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November 14, 2016

Understanding Type 1 Diabetes

Since November is National Diabetes month, it is a good time to raise awareness about this condition which affects 29.1 million Americans, about 5% of whom have Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is best described as an autoimmune disorder where the persons own body destroys the pancreatic beta cells, the very cells that make insulin. Without insulin to enable glucose to move from the blood into the body’s cells, blood sugars are high. Although 70% of the cases of Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed before age 30, the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes can be made at any age. Type 1 diabetes is more common in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) more than 18,000 young people under the age of 20 years are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes every year. The goal for these individuals is to maintain their blood sugar as near normal as possible to lower the complications associated with high blood sugar (please note; there are different blood sugar goals depending on the age of the person). This can be a challenge for children and they need the active involvement of parents and family. A healthy lifestyle that includes good food choices and exercise is a must, along with age appropriate self-management of the condition. We have come a long way with the tools available to help the individual with this task, just ask anyone who was diagnosed with diabetes 50, 60 or 70 years ago! Health Care Providers (HCP) have long acting, rapid acting, fast acting and intermediate acting insulin. Sliding scales are sliding away with carbohydrate counting stepping in. I remember the days before glucometers when sugar levels were tested with a special stick dipped in the patients’ urine. We now have a wide selection of glucometers. They come in many shapes and sizes, a range of prices, some talk, some have graphs, some newer ones have touch screens and all have the capability of being downloaded into a computer or to your phone. The number of diabetics using insulin pumps is growing every day with the newest advancement being the addition of a sensor that will tell the individual if their sugar is on the way up or down. This technology uses interstitial glucose readings, not blood sugar readings. Lastly, exchange diets have been replaced with a new term, consistent carbohydrates. How do you sift through all of this information if you’re a newly diagnosed diabetic and come up with a self-management plan that fits your lifestyle? If you have been diabetic any number of years, are you taking advantage of as many of these new tools as possible to improve the self-management of your diabetes? The answer to these questions; work with your HCP, get educated and develop a team that you can call on for assistance. Your team should include your primary care physician, an endocrinologist, and a certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian. Your team may also include a podiatrist, ophthalmologist, nephrologist, dental professional and mental health professional. Don’t turn your back on diabetes. Whether you are the parent of a child who is diabetic, an adolescent or an adult; if you have been diabetic many years or are newly diagnosed, stay educated and make sure you have the most current information and tools to do what one patient said, “learn to think like a pancreas”. To find the certified diabetes educator and recognized diabetes program closest to you, go to the American Association of Diabetes Educators website. The Diabetes Self-Management Program at Noyes Health is recognized by the American Association of Diabetes and is staffed with an RN CDE and RN Health Educator. The program is available in Geneseo, Dansville, Hornell and four area Health Care Provider offices. Call 335-4355 for additional information. Nancy M. Johnsen RN, CDE is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Community Health Education Coordinator and Coordinator of the Diabetes Education Program at Noyes Health.... Read More

