Friday, 06 April 2012 19:36

Transitions Lenses - Seeing Clearly

I recall my mom yelling from the kitchen “no se sienten tan cerca a la tele, se van hacer ciegos!” (don’t sit so close to the TV, you are going to go blind!). I know it was dramatic, but she was simply concerned about our eyes and the damage that we may be causing to our vision. I am not sure if it’s genetics or my mom’s advice, but overall I have great vision. Throughout my teen years and early adulthood, however, I took my 20/20 vision for granted. I had some poor habits – I didn’t wear sunglasses with UV protection to protect my eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and I only had an eye exam once in a blue moon.

Then, I met my husband, Dan, who has serious vision issues.  I began to think about my vision. I was a little concerned that I had waited too long, but since eye damage is cumulative, it’s never to early or late to start getting regular eye exams and taking care of your “ojitos.”  According to a study supported by Transitions Optical in January 2012, less than half of Hispanic adults living in the United States have had an eye exam within the past year. I get it – I was one of them. Now, however, not only does my husband get regular eye exams, but so do I and our kids.

I jokingly told Dan that he “was blind as a bat” when we first started dating. But on a serious note, he remembers when he first got glasses in the 5th grade and he could FINALLY read the chalkboard in school. Prior to getting glasses he missed many assignments and couldn’t even take class notes because he couldn’t see the chalkboard. I asked him why he didn’t just walk up to the chalkboard to write things down. He would have gotten in trouble if he got out of his seat and walked up to the chalkboard so he could read the materials!  Imagine how many children in the country are not learning or are thought to not be good students simply because they need glasses? That is why I was honored to team up with  Transitions® Lenses to promote eye health - as a result of what my husband went through as a child.

LogoSince I still have (luckily!) great vision, my husband got a new pair of Transitions lenses. He had Transitions lenses 12 years ago and said that he would not get them again because they didn’t transition as fast as he wanted. Good news! That problem is now solved! He has been wearing his new transition lenses for a few weeks and he is happy to report that the technology has greatly improved. His new lenses transition from light to dark within seconds. He is so happy with them! In addition to quickly transitioning and blocking 100 percent of harmful UVA and UVB rays, his new lenses are helping with his eye fatigue and strain.

His Transitions lenses also solve another problem for him – he only needs ONE pair of glasses. He didn’t like having a pair of regular glasses and a separate pair of sunglasses because he would normally end up loosing the sunglasses! Since prescription sunglasses are expensive to replace he would go for long periods of time without sunglasses (he can be cheap!). Then I had to listen to him complain about how bright the sun was and how he needed to get new sunglasses but how he could only wear prescription sunglasses otherwise he cannot see.  Problem solved!

Red Transition Glasses But we have to talk about the frames Dan choose for his new pair of transition lenses - a bright red thick frame. Seriously? They are pictured to the left. Well, my husband isn’t one to shy away from attention, so I suppose these "loud" frames fit his outgoing personality. His regular prescription glasses are thick rimmed “Buddy Holly” style glasses, which I think look very nice on him, but these were a little unusual.  He swears that they are a conversation starter and he's right - I have witnessed it first hand. Thank you Transitions lenses for solving my husband's sunglasses problems, but Ray Ban why did you need to make bright red frames that my husband would love so much? JK!  On the bright side, we get to tell many people the story behind the red frames and about Transition lenses.  While the frames are a hit or miss with people, everyone likes the Transition lenses!

For more information on how you can "see your best" check out the brochure below, it's a great resource.

Vision brochure

Transitions brochure page

 

This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Transitions Optical. I was provided with a complimentary eye exam and pair of eyeglasses to test for the purpose of this campaign. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
Published in Healthy & Green Living
Monday, 28 November 2011 04:22

National Diabetes Month (Spanish)

In an effort to continue to provide more content in Spanish, here is an interview with Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavell on Diabetes, since November is National Diabetes Month.   We will start to post more in Spanish soon!

Entrevista con la Dra. Maria Collazo-Clavell sobre diabetes

Dra. Collazo-Clavell es endocrinóloga de la Mayo Clinic en Rochester, Minnesota

¿Qué es la diabetes mellitus? Y por qué se llama mellitus?

