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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

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Healthy New Year's Resolutions It’s that time of year again. Time to start making your New Year’s Resolutions (if you haven’t already).  runner Mindful eating practices. These days, it’s common to chow down with your eyes glued to a screen, but eating when you’re distracted leads to overeating. Take time to slow down and pay attention to your food, pausing to put down utensils between bites. It’s easier to notice when you are full when you eat mindfully. Plus you will more likely enjoy the foods you eat.   Chill out and rest up. When it’s time to sleep, it’s time to chill – literally. Studies have shown that people sleep better when it’s colder and when their feet are outside of the covers. Knocking the thermostat down to 68 degrees or lower before you tuck into bed can help you sleep better. Darken your room by drawing the curtains or dimming the display on your alarm clock to really get those quality sleep.   Be conscious of your gratitude.  Take some time at the beginning or end of the day to reflect on what you’re grateful for, and consider starting a gratitude journal. A daily grateful check-in minimizes the distorting influence of stress. Reminding ourselves of the small, everyday positive aspects of our lives helps to develop a sense of balance and perspective that can enhance well-being.   Walking 30 minutes per day. Getting the recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day can be as simple as taking a walk. If you’ve got a busy schedule, take three 10-minute walks throughout your day. That’s 10 minutes before work, 10 minutes at lunch and then 10 minutes after work. Make it fun! Grab a partner at work to get you through your lunch routine. Or make your work meetings, walking meetings.   Step it up. Making small, daily changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator may seem minor, but they can make a big difference for your heart in the long run.   Commit to a 30-day fitness challenge You hear about them regularly, especially this time of year—the fitness challenge. Pick a fitness activity that’s easy and doesn’t require equipment, and commit to it for 30 days. There are many options to challenge yourself: practicing yoga, taking regular walks or joining a fitness class. Find what motivates you. Whatever you do, make yourself accountable. We look forward to seeing you in 2020! Happy New Year!

Preventing Hypothermia

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Preventing Hypothermia With cold winter weather here in Colorado, we sometimes need to think about hypothermia. The following from the CDC is what you need to know about it, who is at risk, and what to do if you or a loved one has it. hypothermia   What is hypothermia?

  • Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it is produced. Lengthy exposures will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, which leads to lower body temperature.
  • Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know that it’s happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.
  • While hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.
  Who’s most at risk? Victims of hypothermia are often:
  • Older adults with inadequate food, clothing, or heating
  • Babies sleeping in cold bedrooms
  • People who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.
  • People who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
  What are the signs and symptoms of hypothermia? The following are warning signs of hypothermia: Adults:
  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion or feeling very tired
  • Confusion
  • Fumbling hands
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • bright red, cold skin
  • very low energy
Don’t wait – take action Hypothermia is a medical emergency. If you notice any of the above signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95° F, get medical attention immediately! Still have questions about hypothermia? It's important that you and your family are prepared, especially if you get into cold weather situations. Talk to your doctor about what you can do to avoid it and what to do if someone you know get it.

How Cold Weather Affects Health

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How Cold Weather Affects Health Did you know that cold weather can be hard on your health? It can affect your health in a variety of ways, including  weight gain, viruses such as cold and flu, frostbite, etc. Learn how to keep warm this winter season.

