Avoid Being A T2D Statistic

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I am thankful not to have any symptoms of type 2 diabetes…yet.  However, many in my family tree have had this dreadful disease.  What can I do to avoid becoming one of the statistics?

A:  Kaiser Permanente has simplified their advice about avoiding Type 2 diabetes to these three actions:

  • POUR yourself a glass of water instead of soda, fruit juice, or sports drinks.
  • EXERCISE for 30 minutes on most days. Routine activities like walking the dog or raking leaves count.
  • SERVE yourself half a plate of vegetables and equal portions of whole grains and lean sources of protein like fish and chicken.”

Their “Partners in Health” e-mail noted that “obesity is a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes….  Call your doctor if you have these symptoms of diabetes – frequent urination, extreme thirst or hunger, unexplained weight loss, blurry vision, unexplained fatigue.”

Or, as Mr. Pedometer summarizes…


Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Published November 8, 2017

Q: Mr. Pedometer, you have warned us in past editions that we may be heading toward Type 2 diabetes without even knowing it. Besides being very thirsty, are there other symptoms we should be aware of?

A: Your question is very timely, as this is National Diabetes Awareness Month. It is crucial to seek medical help as soon as possible when you are experiencing symptoms that may lead to Type 2 diabetes. Here is what everydayhealth.com recently shared about unusual symptoms you might overlook:

  • “When you have Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to be diagnosed as early as possible, since untreated symptoms can lead to dangerous – and sometimes irreversible – damage to the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Common symptoms include fatigue, lethargy, confusion, nausea, and increased urination, says David Bradley, MD (of Ohio State University). But those aren’t the only signs that may signal Type 2 diabetes – there are several more unusual symptoms that many people don’t commonly associate with the disease:
  • BLURRY VISION – “If you are having trouble reading street signs, your glasses may not be the problem. Although later-stage diabetes can cause permanent eye damage, blurry vision that arises in the early stages of the disease may be reversible….High blood-sugar levels cause fluid levels in some tissues to drop, including the lenses of your eye.”
  • YOUR SKIN LOOKS AND FEELS WEIRD – “When blood-sugar levels are heightened, the kidneys eliminate excess sugar through the urine, which results in increased urination and loss of fluid. The subsequent dehydration causes increased thirst, and may cause itchy skin…. You might also notice darkening in the body’s folds and creases (such as the armpits, groin, and neck)….”
  • A WOUND THAT WON’T HEAL – “A slow-to-heal cut or bug bite can be a red flag for diabetes. Hyperglycemia (aka high blood-sugar) decreases the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to wounds through the bloodstream, slowing the healing process and lowering the immune system…. This effect on immunity may also lead to more frequent colds and illness.
  • “FREQUENT YEAST INFECTIONS OR JOCK ITCH – “This is why women with diabetes are prone to chronic yeast infections, and men are more likely to develop jock itch. Yeast can grow in other areas, too – creating itchy rashes in skin folds, such as under the breasts, and between fingers and toes.”
  • PROBLEMS IN THE BEDROOM – “Diabetes can cause a decrease in sexual function in both men and women. Men may experience erectile dysfunction, while women may have vaginal dryness and problems with arousal. This is because high blood-sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves that you need to work properly for sexual response…. Nerves control the body’s response to sexual stimuli, signaling an increase in blood flow to the genitals; damage to these areas contributes to sexual dysfunction.”
  • RESTLESS SLEEP – “Diabetes doesn’t only lead to dangerous spikes in blood-sugar, but can cause dips – known as hypoglycemia – as well. Nighttime hypoglycemia may cause nighttime sweats,
    as well as vivid dreams…. Dangerously low blood-sugar levels can lead to serious complications, and can even be life-threatening if not addressed properly. And if you’re a frequent napper, the habit could be increasing your risk for developing diabetes. 2015 research published in Diabetologia found that regularly taking a nap of an hour or longer raises risk of Type 2 diabetes by 46 percent.”
  • YOU’RE LOSING WEIGHT – “This may sound like good news, but if you’ve recently dropped a significant amount of weight without trying – or perhaps even while eating more than usual – it may be a sign of diabetes. Insulin resistance causes sugar to stay stuck in the bloodstream rather than being moved into cells for energy storage…. With diabetes, your body also loses sugar through urination. Because sugar is a source of energy, or calories, this can lead to weight loss.”

I hope none of our readers are experiencing a cluster of these unusual symptoms. However, if you are, seeing a doctor sooner rather than later may affect your quality of life for the rest of your life.

Shifting Time Zones

Q: Mr. Pedometer, you frequently mention your business travels, which likely take you to different time zones. How do you adjust? I am dreading the November switch from Daylight Savings Time! It seems to take me longer each year to adjust to the one-hour time change. Any suggestions?

A: It is a challenge, to be sure! Ignoring the change from Daylight Savings Time is not an option, but it’s equal to one time zone change. Start NOW with the new time zone breakfast, caffeine, and exercise. Your body will adapt in a day or so.
If one MUST adapt to a new environment at once, when traveling, there are really only two solutions:

1. Start adopting the designated time zone before the trip, in your own time zone; and

2. Kickstart your destination metabolism with breakfast, coffee, and exercise at your destination’s breakfast time.

However, if one does not have to adapt, because the stay is short (fewer days than time zone crossings), do not try to adjust, but do critical thinking and actions as though in your home time zone.

