By Beth W Orenstein Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH Monitoring your blood sugar levels daily allows you and your doctor to know how well you're controlling your diabetes. These tips can make blood sugar testing more manageable. If you have diabetes, regularly testing your blood sugar levels will let you know how well you’re controlling the condition and whether your doctor needs to make adjustments in your medications or treatment plan. “Testing gives us an objective idea of how you’re doing,” says Sunshine Shahinian, RN, a diabetes educator at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center in Downey, Calif. “If you don’t test, we may not have the opportunity to intervene if you’re not controlling your blood sugar well.” As essential as glucose testing is to tracking your blood sugar levels, it can be a daunting and confusing habit to develop. Here are answers to common questions about blood sugar testing questions. Q: What’s the best time to check my blood sugar levels? A: Work with your doctor to determine when and how often you should test your blood sugar. Your testing schedule will depend on your medications, mealtimes, and how well you're controlling your condition. Shahinian recommends varying your daily testing times. One day check it after you get up and before lunch. The next day, do it after breakfast and after lunch. The following day, test before lunch and before dinner. “Vary it so we know how you’re doing throughout the day and so we can do something about it if your numbers are off,” she explains. You’ll also want to test your blood sugar whenever you have symptoms of high blood sugar. These include dry mouth, increased thirst, blurry vision, frequent urination, and dry skin. Q: Should I use the same finger every time? A: Try to use different fingers and test sites because your fingers can get sore if you prick them in the same spot every time. You have more nerves in the center, or pads, of your fingers, so you may want to use the sides. Establishing a pattern of which day you use which fingers will help you remember to use different test sites. Q: Can I get the blood sample from somewhere other than my fingers? A: It’s best to use your fingers because any changes in your blood glucose levels will appear most readily in the blood from your fingers, Shahinian says. However, some blood glucose meters can be used on other parts of the body, such as the palm, forearm, or thigh. Read the instructions to see where your device can be used, or ask what your doctor recommends. Q: How do I prepare for blood sugar testing? A: Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Washing serves two purposes: It cleans the test site, which reduces the risk for infection, and the warm water brings more blood to your fingers. Dry your hands well before testing. Another way to bring blood to your fingers is to dangle and shake your hands below your heart. You can also massage your finger, pushing blood toward the tip. Shahinian recommends not using rubbing alcohol to clean the test site because it can dry your skin. “You’re less likely to test if your fingers are dry and hurt,” she says. Q: How much blood do I need? A: “Try to get just enough,” Shahinian says. Most meters today require only a small drop of blood. Usually a quick prick works fine. If you lance your finger, you may bleed too much. Q: Where can I learn how to test properly? If you’re unsure about how to do a proper test, ask the caregivers in your doctor’s office to show you what to do. Don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s important that you use the proper technique so the results are accurate. Q: What do I do with the results? A: Keep a record of the results and the time of each testing. You should also make notes about what you ate or did before you tested and if you were experiencing any symptoms at the time. This will help you identify trends for when your blood sugar is high or low. Q: When should I talk with my doctor about the results? A: One high reading is nothing to be alarmed about. But when the readings are high or low for consecutive testings, you need to pay attention. “If your blood sugar is higher than your target level for at least two consecutive days, let your doctor know,” Shahinian says. “You could have an infection, or you could need to adjust your medication.” Everyone is different, so you and your doctor need to decide what your individual target level is. Also talk with your doctor if your blood sugar levels fall below 70 mg/dL for two or three consecutive readings or if you have more than one low blood sugar reaction in a week that you can’t explain. With guidance and experience, you’ll get the hang of blood sugar testing. Work with your healthcare team until you’re comfortable with the process on your own. Making regular blood sugar testing a priority is an important part of managing your condition.
Maxy & Tonka By Diana Rodriguez Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
1 . When you're feeling tense, there are many ways to manage and, in fact, reduce stress levels. Your diet and nutrition choices can make your stress levels go up or down. Certain foods provide comfort and actually increase levels of hormones in the body that naturally fight stress. Other types of foods and beverages can reduce stress by lowering the levels of hormones that trigger it.
2 . Have a Cup of Soothing Comfort Sometimes, it's the effect of a food or drink that can help reduce stress, not necessarily its nutrients. A warm cup of tea can actually calm many people, says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, LD, online nutrition coach and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Ky. There's the soothing effect of sipping a warm drink, regardless of the flavor — but certain herbs, like lavender and chamomile, have been shown to have a relaxing effect on their own, Meyerowitz says.
3 . Indulge in Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate in the diet can reduce stress in two ways — its chemical impact and its emotional impact. Chocolate feels like such an indulgence that it can be a real treat to simply savor a piece of it, and that feeling alone can help to reduce stress, says Meyerowitz. Dark chocolate, which is also rich in antioxidants, can also help to reduce stress by lowering levels of stress hormones in the body, according to a Swiss study in which participants ate about 1.5 ounces per day for two weeks. Just avoid excess calories in your diet by not overindulging in chocolate, advises Meyerowitz.
4 . Choose Carbohydrates Carbohydrates have been found to increase levels of serotonin, a chemical in the body that can boost mood and reduce stress. Once serotonin levels are increased, people under stress experience improved cognitive function, meaning they can concentrate and work better. Meyerowitz notes the comforting effect of carbohydrates in the diet that can reduce stress — savoring a bowl of pasta or macaroni and cheese feels soothing and can help you to relax. Just make sure to choose healthy carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and whole-grains for better nutrition, and limit fat-laden, calorie-dense toppings.
