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5 Cholesterol Myths and Facts

Clogged Artery with platelets and cholesterol plaque, concept for health risk for obesity or dieting and nutrition problems

| September 29, 2021 |

5 CHOLESTEROL MYTHS AND FACTS

Cholesterol can be confusing! Learn answers to common questions about blood cholesterol.
Myth: All cholesterol is bad for you.
Fact: Some types of cholesterol are essential for good health. Your body needs cholesterol to perform important jobs, such as making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:
  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein), sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, carries cholesterol back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in the walls of your blood vessels and cause narrowing. This narrowing can restrict and eventually block blood flow to and from your heart and other organs.
Myth: I would be able to feel it if I had high cholesterol.
Fact: High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. You may not know you have unhealthy cholesterol levels until it is too late—when you have a heart attack or stroke. That’s why it’s so important to get your cholesterol levels checked regularly.
Myth: Eating foods with a lot of cholesterol will not make my cholesterol levels go up.
Fact: It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so it’s best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats. Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts.
Myth: I can’t do anything to change my cholesterol levels.
Fact: You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
  • Get tested at least every 5 years (unless told otherwise by your doctor).
  • Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats.
  • Be active every day. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. Quitting tobacco will lower your risk for heart disease.
  • If any medicines are prescribed by your health care provider to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed.
  • Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often.

Myth: I don’t need statins or other medicines for my cholesterol. I can manage my cholesterol with diet and exercise.

Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels.

Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.


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What is Digital Wellness and Why Does It Matter?

Young casual Businessman holding and using smartphone for sms messages, hipster man typing touchscreen cell phone in the cafe. business, lifestyle, technology and Social media network concept

| September 15, 2021 |

WHAT IS DIGITAL WELLNESS AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

We live in a fast-paced, connected, technology centered world and are often looking for the next best tech sensation. It’s easy to get stuck in an unhealthy relationship with technology. This is where digital wellness or digital well-being comes in. According to Made of Millions, a mental health advocacy organization, digital wellness or well-being means using technology mindfully, intentionally, and compassionately so that it doesn’t damage yours or others mental and emotional well-being.

 

For most of us, there is no eliminating tech from our lives. We touch our smartphones 2,600+ times a day and it’s hard to think of an aspect of our lives that tech doesn’t touch. We use it for dining, shopping, health and fitness, home monitoring, travel, work, dating, leisure and staying connected. With tech so woven into our everyday lives, it’s important to find balance. Being digitally well requires you to tune into how the technology you use makes you and others feel. The best way to accomplish this is to be mindful about your habits and tendencies. If you or a loved one notice that you’re using one or more forms of tech too much or you are turning to technology instead of connecting with others; then it is time to examine and rebalance your relationship with tech.

 

You can start to regain balance by avoiding the use of two screens at once and trying meditative techniques to stop you from reaching for your phone when you are bored or feel uncomfortable. You can also be picky about what apps you allow to send you notifications and learn about your tech, so you get all the benefits possible when you do use it. To truly disconnect, stop using technology to fill up free time and recognize when you don’t need to be connected, like after work or on vacation.

 

We must try to use technology to enhance our lives, relationships, knowledge, sense of calm, and connection with others. Focus on how tech supports positive interactions, helps you spread compassion, kindness and contributes to important causes you believe in.

 

Wondering if you are too connected? Take this 12-question quiz to find out: https://virtual-addiction.com/digital-distraction-test/

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Emotional Eating and How Stress Impacts Your Diet

Girl eating pizza sitting on couch and watching tv

| September, 8, 2021 |

EMOTIONAL EATING AND HOW STRESS IMPACTS YOUR DIET

Have you noticed that you have a tendency to raid the fridge or cupboard when you are stressed? That is called emotional eating and it is a coping mechanism for stress, boredom, loneliness, fear, worry, anger, grief and depression. We all get caught with our hand in the cookie jar occasionally but regularly letting our emotions run our eating choices can have a negative effect on our health.