Beat the Winter Blues

Effects On Your Body From Cold Your body requires extra fuel to keep warm. To get that extra fuel, you tend to eat more. This allows your body to store extra fat to better insulate your body and keep you warm. You can lose weight during the winter months by watching what you eat and staying active. Rather than packing on the pounds to keep warm, try layering clothes to insulate your body temperature. Wear close fitting base layers first, then an insulating mid-layer, and last, a looser fitting wind or waterproof layer such as a jacket. Physical Cold Risks Several physical risks from direct cold include the following:
  • Heart attacks increase in the winter because the drop in temperature concentrates your blood at the core of your body, which in turn increases blood pressure and puts more strain on your heart. The cold also makes your body work harder, thus putting stress on your heart to ensure you stay warm. If you have high blood pressure or an existing heart condition, be sure to talk with your doctor due to an increased risk for heart attack.
  • Slips and trips increase during the winter months due to wearing worn down shoes or improper shoes on slick surfaces. Try to wear boots or shoes with good tread. Salt your sidewalks and driveways with ice melt salt to prevent slipping and falling when walking out to your car.
  • Frostbite and frostnip are also major risks when exposed to cold temperatures. These are caused by lack of blood to a part of the body. Your body will want to concentrate your blood around your core to preserve your heart, lungs, and brain. This leaves your fingers, toes, arms, and legs at risk for frostbite and frostnip. Frostbite or frostnip can cause permanent damage, loss of limb, or in severe cases death.
  • Hypothermia is another risk when exposed to direct cold. This happens when you lose body heat faster than your body can make it. Your core body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. If your core drops to or below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, hypothermia will set in. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, numb extremities, loss of dexterity, and feeling extremely cold. If hypothermia is left untreated, it will lead to complete failure of your heart and lungs, causing death.
  Risk of Disease and Viruses The cold causes a loss of blood supply to the immune system to keep your heart and head warm which in turn causes a weakened immune system. The reduction of blood supply means that the illness-fighting cells are not as available to help fight viruses or infections. Cold weather results in increased risk of colds and flu. Common colds are the most common human disease and cause, on average, 2-5 colds per year in adults. The common cold is spread mainly through touching a surface that the virus is living on, or through air-borne infection such as a cough. It is recommended to wash your hands regularly and not touch your face until you wash your hands. The only cure for the cold and flu is to take medication for the symptoms and let your immune system fight off the virus. Antibiotics will do not cure the cold! Make sure to get plenty of sleep and eat healthy foods. The flu is similar to a cold but it can be more serious, especially in the elderly, the young, or those with diabetes and kidney disease. The flu is very similar to the cold in terms of symptoms and how to get rid of it. The flu virus thrives in the cold weather. The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot every year. If you come down with the flu, be sure to get plenty of rest, eat healthy food, and take medicine for the symptoms. Antibiotics will not cure the flu either! The norovirus, often called the winter vomiting bug, is common in the winter months. It is also very serious for the elderly, the young, and those with compromised immune systems. It causes extreme vomiting and diarrhea, which then causes dehydration and in serious conditions death. It is widely found in schools, hotels, and cruise liners due to the large amount of people in small spaces. It usually runs its course in a few days. Again, antibiotics will do nothing for the norovirus. The risk of asthma attacks increase in the cold weather due to breathing in cold air quickly which causes lung spasms, triggering an attack. Try wearing a scarf or face mask to warm the air before the air gets to the lungs. Migraines and sinus pressure increase due to falling barometric pressure, which can be intense. Try talking to your doctor about medication or ways to help deal with more frequent migraines or increased intensity of sinus pressure.   Seasonal Mental Health Risks Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as SAD, increase in the winter months due to shorter days and less sunlight. Symptoms of depression and SAD include feeling sad most days if not all of the week, having little to no energy or motivation to do normal activities, having problems sleeping, having problems concentrating, feeling hopeless, and/or experiencing changes in appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your doctor. Your doctor might recommend that you take some medication or talk with a trained professional.   Stay warm, stay safe, and stay healthy during these winter months.

12 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

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healthy happy holidaysIt’s holiday time! Tis the season for holiday celebrations, libations, big meals, gifts and decorations. We love the holidays, but we also want to make sure you are considering your health over these great celebrations. Enjoy these tips for a Healthy Holiday season. 