5 . Enjoy Avocados Avocados are not only delicious mashed into guacamole or sliced onto a salad — they're also packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy essential acids are known to reduce stress and anxiety, boost concentration, and improve mood. Meyerowitz emphasizes the importance of getting the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet for overall health, in addition to the benefit of helping to reduce stress.
6 . Eat Fatty Fish Fatty fish are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent way to use diet and nutrition to reduce stress because they also offer a major benefit to cardiovascular health. Omega-3 fatty acids and fatty fish have also been found to ease depression, because the chemicals improve communication between nerve cells. Fatty fish include tuna, halibut, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout.
7 . Make a Mug of Warm Milk A centuries-old home remedy for getting a better night’s sleep, warm milk helps because it has a relaxing effect on the body. Calcium-rich foods are an essential part of a healthy diet for bone health, but they also help with stress reduction. Milk and other dairy foods with calcium and added vitamin D can help muscles relax and stabilize mood — one study even found that they can also ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
8 . Grab a Handful of Nuts Nuts are full of vitamins, including B vitamins, and healthy fatty acids as well. According to Meyerowitz, B vitamins are an important part of a healthy diet and can help to reduce stress. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts can even help lower blood pressure levels. According to one study, pistachios in particular were found to have a role in reducing stress levels. Just remember to limit servings to just a handful a day to avoid excess calories.
9 . Get More Vitamin C Some studies have found that high levels of vitamin C help ease stress levels. One double-blind study reported on the value of taking 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C in a slow-release formula to reduce stress and levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol. Another study looked at the stress reduction effects of taking a supplement containing 1,000 mg of C, plus B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. Eating citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries is a good start, but you would need a supplement to reach such high levels of these nutrients.
The tendency to develop an anxiety disorder might stem from your genes but your life experiences and environment play a role, too. By Madeline R. Vann, MPH Medically Reviewed by Anxiety disorders can have both genetic and environmental roots.Photo Credit: Ian Simpson/Alamy Key Takeaways You might have inherited the tendency to develop an anxiety disorder from your parents or other close relatives. Anxiety disorders can also be caused or triggered by traumatic events or other aspects of your environment and life experience. If you have an anxiety disorder, you might notice signs of the same condition when you look through your family tree. Or you might not. Unlike some personal traits like eye color and facial features, anxiety in the family isn't always easy to see through the generations. Anxiety disorders include a variety of conditions, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. The search for specific genes related to anxiety disorders is in the preliminary phase. Consider this: Researchers analyzed the genetic make-up of 1,065 families — some of whom had OCD — and found that the gene in question was not associated with the disease. However, in their May 2014 issue of Molecular Psychiatry paper, they drew upon other research to conclude that there still may be a link between our DNA code and the occurrence of OCD, but these ideas still needed to be researched. The Link Between Genetics and Anxiety For most people, genetic risk for anxiety is less likely to be an on/off switch than a complicated mix of genes that can put you at risk for developing anxiety. Even then your anxiety disorder might be different from your relative’s in important ways. “Individuals inherit a predisposition to being an anxious person, [and] about 30 to 40 percent of the variability is related to genetic factors,” explains psychologist Amy Przeworski, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. A genetic predisposition to anxiety could start young. Studies have shown that when anxiety develops before age 20, close relatives are more likely to have anxiety as well. A study published in the June 2013 issue of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders underscored that certain anxiety traits correlated with panic disorder are evident by the age of 8. Researchers have tried to better understand the genetics behind anxiety disorders by looking at whether relatives have the same anxiety disorder. They have found that people are at significantly greater risk for panic disorder if they have a twin who has it and at somewhat greater risk for panic disorder if a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, has it. Studies show that the risk of anxiety tends to run in families, but the role of genetic influence versus the influence of the family environment remains unclear, conclude researchers in an article published in the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Korean Medical Science. As it stands now, experts believe the genes involved may modify your emotional responses in a way that might lead to anxiety. If two people have a similar mix of genes, whether they develop anxiety or not, could depend on their experiences or environmental risk factors. Environmental Risk Factors for Anxiety Some of the environmental risk factors that can trigger anxiety include abuse of all kinds, traumatic events, stressful life events, difficult family relationships, lack of a strong social support system, low-income status, and poor overall health. Research has also suggested that when anxiety develops despite an environment that has none or few of these risk factors; it’s probably due to underlying genetic risk. Anxiety Treatment Strategies The good news is that anxiety treatment, which could include medications and cognitive behavioral therapy, appears to be just as effective for people with a genetic history as for those without, Przeworski says. At least to date, research into the genetic roots of anxiety hasn’t revealed any treatment strategies that might work better than cognitive behavioral therapy.