November 7, 2016

Diabetes Explained

November is National Diabetes month. According to the New York State Department of Health 2013 statistics, diabetes affects 10.6% of New York State residents and 10.5% of the population of Livingston County. Of this, approximately 27% have no idea that they have diabetes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the total health care cost for adults over 18 years with diabetes was 245 billion in 2013. For someone with diabetes, the health care costs are more than twice that of someone without diabetes. Quite a price! Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism that leads to a higher than normal blood sugar. The condition is both chronic and progressive. When we eat, our body breaks down food into glucose. Glucose is our main source of energy and the only source of energy for our brains. Glucose passes into our blood stream where it is available to our cells for energy. Insulin must be present for the glucose to move into the cell. About 1% of the pancreas is responsible for producing insulin from Beta Cells and the secretion of insulin should happen automatically when we eat. Depending on how this process is interrupted or challenged, there are different types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects about 5% of the diabetic population and those with this type have no insulin production left in the pancreas. The remaining 90-95% have type 2 diabetes where either insufficient insulin is produced by the beta cells or the body’s cells have become resistant to the insulin and don’t use the insulin efficiently or both. Make a note, type 2 diabetes is highest in individuals over 65 years and is on the rise in our youth. Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), about one in every 15 pregnant women will be diagnosed with this type of diabetes and of this number, about 40% will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. There are a number of risk factors for diabetes, some we can control and some we cannot. Risk factors we cannot control include; Our age; the older we get, the more our risk increases. Our family history; having a parent or sibling who has or had the disease will increase our risk Our ethnic background; being African American, Native American, Hispanic, Asian American or a Pacific Islander will increase our risk. For women, if you had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing nine pounds or more, your risk is increased What about the risk factors we can control? Our weight; weighing more than we should increases our risk Our inactivity; lack of regular exercise and the predominance of the more sedentary lifestyle increases our risk The classic signs of diabetes are increased thirst, increased urination and increased eating with no weight gain. With some types of diabetes, these signs are not present due to the insidious onset of the condition. Where do you start? Knowledge is the first step starting with your blood sugar. If you are not diabetic but have some of the above risk factors; do you know what your fasting blood sugar is? If you are a diabetic; do you know what your HbA1c test is? (to be explained in future articles). Armed with the answers to these questions you are now ready for the next step which is prevention and self-management. Both include a healthy lifestyle of maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and eating a well-balanced diet. If you have symptoms, don’t ignore them. Be alert and make an appointment with your physician. Get educated about the condition and take charge. The CDC estimates that in 2010 only 57.4% of individuals with diabetes took advantage of Diabetes Self-Management Classes, in New York State, only 40.9% took advantage of this resource. The Diabetes Self-Management Program at Noyes Health is recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and is staffed with an RN CDE and RN Health Educator. The program is available in Geneseo, Dansville, Hornell and four area Health Care Provider offices. Call 335-4355 for additional information. Join me in coming weeks as I look at the specifics of some of the types of diabetes, new advances in treatment options and management tools. Nancy M. Johnsen RN, CDE is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Community Health Education Coordinator and Coordinator of the Diabetes Education Program at Noyes Health.... Read More

November 3, 2016

Look Good Feel Better - Helping Women with Cancer

Cancer can rob a woman of her energy, appetite, and strength. But it doesn’t have to take away her self-confidence. Look Good Feel Better is a FREE program that teaches beauty techniques to women in active cancer treatment. The workshop includes skincare, makeup application, nail care and accessory style tips. Every woman will receive a complementary makeup kit to take home. The next Look Good Feel Better session is on Monday, November 28th from 10 am to noon in conference room D at Noyes Health hospital in Dansville. Registration is required, please call 1-800-227-2345. ... Read More

November 1, 2016

UR Medicine / Noyes Health Welcomes Dr. Jean Archer-Colella, Board-Certified Podiatrist

Dr. Archer-Colella, a board certified podiatrist, joins the Genesee Regional Orthopedics and Sports Medicine team at UR Medicine / Noyes Health. UR Medicine / Noyes Health welcomes Dr. Jean Archer-Colella, board-certified in podiatric medicine and podiatric orthopedics, to the Genesee Regional Orthopedics and Sport Medicine team. She will begin seeing patients in Dansville on November 1, 2016. Dr. Archer-Colella uses medical and surgical approaches to treat a variety of foot, ankle and leg disorders, including those related to diabetes and vascular disease. Her expertise includes treatment of sports-related injuries and biomechanical issues, and wound care. A graduate of the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, Dr. Archer-Colella worked at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Richmond Hill (Queens), New York and, most recently, in private practice affiliated with Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Archer-Collela, please call (585)335-9360. UR Medicine / Noyes Health is a diverse and comprehensive healthcare system which includes the 67-bed Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital and the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center in Dansville, New York, Noyes Health Services in Geneseo, New York, Noyes Kidney and Dialysis Center in Geneseo and Noyes Mental Health Services in Dansville. Noyes Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and serves all of Livingston County and parts of Steuben, Allegany and Ontario Counties. Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital is a community hospital and the only Emergency Department in Livingston County, located off Interstate 390, Exit 4. For more information about Noyes Health visit our website at www.noyes-health.org. For more information visit www.noyes-health.org, the Noyes Health Facebook Page or contact Mary Sue Dehn, Director of PR/Foundation, mdehn@noyeshealth.com or 585-335-4323.... Read More

