LeConte’s Healthy Lifestyles is a health and wellness publication printed twice a month in local newspapers serving Sevier County and South Knoxville. And here online! We hope you find this information healthful.
Table of Contents
Nursing Home Celebrates Successful Survey
Breast Cancer Survivors Celebrated at Luncheon
Mark Your Calendars!
Dealing with Diabetes
Diabetes and Exercise
Healthy Cooking Tips for People with Diabetes
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Congratulations to Fort Sanders Sevier Nursing Home, which recently completed its state survey with no deficiencies – an outstanding achievement!
To celebrate the accomplishment, residents, their families and employees of the nursing home were treated to a festive breakfast hosted by Michael Hatmaker, LeConte vice president of support services and nursing home administrator; Mike Belbeck, Covenant Health executive vice president of operations; Holly White, nursing home director of nursing; and Jenny Hanson, chief administrative officer of LeConte Medical Center. (The hosts are pictured left to right in the photo.)
The administrators thanked the nursing home staff for the excellent, resident-centered care they provide every day. To learn more about the nursing home’s services, call (865) 429-6694.
On Thursday, Oct. 27, LeConte Medical Center and the Dr. Robert F. Thomas Foundation hosted their second annual Paint the Mountains Pink Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon at the Sevierville Convention Center. The event celebrated breast cancer survivors with a festive atmosphere, delicious food, and hilarious entertainment.
Guests were welcomed by LeConte Chief Administrative Officer Jenny Hanson. Physicians Emily Burdick, MD, radiologist at LeConte Breast Center, and Natasha Townsend, MD, radiation oncologist at Thompson Cancer Survival Center – Sevier, spoke briefly to the group. Breast cancer survivors were recognized by Paint the Mountains Pink co-chair, Emily Kile, who is a breast cancer survivor herself. Kile also gave a brief update about the Paint the Mountains Pink program, and the mission to continue spreading awareness of the importance of mammography. Keynote speaker Karen Mills, a comedienne heard regularly on Sirius / XM Laugh USA and Blue Collar Radio, inspired the guests with her own cancer survival story, and how she “finds the funny” in everyday life.
Paint the Mountains Pink was launched in 2013, and offers free mammograms to women in Sevier County who need them but cannot afford them. For more information visit www.paintthemountainspink.com.
Great American Smokeout
Thursday, Nov. 17
This American Cancer Society event is your chance to triumph over addiction. Every November, the third Thursday of the month is set aside to encourage smokers to go the distance, and to finally give up smoking. About 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. By quitting, even for one day, you will be taking an important step toward a healthier life — one that can lead to reducing your cancer risk.
Volunteers Annual Holiday Bazaar & Bake Sale
Monday, Nov. 21, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Join the hospital volunteers for their annual holiday sale, including gift shop clearance merchandise and bake sale. The bake sale will feature breads, cakes and pies that are perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner. The sale will be held in the hospital classrooms; parking is available in Lot A.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body does not make enough insulin. Or it means that your body is not able to use the insulin it makes. Your body needs the hormone insulin to change blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Without insulin, too much glucose collects in your blood. Diabetes may also be a result of other conditions. These include genetic syndromes, chemicals, medicines, pancreatitis, infections, and viruses.
There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational. All three are metabolic disorders that affect the way the body uses (metabolizes) food to make glucose. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.
What is pre-diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is often preceded by pre-diabetes. In pre-diabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. But many people with pre-diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within 10 years, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Pre-diabetes also raises the risk for heart disease and stroke. You can delay or even prevent Type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. These include losing extra weight if you are overweight and getting more exercise. If you are overweight, losing five to 10 percent of your weight can make a difference. For exercise, aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week.
Amy Greene, nurse practitioner with Great Smokies Family Medicine, recommends that “those with pre-diabetes need to have close follow-up with their medical care provider every six months. Their provider may recommend medication in addition to lifestyle and dietary changes.”
How does diabetes affect blood glucose?
