Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Diabetes

2015-02-02 22.30.30

Diabetes: Some Call it “The Disease of The Century”

“Starvation amidst plenty” is one of the best ways to describe diabetes. And like many, it makes little sense that anything, or anyone, should be hungry when there is aplenty. Another thing that doesn’t make sense to many of us is that despite all of our advancements and technology (we can put a man on the moon), diabetes continues to grow exponentially. Today, there are an estimated 29 million Americans with the disease!

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know about diabetes and making it just a word, not a sentence:

What is diabetes mellitus? It is a metabolic disorder. Metabolism describes the process of maintaining the basic functions of our cells. And just like a car, our cells require fuel to supply the energy. Glucose, a.k.a. “sugar,” functions as a source of fuel and is very carefully regulated in order to provide a “steady supply.”

Glucose cannot enter a cell without the hormone insulin. In other words, insulin serves as a “key” to allow entry. The pancreas, located on the left side of the body (under the stomach), is an organ that produces and releases insulin in response to a number of signals, such as eating.

Are there different types of diabetes? There are 2 main classifications:
Type 1 diabetes (a.k.a. insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, early-onset diabetes) occurs when the pancreas does not make insulin. The cause is unclear, but is believed to be the result of our own immune system attacking insulin-producing cells. It is usually diagnosed during childhood or teenage years and comprises 10% of all cases of diabetes mellitus. Treatment involves multiple, daily insulin injections for the duration of a person’s life.
Type 2 diabetes (a.k.a. non-insulin dependent diabetes, adult-onset diabetes) occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin OR cells do not properly respond to insulin. It is usually diagnosed during adulthood, associated with obesity, and comprises 90% of all cases of diabetes mellitus.

I was told I am “prediabetic.” What does that mean? This term refers to people whose blood glucose levels are increased, but do not meet the established criteria for diabetes mellitus. Today, there are an estimated 75 million prediabetics!! Our doctors will advise us to change our diets, exercise, and lose weight to hopefully prevent developing Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

What are complications of diabetes? When our tissues are continuously exposed to high levels of glucose, this can cause cataracts, nerve injury, problems with how we digest, and disease of our blood vessels. And in case we forgot what our blood vessels do, they deliver nutrients and oxygen to every single cell in our body (that’s 37,200,000,000,000 cells and more than our national debt!). Damage to blood vessels can result in heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and blindness.

How is diabetes diagnosed? In the past, some cultures used “water tasters” that would taste urine to determine if it was sweet. Today, the diagnosis is confirmed through blood testing. The most common is the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test that measures the concentration of glucose. This test is usually performed in the morning and must be done BEFORE eating or drinking anything. Normal: less than 100 mg/dL; Prediabetes: 100-125 mg/dL; Diabetes: greater than 125 mg/dL.

How do I manage diabetes? Although diabetes is a serious disease, committing to make lifestyle changes puts us in the driver’s seat. Studies have shown that when patients are engaged and proactive about their disease, they can decrease their complications significantly. This involves making healthy food choices, staying at a healthy weight, moving more every day, and taking medications even when we feel fine.

Even if we do not have diabetes, there is hardly an American who does not have a family member or friend that is not affected by it. And remember, if we change nothing, nothing will change. Let’s make diabetes only a word, not a sentence.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

Click here for more Dr. Nina Radcliff articles.

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

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Dynasty

We aren’t ruled by a heredity monarchy;” Bill Maher snarkily intoned on Real Time Friday, “the Bushes and Clintons take turns.”

28 out of 32.

If Jeb or Hillary win in 2016 and 2020, the Clintons and the Bushes will have dominated the executive powers for 28 out of 32 years. 87.5%. That’s a full generation.

Besides crazy stats, the only other thing that would be interesting about a(nother) Bush vs. Clinton run is that one of them would be the first female president. Albeit being an exciting break to the glass ceiling, it’s not a good enough reason to support the former First Lady. And to snag that title via a dynasty feels a little cheap. Plexiglass cheap.

Then there’s Jeb. In a crowded field of Republican hopefuls that just. won’t. quit. he seems like one of the saner ones and that’s not a feat.

