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28 Jun 2019

How Helpful is Apple Health and Diabetes Connectivity?

 

The Apple Health app creates a seamless connection between various diabetes devices and the overall HealthKit available to iOS users. This app consolidates the health data which comes from an individual’s iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, or their third-party apps. 

This information then allows people to view their health and lifestyle information, goals, and overall fitness progress.

One of the most significant advances in this technology category involves an app called Share2, which is produced by Dexcom and is intended for the Apple Watch.

Share2 offers individuals diagnosed with diabetes access to continuous glucose monitoring information. You can look at your Apple Watch, and then know what your current glucose levels happen to be.

How Does This Connectivity Work?

Sensors offered by the app manufacturers use a very thin wire that gets placed just under the surface of the skin. Then a transmitter clips to the wire, sending glucose data through Bluetooth to the continuous glucose monitoring receiver. This data then passes from the receiver to your preferred Apple device.

This process makes it possible for each person to view their glucose trends in a graph-based format. They can also share this information with their friends, family, or doctor thanks to the “Follow” app that is currently available for the Apple Watch and the iPhone.

Sharing health data like this is going to be a vital aspect of patient care in the future. It offers a security blanket for loved ones who are also caregivers. This information set up makes it possible to know as a spouse when your partner’s glucose numbers plummet, even if you happen to be away from home at the time.

Parents can use this technology to keep track of their children’s numbers. Caregivers of older adults can take advantage of this data for daily diabetes management. More information makes it possible to create better outcomes.

Are There Limitations to This Technology?

Dexcom is currently working on his fifth generation of systems. The goal is to allow users to leave their continuous glucose monitoring receiver at home, with the transmitter sending data directly to their Apple device.

There is also the fact that this technology only works with Apple products at the moment. Since this brand is more of a luxury item for many households, it could fall outside of what their family budget can afford.

Users may still need to keep extra devices nearby for quick checks of their blood glucose numbers, but the Apple Watch app is much less conspicuous than a handheld receiver when you need to check your levels out in public. 

People who manage their diabetes want to continue maintaining their lifestyle as best as they can with their diagnosis. They don’t want to be trying to juggle multiple devices at once when they’re at work, sharing lunch with a loved one, or shopping at the mall. They want something that is simple and easy to use.

That is why Apple Health and its diabetes connectivity are helpful today. It will continue to improve in the ways that it assists in the months and years to come as well. 

26 Jun 2019

Could We Be In the Final Days of Chemotherapy?

 

Chemotherapy was once a front-line tool that doctors used to combat various forms of cancer. Many patients who have successfully driven their disease into remission once used this treatment option to achieve success.

Chemotherapy was once a revolutionary idea. As research into the new cancer treatments progresses, medical sciences are finding that there are less toxic ways to drive cancer into remission for patients around the world.

New drugs and therapies are coming to the market in 2019 and beyond that target cancer just like chemotherapy did. There’s only one difference with these new treatments: they don’t destroy healthy cells in the same way.

A “New Normal” for Cancer Therapy

Decades of research into various cancers has given doctors and scientists a better understanding of how this devastating disease works. We are opening new doors that are leading to safer and better medicines.

This research has begun to make its way onto the treatment plans of patients who receive a new diagnosis of cancer.

The landscape of options that goes beyond chemotherapy includes targeted therapies like dabrafenib and Imbuvica, treating mutations of the BRAF gene.

Herceptin treats people with the HER2 gene mutation when breast cancer develops.

Gilotrif and Erbitux block EGFR, which acts as fuel for specific colorectal and lung cancers.

There are new classes of drugs which are changing the status quo for chemotherapy too. Checkpoint inhibitors, immunotherapies, gene therapy, and bispecifics all offer promising results.

This research has even led to vaccines that can help prevent specific cancers, natural killer cell treatments, and chimeric antigen receptor therapies. Some are already approved, while others are in the clinical trial stage.

What Is the Future of Chemotherapy?

Although chemotherapy is still a common way to treat several cancers, the writing is on the wall. New treatment options are coming, and this will help patients fight this disease without the debilitating side effects that chemo often brings.

