A healthy diet is essential for the body to function properly and optimally, and also helps us to maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight increases your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other life-threatening medical conditions.
Almost 90% of people newly diagnosed with diabetes are overweight or obese, according to the American Diabetes Association.
An obese person has double the risk of developing diabetes. A severely obese person has ten times the risk. Obesity affects 1 in 3 people in Iowa and is the largest contributor to preventable death in the United States.
Type 2 diabetes is the form of the disease most closely linked to obesity. Approximately 90 percent of all diabetics in the United States are type 2 diabetics. Complications of diabetes include heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage. People with diabetes can lose limbs from nerve damage and/or foot problems that can ultimately lead to ulcers and infections.
Eating healthy promotes physical and mental health in several ways, for example:
The benefits of eating healthy are limitless, and something you can start implementing today. There are plenty of great recipes on the web for you to explore, including this site! In conjunction with the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market, UnityPoint Health- Des Moines posts a healthy recipe each week which features fresh, nutritious ingredients found at The Market. If you want further information or help with nutrition, weight loss or making healthy lifestyle changes, the Weight Loss Specialists at UnityPoint Health- Des Moines are ready to help.
- The Heart - Years of research gives us solid evidence that certain foods increase the risk for heart disease, and that there is a direct link to unsaturated fats and cholesterol. By avoiding foods high in unsaturated fats and cholesterol, we can promote healthy heart function for years to come.
- Our Bones - Bones are important at any age, but many bone conditions that develop later in life can be avoided by providing our bodies with enough calcium in our diet. Milk and other dairy products contain calcium and should be consumed every day.
- ENERGY! - Are you tired of being tired? Foods that are excessively sugary or high in fats can minimize our energy levels from day to day. Fats are slow to digest and don't provide a steady source of energy, while sugary foods can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, making us tired very shortly after eating. Eating a healthy diet promotes constant energy throughout the day!
- Self Confidence - When we make the conscious choice to eat better and healthier, we begin to have more energy and feel better about ourselves. Even if weight loss isn't a goal, the benefit of eating healthy will be felt, and seen!
It's easy to fall into the same dinner routine from week to week. If you're tired of rotating between casseroles and various shapes of pasta, why not try adding fish to the menu?
Fish is a low fat and high quality protein, packed with vitamins and nutrients which can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Fish is also an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which:
Since our bodies don't produce omega-3 fatty acids, we have to get them through the food we eat. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in every kind of fish, but are especially high in fatty fish. Some good choices to eat are salmon, trout, sardines, herring, canned mackerel, canned light tuna, and oysters.
- Help maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of sudden death, heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms, and strokes.
- Aid healthy brain function and infant development of vision and nerves during pregnancy.
- May decrease the risk of depression, ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, and diabetes.
- May prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of arthritis.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice per week as part of a healthy diet. Here are 10 family-friendly recipes we found at Health Magazine that not only taste great, but are also packed with health benefits.
Start making fish a part of your dinner routine for this week. you're sure to be hooked!!
Soda, tea, coffee and several energy drinks share a key ingredient: caffeine. Caffeine is a plant product that has a stimulating effect on our central nervous system. It blocks adenosine (a molecule that makes us tired), and triggers the body to produce epinephrine- also known as adrenaline. Caffeine causes the heart to beat faster which leads to increased alertness and feeling less tired. Typically, the "energy" effect of caffeine peaks about 1 hour after consumption and lasts about 2-3 hours.
A safe, moderate dose of caffeine is considered up to 250 mg a day; the equivalent of two 6-oz cups of coffee, or four 12-oz sodas.
Common side effects of caffeine include:
- More rapid breathing
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heart beat
- Increased body temperature
- Increased blood flow to the skin and extremities
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Increased stomach acid secretion, heartburn or reflux
- Increased production of urine (caffeine is a diuretic)
More detrimental side effects can result from consuming 1000 mg or more of caffeine per day; the equivalent of ten 6-oz cups of coffee.