Will another candidate with any other surname be any different then our dynastic duo? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But, all I can ask, is to at least to be able to play pretend I have a choice with new lawn signs.

Of course the election is well over a year from now, but we all know the battle cries are sounding earlier and earlier like Christmas jingles in October. And like Christmas, it’ll be hard to be excited when it actually arrives – especially if everything feels regifted.

On the other hand, we do teach kids to take turns on the playground so I suppose at least their mamas can be proud.

Party Like It’s 1999

IMG_1946
Dwayne Wayne glasses!

Text & Photos by K. Cecchini

Pearl Jam tees wrapped in flannel. Glow sticks, dog tags, REM’s “Losing My Religion” and black light highlighting the lint on my sweater. AND Dwayne Wayne flip glasses.

Yes, people were partying like it was 1999.

To compliment its’ freshest exhibit, Come As You Are, the Montclair Art Museum balanced all of the retrospect’s introspect with a nod to the more irreverent side of back in the day, if y’know what I’m sayin’.

Cereal Bar
Cereal Bar and Mixed Tapes

A D.J. kicked the night off with classic tracks from C+C Music Factory and M.C. Hammer to Nirvana. Leir Hall was lit with neon colors and adorned with large spray painted homages to 90’s pop culture. Even some of the hors d’oeuvres matched the decade with mini-Chinese take-out containers and a Cereal Bar.

Much of the crowd was already breaking a move, when a NYC tribute band came out to their namesake’s theme song. Representing some of the era’s styles from hi-tops and wide legged jeans to loud colors, Saved by the 90’s: A Party with the Bayside Tigers kept the audience bouncing while covering hits such as Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic”.

Saved by the 90's: A Party with the Bayside Tigers
Saved by the 90’s: A Party with the Bayside Tigers

Overall, it seems like partygoers had a dope time. Whether it was 90’s nostalgia or a more accessible ticket price, it looks like the MAM tapped into an expanded fan base on Saturday night. According to a volunteer, the museum may be planning similar events to keep up the momentum.

Hey, we can always party like its 1999 without dog tags and glow sticks.

FYI

Come As You Are: Art of the 1990’s
Montclair Art Museum (MAM): Now-May 17, 2015 Montclair, NJ

Twitter: @MAMmontclair

Bringing back grunge
Bringing back grunge
Revelers in front of 90's mural
Revelers pose by 90’s graffiti
Slap Bracelets!
Slap Bracelets!
Blacklight & Glow Sticks
Blacklight & Glow Sticks!
"I had to make something!" -Accessory designer & MAM volunteer showing off her retro safety pin necklace.
“I had to make something!” -Accessory designer & MAM volunteer showing off her retro safety pin necklace.

Tonight at Dawn Coverage of Other events at MAM:

Come As You Are

From Heart to Hand: African American Quilts

Montclair Film Festival (some events are hosted at MAM) 

Mad Men Approved

Text and Photos by K. Cecchini

“Mad Men” make fantastic matchmakers. While browsing a Time magazine today from 11.24.14 (slim pickings at the gym), I took note of their skills.

Laying next to the article, “New Energy” about the GOP Senate’s debates on the Keystone Pipeline and the President’s “all of the above” energy plan is an ad with a young boy representing his ocean view on a Light Brite. The heading reads, “Let’s light up his future with bright ideas offshore”.

It’s an ad for Shell.

In the copy, Shell brags about its 30 year presence in the Gulf of Mexico and speaks about how they would like to “safely” and dig deep for more black gold to “power lives for years to come”. It cheerleads their goals, “The Olympus platform is a key part of the Mars B project, the first deep-water project of its kind, expanding on existing field with new infrastructure to maximize recovery with less of a footprint.”.

Although Shell & energy is the most obvious marriage of news & marketing in the issue, I noticed a few other pairings throughout the periodical; Kindle with an article on retiring authors and Capital One (“Nothing matches the first dollar you ever made…”) engaged to a piece featuring a young entrepreneur.