La diabetes es una condición en que el cuerpo está teniendo problemas de controlar el azúcar en la sangre. La insulina es la hormona que controla el azúcar en la sangre y la diabetes ocurre cuando el organismo no produce o no usa apropiadamente la insulina. La llamamos mellitus porque ciento de años atrás se notaba que una serie de individuos tenía una orina muy dulce. La palabra mellitus proviene del latín y significa dulce. La explicación de este suceso es que cuando el nivel de azúcar aumenta en la sangre los riñones tratan de eliminar el exceso de glucosa.

¿Cuáles son los diferentes tipos de diabetes mellitus?

Hay la diabetes mellitus tipo 1 donde el problema se encuentra en la incapacidad del organismo de producir la hormona insulina. Esa condición es más frecuente en adolescentes y adultos jóvenes de menos de 25 años. Por eso que antes la diabetes tipo 1 se llamaba infantil. Sin embargo, puede ocurrir a cualquier edad aunque todavía se diagnostica en niños, adolescentes y adultos jóvenes. Así que pacientes que padecen de esta enfermedad necesitan insulina y hoy en día la insulina se provee por inyección o muchas veces por infusión usando una bomba de insulina. En la diabetes tipo 2, que es más frecuente en adultos, el problema no es la producción de insulina sino que el cuerpo no responde a la insulina, es resistente a la acción de esta hormona y por esa razón el azúcar sube. Los riesgos a desarrollarla son muchas veces ambientales: la dieta, la actividad física y el peso. Lo que está ocurriendo recientemente es que estamos poniéndonos más gorditos. La frecuencia en diagnosticar la diabetes tipo 2 ha aumentado. Lo que nos preocupa es que más jóvenes, adolescentes y niños están padeciendo de esta condición.

¿Y qué es la diabetes gestacional?

De nuevo estamos delante del problema del control del azúcar en la sangre. Lo que ocurre durante el embarazo es que el cambio de las hormonas tiende a dificultar la acción de la insulina. Así que una persona con un historial familiar de diabetes puede experimentar un aumento del azúcar durante el embarazo. Lo importante de controlar el azúcar es asegurar el bienestar de la mamá y del bebé. Si el azúcar no está controlada, aumenta el riesgo del bebé ser bastante grande. Aunque pensamos que grande es sinónimo de saludable, en esta circunstancia, puede predisponer el bebé a complicaciones durante el parto. Lo que sí es importante subrayar es que la mamá no tenía diabetes pero desarrolló la diabetes durante el embarazo y por lo tanto necesita controlar el azúcar durante la gestación. En un alto porcentaje de mujeres, se observa que la diabetes desaparece después del parto. No obstante, la diabetes gestacional aumenta el riesgo de la mamá desarrollar diabetes tipo 2 en el futuro. Si la mamá ha mejorado los hábitos de la comida y del ejercicio, mantener estos cambios a largo plazo es primordial para proteger su salud.

La diabetes es muy común en nuestra comunidad. ¿Cuándo es el momento para chequear el azúcar?

Los síntomas clásicos de la diabetes son mucha sed y muchas visitas al baño para orinar. El cuerpo está tratando de controlar el azúcar en la sangre. La verdad es que la mayoría de los pacientes diagnosticados con diabetes no presentan estos síntomas. Hay muchos individuos que tienen diabetes pero no lo saben. En el caso de que haya un familiar diabético, se recomienda que a partir de los 40 años, se debe chequear la tasa de azúcar. Si la persona tiene 35 años y ya nota el exceso en sed y la necesidad de ir al baño se debe chequear el azúcar. Si hay sobrepeso y sedentarismo, también se debe chequear el azúcar. Para las mujeres, el hecho de dar la luz a un bebé de más de nueve libras indica un riesgo de desarrollar la diabetes. Cuando se examina el azúcar puede que aún no esté en el nivel para diagnosticar la diabetes pero quizá esté en el nivel de pre-diabetes. En la pre-diabetes el paciente tiene la posibilidad de prevenir que el azúcar siga subiendo incorporando cambios en su dieta, adoptando ejercicio físico y manteniendo un peso más saludable. Es importante saber que una vez que se diagnostica la diabetes, la persona será diabética toda su vida.

¿Cuáles son los retos de cuidar de una persona con diabetes?

Lo más difícil es que muchas veces individuos sufren de estas condiciones y no las reconocen. Es un reto tratar de controlar una condición cuando una persona no sabe qué tiene. Uno de los grandes logros de la medicina ha sido el descubrimiento de la insulina. El tratamiento de la diabetes permite que la persona goce de una vida completa y saludable. Hay incluso atletas olímpicos que han ganado medalla de oro que tienen la diabetes tipo 1. El hecho de tener diabetes no les han limitado lograr lo que quieren en sus vidas.

