Sunday, April 21, 2019

Exercise Can Improve Arthritis Pain

Wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) breaks down the cushion of cartilage that allows joints to flex without grinding bone-on-bone. As the cartilage breaks down, it brings pain, stiffness and swelling. People with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee may experience pain when walking, but actually walking and other forms of low-impact exercise can help to reduce osteoarthritis symptoms.

Non-impact loading exercises like walking are generally very good for arthritis.  It keeps the joints moving, it keeps the joints strong and diminishes inflammation.

Guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons strongly endorse therapeutic exercise, both at home and supervised by a physical therapist. In studies reviewed by the AAOS for its recommendations, aerobic exercise and strength training reduced pain and stiffness and improved overall daily functioning.

Experiencing some pain while exercising is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong. Generally speaking, it’s ok if there’s a little bit of discomfort, but it shouldn’t be making pain worse.  The CDC recommends 30 minutes a day of physical activity to his patients who are able to do it. Walking is not the only option. You can also mix brief walks with swimming or water aerobics, low-impact leg raises, muscle-tightening isometric exercises and stretches.

Need some motivation?  It is not too late to join the Move Your Way Exercise Challenge.  Call the Extension Office at 461-0562 to sign up.  The Challenge ends May 25th.

Source: Tuff's Newsletter Osteoarthritis and Exercise

Friday, April 19, 2019

Myth Buster - Is 8 glasses of water too much or too little

It is Spring in the dessert Southwest and temperatures are rising.  This is a perfect time to review some information about hyrdating our body and bust some common myths.

Water is involved in many critical bodily functions, from maintaining blood pressure and transporting nutrients to lubricating joints, digesting foods, removing waste from the body, and regulating body temperature.  The human body loses fluids through sweating and urination, and, if sick, also potentially through vomiting, diarrhea, or blood loss.  If we lose significantly more fluids than we take in, the result is dehydration.  Chronic dehydration can contribute to fatigue, low blood pressure, constipation, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones, as well as reduced mental activity and physical coordination. Dehydration can also place stress on the cardiovascular system, and emerging evidence suggests it may increase the risk of damage from inflammation, which in turn elevates risk for chronic disease. For these reasons we must stay hydrated and our dry air makes it more difficult than if we lived in other parts of the country.  Let’s take a look at some common myths and misconceptions regarding staying hydrated.
Myth #1: Everyone should drink eight 8-ounce cups of water every day.
Although this is not a bad rule of thumb, it’s not strictly true. How much fluid a given individual needs depends on a number of factors including body size, physical activity level, ambient temperature, humidity, and even the altitude. If you are sweating on a hot day, for example, you will need more water than if you are watching TV in an air-conditioned room.
According to the National Academy of Science, 15.5 cups of water intake for most men and 11.5 cups for most women per day is adequate (more for women who are pregnant or lactating). This is much higher than the eight 8-ounce cup baseline, but foods (such as fruits, vegetables, soup, and even fish, eggs, meat, and cooked grains) supply a significant part of our needs. Beverages like coffee, tea, and milk are composed mostly of water.
Myth-busting advice: Individual needs are more important than numbers. Set a baseline, but, drink more when you’re thirsty, when it’s hot, or during exercise.
Myth #2: It doesn’t matter what I drink, as long as I stay hydrated.
It is true that any beverage or fluid-rich food will help to keep the body hydrated, but there is more to staying healthy than avoiding dehydration. Beverages with lots of added sugars, like soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened ice teas, coffee drinks, and fruit drinks may quench your thirst, but there is plenty of evidence that they are bad for your health. Even 100 percent fruit juice provides a dose of natural sugar that could add unneeded calories without the fiber naturally present in fruit. (Most guidelines recommend no more than one 8-ounce serving of fruit juice each day.) Health effects of low-calorie or zero calorie drinks that use artificial or naturally low-calorie sweeteners remain controversial. While there is no strong evidence of harm, growing signals from animal studies and some research in humans suggest these may not be as safe as water. Finally, alcohol should not be used for hydration. “Alcoholic beverages have a significant diuretic effect, and thus contribute to dehydration,” says Fielding.
Myth-busting advice: Water (plain, sparkling, and unsweetened flavored) is the best choice for hydration. Unsweetened tea and coffee are also good choices (see Myth #3). Milk also quenches thirst while providing protein and bone-maintaining calcium and vitamin D.
Myth #3: Caffeinated beverages don’t count toward fluid intake
Caffeine can modestly increase water loss through urination, but not enough to cause dehydration. This effect may also be less prominent in people who habitually drink caffeinated drinks like coffee or tea. Coffee and tea have been associated in some studies with health benefits, such as lower risk of diabetes. The health benefits of decaffeinated coffee appear to be similar to those of regular coffee.
Myth-busting advice: Caffeinated beverages can count toward fluid intake—but be mindful what you add to your coffee and tea, particularly if you drink them multiple times per day.