This process will not happen overnight. There are still cancers for which chemotherapy is curative. The future of medicine will likely include the new classes of drugs and targeted chemo treatments to encourage higher survival rates for all cancers.

There is a darker side to chemotherapy that we must remember too. It often demands a tremendous emotional and physical cost that can negatively impact the quality of life for a patient and their family.

The side effects of chemotherapy, which can occur during or after treatment, are often challenging to endure. Even though there are medications which reduce the nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that happen when fighting cancer, it still takes a toll on everyone involved.

Chemotherapy can also cause organ damage, or have secondary cancers which appear later in life, that these new treatments may be able to prevent.

Chemotherapy is not going away anytime soon. The positive impact it has me on cancer treatments over the past decades cannot be ignored.

We must also look to the future with the numerous new drugs and treatments that target specific cancers. Survival rates will continue to climb thanks to the research and development work that the world supports every day. 

21 Jun 2019

What Is the Med-Dairy Diet?

 

If you are struggling to follow the Mediterranean diet, then the Med-Dairy diet might be an option to consider.

This new take on the classic diet offers many of the same health benefits while making it more accessible to those who struggle to give up their favorite dairy items.

The classic Mediterranean diet allows you to eat yogurt and cheese, but not much else. The Med-Dairy diet gives you three servings of dairy each day to meet your calcium needs in ways that are beneficial to older adults.

These benefits occur while still improving cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and brain function.

What Are the Results of the Med-Dairy Diet?

The issue that many people face when trying to follow the Mediterranean diet is the lack of calcium which comes from the allowed foods. 

Following the Mediterranean diet can provide as little as 700 mg per day of calcium. That falls well short of the recommended 1,000 mg per day for the average adult. Teens are supposed to even consume more, with their intake recommended at 1,300 mg per day.

That’s why the Med-Dairy diet rethinks the inclusion of certain foods.

There are other foods which provide calcium in meaningful ways. Tofu, turnips, and sardines all help to supplement a person’s calcium intake when following the Mediterranean diet. The issue that some people face involves food scarcity.

Some people may not be able to access these fortified products to support a healthy calcium intake. That’s why the Med-Dairy diet becomes a feasible alternative. It offers a simple modification to a diet that is proven to work without creating significant changes to the individual health profile.

Should I Try the Med-Dairy Diet?

Before you start the Med-Dairy diet (or any other dieting plan), you should speak with your doctor about your intentions. There may be specific dietary needs that your physician wants you to follow to support your health that this eating plan may not provide.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most studied diets in the world today. It offers the highest rates of efficacy for the overall reduction of heart disease in most people. This diet provides a positive impact on other chronic diseases too.

Dairy is not a huge factor in it, so switching to the Med-Dairy diet might make the transition easier for some people. It can also provide an alternative for those who may have allergies to the foods in the standard Mediterranean diet that offer calcium without requiring them to take an additional supplement.

The USDA currently recommends that each person receive three servings of dairy every day once they reach the age of eight years old.

Only one study of the Med-Dairy diet over an eight-week period, along with an eight-week washout time, has so far found that the two diets offer similar results. More research must happen to verify these results.

If you are struggling with the Mediterranean diet, however, this information can provide a source of hope for a healthier future.

19 Jun 2019

Is Dark Chocolate a Health Food?

You might’ve heard the advice that if you want to snack on some chocolate, you should avoid the milk-based varieties and stick with a dark chocolate product instead.

The candy companies would like you to believe that dark chocolate could be a health food product. Many physicians would argue that such a belief is too good to be true.

Although there are multiple health benefits which can come when you consume dark chocolate as part of your diet, there is also a layer of deception which can be found in the various reports which extol the virtues of this food.

Cocoa does deliver some health benefits. It just isn’t the popular health option many people make it out to be.

The Reality of Dark Chocolate

The cocoa found in dark chocolate is full of flavanols. These are chemical compounds which you can find in numerous fruits and vegetables too. They offer several antioxidant properties which benefit your heart.

