries
  • Vegetables – alfalfa and Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, corn, eggplant, kale, onion, red bell pepper and spinach
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant
  • Fish – halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna (all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are brain healthy)

Vitamins
The best way to obtain brain-healthy vitamins is through a brain-healthy diet. Foods strong in vitamins E, C, B12 and folate appear to be important in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It should come as no surprise that the foods listed above meet that criteria. You may not know that obtaining vitamins through your food appears to deliver what you need better than taking pills.

brain health activities

Exercise
If you’re keeping your heart strong and pumping blood efficiently throughout your body, your brain is getting its needed supply of oxygen and nutrients. Check this Straight, No Chaser on basic exercise tips.
Be social, Be a lifelong learner
Exercise your brain through social interactions with others, especially those that “stimulate your brain.” The diversity of experience keeps different parts of your brain active, alert, functioning and healthy. Learn a new skill or language. It’s almost as good as starting over!
Another Straight, No Chaser will focus on additional ways for you to engage your brain to keep it working and working well.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Limit Your Risk of Contracting The Most Deadly Diseases

early-death-pair

It is interesting and, even more, curious to hear everyone obsess over how esoteric and rare conditions can potentially kill you. Word to the wise: Common things happen commonly.  I’m going to make this a very simple post (with links to previous Straight, No Chaser posts covering the individual topics in greater detail). Let’s help you extend your life expectancy by offering very simple tips (three to five for each) to prevent and combat the five most common causes of death. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you follow the achievable steps mentioned, you’ll be much better off than if you don’t.

Health_hazards

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are the five most common causes of death in the United States for the year ending 2010. (It takes awhile to compile data, but these are basically the leading causes year after year.) I’ve also included the number of annual deaths per condition.

 agingheart

Heart disease – Click here to learn early recognition of heart attacks.

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Exercise daily. Walk at least two miles each day. It’s a final common denomination of other problems and is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. You want your LDL (“bad cholesterol” levels) low and your HDL (“good cholesterol” levels) high. If your LDL and/or overall levels are high, it’s an immediate prompt to reduce your belly, change your diet and exercise more.
  • Limit your calories. Never supersize anything. Eat only until you’re full. Learn about healthy plate sizes.

cancer

Cancer – Cancer warrants a special comment to get screened! Early detection is the key to survival!

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.
  • Become physically active: strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week.
  • Limit sun exposure and avoid tanning. (Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.)
  • Limit alcohol intake to one to two drinks/day (women and men, respectively).

asthmarisk

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Get your home tested for radon.
  • Follow workplace guidelines for workplace exposures to particles known to cause cancer.

strokerecog
Stroke – Learn early detection.

  • Control your blood pressure. This is the most important risk factor in stroke prevention. High blood pressure increases your risk for a stroke four-fold.
  • Control your blood sugar levels. Diabetics have a 1.5 times higher risk of stroke.
  • Control your cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for a stroke between 1.5-2.5 times above the risk of non-smokers.
  • Control your weight through diet and exercise, which is bundled in each of the first three considerations.

mvc

Accidents

  • Learn CPR.
  • Wear safety belts (shoulder and lap) every trip. Seat belts reduce auto crashes by approximately 50%.
  • Stop all distracted driving (drinking, cell phone use, eating, etc.).
  • If you’re going to swim, and even if you know how to swim, take a formal lesson that focuses on life-saving maneuvers.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

risk

There is no fountain of youth. Your cure won’t be found in a bottle, a fad or any other quick fix. It really is about diet, exercise and risk management. The choices you make matter. Remember, although these tips were focused on prevention, early detection and treatment at the time of crisis give you the best chance to survive. Learn early detection of heart attacks and strokes, learn CPR, get screened for cancer and learn how to survive car crashes. It’s not that hard.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Diabetes


The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses diabetes. Learn about the early indicators of diabetes, over 18 Million people are undiagnosed. Please don’t let that be you! Have a healthy and Happy Holidays!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser In The News: The Life Expectancy of Americans Drops for the First Time in 20+ Years

lifeexpecthistory

This is not a quirk, coincidence or mistake. Accordingly to the National Center for Health Statistics, for the first time in over two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year. This information is as shocking as it is rare.

