Tag Archives: stress

Sleep Is Important For A Healthy Heart

Not only is getting good, quality sleep important to your energy levels, it’s also important for your health, including your heart health.

Sleep plays a key role in helping your body repair itself. Getting enough good sleep also helps you function normally during the day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following tips on sleep.

How much sleep do I need?

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Failing to get enough sleep over time can lead to serious health problems.

What health conditions are linked to a lack of sleep?

Adults who sleep less than seven hours each night are more likely to say they have had health problems, including heart attack, asthma, and depression.

What sleep conditions can hurt my heart health?

Sleep apnea happens when your airway gets blocked repeatedly during sleep, causing you to stop breathing for short amounts of time. Sleep apnea affects how much oxygen your body gets while you sleep and increases the risk for many health problems, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Insomnia is trouble falling sleep, staying asleep, or both. As many as one in two adults experiences short-term insomnia at some point, and 1 in 10 may have long-lasting insomnia. Insomnia is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart, including higher stress levels, less motivation to be physically active, and unhealthy food choices.

What can I do to get better sleep?

  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
  • Get enough natural light, especially earlier in the day. Try going for a morning or lunchtime walk.
  • Get enough physical activity during the day. Try not to exercise within a few hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid artificial light, especially within a few hours of bedtime. Use a blue light filter on your computer or smartphone.
  • Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime, especially alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on getting good sleep.

Walking for World Diabetes Day

DHECDiabetesObservance 2018

Every year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes in the United States and many additional cases go undiagnosed. In South Carolina, the prevalence of diabetes is about 20 percent higher than the national average.

Diabetes can lead to other serious health conditions, including stroke, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, swelling and edema. Women who had gestational diabetes and their children are more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Aside from all of the health risks, diabetes is more expensive. In fact, the average medical expenses among those with diagnosed diabetes is over two times higher than those without diabetes. The good news is that diabetes can be delayed or prevented by eating healthy and staying active.

On Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, DHEC staff from the Mills Jarrett complex in Columbia walked together in observance of World Diabetes Day. (The walk was postponed from the actual date of observance — Nov. 14 — due to rain.) The first sunny day all week, it was a great opportunity to get outside and learn more about World Diabetes Day, which occurs during National Diabetes Month.

The World Diabetes Day campaign focuses on a theme that runs for one or more years and the theme for 2018-19 is Family and Diabetes, which fits in nicely with the theme for National Diabetes Month this year, Promoting Health After Gestational Diabetes.

Employees received different “did you know…” facts about diabetes. While the facts will not teach them everything they need to know about testing or warning signs, the information will at least get the conversation started and hopefully encourage employees to not only think about their health, but the health of their family. With the holiday season in full swing, it is a good time to think about ways to stay healthy during celebrations and have open conversations with family members about health.

For some tips on staying healthy over the holidays, consider the following:

  • Avoid overeating. You can eat a healthy meal before going to a party or practice self-control by only indulging in your favorite treats in moderation.
  • Stay active. Either keep up your normal routine or even try incorporating walks into your gatherings.
  • Keep your stress levels lower. Remember to take time for yourself and relax both your body and mind.

To learn more about World Diabetes Day, visit worlddiabetesday.org and for more information on American Diabetes Month, visit diabetes.org/in-my-community/american-diabetes-month.

National Women’s Health Week Begins On Mother’s Day

Tameca R. Wilson, MBA
Title X Outreach Coordinator
Division of Women’s Health

In an average day you work at least eight hours in the office, help with homework, get the kids to practice, cook dinner, and check on your parents. This is all before you think about the things on your to do list. People wonder how you hide your cape under your clothing or where you park your invisible jet.  However, even your super powers need to be checked and recharged regularly.

Too often women put their health last.  National Women’s Health Week, May 13-19, “serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive health habits for life.” This observance was birthed out of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The campaign, which kicks off on Mother’s Day this year, encourages women to:

  • Visit a doctor or nurse for a well-woman visit (checkup) and preventive screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to their mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet.

Get started today. Take the “What’s your health score?” quiz. Whether you are in your 20s or 90s, it is important for you (and to ones who love you) that you take the time to care for yourself. Simple steps today will be a foundation for a lifetime.

Living Well With Diabetes

Diabetes can be an overwhelming experience both physically and mentally. It is common to feel overwhelmed, sad, or angry when you are living with diabetes. You may know the steps you should take to stay healthy, but have trouble sticking with your plan over time.  That’s why it is so important to manage your diabetes every day.  Below are tips on how to cope with your diabetes, eat well, and be active:

  • Reduce your level of stress – Too much stress can cause a rise in your blood sugar. Try deep breathing, gardening, taking a walk, meditating, working on a hobby, or listening to your favorite music. Ask for help if you feel down. A mental health counselor, support group, member of the clergy, friend, or family member who will listen to your concerns may help you feel better.
  • Eat well – Make a diabetes meal plan with help from your health care team that has food choices that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and salt and higher in fiber. Choose foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, bread and cereals, and low-fat or skim milk and cheese. Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
  • Be active – Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. Start slow by taking 10-minute walks, three times a day. Twice a week, work to increase your muscle strength. Use stretch bands, do yoga, heavy gardening (digging and planting with tools), or try push-ups. Stay at or get to a healthy weight by using your meal plan and moving more.
  • Find a diabetes education class – Take classes to learn more about living with diabetes. There may be a diabetes self-management education (DSME) class in your area that can introduce you to new tools and give you support with managing your diabetes. To find a class, check with your health care team, hospital, or the DHEC office in your area. You can also search online.

To learn more about your risk for diabetes, click here to take an online risk assessment.  For more information on how to prevent or manage diabetes in SC, please email ndpp@dhec.sc.gov or call 803-898-1934 to speak with someone in DHEC’s Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health Division.

 Additional Resources to Help You Prevent and Manage Diabetes