Diabetes Update: Help Prevent Diabetes with Healthy Eating

diabetesEverywhere you turn, there is news about what is or isn’t good for you. Some basic principles have weathered the fad diets and have stood the test of time, says the American Diabetes Association. Here are their tips for making healthful food choices:

  • Eat a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • Choose whole-grain foods over processed grain products. Try brown rice with your stir fry or whole-wheat spaghetti.
  • Include dried beans (like kidney or pinto beans) and lentils in your meals.
  • Include fish in your meals two to three times per week.
  • Choose lean meats such as cuts of beef and pork that end in “loin” (pork loin, sirloin, etc.) Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
  • Choose non-fat dairy items such as skim milk, non-fat yogurt and non-fat cheese.
  • Choose liquid oils, such as canola oil or olive oil, for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats.


“Diabesity” in America

type-2-diabetes2The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 2 out of 5 Americans are now expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. A new study finds that the increase is related to the rise in obesity rate combined with our lengthening lifespans.

Some minority groups are being hit even harder. 50 percent of black women and hispanic men and women will likely develop type 2 diabetes over the course of their adult lives.

Researchers evaluated medical records for over 600,000 people between 1985 to 2011. They found that the lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes increased for the average 20-year-old American man, jumping from nearly 21 percent in the late 1980s to just over 40 percent in 2011. For women, it grew from 27 percent to 40 percent in the same time period. 

The article notes, “Doctors have coined the term ‘diabesity’ to reflect the combined effects of the diabetes and obesity epidemics.”

The good news is that with the improvements in medical treatment, people with type 2 diabetes are living longer.

The key to reversing this trend is better preventative health technics: daily exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep.

–Source: WebMD’s article “40% of Americans Will Develop Diabetes: CDC”

12 Influenza Myths and Facts

Are You in the Know?

flu season aheadHave questions or concerns about getting this year’s flu vaccine? Many people do. Here are some of the most frequently held myths and the truth behind them.

1) Myth: You can get influenza from a flu shot.
     Fact: The flu shot does not contain the live virus, so it is impossible to get influenza from the vaccine. Side effects may occur in some people, such as mild soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, headache, or a low-grade fever. Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to help prevent influenza. Another explanation is that it is possible to be exposed to influenza viruses, which cause the flu, shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period after vaccination that it takes the body to develop immune protection. This exposure may result in a person becoming ill with flu before protection from the vaccine takes effect.

2) Myth: Influenza is no more than a nuisance, much like the common cold, that cannot be prevented.
     Fact: Influenza, commonly referred to as “the flu,” is a severe respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death. Each year in the U.S., on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

3) Myth: There is no treatment for the flu.
     Fact: Two antiviral drugs are highly effective against the flu: Tamiflu, taken as a pill, and Relenza, which is inhaled. It is important to start these drugs within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. But the drugs are beneficial even if taken 48 hours after the first signs of flu. Neither Tamiflu nor Relenza cures the flu. But they can reduce the amount of time you’re sick by one or two days and make you less contagious to others. These drugs work with both the typical strains of seasonal flu as well as swine flu.

4) Myth: Antibiotics can fight the flu.
     Fact: Antibiotics only fight bacterial infections. Flu is a virus, not caused by a bacteria. So antibiotics have no effect on any kind of flu.

5) Myth: There’s only one type of vaccine available to help protect against the influenza virus.
     Fact: Influenza vaccine options are available for children, adults and seniors. Talk to your pharmacist to find out more about the vaccine option that’s right for each family member. For example, the nasal flu vaccine is not recommended for children under 2, adults over 50, or those with certain chronic illnesses.

6) Myth: Young & healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated.
     Fact: It’s true that the flu vaccination is routinely recommended for people who have a chronic illness. But everyone can benefit from being vaccinated. Current guidelines suggest that children ages 6 months to 19 years old, pregnant women, and anyone over age 49 be vaccinated each year. In addition, the flu shot is recommended for healthy people who might spread the virus to others who are particularly susceptible. For this reason, health care workers are routinely advised to get the flu vaccination to protect their patients. Of course, you never really know who is or isn’t immune suppressed, so you might as well get the flu shot.

7) Myth: If you get the flu, you can’t get it again during that flu season.
     Fact: Many people assume that if you have already has the flu this season, you cannot get it again; however, flu infection can happen from more than one strain of virus.

8) Myth: You do not need to get a flu shot every year.
     Fact: The influenza virus changes (mutates) each year. So getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains most likely to cause an outbreak.

9) Myth: You cannot spread the flu if you’re feeling well.
     Fact: Actually, 20% to 30% of people carrying the influenza virus have no symptoms.

10) Myth: Vaccines are dangerous.
      Fact: In recent years, there has been a growing mistrust of vaccines, including the flu vaccine. Some people believe that there could be a link between vaccines, specifically the ingredient thimerosal, and developmental disorders in children, like autism. However, there is no evidence that vaccines cause autism, and experts say that we are losing sight of how important vaccines are to preventing life-threatening illnesses.

11) Myth: Cold weather causes the flu.
      Fact: No matter how many times your mother told you that you would catch cold from not wearing your winter coat, , going outside without it does not increase your risk of flu. The rise and fall of flu season each year has more to do with the natural cycle of the virus, although experts aren’t exactly sure how it works.

12) Myth: If you have not gotten the seasonal flu vaccine by November, there’s no point getting vaccinated.
      Fact: While supplies of vaccine used to run out by November, that is not the case anymore. Nowadays, there should be enough vaccine for anyone who wants it, and you should be able to get it as late as December or January. Besides, the flu often doesn’t hit its peak until February or sometimes as late as March. So no matter the month, if you haven’t had your flu vaccine yet, go get it. You could spare yourself and your family a lot of misery.

Still have concerns? A Moye’s Pharmacist will be happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Just come on by.

— Sources:
American Lung Association’s Influenza Prevention Program
Harvard Health Publications

I’m Washing My Hands … What Else Can I Do to Help Prevent the Flu?

hand-washingWashing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid catching the flu this winter. But there are other things you can do to help protect yourself. (And you got that flu shot, right? If not, there’s still time for it to help protect you this season. But get a move on!)

■ Avoid touching your face, unless you have clean hands. The eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for flu viruses.

■ Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately.

■ Avoid sharing objects (cups, utensils, etc.). Wipe down shared equipment such as phones and keyboards.

■ Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune system functioning, thus lowering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu.

■ Drink more water. You may not feel as thirsty during fall and winter, but it’s important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Consume at least eight glasses a day.

— Source: University of California, Berkeley