February is American Heart Month, and we’re raising awareness with videos from the American Heart Association.
Get the facts about heart failure:
The signs of heart attack are different for women:
Know what a heart failure diagnosis actually means:
Are you having heart surgery? This advice can help:
You don’t have to go through rehab after your heart surgery alone:
Know the signs of stroke:
Looking for more info, heart healthy recipes, or tutorials like CPR? Check out the American Heart Association’s Youtube channel.
It’s been a busy year for my team at Health Alliance, so I hope you’ve been enjoying Nicole’s Chasing Health series while I’ve been too busy to post!
When life gets busy and stress takes over, the first thing that always goes for me is sleep. I’ve never been very good at getting a lot of it, even though it’s one of my favorite things in the world, especially when stress sets in.
Unfortunately, that’s not doing my health any favors:
Image via Mind Body Green
And since stress and being too busy already make some of these things worse, like my mood and healthy eating flying out the window, not getting enough sleep on top of all that is not good.
Not to mention that it’s definitely not helping my work:
Image via Science.Mic
The moral is clearly that sometimes, you have to make taking care of yourself a priority, which is unfortunately easier said than done.
Rally, our online wellness tool, can help by offering missions that help you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, stick to a bedtime, start a bedtime ritual, and sleep better.
As for me, what can I do to get better sleep?
I’m taking notes from this video and this handy list of 27 Easy Ways to Sleep Better Tonight from Greatist.
- Start a bedtime routine. I used to have one, but that’s all but disappeared the last 6 months. I need to start again, and I’m going to try adding drinking something warm (and decaffeinated) to that schedule.
- Listen to soothing music. Normally, I leave something playing on Netflix as I fall asleep, but soothing music or a sound machine, without the light, would be a much better idea. Maybe I can make use of Adele’s new album or apps like Rain, Rain, which makes thunderstorm noises.
- Cut back on electronics. This and making my bed a work-free zone are nearly impossible for me, but I do need to work on cutting back. Setting a curfew when I set down my phone or laptop, like at least a half hour before bed, could really help.
- Make your bed cozy. I mentioned this in my resolutions for this year, but I’ve just gotten around to digging out my cozy stuff for this winter.
- Make up for lost sleep. Adding an extra hour when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before could help me with my sleep debt.
- Don’t toss and turn. I do this a lot, and if I can’t fall asleep for more than 20 minutes, I should try getting up and doing something relaxing (NOT work), like knitting or reading.
One thing I can tell you I won’t be trying off this list? Kicking my pet out of my bed.
While I know this must be a problem for some people, I don’t think it’s a problem for me. And I’m not alone. A new study finds that 41% of people think having their pet in the room helps them sleep better.
I know that I would worry about her if she wasn’t in my room. Plus, cuddling her is about the most relaxing activity in my life. In fact, that’s frequently how I fall asleep now. I mean, how can you resist that?
Diabetes affects 29.1 million people in the U.S., a whopping 9.4% of our population. That number has doubled in the last 10 years. And each year, it costs Americans more than $245 billion.
Worldwide, it affects more than 380 million people. And the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, that number of people living with it will more than double.
Diabetes is also the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure, and stroke.
What Is Diabetes?
When you eat food, your body turns it into sugar. Then, your body releases a chemical called insulin, which opens up your cells so they can take in that sugar and turn it into energy.
Diabetes is a group of diseases that breaks that system, causing there to be too much sugar in your blood, or high blood glucose.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is normally diagnosed in kids, and it’s the more serious kind. Its is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the cells that create insulin.
Without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood, starving your cells. This can cause eye, heart, nerve, and kidney damage, and in serious cases, can result in comas and death.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common kind of diabetes, and it’s frequently called adult-onset diabetes because it’s usually diagnosed when you’re over 35.
People with this form of it produce some insulin, just not enough. And sometime, the insulin isn’t able to open the cells, which is called insulin resistance.
While many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or inactive, there is a new group of patients emerging—young, slim females. Molecular imaging expert Jimmy Bell, MD, calls this condition TOFI, thin outside, fat inside.
Instead of building up below the skin’s surface, fat gathers on their abdominal organs, which is more dangerous. Risk factors for these women include a lack of exercise, daily stress, and yo-yo dieting.
Some pregnant women who didn’t have diabetes before and won’t have it after develop a form called gestational diabetes.
Your high blood sugar can cause your baby to make too much insulin. When this happens, their cells can absorb too much sugar, which their bodies then store as fat. This can raise their risk of a difficult birth and breathing problems.
Early detection is key to preventing serious complications from diabetes.
These are some common symptoms:
- Peeing often
- Feeling very thirsty or hungry, even though you’re eating
- Extremely tired
- Blurry vision
- Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss, even though you are eating more (for type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet (for type 2)
There are often no symptoms for gestational diabetes, so it’s important to get tested at the right time.