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Make the Most of the Rest of Your Life The SeniorScape®

The other day I went to a local merchant where I’ve been doing business for approximately 12-15 years. I stopped to read the notice posted on the front of the door. What I read almost knocked me off my feet.

The sign said that week prior the store manager had a heart attack and died suddenly. As bad as that news was, the fact that she passed in the early morning on the day of her son’s wedding, was even worse.

There was a range of emotions swirling inside of me. I staggered to open the door walking ever so carefully inside. Despite the store owner and other workers trying to keep things going, you can imagine the atmosphere, especially as each person saw the notice on the door. Each entering with shock, questions, fighting to hold back tears.

The store manager was a bubbly kind-hearted and caring woman age 56. However, she was morbidly obese. I tried talking to her on a few occasions but she was totally uninterested in adopting any strategies or lifestyle changes that we generally know contribute to living more healthfully and successfully.

Periodically  when on the street where the store was located, I’d see her coming back from the baker a few doors down with bags loaded with pastries, etc. I often wondered, what she was thinking, or was she.

Did she eat those things because she liked them, they were part of a mid-afternoon routine, they were comforting. Why do we continue to make food choices that are not in our best interest?

The strategies for aging more successfully and healthfully are well documented and well known. Of course, it all starts with a willingness to examine our habits, change the unproductive ones for those that are productive. Habit change does not come easy. It takes a presence of mind in order to make better choices. Then of course there is movement, nutrition, hydration, mental attitude or appreciation and social connection. A sense of purpose at any age is equally important.

It had me thinking about my own recent health challenge. Despite embracing choices according to what we can refer to as the pillars of wellness, about 3 weeks ago I came down with a cold and cough. Three weeks later, I’m still coughing (despite the MD telling me my lungs are clear and they can find no tangible reason for the coughing) The coughing has been debilitating. I’m drained of energy and completely exhausted. Trying every remedy I’ve had through the years, none have helped in reducing the cough. So drained I couldn’t even bring myself to write my blog the past 2 weeks.

Some people might read this as justification to continue along making the food choices that make them happy, that provide them comfort, and feel and taste good, especially those associated with family favorite and holiday recipes and foods. The reasoning would be what difference does it make. Whether or not you live healthfully, your wellbeing may be determined by circumstances beyond your control.

However, November is diabetes awareness month, and it’s no secret that there’s a diabetes epidemic in this county. Between 40-80M people in the U.S. are prediabetic and don’t know it. What does that mean? They continue to make choices that will likely land them on the eventual path of diabetes, and with that the concomitant symptoms  that can further adversely affect their health.

It's no secret that diabetes leads to heart, disease, stroke, kidney and nerve damage, all of which are not foregone conclusions and can be prevented. 

Type 2 diabetes is related to insulin resistance. What is insulin resistance? It increases your risk of developing diabetes and you can be insulin resistant for years without ever knowing it. The symptoms of insulin resistance are not necessarily noticeable, so it would be wide to have your blood glucose levels checked regularly.

Some of the symptoms associated with insulin resistance are being chronically overweight, high blood pressure, high triglycerides. There is also an amotional component for developing a major depressive disorder.

Type 2 diabetes used to occur in older populations, but now more younger populations are developing type 2 diabetes. This is a result of certain lifestyle, dietary, and exercise habits.

It can be marked by Visual disturbances, including retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma, foot problems, known as peripheral neuropathy, dry cracked skin, and difficulty healing.

Managing prediabetes at earlier stages can be effective in developing type 2 diabetes. It involves the pillars mentioned above, exercise and a balanced diet. Of course, carefully monitoring blood sugar would be an important part of the process. 

In some cases, when one makes important lifestyle changes, diabetes can even go into remission.

Studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and other types of dementia. This is because the same cardiovascular problems that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes also increase the risk dementia.

Diabetes may also cause chemical imbalances in your brain, which may trigger Alzheimer's. Also, high blood sugar levels lead to inflammation, which may damage brain cells. For these reasons, diabetes is considered a risk factor for a condition called vascular dementia.

The exact connection between Alzheimer's disease and type 2 diabetes has not yet been fully determined.. However, the prevailing thinking is that when controlled blood sugar is poorly controlled, it may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Some have called Alzheimer's Disease, "diabetes of the brain" and have even referred to it as "type 3 diabetes. This relationship is so strong that some have called Alzheimer's “diabetes of the brain” or “type 3" diabetes 

As we approach this Thanksgiving, without dampening enjoyment of the holiday favorites, consider choosing to enjoy less of them on your plate.

Platefuls of sugar and fat laden foods only over stress the system. In actuality, eating in moderation, rather than until you feel like you’re going to burst is actually a recipe for just that. Think of overstressing your car engine, or flooding the gears, the result is disaster.

The fact remains, through the years working in long term care, my experience has been there is a greater number of people who experience strokes and heart attacks after overindulging on holiday favorites. This includes Christmas and Easter.

Beyond the holiday, consider moving forward to developing your Longevity Wellness Action Plan, so you can continue to live as healthfully and happily as you possibly can. Of course, there are certain factors over which we have no control, family history, environment, DNA markets, life history and stress. But, making better choices, gives you a better chance.

Email: for more information on developing a Longevity Wellbeing Action Plan that can give you a better chance at continuing your life's journey more healthfully and happily.

"The Place to Begin is Within, the Time to Begin is NOW!!!!!"



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