author-avatar By Lauren Streicher, MD Your pelvis, or at least the health of your pelvis, is under attack with the new "no-pelvic exam" advice. And it's time to fight back. A little background: Every year, millions of women make that annual trek to their gynecologist, internist, or family doctor, and reluctantly climb into the stirrups and put up with a less than comfortable, sometimes humiliating exam. No one likes it, but from my point of view, it's clearly worth the brief discomfort and possible embarrassment to make sure that all is well in gyne-land. But not every professional medical organization is in agreement about the value of routinely checking out the vulva, vagina, and pelvic organs. In 2014, the American College of Physicians (internists, not gynecologists) issued a statement that there was no value in an annual pelvic exam unless someone had a specific complaint. But common sense will tell you that “no complaint” does not mean “no problem.” Signs and Symptoms Seen in a Pelvic Exam Matter Many women may not recognize that their vulvar itching could be the first sign of vulvar cancer. Most women assume that there's no treatment for painful sex and vaginal dryness, so they don’t bother to mention it. In still other cases, a woman may assume her urinary incontinence is an inevitable consequence of aging and frequent the diaper aisle instead of getting appropriate treatment. And most disturbing, a serious condition such as vaginal cancer may have no symptoms but be easily detectable by a gynecologist via a simple speculum examination of the vaginal walls. You can’t treat something if you don't know it's there, and it's been well established that being asymptomatic is NOT the same as being healthy. The No-Pelvic Exam Statement by the USPSTF June 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a statement that questions the value of routine gynecologic exams. But here’s the astonishing part: The authors of the report looked at only four — that’s right, four — conditions: Ovarian cancer Bacterial vaginosis, a common vaginal infection Trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease Genital herpes They inexplicably concluded that since there was no benefit to a pelvic exam in diagnosing these specific conditions, an annual pelvic exam need not be performed for otherwise healthy women. This argument is so outrageous, so flawed, and so beyond the most basic logic that I am embarrassed for them. For starters, it has already been well established in the medical literature that ovarian cancer isn't detected on annual exams. Genital herpes is diagnosed only if it's active, and bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis are detected only if a specific screen is performed. In other words, it's not news that these particular four conditions are not generally going to be diagnosed during an annual exam. Any gynecologist will tell you that these conditions are not the reason for the exam! Ovarian cancer, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and genital herpes don't even represent a fraction of the sorts of conditions a gynecologist screens for during your pelvic exam. The Value of the Pelvic Exam After Menopause The executive committee of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has come out publicly and stated, on July 1, that they “strongly disagree with the conclusion of the USPSTF draft evidence review, particularly as it applies to postmenopausal women.” And while it might be “reasonable to recommend against the pelvic exam for diagnosing those four conditions, there is no scientific basis for extrapolating beyond those four specific conditions to the myriad of conditions that affect women.” It appears that women are perilously close to losing the right to a complete exam, with consequences that may not be evident for years. But there's something you can do that may change this recommendation. Public Comments on the Pelvic Exam Are Open The USPSTF has declared that this statement is only a draft and that they are willing to “hear public input” prior to making a final recommendation. Quite frankly, it’s pretty frightening that this recommendation will be based on public opinion as opposed to solid science. What’s next, a public “vote" on whether taking blood pressure is important? In any event, you have until July 25 to go to the USPSTF site and read the report yourself, and to then leave a comment if you disagree with this recommendation. You may want to tell the USPSTF about a condition that was diagnosed that you had no idea you had until it was discovered on a pelvic exam. Or you may want to explain that your annual gynecologic exam is your opportunity to discuss “below the belt” issues, such as incontinence or sexual function — or that it's your opportunity to simply be reassured that everything is normal instead of treating your genitalia like some kind of no-fly zone that's only examined or treated if you have excruciating pain, a zoo-like odor, or bleeding requiring a change of pad every 10 minutes. Or you may simply want to tell the USPSTF that you are offended that, once again, women’s heath is marginalized by encouraging doctors and insurance companies to forego this critical part of your annual exam. And while you're at it, ask for “proof” that listening to your lungs and heart, a screen performed by every internist, is an effective way to reduce mortality and improve quality of life.