Better Homes & Gardens magazine recently gave other suggestions for ways to stay “energized and upbeat”:

“The shift from Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time can throw off your body’s internal clock,” says M. Safwan Badr, MD, a sleep specialist at Wayne State University. “You may have trouble falling asleep at night or feel groggy in the morning.” He notes that less daylight can impact your body’s mood-regulating hormones. Try the following tips:

1. THE RIGHT MOVES — “Walk outside for 20 minutes in the morning. Exposure to sunlight helps turn off your body’s production of sleep-producing melatonin. If you’re still fuzzy-minded, take a walk around noon, when the sunlight is intense.”

2. THE RIGHT BITES – “…Whole foods give you the largest energy and mood boost. One star is fatty fish: Salmon and tuna are high in omega-3s, which raises serotonin levels, a chemical that helps regulate mood. Vitamin D may also lift moods. (Aim for 600 IU/day; milk and salmon are good sources.)

?  And don’t forget chocolate (as if!); it, too, boosts serotonin.

?  ….If caffeine is your go-to; small doses of coffee or tea throughout the day are more effective than two Grandes at breakfast.

?  To nod off faster, try a small bowl of whole-grain cereal and milk; the carb-protein combo helps your body make the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan.”

3. THE RIGHT LIGHT – “If you feel unusually down when daylight is scarce, you may be one of the 10-20 percent of Americans with some form of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mild to moderate depression that starts in autumn and eases in spring. A treatment involving sitting in front of a special light box for about 30 minutes each morning can work as well as therapy and medication. Look for a light that has 10,000 lux, emits as little UV as possible, and treats SAD (some are for issues like skin conditions).”

Mr. Pedometer advises starting tonight to move toward Standard Time. Otherwise, on Sunday, November 5, it may seem “too early” to go to bed at your regular time, but doing so will help you get up and get going on time Monday morning!

World Polio Day

October 25, 2017

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends….

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, I grew up knowing kids who were stricken with polio.  Is it true that that terrible disease has been eradicated worldwide?  

A:  Almost, but not quite.  Yesterday was World Polio Day, “to raise awareness and support to end polio – a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today,” to quote from an article in the October 19 Independent newspaper.

Mr. Pedometer is proud to be a member of Pleasanton North Rotary.  Our international service organization launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative almost three decades ago.  We have helped create a 99.9% decrease in the annual number of cases of this crippling disease — from 350,000 cases a year to only 37 in 2016, and only 8 cases so far this year.

Rotary has committed to raising $50 million per year over the next three years to support polio eradication efforts, keeping all children protected from this debilitating disease.  The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match our donations 2:1.

“Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk,” the article notes.

You can help by going to www.endpolio.org to make a donation.  Our Tri-Valley Rotary clubs will be holding an End Polio Now Campaign from March 1 to April 30, so we will remind you then.

Only one other disease has been successfully eradicated in modern history, and that is smallpox.  You can help make history with your donation of any amount.

Too Early For A Flu Shot?

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, is it too early to get a flu shot? 

A:  Definitely not!  Those in the medical profession remind us that it takes up to three weeks for the shot to protect you, so getting a flu shot before November is a very good idea.  Most pharmacies — even those in grocery stores – already are advertising the availability of this year’s flu shot.  While it does not guarantee that you will avoid illness, it makes it likely that your malady (if any) will be less severe.  Remember, flu shots protect not only yourself but those around you – particularly the more vulnerable, including the elderly and infants.

Kaiser Permanente clinic in Pleasanton is offering the shots Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Kaiser also reminds us of the seven best ways to fight the flu:

  • Get your flu shot
  • Wash your hands
  • Stop smoking
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Eat your fruits and veggies
  • Sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • Stay home if you are sick…please!

Some people say the “holiday season” actually starts this month, with Halloween.  No one wants to be ill during the feasting of Thanksgiving in November, nor for whatever holidays you celebrate with family and friends in December.  So, roll up your sleeve and get your flu shot ASAP.


Breast Cancer Awarness Month

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…
October 4, 2017

Q: Mr. Pedometer, did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

A: Thanks for the reminder! By now, probably each of us knows someone who has had (or currently has) breast cancer. The good news is that detection and treatment have improved. According to the American Cancer Society, there are over 3.1 million women alive who have a history of breast cancer. For a woman, there is a 1 in 8-lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. However, of those diagnosed and treated, 89% survive 5 years later; 83% survive 10 years later, and 78% survive 15 years later.

The crucial thing – the whole point of this “awareness” month – is early detection. The American Cancer Society estimated that more than 290,000 women would be newly diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 (latest data available) and that 40,290 would die. The difference between life and death can depend on whether the breast cancer is diagnosed in the earliest, most treatable stages.

For women 45-55, ACS recommends mammography screening every year. For those women at normal risk level, that screening may be reduced to every other year as of age 55, but should continue “as long as the woman’s overall health is good and her life expectancy is for 10 or more years.” Sadly, only 69% of those surveyed had had a mammogram in the previous two years. (Among college graduates, the rate was 78%.) Under the Affordable Care Act, there is no charge for mammograms.

No one gets to choose their family’s medical history, but there are four ways ACS points to for possible prevention of breast cancer:

• Avoid weight gain and obesity.
• Engage in regular physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week).
• Minimize alcohol intake (1drink per day for women, 2 per day for men — and yes, 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer    each year, and 440 will die from it.)
• Consume a healthy diet, with emphasis on plant foods.

Or, to put it another way…