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April 15, 2015
Life Line Screening’s blog is moving back to our main website, http://www.lifelinescreening.com and becoming Life Line Screening Community. Our Community will feature articles and recipes to help you stay active and healthy for years to come. We invite you to read health and wellness topics, get recipes and fitness tips, learn your risk factors or share in discussions with adults who have been impacted by cardiovascular disease or another major disease.
Visit our community today.
April 9, 2015
Have you ever raised a teenager, bought a house, planned a wedding or had a deadline at work that you almost missed? Stress occurs more often than we think and can actually be a positive source of motivation – helping us complete deadlines or push harder across the finish line. Stress may also be brought on by life changes such as moving, financial strain, job satisfaction or loss of a loved one. When stress is prolonged over a period of time, or not managed properly it often becomes chronic, which can impact your overall health. The good news? There are activities that you can do to reduce the impact that stress has in your life.
Here are some effects that stress has on your body:
Unhealthy Food Cravings
Find yourself reaching for that pint of ice cream when you’re stressed? There’s a scientific reason for that! Cortisol, a hormone released by your body when it’s stressed, is linked to cravings for sugar and fat.
Stress can actually increase the amount of fat that your body stores and enlarges the size of fat cells. This can lead to weight gain and increase your risk for obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – key risk factors for cardiovascular disease [link to health screening for heart disease). Exercise, however, can help combat fat storage, in addition to reducing your overall stress level. So find a regimen that works for you and stick to it.
If you suffer from chronic stress, it could be affecting your heart health. While an exact link between chronic stress and heart attacks isn’t clear, studies have shown that individuals who suffer from job related stress have a 23% more likely to have a first heart attack vs. people with no job related stress.
Stress may occasionally keep you up at night, but if you have long-term stress it can disrupt your sleep pattern and potentially cause a disorder.
Stress can cause everything from a minor headache to a migraine. This is due to “fight or flight” chemicals that your body releases, in addition to making your muscles tense up.
Severe stress can harm your locks. Stress can trigger hair loss from an autoimmune condition known as alopecia areata. If stress is coupled with anxiety, it can contribute to a mental disorder that gives people an urge to pull their own hair out.
Stress can raise blood sugar, and if you have type 2 diabetes, you may notice that your blood sugar levels are higher if you are stressed.
Stress can cause heartburn, stomach cramps and diarrhea or, if you have these conditions, make them worse.
Raises Blood Pressure
Being in a stressful situation can raise your blood pressure by constricting your blood vessels and speeding up your heart rate. While in most cases this is temporary, it’s unclear if chronic stress can cause long-lasting effects.
Research now shows that major stress can actually reduce the amount of brain tissue in areas that regulate emotions and self-control.
Stress causes your muscles to tense as a part of the “fight or flight” response system, which can cause short instances of pain and contribute to ongoing chronic pain.
Stress has been linked to an increased risk of stroke (link to carotid artery screening page). Even if you are generally healthy, suffering a stressful event within the past year increases your stroke risk.
Suffering stress chronically or from a traumatic event shortens telomeres, which are protective camps on the ends of chromosomes in cells, causing your cells to age more quickly.
Stress may amplify the immune response to asthma triggers such as pollen, animal dander, or dust.
Individuals who are sensitive to stress can experience seizure-like symptoms, including far-off staring and convulsions if they are in high stress situations.
Reducing Stress in Your Life
While this list of health complications from stress is long, the good news is that healthy habits can make a huge impact in combating them. Following an exercise routine in addition to a nutritionally balanced diet can make all the difference.
Don’t Let Stress Impact Your Health
If you have experienced one or more effects above, we invite you to take our health risk assessment. Our health risk assessment uses identifiable health information to help you determine your risk factors for chronic illnesses and what preventive health screenings can enable you to learn if you are at risk for vascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, and other chronic illnesses.
April 3, 2015
April is Stress Awareness Month, so we’re taking some time to spread the word about how stress can negatively impact your health. Stress can be highly personal, with one person’s unpleasant experience another’s exhilarating adventure. And a little bit of stress is thought to be good for memory and motivation. However, about 70% of doctor visits and 80% of serious illnesses may be exacerbated or linked to stress.
March 25, 2015
More than 26 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD) which makes this disease a serious issue. Kidney disease is linked to other major health issues such as heart and carotid artery disease. Carotid artery disease, when in advanced stages, can increase an individual’s risk of stroke.