Insulin must be present for glucose to be able to move into the cells of the body. Insulin is made by your pancreas. Normally it is readily available to help move glucose into the cells.
When you have diabetes, your pancreas makes too little or no insulin. Or the cells in your body don’t respond to the insulin that’s made. This causes a buildup of glucose in the blood. The cells in your body, meanwhile, are starving for glucose and do not have enough fuel to work as they should.
The three main types of diabetes are similar in the buildup of blood glucose because of problems with insulin. But each has a different cause and treatment:
Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The body’s immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This means that your body has no or only a small amount of insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day in order to live.
Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes happens when the body cannot make enough insulin or is not able to use it properly. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may need oral medicines or insulin injections.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Gestational diabetes happens in pregnant women who have not been diagnosed with diabetes in the past. In a woman with gestational diabetes, her body cannot effectively use the insulin that is present. This type of diabetes goes away after delivery. If it does not go away, it was not gestational diabetes but Type 1 or 2 that started during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and attention to weight gain. Women with this type of diabetes may need to take medicines to control their glucose. They may be at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Complications of diabetes
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death among Americans. Experts think that many cases of diabetes are not reported as a condition leading to or causing death. But each year, more than 200,000 deaths are reported as being caused by diabetes or its complications. Complications of diabetes include eye problems and blindness, heart disease, stroke, neurological problems, amputation, kidney disease, and impotence.
Except for the gestational type, diabetes is a chronic, incurable disease that affects nearly every part of the body. It contributes to other serious diseases and can be life-threatening. Diabetes must be managed under the care of a healthcare provider throughout a person’s life. The serious complications of diabetes can be prevented or stopped from progressing with proper care.
Diagnosing diabetes: are you at risk?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases:
- People over age 45 should be tested for pre-diabetes or diabetes. If the first blood glucose test is normal, they should be retested every three years.
- People under age 45 should consider getting tested for pre-diabetes or diabetes if they have a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 and have one or more of the following risk factors:
- Having a first-degree relative with diabetes (mother, father, or sibling)
- Being a member of a high-risk ethnic group (African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, or Native American)
- Delivering a baby weighing more than nine pounds, or having diabetes during pregnancy
- Having blood pressure at or above 140/90 mm/Hg
- Having abnormal blood fat levels, such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL) less than or equal to 35 mg/dL, or triglycerides greater than or equal to 250 mg/dL (mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter of blood)
- Having an inactive lifestyle
- Having impaired glucose tolerance when previously tested for diabetes
- Having polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Having been previously diagnosed with pre-diabetes
A diagnosis of diabetes
A diagnosis of diabetes is made based upon the following factors:
- A1C greater than or equal to 6.5%
- Fasting plasma glucose of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL
- Casual plasma glucose (taken at any time of the day) of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL with the symptoms of hyperglycemia or hyperglycemic crisis
- Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) value of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL. The OGTT is obtained two hours after a drink containing glucose has been consumed. This happens after fasting for at least eight hours.
Treatment of diabetes
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your healthcare provider will discuss your specific treatment with you based on:
- Type of diabetes
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
Diet and exercise are some of the best ways to help keep diabetes under control, and many people say they feel better when they get regular exercise.
What exercise can do for you
Exercise is important for everyone. If you have diabetes, regular activity can make you feel better and help prevent complications. Research has shown that exercise offers a list of health benefits, including:
- Reducing your risk for stroke and heart disease
- Lowering your blood pressure and blood glucose
- Helping your body use insulin
- Raising your good cholesterol and lowering your bad cholesterol
Greene states that “losing 10% of one’s body weight has tremendous benefits for blood sugar control and overall health.”
You can be active
If you haven’t been active, talk to your health care team before you begin. People with diabetes and eye or foot problems may need to avoid some types of exercise. Start out slowly. Try adding more movement to your daily routine. Every little bit helps. Here are some suggestions:
- Park your car farther from the store and walk
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Do some gardening
- Take a walk with family, friends, or your pet
Other types of exercise that are good for people with diabetes include swimming, aerobics, bicycling, skating, tennis, basketball, or other sports. These activities work your large muscles, raise your heart rate, and increase your breathing capacity. These are important fitness goals.