Additional side effects from consuming larger amounts of caffeine include: dizziness, hypoglycemia, fruit-like breath odor, troubled breathing, muscle tremors, nausea, diarrhea, increased ketones in urine, drowsiness, thirst, anxiety, confusion, irritability, insomnia, changes in appetite, dry mouth, blurred vision, and cold sweats.
Consuming larger amounts of caffeine on a regular basis may be linked to conception problems, increased episodes of heartburn, and changes in bowel habits. Over time, it can also lead to sleep deprivation, emotional fatigue, mood depression and anxiety-related feelings like excessive nervousness, sweating and tremors.
The effect of caffeine varies from person to person. Some people can have large amounts of caffeine without any bad effects, while others aren't able to handle even small amounts of caffeine. Decaffeinated beverages are a great alternative for people who dislike the more annoying side effects of caffeinated beverages, like sleeplessness or "the jitters". Also, people who take medications for depression, anxiety or insomnia, high blood pressure or other heart problems, chronic stomach upset or kidney disease should avoid caffeine until discussing the matter with a clinician.
There are several conditions that can cause a sudden cardiac emergency, and it is important to understand their signs and symptoms before they strike. Sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack are two such conditions, which are often confused with one another. Knowing their differences and the symptoms, risk factors and treatment of sudden cardiac arrest is vital in an emergency situation.
How is Sudden Cardiac Arrest Different from a Heart Attack?
Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries, preventing the heart from receiving the oxygen-rich blood it needs to function properly. When oxygen in the blood can't reach the heart muscle, the heart becomes damaged.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and suddenly becomes very irregular. This causes the heart to beat dangerously fast. The ventricles may flutter or quiver (ventricular fibrillation), and blood is not delivered to the body. The greatest concern lies within the first two minutes of a cardiac arrest; if blood flow to the brain is reduced too drastically, the person will lose consciousness. Sudden cardiac death (SCD) follows unless emergency treatment is begun immediately.
Emergency Treatment of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Emergency treatment of sudden cardiac arrest includes CPR and defibrillation. The process of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) keeps enough oxygen in the lungs and to the brain until the normal heart rhythm is restored with an electric shock to the chest (defibrillation). Portable defibrillators used by emergency profesionals, or public access defibrillators (AEDs) may help save the person's life.
What are the risk factors of sudden cardiac arrest?
There are several factors that can increase a person's risk of sudden cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death. The two leading risk factors include:
Heart disease prevention and education is a topic of focus in the United States, and with good reason: approximately 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. Sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of natural death in the United States, causing about 325,000 adult deaths in the United States each year.
- Previous heart attack (75% of SCD cases are linked to a previous heart attack). A person's risk of SCD is higher during the first six months after a heart attack.
- Coronary artery disease (80% of SCD cases are linked with this disease). Risk factors for coronary artery disease include: smoking, family history of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or an enlarged heart.
You can reduce your risk of heart disease by visiting with your doctor regularly, making healthy lifestyle changes, taking medications correctly as prescribed and having procedures or surgery, as recommended by your physician.
Heart disease may not be a major cause of death among children and teenagers, but it is the largest cause of death among adults in the United States. In fact, about 600,000 people die of heart disease each year, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women.
An adult's health and lifestyle choices are often a continuum of habits that are formed earlier in life. For this reason, it's important to teach children how to live a healthy life at an early age, forming positive habits that they will carry on through adulthood.
Researchers have determined certain risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most of these risk factors can be controlled, starting from an early age. By teaching healthy habits in childhood, a child's risk of developing heart disease later as an adult can be drastically lowered!
Children and teens can lower their risk of developing heart disease by:
- Maintaining healthy blood pressure
- Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
- Not smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Staying physically active
It's important to note that although many risk factors are controllable, there are some cases that require further medical attention. Hereditary diseases, illnesses and congenital heart defects may require treatment and/or medication. Our Cardiovascular team of professionals offer a variety of services and educational programs to help.
Regardless of your age, you can lower your risk of heart attack or stroke by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It's never too late - nor too early - to start!