Exercise and Sports Archives - Active Healthcare

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Music to Our Lungs: How Making Music Can Help Asthma


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Albuterol to the Rescue


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Does Back to School Mean Back to Allergies?


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Are You Asthma Aware?

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ 1 , ,

Did you know that May is Asthma Awareness Month?

Asthma Awareness MonthSpring is in the air, and as temperatures rise, an asthmatic’s symptoms reach their peak.

This is a perfect time to review some key points about asthma. With May quickly approaching, let’s have a refresher of some Frequently Asked Questions asked by asthmatics and their loved ones.

Question: Should I only take my controller medication if I’m having an attack?

Answer: No, controller medications are used to treat the underlying issue and not an attack. They do not immediately relieve symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, or chest tightness.

Question: Can I exercise and play sports even if I have asthma?

Answer: Yes, exercise is possible with asthma, but consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program or sport.

Question: Can I become addicted to my controller medication?

Answer: No, asthma medications are not considered addictive. With that said, it is important to understand them and to use them properly.

Question: Is it okay if I’m around smoke as long as I am outdoors?

Answer: No, secondhand smoke should always be avoided if you are an asthma sufferer because tobacco smoke is among the most common of asthma triggers.

Question: Does my controller medication stop working the longer I use it?

Answer: No, these medications are designed to work for the long haul and should be taken daily until your doctor suggests otherwise.

Question: Is it normal to use my rescue inhaler at least once per day?

Answer: No, this inhaler is not meant to be used every day, only in the instance of an asthma attack.

Question: Will using inhaled steroids/controller medication stunt my growth?

Answer: No, asthma drugs do not stunt growth, although one recent study did report a temporary stunt in childhood that disappears by adulthood.

To celebrate Asthma Awareness Month, the Triangle Asthma Coalition would like to make you aware of two upcoming events:

  1. 2017 Asthma Fair, May 6th, 9 AM to 12:30 PM, Raleigh, NC – Held at the Andrews Center at Wake Med and hosted by the Triangle Asthma Coalition, this educational event provides patients and their families with information about taking control of their asthma.
  2. 2017 Asthma Summit, May 24th, 8 AM to 4:15 PM, Burlington, NC – Held at St. Mark’s Church and hosted by the Asthma Alliance of North Carolina, the summit’s target audience includes nurses, respiratory therapists, registered environmental health specialists, and health educators.

For more information about the events, please visit the events page of the Triangle Asthma Coalition website.

Happy Asthma Awareness Month to all!

 


Five Misconceptions About Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Men's Health, Women's Health Leave a comment   , ,

There are many misconceptions about diabetes. Below are a few of them followed by the truth.

Myth: People get Type 1 diabetes from eating too much sugar

Reality: No one really knows how someone gets the disease.

It does not mean that the patient eats too much sugar. “Type 1 is like being hit by lightning, and it’s not anybody’s fault,” says Steven Griffen, MD who is a vice president for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Researchers still can’t pin down the real cause of this disease, but it means that the patient’s pancreas is not processing insulin the way that it should.

Myth: It is dangerous for people with diabetes to exercise or participate in sports

Girls Walking for Exercise

Photo from Shutterstock.

participate in sports and even thrive as an athlete. Professional athletes such as tennis star Bill Talbert, boxer Jersey Joe Walcott, and golfer Sherri Turner are all Type 1 patients.

Myth: Diabetics should avoid all sugar and carbohydrates

Reality: Diabetics can and should have some sugar and carbohydrates. 

Did you know that diabetics also experience extreme lows in their blood sugar?  Yes, it’s true.  When a diabetic has a blood sugar nosedive, this is called hypoglycemia.  The highs are referred to as hyperglycemia.  Hypoglycemia can make the patient feel just as bad as if their sugar is too high. Hypoglycemia can be avoided by a regular intake of natural sugars. Diabetics can try eating fruit and complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread and pasta to prevent hypoglycemia.