Flavanols encourage the creation of nitric oxide within the inner cell lining of your circulatory system. This action improves blood flow, which can eventually lead to lower blood pressure. 

They may increase insulin sensitivity as well, which might be a way to fight off issues like diabetes or a future heart attack.

It is important to remember that dark chocolate should be a treat instead of a daily food product.

The number of flavanols varies from product-to-product, so you never really know how much you’re receiving when you eat a dark chocolate candy bar. Then there are the higher levels of sugar, saturated fat, and calories that could make a negative impact on your nutritional profile.

Moderation is the Key to Success

Dark chocolate does provide you access to essential minerals like copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. The concern that some doctors have is that the amounts of these nutrients are rather small when you compare them to other foods.

You cannot rely on dark chocolate alone to improve your health. It offers a concentrated source of calories which can lead to other health issues, such as weight gain. Even with the notable health benefits that are possible, one must always eat this treat in moderation to experience the best possible results.

Even if you’re eating dark chocolate for the flavanols, the amount necessary to create a significant positive impact on your health is quite large.

You may need to consume an entire chocolate part that is 90% cocoa, which may create a calorie bomb that your eating habits cannot support.

Dark chocolate is still a candy product even with its potential to be supportive of good health. Labeling it as a health food could be considered irresponsible.

You must treat any news like this was a healthy amount of skepticism instead of jumping on the bandwagon and potentially harming your health. The evidence for dark chocolate to be part of your daily routine is currently unsubstantiated. That’s why there are no public health recommendations for it at this time.

Have it as a treat. Enjoy dark chocolate in moderation. Then practice other healthy habits, like getting daily exercise or limiting saturated fats. 

18 Jun 2019

Is Sleeping Too Much a Sign of a Health Problem?

 

If you feel tired all the time, and this is causing you to stay in bed longer then you can ever remember doing before, then this could be evidence that you are struggling with a chronic health problem.

Sleeping for 10 hours or more each night is harmful to your health. The CDC, in combination with the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, found three specific health concerns which are linked to having too much sleep.

  • Getting too much sleep raises your risk of experiencing chronic disease, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, or anxiety if you are above the age of 45.
  • If you sleep too much, your risks of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease are higher than if you don’t get enough sleep each night.
  • If you get this at least seven hours of rest each night and still feel tired the next day, this could indicate that you have a health problem.

Are you experiencing these issues right now? Then it is an excellent time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Don’t Ignore Sleep Problems

Anyone can have an acute case of insomnia and feel tired the next day. The issue with getting too much sleep is that you still feel high levels of fatigue despite getting plenty of rest.

Never ignore problems with sleep. It could be an indication that you are dealing with a health issue like anemia, thyroid problem, chronic insomnia, or even sleep apnea.

There are two types of insomnia to consider: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia.

Secondary insomnia is concerning because it occurs due to another health condition, like asthma, arthritis, or depression. Sleeping too much while dealing with one of these issues indicates a cycle of poor sleep that your body attempts to correct by oversleeping when t can. 

These health issues interfere with your regular sleep cycles and can worsen chronic health conditions like heart disease.

Your doctor might refer you to a sleep specialist to see if there is a specific condition to diagnose. When you treat sleep-related conditions, you can significantly improve your quality-of-life and reduce your risk of future disease development.

Start by Tracking Your Sleep in a Journal

If you are concerned about the amount of sleep you get each night, then the first thing to start doing is to track your journey of rest. Keeping a sleep journal, and then sharing it with your doctor, can provide a significant resource in the development of your treatment plan.

Start recording when you go to bed, when you think you fall asleep, and the times that you wake up at night. You will want to document the quality of your sleep, how do you feel when getting out of bed in the morning, and then how you feel during the day.

This information will help your doctor correctly diagnose your condition. This step helps to get you the assistance needed to improve your sleep, support good health, and renew your energy levels.