  According to the CDC, the following are helpful tips for making your health and safety a priority over the holidays.  
  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s flu season. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds. 
  2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. 
  3. Manage stress. Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and out of control. Some of the best ways to manage stress are to find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep. 
  4. Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same. 
  5. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers also are at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke. 
  6. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Always buckle your children in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt according to their height, weight, and age. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same. 
  7. Get exams and screenings. Ask your health care provider what exams you need and when to get them. Update your personal and family history. 
  8. Get your vaccinations. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year. 
  9. Monitor children. Keep potentially dangerous toys, food, drinks, household items, and other objects out of children’s reach. Protect them from drowning, burns, falls, and other potential accidents. 
  10. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly. 
  11. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly. 
  12. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 2½ hours a week and help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day. 
Have questions about additional things you can do to keep your health in check during the holidays? Talk to your doctor.

December 1-7 is National Influenza Vaccination (Flu Shot) Week

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December 1-7 is National Influenza Vaccination (Flu Shot) Week

avoid the flu

It’s time to get your flu shot! The National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is a national awareness week focused on highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination. The more people that get their flu shots, equals less flu and less people spreading the flu. According the the CDC, the Flu isn’t a “bad cold” and can result in serious health complications, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and can lead to hospitalization. Flu can sometimes even lead to death.
  • Most people who get flu will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop serious flu complications
  • All people are at risk of developing serious flu complications and certain groups are at higher risk. For people at higher risk, flu is more likely to lead to serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death.
  • People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or lung disease, and people 65 years and older.
  • Anyone who gets flu can pass it to someone at high risk of severe illness, including children younger than 6 months who are too young to get a flu vaccine.
  Consider the implications of getting the flu on you and your family. Make an appointment today to get the flu shot.

Turkey Day Tips for Heart Health

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Turkey Day Tips for Heart Health thanksgiving_plate_turkey_dinner Think about the foods you eat on Thanksgiving. The traditional Thanksgiving meal is decadent and delicious and full of butter—probably not the healthiest options. But a little careful planning and portion management can allow you to enjoy your holiday meal without damaging your cardiovascular health in the process. In general, it’s often best to enjoy your holiday meal with your family and friends, but make a point of not overeating. With the span of the holidays (Thanksgiving through New Years), the  effects of overeating can really add up. Try to limit yourself to one serving during each holiday meal. If you take a break after you eat a plateful, you likely will be full and not want seconds. This will lead to better sleep and feeling much better the next day. Also limit alcohol to one drink to prevent heart rhythm problems and overeating. It is possible that the average person to rack up 2,000 calories in a single Thanksgiving sitting (that does not even include leftovers). 2,000 calories is the recommended number of calories for most adults for an entire day. Here's a breakdown of turkey day's goodies:

  • Not surprisingly, vegetables are the heart-healthiest part of the big Thanksgiving meal. Items like green beans, carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes balance their calories with plenty of heart-helpful vitamins and minerals.
  • The worst part for your heart? It's the gravy. Typically made from the high-fat, high-calorie greasy drippings of the cooked bird, gravy is very high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol. It's been shown that a single high-fat meal can damage your arteries. But again, portion size is the key.
  • If the cranberry relish is homemade, using real cranberries, it can be heart-healthy. If it's out of a can, it's likely to be very high in simple sugars which can worsen diabetes and raise triglcyerides (fats) in the blood.
  • If you're nibbling on dark meat or, far worse, the turkey skin, you're ingesting even higher levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Try not to do that, or just take a taste and stop.
Adjusting your Thanksgiving recipes can make a big difference in their relative heart-healthiness. For example, you use yogurt instead of sour cream, or maybe just egg whites? Using light, unsalted butters and margarine also can lower levels of saturated fat without sacrificing much taste. Even gravy, Thanksgiving's highest fat recipe, can be made in a healthier way. If you plan to try the healthy route and you're not doing the cooking, consider making half of your Thanksgiving plate should consist of fruit and vegetables, with a fourth devoted to light turkey meat (minimum gravy), and a fourth to starches like sweet potatoes or whole grain bread. If you're having pie, limit the serving size to a small taste – and again resist that second helping. Eat smaller portions and try to eat lighter. This will help you feel much more healthy during your Thanksgiving celebration.

