While shopping at Publix this week, I picked up a copy of the Fall 2012 issue of Diabetes Focus, a  minimagazine that calls itself “America’s #1 Diabetes Magazine”.  I’m always on the lookout for tips that can help people better manage, control, and prevent complications related to diabetes.  One of those complications is high blood pressure.

If you have high blood pressure, then check out something I found in Diabetes Focus.  I love free stuff.  If you need an extra tool to take control of your blood pressure, then go to www.HealthCentral.com/f/healthclock and enter the sweepstakes to win one of three iHealth Blood Pressure Docks.  These work with your iPhone,iPod touch and iPad to check, track and graph your blood pressure.

If you have diabetes and high blood pressure, you are at an increased risk for having a heart attack or stroke (2-4 times higher risk) than someone without diabetes.  So let’s get moving, America!  To learn more about high blood pressure, go to www.nih.gov and click on health topics.

Why should you care about high blood pressure?  It’s simple:  One in three adults has it.  Most people who have high blood pressure have NO SYMPTOMS.  High blood pressure is often called THE SILENT KILLER, because uncontrolled blood pressure will kill you when you least expect it.  Know anyone who has had a stroke or heart attack?  Their #1 risk factor was probably uncontrolled high blood pressure.  If you are in the category of two in three adults who don’t have it, then you can prevent high blood pressure by cutting back on how much salt you eat, being active, and keeping a healthy weight.  For most of us, we need to be eating less than 1,500 mg of salt a day (about 2/3s of a teaspoon of salt!).  Most people consume 3-5 times that much.

Using less salt is key to preventing and reducing high blood pressure.

The more you know, the healthier your life will be!  Learn about high blood pressure, especially if you have diabetes.

Your diabetes health coach,

Nancy Heinrich


PS – Sign up by November 4, 2012 for a chance to win one of the iHealth Blood Pressure Docks!

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WHAT DO YOU DO DAILY to keep yourself in top physical condition and ideal health?  “Sleep is the most important thing.  Good sleep habits and good nutrition lay the foundation to feel your best and do your best.  I need to be in optimal condition, and when I eat better and sleep better, I’m able to focus more and work out even harder and longer.”

Know who said this?  Gold medal winner Kerri Walsh in the July/August 2012 issue of Sam’s Club Healthy Living magazine.  I agree with Kerri about the importance of good sleep habits and good nutrition for feeling your best.  Here are three tips for better sleep:

  1. STICK to a sleep schedule – go to bed and get up about the same times every day – even on your days off.
  2. AVOID eating a big meal

    Good sleep habits are important for ideal health.

    right before bedtime – a large meal can give you indigestion and interfere with your sleep.

  3. HAVE a small snack before bedtime – a rice cake or a few whole grain crackers with peanut butter or almond butter before bed will help keep your blood sugars under control while you sleep and this kind of bedtime snack will prevent abnormally high blood sugars when you wake up the next morning.

Just as quality sleep is important to your well-being, so is the quantity of your sleep.  Getting enough sleep is now linked to helping us lose weight.  If you have diabetes, losing weight is key to controlling and reversing it.  How much sleep do we need?  Most adults need between seven to eight hours a night. How much sleep is right for you?

  • Adults                                   7-8 hours
  • Children and Teens         8-10 hours minimum
  • Preschoolers                      11-12 hours
  • Infants                                  16-18 hours

For more facts about sleep, go to www.nih.gov.  To learn more about controlling and preventing diabetes, click on “coaching” (above).

Your Healthy Diabetes Coach,

Nancy Heinrich

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WHENEVER I TEACH a diabetes education workshop, people tell me they wish someone would have taught them what to do when they were first diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes.  It’s never too late to learn how to control it.

THE LONGER diabetes goes uncontrolled, the greater the chance you will develop complications, many of which are not reversible. Learning how to control diabetes (or prevent it if you have been told you have prediabetes) is something you don’t get  in your 30 seconds with the doctor.

HERE ARE four simple tips which, when practiced daily, can help get your to your best weight AND help you control and reverse diabetes.  It’s easy when you know what to do!

  1. WALK.
  2. DRINK 8 cups of water a day (5-8 cups a day for kids).*
  3. EAT rainbows (fruits and vegetables the colors of the rainbow – see blueberries** below).
  4. REPEAT 1-3.

To learn more about what a healthy weight is for you  – and your kids – go to www.cdc.gov.