Myth: Diabetes is caused by being overweight

Reality: There are two very different types of diabetes.

Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that never goes away. Type 2 symptoms can diminish with weight management and dietary changes.  Being overweight puts you at risk for Type 2 diabetes, but Type 1 patients often find it difficult to gain weight.

Myth: Diabetes is easy to control.

Diabetes Blood Glucose TestingReality: Diabetes is hard to control, no matter how diligent one is with sticking to his/her meal plan and treatment schedule.

Treatment is ongoing. People often assume that the patient “has it all figured out.”  Stress, hormone changes, growth spurts, and illnesses can all cause a diabetic’s blood sugar to swing.

On the upside, there are so many more ways to combat Type 1 diabetes now than ever before. Patients now have many options available to them to make life with Type 1 diabetes more manageable including insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and even an artificial pancreas.


The 5 Best Apps for Diabetes Management

Lisa Feierstein Children's Health, Diabetes, Men's Health, Women's Health 1 , ,

Smartphone Apps to Track Health

Diabetes Apps AboundWith the advent of apps for smartphones, there’s something nostalgic about using a pen and paper. At meetings, I often find myself still jotting down action items in a notebook instead of in my iPad. But, when it comes to tracking my health, I’m grateful to have so many intuitive and user-friendly apps at my disposal. I can track my sleep habits, exercise and diet easily with my smartphone. There are also a number of useful health tracking apps available for individuals with specific conditions like asthma and diabetes.

Diabetes App Roundup

Here’s a roundup of some of the best diabetes apps available:

  1. Diabetes Logbook: This free app is available on the iPhone and Android platforms; Diabetes Logbook is a personalized way to track meals, blood sugar, carbs and more. The app manages to be both entertaining and educational, making users more motivated to consistently manage their diabetes.
  2. OnTrack Diabetes: A simple, intuitive design makes this app user-friendly. Available for free for Android users, OnTrack Diabetes is a way to log medication use, glucose levels, weight, exercises and more. Tables and graphs can easily be shared with doctors.
  3. Carb Counting with Lenny: This app’s colorful design and built-in mascot, Lenny the Lion, encourages children with diabetes to get in the habit of carb counting. The app also includes educational games that help boost kids’ confidence in better managing their diabetes. This app is free and available to iPhone users.
  4. Diabetik: Individuals with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can easily monitor meal frequency, blood glucose levels, and medication intake via interactive charts with the free iPhone Diabetik app.
  5. HealthyOut: This free app makes eating out easier by providing users with the ability to search for local restaurants that offer more diabetic-friendly meals. Users can search based on filters like “Low Carb” or Low Fat” to find healthy options while eating out.

Thanks to colorful designs, interactive charts, and user-friendly features, these apps streamline diabetes management in intuitive ways. App users can often share key data with doctors and have confidence in experiencing greater control over managing their condition.


Join the American Lung Association in the Fight for Air Climb!

Lisa Feierstein Asthma Leave a comment  
Photo courtesy of American Lung Association

Photo courtesy of American Lung Association

When you’re trying to get back into shape, you’re more likely to reach your fitness goals if you start with simple, specific and attainable goals. There are small steps you can take each day to kick-start your efforts like parking farther from the door when shopping to get more walking in, or taking the stairs at work. If you’ve ever used the stair climber at the gym, you know that even climbing for a few minutes is hard work! Stair climbing actually burns more calories per minute than jogging, and regular stair climbing can reduce the risk of a heart attack. If you’ve been meaning to make good on your New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape, then I have the perfect opportunity for you to jumpstart your workout goals while exercising for a good cause—join the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb!

By signing up for the Fight for Air Climb challenge on April 2, you’ll have the opportunity to show off your stair climbing skills while raising money for lung disease awareness and research. Consider this your official invitation to join Team Active, Active Healthcare’s Fight for Air Climb team, in climbing the 30 floors at the Wells Fargo Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh!