I can’t confirm that these are arranged marriages, but I do know that Don Draper would love it.

Time Magazine 11.24.14
Time Magazine 11.24.14
Time Magazine 11.24.14
Time Magazine 11.24.14
Time Magazine 11.24.14
Time Magazine 11.24.14

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Healthy Lifestyles

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About the choices you make today affect the life you live tomorrow.

2015-03-01 10.52.45

“He sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present”—The Dalai Lama.

This is one of my favorite quotes. For more than a decade, I would work 65-90 hours a week taking care of patients, conducting scientific research, and teaching medical students and doctors in training. I loved it. But, it took a toll on my health and my relationships that I now see with 20/20 vision…in hindsight. As a physician, I knew I could not preach something that I was not practicing. And I knew that I needed to do something to clear up my vision so I could see 20/20…but with foresight.

After having my daughter, I stepped down from my faculty teaching and research position at The University of Pennsylvania to be able to spend time raising her and achieve “work-life balance.” However, my passion—sharing medical truths for greater understanding, healthy and balanced living, as well as wise preventive health measures—has not changed. While I continue to directly care for patients in the operating room, I also care for them outside of the hospital, but with my pen—or more accurately, the computer.

The goal of my column is to help my readers navigate through all the health information that is thrown at us. We are empowered when we have the knowledge to identify and make healthy choices. It puts us in the driver’s seat and, too, allows us to support our families, loved ones, and community in making healthy choices. I have a holistic view of our health, meaning that it is not just physical, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual. They are intimately interrelated and intertwined, meaning if one aspect is ill, it will affect the others. Somewhat like dominos.

So, what can we do to live a balanced and healthy life? It begins with taking care of ourselves. In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, flight attendants instruct passengers to place the oxygen mask on themselves before they try to help their children or other passengers. The reason being: if someone passes out while administering help, neither the person helping or receiving help will benefit. Few can argue with this logic.

A dear friend told me that: “If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.” Although some may see it as containing a pessimistic tone, I believe it actually carries an optimistic message. After all, who else better to make sure we stay in our best health, than ourselves? We have hospitals, physicians, and other medical professionals that are imperative to keeping us healthy and treating us when we are ill. But we still have the responsibility to make healthy choices.

We are also entering into a new era of healthcare and it is clear that prevention is the best, easiest, and cheapest medicine we could ever take. Just last week I had a young man with kidney failure come to the operating room to have a dialysis catheter placed. This father of three young kids had uncontrolled high blood pressures that became too much for his kidneys to handle. He stated: “I just never thought my pressures were a big deal. I guess I was wrong.” Unfortunately he was. His blood pressure had also caused two heart attacks and a stroke. He brought tears to my eyes because this could have been prevented.

Over the last year, I have had readers reach out via email and social media. I am humbled and honored, as it is a true privilege to have you read my column. I look forward to beginning the second year of this journey together as we break down “What You Need To Know” on health topics that impact our lives, today. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:

Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

Read more of her articles on Tonight at Dawn

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know About Sanitizing Our Sleep Hygiene

2015-02-25 16.31.11Insomnia May Be Due to a Lack of Hygiene

Sleep hygiene, that is. And, no, I am not referring to keeping our teeth, hair, or underarms clean. Sleep hygiene is the term that experts use to describe routines and rituals that we undergo before bedtime. Maintaining good hygiene works to calm us and get us in the mood to fall asleep and stay asleep so we can be alert and at peak performance during the day. What’s more is that good sleep hygiene practices can prevent the development of sleep problems and disorders.   And for those of us who suffer from sleep disturbances, it may help us get back on the right track.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need to Know About Sanitizing Our Sleep Hygiene:

Avoid foods and chemicals that stimulate you  Caffeine stimulates our brain, and many of us love to have a cup (or two) in the morning to jump start our day. But enjoying a cappuccino or espresso as the day goes on can keep you up at night. Your liver is able to clear out half of the caffeine in approximately 5-7 hours; and seventy-five percent in about 8-10 hours. If you are having trouble sleeping, it may be a good idea to make final call in the early afternoon, depending on your target bedtime. And don’t forget that tea, chocolate, and sodas contain caffeine.

