Tag Archives: Health care

Scottsdale Healthcare sponsors Women of Scottsdale annual event

The Women of Scottsdale held their annual “Spotlight Your Business” luncheon, at the Kierland Weston Resort and Spa, in Scottsdale Arizona on Friday, June 15, 2012. Sponsored by Scottsdale Healthcare, this annual event offers members an opportunity to showcase their companies. This year’s event featured over 50 local Scottsdale businesses.

The Women of Scottsdale is a local organization that promotes quality networking, and career and personal development for women from all walks of life in Scottsdale, Arizona. The organization endeavors to promote professional women who desire to be successful and connect with the community through monthly meetings where members share information, ideas, and contacts.

In addition to Scottsdale Healthcare, this year’s event included a variety of health, beauty, food community and personal care products and services for the health conscious business women.

They included:

Aspire 2 Wellness; a Scottsdale based business “for women who want to outsmart mid-life weight gain“. Owner, Bonnie Roill, RD, unveiled her new Free E-publication; “10 Real Reasons Women Gain Weight and How to Stop it in its Tracks”, which is due for release to the public Monday June 18, 2012. This 20 page E-book combines cutting-edge science, and behavioral strategies, for women in mid-life to help them discover how to outsmart mid-life weight gain so they can look and feel fit without deprivation and a diet of endless shakes. The Women of Scottsdale were given a special web link to get their copy on Friday. The free e-book can be obtained by the general public at http://tinyurl.com/realreasons.

Hollywood Eye Magic; distributor, Sandy Metter, was featuring an Anti-aging serum treatment which is oxygen infused for immediate results. Lasting up to 12 hours, the serum is promoted as having a cumulative effect with daily use. Sandy also offered on site free demonstrations on the effectiveness of Hollywood Eye Magic products. For more information contact Sandy at sandymetter2@gmail.com.

Phoenix Children’s Hospital (PCH); was represented by Susan Martz. One of the largest children’s hospitals in the country with over 1,000 medical staff, PCH provides specialty and subspecialty inpatient, outpatient, trauma and emergency care for patients throughout Arizona and other Southwestern states. It has six centers of excellence; a Neonatal Intensive Care, a Level One Pediatric Trauma Center, a Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, Center of Pediatric Orthopedics, Phoenix Children’s Heart Center, and Barrow Neurological Institute ot Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

NU SKIN; a leader in the skin care industry with scientifically advanced ingredient technologies and skin beneficial formulas. Their skin care line offers over 100 different products. Local representative from the Miralinda Center For Well-Being, LLC, Linda Gerdes Mercer and Donna Bochow were on hand to discuss the NU Skin product line and the Galvanic Spa™ II E. There will be a Free demo in Scottsdale of the latest age-defying beauty Techniques on June 28, 2012. Contact 602-325-9201 for details.

Scottsdale HealthCare; as the sponsors of this years event, was well represented by Suzette Robles, Nancy McCutcheon, and Carol Wolfert. The organization has 3 campuses in Scottsdale; Osborn Medical Center, a 337-bed, full-service hospital, a leader in the fields of trauma, orthopedics, neurosurgery, cardiovascular and critical care; Shea Medical Center, a 433-bed full-service hospital providing emergency, medical/surgical, critical care, obstetric, pediatric, cardiovascular, orthopedic and oncology services; and Thompson Peak Hospital, a 64-bed community medical-surgical hospital.

J. Alexander’s Restaurant; Denise Tysick and Krisen Opalanski handed out samples of fresh baked carrot cake. J. Alexander’s is a contemporary American restaurant, known for its wood-fired cuisine. The menu features a wide selection of American classics including prime rib of beef, steaks, fresh seafood, sandwiches, entrée salads and a varied and rotating selection of features like Seafood Czarina, Tuscan Steak, Grilled Fish with Mango Papaya Salsa and Chicken Milanese.

Discover The Region Magazine; Jodie Wilson, editor in Chief distributed copies of her magazine. The mission of the magazine is to network Business and Community leaders together to bring into focus the opportunities of their part of the world.