Signing up for the challenge only takes a few minutes and the American Lung Association (ALA) has provided some great resources to help you kick off your fundraising efforts. Email templates provided by the ALA make recruiting and fundraising a breeze, and there are also Facebook and smartphone apps available to help you track your fundraising efforts.

Not only is the Fight for Air Climb a great motivation for getting in shape, it’s a way to raise awareness about the importance of lung health. About 26 million Americans, including 7 million children, have asthma, the third leading cause of hospitalization of children, according to the American Lung Association. Join us on April 2 at 8 a.m. at the Fight for Air Climb and help make a difference in the fight against lung disease.


5 Healthy New Years Resolutions for Asthma Sufferers

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment   , , , ,

New Years ResolutionsIf you’re getting ready to write your New Year’s resolutions, you’re in good company—45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. The coming New Year is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the past year and identify areas for improvement. Most resolutions, 47% to be exact, are related to self-improvement or education—we’d all like to be a little healthier physically, relationally, and mentally. If you have asthma and are hoping for a healthier New Year, here are 5 resolutions to help guide you on your journey to better manage your asthma:

  1. Update Your Asthma Action Plan – An asthma action (or management) plan is an important first step in guiding the treatment of your asthma. Your doctor can work with you to identify what to do in situations like an asthma attack or allergy flare-up. An action plan should be updated annually with a doctor, and more frequently for individuals with severe asthma.
  2. Keep Healthy Eating and Sleeping Habits – Getting plenty of rest and eating a balanced diet will help keep your immune system healthy. Being overweight can make asthma symptoms worse, but eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins C and E can help control inflammation in the lungs.
  3. Quit Smoking – Smoking is one of the most common asthma triggers and can result in major health conditions like emphysema and lung cancer. Having the right support can make quitting easier, so the American Lung Association provides The Freedom From Smoking® group clinic, an eight-session, step-by-step plan to quit smoking.
  4. Exercise Regularly – There’s a long-standing myth that exercise can make asthma symptoms worse, but regular, moderate exercise can actually improve asthma symptoms. Thirty minutes of exercise a day—like walking, biking and yoga—can significantly reduce asthma symptoms. Check with your doctor to identify which medications you may need to take before and after exercising.
  5. Avoid Asthma Triggers – Common asthma triggers are tobacco smoke, mold, pet dander, pollen, and colds/upper respiratory infections. Talk to your doctor about identifying your asthma triggers and how to actively avoid them. For example, you may need special bedding if dust mites are an asthma trigger for you.

Sources:

13 New Year’s Resolutions for People with Allergies and Asthma, by Carol Proctor, Allergy & Asthma Health

Join Freedom From Smoking, American Lung Association

Can foods I eat affect my asthma symptoms? By James T.C.Li, Mayo Clinic


How to Exercise Safely with Type 1 Diabetes

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment   ,
CCO, Pixabay

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise will have different effects on blood sugar levels.

For many of us, making the decision whether or not to go to the gym after work (or before work for you early birds!) is a daily struggle. There are so many activities vying for your time whether it’s a trip to Target, happy hour with friends, or that new season of your favorite show that was just released on Netflix. For individuals with type 1 diabetes, making it to the gym is much more than a matter of willpower. Exercising with type 1 diabetes means carefully taking into consideration blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise. Although exercise presents a unique challenge for individuals with type 1 diabetes, it improves quality of life, reduces the risk of complications related to type 1 diabetes like heart conditions, and can make it easier to control blood sugar levels. If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ve probably found that different exercises, the time of day you exercise, and what you ate before and after exercising all have an impact on how your body handles physical activity.

Since there are a lot of variables at play that can impact your blood sugar levels, begin your journey to better fitness by trying out one exercise at a time. That way, you can adjust for other variables—like food consumed and time of day—that affect how your body responds to exercise.