life-expectancy-causes-of-death-01

Death rates increased in eight of the top 10 leading causes of death, including the following:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Drug Overdoses
  • Accidents

Deaths from Alzheimer’s disease represented the largest rate increase for any disease.

life expectancy

Even more concerning, these findings extend across all age groups and follow a five-year trend in which improvement in death rates were among the smallest improvements seen in 40 years. Death rates increased for white men and women and Black men, roughly staying the same for Black women and Hispanics. In case you were wondering, this increase in death rates is not being reproduced in other Western nations. The message here is there is a clear recent reduction in the health of the American citizen.
Many are confused and speculating about the causes for the near global reduction in life expectancy. Instead of guessing when the answers aren’t yet clear, I’d advise you to look for answers in the reporting on the only real positive finding: cancer showed a reduction in the death rate from cancer. The public health community would agree that specific innovation increase better prevention (specifically, fewer people are smoking), earlier detection (self-exams and adherence to screening regimens) and the development of new treatments that work best with good baseline health and early detection.

life-expectancy

Straight, No Chaser has previously published a guide on how to live longer. Use these evidence-based pointers to buck the tide. Remember, misinformation and opinions are every bit as bad as bad health habits. Be informed and empowered.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

hypoglycemia1
In a previous post, I provided an overview of diabetes. Everyone knows about diabetes, and most understand how dangerous diabetes is over the long-term. However, as an emergency physician, I’m more concerned with what will kill you immediately, and on that front, low blood glucose (sugar) is usually much more concerning. I want you to know up front that a low enough blood glucose will kill you – now. As we say in the ER, a high glucose level will hurt you and may kill you, but a glucose level that goes to zero means ‘Cancel Christmas’.
Therefore I will start with a simple statement. Any diabetic (or individual known to have low glucose levels) with altered mental status needs to be given juice or if they can handle it, some soft food to chew on. If they’re in the midst of a high sugar reaction, it won’t make much of a difference, but if that glucose level was zero, you’ve just saved a life. Now let’s briefly discuss symptoms and causes.

hypoglycemia-enhd-ar1

Low glucose levels can present many different ways including dizziness, jitteriness, numbness, tingling, blackouts, seizures and other symptoms. However, it’s usually the confusion or other change in mental status that’s most predominant and concerning. Just remember, this is not something about which you should wait around to see if it gets better.
Regarding causes, unintentional overdosing of insulin or oral medication (particular the sulfonylureas class of medicines) are especially concerning and common. Sometimes a family member, particularly a child, may take such a medicine to disastrous effects. Beyond that, heavy alcohol consumption on an empty stomach is another common cause due to its effects on the liver (Alcohol locks glucose stores in the liver, preventing release to the blood; as a result you have less to use.).
Other causes are more exotic and fortunately less common; they will be evaluated upon arrival to the hospital when a rapid response isn’t seen with simple administration of glucose. Dysfunction of certain organs (the adrenal and pituitary glands, the liver due to hepatitis, or tumors of the pancreas – the organ that produces the insulin that drives glucose into your cells – can cause problems with regulating either glucose itself or insulin. These conditions can drive your blood glucose dangerously low.
So, the causes are varied, but the message is simple. Be careful with insulin administration, remember to check those blood sugar levels and act promptly in the face of mental status changes. Usually I note that time is tissue, but in this example, you’ll run out of time before your tissues are damaged.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Prevention and Treatment Considerations for Diabetic Eye Conditions

diabetic eye live_right_save_sight_logo

Several of you asked about the treatment of the eye conditions resulting from diabetes. This last Straight, No Chaser addressing Diabetes Awareness Month will focus on treatment approaches.
The first point – and one that can’t be overemphasized – is treatment is not a cure. As long as diabetes continues (and especially continues to be uncontrolled), symptoms will progress, and the diabetic-related causes of eye disorders will create ongoing difficulties, even after treatment of past problems has occurred. Thus, the first consideration is to understand steps you can take to prevent or slow the progression of the effects of diabetes on your eyes.
There actually are several preventive measures within your control. Consider implementing these.

