The Prevalence and Risk of Diabetes in the Elderly

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

There’s no sugar-coating these facts. According to the latest statistics released by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects over 29 million Americans – that’s just over 9 percent of our population. However, diabetes in the elderly is even more prevalent; Americans aged 65 and over account for about 11.8 million of those with diabetes, meaning that about 1 in 4 seniors suffers from the disease. What may be even more sobering is the fact that, by-and-large, individuals with elderly diabetes could have taken action to prevent or delay the condition, which is caused in part by lifestyle choices.

There are two types of diabetes that typically affect different portions of the population: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 was previously known as juvenile diabetes, as it is typically diagnosed in children and younger adults, and is caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin, a hormone that allows the body to use sugar as energy. Type 1 diabetes accounts for only about 5 percent of diabetes cases. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, accounts for the overwhelming majority of diabetes in the elderly and other age groups. This form of diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which is when the body does not properly use the insulin that it creates. Many doctors believe insulin resistance has a possible link to risk factors like obesity and high blood pressure.

Those who are risk for developing type 2 diabetes often have “pre-diabetes,” or higher than normal blood sugar levels that are not quite high enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. For older adults whose lifestyles may leave them at risk for diabetes, it is imperative to schedule regular blood sugar level checks with their doctor. If you are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, the Centers for Disease Control also recommends losing 5 to 7 percent of one’s body weight and getting at least two and a half hours of weekly exercise, steps that previous successful studies have shown can delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes.

When it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes in the elderly, those at risk truly play the most important role. If this includes you, talk to your doctor today about how you can begin to combat the risk of diabetes.

The Heart of the Matter: Heart Disease Preventions & Risk Factors

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Valentine’s Day hearts serve as a reminder of love to many; for others, they’re a reminder of an organ in need of more than a box of chocolates. Heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women, and often the number one topic of conversation in regards to the health of older adults. When it comes to combating heart disease, being aware of heart disease risk factors and the potential strategies for effective heart disease prevention is the first step toward a happier, healthier heart.

Heart Disease Risk Factors
The underlying cause of most heart diseases is a dangerous process involving a build-up of plaque on the walls of the arteries. Known as atherosclerosis, this build-up can lead to a number of problems as the plaque blocks blood flow to important parts of the body. Among many complications caused by atherosclerosis lies the most common type of heart disease, known as either coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD). Significant risk factors for developing this disease and other forms of heart disease include diabetes, being overweight or obese, excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a poor diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Heart Disease Prevention
Heart disease prevention largely boils down to making lifestyle choices that limit or avoid these heart disease risk factors. This, of course, begins with being aware whether you’re already at risk for heart disease. Have a conversation with your doctor about how you can personally approach heart disease prevention, which may include seeing if you should be tested for diabetes, or finding out if your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels are within a healthy range. If these levels are not in a good place, your doctor can help put together a plan to change that. Such a plan should include quitting smoking if you do, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising frequently, and working towards a healthy weight, if necessary.

Over 600,000 Americans die from heart disease each year, and taking simple steps now is the best means of preventing future loss. Above all, heart disease prevention starts with acknowledgement of its danger, and continues with a conversation between you and your doctor. Get to the “heart of the matter” today with these first steps toward reducing your risk of heart disease.

What is the Best Cooking Oil for You?

Posted by in Mind and Spirit.

Nature’s oils are extracted from a variety of sources. Different types of cooking oil have unique flavors, smoke points and nutritional value. So what is the best cooking oil for you?

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
It’s the Italian kitchen mainstay, and it should always be within arm’s reach in your kitchen, too. Extra-virgin olive oil is high in healthy fats and antioxidants, and its savory flavor pairs wonderfully with pastas, vegetables, poultry and fish. When you have olive oil, there’s no need to mess with fancy (and expensive) sauces or rubs for your steaks, either. Pat some extra-virgin olive oil onto your steak with some salt and pepper before grilling, and you’ll be set.

Vegetable Oil

It’s not always obvious what the source of your vegetable oil is, until you check the label on the bottle. Most vegetable oils are derived from soy beans, but they could also be sourced from nuts, seeds and corn. Canola oil is itself a type of vegetable oil that is made from rapeseeds, and either canola or vegetable oil will always serve as a dependable and inexpensive standby in your pantry, should you run out of other more healthy oils. These oils have a very long shelf life, a high smoke point, and they can be used to cook just about anything. However, these types of cooking oils lack the antioxidants that are found in extra-virgin olive oil.

Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is the best cooking oil for roasting and pan-frying dishes at a high heat. Its high smoke point can handle the blazing temps, and peanut oil also packs a unique, healthful punch. The nutty oil contains phytosterols, which reduce your risk of heart disease.

Grapeseed Oil
Very high in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3s and omega-6s, grapeseed oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point. It can be an excellent choice when firing up the wok for a stir-fry, but in-demand grapeseed oil can also put quite the dent in your wallet — so save this oil for special occasions.

Coconut Oil
Containing a high level of saturated fat, the oil of the coconut remains solid at room temperature, and it makes a healthy substitute for butter in your favorite recipes. Not only that, but coconut oil can be applied to the skin as a moisturizer, makeup remover, and an anti-inflammatory. For all its uses, a jar of coconut oil is a great addition to not only the kitchen, but your home.