Strength training exercises using hand weights, elastic bands, or weight machines can help strengthen and build muscle. Stretching helps with flexibility and preventing soreness.
Greene states, “Being active during the day is good but doesn’t count as your daily cardiovascular exercise. Exercise should be planned 5-6 days a week, at least 30 minutes each day.”
As you get stronger and can do more, you can add a few extra minutes to your physical activity. If you have pain, stop your activity until the pain goes away. If it returns, call your healthcare provider right away.
Cautions about exercise with diabetes
If you have certain diabetes-related complications, there are some kinds of physical activity you should avoid. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider before doing exercise involving heavy weights if you have blood vessel or eye problems, or poorly controlled blood pressure. If you have nerve damage from diabetes, it may be difficult to tell if you’ve injured your feet during exercise.
Always check your blood sugar before you exercise, especially if you take insulin or certain oral medications. Physical activity can lower your blood glucose too much and lead to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can occur during exercise, after, or much later. Signs of hypoglycemia include:
- Pale skin color
- Sudden moodiness or behavior changes
- Clumsy or jerky movements
- Difficulty paying attention, or confusion
- Tingling sensations around the mouth
Be cautious about exercising if you’ve recently skipped a meal. And if your blood glucose level is below 100, have a small snack first. If your blood glucose is higher than 300, physical activity might drive it higher. Wait until your glucose level is lower before exercising. Avoid exercising if your fasting blood glucose is higher than 250 and if you have ketones in your urine. Ask your healthcare provider about the best times for you to exercise.
Another tip for exercise is to wear cotton socks and well-fitted, comfortable, athletic shoes. After exercise, be sure to look closely at your feet for signs of irritation, broken skin, blisters, or other injuries.
Be sure to drink lots of fluids during exercise. Dehydration can affect your blood glucose levels.
If you’re having fun doing physical activities you really like, you’ll be more likely to exercise each day.
A healthy diet is not only critical to proper diabetes management, but will also help you stay at a desirable weight, control your blood pressure, and prevent heart disease and stroke.
Always talk with your healthcare provider, registered dietitian, or nutritionist to get advice on planning and preparing healthy meals. “I advise my patients to avoid white rice, white potatoes and white flour. I also educate them on avoiding starchy vegetables such as corn, carrots, and peas,” explained nurse practitioner Amy Greene. She also suggests that The American Diabetes Association is a great resource for those looking for assistance with meal planning.
Some healthy cooking tips to lower caloric intake, fats, and sugars include:
- Use nonstick cooking spray instead of oil, shortening, or butter.
- If you do use oil, use olive, corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, vegetable, or flaxseed oil.
- Season foods like meats and steamed vegetables with herbs and spices (like pepper, cinnamon, and oregano), vinegar, lemon juice, or salsa instead of salt, butter, or sugary sauces.
- Use low- or no-sugar jams instead of butter or margarine on breads.
- Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to get at least two servings a week of foods rich in omega-3 like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, and albacore tuna. Walnuts, flaxseed, and soy products are other omega-3 rich foods that can be added to a healthy diet.
- Eat whole-grain, high-fiber cereals or oatmeal with skim or 1% milk.
- Use low-fat or fat-free dairy products like milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream in place of full-fat versions.
- Drink 100% fruit juice that has no added sugar and limit your serving size.
- Trim excess fat off meats and eat chicken or turkey without the skin.
- Always buy lean cuts of meat and choose a healthy cooking method, like broiling, roasting, stir-frying, or grilling.
- Buy whole-grain breads and cereals instead of processed, refined grains like white flour.
Healthcare providers and other health professionals can direct you to helpful resources that cover meal planning, offer healthy recipes and cooking tips, suggest exercise programs, give you tips to manage your weight, and more.