diabetes-eye-exam

  • Keep your blood glucose and blood pressure as close to normal as you can. This involves dieting, exercising and taking your medication as prescribed.
  • Have an eye care professional examine your eyes annually – even if your vision is normal, and especially if your vision is normal. If you have good control of your diabetes, your eyes will tell part of that story, and you need to stay ahead of evolving problems. Of course, discovering problems early and getting prompt treatment gives you the best opportunity to maintain normal vision and to prevent advancement to more serious stages. Be proactive and ask your eye care professional to check for signs of cataracts and glaucoma.
  • If you are diabetic and planning to get pregnant, ask your doctor if you should have an eye exam.
  • If you are diabetic and pregnant, see an eye care professional during your first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Don’t smoke.

MoS2 Template Master

Recall that damaged older vessels or fragile new vessels has a propensity to bleed into the eye. This blood interferes with your ability to see normally. This severe, advanced diabetic retinopathy is treated with laser surgery, which helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels, thus reducing bleeding into the eye. The procedure involves 1,000 to 2,000 laser burns in the area of the retina (the lining in the back of your eye that senses light), causing the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Even as laser surgery saves much of your sight, patients often notice reduction or loss of side vision, color vision and/or night vision.
If the bleeding is especially severe, you may need a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. This procedure removes blood from the center of your eye.

VITRECTOMY

These procedures stabilize vision and in some instances may dramatically improve it. Focal laser treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent and the risk of blindness by 90 percent. However, laser surgery most often cannot restore vision that has already been lost. That is why finding diabetic retinopathy early should be your most important strategy to prevent vision loss. There are additional medical treatment options emerging meant to replace the need for surgery. If you suffer from diabetic retinopathy, discuss these options with your eye doctor.
Please remember, that although both laser treatments and vitrectomies are very effective in reducing vision loss, they are not cures. Once you have proliferative retinopathy, you always will be at risk for new bleeding. That said, people with progressive diabetic retinopathy have less than a five percent chance of becoming blind within five years of early treatment.

diabetic eyechecklist

Please use the preventive strategies and understand the treatment options available to you. Failure to do so could be devastating.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Diabetic Retinopathy and Other Eye Problems

diabetes-eye health

As you likely know, diabetics have a large amount of blood glucose (sugar) circulating in their blood. The high level of glucose can cause damage to many cells, including your eyes. If you’re diabetic, your challenge is to learn how to slow down the process. This Straight, No Chaser addresses relatively frequent effects of diabetes on your eyes.
How does diabetes hurt my eyes?
Diabetes has direct (through the effects of high blood glucose) and indirect (through high blood pressure) effects on four parts of your eye: the lining in the back of your eye that senses light (the retina), the jelly-like fluid that fills the back of the eye (the vitreous), the lens (serves to focus light on the retina) and the optic nerve (the main nerve from the eye to the brain).

diabetic eye vision

How can diabetes hurt the retinas of my eyes?

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the term for the most common eye problem of diabetics. The retinas have tiny blood vessels that are easy to damage and do become damaged by high glucose levels. As retina problems get worse, new blood vessels grow. These new blood vessels are fragile and susceptible to leaking blood into the back of the eye. The leaking blood keeps light from reaching the retina. This can result in a sensation of seeing floating spots or almost total darkness.
  • Over time, these damaged blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of the eye, causing detachment of the retina. A detached retina can cause loss of sight or blindness if you don’t take care of it right away.

How do I know if I have retina damage from diabetes?
You may or may not have any signs of retina damage, but here are the more common signs

diabetic retinopathy vision

  • blurry or double vision
  • dark or floating spots
  • pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes
  • rings, flashing lights, or blank spots
  • trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes

What other eye problems can happen to people with diabetes?
Cataracts and glaucoma are two other eye disorders that occur at a higher frequency in diabetics.

