Dangers and Complications of Diabetes

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Over the years, I’ve written about the dangers and complications of diabetes, but I recently came across some staggering figures from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affecting the senior population. I know many seniors who are in the pre-diabetes stage, but many of them take it in stride and don’t seem to understand the consequences.

Here are the statistics that may be of concern to you:

  • Among U.S. residents aged 65 years and older, 10.9 million, or 26.9%,  had diabetes in 2010.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.

The estimated number of new cases in 2010 was also remarkable. For those between 45 to 54 it was 1,052,000 and for those 65 and over it was 390,000 making it a total of almost 1.5 million people. Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. Once they acquire these illnesses, they often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

People with diabetes aged 60 years or older are 2–3 times more likely to report an inability to walk one-quarter of a mile, climb stairs, or do housework compared with people without diabetes in the same age group. Diabetes is a lifestyle disease and can be reversed, but it takes a lot of work. If you need a partner to get started and hold you accountable, check out the Gracefully Age Program and grow out of being a diabetic statistic.

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Edamame or Soy Beans

Soy Beans in Pod

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us and many of us have overeaten, are you thinking of perhaps incorporating some healthier foods into your diet? If you’ve never had edamame (pronounced eh-dah-mah-meh) or soy beans, it might be something to consider. It’s generally available as an appetizer in Japanese restaurants and readily available in the freezer section of Asian supermarkets either shelled or in the pod. Sometimes you can even find fresh ones in the vegetable section.

Edamame is one of the few plant sources of complete protein and is a great source of antioxidants and high in fiber. When shelled, they look like small lima beans. The taste is unique and mild. They make an excellent snack or a great addition to a salad.

What are the benefits of soy?

  • Keeps bones strong. It contains isoflavones which are estrogen-like compounds that improve bone density and hence, reduce fractures.
  • Fights heart disease. Edamame is one of the few non-fish sources of omega-3 fats which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Soy can also lower your cholesterol.
  • Beneficial for dieters. Because it’s high in protein, it will fill you up quickly and you won’t overeat. It will also “stick to your ribs” longer. If you snack on the soy beans in the pod, it takes work so you’ll eat more slowly and eat less.

If buying the frozen beans in the pod, check the directions on the package. It’s very simple, but if you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake, eliminate the salt when boiling the beans. Happy, healthy eating!

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Is Excessive Exercise Dangerous?

If you’ve been following me in this blog, you know that I am a big proponent of exercise. From the beginning, I’ve been telling you to just take baby steps and simply get off the couch and start walking a little each day. However, I saw an article that quoted Dr. Robert J. Rowen and it had to do with excessive exercise. Is too much exercise a bad thing? Robert RowenIs excessive exercise dangerous?

Dr. Rowen says that excessive exercise can be dangerous because it increases your metabolism, so the chemical reactions accelerate. The process generates free radicals, which can damage cells.When you exercise in moderation, however, your cells have a chance to adapt and repair.

Of course, if you’re just starting out, you want to make sure that you consult your medical professional and start out slowly.The American Heart Association says that your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. You can also use a calculator or a different one here. You can also use Dr. Rowen’s formula: subtract your age from 220 and multiply by 0.8. For example, if you’re 60, 220-60 =160; 160 x 0.8 = 128. So a heart rate of 128 is a relatively safe heart-rate target for a 60-year-old without signs of heart disease.

Start gradually and work up to a moderate level. I also add nutritional supplements to my diet, one of which is to protect the heart. For more information, click here.

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Why a Mammogram

Mammogram Machine

Mammogram Machine

I was sitting in the waiting room of a radiological center waiting for my yearly torture — a mammogram — and catching up on my Prevention magazine. What a coincidence that I saw a small article that said that mammography may identify women at increased risk of stroke. The article said a large number of benign calcium deposits may indicate plaque buildup in the arteries. The study, headed by Paul S. Dale, MD, was done at the University of Missouri. Plaque buildup, or atherosclerosis, in the arteries leading to the brain is a major cause of stroke.

There have also been previous studies that have shown a link between calcium deposits and diabetes and heart disease.  In this new research, researchers examined the mammograms of 793 healthy women, ages 40 to 90, with no history of stroke, heart disease, or diabetes.

They found the following:

  • 86 of the women, or about 11%, had calcification
  • Of 204 women who had a stroke, 115 or 56%, had calcification

Since I’m fortunate to not have any breast cancer in my immediate family, I had tried to talk my doctor out of getting a mammogram, but perhaps there might be more than one reason to have one. I encourage you to get one as well.

Ever heard of a vitamin that cleans your arteries? Click here.

Lovaza is the first and only prescription fish oil prescribed for very high triglycerides. It has a concentrated amount of omega-3 fatty acids which is the substance that lowers triglycerides. You would need to take just four pills instead of 12 over the counter fish oil pills. At my local Rite-Aid Pharmacy, I was quoted a price of $208 for a one month supply, but if you have no insurance, they will give you a 20% discount.

Here are the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) — created in 1985 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) — guidelines for triglyceride levels:

There are counter arguments regarding this prescription fish oil. Two Web sites, one written by a cardiologist and another by an internist, are worth looking at. I love the view of Dr. William Davis: Your health belongs to you, not your doctor!

http://budurl.com/vxx4 and http://budurl.com/rcxq

If you believe that over-the-counter fish oil is for you, look for the label “USP Verified” which means that they have been tested by the U.S. Pharmacopeia for purity and potency. Or, buy from companies you know and trust. Personally, I take a product from http://budurl.com/ryqp. This product undergoes molecular distillation where toxins like mercury are removed. Make sure the product you choose has the same high standard. As we grow older, if we’re not careful, our triglycerides rise as well. Add fish oil supplements to prevent your triglycerides from climbing to a dangerous level.

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