Ginger Vieira, author of “Dealing with Diabetes Burnout,” knows first hand the challenge of exercising with type 1 diabetes. She suggests keeping an exercise diary and writing down “the time of day, your pre-exercise blood sugar, anything you just ate, and any insulin you just took. Then write down exactly what kind of exercise you’re doing and for how long you’re doing it.” Vieira also recommends checking your blood sugar midway through the exercise and after exercising. She prefers exercising first thing in the morning before breakfast when her blood sugar is in-range and her energy is at its highest.

In addition to what you’re eating, how much insulin you’ve taken, and when you’re exercising, the type of exercise you do will also impact your body’s response. Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise, like swimming or running, uses more glucose so it tends to lower your blood sugar. You may need to eat extra carbohydrates before exercising to keep your blood sugar in a safe range. Strength training or anaerobic exercise, like weight lifting, is fueled by fat, and according to Vieira, can “increase your sensitivity to insulin later in the day while it works to repair and build those muscles.”

As you add to your exercise journal and learn what does and doesn’t work for you, remember that it’s normal to get frustrated sometimes. It’s called a workout for a reason, right? Exercising regularly is hard work, but the benefits are lasting and will boost not only your physical but also your mental health. To avoid those days when Netflix wins out over the gym, build up a support system. Workout with a friend and keep each other accountable in regard to your fitness and diet goals. If you’re schedule doesn’t mesh with your friend’s, try out a group fitness class or work with a personal trainer who can tailor a fitness plan to your needs.

Sources:

Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes, by the American Diabetes Association

5 Tips for Exercise with Type 1, by Ginger Vieira, Insulin Nation

Type 1 Diabetes and Exercise, by Daphne E. Smith-Marsh, edocrineweb


Regular, Moderate Exercise Improves Asthma Symptoms

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  
Photo from Shutterstock.

Photo from Shutterstock.

There’s a long-standing myth that if you have asthma, you should avoid exercising, but there are numerous examples of professional athletes that thrive in their profession despite having asthma. Even individuals with exercise-induced asthma can reduce asthma symptoms by working with their doctor on a medication management plan. New research further dispels the “no exercise with asthma” myth—researchers found that 30 minutes of exercise a day can actually relieve asthma symptoms.

Even Moderate Exercise will help Reduce Asthma Symptoms

The study looked at the exercise habits of 643 individuals diagnosed with asthma and found that those who exercised regularly were two-and-a-half times more likely to have solid control of their asthma symptoms, in comparison to individuals that didn’t exercise. Simon Bacon, lead author in the study and a professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Concordia University in Montreal, said asthma sufferers don’t have to engage in strenuous workouts to see relief from their symptoms. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day—like walking, biking and yoga—can significantly reduce asthma symptoms.

Asthma inhalers, bronchodilators, and medication like albuterol have been known to help when taken about 10 minutes before exercising, but asthmatics should check with their doctor to identify the right course of medication to take before exercising. A study published in the British Medical Journal also discovered that individuals with exercise-induced asthma could benefit from taking vitamin C.

Additional Resources:

5 best workouts for asthma patients, by Lois D. Medrano, Latinos Health


Chronic Inflammation Increases Diabetes Risk

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment   , , ,

When we get hurt or have an infection, the body’s natural response is to trigger inflammation. Short-term inflammation helps the body heal as white blood cells fight off bacteria and viruses. Normal inflammation manifests as pain, swelling, redness, and a sensation of heat. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can occur in conjunction with some diseases, like arthritis, and it can also raise the risk of developing diabetes. In these cases, inflammation continues for years and damages body tissue. Individuals suffering from chronic sleep deprivation, gum disease, poor diet or obesity are among those at risk for long-term inflammation.

