5 reasons walking every day will change your life

What makes you feel good, look good, and only requires a pair of tennis shoes? Walking. We know exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but finding motivation to get active before or after a long day can be tough. This is why walking is a great option. It may be a less intense form of exercise, but walking offers so many health benefits, from improved mental health to chronic disease prevention. Read on to see why taking a few minutes out of your day to walk could be the best thing for your body.

Improved mental health

Whether you walk outside in the fresh air or on a treadmill while listening to your favorite tunes, walking is proven to improve mental health. A study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that people suffering from depression who regularly walked 30-45 minutes for three months showed signs of improvement when their medication didn’t cure their symptoms. Walking can give you energy, decrease anxiety and stress, improve your ability to focus, and give you a break from your to-do list.

Healthier Heart

Walking has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as prevent diabetes—all of which can contribute to heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends walking at a brisk pace for at least thirty minutes each day to receive these heart benefits. If you’re not quite in shape enough to do this, the American Heart Association suggests setting a fitness goal for walking a few minutes at a time and increasing this time as you get more in shape.

Prevent Dementia

Dementia is a growing concern among adults, but exercise is one of the best and proven ways to prevent it. According to a review of Archives of Medical Research, exercising regularly can decrease your chances of dementia by 50 percent. Walking not only helps your current health but can also keep disorders like dementia under at bay.

Improved bones and muscles

Walking also helps strengthen your bones and decrease arthritis symptoms. It can reduce fractures and symptoms of osteoporosis by preventing the loss of bone mass. Muscles and joints also benefit from walking, as the movement helps distribute pressure and nutrients for a healthier range of motion and increased strength.

“Walking is one of the best aerobic activities a senior can do,” said Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing. “We encourage everybody to do at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking activities per day. Walk to the mailbox, walk down the aisles of the grocery store, or go to the rec center. Walking would be a great addition to a daily routine.”

Weight loss

Maintain a healthy weight by walking regularly. It’s a great way to burn extra calories and lose weight over time. Due to it being a low-intensity and social exercise, you’re more likely to be consistent with making time for it versus other more extreme workouts.

So, whether it’s your heart or your mind that you’re looking to strengthen, consider taking a daily walk. Your body will be thanking you for years to come.

This article was originally published by Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.

3 things you should know about diabetes

Did you know at this very moment you could have diabetes?

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, out of the 29 million Americans with diabetes, 1 in 4 don’t know they have the disease. But as thousands of new cases of diabetes are diagnosed each year, the prognosis is grim. A newly diagnosed diabetic faces a future of pills, vague fitness and nutrition plans and no real answers for effective treatment.

What if the medical community could eliminate diabetes from our families? What if there was a way to prevent diabetes? Better yet, what if there was a way to reverse it?

There is a way.

But it requires a greater understanding of the effects of diabetes on the body, the limitations of today’s healthcare and the empowering effects of looking at this disease differently.

The effects of diabetes on the body

What is happening in your body? Quite a bit. In a healthy body, energy is created when the hormone insulin pulls glucose cells out of the blood and passes through a receptor site to produce Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP.

But in a diabetic’s body, the receptor site doesn’t open for this molecule, so insulin and blood sugar have no choice but to convert to cholesterol, attach to your blood vessel walls and wreak havoc on your system with painful inflammation.

Today’s pharmaceutical companies have created drugs for every health condition. Often a diabetic is prescribed a cocktail of blood sugar, cholesterol, and high blood pressure medications and told to eat right and exercise, yet this generalized treatment plan doesn’t effectively reduce the symptoms of this disease.

The limitations of today’s healthcare system

At times it seems there is a disconnect between treating and curing disease. One pathway doesn’t typically lead to the other. It’s frustrating.

According to the World Health Organization, the US ranks 37 in overall health systems, barely edging out Slovenia and Cuba. Americans take 50% of the world’s medications yet make up a mere 5% of the world’s population. Our nation’s dependency on pharmaceuticals contributes to a healthcare system that focuses on symptoms rather than prevention. That can be frustrating for a patient struggling for answers.

