Resources for Seniors

Physically Active Mid-Lifers More Likely to be Active Into Old Age

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Physically Active Mid-Lifers More Likely to be Active Into Old Age

Men who are physically active in mid-life are more likely to continue the habit into older age as well, finds a long term tracking study published in the online journal BMJ OpenPlaying sport is the physical activity most likely to stand the test of time, the findings show, prompting the researchers to suggest that encouraging early and sustained participation in sports might help people to stay active in old age. The health benefits of being physically active throughout the life course are well known, but the transition from mid-life to old age often coincides with major life events, such as retirement, when both the amount and frequency of exercise are likely to change, say the researchers. (Gray, 9/20)


Managing Diabetes: How Food Affects Blood Sugar

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Get healthy and tasty recipes and meal plans courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

Get healthy and tasty recipes and meal plans courtesy of the American Diabetes Association.

If you have diabetes, you need to know how the foods you eat affect your blood sugar levels. It’s not only the type of food you eat but also how much you eat and the combinations of food types you eat. Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic:

  • Learn about carbohydrate counting and portion sizes. A key to many diabetes management plans is learning how to count carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the foods that often have the biggest impact on your blood sugar levels. And for people taking mealtime insulin, it’s crucial to know the amount of carbohydrates in your food, so you get the proper insulin dose. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size and an accurate carbohydrate count.
  • Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have a good mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats. It’s especially important to pay attention to the types of carbohydrates you choose. Some carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, are better for you than are others. These foods are low in carbohydrates and contain fiber that helps keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and the appropriate balance of food types.
  • Coordinate your meals and medications. Too little food in proportion to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages — including those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or sucrose — tend to be high in calories and offer little in the way of nutrition. And because they cause blood sugar to rise quickly, it’s best to avoid these types of drinks if you have diabetes. The exception is if you are experiencing a low blood sugar level. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, juice and sports drinks, can be used as an effective treatment for quickly raising blood sugar that is too low.

 

Here are some recipes for healthy living from The American Diabetes Association. You can get meal plans, recipes, food and kitchen tips and a calorie counting section.


Tips For Getting Accurate Blood Pressure Reading

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Here are 7 things you can do to help ensure a correct reading.

Here are 7 things you can do to help ensure a correct reading.

The only way to know (diagnose) if you have high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is to have your blood pressure tested. Understanding your blood pressure numbers is key to controlling high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is normal (less than 120/80 mm Hg), your blood pressure should be screened during regular healthcare visits at least once every two years for anyone 20 years of age or older, according to recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA). In addition, the AHA reports:

If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal

  • Your doctor may take several readings over time and/or have you monitor your blood pressure at home before diagnosing you with high blood pressure.
  • A single high reading does not mean that you have high blood pressure. But, if your readings continue to stay high, your doctor will most likely want you to begin a treatment program.

 

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure

 

How a blood pressure test works

  • A blood pressure reading is taken with a pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer).
  • During the test, the cuff is placed around the upper arm before being manually or electronically inflated.
  • Once inflated, the cuff compresses the brachial artery, momentarily stopping blood flow.
  • Next, air in the cuff is slowly released while the person performing the measurement listens with a stethoscope or monitors an electronic readout.

 

Here’s what you can do to ensure a correct reading, according to Harvard Health Publications:

  • Don’t drink a caffeinated beverage or smoke during the 30 minutes before the test.
  • Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins.
  • During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.
  • The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.
  • Don’t talk during the measurement.
  • Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.