Friday, October 21, 2016

Common Foot Problems

The problem with foot problems is that they bother us every time we get up to walk! This column looks at some of the most common foot problems and their cause and treatment.

Often caused by ill-fitting shoes, hammertoes are typically the second, third or fourth toes which are crossed, bent in the middle of the toe joint, or pointing at an odd angle.  Because of the bent position, often hammertoes develop calluses and corns.  Well-fitted shoes will help relieve the pain of this condition.

A bunion is caused when the base of the big toe joint sticks out to the side, forcing the big toe to turn in.  Bunions can be caused by heredity, arthritis or trauma to the foot.  Bunions can be painful, especially if the shoes are too narrow in the toe area. Recommended treatment is surgery, after pain relievers and bunion pads no longer help.

Corns and calluses appear because of the toe or foot rubbing repeatedly against a shoe as you walk.  Corns generally appear on the tops and sides of the foot and toes, while calluses appear on the bottom of the foot or the sides.  These patches of dead skin can be painful. Treatment includes use of moleskin pads to relieve the irritation or trimming of the callus by a physician.

Claw toe causes all toes (except the big toe) to curl up at the joint where the foot and toes meet and curl downward at the middle joints.  Wearing too-small shoes or nerve damage (from diabetes or injury) can cause claw toes.  Calluses and corns often form because of the deformity of the foot.

Numbness, tingling or pain in the feet all may be symptoms of neuropathy.  Neuropathy can be caused by diabetes or injury to the feet: for example, by wearing poor-quality shoes while working on cement floors.

Topeka Pharmacy offers extra-depth shoes by Dr. Comfort that support and comfort your feet to help avoid problems which can occur from ill-fitting shoes or those which do not provide a good layer of cushioning.  Trained employees will measure your feet to ensure well-fitting shoes to help prevent as well as treat many of the problematic and serious foot conditions listed above. 

Medicare will help pay for shoes for a person with diabetes, if they meet the qualifying conditions.  Our shoes come with a 3 month guarantee! Call or stop by to find out how you can have healthier, happier feet.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Importance of Controlling Gestational Diabetes

What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational Diabetes (GD) is defined as higher than normal blood sugar levels which develop during pregnancy.  Gestational diabetes affects 7 to 18% of pregnancies in the US and is increasing in incidence. 

Those at higher risk for GD are women who have family members with diabetes, women who are overweight and those who do not exercise regularly.  There is also a higher risk if the pregnant woman is older than 35, has a history of GD with previous pregnancies or a history of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  Most women are tested for GD between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

What is the treatment for GD?
Most women are treated for GD with diet and exercise.  Treatment consists of:

  1. Testing blood sugar levels at home with a blood glucose meter.
  2. Controlling foods high in carbohydrate to avoid putting too much sugar into the bloodstream.
  3. Regular exercise to also help keep the blood sugar levels controlled.

What are the risks of not treating GD?
The importance of controlling blood sugar levels during Gestational Diabetes cannot be overstated.  Possible complications to the baby and mother of blood sugar levels that are too high include:

  • Large baby (over 9 lb) increases the risk for C-section delivery
  • Large baby also increases risk of birth trauma during regular delivery
  • Increased risk for jaundice
  • Increased risk for stillbirth
  • Increased risk for early term delivery and respiratory distress
  • Mothers have an increased risk to develop dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy.
  • Mothers have a 7 times increased risk to develop diabetes in the 5-10 years after pregnancy.

How about prevention of GD?
Prevention would be the best thing for both the mother and the baby’s health.  To help avoid developing GD, work at losing excess weight before you become pregnant.  Developing a habit of walking or biking 30 minutes daily will also decrease the risk of developing GD.
Losing weight during pregnancy, however, is not advised.  Ask your physician about appropriate weight gain goals during pregnancy.  Cutting back too far in carbs can also have negative effects.

How can I know how to eat well for GD?
A registered dietitian is the nutrition expert to go to for learning about counting carbs and controlling blood sugar levels.  Topeka Pharmacy’s Diabetes Education Program is available for classes on controlling Gestational Diabetes.  Local hospitals have diabetes instruction available as well. A healthy baby and peace of mind is worth it!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

10 Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

In a struggling economy, most of us are looking for ways to save on our grocery bill.  Many people say that they cannot eat healthy because it is too expensive.  Yet often it is careless shopping that eats up our budget.  Let’s look at the basics and see if we can make a dent in the final grocery tab, yet eat healthier:

  1. TAKE CHARGE. Someone has to take charge of healthy meal planning.  It will not happen by itself, and will take some work.
  2. EDUCATE YOURSELF. In order to plan healthy meals, you must know what healthy eating looks like.  The website tells us to split our plates visually into quarters and into each quarter put a serving of the following food groups: Fruit, Vegetable, Protein and Starch.  With a cup of milk on the side.  That is the basics of a healthy meal. The website gives much more information about healthy eating.
  3. KNOW PORTION SIZES. You must know what a healthy portion is.  For example, what size of meat portion do we need?  A normal and adequate portion of meat is the size of the palm of your hand, which is about 3 ounces.  Save money by planning for no more than 3 ounces of protein as a portion per person.
  4. FIX LESS. When we talk portions, we need to look at the fact that about 3 out of 4 Americans are overweight or obese, because we eat too much. Our portions are too large.  Almost all of us need to cut back on portion sizes.   Save money by fixing less.
  5. DON’T BUY THE EXTRAS.  Save money and your family’s health by cutting out pop, chips, cookies, convenience foods and extra portions of meat or other foods.
  6. BUY IN-SEASON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.  Look for fruits and vegetables in season or on sale, looking to get the best deals offered of foods the family will eat
  7. COOK AT HOME.  Each time you choose to cook at home rather than eat out, you will save money.  When you cook, make a double batch and freeze half to make it easier the next time.  Which foods are the most expensive per serving? Meat, single-serving  foods like yogurt and ready-to-heat food items. Even with coupons these items often are more expensive than larger containers or homemade versions.
  8. SUBSTITUTE LOWER- COST PROTEIN.  Past generations have been raised on many recipes which contained dried cooked beans as the main ingredient: bean soup, beans and cornbread, ham & beans.  There are many recipes available which use low-cost beans as the protein source.  Save money by finding and trying out recipes with beans as the main ingredient.
  9. SIMPLIFY. Eggs are inexpensive sources of protein. Carrots are low-cost vegetables. Bananas are low-cost, year-round  fruits. Potatoes are a good source of many vitamins, minerals and fiber and you can serve baked potatoes with toppings one night for a healthy, low-cost meal.  Save money by using these low-cost foods often in your meal planning.
  10. GET CONNECTED. Look online for frugal websites.  You will learn many tips from what others have been doing to eat healthy on a budget.  Get going and good shopping!