October 27, 2016

7th Annual Caregiver Retreat

The children are grown up. You are established in your job or maybe retirement is right around the corner and then you get the phone call. Your parent was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer live alone. You are now a 24/7 primary caregiver for an older adult. You are exhausted, stressed, and worn out. Does this scenario sound familiar? Perhaps you or someone you know is caregiving for a loved one either with Alzheimer’s or a chronic illness. If you are, you are not alone. Nearly 44 million adults provided care to an adult or child in the last year; that is more than one out of every six adults in the United States. More than 34 million of those were caring for a frail elder. And according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration of Aging, those numbers will only increase as the baby boomers continue to age. By 2030, the number of Americans age 65 or older is expected to double to 72 million. The stress on caregivers and their families is tremendous. In 2011, the American Psychological Association conducted the Stress in America survey. They found that on a scale of 1 to 10, caregivers mean level of stress was 6.5 compared with 5.2 among the general public. 55% of those folks said they were overwhelmed in the amount of care they must provide. The good news is that there are resources to help caregivers through the journey of taking care of a loved one. Locally, the Noyes Caregiver Resource Center, along with the Office for Aging, Mental Health Association and Alzheimer’s Association is sponsoring the 7th Annual Caregiver Retreat. It will be held at Celebrate Family Church in Leicester on November 12th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The Caregiver Retreat is for caregivers taking care of loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other chronic long term health conditions. Community vendors will be on hand to answer questions about services. Everyone gets a complimentary spaghetti lunch and door prizes will be drawn. The keynote speaker this year is Caren Kolerski. In a lively interactive session, Caren will facilitate fun, stress awareness activities, followed by a full Laughter Yoga session for stress-relief, joy and wellness! The guest speaker panel line-up includes representatives from the Office for Aging, Venture Forthe, Lifespan Finger Lakes Caregiver Institute, LAW NY, and the Alzheimer’s Association. Registration is required for event. Call 585-335-4359 or email: caregiver@noyeshealth.org to reserve your spot. Respite care and activities will be available for caregivers who bring their loved ones. Call the Alzheimer’s Association at 1-800-272-3900 to request respite during this event. The Noyes Caregiver Resource Center comes alongside family caregivers in Livingston County and provides them with the support they need to meet the challenges that come with caring for someone at home with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other chronic health conditions. The Caregiver Resource Center supports caregivers by providing information and assistance, education, support groups, and respite care services. Caregivers often neglect themselves and suffer with high rates of stress-related illness that affect their ability to be a successful caregiver. It is vital for caregivers to take care of themselves and educate themselves on resources available in their community. For more information on the Caregiver Resource Center services or if you are interested in volunteering to provide respite services for caregivers, call Christa Barrows (585) 335-4358 or e-mail: caregiver@noyeshealth.org This article was written jointly by Christa Barrows and Lorraine Wichtowski, community health educator. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles Lorraine Wichtowski can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

October 25, 2016

Annual UR Medicine / Noyes Health “Honor Wall” Recognizes Military Service of Staff and their Family Members

Photograph Exhibit opens in the Noyes Memorial Hospital Lobby and at Noyes Health Services in Geneseo on Tuesday, November 1 To recognize and thank our employees, volunteers and their family members currently serving or retired from active military service, UR Medicine / Noyes Health will exhibit the “Honor Wall,” a collection of their photographs, at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville and at Noyes Health Services in Geneseo. UR Medicine / Noyes Health Information Systems Assistant Brenda Hoag started the Honor Wall project last year. “I thought it was a nice way for us to demonstrate our appreciation for everything our veterans have done for us,” says Hoag, “and, in particular, to thank our colleagues for their service.” Hoag’s goal was to collect at least 100 photos of veterans and/or those on active duty or in the reserves – either current Noyes Health employees or their family members. So far, she has collected 115 with additional photos coming in daily. UR Medicine / Noyes Health invites the community to a reception to inaugurate this year’s Honor Wall on Tuesday, November 1 at 1 p.m. Guests of honor will include board members and employees in active service or retired from service including Jason Allen, Mark Anderson, Mike Barnett, Richard Brooks, Donald Collins, Lindsay Fitzpatrick, Graham Frazer, Dan Guy, Dean Hackman, Mike Johnsen, Chad Miles, John Sykes, Shelly Trim and Paul Van Durden. The Honor Wall will remain up throughout the month of November at both locations. UR Medicine / Noyes Health is a diverse and comprehensive healthcare system which includes the 67-bed Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital and the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center in Dansville, New York, Noyes Health Services in Geneseo, New York, Noyes Kidney and Dialysis Center in Geneseo and Noyes Mental Health Services in Dansville. Noyes Health is accredited by the Joint Commission and serves all of Livingston County and parts of Steuben, Allegany and Ontario Counties. Nicholas H. Noyes Memorial Hospital is a community hospital and the only Emergency Department in Livingston County, located off Interstate 390, Exit 4. For more information about Noyes Health visit our website at www.noyes-health.org. For more information visit www.noyes-health.org, the Noyes Health Facebook Page or contact Mary Sue Dehn, Director of PR/Foundation, mdehn@noyeshealth.com or 585-335-4323. ... Read More