09 Jun 2019

What You Want to Know About Carbs, but Are Afraid to Ask

 

Carbs are the punching bag for the average diet today. They are single-handedly blamed for many of today’s most significant health issues, including type two diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Any food item that you eat without moderation creates a potential health issue. Carbs are no exceptions to this.

Carbohydrates are found in foods other than pasta, rice, or bread. Numerous plant-based staples that are part of a healthy whole-foods diet have them too. 

You’ll find carbs in beans, lentils, and even whole grains.

That’s why a blanket statement that only looks at the negative side of carbohydrates can be just as harmful to your health as eating too many of them.

These are the facts about carbs that nutritionists want you to know.

#1. Focus on the Nutrient Profile

Do you know that a serving of chickpeas offers the same number of carbs as a bowl of Frosted Flakes? What sets these two foods apart from each other is their nutrient profile. You’re going to find a lot more sugar when you eat the cereal compared to having a serving of chickpeas. Don’t look at the number of carbs that you consume when making dietary changes. Look at what your body receives instead.

#2. All Foods Contain Carbs

Concentrate on eating a variety of foods instead of focusing on which items contain the most carbohydrates. Almost all foods contain a mix of fats, proteins, and carbs. When you consume several different categories, then you create a balanced mixture of nutrients that your body can use as fuel. Eating just one food item regularly causes your body to get used to what it receives, which can be worse for your health than eating something rich in carbohydrates.

#3. Intelligent Weight Loss

Tackling a low-carb weight loss plan can lead to the shedding of additional pounds. If you compare these diets to other weight-loss options, however, the difference is minimal. Avoiding carbohydrates can help you lose just 2 ½ pounds more than what other dietary changes offer. It’s easier to follow an eating plan which includes carbs too, which means you’re more likely to keep the weight off by having carbohydrates instead of shunning them.

#4. Carbs and Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates that are easily digested by the body, like white rice or bread, can provide spikes in blood sugar that could be harmful to your health. Foods like beans, whole grains, or vegetables contain carbs that have the opposite effect. Look for foods which have high levels of fiber and lower levels of refined carbs to support your overall health. 

#5. You Can Eat Refined Carbs

Some people believe that there’s no place in the modern diet for refined carbohydrates. Although it is wise to choose whole-grain foods while limiting sugars and starches, you can still indulge occasionally with a sweet treat. It is essential that you build a foundation first. Once you get your nutritional habits established, a serving of French fries won’t destroy your diet.

Eating carbs in moderation will help you unlock healthier eating habits in the future. Incorporate a mixture of food options to push yourself closer to those fitness goals you have. 

07 Jun 2019

6 Best Snacks to Have with High Cholesterol Levels

 

If your doctor has diagnosed you with high cholesterol levels, then there is a good chance that you are being asked to give up some of your favorite foods.

Although you are encouraged to make changes to improve your health profile, that doesn’t mean you must avoid snacks entirely. There are some healthy foods which will help you feel satisfied while also meeting the expectations that your doctor has for your nutritional profile.

These are the best snacks you can have if you have high cholesterol levels.

#1. Popcorn

Did you know that popcorn is considered a whole-grain food? The high-fiber levels that it contains can help to lower your cholesterol levels. You’ll find more fiber in a serving of this snack then you would see in brown rice. It’s also a low-calorie option, assuming that you eat it in moderation without butter or high-fat cheese.

#2. Nuts

This snack is another excellent option to consider if you’re trying to lower your cholesterol levels. Almonds have the ability to reduce your LDL cholesterol numbers and prevent oxidation issues. Choose walnuts or peanuts to add some variety to the mix. You must remember that this snack is a high-calorie option, so make sure that you follow the serving-size recommendations.

#3. Vegetables and Hummus

This healthy snack is full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They’re also low in calories, sodium, and fat. You can enjoy vegetables with hummus without having to become a vegetarian when you want to lower your cholesterol levels. You should try to eat a variety of plant-based foods with different colors to maximize the health benefits that are available with this option.