¿Cuáles son las complicaciones de una diabetes no controlada?

El riesgo más alto es la gran cantidad de azúcar en la sangre. Sabemos que mientras más altas las tasas de azúcar, más alto el riesgo a complicaciones. En la diabetes tipo 1, hay riesgos agudos. Si una persona deja de tomar su insulina, en menos de 48 horas, puede desarrollar complicaciones que le pueden costar la vida. Así que es muy importante que el paciente con diabetes tipo 1 tome su insulina regularmente. A largo plazo lo que nos preocupa son las complicaciones que afectan la vida de los pacientes. Por ejemplo, complicaciones que afectan la vista que pueden conllevar a la ceguera o complicaciones con los riñones que pueden producir un fallo renal y quizá el paciente necesite un trasplante o también complicaciones relacionadas al corazón que pueden acarrear afección cardiaca. Estas condiciones no siempre son percibidas por los pacientes. Por eso la importancia de la prevención. Las visitas médicas regulares permiten chequear el azúcar en la sangre e identificar si otras complicaciones están sucediendo. Todo gira alrededor de la prevención y eso requiere que el paciente esté pendiente de sus citas y de que tome sus medicinas. Siempre digo a mis pacientes que si esperamos a que vengan a mi oficina porque tienen un problema ya hemos perdido mucho tiempo y no lo podemos recuperar.

Muchas personas piensan que la diabetes les llevará a que no puedan comer más. ¿Hay alguna verdad en esta afirmación?

PeasDefinitivamente el diagnostico de diabetes requiere cambios en la dieta. Los cambios que se recomiendan son cambios que todos nosotros debemos hacer para tratar de mantener una vida saludable. Lo que sí tenemos que limitar son los excesos: excesos en grasa, en porción, en azúcar. La persona con diabetes tiene que poner un esfuerzo para asegurar que el cuerpo pueda controlar el azúcar a un nivel adecuado. Sí que hay la posibilidad de comer un pastel o una torta pero que no va a comer todos los días ni en las cantidades que estaban acostumbrados.

¿Cuáles son las ventajas del ejercicio?

Women runningEl ejercicio tiene un impacto beneficioso de muchas maneras. No solo controla el azúcar sino que protege contra un infarto del corazón. Pueda que no tenga un efecto directo en el peso. La persona que hace ejercicio tiende a mantener un peso más saludable. Otro aspecto es que muchas veces los diabéticos sienten que ellos son los únicos diabéticos y por lo tanto la familia no tiene que hacer estos cambios. Si ellos tienen diabetes, sus familiares también están en riesgo así que todos pueden compartir de estos hábitos saludables. Comer de una manera más saludable y mantener un nivel de ejercicio siempre es positivo.

Acerca de Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, entidad sin fines de lucro, es un líder mundial en atención médica, investigación y educación para gente de todos los ámbitos de la vida.  Tiene sedes en Arizona, Florida y Minnesota. Para más información en español, visite http://www.mayoclinic.org/spanish/ y http://www.mayoclinic.org/news-spanish/.

 

Published in Healthy & Green Living

Cancer Prevention from a Food Point of ViewTip of the Week

3 months ago I lost my Father-in-Law to pancreatic cancer at the age of 60, and 4 years ago, I lost my Mom to colon cancer at the age of 46. Cancer is becoming an increasing problem all over the world.  It has touched my life closer than I wanted, but in away, it has been a blessing.  I have learned more about cancer than I ever wanted to know, but this knowledge has allowed me to change the way that I live and eat.  I feel like the knowledge that I have gained will hopefully benefit my children, and maybe inspire you to learn a little more too.

What is cancer?  Cancer is a disease defined by a normal cell mutating and multiplying out of control.
The best way I have heard it explained, is that cancer is like rust.  Once a piece of metal begins to get rusty, it takes no time at all for the rust to spread and destroy the original piece of metal.  That’s what happens to a healthy cell.  It mutates, then spread to other healthy cells.  Left untreated, it (the cancer) will take over and eventually kill its host (the person).

According to the National Cancer Institute, 80% of all cancers are caused by factors that have been identified and can potentially be controlled. Colon, breast and prostate cancers are believed be linked to an unhealthy diet.  People with these cancers typically have diets that are high in meat and fat.  