Friends of Africa International (FOAI); Co-founder Bonnie Bishop explained the purpose of FOAI was to increase awareness of the wildlife and cultural issues in Africa and the delicate balance facing the African continent. It supports and assist effective and established charitable institutions, research centers, and projects, both in Africa and in the USA, whose mandate is the conservation and protection of African wildlife, environment, and culture, from the constant threat of devastation by outside forces.

Carefree Homecare – Companion Services, Inc.; Carla Sutton, MSW, Vice President and General Manager was available to share information on the personal care, daily assisted living and entertainment services offered. Carefree Homecare is a recognized leader in providing quality non-medical home care services for senior care in Phoenix and Scottsdale and surrounding areas. Disease-Specific Care giving programs include Cancer Care, Alzheimer’s and, Stroke and Parkinson’s. Click here to learn more about Carefree Homecare.

Community Bridges, Inc.(CBI); is a private non-profit organization that provides services throughout Arizona. They offer a full continuum of behavioral health programs and support the community at large. Services include a full continuum of the highest quality substance abuse and mental health treatment, lifesaving interventions, support for women and children, outreach to help the homeless and community-based prevention and education services for youth and families.

Gabriel’s Angels; Gabriel’s Angels is the only program in Arizona that delivers healing pet therapy to abused, neglected and at-risk children. The short term goal is to instill in children an overall emotional sense of well-being, safety and happiness. Long term aspiration is to help children learn core social skills that will prevent them from continuing the cycle of violence as adults. Presently they provide pet therapy services to over 115 agencies and serve 13,000 children annually through nearly 155 Pet Therapy Teams, free of charge.

Additional information: Click Here for photo gallery form previous Women of Scottsdale events


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Study showed oxaliplatin improved colon cancer patient survival

Stage III colon cancer patients in the general population who receive adjuvant treatment for the disease have an improved rate of survival when oxaliplatin is added to 5-fluorouracil (5FU), according to a study published Jan. 20 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Colon cancer is a leading global cause of both illness and death; with an estimated 101,340 cases among Americans in 2011. Roughly one third of diagnoses are stage III or node-positive disease. In randomized clinical trials (RCTs), adding oxaliplatin to adjuvant 5FU is known to improve outcomes of patients with stage III colon cancer. But the effect of this combined therapy outside RCTs is unknown. In addition, fewer than 2% of patients with the cancer enroll in RCTs, and participants are known to be generally younger, healthier and less racially diverse than the overall cancer patient population.

In order to determine the effects of combined therapy in stage III colon cancer patients in the general population, Hanna K. Sanoff M.D., and assistant professor of Medicine, Hematology and Oncology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and colleagues, gathered data from patients using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry linked to Medicare claims (SEER-Medicare), among other cancer registries. All patients had stage III colon cancer, received chemotherapy within 120 days of surgery, and were age 75 years or younger. Overall survival (OS) was then compared between patients treated with combined therapy and standard chemotherapy.

The researchers found that adding oxaliplatin to adjuvant therapies for stage III colon cancer in patients of the general cancer population was just as effective as in patients from RCTs. The addition of oxaliplatin showed improved survival across various practice settings, including those with older and minority patients as well as patients with greater comorbidity. “Physicians and patients should be reassured from our findings that oxaliplatin is associated with marginally but consistently superior survival for patients diagnosed before age 75 years in community settings,” the authors write. They feel that now that combined therapy has proven efficacious in the general population, it is important to home in on high –risk subgroups such as patients over age 75, racially diverse minorities, and those with co morbid conditions.

By Journal of the National Cancer Institute

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January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

What is Cervical Health Awareness Month?

The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. During January, you may wish to highlight issues related to cervical cancer, HPV disease and the importance of early detection. Some of the issues you may wish to highlight are personal stories of women and family members/caregivers battling issues related to their persistent HPV/precancer and/or cervical cancer. You may wish to highlight recent advances and research in the prevention, detection and treatment of cervical cancer or HPV. You can highlight the success of your local/regional early detection cervical cancer screening and treatment programs and human-interest stories on the importance of early detection, education and the emotional issues related to battling cervical cancer and HPV.

