Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Sugar is Not So Sweet

What is Sugar Really?

Sugar is all around us and it can be a challenge to keep track of exactly how much we are consuming. Although sugar can be found naturally in some foods (i.e. milk or fruit), the majority of it in the American diet comes from sugar added during food processing. Sugar comes in many different forms such as: sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, mannitol, sorbitol, erythritol, dextrose, invert sugar, agave nectar, glucose, lactose, maltose, maple sugar, and molasses. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories and the American Heart Association recommends that sugar consumption be limited to 100 calories per day for women and 150 calories per day for men.

Soda, Pop, Coke: Drinking Sugar across the Nation

        Some beverages do not need sugar to be sweet; soft drinks are not one of them. Known as one of the most commonly consumed drinks, soft drinks rein as supreme beverage. From coast to coast, soft drinks are labeled with different terminology but are categorized by diet experts as “sugar-sweetened refreshments”. Are these caffeinated drinks really all that bad? The answer is yes. No matter what you call them, soft drinks contain more sugar than the body needs without supplying any real nutritional value. What soft drinks do offer is an increased waistline, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Surely this is only the case if you drink an extremely large amount. This is not so. In fact, it only takes two sugary beverages a day to develop one of these diseases.

How Sugar-Sweetened Refreshments Kill

          From data collected in a 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, it was found that sugar-sweetened beverages were associated with 180,000 deaths. Out of those deaths 133,000 were from diabetes, 44,000 from cardiovascular diseases, and 6,000 from cancer-related deaths. Women also have a greater chance of contracting these diseases due to their lower calorie intake. The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2011 shared information that women who consume two sugar-based beverages a day are four times as likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. So do yourself a favor and step back from the sugar-filled death weapon.

For more information on how to be heart healthy, check out these sites:

The American Heart Association

The National Institutes of Health

You might also enjoy:
Go Red Interviews with MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley

Creating a Heart Healthy Diet
Ways to Incorporate Heart Healthy Exercise into Your Life


American Heart Association (On Soft Drinks and Heart Disease)

National Institutes of Health (On Soft Drinks)

National Institutes of Health (On Sugar)


Thursday, February 13, 2014

National Children's Dental Health Month

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. We had the opportunity to talk with a pediatric dental office named Giggles and Grins, PLLC, office of Dr. Sandra Armstrong Dr. Amy Watts and Associates. They provided some valuable information about pediatric dental health.

The American Dental Association has named February as National Children's Dental Health Month.  This is intended to bring awareness to the oral health of children.  The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry has issued the "State of Little Teeth Report" which emphasizes the significant threat that tooth decay has to the well-being and future of children. is an excellent resource to families for accessing both general information related to their child’s dental health and guidance on specific issues.  


What parents really want to know…

·            When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first visit?

Simply…”First visit by first birthday” is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.  This visit will establish a “dental home” for your child, and it begins a thorough prevention program. Pleasant visits to the dental office will promote trust and confidence in your child for a lifetime.

·            What dental problems could a baby have?
         A big concern for babies is Early Childhood Caries.  Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast milk, erupted teeth are at risk for cavities.  Remember…children should never go to bed with a bottle!

·            Why does my child need a space maintainer?

If a primary or baby tooth is prematurely  lost as a result of injury or decay, a space maintainer is recommend to “hold the space ” for the permanent tooth.  If left alone, the surrounding teeth can shift into the space resulting in crowding, or blocking the permanent tooth from eruption.
·            What if my child’s tooth is knocked out?

Accidents happen!  If your child’s tooth is loosened or knocked out, contact your dentist immediately.   If possible, put the tooth back in the socket or place in milk. The good news…in most cases, the tooth can be reattached. Mouth guards are crucial for kids participating in sports. You can purchase them from stores that sell athletic gear, or they can be custom made at your dental office.

·            Why did my doctor recommend sealants?

Sealants offer valuable decay protection for your child.  They are extremely effective for preventing cavities in the deep grooves of the molar teeth. Sealants are painted on the tooth surface and hardened with a special light.  It is painless and does not require numbing the tooth. Prevention is the key to a healthy mouth!

You might also enjoy:

Guest Post: National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month by Laura Valentino
The Face of a Cyberbully: Who do you see? by Dr. Katie Crosslin



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Go Red Interviews with MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley

It is February and you know what that means. GO RED! We had the opportunity to interview MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley about their heart disease experiences. 