When we are stressed, our bodies go into a fight or flight response and release cortisol. Cortisol signals the body to store fat in case we need energy in the future, and it increases our appetite. Research has shown that depending on our feelings, we make different food choices. For example, when we are angry, we choose crunchy foods and when we are sad, we reach for sugary treats. We have sweet soft foods when we are anxious and salty foods when we are stressed. The act of eating distracts and soothes us.

The key to managing our emotional hunger is to pay attention to what we eat so we don’t get into a cycle of managing our emotions with food. Use a food journal or a food app on your phone to track your food, emotional state and stress level during the meal or snack. Journaling helps you to see your habits clearly. Use a hunger scale before you eat to evaluate if you are truly hungry or eating due to emotions. The chart below shows the differences in physical and emotional hunger.

Using these tools and having awareness of emotional hunger and how stress impact may lead to you to healthier habits.

 


Source: What stress and diet have in common? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OD4Wnmy2rwQ

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Signs of Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Man With Migraine From Computer Work. Bored And Stressed Sad

| September 1, 2021 |

SIGNS OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE WORKPLACE

Since most of us spend the majority of our day at work with our co-workers, it is important to take notice if a coworker has a change in productivity or attendance. While the signs below could be depression, other mental health issues or a medical condition, it is helpful to know they might be signs of substance abuse too.

  • Being late to work, often with no explanation
  • Leaving work early
  • Making mistakes on easy tasks
  • Falling asleep on the job
  • Taking longer and longer lunch breaks
  • Going to the bathroom more often
  • Using all their days off or sick time
  • Having problems meeting deadlines

They might also have a change in personality, behavior, or appearance. You may see that they:

  • Pay less attention to hygiene than they used to
  • Are antisocial, especially if they used to be outgoing
  • Are more moody or angry
  • Have dilated pupils
  • Have a runny nose
  • Mention suicidal thoughts
  • Tell lies about themselves
  • Loss or gain weight unexpectedly
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts at inappropriate time

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Preparing to Go Back to School In-Person

Back To School - Stationery With Covid-19 Protective Mask And Sa

| August 18, 2021 |

PREPARING TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL IN-PERSON

Going back to school can be stressful for students during “normal” circumstances, but after a disruptive year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it can cause students even more stress. Last year, students learned in many different environments including in-person, at home and hybrid. For students who were in-person, they learned to wear a mask and huddle with the same group of students day in and day out. For those who were at home, they had the freedom of not wearing a mask, but spent all day on a screen. Those in the hybrid model had to balance at-home learning with in-person learning. Each type of learning came with its own stressors for both students and parents.

 

The start of the 2021 school year has started for many and is just around the corner for others. Most schools are going back to full-time in-person learning without the option for remote learning. Each district has its own set of guidelines in place to keep students safe, but students may have added stress and anxiety due to all the changes the pandemic has brought. For many students, this year will bring new routines, expectations, and activities, which may add new stressors.
Here are some types of anxiety your family may be feeling about the upcoming school year and how you can help alleviate some of them:

 

Anxiety About Balancing
Many parents haven’t commuted to their job in over a year and students are not used to going to school in-person for a full week of school. Getting out the door to get to school and work again can cause anxiety for the whole family. Try not to wait until the first day of school to make changes to your current schedule. If parents have flexibility, try returning to the office before school starts, so that students can get used to being separated and parents coming and going again.

 

Social Anxiety
For students who participated in remote learning last year, the thought of going back to school with their peers can be stressful. Try to schedule a playdate with friends or visit their school ahead of time to help remote learners get back into the routine of leaving the home.

 

Behavior Challenges
Some students with behavior challenges did better in the home environment because there were fewer demands on them; it may be a difficult transition to go back to in-person learning full time. To help readjust to the classroom, parents should lay out their behavior expectations. This includes routine things, like keeping your hands to yourself, listening to the teachers requests and being kind to others.

 

Kids Who Lost Confidence
Many students struggled last year with remote learning and it caused them to lose confidence. If your student is resisting going back to school, try getting them involved in a group activity to get them excited about learning something new. This can make it easier for them to get excited about going back to school and build their self-confidence about learning something new.

Source: Child Mind Institute (https://childmind.org)

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