Cervical Health Awareness Month 2012

Each January is recognized as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Each year in the U.S. approximately 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 4,000 lives are lost as a result. This doesn’t take into account the many thousands of women who have cervical abnormalities and abnormal Pap tests for reasons other than cancer, but who still undergo expensive and inconvenient follow-up exams and treatments.

Cervical Cancer Is Preventable

Cervical cancer is caused by specific types of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a common infection that almost everyone who is sexually active will have at some point. There are vaccines that block the types of HPV most often found with cervical diseases, and screening tests (such as Pap tests and HPV tests) that can identify women most at risk. We can prevent cervical cancer!

  • Vaccinate early (females and males ages 9-26 are eligible)
  • Pap test regularly (beginning at age 21)
  • HPV test when recommended

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New Year’s Resolutions to Exercise Pay Off for Heart Disease Patients

ACSM research links exercise with reduced risk of death in patients with existing heart disease

INDIANAPOLIS – In all parts of the world, the start of a  new year inspires adults to give up junk food, join a gym or make  healthier choices. For one group, the resolution to become more active  could literally be the difference between life and death. Research  released today by the American College of Sports Medicine finds that  being more physically active can help adults suffering from heart  disease keep premature death at bay.

The study, “Physical  Activity and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk: Possible Protective  Mechanisms?” is published in this month’s issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®,  the official journal of ACSM. The research team, which included Lee  Ingle, Ph.D., examined the relationship between moderate-to-vigorous  physical activity and mortality risk in patients with cardiovascular  disease.

“It is well established that regular,  moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of future  cardiac events in healthy individuals and individuals with existing  cardiovascular disease,” said Ingle, an academic with the Carnegie  Research Institute at Leeds Metropolitan University in the United  Kingdom. “What are not well understood are the biological mechanisms  responsible for reducing the burden of risk. We examined the extent to  which changes in typical cardiovascular risk factors explained the  association between physical activity and death in individuals with  cardiovascular disease.”

The study included 1,429 participants,  both male and female, with physician-diagnosed heart disease. At a  baseline visit, participants reported demographic information, health  status, disease history, smoking habits and physical activity levels.  Shortly after the baseline visit, nurses recorded medication and body  mass, collected blood samples, and measured blood pressure and resting  heart rate. Within seven years, 446 of the 1,429 participants died.  Death certificates linked 213 of the deaths to cardiovascular disease.

Participation  in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at least three times per week  was associated with a much lower risk of cardiovascular-related death.  Physically active participants demonstrated significantly lower levels  of body mass, diabetes and inflammatory risk. Metabolic risk factors  (including body mass index, total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio, and  physician-diagnosed diabetes) and inflammatory markers (including  C-reactive protein) explained an estimated 12.8 percent and 15.4  percent, respectively, of the association between physical activity and  mortality risk.

“The main finding from this study was that  moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of future  cardiac events, in part, by improving metabolic and inflammatory risk  markers in patients with cardiovascular disease,” said Ingle.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart diseases is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The Exercise is Medicine® initiative offers public tools to help adults combat chronic conditions, such as heart disease, with physical activity.


The  American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and  exercise science organization in the world. More than 45,000  international, national and regional members and certified professionals  are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to  provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and  sports medicine.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise® is the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, and  is available from Lippincott Williams & Wilkins at 1-800-638-6423.  For a complete copy of the research paper (Vol. 44, No. 1, pages 84-88)  or to speak with a leading sports medicine expert on the topic, contact  the Department of Communications and Public Information at 317-637-9200  ext. 133 or 127.

The conclusions outlined in this news release  are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an  official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.

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For Neck Pain, Chiropractic and Exercise Are Better Than Drugs

Seeing a chiropractor or engaging in light exercise relieves neck pain more effectively than relying on pain medication, new research shows.

The new study is one of the few head-to-head comparisons of various treatments for neck pain, a problem that affects three quarters of Americans at some point in their lives but has no proven, first-line treatment. While many people seek out spinal manipulation by chiropractors, the evidence supporting its usefulness has been limited at best.