Ms. Frederick works in the graduate school and she shared her story. She described her story for us. “I had breast cancer twice so I had always been careful of my health and had regular checkups.  The heart problem was nothing I ever expected.  I had been fine and I truly feel like all the stress I was under the years before this Mitral Valve was failing is what caused the problem.”

Ms. Frederick explained her circumstances that lead to heart disease, “I had a Mitral Valve that was not working properly.  Luckily, I went in for echocardiograms and this is how they found the problem.  They say this is very common in women so you have to take control of your health.  I had a heart murmur all my life, but as long as it didn’t change I was fine. When it changed then as my surgeon said: it needed a bit of tweaking. I realized something was wrong when I would walk a very few steps and be out of breathe!  I have always had enough energy for 3 people and I danced many hours so I now knew there was a problem.” 

We asked her how heart disease has impacted her daily life. “It has made me realize how precious life is and it can be snuffed out in a moment’s notice. I live life to the fullest! I try to stay happy and have a good attitude and love walking and dancing.  I do watch what I eat and I also go in each year to see my cardiologist.”
She explained how heart disease impacted her family and friends, “My family and friends were horribly terrified when I told them I had to have heart surgery.  They have all supported me to the fullest and if I get down they build me right back up!” 

We asked how her thinking changed about health since her diagnosis, “Your health is a very precious thing.  You are nothing without it! Again, I appreciate every day I have here on this earth and I celebrate every birthday with gusto since as long as I am having those birthdays no matter how much older I get, I am still here!”  

What advice would you give to prevent heart disease?  “Try to watch your weight and exercise when you can. I always say: I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health!”

What advice would you give to those who have heart disease?  “Pay attention to the messages your body is giving you.  Exercise, even if it’s taking a walk each day.  You need to exercise that heart and try to eat healthy, but also treat yourself when you can.  Go in for regular checkups.  I thank the Good Lord I did this or I would not be here today.”

Next, we interviewed Dr. Roger Shipley an associate professor in the Department of Health Studies about his heart disease experience. 

Dr. Shipley was diagnosed with heart disease in 1995 after his first heart attack. His wife drove him to Jack County to a hospital and had care flight take him to a hospital in Fort Worth. He was monitored by a cardiologist every six months. He was active and his life was back to normal. This past fall Dr. Shipley started to have chest discomfort. He explained, “I would walk for a little while and then have to stop and rest to catch my breath.” He then returned to his cardiologist for a stress test which he passed with flying colors, but he was still having problems. The cardiologist then had him do a cardiac catheter test and it was determined that Dr. Shipley needed bypass surgery. Dr. Shipley stated that at first the thought of the surgery was scary, but was well worth it. He underwent surgery a 9 hour on October 29th, 2013 to have a double bypass, aortic valve replacement and aorta replacement. He is now attending a twelve week cardiac rehabilitation and should be back to normal activities upon completing. 

Even in 1995, Dr. Shipley did exercise and watched what he ate to help with weight loss. He explained that his wife is a nurse, so they tend to have healthy eating habits. He also manages his stress.
When asked what circumstances lead to his heart disease he explained that he had a genetic disposition because both of his parents had heart disease. He explained that he did have a healthy lifestyle prior to his 1995 heart attack. He continued to explain that the impact his heart disease had on his family. He stated, “My wife is used to it because she is a nurse. She took care of me and helped me” during his time of recovery. He expressed that she is supportive of Dr. Shipley’s continued rehabilitation. Dr. Shipley’s son is now concerned that he too might have heart disease and has started seeking advice. Dr. Shipley has recommended that his son see a cardiologist regularly because of their genetic disposition. 

When asked how his thinking has changed since his diagnosis of heart disease Dr. Shipley explained, “I knew all of the information because of my field of work, but I needed to do the preventive things.”  As advice for to prevent heart disease, Dr. Shipley suggested people exercise, have a healthy diet, and practice stress management. For those that are living with heart disease, Dr. Shipley recommended to know the symptoms of a heart attack and monitor yourself along with your cardiologist. If there is any inclination of a heart attack, go to the emergency room immediately.

Ms. Fredrick and Dr. Shipley explained that stress management is important and it too impacts heart health. If you want more tips on managing your stress check these sites.

If you want more information about a heart healthy diet, go here.

Visit here for information on heart healthy exercise.

Learn more about your risk.

How do you keep YOUR heart healthy? Got any special exercise tips to share? How about heart healthy recipes?  Share your ideas in the comments below.