Thank you,

Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

Your Healthy Diabetes Coach

*Check with your doctor about how much water to drink if you have been advised to restrict fluids due to conditions such as COPD.

**ONE CUP OF BLUEBERRIES has about 84 calories and 4 grams of dietary fiber. Blueberries are one of the superfoods I write about in my book, “Healthy Living with Diabetes: One Small Step at a Time,” available from www.ourlittlebooks.com.

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While doing some work in a hospital this week, I stopped by the cafeteria looking for healthy foods for a young friend who was hungry and needed a snack.

I was disappointed beyond belief.  Here’s why.

On a tray placed within the reach of children was a handful of prepackaged pastries.  I picked one up and turned it over to look at the nutrition facts label on the back.  Calories-370.  Fat-18 grams.  If you take the 18 grams of fat and multiply it times 9 (9 calories per gram of fat), that’s  162 calories from fat.

The average person eats around 2,000 calories a day.  About 25-30% should be from fat (the good fat, called “unsaturated”).  Therefore,  you need about 500-600 calories a day from fat.  If you ate this pastry, you’d be getting between 27 and 32% of your day’s TOTAL fat calories.  Plus the fat in these pastries was NOT the good fat.   Of course there was NO DIETARY FIBER in these pastries, so if an employee needed a pick-me-up, they would be getting a let-me-down instead.  A quick sugar high, then BAM, an instant sugar crash.

Why can’t hospitals carry more healthy snacks and less unhealthy snacks for those people who are forced to eat there because a loved one had an unplanned heart attack due to eating too many foods filled with the bad fats (called “saturated” and “trans”)?  Why can’t hospitals care about health as much as they care about disease?  Why can’t they serve healthy foods and serve as a role model for building healthy communities?  A pastry that’s almost 400 calories and contains more than 20 ingredients is filled with things that cause diabetes and obesity.

What’s YOUR local hospital serving in its cafeteria to improve the health of its employees and community?  A serving of diabetes in the form of high sugar foods?  A serving of massive heart attack disguised as a double cheeseburger on a white bun?  A side order of obesity, perhaps?

If we as a country are going to prevent diseases like diabetes and heart disease, we had better start asking our local hospitals to do better that what I saw this week in Indian River County, Florida. What is in YOUR hospital’s cafeteria?

Thank you,

Nancy Heinrich

Your Healthy Diabetes Coach

For information about how to control and prevent diabetes, click on “coaching” at the top right of this page.

Got kids?  Be sure and visit www.growinghealthykids.blogspot.com for ideas and recipes for preventing obesity-related diseases in kids.

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Got diabetes?  Got kids?

If you are a parent who happens to have diabetes, then you have an opportunity to break the chain of disease in your family.  Take the lead role in managing your own diabetes by putting your health team together, learning the questions to ask your doctor, finding the right foods to eat, and knowing the lab tests to monitor.  Transform into a powerful role model and advocate for your children.

Diabetes is preventable. Doctors won’t spend much of your office visit, however, talking with you about how to ensure that your children don’t develop it.   It is a matter of your own health literacy.   If you have diabetes, your children are at an increased risk for it.   If you eat too many of the bad carbohydrate foods (like white flour, white sugar, white potatoes, fruit juice, soda, and candy), your kids are probably eating the same foods.  If you don’t eat enough of the good carbohydrates (like brown rice, whole grain breads with 4 or more grams of dietary fiber per slice, and non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and squash, and fresh fruits), your kids certainly aren’t getting enough of them either.  If you don’t walk, jog, or swim or anything else that gets you moving, your kids will think it is OK if they don’t exercise.

Enjoy the freedom that comes with an increase in your own health literacy, as well as the improvements in your own health when you know what to do.  Then teach – and empower – your family.  It’s the gift they will use the rest of their lives.

If you know someone who has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, or who is still struggling to learn where to begin, then check out the Healthy Diabetes Coach education program.  I created this program after working with thousands of adults with uncontrolled diabetes who were referred to me by their physicians.  As a result of completing this to-the-point, easy education program, you will be able to talk with your doctor about your goals, lab results, and strategies for controlling, reversing, and preventing diabetes.  Don’t wait until you have a son or daughter diagnosed with diabetes because they are a little overweight, drink sodas all the time, and never enjoy the fresh air.  Take the step of improving your own health literacy and check out what the Healthy Diabetes Coach can do to put you in charge of your health and empower your family with knowledge.  It’s easier than you think!

Thank you,

Nancy L. Heinrich, MPH

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