So how do you take care of your kidneys? The same way you take care of your overall health – diet and lifestyle choices. Healthy behaviors such as exercise, drinking plenty of water, and a balanced diet with the recommended amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals are good for your body, inside and out. For individuals with chronic kidney disease, there are plenty of foods out there that can help. If you don’t have chronic kidney disease, it is still important to protect your kidneys from disease. Check out these top drinks and foods to help you take care of your kidneys!
Top Drinks and Foods for Your Kidneys
For obvious reasons, water is the best tool for balancing water balance in your body. No need to go overboard, but you should always aim for 6-8 glasses a day depending on your body weight. If you are more active, you will need additional water. Water helps flush out toxins that can lead to bacterial infection or kidney stones, along with harmful particles in the blood.
Be careful with this choice, some juices contain little fruit content and are loaded with sugar, so be sure to pick 100% cranberry juice (organic and water based) is a great option for cleaning out your kidneys.
Eating cranberries can also protect your kidneys. Cranberries prevent the development and growth of ulcers and bacteria in your urinary tract, and can help manage current bacteria/ulcers because they make urine more acidic and help keep bacteria from attaching to the inside of the bladder. At the grocery store, add fresh cranberries to your cart over dried.
An apple a day really does help keep the doctor away! High in fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, apples help reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and decrease your risk of cancer. These can be cooked or raw – it’s up to you!
If you have chronic kidney disease, you probably know that vitamin D is extremely important since it helps regulate kidney function, and mushrooms are an excellent source.
Oatmeal (not the sugary kind) can be a good source of iron and B6, both of which play in important role in preventing kidney stones. Be sure to read the ingredients and be sure that what you are purchasing includes whole oats and it’s not overly processed.
Kale is a good source of Vitamins A and C to prevent inflammation and protect the immune system. It’s also lower in potassium than other greens and contains a large amount of iron.
This vegetable brings lots of vitamin C to your plate, along with folate and fiber. In addition it contains compounds that help your liver neutralize toxic substances. Feel free to eat this veggie raw, add it to your salad, or substitute it for mashed potatoes.
Keep in mind that there are plenty of other healthy options that will do your kidneys, and your body, plenty of good. If you do have chronic kidney disease there are a few nutrients you should watch carefully. Your kidneys regulate potassium, which is why it’s so important to monitor how much you are eating on a regular basis. Your kidneys also have a role in red blood cell production, meaning that if they aren’t functioning correctly your count may be low. Eating iron-rich foods can help prevent this and help keep up your energy level.
Importance of Kidney Disease Screenings
Kidney disease screening from Life Line Screening uses a simple finger-stick test to assess how well your kidneys are functioning. It uses an FDA-approved device adopted by more than 250 hospitals across the country.
Common risk factors for kidney disease include increased age, family history, race and ethnicity (African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, American Indians and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk), diabetes, high blood pressure, hereditary factors and abnormally elevated creatinine levels or decreasing glomerular filtration rates (GFR).
March 18, 2015
Type 2 diabetes affects over 29 million Americans, according to the American Diabetes Association, and it accounts for almost 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in the United States.
Type 2 diabetes develops when insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when any insulin that is produced, fails to work properly.
Although a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication are often used to treat type 2 diabetes, a new study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry has found a potential link between vitamin A deficiency and the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin A strengthens immunity against infections and aids in the growth of cells, along with helping maintain and improve vision. Vitamin A also boosts beta cell activity. Beta cells produce and secrete insulin, a hormone that regulates levels of glucose in the blood. Research found, significant beta cell loss, resulted in the reduction of insulin production and increased blood glucose levels – key factors involved in development of type 2 diabetes. It is for this reason Dr. Lorraine Gudas, the primary author in the recent study, suggests a lack of the vitamin may play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. In conclusion, make sure to eat foods high in vitamin A so you do not become vitamin A deficient!
Foods High in Vitamin A
Good sources of vitamin A include cheese, eggs, yogurt, and liver. You can also make sure you have enough vitamin A by including good sources of beta-carotene in your diet. Add a few of these foods to your next grocery list:
- Sweet potatoes
- Mustard Greens
- Collard Greens
- Winter Squash
- Swiss Chard
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the goal is always prevention. With diabetes affecting more than 26 million Americans and quickly growing, it’s more important than ever to know your personal risk factors:
- Family History
- Race (African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asian Americans are at an increased risk)
- Being Overweight
- Physical Inactivity
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal fasting glucose screening results
If you have any of these risk factors, or are above the age of 45, it is recommended that you have a blood glucose screening once every three years.