Researchers have found that chronic inflammation raises the risk of developing diabetes because it interferes with insulin’s ability to regulate glucose, which can cause high blood sugar. Inflammation damages beta cells that produce insulin in the pancreas, and inflammation is also a result of the main diabetes risk factors – obesity, smoking, and diets high in fat and sugar. High-carb, low protein diets are inflammatory for many people, but low-carb diets and diets higher in fruits and vegetables have been known to reduce inflammation. In observational studies, participants on the Mediterranean diet – high in fish, whole grains, beans, nuts and vegetables – have reported low inflammatory markers.

Gum disease, air pollution and cigarette smoke, and lack of exercise are all threats that can lead to chronic inflammation. These risk factors can be reduced through good dental hygiene, the use of indoor HEPA filters and by avoiding cigarette smoke, and with regular exercise. There are also some foods, spices and teas that can help to reduce inflammation. One of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods is dark chocolate! One square of dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) a day can help reduce inflammation. You can also reduce inflammation by drinking a few cups of rose hip tea a day, and by adding the spice turmeric to food. If you would prefer to take a rose hip or turmeric supplement, talk to your doctor to make sure these supplements don’t conflict with any medication you’re taking. Your doctor can also test for inflammation and work with you to develop a treatment plan.


Mystery Solved! The Truth About Common Asthma Myths

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment   ,

The number of Americans with asthma grows steadily each year; about 1 in 12 people (25 million) have asthma. Although it’s a relatively common condition, there are many misconceptions about asthma. Here are a few common asthma myths, and the reality behind those misconceptions:

  1. Save your asthma medication for when you are having an asthma attack
    If you have mild persistent, moderate persistent, or severe persistent asthma, you will likely need to take a daily medication and have a fast-acting inhaler on hand for asthma attacks.
  2. Asthma symptoms improve in dry climates
    This is true for some individuals with asthma, but others do better in a wetter climate. If moisture helps ease your symptoms, consider purchasing a humidifier for your home. Regularly replace your indoor air filters and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to improve indoor air quality and lessen your asthma symptoms.
  3. If you have asthma, you should avoid intense exercise
    Believe it or not, there are quite a few professional athletes with asthma, and regular exercise can improve lung function. Your doctor can help you determine if you should take medication before working out. Check out this article on exercise-induced asthma for advice on how to safely exercise if you have asthma.
  4. Diet has little impact on asthma
    Fatty foods, like fries or red meat, can cause increased inflammation in the airways that can worsen asthma symptoms. The Mediterranean diet is the go-to diet for gaining more control over your asthma symptoms. Healthier fats, like olive oil, are allowed in this diet and the Mediterranean diet also reduces the risk of heart disease.
  5. You can get addicted to your asthma medication
    Asthma medication isn’t habit forming, but asthma is a chronic condition so long-term use of medication is to be expected. Your asthma treatment plan should explain which medications you should use regularly, and which ones you should use in the event of an asthma attack.

Sources:
Are you being fooled by asthma myths? by Allergies & Asthma, Winter 2014/2015
Common Asthma Myths and Facts by remedy’s health.com communities


Taking Vitamin C Reduces Symptoms of Exercise-Induced Asthma

Lisa Feierstein Allergies, Asthma Leave a comment   ,
Photo from Shutterstock.

Photo from Shutterstock.

Starting a new exercise routine can be so challenging. Sometimes I put on workout clothes in the hopes that at some point during the day, I’ll build up the motivation to hit the gym and will already be dressed and ready to go. Finding the will to workout can be an even greater struggle for those with exercise-induced asthma. Individuals with exercise-induced asthma experience chest pain, fatigue, wheezing, coughing, and other breathing problems while exercising. About 70 to 90% of asthmatics are also affected by exercise-induced asthma, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Researchers recently discovered that something as simple as taking a daily vitamin could greatly reduce symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. A new study in the British Medical Journal explained that those with exercise-induced asthma could benefit from taking vitamin C.