But the new research, published in The Annals of Internal Medicine, found that chiropractic care or simple exercises done at home were better at reducing pain than taking medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or narcotics.

“These changes were diminished over time, but they were still present,” said Dr. Gert Bronfort, an author of the study and research professor at Northwestern Health Sciences University in Minnesota. “Even a year later, there were differences between the spinal manipulation and medication groups.”

Moderate and acute neck pain is one of the most frequent reasons for trips to primary care doctors, prompting millions of visits every year. For patients, it can be a difficult problem to navigate. In some cases the pain and stiffness crop up without explanation, and treatment options are varied. Physical therapy, pain medication and spinal manipulation are popular options, but Dr. Bronfort was inspired to carry out an analysis because so little research exists.

“There was a void in the scientific literature in terms of what the most helpful treatments are,” he said.

To find out, Dr. Bronfort and his colleagues recruited a large group of adults with neck pain that had no known specific cause. The subjects, 272 in all, were mostly recruited from a large HMO and through advertisements. The researchers then split them into three groups and followed them for about three months.

One group was assigned to visit a chiropractor for roughly 20-minute sessions throughout the course of the study, making an average of 15 visits. A second group was assigned to take common pain relievers like acetaminophen and — in some cases, at the discretion of a doctor — stronger drugs like narcotics and muscle relaxants. The third group met on two occasions with physical therapists who gave them instructions on simple, gentle exercises for the neck that they could do at home. They were encouraged to do 5 to 10 repetitions of each exercise up to eight times a day. (A demonstration of the exercises can be found at www.annals.org).

After 12 weeks, the people in the non-medication groups did significantly better than those taking the drugs. About 57 percent of those who met with chiropractors and 48 percent who did the exercises reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, compared to 33 percent of the people in the medication group.

A year later, when the researchers checked back in, 53 percent of the subjects who had received spinal manipulation still reported at least a 75 percent reduction in pain, similar to the exercise group. That compared to just a 38 percent pain reduction among those who had been taking medication.

Dr. Bronfort said it was a “big surprise” to see that the home exercises were about as effective as the chiropractic sessions. “We hadn’t expected that they would be that close,” he said. “But I guess that’s good news for patients.”

In addition to their limited pain relief, the medications had at least one other downside: people kept taking them. “The people in the medication group kept on using a higher amount of medication more frequently throughout the follow-up period, up to a year later,” Dr. Bronfort said. “If you’re taking medication over a long time, then we’re running into more systemic side effects like gastrointestinal problems.”

He also expressed concern that those on medications were not as empowered or active in their own care as those in the other groups. “We think it’s important that patients are enabled to deal with as much control over their own condition as possible,” he said. “This study shows that they can play a large role in their own care.”

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR of The New York Times

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Diet to Prevent & Treat Arthritis

At least one out of five Americans, 46 million, suffer from arthritis, a painful disease that cripples and inflames the joints.

According to a “Today Show” article by nutrition expert Joy Bauer, adopting a proper diet for arthritis can treat and even prevent some symptoms. Besides helping to maintain a healthy weight, Bauer says a nutritious diet may decrease the inflammation of joints:

Because arthritis is a disease of inflammation, the most effective and logical treatment is anything that fights inflammation When it comes to specific foods you should eat, an anti-inflammatory diet involves avoiding foods that make inflammation worse (saturated fat, trans fat and simple refined carbohydrate) and eating plenty of foods that reduce inflammation.

Bauer lists a variety of anti-inflammatory foods, including those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and most importantly, antioxidants such as vitamin C and carotenes, which may even prevent arthritis by protecting the body from free radicals:

Inflammation produces free radicals, those cell-damaging molecules that are formed in response to toxins or natural body processes. The synovium is just as prone to this kind of damage as the skin, eyes, or any other body tissue. Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of free radicals, and are a critical part of an anti-inflammation diet. Research has demonstrated that certain antioxidants may help prevent arthritis, slow its progression and relieve pain.

Certain spices, such as ginger and turmeric, are also an easy and effective way to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet.