Read: 7 surprising ways you’re destroying your health

The empowering effects of looking at diabetes differently

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” —Andy Dufrensne, character from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”

You have the power to reverse this disease, and there are tools to help you. This isn’t about turning your back on modern medicine. I recognize the use of drugs as an essential part of treatment for a number of illnesses, but I don’t view medications as a permanent solution.

A better approach would be for patients to free themselves from the confines of large quantities of medications and explore long-term solutions through customized treatment plans that profoundly improve quality of life.

If you hope to control diabetes, you must gain a greater understanding of this disease, understand the limitations of the present healthcare system and embrace a new knowledge of what can treat and ultimately reduce the negative effects of this disease. In this way, you are gonna “get busy living” every day.

Dr. Candice Hall is Chief of Staff of Next Advanced Medicine. She was awarded Physician of the Year in 2005 from the NRCC and has over 14 years of experience in Functional Medicine.

This article was originally published on Familyshare.com. It has been republished here with permission.

Things Patients Should Never Do

When help is needed, who do you call?

Your mom? Maybe you pose your question in a Facebook post or tweet? In this fast-paced, ever-changing world, it’s nice to know there are people you can rely on when you need help and guidance.

“A family medicine doctor is one who does a little bit of everything,” explained Dr. Scott Peterson, who practices family medicine along with his physician father, Dr. David Peterson and fellow physician Dr. Thomas Carn at the Wasatch Medical Center. “It’s much like your old general practice physicians. I enjoy delivering babies and then watching them grow into adults. I was looking at different branches of medicine and decided I really liked that lifetime continuity of care.”

In its 50 years, Wasatch Medical Center has offered care for as many as four generations of patients in some families.

As an enduring mainstay in the community, Scott Peterson, David Peterson and Carn have learned much about their patients, and they often see behaviors that create concerns. Scott noted three things he would like to see his patients carefully consider.

Don’t choose a doctor based solely on an insurance list

Sadly, some people put more thought into what value meal to order than in selecting a doctor to keep them healthy. Peterson, whose patients call him “Dr. Scott” to distinguish him from his father, urges patients to put careful thought into selecting a physician since patients often just refer to an insurance list to select their doctor.

Yes, it is important to select a physician who accepts your insurance, but you must also consider the caregiving, too. When considering a doctor, ask yourself, “Is this a healthcare provider with whom I would feel comfortable discussing personal matters?” Consider why an insurance company might rate one physician over another; it could be because that provider saves the insurance company money. Also ask questions about recommendations from other patients. It may be that the waiting room time is prolonged because that provider is willing to spend more time with you, listening to your concerns. Is someone disgruntled because their doctor told them something that they did not want to hear?

Every physician has his or her strengths, and Dr. Scott’s concern is that patients research their physician to be sure the doctor is a good fit for the specific needs of the patient and family.

“My best advice is to network and put more stock in the opinions of people who know well and trust rather than the advice of your insurance carrier or a stranger,” Dr. Scott said.

Don’t postpone immunizations

The Internet is full of advice, and much of it sounds very logical. Despite the recent backlash criticizing the merits of immunizing children, Dr. Scott, along with other members of the medical community, work hard to promote the benefits of immunizing children.

According to the Centers of Disease Control, a 2015 study published by CNN.com found that 95 percent of kindergarteners were immunized for preventable diseases, although the state’s percentages vary.

Concerning parents who opt not to immunize, CNN.com reported, “They’re a relatively small group of parents in a big country. But their decision not to vaccinate their children can have a profound impact on public health.”

For Dr. Scott and others, immunization is not a viable debate. It simply comes down to offering protection from preventable diseases for your child and those who share this world with your child.

“The last child I hospitalized for whooping cough was a 2-month-old baby girl,” Dr. Scott said. “That is the age when the immune system is at its weakest point. Although this family was immunized, someone else spread the disease to this little girl who became critically ill.”

Because whooping cough has a long recovery time, this patient was hospitalized on three different occasions.

“It broke my heart to watch them go through this,” Dr. Scott said. “Please, please immunize your children and don’t delay because delays only lead to more risks for your child and others.”

Be careful about self-diagnosis

Dr. Scott has a number of concerns about patients who self-diagnose based on websites and searches.