Cataracts

  • A cataract is a cloud over the normally clear lens of your eye. Remember, the lens focuses light onto the retina, so the presence of a cataract makes everything you look at seem cloudy. You need surgery to remove the cataract, which replaces the bad lens with a permanent plastic lens.

acute-angle-closure-glaucoma_3

  • Glaucoma is a condition resulting from pressure building up in the eye. Eventually, this will damage the optic nerve, which will progressively reduce your vision. Treating glaucoma involves eye drops to lower the pressure in your eyes or surgery for advanced cases.

Of course, you want to know what steps you can take to prevent or slow the occurrences of these eye conditions. These will be discussed in an upcoming Straight, No Chaser.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Diabetes Basics and the Importance of Education

diabetesed

Diabetes is a disease in which education is vital. For a diabetic, knowing the disease well allows him or her to better prevent long-term consequences of the disease. It also allows the diabetic to make real-time adjustments when sick or otherwise  in danger acutely. In Straight, No Chaser, we’ve provided a series of posts meant to empower diabetics (and you can review any or all of them via the search box on the right). Remember, it all should start with a basic understanding of the disease.
We eat, and the process of digestion is for the purpose of converting food into glucose (sugar) that’s used by our body for energy. The blood delivers the glucose to different organs of the body where the cells take it up for use. In order for that process to work, an organ that’s part of the digestive tract called the pancreas has to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin facilitates the glucose getting from the blood to inside the cells. Diabetes is a disease where insulin isn’t being made by the pancreas or isn’t working optimally.
Now think about what happens when you’re not getting sugar into your cells. It’s as if you’re starving (because physiologically, you might as well be). You get symptoms such as weight loss, hunger, fatigue and excessive thirst. Because your cells don’t have energy, they aren’t functioning well. In fact, blood and nerve vessels lose significant function, resulting in significant vision loss and lack of sensitivity in your extremities. Anyone who’s been a diabetic for about 10 years know this because you’re wearing glasses and because you’ve lost a fair amount of sensation, especially in your feet. There are other symptoms that are variations of the same theme, including excessive urination, dry skin, increased infection rate and slower healing from those infections – all due to poor function of your blood vessels.
Sometimes diabetes is a disease that happens to you because of unlucky genetics (or simply a family history). Other times it is a disease that you find. Risk factors for developing diabetes includes obesity, older age, and physical inactivity. Gestational diabetes (i.e. that occurring during pregnancy) is an entirely different conversation.

diabetes-treadmill

Let’s take a moment to discuss prevention and treatment. There are different types of diabetes, but the risk of one form of diabetes in particular can be reduced by – you guessed it – diet and exercise. In fact, diet, exercise and medications are the three legs of the diabetes treatment stool regardless of type. Some patients require regular insulin injections and others require pills. Still others who are successful with diet and exercise are able to markedly reduce, and in some instances eliminate medications.
If you’re a diabetic, make an investment in your education. It could not only save your legs or eyes, but it may just save your life. I welcome your questions and comments.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Fifteen Tips to Care for Diabetic Skin, Part 2

diabetes-awareness

In the previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the frailty of  diabetic skin and discussed how that sets one up for skin infections, abscesses, ulcers, amputations and even death. Your best defense from these set of illnesses and tragedies is knowledge, prevention and prompt action.  Here are some steps you can take to better care for the diabetic in your life. In the event you know a diabetic who appears healthy, I want you to pay special attention to him/her. Diabetes is a chronic and insidious disease. These changes occur over years, and your challenge is to slow the process down as long as possible.
If you have diabetes, these tips may help prevent skin damage and infections:
1. Do the best you can to control your blood glucose levels. The more out of control it is, the more damage it causes.
2. You must check your feet every single day for the rest of your life. Diabetics develop decreased sensitivity to their feet. It is extremely common to step on a sharp object and not realize that you’ve done so. A splinter or nail is an excellent medium for an infection.
3. Eat fruits and vegetables. Your skin needs all the nourishment it can get.

