Happy to Report!

I am now having to wear my sunglasses on my entire commute into work!

You know what this means?! Spring is on its way!

Spring is by far my favorite time of year because everything is new and refreshed and awakened. Summer is a close second because I am always cold and I bask in the sun (with sunscreen of course). I think I was a cat in a past life because on short, sunny winter days, I will open the curtains and lay down a blanket and absorb all of the vitamin D that I possible can.
Before you know it, it will be Easter and time for May Day baskets!
YIPPEE!!

Taking Health For Granted

I read an article in the Sunday paper about a man who was paralized and used a wheelchair. Being an engineer, he decided to put his skills to use and created a device that can essentially help those who cant use their legs, begin to walk. The device simply holds their non-responsive legs in braces and moves each leg forward powered by a computer worn on the back in a backpack. The user utilizes forearm crutches for balance and pushes commands on a wristpad. I was amazed and excited at this new breakthrough!
The article also discussed stem cell research and how scientists are trying to find ways to bypass damaged spinal cord areas and tap healthy parts of the cord into each other.
I know, I just made both of these methods sound really simple.
The article got me to thinking about how fortunate I am to be able to walk, run, go up stairs, up curbs and into restaurants and stores without thinking twice.
It also got me to thinking that I cannot remember the last time I saw someone in a wheelchair out and about other than the theatre. Usually they arrive and have to kick someone out of the handcapped seating area.
We take our health for granted. Period. The only time we consider living healthier is when we are faced with something that might begin to inconvenience our lives.
The truth is, we dont have to worry about inflictions like we used to. “Back in the day”, newborns were not taken out in public for fear of what they might catch. With vaccinations and treatments now available, we dont have to think about a cold or flu being life threatening. Then we were shocked that average, otherwise healthy people were dying from H1N1 2009. In case you didnt know, that was a pandemic we had. It ranked up there with smallpox, tuberculosis and HIV.
I think I am going to pay a little more attention to my health….

Budget Cuts – At What Cost?

My grandmother recently moved back to Colorado from Illinois to be closer us, her immediate family. Since she isnt as familiar with the area, we made the decision that she should not drive, and she sold her car. The decision saved her money, but was also made possible by the fact that a local senior center offered a bus service that helps those without trasportation get to the doctor, grocery store, church, activities, etc. This particular service helps seniors on and off the bus, and will even make several trips with shopping bags into their home.
This service costs the seniors a couple of dollars each way and enabled them to get out and live a more active lifestyle while not having the expense or safety concern of them driving.
This week, we received a notice that the senior bus service may be discontinued due to budget cuts. While its understandable that our country is in a budget crisis, I think there has to be a solution other than just cutting the program altogether. My Grandmother said she would be willing to pay more to keep this transportation going. Maybe sponsors and donations could be found.
The ramificiations of discontinuing this service are great. It is widely known that the more active and involved seniors are, the healthier they are. If their mobility is taken away, are we accepting higher Medicare costs?

My oldest daughter is a self proclaimed “band geek”. She loves band, she loves music and even though she does not seek to persue a career in music, it has helped her in the career she has chosen: Science.
Our school district, like all districts across the country, are in a budget crisis. On the possible chopping block are music, art and PE programs. In our particular district, they are proposing the cut of 5th grade band programs. This means zero music in elementary school. Exposure to music at a young age is crucial, since middle schoolers care more about image and are less likely to try music for the first time.
Our parent band organization believes that if 5th grade band is cut, the high school programs are sure to lose up to 50% of participants in the next 3-5 years. Athletes have private options should their school sports be cut, but our band students cannot get the same experience in private programs because they do not exist.
If this program is cut, are we willing to deprive our children to the exposure of the arts and health and exercise at school?

Need Some Humor? I Sure Do!

After the holidays are done and the decorations are put away, it seems the winter blues always settle in for a visit during the months of January and February. This winter has been especially hard for parts of the country, and that doesnt help. So, here is my effort to put a smile on your face, or at least elicit something other than a frown!

You have a cough? Go home tonight, eat a whole box of Ex-Lax, tomorrow you’ll be afraid to cough.

To some – marriage is a word … to others – a sentence.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

Question: WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
Answer: “It’s never okay to kiss a boy. They always slobber all over you…That’s why I stopped doing it.” (Jean, age 10)

I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges?

If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

I don’t approve of political jokes. I’ve seen too many of them get elected.

The most precious thing we have is life. Yet it has absolutely no trade-in value.