Researchers compared the results of 40 study participants that took 500 mg to 2 grams of vitamin C each day versus participants who took a placebo. Scientists looked at changes in FEV1 or “forced expiratory volume,” an indicator of the amount of air that can be forcibly exhaled in one second. Individuals that took vitamin C showed a 50% reduction in the drop of post-exercise FEV1 when compared to those that took the placebo. This result represents a vast improvement in lung function. Lead study author Dr. Harri Hemila suggests trying vitamin C if you have exercise-induced asthma since it could be an inexpensive way to help treat symptoms.

If you have exercise-induced asthma, talk to your doctor about how to develop an asthma treatment plan that will reduce your symptoms. Asthma inhalers, bronchodilators, and medication like albuterol have been known to help when taken about 10 minutes before exercising. Cold air and allergies can worsen symptoms, so you may benefit from moving your exercises indoors during the winter and peak allergy seasons. Take time to warm up and cool down so your lungs have time to adjust before and after you exercise. Exercises requiring short bursts of energy are often easier for those with exercise-induced asthma, so volleyball or walking are preferable to sports like running, soccer and basketball, which require more endurance. Swimming, another endurance sport, is an exception since the warm, damp air can make it easier to breathe.

Additional Resource:


Nascar Driver Teams Up With American Diabetes Association

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

Elite athletes have strict fitness routines and carefully calculated diets, and although Nascar drivers are more stationary, they still have to be in top physical condition. Drivers face strong G-forces and have to quickly manually shift so it’s important that they regularly do intensive cardiovascular, upper body, core and leg exercises. A Nascar driver’s overall health makes a big difference on their success on the track, but driver Ryan Reed recently faced a health challenge that threatened to end his Nascar career.

Ryan Reed started racing at a young age and won the Kid’s Kart Track Championship at only four-years old. In 2010, he was named Rookie of the Year in the Super Late Model Division at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, but in 2011 he received news that his career may already be over. Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and told he could no longer race. By working with doctors, his personal trainer, and support systems like his pit crew, Reed has been able to continue driving and also successfully manage his diabetes. He later founded Ryan’s Mission, a non-profit focused on encouraging diabetics and raising awareness about diabetes.

Reed’s story exemplifies how important it is for diabetics to have a strong treatment management plan for their condition. He saw his condition as an opportunity instead of an obstacle; Reed is now the driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang. How does your story compare to Reed’s? Did you overcome an obstacle by implementing a better diabetes management plan? Share your story in our comment section!

 


An Asthma Diagnosis Didn’t Stop These Top Athletes

Lisa Feierstein Asthma, Breathe EZ Leave a comment  

It’s easy to put famous athletes on a pedestal—their toned physiques and ability to obliterate fitness boundaries makes them seem superhuman. We also hear stories about famous athletes that overcame physical challenges like the loss of a limb, a chronic illness, or even partial loss of sight. A new study’s results should be encouraging for asthmatics worried about their ability to exercise—John Dickinson from Kent University discovered that 70% of 33 swimmers on the British Swimming Squad have some type of asthma. He also found that 30% of the cyclists from Team Sky have asthma.

A number of well-known American athletes have also had successful careers despite having asthma. Former NFL football player Jerome Bettis was diagnosed with asthma at age 15 and worried that diagnosis would end his athletic career. However, he stuck with his asthma treatment plan and went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and win a Super Bowl championship. Olympic swimmer and six-time gold medalist Amy Van Dyken is another example of an athlete with a successful career despite an asthma diagnosis. Dyken was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child and her doctors recommended participation in sports as a way to make her lungs stronger and prevent against future asthma attacks.

The success stories of these athletes is an inspiration to asthmatics that are concerned that their condition will be a roadblock to an active lifestyle. Their stories also relay the importance of working with your doctor to develop an effective asthma treatment plan. If you need help adjusting to new equipment, check out our asthma instructional videos to enhance your treatment plan.