“I use the Internet to help diagnose patients,” Dr. Scott said. “It is a useful tool, but the Internet isn’t your friend. It hasn’t gone to school, it doesn’t read the studies I read, and it can’t talk with you personally about your unique symptoms.”

With an unprecedented accessibility to online information, it is common for patients to research their own symptoms and form their own conclusions about a possible ailment or disease. Not surprisingly, the concern for a misdiagnosis is all too real.

The dangers are two-fold. For a patient who discovers a serious disease matching her symptoms, she may begin self-treatment for an incorrect health condition, thus causing more damage. On the other hand, a misdiagnosis that minimizes the potential seriousness of a disease can delay lifesaving treatments.

The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. Dr. Scott states that many medically sound sites physicians use can be accessed by others for a fee. He recommends Up-To-Date and Epocrates for Physicians as well as the American Academy of Family Medicine. Free resources include the Centers for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic websites. Patients should keep in mind as they do their research that there are many sites that exist to promote the creators or their products.

“If you spend time researching an idea, then please focus your attention on sites where good science stands behind your source searching,” Dr. Scott said.

No concern is insignificant to family medicine providers such as Dr. Scott, and he urges everyone to seek regular medical checkups and care.

This article was originally published on MomClick. It has been republished here with permission.

Sleep Apnea: When it’s more than just sawing logs

Vivian hadn’t slept in the same bed with her husband of 40 years for well over one year. His snoring carried a velocity that could shake the neighbor’s dishes, so she made a place for herself in the downstairs spare bedroom.

Her husband’s snoring was nothing new, but when he started complaining about severe headaches and grew irritable over things that didn’t used to bother him, she knew something was wrong. A visit to the doctor determined her husband suffered from sleep apnea.

Is sleep apnea another form of snoring?

Though snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, all snorers do not have it. There are two types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when one’s airway is partially blocked, usually by soft tissue collapsing in the back of the throat. Central sleep apnea is less common but carries serious risks. This form occurs when the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. This often happens because of problems with the respiratory control center.

In both cases, the cessation of breathing, which can last from a few seconds to a few minutes, means your brain is not getting adequate oxygen, and that’s scary stuff.

Who is at risk of suffering from sleep apnea?

People of all ages can suffer from sleep apnea, but the common factors that contribute to its occurrence include excessive weight, large tonsils, some types of medications, sinus problems, gastroesophageal reflux, and gender. Males are more likely to experience sleep apnea. In some cases, children have experienced sleep apnea that affects their learning capacity and other daily activities.

Living with the effects of sleep apnea is really no way to live. It’s difficult to function when your sleep patterns are regularly interrupted. It leaves many people suffering from depression, headaches and an inability to concentrate. It also affects motor skills, which can affect one’s job performance.

How is it treated?

Sleep apnea must be treated immediately. If left ignored, sleep apnea could increase the risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

For mild cases, the staff at the Mayo Clinic has seen success when patients quit smoking or reduce alcohol intake. Also, lifestyle changes such as weight loss or medications for possible allergies will help.

In an assisted living environment where sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are common, most nursing staff are prepared to assist patients to help them sleep more comfortably.

“Most of the time patients come to us already equipped with their breathing aids such as CPAP and BPAP machines. Our nursing staff is trained on how to make sure their masks are fitted properly, and that they are compliant in wearing them,” said Laura Hayes, assistant director of nursing at Draper Rehabilitation and Care Center.

She added that in some situations, not using it or using it incorrectly can lead to chronic respiratory failure. It is also important that the families of residents understand how their loved one’s sleep apnea works.

Dr. Susan Redline, an expert in sleep apnea research at Harvard Medical School, has found that severe cases of sleep apnea increase the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. She suggests talking with the doctor about a CPAP Mask. This device provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which sends enough air to keep airway passages clear.

“It not only reduces the daytime blood pressure count, but it also reduces increased high blood pressure at night, including the times when heart attack and stroke is most likely to occur,” Redline states.

If someone you love can saw logs with the best of them, this is your wake-up call to make sure something more serious isn’t preventing them (and you) from getting a good night’s sleep. Good health, whether awake or while sleeping, is something dreams are made of.

This article was originally published on MomClick. It has been republished here with permission.