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
By Amy Gorin, MS, RDN Reviewed by Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN 1 . Strange Symptoms That May Signal Diabetes When you have type 2 diabetes, it’s important to be diagnosed as early as possible, since untreated symptoms can lead to dangerous — and sometimes irreversible — damage to the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Common symptoms include fatigue, lethargy, confusion, nausea, and increased urination, says David Bradley, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. But those aren’t the only signs that may signal type 2 diabetes — there are several more unusual symptoms that many people don’t commonly associate with the disease. It’s important to be aware of them, especially if you have a family history of diabetes: If one or both parents has type 2, then you have an increased chance of developing the disease yourself. So that you know what to be on the lookout for, we consulted the experts, who told us about seven unusual symptoms of diabetes. If you experience one or more of them, consult your doctor as soon as possible. 2 . Blurry Vision
If you’re having trouble reading street signs, your glasses may not be the problem. Although later-stage diabetes can cause permanent eye damage, blurry vision that arises in the early stages of the disease may be reversible. “A person with diabetes may experience blurred vision because of fluid level fluctuations that cause the eye to swell,” says Erika Villanueva, MD, an endocrinologist and clinical instructor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. High blood-sugar levels cause fluid levels in some tissues to drop, including the lenses of your eyes. 3 . Your Skin Looks and Feels Weird
When blood-sugar levels are heightened, the kidneys eliminate excess sugar through the urine, which results in increased urination and loss of fluid. “The subsequent dehydration causes increased thirst, and may cause itchy skin,” says Dr. Villanueva. You might also notice darkening in the body’s folds and creases (such as the armpits, groin, and neck). These velvety patches are caused by insulin resistance. Extra insulin circulating in the body may trigger skin cells to rapidly . 4 . A Wound That Won’t Heal
A slow-to-heal cut or bug bite can be a red flag for diabetes. Hyperglycemia (aka high blood sugar) decreases the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to wounds through the bloodstream, slowing the healing process and lowering the immune system. “I had a client who was diagnosed with diabetes after she had a mosquito bite that turned into a sore that wouldn't heal,” says Rachael Hartley, RD, CDE, a dietitian in private practice in Columbia, South Carolina. This effect on 5 . Frequent Yeast Infections or Jock Itch
Yeast thrives on glucose, and blood levels of glucose are consistently elevated in a person with diabetes, notes Villanueva. This is why women with diabetes are prone to chronic yeast infections, and men are more likely to develop jock itch. Yeast can grow in other areas, too — creating itchy rashes in skin folds, such as under the breasts, and between fingers and toes. 6 . Problems in the Bedroom
Diabetes can cause a decrease in sexual function in both men and women. Men may experience erectile dysfunction, while women may have vaginal dryness and problems with arousal. This is because high blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves that you need to work properly for sexual response, explains Hope Scott Paul, MS, a Certified Diabetes Educator in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. Nerves control the body’s response to sexual stimuli, signaling an increase in blood flow to the genitals; damage to these areas contributes to sexual
7 . Restless Sleep
Diabetes doesn’t only lead to dangerous spikes in blood sugar, but can cause dips — known as hypoglycemia — as well. Nighttime hypoglycemia may cause nighttime sweats, as well as vivid dreams. “I’ve heard these described as horrible nightmares,” says Paul. If hypoglycemia is suspected, it’s important to test blood-sugar levels and follow the 15/15 rule if numbers are low: Experts recommend having a 15-gram serving of carbohydrates, such as 4 ounces of fruit juice or 2 tablespoons of raisins, then waiting 15 minutes before retesting numbers. Those with diabetes may need to consult a doctor immediately, as dangerously low blood-sugar levels can lead to serious complications, and can even be life threatening if not addressed properly. And if you're a frequent napper, the habit could be increasing your risk for developing diabetes. 2015 research published in Diabetologia found that regularly taking a nap an hour or longer raises risk of type 2 diabetes by 46 percent.
Many women are in the dark about the insidious blockage of blood flow to the heart called coronary artery disease. By Jennifer J. Brown, PhD Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, killing more women and men each year than all types of cancer combined. The latest data from the American Heart Association (AHA) indicates that cardiovascular disease causes one death every minute among U.S. women, or 398,035 deaths yearly. The biggest villain of all the heart conditions is coronary artery disease. Also called hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis, it's caused by a buildup of plaque — cholesterol, inflammatory cells, and calcium — that sticks to blood vessel walls, explains the American College of Cardiology. But many women — and too often their doctors — don’t recognize women's symptoms of heart disease. “Quite honestly, we need to do the same thing for heart health that we’ve done with breast cancer,” says Beth Battaglino, RN, CEO of the nonprofit HealthyWomen and a nurse at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, New Jersey. Battaglino and HealthyWomen are working on a patient advocacy and education site called Spread the Word, which aims to get women talking with other women about heart disease. Spread the Word partners include Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, Society for Women's Health Research, Coalition of Labor Union Women, and the cardiovascular genomic diagnostic company CardioDx of Redwood City, California, which manufactures gene tests for heart disease. Are You at Risk for This Quiet Killer? If you are a woman with silent coronary artery disease (CAD), you may not realize that the arteries leading to your heart can get partially blocked by plaque buildup. But this situation can cause a heart attack as heart tissue dies and is starved of a nutrient-rich blood supply. “Women do not understand it’s the No. 1 killer,” says Battaglino about heart disease. “Give them the tools to find out about the risk. Women will share their stories.” Battaglino was inspired to get involved in patient advocacy for women because she was impressed by Violet Bowen-Hugh, MD, a champion for women’s health who began the nonprofit national women’s health resource center that's now called HealthyWomen. “In 1988, a female ob-gyn from West Virginia founded our organization. She believed all women need to be educated, regardless of their socio-economic background, to make educated decisions about their own health," Battaglino says. You or a woman you love could easily mistake the pain of coronary artery disease for a pulled muscle. Tweet Now, Battaglino