Why it’s important to know your family history

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Why it’s important to know your family history. family health history Most of us are asked on health forms or in the doctor’s office about their family history, but why is it important to know? Most of us know that we can reduce our risk of disease by eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and not smoking. But, did you know that your family history might be one of the strongest influences on your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer? Even though you cannot change your genetic makeup, knowing your family history can help you reduce your risk of developing health problems. Family members share their genes, as well as their environment, lifestyles, and habits. Everyone can recognize traits such as curly hair, dimples, leanness, or athletic ability that run in their families. Risks for diseases such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease also run in families. Everyone’s family history of disease is different.  The key features of a family history that may increase risk are:

  • Diseases that occur at an earlier age than expected (10 to 20 years before most people get the disease)
  • Disease in more than one close relative
  • Disease that does not usually affect a certain gender (for example, breast cancer in a male)
  • Certain combinations of diseases within a family (for example, breast and ovarian cancer, or heart disease and diabetes)
If your family has one or more of these features, your family history may hold important clues about your risk for disease. People with a family history of disease may have the most to gain from lifestyle changes and screening tests. You cannot change your genes, but you can change unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, inactivity, and poor eating habits. In many cases, adopting a healthier lifestyle can reduce your risk for diseases that run in your family. Screening tests (such as mammograms and colorectal cancer screening) can detect diseases like cancer at an early stage, when they are most treatable. Screening tests can also detect disease risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which can be treated to reduce the chances of getting a disease. If you don’t know your family history, it’s a good time to chat with your doctor about other options to find out about your family health or genetic traits.  

Family Caregivers Are Important!

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Family Caregivers Are Important! caregiver November is Family Caregivers Awareness month, a time to honor family caregivers. Those who take care, every day, not just on occasion. A very tough job, filled with love and honor.  A growing number of states are recognizing the valuable role caregivers play.  So far, 30 states have passed laws similar to help recognize caregivers the CARE Act, an act which holds hospitals accountable for recording the name of the family caregiver in the patient’s EMR, informing them when the patient is to be discharged and often providing education and instruction of the medical tasks he or she will need to perform for the patient at home. As a caretaker, the demands can be challenging for an already exhausted clinical staff. According to AARP, organizations are stretched thin, and providers need help reaching patients and their circle of care. According to a 2012 article in the Annals of Family Medicine, the average primary care physician has about 2,300 patients under his or her care. Yet each physician would have to spend 21.7 hours per day to provide all recommended acute, chronic and preventive care for a panel of 2,500 patients. Family or at-home caregivers can help bridge this gap. When these caregivers are properly trained and educated, they extend  the care team, keeping patients healthy at home and reducing preventable readmissions. Yet, educating family or at-home caregivers takes time too. Luckily, technology can help. When designed effectively, technology can be a powerful tool to extend the reach of the care team and enable them to have an ongoing conversation with patients – and their caregivers. Technology can help solve both patient engagement and caregiver education. Because technology can also collect key information for providers— like whether people still have questions around new medications, if the patient has new symptoms or side effects, or a patient with heart failure has gained weight — it can help providers know when specific patients and their caregivers need more help, enabling them to focus their limited staff resources on the people who need it most. If done right, patients will be empowered to take control of their own health, and their circle of care will be educated and accounted for—all without exhausting staff resources. It is important to focus on family and at-home caregivers, as they provide value and play a critical role in a patient’s optimal recovery. Caregivers not only monitor medication, provide transportation and prepare meals—they also give the patient encouragement and emotional support. Are you a caregiver and need some advice? We can help. Talk to your doctor.  

Why is Healthy Skin Important?

