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Managing Your Weight — January 2019

Managing Your Weight — January 2019


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For a Healthy Body and Mind

Carrying excess weight takes a toll on every part of the body. It affects walking, breathing, sleeping and mood, and can have a negative impact on quality of life. Being overweight can also increase the risk of developing serious medical conditions. The risk might rise from the stress the heart and joints suffer from carrying extra pounds. Or it may be due to complex changes in hormones and metabolism (how the body uses calories and fat).

It’s not all bad news though. Losing as little as 5-10% of your body weight can significantly reduce the risks. Take Mary: she weighed 180 and lost 16 pounds (9% loss). As a result, she was able to safely stop one blood pressure medication. She says she now has more energy and feels more confident. It doesn’t matter that she was 62 when she started managing her weight more carefully, it only matters that she did it! Plus, Mary feels motivated by her loss to keep working at it; her new goal is to get inside the ideal weight range for her age and height. Even if she doesn’t get to her ideal weight, she’s already cut down her risk for disease, and is spending less on medications.

These are some of the conditions associated with being overweight:

Excess body weight is highly linked to type 2 diabetes. The Nurses’ Health Study of 114,000 women for 14 years found that women with a BMI (see below) of 35 or higher were 93 times more likely to develop diabetes than women with BMIs lower than 22. Fat cells secrete hormones and other chemicals that cause inflammation. Too much inflammation can disrupt how the body breaks down fatty foods and empty carbohydrates. And it causes the body to use insulin less effectively. Insulin is the hormone made by the pancreas to control sugar levels in the blood. These factors combined can cause blood sugar levels to rise to dangerous levels. While diabetes can be controlled with careful blood sugar monitoring, medication, and diet and exercise changes, it is always better to prevent it from developing when possible.

Calculating BMI

BMI stands for body mass index. It is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. You can use this National Institutes of Health tool to calculate your BMI.

BMI categories:

  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = 30 or greater.
  • Underweight = <18.5

Mary, in the example, had a BMI of 29 when she started her weight loss journey.

The BMI index is a helpful guide, but it is not the only way to measure your risk. Talk with your provider about your health risks and ideal weight goals.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. It includes coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attack, congestive heart failure and other conditions that affect the heart. The BMI-CAD Collaboration Investigators studied 300,000 people for 16 years. Overweight participants had a 32% higher risk of developing CAD than those within a normal weight range; obese participants had an 81% higher risk.

Heart disease can be prevented or managed by not smoking, lowering cholesterol, controlling high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising. Carrying extra weight makes the heart and lungs work harder to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. Losing weight can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise is an important part of any weight loss program but be sure to start slowly and set reasonable goals.

Arthritis and back, knee and joint pain are more likely to occur as body weight increases. Excess weight strains bones, muscles and joints and is associated with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, back pain, lower limb pain, and disability from muscle and bone conditions.

Being overweight may cause more fat to be stored around the neck. This can cause inflammation that makes the airway smaller and breathing harder. Excess neck fat is a risk factor for sleep apnea. With sleep apnea, breathing can pause or stop for short periods during sleep. It’s also often linked to snoring, poor sleep, high blood pressure and other serious health concerns.

Taking Charge

There are many ways to get on the path to a healthier weight, and healthier you. Losing weight often means rebooting your relationship with food: keeping unhealthy foods out of sight, learning to eat mindfully and asking others for support. The first step is to develop a meal plan that outlines healthy meals and snacks. Your provider, a registered dietician or your KnovaSolutions clinician can help with this.

Weight loss experts recommend keeping a food diary, a log of what you eat each day. Kaiser Permanente studied 1,700 people and found that those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.

Keeping a food diary helps you avoid eating things that aren’t on your “menu.” Write down what and how much you eat (1/3 cup of almonds, 1 orange) and when. Note where you eat, with whom, if you did anything while you ate (watched tv, worked), and what your mood was (happy, sad, bored). Include drinks and extras such as sauces or condiments.

Sometimes people use food to deal with stress, boredom or anxiety. While this type of eating may provide comfort in the short-run, it can lead to feelings of regret and guilt. Try to identify what your triggers are (the junk food aisles at the store, being alone) and then problem-solve to see how you can break old habits. For example, if the junk food aisles are a trigger, stay out of the center of the store and keep to the walls where the “real” food is.

Mindful Eating

The typical American lifestyle involves rushed meals on-the-go. When we eat while doing other tasks, it is easy to eat quickly and mindlessly. Have you ever reached for another bite only to realize you’ve eaten the whole thing and didn’t even really taste it?

Mindful eating means paying attention while eating, enjoying tastes and textures, and recognizing when you feel satisfied. It means making time to eat without multi-tasking. Serve yourself reasonably-sized portions on smaller plates to make your meals look plenty big.

  • Mindful eating tip 1: Sit down, pay attention to smells and tastes, chew your food slowly and fully.
  • Mindful eating tip 2: When having a snack, serve yourself a portion, rather than eating out of a bag.
  • Mindful eating tip 3: If you are not satisfied after a meal, add extra vegetables to your plate.
  • Mindful eating tip 4: Stop eating when you’ve reached a comfortable level of fullness.