hopes that more women will join the conversation about heart disease online and become their own advocates in the doctor’s office. “Write a blog post. Go on social media. Share what you learned with friends and family,” she urges. “If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be there to take care of those we love.” Heart Symptoms in Women vs. Men Women can all too easily overlook the more subtle symptoms of a heart condition like atherosclerosis — including arm or back pain. Often, the condition remains undiagnosed until after a heart attack or heart failure from arterial blockage, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Symptoms present (show up) so differently in women than in men,” explains Battaglino. In women, coronary artery disease may mimic other common, less deadly ailments. Whereas a man is more likely to feel the typical effects of angina — sharp chest pain — women need to be looking out for other possible symptoms, she says. Women’s symptoms of coronary artery disease can include: Feeling tightness in your jawUpper back pain Upper arm pain Upper abdominal pain Throat pain Stomach pain Sudden weakness or fatigue You, or a woman you love, could easily mistake the pain of coronary artery disease for a pulled muscle. Gut pains might seem like simple indigestion. Even sudden-onset fatigue is too often explained away by women who don't realize it could be heart related. “Many women are often tired, and so could easily dismiss that. But it could be a sign of coronary artery disease,” says Battaglino. When to Have the Heart-Health Conversation? You don’t have to wait until a cardiologist diagnoses you with heart disease — at yor annual well-woman checkup, you can become your own patient advocate. Take advantage of the opportunity to find out more about how your heart is working. “It’s so important to have the conversation about heart health when you visit the ob-gyn or your primary care provider," says Battaglino. "If they tell you your blood pressure is a little high, for example, ask, what does that mean?” This way, you can understand what your heart is telling you in the results of routine, but vital, heart-health tests like blood pressure. RELATED: 10-Step Do-It-Yourself Heart Makeover When you get to the few precious minutes you have with your doctor, tell them about any symptoms that could point to heart disease. “You want to bring up anything that’s bothering you, like indigestion, pain in the upper arm, back, or neck, or tightness in the jaw. Remember, women present (show symptoms) differently than men,” Battaglino says. She suggests writing down the questions you want to ask before you go in. This is good advice not only for yourself, but also for family members who may be getting ready for their annual primary care visit. Battaglino says, “As a daughter, I want to be sure I’m letting my mom know, too, to have that conversation.” The best way to get the most you can out of your visit is to prepare. Get the education and tools that can help you understand your heart and signs of heart disease from online heart-health resources, and share them with the women in your life. Women Heart Remember, women present (show symptoms) differently than men,” Battaglino says. She suggests writing down the questions you want to ask before you go in. This is good advice not only for yourself, but also for family members who may be getting ready for their annual primary care visit. Battaglino says, “As a daughter, I want to be sure I’m letting my mom know, too, to have that conversation.” The best way to get the most you can out of your visit is to prepare. Get the education and tools that can help you understand your heart and signs of heart disease from online heart-health resources, and share them with the women in your life.
While you’re with your healthcare provider, be sure to talk about how you might be able to cut your risk for heart disease. Important factors include a healthy diet, regular exercise, and curtailing any exposure to smoke — be it cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or secondhand smoke. While you’re there, remember to check that you're current with all your vaccines. If you’re a smoker, you may want to get the pneumonia vaccine, Battaglino points out. And if you’re not sure whether or not you were vaccinated against measles — which has reappeared in the United States — ask your doctor about getting your MMR vaccine. If you have a heart condition, you may be at greater risk for infection and complications, which can be severe. Battaglino says about her patients, “They can have blood drawn and have titers [antibody levels] taken to find out if they need a [measles] booster or not.” Heart Test Facts to Know If your visit to primary care turns up a possible heart condition, be proactive and ask for a cardiac referral. “You’d go to primary care, then you’d see a cardiologist, and based on that you’d see about tests. Understand the testing that’s available to you,” says Battaglino. Getting the right tests just might put you on the path to avoiding a potentially fatal heart attack. Heart tests have different benefits and health risks. Here are some of the heart tests that might come up, what they identify, and, for some, their radiation exposure risks: CAD Blood Test This sensitive genetic test may be considered to identify which genes are active. (The test is manufactured by CardioDx.) Exercise Stress Test An ECG (electrocardiogram), with or without imaging of the heart with an echocardiogram, is done while you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle. This test can identify blood flow limiting coronary artery disease. CT Coronary Calcium Scan Also called the Agatston score, this heart scan shows areas where plaque has built up inside your blood vessels even before symptoms appear. It exposes you to radiation of about 3 millisieverts (mSv, a measure of radiation dose). CT Coronary Angiogram Another heart scan, this is one that identifies narrowing of individual coronary arteries. But note that it exposes you to significantly more radiation than a calcium scan — 12 mSv. Nuclear Stress Test This combines an ECG, small amounts of intravenous radioactive dye, and heart scans that include radiation exposure of about 10 to 24 mSv. For comparison, a mammogram exposes you to about 0.4 mSv, and a dental exam to 0.005 mSv. This test can identify regions of the heart that have diminished blood flow during exercise or drug-induced stress. Don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't know what the tests involve. According to Andrew Einstein, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New Your City, two questions you should always ask about your heart test are: 1. Is there a good clinical reason I’m getting this test? 2. Do you modify the test for each specific patient? The answer to the first question should, of course, be yes. And Dr. Einstein points out that it's important that some tests be adjusted to suit the person, because a woman may need lower radiation doses based on her weight, the size of her heart, or her age. The best practice is to minimize your exposure to radiation, because you may be scheduled for several X-ray screening tests in a year by different doctors. Both your referring physician and the doctor who actually does the tests should discuss the risks of radiation exposure with you, according to the AHA.