October 19, 2016

Halloween Safety

On October 31st, our streets will be invaded by goblins, princesses, celebrities, and comic book heroes and they will all be chanting the same mantra, “Trick or Treat!” For many, fall celebrations like Halloween or Harvest parties are a chance to dress up in costume, gather with friends, and eat delicious treats. Halloween night can also be a bit scary when it comes to safety. According to Safekids.org, only one-third of parents talk to their kids, annually about Halloween, although three-fourths report having Halloween safety fears. Those fears are warranted in that twice as many as child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween compared to other days of the year. That statistic may in part be due to lack of reflective tape and adult supervision. Only 18% of parents use reflective tape on their children’s costumes and 12% of children five years of age or younger are permitted to trick-or-treat alone. To combat these numbers and make Halloween as safe and fun as possible, Safekids.org and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the following safety tips: Walking and Traffic Safety Children under 12 should trick-or-treat and cross streets with an adult. Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the side as possible. Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks. Cross the street as a group when possible. If older children are going alone, plan and review the route ahead of time. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. Consider providing the child with a cell phone. Review emergency procedures and how to dial 911. Put reflective tape on costumes and bags for easy visibility. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat. Instruct children to only visit well-lit homes and never accept rides from strangers. Motorist Safety Drivers should slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Put away all cellular devices and turn down the radio. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways. 2. Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curb. 3. Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully. 4. At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing. Costume Safety Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure shoes fit well and costumes are short enough to prevent tripping. Masks can block or limit eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup or hats instead. Buy only flame resistant costumes, wigs, and accessories. Swords, knives, and other costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible. Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their supervisors. Do not use decorative contact lenses. Decorative contacts without a prescription are both dangerous and illegal. These lenses can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss. Home Safety Small children should never carve pumpkins. Little ones can draw a face with markers and parents can do the cutting. Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If using a candle, choose a votive and place pumpkins on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects. Never leave a lit pumpkin unattended. Check outdoor lighting prior to Halloween. Replace burned-out bulbs. Sweep sidewalks and steps to remove any wet leaves or snow. Keep your pets away from trick-or-treaters. Many little ones are fearful of animals and the animal may inadvertently jump on or bite a child. Tummy Safety Eat a good, well-balanced meal before heading out on the Halloween trail. This will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats. Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Tampering is rare; however, an adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped, homemade treats made by strangers, or suspicious items. Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween. Consider putting candy in the freezer and allotting a few pieces per day. For more information about Halloween safety tips, visit any of the following websites: http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/, https://www.safekids.org/halloween or the American Academy of Pediatrics Halloween safety page at www.aap.org. Happy Halloween and be safe out there! Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