Isn’t having a smoking section in a restaurant like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?

How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?

Your Task: Memorize just one of these today and share a smile with someone!

Sugar: Trojan Horse of Weight Gain and Other Health Problems

Want to lose weight? Reduce your risk of Diabetes? Reduce your risk of heart problems and even gout? New studies again point to sugar as a major culprit for health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart problems and even gout.

Make this one change to your diet: Each day, consume 25 grams or less of sugar if you are a woman, or consume 38 grams or less of sugar if you are a man. Note: This is added sugar such as high-fructose corn syrup, ordinary table sugar, agave syrup and all other sweeteners with calories. This is not the sugar found naturally in foods such as fruits or vegetables. That makes it easy as, er, pie!

We Americans now consume between 88 and 120 grams of sugar per day – that’s 22-30 teaspoons of sugar, which equals 350-475 empty calories per day. If a pound equals 3500 calories, think about how many calories you would save if you cut your sugar intake by 50-75%.

Why is sugar a trojan horse? A granola bar lists brown rice syrup as an ingredient. Sounds healthy, right? No, it’s still an empty calorie sweetener with a healthy name; it’s a Trojan sweetener. The truth is if you are not paying attention to your daily sugar intake, you could end up gaining weight or losing control of your blood sugar levels, which are both believed to have a domino effect of consequences to your health.

Sucrose (table sugar) is broken down in the body to half glucose and half fructose. Glucose is a functional form of energy that powers muscles and the brain, so keeping glucose within a normal range and away from sugar highs and sugar lows, is extremely important to your health. Fructose raises triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood, which your body uses for energy. High triglycerides can lead to heart attacks and may be a sign of metabolic syndrome, which increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Fructose has also been linked to increased visceral fat, reduced sensitivity to insulin, increased risk of gout and overeating. Visceral fat can be found in deep abdominal tissue and is linked to a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. A reduced sensitivity to insulin increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Obesity is a major risk factor for gout, a condition where too much uric acid ends up in the joints and causes excruciating pain. Fructose may also cause resistance to leptin, a hormone that tells your brain to stop eating when you have consumed enough food.

Consuming too many added sugars either crowds out healthy foods from your diet, or makes you fat if you eat them in addition to healthy foods. The biggest culprits of added sugars are beverages and packaged bakery items. Watch your intake of soda, tea, coffee, cookies, cakes and especially fruit juice or sports drinks that hide under the healthy halo.

Here is the bottom line: Consume no more than 25-38 grams of added sugars per day. Don’t drink sweetened beverages. Limit fruit juices to no more than one cup per day. Be a label and ingredient reader. And, don’t worry about naturally occurring sugars in fruit or milk! If you can’t give up foods and beverages with added sugar, then compensate for the added calories with more movement.

Sources: Nutrition Action HealthLetter Jan/Feb 2010, Sugar Overload; www.webmd.com; www.wisegeek.com

No Mouth Needed for CPR?

If you experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital, you have a 2% chance of pulling through without long term damage.

The No. 1 thing that has been shown to make a difference is the action of a bystander, and studies show that bystanders perform CPR in only 20 to 30% of cases. According to the American Heart Association, without someone attempting CPR, the survival rate decreases 7 – 10% for every minute that goes by.

Researchers say its not because people don’t want to help. Its because they are apprehensive about putting their mouth’s on someone else’s, especially if that person is dying.

Here is a good news secret from Dr. Sanjay Gupta: When a person’s heart stops beating, its not the end. Death is a process that can be interrupted.

Without a heartbeat, circulation slows to a halt and the brain is the first one to suffer. In normal times, the brain, which constitutes 2% of our body mass, consumes 20% of the oxygen the body takes in. After 10 seconds without oxygen, the brain’s functions slow. Without oxygen or signals from the brain, other organs begin to break down. The key is oxygen, and as it turns out, our bloodstreams contain plenty of oxygen at any moment. Even if we stop breathing, our oxygen levels remain normal for quite a while. If we do stop breathing, however, the sole way to make the oxygen circulate is by having someone pump our chests.

The act of keeping oxygen circulating could increase a victim’s chances of surviving by as much as 70%.

Since heart disease is the no. 1 killer in the U.S., the simple act of pumping someone’s chest could save thousands of lives every year.

If you see someone suffer what you think may be cardiac arrest, call 911, start giving chest compressions 100 times a minute, and don’t stop for anything!

For more information and to find classes in your area, go to www.americanheart.org.

Source: www.parade.com/health

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