Get the facts on DVT's dangerous clots so you can protect yourself. By Regina Boyle Wheeler Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, is a potentially dangerous blood clot that can form in a deep vein without your knowing it. If it breaks free, it can travel through your body and eventually lodge in the arteries of the lungs, blocking blood flow. This is a life-threatening emergency called a pulmonary embolism. The problem is such a big risk to public health — responsible for up to 100,000 deaths in the United States each year — that the U.S. Surgeon General issued a Call to Action to raise disease awareness and educate people on ways to reduce blood clot risk. Still, misconceptions exist about DVT and pulmonary embolism. DVT expert Lawrence “Rusty” Hofmann, MD, chief interventional radiologist at Stanford University Medical Center in California, as well as the co-founder and medical board chairman of Grand Rounds, helps bust these myths. Myth: You're young and healthy, so you don’t have to worry about DVTs. Fact: DVT doesn't discriminate by age. Dr. Hofmann said while it's true that as you age you have a slightly higher risk, many of the patients he sees with DVT are in their twenties and thirties. Myth: If a DVT is going to form, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Fact: Your likelihood of getting a blood clot is based on other factors related to your health, several of which you have control over. These include obesity, smoking, taking birth control pills, immobility, and dehydration. “Stay healthy, exercise, drink lots of water, and quit smoking,” said Hofmann. Pregnant women are also at increased risk of developing a DVT until about six weeks post-partum. Having surgery or breaking a bone also raises your risk if you're immobilized. Talk to your doctor about how to avoid DVTs in these situations. Myth: You’ll know if you have a DVT because you’ll feel a lot of pain in your leg or thigh. Fact: The most important indicator of a DVT is swelling, said Hofmann. Yes, the vast majority of people feel pain in a leg or thigh, but Hofmann pointed out, there are many reasons for leg pain and not as many for swelling. “Another symptom that I’ll see in some patients is lower back pain in the pelvis area, specifically the sacrum,” he added. If swelling and/or pain have you suspecting a DVT, go to the emergency room. An ultrasound can diagnose a clot. Myth: The only way to combat “economy class syndrome” is to buy a seat in first class. Fact: “Most people associate flight-related blood clots with the altitude or the size of your seat, but it really has everything to do with the movement of your legs,” said Hofmann, adding that getting a blood clot while flying is actually rare. “The best way to avoid DVT on an airplane — or even sitting at your desk — is to move your legs. I suggest the ‘put the pedal to the metal’ movement while seated: Move your foot up and down as if you’re pushing down on the gas pedal of a car. Do this 10 times every 20 minutes. For flights longer than two hours, get up and walk to bathroom and back a couple times.” Knowing the facts about DVT can help reduce your blood clot risk and enable you to recognize symptoms, so you can get treatment early and avoid dangerous complications.
The convenience of these grab-and-go eats is undeniable, but for people with diabetes, some options are healthier than others. Here's how to snack smartly. By Diana Rodriguez Medically Reviewed by Lynn Grieger, RDN The right convenience foods can put you on a fast-track to better health when you have diabetes.Alamy; iStock.com More and more nutrition bars, nutrition shakes, and other convenience foods labeled for people with diabetes are turning up in grocery store aisles. Some marketers of these quick and easy foods even claim they’ll help you more successfully manage your type 2 diabetes. But just because these nutrition bars and shakes are targeted to people with diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean they are good for you or worth their cost. You have to know what ingredients to look for, says Nora Saul, RD, a Boston-based certified diabetes educator and clinical specialist at Roche Diagnostics. Before you go out and buy a jumbo-size pack, read the label to learn what's inside. Using nutrition bars and shakes may be effective for weight loss. In a study by the American Diabetes Association published in August 2013 in Diabetes Spectrum, researchers found that participants who used meal-replacement shakes and nutrition bars were better at staying on a weight control program and keeping track of their overall calorie count than those who ate conventional food. In fact, those people who ate bars and drank shakes lost 7.8 percent of their initial body weight compared with the other group, who lost only 1.5 percent of their initial body weight.
Identifying the Best Nutrition Bars and Shakes for Diabetes Ingredients can vary widely among products, but some of the nutrition bars and shakes made for people with diabetes may contain specific ingredients that make them a good choice. "There are certain bars that have resistant starch or uncooked cornstarch in them," says Saul. The presence of these starches can help prevent overnight low blood sugars as well as very high blood sugar levels. It all has to do with how the body breaks them down: Resistant starch is incompletely digested in the small intestine and then fermented in the large intestine into short-chain fatty acids. This way, blood glucose levels rise very slowly, rather than spike. Other nutrition bars and shakes may have valuable vitamins and nutrients, and may be perfectly fine for people with diabetes, says Saul. But while they are acceptable choices, "there's nothing magical about them," she says, and they don't provide an easy fix for type 2 diabetes management. How to Use Nutrition Shakes and Bars If you like the taste, can afford the price, and enjoy the convenience of a safe and healthy snack, there's no reason why you can't keep a supply of nutrition bars and shakes on hand for times when you need to eat in a pinch. But snacks with resistant starch aren't a good option when your blood sugar is dropping and you need to bring it back up, because they're designed to do so slowly. Also remember not to overdo it on these prepackaged foods, and don't use them as an easy way out if you want to avoid planning a healthy meal. "They're fine for a snack," says Saul, but she suggests that fresh fruit and vegetables are preferable, not to mention less expensive. Before you or a loved one with diabetes snacks on a nutrition shake or bar, check out Saul's advice: Look for nutrition bars and nutrition shakes that contain protein and fiber. Choose nutrition bars that are low in fat, with no more than 5 to 7 grams, and make sure those are mostly monounsaturated fats. Check the products' vitamin and mineral content — look for brands that contain essential nutrients like foliate and calcium, especially. Consider checking your blood sugar about two hours after eating one of these bars or drinking a shake to get an idea of the effect the snack has on you. Saul's main advice regarding convenience foods is they shouldn't be a staple of the diabetic diet, and you shouldn't plan on regularly having a nutrition bar or nutrition shake in place of a healthy, well-balanced meal. "If somebody skips breakfast sometimes, having one of these bars is fine," but, she adds, it's important to learn how to prepare and eat whole foods sustainably.