#4. Homemade Potato Chips

The first snack that your doctor might recommend you avoid are the delicious potato chips that you find in the grocery store. That doesn’t mean you have to give up this food option for good. If you make your own potato chips at home, then you can create a snack that is high in fiber and potassium, which will help to keep your blood pressure under control. Bake the snack instead of frying it for the best results.

#5. Oatmeal

Eating a bowl of oatmeal in the morning will help to soak up your cholesterol if you make this a daily habit. This food contains a specific soluble fiber that helps to move extra cholesterol through your digestive system so that it is not absorbed. The fiber is also linked with your bile acids to help your liver work more efficiently, which encourages a further drop in LDL cholesterol numbers.

#6. Bean Soup

Although soup might not be the first snack option some people think about, it is a satisfying treat that is low in saturated fat levels. Bean soups are high in protein and fiber, which makes it easier to avoid hunger issues throughout the day. Adding some vegetables will support a stronger mineral and vitamin dietary profile too. You’ll receive lots of heart-healthy phytonutrients with this low-sodium snack option.

It can be a challenge to make lifestyle changes that take you away from your favorite foods. With snack options like these, you might just find some new favorites to enjoy.

04 Jun 2019

7 Life Hacks to Get that Morning Workout Started

 

If you struggle to get your exercise time in after work because of the drain on your energy, then an early morning workout is your best option.

It isn’t easy to get up on the morning for some folks either. If you find yourself in that situation, then here are some simple life hacks that will help you to get up and moving before the sun begins to rise. 

#1. Set Two Alarms

Set two alarms in the morning to wake up. The first lets you know that you have 15 minutes to transition into the day. Try using this time for some meditation. Get some caffeine if needed. Clear your head. Then head out the door for your workout when the second alarm goes off.

#2. Go to Bed Early

It helps to get yourself ready for tomorrow the night before. Pack everything that you’ll need for your workout before going to bed. Then make sure to start your evening routine earlier. If you’re in bed by 10pm, so getting up at 6am doesn’t feel like a cruel joke. Smart preparation can get you out the door in 10 minutes or less. 

#3. Turn the Lights On

Your body transitions to a wakeful state better when lights are on in the early morning. If you find that your energy levels feel slugging, try using a sunrise simulator alarm clock to get you moving. Then turn on some music to help boost your energy levels during this critical moment of the day. 

#4. Cold Water

Splashing some cold water on your face will help to take away the last feelings of fatigue as you go through the morning routine. It helps you to feel more awake, which transitions your body toward a better dynamic state. Try drinking a full glass of water right away in the morning too, as this will get your metabolism going.

#5. No Excuses

Make sure that you have everything ready to go for the next morning as you start this new workout routine. Bring anything that you might need for the day with you to stop any excuses about exercising. Even making sure you have ties for your hair can be enough to help you push forward.

#6. Schedule Rewards

Once you’ve been successful with this process for at least a week, take a little time to reward yourself. Schedule a brunch with your family or friends. Grab lunch the next day at your favorite spot during a break at work. Go to a movie. The options are endless. Just make sure that you choose something that is meaningful to you.

#7. Make It a Habit

Don’t give up on this process. It will take a couple of weeks before it begins to feel reasonable to you. Numerous rewards are waiting if you choose to exercise in the morning instead of going back to bed.

If you struggle to find time to exercise each day, then use these life hacks to get your morning started earlier. That will help you find the extra time! 

04 Jun 2019

7 Essential Fitness and Diet Tips for Men

 

Did you know that almost 75% of men are either overweight or obese?

Half of all guys don’t engage in vigorous physical activities for more than 10 minutes during the day. 

Those statistics aren’t made up. They come directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you’re looking for ways to start getting healthy, then these are the essential fitness and diet tips for men that will help you find a path toward success.

#1. Change Your Routine

Stop doing the same exercises every day. A little variety in your workout routines will help your body and mind stay engaged. Try mixing some strength training with your cardio work, add in some martial arts, or even do some yoga in the evening.

#2. Exercise with a Friend

Having an exercise partner will provide you with an extra level of motivation to stick with your fitness and diet plan. Friends offer accountability. This structure makes it easier to accomplish your overall goals.