For the complete list of anti-inflammatory foods and the rest of the article, click here.

By http://www.thirdage.com/

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Top 10: Holiday Advice for Caregivers and Other Caregiver News

We’ve been reading so much great advice for caregivers this holiday season, we felt it was worth a blog post just to highlight some of these informative articles. If you’re a caregiver to an aging friend or loved one, take a few minutes to read up on some useful tips that can help you travel your caregiving journey with ease.

  1. Ryan Malone, of Inside Elder Care, never fails to impress with his expert insights. His latest blog post talks about the recent Gallup poll that really drills down caregiver statistics in the U.S. Some of them are not surprising, but some will be shocked to learn just how many folks are caring for a loved one these days — and the level of sacrifice they make each day in order to do so.
  2. Registered nurse, former caregiver (for her father), current long-distance caregiver (for her mother) and our friend (we’re proud to say!), Shelley Webb of Intentional Caregiver, gives us 11 New Year’s resolutions caregivers can make this holiday season in a guest post for Maturity Matters.
  3. If you’re planning to move a loved one in the near future, check out these ten tips from AARP. And for more awesomeness from AARP, read this post if you have a caregiver on your shopping list this holiday season for some excellent caregiver gift ideas. Thinking cruises and spa getaways? Think again: an empathetic ear, a little help. You know, those intangibles that are far more valuable than expensive gifts!
  4. Montgomery Media offers tips for caregivers to de-stress this holiday season. Top of the list? Don’t forget to take care of yourself, so you can provide better care for your loved one. We’ve heard it many times, but caregivers get so caught up in caring for loved ones they easily forget this very important task.
  5. Tax season is rapidly approaching, and Forbes has some information on tax breaks to help caregivers ease the financial burden.
  6. American Medical News talks about how technology can connect doctors and caregivers. Easy communication is critical between the two, as caregivers must stay in control of their loved one’s care needs.
  7. The San Francisco Chronicle features a press release covering a new approach to caregiving for the Alzheimer’s/dementia patient. The Pines Education Institute of S.W. Florida partnered with Teepa Snow, a nationally-recognized dementia care expert, to produce a series of educational DVDs to aid caregivers.
  8. MSN takes a humorous approach to identifying the signs of Alzheimer’s disease with “7 Signs Santa Has Alzheimer’s.” This light-hearted approach excellently conveys critical signs caregivers and loved ones should look out for, especially if visiting a long-distance aging loved one over the holidays.
  9. The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, yet many aging and disabled adults find themselves with a case of the holiday blues. If your loved one is having a difficult time this holiday season, check out these tips from Care.com to help.
  10. La Mesa Courier features a great list of tips for making this holiday season a joyous one for your aging loved ones. Try cooking a special meal together, listening to their stories from the past or taking a nostalgic ride around town.

There are so many more to share. What’s your favorite holiday tip for caregivers? Give us some ideas in the comments and we’ll feature your tips in an upcoming blog post!

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Understanding Heart Aging and Reversing Heart Disease


The heart is an amazing muscle that beats around 100,000 times a day. It is essentially a complex pump that is able to adjust blood pressure, flow, and volume in order to provide your body with all the blood it needs. Your heart is constantly adjusting to what you are doing and the state of your body. As you age, your heart adjusts to the needs of an older body. These adjustments come with trade-offs, leaving the heart more vulnerable to disease and other problems.

Your Heart’s Job:

Everyday your heart must beat more than 100,000 times to pump 1,800 gallons of blood through more than 60,000 miles (if stretched end-to-end) of blood vessels. Your heart also must adjust the rate and force at which it pumps based on your activity level. As we age, changes in the body require that the heart adjusts how it works. For example, the buildup of fat in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, causes the heart to work harder to pump all that blood through narrower tubes.