Diabeticskin

4. Develop better hygiene. Wash and dry your skin often and thoroughly; this will keep you less exposed to infections.

5. Make a point of keeping your groin, armpits and other areas prone to heavy sweat dry. Those moist areas in particular are most prone to becoming infected. Talcum powder is a good choice to use.
6. Stay hydrated. It’s an uphill battle with the frequent urination and high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Dehydration causes your skin to be more brittle and prone to infections.
7. Stay moisturized! Apply lotion early and often, especially after baths. Note those dry, cracked feet and get ahead of that happening if possible.

dmgangrene

8. Remember: if you’re diabetic, at some point your hands will retain sensation longer than your finger. It’s common to see scald injuries from stepping in water hot enough to burn you without you feeling it initially. Check the water with your hands before stepping into a tub.
9. Use a milder, less irritating soaps that includes moisturizer. Speaking of tubs, avoid bubble baths. Sorry.
10. Consider investing in a humidifier to prevent skin drying, especially in dry or cold climates.

Diabetic Foot

11. Always take any skin wounds seriously, especially those on your feet. Avoid placing alcohol on any of your wounds.
12. Invest in some sterile gauze. If you develop a scratch or other wound, control the wound with it after cleaning.
13. Limit your self-help to cleaning and gauze wrapping. Only place topical antibiotics or take antibiotics for a skin infection under your physician’s supervision.

diabetic-general-footcare

14. Always ask your physician to check your skin during an examination and ask him/her to teach you what to look for.
15. Immediately consult your physician or access the local emergency room if you have a burn, scratch, abscess (boil) or laceration that seems serious.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Limit Your Risk of Contracting The Most Deadly Diseases

early-death-pair

It is interesting and, even more, curious to hear everyone obsess over how esoteric and rare conditions can potentially kill you. Word to the wise: Common things happen commonly.  I’m going to make this a very simple post (with links to previous Straight, No Chaser posts covering the individual topics in greater detail). Let’s help you extend your life expectancy by offering very simple tips (three to five for each) to prevent and combat the five most common causes of death. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you follow the achievable steps mentioned, you’ll be much better off than if you don’t.

Health_hazards

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are the five most common causes of death in the United States for the year ending 2010. (It takes awhile to compile data, but these are basically the leading causes year after year.) I’ve also included the number of annual deaths per condition.

 agingheart

Heart disease – Click here to learn early recognition of heart attacks.

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Exercise daily. Walk at least two miles each day. It’s a final common denomination of other problems and is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. You want your LDL (“bad cholesterol” levels) low and your HDL (“good cholesterol” levels) high. If your LDL and/or overall levels are high, it’s an immediate prompt to reduce your belly, change your diet and exercise more.
  • Limit your calories. Never supersize anything. Eat only until you’re full. Learn about healthy plate sizes.

cancer

Cancer – Cancer warrants a special comment to get screened! Early detection is the key to survival!

  • Don’t use tobacco in any form.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.
  • Become physically active: strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity at least five days a week.
  • Limit sun exposure and avoid tanning. (Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers.)
  • Limit alcohol intake to one to two drinks/day (women and men, respectively).

asthmarisk

Chronic lower respiratory diseases

  • Stop smoking and exposing yourself to second-hand smoke.
  • Get your home tested for radon.
  • Follow workplace guidelines for workplace exposures to particles known to cause cancer.

strokerecog
Stroke – Learn early detection.

  • Control your blood pressure. This is the most important risk factor in stroke prevention. High blood pressure increases your risk for a stroke four-fold.
  • Control your blood sugar levels. Diabetics have a 1.5 times higher risk of stroke.
  • Control your cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases your risk for a stroke between 1.5-2.5 times above the risk of non-smokers.
  • Control your weight through diet and exercise, which is bundled in each of the first three considerations.

