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Archive for December, 2013

I’m Over Age 50: What Health Screenings Do I Need?

December 27, 2013

As we age, we become more at-risk for certain diseases that impact older adults more often than younger adults. Individuals over 50 should be screened regularly for a variety of health problems. Preventive health screenings can detect conditions that have yet to present any symptoms so treatment can be sought sooner.

Various health institutions, including the National Institute of Health, the National Cholesterol Education Program, the American Cancer Society and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend adults over age 50 take advantage of the following health screenings:

1. Prostate Cancer Screening

The Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test is a method of screening for prostate cancer that the American Urological Association says is for men who want to “pursue early diagnosis” of the condition. Approximately a third of all men over fifty have cancer in their prostate gland. While this type of cancer may never cause a problem, that is not easy to tell at an early stage. Early discovery via screening may prevent catastrophic consequences from prostate cancer.

2. Mammogram

A mammogram is the main method of screening for breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that women start having a yearly mammogram after age 40. However, women should talk to their doctors to see what’s right for them, especially if they are considered high-risk.

3. Colonoscopy

Colorectal cancer is a problem for both genders, but it can often be detected through a colonoscopy. The American Cancer Society recommends men and women have a colonoscopy every five to ten years starting at age 50, depending on risk factors.

Other tests that can detect colorectal cancer include flexible sigmoidoscopy, CT colonography, fecal occult blood test and double-contrast barium enema. Talk to your doctor to see which test is right for you.

4. Heart Disease Screening

Health screening tests for heart disease include blood tests for cholesterol, blood pressure tests and screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. People with high cholesterol are at a higher risk for heart disease. Age and other risk factors (like a history of smoking) raise the likelihood of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Life Line Screening recommends at-risk individuals should undergo the aortic aneurysm screening annually.

5. Bone Density Screening

Bone density scans have the ability to better detect osteoporosis risk. It is recommended that women start getting screened for this condition at age 65 and men at age 75. Women at a higher risk should start getting screened at menopause and men at age 50, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

 6. Pap Test

Pap tests are capable of detecting cervical cancer. Until she gets to 65, a woman should have a pap smears at least once every three years. If the results have been normal up that point, she can stop getting the tests at 65 or 70, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Talk to your doctor to learn more about which health screenings you should be having and how often you may need them.

 




3 Reasons to Ditch Artificial Sweeteners Forever

December 19, 2013

An artificial sweetener is an unnatural substitute for pure sugar. Replacing an ingredient that grows from the earth with something man-made isn’t always good for the human body. Nonetheless, grocers’ shelves are jam-packed not only with foods containing artificial sweeteners, but also with boxes of artificial sweeteners for consumers who want to add the substance directly to food themselves.

Eating more produce and natural foods is necessary for healthy aging. Another step you could consider is removing artificial sweeteners from your diet altogether. You may be wondering, but why are artificial sweeteners so bad? Here are three reasons:

 

Artificial sweeteners increase binge eating.

Calorie-free, fake sugar activates the brain’s pleasure center as if it were really sugar. The problem? Although the artificial sweetener is hundreds of times sweeter than regular sugar, it doesn’t satisfy the brain’s pleasure center like natural sugar does. This confuses the body and triggers an increased desire for even more sweets. The brain is now sugar-bound, and binging on sodas and sweets becomes the mission.

 

Artificial sweeteners don’t work alone; they come with side effects. 

From cardiovascular disease and obesity to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, artificial sweeteners contribute to many of today’s health problems. By reducing or cutting your use of artificial sweeteners, you are being proactive in lowering your disease risk.

 

Nature offers her own non-caloric sweeteners. 

Another reason to ditch the artificial sweeteners: they are simply not needed because nature makes her own. One such non-caloric natural sweetener is a plant leaf called stevia; this leaf contains compounds that help sweeten meals and beverages the natural way. Like artificial sweeteners, stevia is available in individual powder packets or you can opt for liquid drops. As long as the packaging reads “stevia” or “stevia extract” and there are no artificial ingredients listed, it’s a great natural replacement for artificial sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners can lead to excessive indulgence in natural sweets and can also be the origin of many health problems. Plus, there are natural alternatives in the environment that can easily replace artificial sweeteners. Though it may seem like you’re temporarily stuck in a junk-food, sugar-infested rut, you can become more health conscious with help from Life Line Screening. Cut the toxins out of your diet and you’ll be one step closer to a healthy lifestyle.

 




4 Ways to Indulge and Be Healthy This Holiday Season

December 17, 2013

While the holidays should be a time of celebration, they actually fill many with a sense of dread. Many people, especially those focused on healthy aging, see festive parties filled with delicious food as a land mine ready to blow up all the positive choices they’ve made throughout the year.

That treacherous landscape can be navigated successfully with a little foresight and planning. These tips provide a plan to enjoy the treats of the season without derailing your healthy aging lifestyle.