If eating alone makes you more likely to overeat, spend more time with family or friends. Tell them why you need them now and how they can help. Or make plans for an activity after a meal so less time is spent alone or without anything to do. People trying to lose weight often find that trying new activities, like joining a club or taking up a hobby, helps with staying true to the goal.

Speaking of family and friends, social support is key. You may need emotional support when you’re feeling discouraged or you may need practical support, such as help with the kids while you exercise. You will also benefit by having a pal to share healthy recipes and meals with or someone to walk with at lunch time.

How to say NO to food-pushers? Try ”No thanks.” If that isn’t enough, try “No thanks, I’m on a special diet” or “I’m trying to lose a few pounds.” Ask if the office candy dish could be moved to a less tempting spot, or move it yourself.

Last but not least, be encouraging and forgiving! Don’t talk negatively towards yourself. Just because you overdid it last night doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track today. Set realistic expectations for yourself and update them as you hit your goals. KnovaSolutions offers support as you work towards your health goals. Let us help you get there; call us at 800/355-0885,  M-F, 8 am-8 pm, MT.

Click here to view/download the full newsletter. We encourage you to leave a comment or question below and a KnovaSolutions nurse or pharmacist will reply.

The information contained in this newsletter is for general, educational purposes. It should not be considered a replacement for consultation with your healthcare provider.  If you have concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.


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Over-the-Counter Medications — December 2018

Over-the-Counter Medications — December 2018

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Taking These (and Supplements) Safely

Over-the-counter medications (OTC) are easy to find at the store. They offer relief from common health problems like stuffy noses, seasonal allergies and achy muscles. They also can help prevent problems like constipation and nausea. You may feel empowered to solve a health issue without having to see your primary care provider for advice or a prescription.
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Complementing Your Medical Care — October 2018

Complementing Your Medical Care — October 2018

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With Approaches That Benefit Your Health

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), more than 30 percent of adults use healthcare approaches developed outside of mainstream western medicine. These approaches are called complementary and alternative —terms that are often used interchangeably. However, it is important to note that they are different.

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Calcium and Vitamin D — September 2018

Calcium and Vitamin D — September 2018

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Essential Nutrients that Work Hand-in-Hand

No matter our age, our bodies need calcium and vitamin D. Calcium is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, as well as other important functions. However, without enough vitamin D, calcium can’t be absorbed by the body. What happens then? The body draws from calcium stored in the bones, which weakens them and can lead to osteoporosis, a condition where bones become fragile, brittle and prone to breaks. Maintaining calcium and vitamin D levels in a healthy range over your lifetime can help prevent the risks of weak bones, teeth and other potential issues.

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Common Medical Conditions — August 2018

Common Medical Conditions — August 2018

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Can They Be Prevented or Reversed?

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. One in two adults has a chronic disease and one in four has two or more, according to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

When it comes to our health, there are things we can’t control and those that we can try to influence. We can’t change our genetic makeup, gender, race or age—some of the factors that can make us more likely to develop a chronic medical condition. However, many health conditions are caused by lifestyle factors that we do have some ability to manage—our diet, exercise, stress management, weight and smoking habits.

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Ah, Summertime! — July 2018

Ah, Summertime! — July 2018

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How to Enjoy It While Staying Safe

Picnics, roasting marshmallows, swimming, camping, fishing—you name it—these are the treasures of summer. With longer days and schools closed, summer often means vacation time. But even if your summer doesn’t include a vacation, you’ve likely shed some layers and are spending more time outdoors. Being outside is a great way to reboot and revive the mind. To make the most of this more relaxed season, remember to take a few precautions to keep you and your family safe.

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Working Smart — June 2018

Working Smart — June 2018

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Finding Your Way to Workplace Wellness

Fulltime workers spend, on average, more than one-third of their day, five days per week at their place of work. We rely heavily on the fruits of our labor: skills, confidence, camaraderie, and most importantly, an income. Since our work life is so important to our livelihood, it makes sense to work smart. Workplace health and wellness includes activities and policies designed to promote the well-being of employees, support health behavior in the workplace, and decrease the risks of injuries. Employees can experience greater job satisfaction by making some key adjustments in the workplace.

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The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

The Path to Emotional Wellness — May 2018

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How to Improve Your Resiliency

Your mental health and wellness affects practically every aspect of your life—how you think, feel and act at home and work, with family, friends, colleagues and the general public. People who are emotionally healthy tend to go about their day with a sense of purpose. They engage in enjoyable activities and balance them with their work and family life. They have fulfilling relationships and have a positive outlook.

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Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

Why It’s Important to Have a PCP — April 2018

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And What to Do When Your PCP Isn’t Available

Your primary care provider (PCP) is that professional you see every year or so for preventive screening or more often if you are managing ongoing health concerns. S/he’s also the one you call when you get sick or develop concerning new symptoms. But, what if your PCP isn’t available? Your options depend upon the circumstances.

Wait, Back Up!