At the sound of his baby brother’s cooing, Max noticed that something was up, too! He lifted his head and started sniffing at Hollis. Max could tell that something wasn’t quite right, but he had no idea what in the world was going on with his human brother—or what would happen next.
What Hollis decided to do next was enough to make Max think twice about spending any more time with the little guy. While it might be entertaining to us, Max just couldn’t handle his human brother’s presence! So, what happened?
Hearing about this hilarious moment is one thing, but in order to fully appreciate it, you need to see it for yourself. See what Hollis did to poor Max in the video below. You won’t be able to stop laughing!
Boxers , briefs, or bare it all? There's more to making good choices than you might think. By Wyatt Myers Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD You wouldn't think there'd be a lot to learn about underwear — wear it, change it, wash it, repeat — but there's actually more than most men think. And whether guys choose boxers, briefs, or live to go commando, chances are, underwear rarely gets a second thought. As a results, many men lack “underwear etiquette,” says Gregory D. Albert, MD, a physician in Delray Beach, Fla. “Underwear most importantly needs to be changed frequently and always remain clean, and I need to tell you, be discarded when they are thread-bare or stained,” he stresses. “If you work out or sweat excessively, it may be a good idea to change midday to remain fresh.” Here are more experts dos and don’ts. Simple Rules for What You Wear Under There With that sentiment in mind, there are a number of simple rules you can follow when it comes to men’s health and underwear. For starters, April Masini, a relationship advice expert and columnist, seconds the commandment that underwear dos include throwing out the old. “Your old underwear is not sentimental,” she says. “It's disgusting. Throw it out. Once a month throw out any underwear that is unpresentable. Gray, ripped, unsightly. Get rid of it. Uncertain? Toss it.” Masini says this purge should be accompanied by buying new underwear regularly. “In fact, every time you get a haircut, buy some new underwear. Link buying new underwear to something you already do on a schedule, so you get into the habit.” Don’t get locked into just one type of underwear. “My advice is to switch it up — and unless you’re religiously committed to boxers or briefs, have fun with your underwear and have some of both,” says Masini. “If you have fun with your underwear, she will, too — and everybody wins! Colors, fabrics, cuts, styles — have at least one pair of each. One of the best things you can do for your relationship is to keep things fresh in the bedroom, and while your underwear isn’t a cure-all for bad bedroom skills, it sure can’t hurt.” Boxers or Briefs — the Pros and Cons Variety might be the spice of life (and underwear), but it also brings to mind the age-old men’s health debate: boxers or briefs? Here, Dr. Albert says, it’s really a matter of your own personal tastes more than anything else. “Generally, boxers will give you more breathing room, and briefs will give you support,” he says. “It is a matter of preference, yet tighter briefs will lower fertility, so if you are trying to get your wife pregnant, stick with loose-fitting boxers.” Material Matters The next issue to consider is what material to choose. Masini says that men, just like women, should choose cotton or synthetic blends for everyday wear and save the more luxurious silks and other fun fabrics for special occasions. For the gym, Maurice Voce, the co-founder and chief marketing officer of skin care line Skin Authority, says that the newest synthetic blends are the way to go to prevent chaffing. “You definitely need to wear underwear that provides the proper level of support and utilizes a moisture-wicking fabric,” he says. “Never wear boxers, cotton, or go commando when working out. The good news is there are so many athletic underwear choices at all price points. Also, never wear workout underwear more than once without washing them.” The Pros and Cons of Going Commando Another underwear option is to wear no underwear at all. This can be fun and feel great in the right circumstances, but our experts advise proceeding with caution. “Going commando can be very sexy, but like everything else, there's a time and a place,” Masini says. “Commando is great if you’re going for a sexy evening with a predictable outcome. However, dancing the night away first is going to have a sweaty outcome, which is not ideal. Also, linen trousers or shorts are going to reveal a little too much of your commando profile. If you go commando, wear something that makes your underwear status your little secret revealed by choice, not visual impact.”