#3. Read the Labels

You must start reading the nutrition labels on all the foods that you purchase at the grocery store. Pay close attention to what the serving size is supposed to be. You might be surprised to learn that many packages offer 3 to 4 servings instead of just one. Then work to avoid foods that have high levels of fat content while limiting your sugar intake for reliable results.

#4. Keep It Simple

Keep your food preparation work at home as simple as possible. Steam, grill, or bake your foods instead of trying to deep-fry them. Substitute olive oil for butter. Season with fresh herbs instead of salt. If you order food from a local restaurant, try to follow the substitutions by asking what you can do with their menu.

#5. Focus on Strength

You can develop a strength training routine without ever making it to the gym. Try toning your muscles at home or during a break at work for a few minutes whenever you can. Push-ups will work your triceps, shoulders, and chest. Squats and lunges work multiple muscle groups for you too. Both exercises are easy to add to any fitness routine.

#6. Add Some Cardio

You can add cardio exercises to any lifestyle with only a few changes. Try taking the stairs at work instead of using the elevator. Park near the back of the lot instead of near the front. You can burn calories by standing up frequently at work, walking at a brisk pace, or using break times to run in place. Start slowly if you’re trying to get back into shape to prevent muscle soreness and cramping.

#7. Add New Foods

Guys add weight because they get bored with the same foods. Try eating something new instead. This new structure will ensure you’re receiving the nutrients you need while limiting boredom eating opportunities.

You can take charge of your health. That extra layer of fat around your waist doesn’t need to be there. Now is an excellent time to start bucking the trend of being overweight. Start using these tips to find success today!

31 May 2019

Can I Reverse T2D By Losing Weight?

 

Losing weight after receiving a type 2 diabetes (T2D) diagnosis is a way to increase insulin sensitivity. This outcome could help to put the disease into remission for some people if they can keep the extra pounds off. Here is how this process works.

An analysis of weight loss and T2D published in the journal BMJ found that losing 33 pounds will often help to put the disease into remission. That’s a bold finding for doctors and patients who believe this is a chronic condition. 

40% of people who lost this threshold weight, and then kept it off for six months by following a low-calorie diet, were able to send their T2D into remission.

That doesn’t mean everyone can reverse their diagnosis. Losing 33 pounds should not become your primary goal. What all people with this disease should do is look for ways to add exercise to their daily routine while practicing healthier eating habits.

Why Weight Loss and Diabetes Have a Connection

Medical science recognizes that people with prediabetes can prevent their condition from evolving to T2D by losing weight. The CDC notes that a modest 5% loss in body mass puts you into this category. If you weigh 200 pounds, then that means losing 10 pounds to avoid diabetes.

Weight loss makes a difference because it takes fat away from the liver and the pancreas. The process improves the function of beta cells which store and release insulin. Almost all insulin resistance issues and secretion problems involve excessive fat around these two organs.

The issue here is that most patients with T2D don’t realize how critical it is for them to lose weight. It carries a significant impact on your future health. That is especially true for patients who develop this disease early in life.

Don’t just rely on using medication to manage your blood sugar levels. Think about finding some ways to lose weight to address the root causes of your type 2 diabetes.

Why Is Sustained Weight Loss So Important?

Many people who try to lose weight as a way to improve their T2D find that the initial drop in pounds is easy, but maintaining a sustained loss is difficult. If you do not keep your liver and pancreas happy, then slipping into your old habits can encourage the disease to come out of remission.

You must stay motivated after your weight loss to maintain your new weight.

There is also the issue of your weight set point. This issue occurs when it becomes challenging to lose additional weight because of a lower metabolism level.

Shrinking fat cells will make the insulin you produce become more effective. That means you can make less of it, which reduces the issue of your pancreas eventually wearing out.

Think about your eating habits. Make changes gradually to help them begin to stick. Some people might even consider speaking with their doctor about weight-loss surgery options. The bottom line is this: you must do something to encourage weight loss if you want a better chance of driving your type 2 diabetes into remission.