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Why is Healthy Skin Important? skin health   Everyone wants healthy, clear skin, but do you realize how amazing this organ really is? It’s the organ that comes into contact with the rest of the world. It holds body fluids in, preventing dehydration, and keeps harmful microbes out—without it, we would get infections.  Your skin is full of nerve endings that help you feel things like heat, cold, and pain. If you couldn’t feel these things, you could get badly hurt and not even know it. Why is Healthy Skin Important? According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), your skin plays such an important role in protecting your body, you should keep it as healthy as you can. This will help you keep from getting sick or having damage to your bones, muscles, and internal organs. Skin is actually your body’s largest organ by size. Your skin helps keep your body temperature even. If you get too hot, blood vessels near the surface of the skin, called capillaries, enlarge to let the warm blood cool down. Your skin also makes vitamin D when the sun shines on it. Vitamin D is important for the health of your bones and other parts of your body. Your skin can be injured.  It’s not too hard to injure your skin. So be careful when you’re doing anything that might injure it (like using sharp tools, working in the yard, or playing a sport). Cuts, bumps, and scrapes are a normal part of life. It wouldn’t be much fun if you tried to avoid them completely. But it’s smart to wear the right protective equipment, like gloves, long sleeves, knee and elbow pads, or helmets. Be very careful when you’re around anything hot that can burn your skin. Burns, including sunburn, can be very painful and can take a long time to heal. Burns can also get infected easily. Sometimes, burns leave bad scars and permanently damage your skin. If you’re helping out in the kitchen, make sure you use hot pads or wear oven mitts to protect your hands when you’re grabbing something hot. If you do get a cut or scratch, clean it right away with soap and warm water and put on a bandage to protect it while it heals. This keeps dirt and germs from getting into the wound and causing an infection. If you come into contact with a plant like poison ivy, wash your skin and clothing right away. If you develop a rash, ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines. For severe rashes, you might need to see your doctor. Have additional questions about your skin? Talk to your doctor.  

Diabetic Eye Disease – What is it and how can you tell if it’s being caused by diabetes?

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Diabetic Eye Disease - What is it and how can you tell if it’s being caused by diabetes?  eye disease Diabetes is on the rise in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 84 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don't know they have it. Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported). Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5%. Did you know that diabetes can cause additional ailments including eye disease? Diabetes is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness worldwide, and, in the United States, it is the most common cause of blindness in people younger than 65 years of age. The signs and symptoms of diabetic eye disease, also known as retinopathy, encompass a wide range of other eye problems, for example:

  • Diabetes may cause a reversible, temporary blurring of the vision, or it can cause a severe, permanent loss of vision.
  • Diabetes increases the risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma.
How can you tell if diabetes is affecting your eyes? 
  • Some people may not even realize they have had diabetes for several years until they begin to experience problems with their eyes or vision.
  • Diabetes also may result in heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and circulatory abnormalities of the legs.
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 8.1 million people additional people went undiagnosed. (This population is unaware that they have diabetes.)
  • In the United States 1.5 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed every year.
  • In the US in 2012, the total annual cost of diagnosed diabetes was 2.45 billion.
  • Eighty-four million people in the US have prediabetes, and 9 out of every 10 don't know they have it. Of the 84 million people with prediabetes, without lifestyle changes 15% to 30% of them will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.
  • Lifestyle management has been shown to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes by at least two-thirds. It can also slow or halt the progression of prediabetes to diabetes.
How can I protect my eyes from diabetes?
  • People can try to avoid the problems associated with diabetes, including those that affect the eyes, by taking appropriate care of themselves by the following:
    • Maintain a normal level of weight
    • Watch your diet, especially limiting unhealthy types of fats and substituting complex carbohydrates for simple carbohydrates.
    • Participate in an exercise program. Try to exercise for least 30 minutes, five days a week or more. There are many ways to accomplish this without any expense. Go for a walk after lunch or dinner, ride bikes with the kids, plan an activity with a partner or friend, or rent an exercise DVD. Always check with your health-care professional before starting any exercise program.
    • Don't smoke or quit if you do.
Are you experiencing eye disease with your diabetes? Talk to your doctor today.