In parts of the world where more whole grains, fruits, beans, veggies and nuts are eaten, cancer rates are much lower. Many of the foods that are considered healthy – such as fruits, veggies and grains - offer antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, etc.  Animal products, on the other hand, are thought to release carcinogenic compounds and are believed to increase cancer risk.  I am not suggesting becoming vegetarian, but limiting the amount you consume is a good start.

An important thing to note is cancer and the Latino community – just as the Latino population is growing, so are its’ cancer rates.
Latina women in particular have a lower survival rate for breast and cervical cancer than Whites.  To learn more about how cancer is impacting the Latino community, see the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Facts and Figures for Hispanics and Latinos 2009-2011.

So, what can you do to decrease your chances of getting a cancer?

Cancer Prevention Tips

First, educate yourself and know your family history. If someone in your family has or had cancer, you NEED to know so that you can get checked.  My Mom died at 46, but they believed she began to develop polyps in her early 30s.  It takes polyps 5-10 years to become cancerous.  So, had she been checked early on, they could have removed these polyps and she may still be here.  She’s not, and now I know what I need to do.  Get checked in my early 30s – not when the standard 50 year-old check is recommended.  

Second, you can change and/or improve your diet. Like I mentioned earlier, diets rich in grains, fruits, beans, veggies and nuts are good diets! The less that these foods have been processed - cooked, peeled, mixed with other ingredients - the better they are for you!   These types of food are also high in fiber.  A diet rich in fiber is key because it helps keep your digestive system clean.   Fiber is also found in whole grains, but it’s not found in meat, dairy and white rice…..or most desserts!  For additional ideas on how to incorporate fiber and more fruits and veggies into your diet check out this helpful article posted by the folks at Helpguide.org

Antioxidants in FoodThird, incorporate more cancer fighting foods into your diet. Have you heard of the Mediterranean Diet?  It is a diet that contains many anti-cancer foods.  Check out this website for a full view of what this diet consists of.   Also, here is a table with some cancer fighting foods that can easily be incorporated into your life.

While there is no known singular cause to cancer, the best thing you can do to prevent it by knowing some of the “assumed” causes, and be proactive with them.  Don’t smoke and minimize alcohol consumption.  Eat a diet full of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and don’t add too much additional fat.  Stay active and maintain a healthy weight.  Bottom line, an overall healthy lifestyle may prevent cancer, while additionally helping prevent heart disease, obesity, and many other health complications.

Check out these helpful resources

Published in Tip of the Week
Saturday, 05 June 2010 15:10

"Losing It"

Healthy Life

Did you happen to catch 'Losing it with Jillian' on NBC this past week?

We all know Jillian Michaels as the tough and sometimes not too nice trainer on the weight-loss show 'The Biggest Loser' so when I saw the preview for her new show, I just knew I would want to watch it.

In the show’s first episode, Jillian helps a Massachusetts family change their unhealthy lifestyle and negative self image. Basically, Jillian stays with the family for one week and helps them get started on what will hopefully become life/health goals and then checks back in on the family a few weeks later to see how they are doing. Jillian provided the family with direction, tough love and, as is her fashion, a big reality check!

In the first hour-long episode we can see some of the reasons why losing weight and leading a healthy lifestyle can be so difficult.  It’s not just about having the desire to be healthy, but one’s family, self esteem and environment can all contribute to our health decisions. I am looking forward to watching more episodes....

This show got me to thinking about all the barriers in our life that keep us from taking care of our bodies.  For me, I constantly have to remind myself that I have to schedule time for just me into my family’s calendar, otherwise all sorts of errands and other obligations take over.  What sort of things keep you from meeting your health goals?

 

Published in Healthy & Green Living
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 23:59

Making Food Fun

Making Food FunTip of the Week

Do you ever find yourself bored with making the same meals day in and day out?  Maybe it’s not you. Maybe your kids are the ones who are bored with the same old meal.  So, how do you mix it up and make it fun and healthy - without heading to the closest fast food joint?  The key to “mixing” things up.  Be creative, get involved, and have fun!