The Aging Heart:

Heart disease is a leading cause of death. As we age, our heart compensates for clogged arteries by working harder and raising blood pressure. These changes put the heart at risk and impact our quality of life:

  • 40 percent of deaths for people aged 65 to 74 are from heart disease (60 percent for those over 80).
  • From age 20 to 80, there is a 50 percent decline in the body’s capacity for vigorous exercise
  • In your 20s the maximum heart is between 180 and 200 beats per minute. At 80, it is 145.
  • A 20-year-old’s heart can output 3.5 to 4 times the heart’s resting capacity. An 80-year-old can output 2 times resting capacity.
Aging Arteries:

Arteries take oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and deliver it to the body. As we age, our arteries become stiffer and less flexible. This causes our blood pressure to increase. The heart has to adjust to the increase in blood pressure by pumping harder and changing the timing of its valves. These adjustments leave the heart more vulnerable. To stay young at heart, protect your arteries by:

  • exercising
  • controlling your blood pressure
  • watching your cholesterol
Thickening of the Left Ventricle:

Researchers have noted that the wall of the left ventricle of the heart becomes thicker with age. This thickening allows the heart to pump stronger. As our blood vessels age, they become narrower — causing blood pressure to increase. The heart compensates for this by becoming stronger and pumping with more force.

Mitral Valve Closes More Slowly:

The mitral valve closes more slowly with aging. This is because the rate of blood flow from the left ventricle decreases as it relaxes more slowly. It relaxes slower because it grows thicker with age (see above).

Exercise Capacity Shrinks:

As the heart ages, it becomes less able to respond rapidly to chemical messages from the brain. Researchers do not know exactly why the heart does not respond as fast to messages to speed up and adjust to increased activity. The result is the body cannot exercise as long or as intensely as before. This shows up as shortness of breath — a sign that oxygen-rich blood is not moving fast enough through the body because the lungs are trying to breath in more oxygen.

“Sitting” Heart Rate Lowers:

The heart rate of an older person while sitting is slower than a younger person (but the same when lying down). It is thought that this slower rate is from a decline in the heart-brain communication because fibrous tissue and fatty deposits have built up on the on nerves connecting the heart and brain. To compensate, the heart increases the volume of blood in circulation by raising the diastolic blood pressure.

The Heart Can’t Squeeze as Tightly:

Because of the increase in diastolic blood pressure, the heart also stretches larger each beat, giving a stronger pump in order to have a stronger contraction to pump the excess blood volume (called the Frank-Starling mechanism). But because of the greater diastolic pressure, the heart can’t squeeze as tightly.

Heart Enlarges:

The heart of a healthy 70-year-old has 30 percent fewer cells than a 20-year-old’s heart. When heart cells die, the other cells must stretch and grow to stay connected. An older person’s heart cells may be up to 40 percent larger than a younger persons.

Keep Your Heart Healthy and Reverse Heart Disease

Your heart is only as healthy as your arteries. Work hard to keep your arteries healthy by:

Source About.com

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Diabetes and the Holidays – Can be Tricky Mix for Some

People with diabetes mellitus often tell me that one of the greatest challenges is managing diabetes during the holidays. For those facing this struggle, I’d like to share some tips prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes mellitus is a condition resulting in high blood sugars that can lead to both short-term and long-term health complications. It is not uncommon for adults with diabetes to also suffer from conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and chronic heart or kidney conditions. Collectively, managing these conditions can be challenging during the holiday season.

Holiday challenges include travel logistics, access to health services and alterations to daily routines that may affect the diabetes self-management plan.

Those who will travel for the holidays should be certain to pack adequate medications and supplies for the duration of the trip. This includes pills, blood sugar testing supplies and – if needed – insulin and related supplies. Commercial carriers, such as airlines, commonly recommend that these things be packed with carry-on luggage to avoid problems that may result if checked bags are delayed or lost.

Be aware of your commercial carrier’s rules regarding security and baggage as well as issues related to services offered en route. Meals often are not routinely offered to air passengers, even on flights of long duration. This can present a challenge for diabetics on insulin or other medications that can lower blood sugar to dangerous levels when meals are missed. Precautions include packing meals or snacks with carry-on luggage as well as emergency supplies such as glucose tablets or gel and a glucagon kit for people on insulin. When meals will be offered by a commercial carrier, consideration should be given to an advance request for a diabetic meal selection.