mvc

Accidents

  • Learn CPR.
  • Wear safety belts (shoulder and lap) every trip. Seat belts reduce auto crashes by approximately 50%.
  • Stop all distracted driving (drinking, cell phone use, eating, etc.).
  • If you’re going to swim, and even if you know how to swim, take a formal lesson that focuses on life-saving maneuvers.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

risk

There is no fountain of youth. Your cure won’t be found in a bottle, a fad or any other quick fix. It really is about diet, exercise and risk management. The choices you make matter. Remember, although these tips were focused on prevention, early detection and treatment at the time of crisis give you the best chance to survive. Learn early detection of heart attacks and strokes, learn CPR, get screened for cancer and learn how to survive car crashes. It’s not that hard.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Reviewing (the Claims Made within) the Netflix Documentary "What The Health"

Per your request, I’ve looked at the movie “What the Health,” which apparently is all the rage and significantly promoting conversion to a vegan diet. Now I really have little interest in reviewing movies, but in this instance, I am very interested in reviewing a few of the claims that were presented in it. In general, I found it an even more interesting exercise in filmmaking than a commentary about health, but the attempts are interesting enough to warrant a serious commentary in this space. Simply put, regarding the movie, it was all too obvious that it was agenda-based, and the movie is a horribly constructed attempt to draw linear relationships between considerations that are much more complex than presented. The movie’s bias and subsequent problems were clearly revealed within the first few moments of it…

You lost me at “I’m a recovering hypochondriac.”

However, in the spirit of “a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut,” there are some principles that are very important to consider and try to understand.

  • We all would do well to follow a plant-based diet. However, following a plant-based diet is not the same as becoming a vegan or vegetarian. It should involve an understanding that the most fundamental way to health is through generous portions of fruits, vegetables and water, not through any meats and fluids that have been chemically manipulated in the way these things occur today.
  • The next time you’re looking for a “fad” or preferably healthy eating, think more about fiber and less about protein. Remember: most any actual diet will work if you stick with it.
  • Being comfortable about your appearance at a certain weight should not translate to your deceiving yourself into being oblivious about the health consequences of being overweight or obese.

To its credit, this movie illustrates many problems with the conversations that surround healthcare:

  • Physicians and others in academic medicine often are unable to clearly communicate with the patients and the lay population.
  • The lay population often completely misinterprets medical information and lacks the ability to critically analyze the body of medical research.
  • There is an extremely uncomfortable involvement of the pharmaceutical and food industries with the entities tasked with protecting our health interests.

Perhaps the greatest faux pas of the movie is the way it “mocks” moderation. Again, this clearly demonstrates an all-too-common problem medical professionals have in appreciating the role health has in people’s lives. I have long described health as a currency, not an absolute. Each of us chooses to “spend” our health on the items that are of value in our lives. Thus we occasional engage in habits that would be deemed “unhealthy” by an absolutist (e.g. eating desert, having an occasional drink or cigar). However, these types of actions are needed by many to maintain “quality of life,” regardless of the health consequences. The medical community would do well to respect the feelings of the general population along those lines and work with patients to customize care to promote both health and quality of life.
Another major mistake is the overstatement on the condition of our population’s general health. Although it is very accurate to suggest targeted efforts are needed in eradicating the health consequences for specific individuals and communities affected by the business practices of the food and pharmaceutical industries, and obesity and heart disease are ravaging the health of individuals, it demonstrates a lack of honesty to not also report that the life expectancy of the general population has dramatically improved over the last few generations and continues to improve. What this means for you as an individual is you do in fact have an opportunity to improve your individual condition and life expectancy by adhering to a plant-based diet that is high in fiber, but to present our collective circumstances as gloom and doom unless we all immediately eschew all meats is a bridge too far and ignores public health data.

There are two final points that bear discussion, and I will do so in tandem and in summary. One scene that was meant to be especially damning in the movie was centered on the refusal of the Chief Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to discuss the role of diet and diabetes, as if diabetes can be eliminated in two weeks by adhering to a plant-based diet (please don’t be that gullible). The point the filmmaker couldn’t seem to understand was actually rather clear: there is infinitely more data proving the treatment of disease (relative to diabetes and heart disease) than there is definitive data proving the specifics of a diet that will specifically and universally prevent diabetes and heart disease. The filmmaker’s effort to push a narrative of collusion between the food industries and groups like the ADA and the American Heart Association was quite transparent. To whatever extend that narrative may be true, the effectiveness of the point was minimized by the tactics of the filmmaker.
In fact, the key to life, health and the pursuit of happiness is recognizing in many examples, it is about moderation. With the exception of specific, immediate life-threatening toxins, most of the items in your diet aren’t all bad. For example, a certain amount of fat is needed within the body as a conduit to help absorb required vitamins. Similarly, carbohydrates are needed for energy.
If you’re looking for a takeaway from the movie or how to apply all that was thrown at you in the movie, keep it simple.