Myth #4: People only need to drink when they are thirsty
Thirst is triggered by the brain in response to low fluid balance in the body. In generally healthy people, thirst and consumption of foods and drinks at meals and snacks are typically enough to maintain hydration. But, with aging the body’s ability to sense hydration and thirst may be less sensitive. Several studies suggest that older adults drink less water than younger adults, although they need just as much in general. In some people, the loss of as little as two to three percent of body fluid can cause physical and cognitive impairment, so it’s important to keep an eye on your fluid intake if you tend to not feel or not notice thirst. The color of your urine can be a clue to hydration status: If it is deep yellow it could indicate you are not drinking enough.
Myth-busting advice: While most people respond normally to their thirst cues, remember to consciously drink water if you’re over age 65, on hot days, or when you’re exercising.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Diabetes Alert Day March 26

Only 3 in 10 New Mexico Adults with Pre-diabetes Know They Have It!

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) joins the American Diabetes Association in recognizing Tuesday, March 26th as “Diabetes Alert Day”. The annual health observance encourages New Mexicans and others nationwide to take a quick, free online Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test and learn if they need to take action that could prevent or delay this disease.

Family history of diabetes, race/ethnicity, higher body weight, increasing age, smoking, lack of physical activity, high blood pressure, and a history of gestational diabetes are all risk factors for developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. To access the free one minute anonymous Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test, visit Prediabetes Risk Test.

The Department of Health estimates that more than 220,000 New Mexican adults have diabetes and over 530,000 New Mexican adults have prediabetes, a condition that precedes type 2 diabetes where the blood glucose levels are higher than normal. Only three in ten adults in the state know they have prediabetes, which prevents them from taking important steps to prevent or delay diabetes.

NMDOH’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program supports several programs for New Mexicans to better prevent and manage prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. The programs, offered through the Paths to Health NM: Tools for Healthier Living initiative, are proven to work and improve quality of life. For more information on the program, visit Paths to Health NM: Tools for Healthier Living or call (505) 850-0176 or (575) 703-2343.

Prediabetes Risk Test

Tools for Healthy Living

Move Your Way Challenge Starts Soon

Sign up at Tucumcari Senior Center, Logan Senior Center, San Jon Senior Center, Conchas Extension Club/Book Exchange, Altrusa, and Strong Senioirs Stay Young Class

Saturday, March 23, 2019

How Do You Know What To Believe With All of the Contradictory Nutrition News?

Nutrition information (and mis-information) is all around us, in books, magazines, talk shows, news stories, or just a tap of the mouse or the touchscreen away. How do we know if the information we are getting is credible? “Interpreting research studies can be difficult, even for highly-trained researchers,” says Jeanne P. Goldberg, PhD, professor of nutrition communication at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. “Sometimes news stories or websites simply get it wrong. Sometimes the author may have an agenda of their own, such as the desire to sell more of a particular product.” To be more confident in the information you’re getting, try following the ABC’s: does the information have Authority? Is there Bias? Is it Complete and current?