By Beth W. Orenstein Reviewed by Bhargavi Patham, MD If you have type 2 diabetes, you know about the importance of making healthy mealtime choices. But just as important is staying away from the wrong foods — those that can spike your blood sugar. That's because simple carbohydrates, like white bread and sugary soda, are broken down by the body into sugar, which then enters the bloodstream. Even if you don't have diabetes, these foods can lead to insulin resistance, which means your body's cells don't respond normally to the insulin produced by the pancreas. Here are seven foods you should avoid for better blood sugar control. White Rice
If you have type 2 diabetes, scratch white rice from your menus. In a study published in June 2010 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who ate five or more servings of white rice a week increased their risk for developing type 2 diabetes, while people who replaced at least a third of their white-rice servings with brown rice lowered their risk by as much as 16 percent. The reason is that white rice has little fiber, especially compared with brown rice, and fiber can help keep blood sugar levels stable. White Bread
Who would think this everyday staple could add to diabetes risk? The problem is that your body quickly digests products made with refined flour, such as white bread, and this quick digestion can cause your blood sugar to rise. Researchers have also found that people who eat more whole grains and fewer refined grains — including white bread — have less of the type of body fat that can trigger heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Soda and Other Sweet Drinks
To keep your blood sugar within normal range, you want to avoid soda and other sugar-filled drinks. In an analysis published in November 2010 in the journal Diabetes Care, researchers found that people who drank one or two sugary drinks a day were at a 26 percent higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than those who drank less than one 12-ounce glass a month. Replacing regular soda or sugary drinks with water or seltzer can help with weight loss, too. Red Meat
Hold the bacon! You don’t have to cut red meat from your diet entirely, but studies show that eating lots of red meat and processed meats, such as bacon and cold cuts — all high in saturated fat — could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. A review published in October 2011 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who ate processed meat — a hot dog, sausage, or two slices of bacon — once a day more than doubled their risk for diabetes. You can easily lower your risk by substituting one serving of red or processed meats with healthier sources of protein, such as nuts or low-fat dairy products. Fast Food
Fast food is tempting, especially when you're hungry and in a hurry. But most fast food is high in fat, calories, and salt, all of which can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, reduce your chances of weight-loss success, and send your blood sugar soaring. A study published in April 2011 in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating a fatty fast-food meal spiked blood sugar levels by 32 percent in healthy people who didn't have diabetes. Also, salty fast-food fare can increase your blood pressure, which is especially dangerous for people with diabetes, who, according to the American Heart Association are 2 to 4 times more likely to die from heart disease than those without diabetes. Packaged Foods
It's not known for certain why some people develop type 2 diabetes and some do not, but poor eating habits are tied to the condition. Snack foods and commercially prepared baked goods also should go on your foods-to-avoid list if you have type 2 diabetes or want to avoid developing it. First, these foods make it harder for you to achieve your weight-loss goals. Second, they tend to be high in trans fats, and trans fats raise the bad cholesterol and lower the good cholesterol in your blood and can also cause inflammation, which may lead to diabetes. Even small amounts of trans fats can have harmful health effects. Choose wholesome snacks, like a handful of almonds, or make your own treats with healthier ingrefients. Whole Milk
When you think about saturated fat, red meat and butter probably come to mind first, but whole-milk dairy products are also loaded with saturated fats, the prime suspects in life-threatening conditions like heart disease. Research shows that a diet high in saturated fats is linked to both obesity and insulin resistance. Switch to no-fat or 1 percent dairy products to get all the benefits of calcium without the drawbacks, and reduce calories to help with weight loss.
Sara C. Nelson , Senior Editor , Huffington Post UK 04/09/2017 The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced they are expecting their third child. The Queen and members of both families are said to be delighted with the news. Prime Minister Theresa May greeted the news on Twitter as “fantastic.” Kate’s brother-in-law, Prince Harry, reacted to the news he will be an uncle once again telling reporters he was “very, very happy.” When asked how she was getting on, he replied: “I haven’t seen her for a while but I think she’s OK.” The couple are already parents to Prince George, who celebrated his fourth birthday in July, and Princess Charlotte, who turned two in May. The children have travelled on official tours of Poland and Germany with their parents. Their third child would be fifth in line to the British throne. William, 35, is the eldest son of Prince Charles, the first in line to the throne, and a grandson of the queen. The announcement means Prince Harry is now sixth in line to the throne. If the Cambridges’ third child is a boy, he will not be allowed to jump ahead of older sister Charlotte in the line of succession. The Duke of York will move to seventh and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie to eighth and ninth. The Earl of Wessex is tenth in line of succession. Previously, under the ancient rules of male primogeniture, royal sons took precedence over their female siblings, even leapfrogging first-born royal daughters But a radical shake-up of the royal succession rules removed discriminatory male bias and came into force in March 2015, affecting babies born after October 28 2011. As with her previous two pregnancies, the Duchess is suffering from a rare form of acute morning sickness called Hyperemesis Gravidarum. She will no longer carry out her planned engagement at the Hornsey Road Children’s Centre in London on Monday. Prince George is set to start school on Thursday at an independent school in Battersea, south London. It is not certain if Kate, who has already said she is unsure if George “has any idea what’s going to hit him” will be well enough to accompany her son. The severity of the condition, which affects 3.5 per 1,000 pregnant women, can cause dehydration, weight loss and a build-up of toxins in the blood or urine called ketosis. The 35-year-old is being cared for at Kensington Palace. It is not known how far along in her pregnancy the Duchess is, though BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt points out: “For a third time Kensington Palace has had to announce the pregnancy earlier than planned because Kate has acute morning sickness.” It is believed she will be the first senior royal since the queen to have more than two children. William and Kate were married at Westminster Abbey in 2011 after announcing their engagement in November 2010. The lavish ceremony was watched by about two billion people around the world. The pair met at St Andrews University. News of the royal pregnancy comes just days after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, alongside Prince Harry, commemorated the 20-year anniversary of Princess Diana’s death with a visit to a memorial garden planted in honour of her. In a sign of how the young royals have helped to modernise the House of Windsor, the princes have spoken about the trauma of her death and its lasting emotional impact.