Maybe you can take a traditional lunch item, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and make “sushi” rolls instead of the traditional sandwich. You take the crusts off of a slice of wheat bread, roll it out to thin the bread out.  Spread peanut, or another nut butter, followed by jam.  Roll the bread up, and cut into 4 pieces.  Now you have peanut butter and jelly “sushi rolls!”  I did this for my boys a few days ago, and they thought it was hilarious.Peanut Butter Sushi

What about you?  Are you completely bored with your turkey sandwich or salad? Try turning your sandwiches into a healthy wraps.  Take a whole wheat tortilla, spread it with a low fat seasoned cream cheese or dressing, and add your favorite sandwich ingredients.  Roll it up and cut in two.  Make your “boring” salad into an awesome chopped salad!  I take my everyday romaine and favorite salad vegetables and chop it really small– like you get at a restaurant - add a bit of crumbled feta (it is lower in fat that most cheeses), some dressing, and voila!  To me, things that come wrapped or chopped up really small just make food taste better.  

You can also try getting involved with your food.  Sounds weird, but seriously! For example, grow some of your own vegetables and/or herbs.  If you have children, have them garden with you.  My boys “help” by throwing all my garden dirt out of the garden.  It may be a little messy, and not exactly helpful, but they are outside with me having fun, and seeing how certain foods are grown.  It is a really neat way to learn about the food you are going to eat, and it makes you appreciate the hard work that goes into producing your food.  It is an extremely fulfilling feeling to eat what you grow.

So many times we feel that if we can’t make this crazy elaborate meal, then what’s the point? Sometimes even the simplest of meals, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, can be made fun by being creative.  Experiment with your food.  When I was younger, my Mom, a single mom of 6 kids, didn't have time to make anything from scratch.  So, my mom got creative.  One of the many ways she did that was making cookies from a cake mix!  She wanted something quick and easy, and not a lot of ingredients.   Natural food stores carry healthier cake mixes that work well with this trick.  My sister, who is a single working mom, makes these all the time because they are cheap, easy, and sooooo yummy!!

Food is what sustains us. It is here to nourish us, not stress us out and make us unhealthy.  It should be enjoyable and fun to make!  I found this really cool book called “Brown Bag Success:  Making Healthy Lunches Your Kids Won’t Trade” by Sandra Nissenberg and Barbara Pearl.  While it is geared toward children, I think that some of the recipes and ideas in this book can be used for adults too!  Try to mix things up at home, and stock your kitchen with “go to” items that will allow to make meals quickly and creatively!  Check out this article on vidacoco.com to help you get started. Just have fun with your food!!!

Published in Tip of the Week
Sunday, 28 March 2010 22:27

Baby Steps: 1st Race Day

2 women runningI ran my first race ever – a 5k – yesterday morning.    I was excited and nervous at the starting line, and quite frankly a bit nervous until I crossed the finish line.  I was the only kid in my family that did not participate in sports.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I even started going to the gym, mainly to get back in shape after having each of my children.   But a year ago my friend and I decided that we were going to run in the mornings, before the kids woke up and before our husbands left for work.

It has not been easy getting up to run at 5:30 a.m. twice a week.  Sometimes we don’t run because we didn’t hear our alarm or one of our kids was sick during the night or we are just too tired.  But for the most part we keep our running dates.  When we first started we could barely finish our run without stopping a few times.  Now we are so much better. My friend even ran a ½ marathon a few months back!

Yesterday's race day was fun, you can feel the energy all around you.  Older people, younger people, all ability levels. The biggest motivation came from the women who crossed the finish line as little kids cheered “mommy, mommy!”  Neat….looking forward to race #2.

Published in Healthy & Green Living
Friday, 26 March 2010 20:59

I Need a Checkup

Blood pressureFor those of us who are parents or who are around little children, we know how stressful it can be to take care of a sick child.  We do our best to make sure the sick little one gets the proper care as soon as possible.  Then, how come we can take so long to take care of nosotras?

Back in December I fell on my tailbone (long story, it involved toys on the floor!) and despite the pain that I feel from time to time I have yet to get to the doctor’s office.  On the other hand, my two youngest children have been home with sinus infections for 3 days, and I made sure to get them to the doctor right away for a check-up and antibiotic prescription.  I did not have the same concern over my little injury.

It seems to me that women put their health and well-being after that of their familia. And when we don’t, do we feel guilty?  Yes, sometimes.  How many of us have had a horrible cold or ache, yet our day must go on as planned?  So why is that we don’t tend to prioritize our health? Is it because among women, Hispanics/Latinas are most likely to be uninsured?  Do we just have too much on our plate already? Just wondering…Ok, I know, I should take my own advice and finally make that appointment for my hurting tailbone!

Published in Healthy & Green Living