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Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

Is Personalized Medicine for You? — January 2018

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Evolving Field of Medicine Offers Promise

Healthcare providers have always sought to individualize care for their patients. But now, advances in medical research allow providers to study a person’s genes, offering another tool to guide decisions about preventing, diagnosing and treating disease. Personalized medicine, also called precision or individualized medicine, is an evolving field where providers use genetic testing to understand how a person’s disease risks are unique. Used alongside information about family history, symptoms and environmental factors, genetic testing can help providers prevent illness and/or determine which treatments will work best.

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How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

How Walking Can Extend Life — December 2017

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Even Minimal Walking Offers Health Benefits

You don’t have to run or bike intensively to get the health advantages of regular exercise. A new study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM) showed that 120 minutes or less of moderate-intensity walking each week can add longevity to your life. 120 minutes? That’s less than 18 minutes a day!

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Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

Confusing Cancer Terminology — November 2017

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Making Sense During Difficult Times

Almost 13 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer every year. People may experience unexplained pain, weight loss, fatigue and other symptoms followed by screening tests, imaging, and maybe biopsies before getting the dreaded diagnosis. Learning that you or a loved one has cancer is overwhelming and stressful.

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It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

It’s Not Just Flu Shot Season — October 2017

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Time to Review Your Vaccination Status

Vaccines are among the most cost-effective prevention services around. They do more than protect you from getting preventable diseases; they also reduce the spread of disease. If you’ve been vaccinated for an infectious disease (measles, chickenpox, hepatitis, influenza, etc.), you greatly reduce the risk of getting that disease and the chance of spreading it to others who are not immune.

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Suffer From Low Back Pain? — September 2017

Suffer From Low Back Pain? — September 2017

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A Look at Alternative/Complementary Therapies

The U.S. spends $90 billion a year on back pain! That’s more than the combined cost of care for high blood pressure, pregnancy AND depression. Back pain is one of the top reasons people see their doctor and the leading reason people miss work. Lost time and productivity is estimated to cost another $10-20 billion.

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Deprescribing: A Growing Trend — August 2017

Deprescribing: A Growing Trend — August 2017

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What Was Good Then May Not Be Now

It is becoming more and more common for people to take five or more medications. The more medications a person takes, the greater their risk for negative health outcomes, such as reduced quality of life, increased side effects, drug interactions, physical or mental impairment, falls, addiction, hospitalization or even, death. The use of some medications, especially as people age or become sicker, can do more harm than good. There is also greater risk of taking them incorrectly—the more medications, the more confusion.

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Preventing Surprise Medical Bills — July 2017

Preventing Surprise Medical Bills — July 2017

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What to Do If You Get One

An unexpected medical bill can be a very unpleasant surprise. It is a bill for a medical service that you did not expect to receive because you thought your insurance would cover it. Surprise bills are becoming more common as our healthcare system becomes more complex and insurance companies reduce the number of providers in their network or exclude coverage for out-of-network services.

The best way to avoid surprise medical bills is to prevent them. It’s not always possible, but there are ways to minimize the risk.

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The Opioid Epidemic — May 2017

The Opioid Epidemic — May 2017

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Taking Ownership and Being Part of the Solution

You’ve heard the news reports about the dangers of opioid medications such as codeine, morphine, methadone, fentanyl, hydrocodone and oxycodone. While opioids can be an appropriate and effective treatment for pain, the U.S. has the highest rates of opioid use in the world. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 80% of the world’s prescribed opioids are used in the U.S. Great risk comes with such widespread use. From 2010 to 2015, more than 500,000 people died from opioid overdoses.

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Shared Healthcare Decision-Making — April 2017

Shared Healthcare Decision-Making — April 2017

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How to Improve Outcomes and Decrease Costs

Numerous studies performed in the last 10 years suggest that patients who actively participate in making healthcare decisions with their doctors report greater satisfaction with their care, better outcomes and lower costs. For example, a study reported in Health Affairs of 33,163 patients at a large healthcare facility in Minnesota showed that better informed patients cost less to treat. In the first year of the study, knowledgeable patients had 8% lower treatment costs, and, in the first half of the following year, 21% lower costs, than less involved patients.

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How Short Are Your Doctor Visits? — March 2017

How Short Are Your Doctor Visits? — March 2017

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Getting the Most Out of Your Appointments

Depending upon which source you read, the average length of time a doctor spends with each patient ranges from 5 minutes to 23 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to discuss your health history, medications, symptoms and concerns — much less talk about complicated information or a new serious condition. So how can you get what you need — and deserve —during each doctor visit? All arrows point first to having a primary care provider (PCP) with whom you develop a trusting relationship.

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Medication Errors at Home  — February 2017

Medication Errors at Home — February 2017

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How to Reduce Risk and Prevent Mistakes

Prescription and over-the-counter medications provide major health improvements for people, but they also pose potential risks. Adverse drug events — harm as a result of exposure to a medication — are associated with hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year.

Home medication errors happen all too often. In a study at the New York University School of Medicine-Bellevue Hospital, it was found that one out of five parents who measured liquid medication for their children gave them twice the directed dose. Also, nearly all the parents measured the dose incorrectly to some degree.

Confusing ear drops and eye drops, chewing non-chewable pills, and splitting pills not designed to be split are other types of errors that happen at home.

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