Nicotine is also a stimulant that can increase our blood pressure and heart rate. And although alcohol is considered a “downer” that can help you doze off, having more than a glass or two at bedtime can interfere with our very important deep sleep cycles.

Turn down the lights When it comes to putting our little ones on their path to la-la land, it seems intuitive to progressively turn down any stimulation. But somehow, somewhere, something gets lost in translation when it comes to us.  Between smart phones, televisions, computers, and tablets, our nights can be very bright. But why is this a problem? The science behind it is that our bodies release a hormone called melatonin that makes us sleepy. Melatonin is often referred to as the “Dracula” hormone because it is only released when it is dark. Mother Nature was very clever when she designed this: we want to be asleep at night and be awake during the day when it is light. However, with the advent of artificial lights, our nights have become artificially bright and this can suppress melatonin production. In addition to unplugging and powering down our technology, consider using heavy curtains, blackout shades, or an eye mask to help our melatonin production.

Get into The Routine  A soothing, pre-sleep routine that is. Engaging in relaxing activities in the hour before it’s time to hit the sack can help us doze off. Think of falling asleep as a continuum, not an abrupt transition. For many of us, sleep is not something with a switch that can be flipped on and off. Whenever possible, avoid stimulating activities like arguing, work, or heavy exercise prior to bedtime. Stress, whether it is psychological or physical, causes our bodies to produce hormones that send us into a “fight or flight” mode (the opposite direction of where we want to go—sleep and slumber).

Instead try to pick up a book, pray, meditate, or take a warm bath. Many experts also recommend writing down our problems and then putting them away on the shelf or in a drawer to be dealt with at a later time.

Napping To nap or not to nap that is the question. The answer is that it depends on the reason, time, and length of the nap, as well as our overall sleep quality. Studies are inconclusive as to whether or not naps are natural to a human’s sleep cycle. With that being said, we have all had days where it seems impossible to continue without an emergency nap. Unfortunately, we know that if we do, it may create a cycle of having trouble sleeping that night; thereby, landing us in the same predicament. And, for those of us who suffer from sleep disturbances, that afternoon snooze may be detrimental. If we must nap, experts recommend keeping it short, sweet, and early (before 3-4 pm).

Just Chill Out You may wonder “what’s temperature got to do, got to do with it.” A lot, actually. And it shouldn’t be a second-hand thought. Researchers have shown that our body’s temperature drops to its lowest point four hours after we doze off; this corresponds with our REM cycle. If the room is too hot or too cold, it makes it more difficult to achieve this temperature drop and can lead to restlessness, especially during this important sleep cycle. Sounds fair enough. But it may be surprising to hear that the optimal temperature for sleep ranges from 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit! Brrrrr.

Keep it Moving, But Do it Early We have heard this before: exercising is good for us. But did you know that it is a great way to help us improve our quality of sleep? For those who suffer with sleep disturbances, however, it may be one of the last things we want to hear. Afterall, who wants to hit the gym or go for a run when we are barely functioning? While the reasons are not 100% clear, it is believed that exercising decreases anxiety, depression, and stress. However, if we do it too close to our bedtime (experts state within 3 hours), it can increase the production of stress hormones and keep us awake and counting sheep.

Avoid Overeating Close to Bedtime Eating too much, too late can keep you awake at night. That full feeling can make us feel uncomfortable and cause reflux, especially in the lying down position (gravity does not help keep the food in the stomach). On another note, hunger pangs are also discomforting and can make your stomach growl loudly. The answer is to keep late night eating and snacking light.

We sing lullabies to babies, as well as read to them, bathe them, dim the lights, and turn down the noise. But as we get older, our sleep hygiene may not only become lackluster, but a downright mess. Let us try to turn back the hands of time and go with what works: keeping our sleep hygiene spic-and-span, so we can be well rested to meet the new morning. And remember, cleanliness is next to Godliness; but so is a good night’s sleep.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:

Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

Read more of her articles on Tonight at Dawn

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.