NBA Hall of Famer Launches Diabetes Dream Team

Lisa Feierstein Diabetes Leave a comment  

March Madness will be heating up soon, sparking an annual heated rivalry among fans and players alike. One former basketball player has created his own “team” in the hopes of unifying a diverse group with a common goal. NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins launched a Diabetes Dream Team in 2014, and the Team’s goal is to help adults with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to manage the condition. Dominique’s Diabetes Dream Team stresses three important tools to a successful diabetes management plan: diet, exercise and proper medication. Dominique’s own team is comprised of his physicians, a diabetes educator, a nutritionist and a fitness expert, who together offer him guidance on daily diabetes management.

Wlikins said he realized that small changes can make a big impact in treating his diabetes, and he wants to encourage others to “think differently about managing their diabetes.” Diabetics can download Dominique’s “Diabetes Coaches’ Clipboard” for tips on diabetes management from Dominique and his team of experts.

Are you looking for additional support and ideas in how to better manage your diabetes? Download our free diabetes management resources and join our free diabetes newsletter!

 

 


Don’t Wheeze Your Way Through Exercise-Induced Asthma

activeadmin Asthma, Breathe EZ, Women's Health Leave a comment  
Photo courtesy of American Lung Association

Photo courtesy of American Lung Association

It’s often tough to work up the motivation to make a trip to the gym, but it’s even harder for those who experience asthma symptoms triggered by exercising. Post-workout, individuals with exercise-induced asthma, or exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB), may experience wheezing, coughing, and difficulty catching their breath. Active Healthcare Account Representative Janice Stewart shared with me her own experience with EIB, and explained which treatment was effective for her.

Ten years ago, Janice was diagnosed with pneumonia and her doctor gave her an inhaler as part of her treatment. Since then, she noticed that she would periodically have trouble with wheezing, usually after using the treadmill or sometimes when her daily allergy medicine wore off. Janice got relief by using her inhaler after her workout, but she remained curious as to the root cause of her symptoms. Several months ago over lunch, I happened to be chatting with Janice about exercise-induced asthma and she realized that EIB might be the cause of her post-workout breathing problems.

Janice met with her doctor who confirmed that her symptoms sounded like a case of EIB. Janice’s doctor prescribed a new inhaler and an additional allergy medication to go with her daily Zyrtec. She now has a more proactive approach to managing her exercise-induced asthma. Thirty minutes before working out, Janice uses her new inhaler and now only experiences issues if she’s doing an advanced cardio workout.

“With my new medication regimen I am able to now do exercises that increase my heart rate without having to sit down afterwards to wait for the wheezing to clear,” says Janice. “I can recoup a lot quicker.  I have also noticed that with the additional medications that my allergy symptoms have been more manageable as well.”

Janice’s advice for individuals who have trouble breathing after exercise is to pay close attention to what your body is telling you—don’t ignore your symptoms. Janice wishes she had seen her doctor sooner for treatment so she could have spent less time suffering through her workouts. ­


Yoga and Strength Training Reduces Risk of Diabetes in Women

activeadmin Breathe EZ, Diabetes, Women's Health Leave a comment  

It’s common knowledge that regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but a recent study revealed strength training, or anaerobic exercise, also reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes in women. The Nurses Health Study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who do strength training exercises just an hour a week reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 14 percent. Over 150 minutes of weekly conditioning exercises reduces the risk by 40 percent.

This study also showed that you don’t need to run off to the gym and grab the biggest dumbbell available. Exercises like yoga and stretching are also great diabetes prevention activities. Researchers aren’t sure why yoga and stretching are also beneficial to reducing the risk of diabetes, but they think it may be linked to the effect these exercises have on lowering the loss of lean muscle mass or on how the body processes glucose. An added benefit to building lean muscle mass is that you burn more calories when your body is at rest.

Health.gov recommends moderate exercise for 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) a week (a little over 20 minutes a day), and doing strength training at least twice a week. If just the thought of going to the gym makes you sweat, start small. Fit 10-minute increments of exercise into your schedule and slowly build up to longer periods of activity.


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