  • Careful portion control is a way to savor different items without going overboard on calorie intake. A bite or two provides just enough flavor to satisfy the taste buds and avoid that too-full feeling. Women’s Health suggests using some self-deception by choosing a smaller plate to fill, tricking the brain into thinking more food is being consumed.
  • As with many things in life, holiday dining should be about quality, not quantity. It’s easy to fill up on the ever-present snacks loaded with empty calories that can lead to mindless consumption. According to Real Simple, choosing to eat special seasonal items such as a child’s first batch of cookies can be more physically and emotionally filling.
  • Well-prepared quality foods don’t need high-fat additions to taste delicious. Lean meats and fish can be enhanced by low-calorie spices and seasonings instead of butter and oil. Hearty winter vegetables such as sweet potatoes and butternut squash make luscious yet healthy side dishes. Even a rich favorite like potatoes gratin can be enjoyed guilt-free with Cooking Light’s cheesy, low-fat version.
  • When the star of a dish is a healthy protein, fruit or vegetable, it can be dressed up with a luscious sauce or topping to seem more indulgent. Keeping the richer part to an add-on allows for better taste proportions, avoiding a heavy, weighed-down feeling. A simple chicken breast provides endless possibilities with this variety of topping suggestions from Food Network.

Education is the best foundation for healthy aging. This holiday season and year-round, Life Line Screening stands behind healthy aging choices and being proactive with health. While the holidays mean more opportunities to indulge in unhealthy foods, they also mean more opportunities to make smart choices. Enjoy your holiday activities the healthy way. You can do it.

 




Study: Big Breakfast May Benefit Diabetes Patients

December 13, 2013

Ever heard the phrase breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It turns out this saying may be true – especially for patients who are suffering from diabetes, specifically, type 2 diabetes. According to several new studies, a large breakfast can provide a number of benefits for diabetes patients.

An Israeli study presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes showed that individuals suffering from diabetes who ate a large breakfast over the course of three months experienced lower blood sugar levels than those who did not. In fact, almost 33 percent of those very same individuals were able to lower the amount of diabetic medication they needed to take.

The Israeli study used 59 subjects who suffered from type 2 diabetes and split them into two groups: a small breakfast group and a large breakfast group. The large breakfast provided roughly 33 percent of the daily calories that the subjects would have as well as more protein and fat than the small breakfast. The small breakfast only contained 12.5 percent of the subject’s daily calories.

After 13 weeks, the study found that the blood sugar levels as well as the blood pressure levels of the subjects who ate the large breakfasts dropped significantly. In fact, the blood sugar levels were reduced three times as much in patients who ate larger breakfasts compared to those who ate smaller breakfasts, and their blood pressure was reduced four times as much.

While around 33 percent of the subjects who ate large breakfasts were able to reduce their diabetic medication, almost 17 percent of the subjects who ate smaller breakfasts ended up having to increase their medication during the study. In addition, the subjects who ate larger breakfasts were much less likely to feel hungry throughout the day.

The results from this study aligned with those of previous studies concerning diabetes patients and breakfast. Previous studies showed that individuals who ate breakfast on a regular basis were more likely to have a lower body mass index compared to individuals who skipped breakfast. Height and weight are both taken into account in order to come up with the body mass index measurement. Previous studies also discovered that individuals who ate breakfast tended to have lower blood sugar levels and were also able to use insulin much more efficiently.

Blood glucose screening for type 2 diabetes from Life Line Screening has the capability to measure blood sugar levels to identify diabetes. Learn more about diabetes screenings now.




How to Throw a Healthy Holiday Party This Year

December 6, 2013

The holidays are upon us once again. The invitations to parties are probably starting to roll in, or perhaps you’re preparing a bit of a feast in your own home. As people become more concerned with healthy aging and sticking to a healthy eating plan, there are more questions about how to fully enjoy holiday festivities – and everything good that comes along with them – without ruining your healthy lifestyle.

The good news is that you can stay on track this holiday. Here are some tips for throwing a memorable, healthy holiday party this year.

Tip #1: Create side dishes featuring plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

One of the best parts of a great holiday meal are the side dishes. Roasted green beans, fruit salad, vegetable quinoa pilaf are all dishes that feature ingredients that are highly nutritious and taste great. Be sure to prepare a mixture of fresh and cooked vegetable dishes that offer variety.

Tip #2: Try using plain yogurt in dishes that call for mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is high in calories, fat, and can be loaded with added sugars and preservatives. Try switching out your usual mayonnaise for a plain, nonfat yogurt in your potato salad, spinach dip, or salad dressings. You will still get the cool creamy affect without all the added junk your body doesn’t need.

Tip #3: Ask your guests to bring a healthy dish.

Asking others to share in your desire for a healthy holiday party is a great way to learn about new dishes. It’s also a great way for you to share your knowledge with others who may be seeking a healthier lifestyle, as well.

Tip #4: Use applesauce as a substitute for butter or margarine in your baked goods.

If you love to bake pumpkin muffins, blueberry cake, or apple quick bread you may want to try substituting applesauce for butter or margarine. Doing so will add moisture to your creation without the extra fat.

Tip #5: Try using fat free chicken broth instead of oil.

Chicken broth in your mashed potatoes, rice, and sauteed vegetables adds a punch of flavor without the added fat. Be sure to use broth that is low in salt and preferably has no added preservatives.

The holidays are a time when you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about being a bit more indulgent than usual. However, you don’t have to go overboard. Utilize these tips to help keep you on the road to healthy aging no matter what time of year it may be.

 




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