  • Appreciate that everything you place in your mouth either helps or hurts you. Make better food choices and make efforts to migrate toward a higher intake of plants and foods that increase fiber.
  • Drink water!
  • Don’t rely on medicines for your health. If your interest in your health begins at the point in which you’ve developed a disease, you’re too late.
  • If you focus on your health, yes you will begin to eliminate toxins and introduce incremental improvements regarding whatever is ailing you, but please don’t believe your lifelong ailments will magically disappear. The more important point is to get a plan, get focused, get started, and keep at it. You will see the difference.

It stands to reason that I should point out that Straight, No Chaser is no in any way supported or influenced by corporate sponsorship.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
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Straight, No Chaser: Brain Health – Foods and Brain Healthy Habits

brainfood

I only get asked about this everyday, so let’s review keeping your brain healthy. Unfortunately too often some of you only ask at the point when early dementia or Alzheimer’s disease has begun to develop, but this is another example of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. Also, these requests often seem to be related to some internet promise of health based on some fad or miracle cure. Remember the Straight, No Chaser dictum: your health won’t be found in a bottle.
In a previous post about how your brain works, we pointed out that your brain consumes a tremendous proportion of the body’s oxygen supply. So to begin the conversation, just remember that a diet promoting good blood flow throughout the body promotes good blood flow to the brain. I wish I could convince you that a baseline level of brain health is just this simple: consume a diet low in fat and cholesterol. If you’re not clogging the arteries in the rest of your body, you won’t be clogging arteries in your brain. The same things you’re doing to avoid diabetes and hypertension will help you here.
As such let’s provide an overview to five basic principles to keep your brain healthy. If you adhere to these, you can save the money you’re spending on ginkgo biloba.

brain health protect

Reduce your fat and cholesterol intake
It’s as simple as already discussed. High intake of these foods promotes a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Try these specific tips.

  • Use olive oil instead of other saturated fats.
  • Bake or grill your food instead of frying it.

brain health foods

Eat foods shown to protect and promote brain health
I want to make this simple. If you’re eating dark-skinned fruits and/or vegetables, you’re being good to your brain. These foods tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants fighting off damage to your brain cells. Here are some specific examples of brain healthy foods. Try working them into your diet.

  • Fruits – blackberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, red grapes and strawberries
  • Vegetables – alfalfa and Brussels sprouts, beets, broccoli, corn, eggplant, kale, onion, red bell pepper and spinach
  • Nuts – almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant
  • Fish – halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna (all contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are brain healthy)

Vitamins
The best way to obtain brain-healthy vitamins is through a brain-healthy diet. Foods strong in vitamins E, C, B12 and folate appear to be important in lowering your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. It should come as no surprise that the foods listed above meet that criteria. You may not know that obtaining vitamins through your food appears to deliver what you need better than taking pills.

brain health activities

Exercise
If you’re keeping your heart strong and pumping blood efficiently throughout your body, your brain is getting its needed supply of oxygen and nutrients. Check this Straight, No Chaser on basic exercise tips.
Be social, Be a lifelong learner
Exercise your brain through social interactions with others, especially those that “stimulate your brain.” The diversity of experience keeps different parts of your brain active, alert, functioning and healthy. Learn a new skill or language. It’s almost as good as starting over!
Another Straight, No Chaser will focus on additional ways for you to engage your brain to keep it working and working well.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Healthcare Disparities