Authority. Accurate nutrition information is most likely to come from experts on the particular topic and reputable organizations or publications that specialize in that field. Here are some tips for assessing the authority of your source:

-Evaluate experience. Journalists with a science background are more likely to be able to interpret and present research in an accurate and understandable way. Internet sites should list the author and/or reviewer of an article. This not only allows the reader to find out more about the writer’s background, but also indicates the author stands behind the information presented. Many websites and book jackets offer author biographies, and a quick online search of an author or speaker can often reveal whether their degree or background qualifies them to give this health advice.
-Look for references. Good articles tell you where they got their information. Print pieces may include the journal name, year, and/or author in the text, and digital articles may have links in the text or references listed at the bottom.
-Seek out independent sources. Have you heard of this publication, and what is its reputation? Consider if the goal of the organization providing the information is to inform and educate or to sell a product or diet plan.
-Consider the studies. Research should be appropriate and well-designed. There are many different kinds of studies (see Glossary). Some show cause-and-effect, but many simply suggest a connection or association, which is important groundwork but, barring a preponderance of this type of evidence, may not be a good reason to change one’s behavior. A good article will indicate what kind of study was done. Results of a study done in a test-tube or in animals can rarely be generalized to humans. Additionally, interventional studies that include larger numbers of participants, longer time periods, and control groups typically provide stronger results.
Check who is quoted. Many stories about research studies include quotes from scientists. There should be an indication of whether the person commenting was involved with the study or is an outside expert.

Bias can be blatant, or it can creep into our information sources unintentionally.

-Catch the slant. Someone trying to sell you something will happily list any research supporting the product but is unlikely to include studies that found it doesn’t work. Even many well-known publications and news sources are known to have a particular slant. Filter what you hear or read through your knowledge of the source. Some popular nutrition websites and public personalities have come under fire for pushing inconclusive evidence as fact or cherry-picking studies to sell diet programs or supplements. Consider an online search of the author or site owner to see if there have been complaints made against them.
-Check the funding source. Source of funding can affect the content of a study, article, or news story and how it is presented. Knowing who is behind a website or magazine, and what their agenda is, can help you filter the information they choose to present.
Good websites have an “About Us” page that should describe the person or organization running the site and their funding sources. Be aware that food manufacturers or trade groups are a common source of funding for nutrition studies. “The fact that a study is funded by industry does not mean it should be immediately ruled out,” says Goldberg. “There are many times when the only people who fund research are the people who have both a scientific and a financial interest in it.” To address potential bias, a writer or spokesperson can clearly identify the funding source and cite other studies that support or disagree with the findings.

Be aware of personal bias. Sometimes we dismiss information that goes against a long-held belief, habit, or preference. Keep your mind open to new information but remember that nutrition advice is not one-size-fits-all. “Beyond following an overall healthy dietary pattern, there is no one diet plan or approach to eating that is best for everyone,” says Goldberg. “For example, if you read that six small meals are better than three, that may be true for some people, but not necessarily for everybody.”

Completeness and Currency: Look for articles and experts that provide the whole picture.

-Seek context. Information should always be presented in the context of what is already known. Look for work that is not afraid to mention study limitations, and that presents corroborating (or contrary) information from other reputable studies. “Rarely has a single study in nutrition proved evidence of a dramatic breakthrough,” says Goldberg. “When information is presented as ‘new’ and contradicts what has been the consistent direction in the evolution of the science, it is important to regard it critically.”
-Consider timeliness. Recommendations do change, so make sure the information you’re reading isn’t out-of-date. Reputable online postings should indicate when they were last reviewed and updated.
-Expect quality. Poor spelling and grammar may indicate that a site or story is not credible. Good quality publications and websites value presenting information clearly and professionally.
If something offers a quick fix or seems too good to be true, it’s probably more hype than helpful. “People should not underestimate their own common sense,” says Goldberg. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Before you make any major changes based on something you read or hear, you may want to run it by a healthcare professional. “And if you have a condition that requires true nutrition management,” says Goldberg, “you may find some sessions with a Registered Dietitian, especially one who is specifically trained in working with individuals with that condition, to be an excellent investment.”

For more information and a Glossary of Research Terms see: How Do We Know What to Believe