Medications and medical supplies should be properly labeled in their original container. Be certain to request child-proof safety caps for medication bottles if visiting a home with small children. Insulin should be packed in a small cooler with refrigerated packs. people with diabetes should carry medical identification regarding their diagnosis as well as contact information for their medical provider and a medication list in case of emergency.

Once travel arrangements have been made, plan to enjoy your holiday travel. The biggest challenge will be departure from usual mealtime routines and physical activity routines. Make daily exercise such as walking with family members part of your holiday schedule.

It is also important to prepare in advance for holiday feasts and the variety of traditional holiday foods that are tempting this time of year. It is OK to enjoy your holiday meals as long as you use some basic good judgment. Eating a small healthful snack before the feast can help reduce overeating. Portion sizes of sugary, salty and fatty foods should be kept small. Eat slowly and give yourself time to enjoy your meal, and follow your body’s cues and don’t overeat.

Dr. Matthew A. Clark is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and pediatrics practicing at the Ute Mountain Health Center in Towaoc.

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Healthy Living: Holiday Stress, Seasonal Depression, Both, or Neither?

To state the obvious, addressing any mental health or psychological problem is easier if you can figure out what is causing the problem. Sometimes you cannot do anything about the cause, but usually understanding the cause helps you figure out the solution.

For people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or stress during this time of year, it can be difficult to sort out the causes. For some, the onset of late fall and early winter is accompanied by the onset of a seasonal mood disorder, also called seasonal depression. For others, a significant cause of feeling down or overwhelmed is stress associated with the holiday season. In each case, trying to identify the cause can help you figure out what to do to feel better.
Symptoms of Seasonal Mood Disorder: According to the American Psychiatric Association, 10-20% of people in America feel more depressed with the onset of winter. The symptoms for seasonal depression are exactly the same as those for major depression. As the name implies, the only difference with seasonal affective disorder is that the symptoms begin at roughly the same month for one or more consecutive years. Common symptoms include:
• persistently sad or irritable mood ( 2 or more consecutive weeks)
• pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
• difficulty thinking, concentrating, and remembering
• lack of interest in or pleasure from activities that were once enjoyed
• feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emptiness
• recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
• persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
Symptoms of Acute Stress: People differ in terms of their feelings and behaviors when they are experiencing too much stress, but common signs of excessive stress include:
• Feeling anxious or worried much of the time.
• Feeling irritable or short tempered.
• Muscle tension, back problems, or increase in physical pain (jaws, neck)
• Stomach problems such as heartburn or acid stomach

Coping With Mood Disorder
• Find a way to get out and get going: Staying with your exercise routine, starting a new routine, or finding interesting activities that don’t depend on warm weather is very important. Staying put in your home often increases your depression.
• Exposure to Light: Taking advantage of natural sunlight is important. It may sound odd, but make sure you get outside on sunny days. Some people treat seasonal depression by sitting under bright fluorescent lamps for 30 or more minutes a day.
• Talk to a psychologist or other mental health professional: For both mild and more severe seasonal depression, talk therapy produces great benefits. Often our own patterns of thinking keep the depression going longer than needed. Counseling can help identify and change unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaving.
• Medication: Some anti-depressant medications, such as Wellbutrin XL, have been FDA approved for treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Your psychiatrist or primary care doctor can discuss a range of medical treatment options.

Coping with Holiday Stress
• Set realistic expectations: Sometimes our stress at the holidays is the result of having expectations that are simply unrealistic. Check with someone you trust about whether your expectations of yourself are too lofty.
• Avoid unhealthy coping: If you can’t remove some of your stress, it is helpful not to make things worse. Try to avoid coping by things which are unhealthy such as excessive smoking, use of alcohol, or unhealthy eating.
• Pace Yourself and Take Care of Yourself: Just because you have a lot to do doesn’t mean that you can run at a full sprint for several weeks. Build time, even brief time, into your schedule to relax and rebuild.

For More Information:
American Psychological Association: www.apa.org/helpcenter

By- Dr. David Prescott
Behavioral Medicine Department at Eastern Maine Medical Center

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