Disparities

In large part, this blog exists to inform individuals of all backgrounds about the risks that lead to abnormal health outcomes. Our hope is that once you discover the risks, you’ll be sufficiently equipped and incentivized to take the simple steps provided to improve your health.
Disparities are abnormal outcomes of a different variety. Disparities in healthcare lead to premature development of disease and death. The culprits are often insufficient access to care, culture barriers, habits and even discriminatory practices. It is critical for all involved, i.e., individuals, healthcare planners and practitioners, to understand these causes so that everyone can adjust habits and apply resources to combat this health hazard affecting both individuals and communities.
For the last 25 years of my career, I’ve had the unfortunate privilege of addressing this topic in national forums, including before the National Urban League, before the National Medical Association, recently, in the NAACP’s The Crisis magazine and in Straight, No Chaser to extent that our service provides you with the information that can make a difference in your lives. Unfortunately for some, it’s almost never that easy.

 disparities_infant-mortality

As a statement of fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Health Disparities & Inequalities Report 
of 2013, African-Americans suffer global health disparities that result in the following outcomes.

  • Life expectancy: In 2011, the average American could expect to live 78.7 years. The average African-American could only expect to live 75.3 years, compared with 78.8 years for the average White American.
  • Death rates: In 2009, African-Americans had the highest death rates from homicide among all racial and ethnic populations. Rates among African-American males were the highest for males across all age groups.
  • Infant mortality rates: In 2008, infants of African-American women had the highest death rate among American infants with a rate more than twice as high as infants of white women.

 disparitydm

The following disparities were also reported:

  • Heart disease and stroke: In 2009, African-Americans had the largest death rates from heart disease and stroke compared with other racial and ethnic populations, with disparities across all age groups younger than 85 years of age.
  • High blood pressure: From 2007-2010, the prevalence of hypertension was among adults aged 65 years and older, African-American adults, US-born adults, adults with less than a college education, adults who received public health insurance (18-64 years old) and those with diabetes, obesity or a disability compared with their counterparts. The percentages of African-Americans and Hispanics who had control of high blood pressure were lower compared to white adults.
  • Obesity: From 2007-2010, the prevalence of obesity among adults was highest among African-American women compared with white and Mexican American women and men. Obesity prevalence among African-American adults was the largest compared to other race ethnicity groups.
  • Diabetes: In 2010, the prevalence of diabetes among African-American adults was nearly twice as large as that for white adults.
  • Activity limitations caused by chronic conditions: From 1999-2008, the number of years of expected life free of activity limitations caused by chronic conditions is disproportionately higher for African-American adults than whites.
  • Periodontitis: In 2009-2010, the prevalence of periodontitis (a form of dental disease) was greatest among African-American and Mexican American adults compared with white adults.
  • HIV: In 2010, African-American adults had the largest HIV infection rate compared with rates among other racial and ethnic populations. Prescribed HIV treatment among African-American adults living with HIV was less than among white adults.
  • Access to care: In 2010, Hispanic and African-American adults aged 18-64 years had larger percentages without health insurance compared with white and Asian/Pacific Islander counterparts.
  • Colorectal cancer: In 2008, African-Americans had the largest incidence and death rates from colorectal cancer of all racial and ethnic populations despite similar colorectal screening rates compared to white adults.
  • Influenza vaccination: During the 2010-11 influenza season, influenza vaccination coverage was similar for African-American and white children aged six months to 17 years but lower among African-American adults compared with white adults.
  • Socioeconomic factors: In 2011, similar to other minority adults aged 25 years or older, a larger percentage of African-American adults did not complete high school compared with white adults. A larger percentage of African-American adults also lived below the poverty level and were unemployed (adults aged 18-64 years) compared with white adults of the same age.

disparityuninsured

Identifying disparities is a good start. However, to reduce them it is necessary to identify and implement solutions, both individually and institutionally. To this end, we will explore best practices in future Straight, No Chaser posts. Feel free to ask any questions you have on this topic.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Diabetes


The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses diabetes. Learn about the early indicators of diabetes, over 18 Million people are undiagnosed. Please don’t let that be you! Have a healthy and Happy Holidays!
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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