October 19, 2016

First “Night for Noyes” Raises $170,000 for New Cancer Center

Gunlocke Pledge of $75,000 Takes Cancer Center Capital Campaign over the Top Saunders Donation of $150,000 to Provide New State-of-the-Art Imaging Systems for Diagnostic Use The sold-out “Night for Noyes” at Nugget Hill Event Center in Wayland on Saturday night (October 15), hosted by the Noyes Health Foundation and Noyes Health Auxiliary, raised $175,000 for the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center, currently under construction on the UR Medicine / Noyes Health campus in Dansville. In addition to the funds raised that evening, Amy Pollard, CEO of UR Medicine / Noyes Health announced that the capital campaign for the cancer center surpassed its goal of $2.5 million with a $75,000 gift from Gunlocke. Gunlocke vice president Tim Costello was there to share the news of the company’s donation, saying “This represents Gunlocke’s on-going commitment to the health of our employees and this community.” In addition, businessman and philanthropist Phil Saunders told the sold-out crowd he and his wife Carol will make a $150,000 donation to UR Medicine / Noyes Health’s radiology department for a new digital radiology room and DXA bone scanner. “We are so grateful to everyone who made the ‘Night for Noyes,’ such a success” said Pollard, “and to all those who have given so generously to the Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center capital campaign. We are blessed to be a part of a community that demonstrates over and over again that they value what we are doing to bring the best in cancer care and healthcare in general closer to home.” The $2.5 million capital campaign for the new cancer center began two years ago with a $2 million pledge from local philanthropists Ann and Carl Myers. When it opens early next year, the Cancer Center will provide patients in New York’s Genesee Valley, Finger Lakes and Southern Tier more convenient access to much-needed, comprehensive, state of-the-art cancer care. The project is a collaboration of UR Medicine’s Wilmot Cancer Institute (Rochester), Noyes Health (Dansville) and Jones Memorial Hospital (Wellsville), and will serve as a hub for regional oncology services. The project includes a 4,500 square foot lower level addition which will house a radiation oncology clinic, and a 2,300 square foot medical oncology clinic featuring three exam rooms and seven chemotherapy/infusion chairs in renovated and new first-floor space. The regional cancer center will also provide patients with access to services including advanced diagnostic testing, clinical trials, outpatient palliative care, and Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Judy DiMarzo Cancer Survivorship Program. Physicians at the cancer center and medical oncology clinic at Jones will have access to UR Medicine’s region-wide electronic medical record system and regular consultations with multidisciplinary teams focused on cancer. “Night for Noyes” featured ticket, silent and live auctions of a variety of items donated by area businesses, Auxiliary members and Noyes Health employees and volunteers. Dr. David Dougherty, director of UR Medicine / Wilmot Cancer Center’s regional cancer program, spoke about the services the area’s patients will access through the Cancer Center’s unique partnership. Cancer survivors Meghan Lowell and Katie Brice spoke eloquently about how the new cancer center will make it easier for cancer patients and their families to get the care they need without the stress they faced of traveling to Rochester and beyond for treatment. Auctioneer Kyle Tracy led the live auction for everything from suite tickets to Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres games to a ski weekend in Vermont, quarter sides of beef and more. “It was not just a night for Noyes,” said Jon Shay, Noyes Health Foundation, “it was a night that recognized everything this community does to come together and provide for our neighbors and friends who are facing illness of any kind. We can not be more grateful for the support.”... Read More

October 14, 2016

TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT for “Night for Noyes” Event!

Noyes Health Foundation and Noyes Health Auxiliary’s “Night for Noyes,” a benefit for the new Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center tomorrow night at Nugget Hill Event Center in Wayland is sold out! The Foundation and the Auxiliary are grateful to this generous community—the event sponsors, donors of auction items and baskets, and all who have bought tickets. Galaxy (lead) sponsors of “Night for Noyes” are The Gunlocke Company and UR Medicine, with Lunar (co-sponsors) Lent Hill Dairy Farm, LLC and Genesee Construction. Additional sponsors: CONSTELLATION SPONSORS Cook Iron Store Co., Inc. Graham and Candy Frazer Michael and Nancy Johnsen Kevin and Mary Alice Kilbourne LMC Industrial Contractors, Inc. Domenick and Ann Martello— In Memory of Lisa Martello McGowen Jon and Linda Shay Thomas and Joanie Wamp MOONBEAM SPONSORS A Smile By Design—Dr. and Mrs. James Vogler Breast for All, LLC— Catherine Wightman Communicare Partners—Kelly McCormick-Sullivan James and Linda Culbertson Genesee Valley Penny Saver Steuben Landscaping and Floral Center— Jim and Ria Sauerbier Dr. Robert Whelpley STARLIGHT SPONSORS Dansville Family Dental Care Wilson Beef Farms The Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center is a unique collaborative project between Wilmot Cancer Institute, Jones Memorial Hospital, and Noyes Health currently under construction on the campus of Noyes Hospital. When it opens early next year, the Cancer Center will provide patients in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Western New York more convenient access to comprehensive, state-of-the art cancer care. It will also serve as a hub for oncology services and includes a medical oncology clinic in Wellsville and Hornell. Established with a $2 million gift from Ann and Carl Myers, the $5.8 million project will feature a 4,500 square foot radiation oncology clinic and a 2,300 square foot medical oncology clinic featuring three exam rooms and seven chemotherapy/infusion chairs. It will also provide patients with access to advanced diagnostic testing, clinical trials, outpatient palliative care, and Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Judy DiMarzo Cancer Survivorship Program. Physicians at the cancer center and medical oncology clinic at Jones will have access to UR Medicine’s region-wide electronic medical record system and regular consultations with multidisciplinary teams focused on cancer. Please contact Mary Sue Dehn, Noyes Health Foundation Director at (585)335-4363 with questions. ... Read More

October 13, 2016

Sitting Too Much- Consequences of a Sedentary World

Like many folks, I sit way too much. My job requires an incredible amount of computer time, reading, and sit-down meetings. On top of this, I tend to get hyper-focused on projects and before I know it, I have been sitting at my desk for 60 minutes without a break. The result, sore lower back, tense shoulders, and “ostrich neck” – you know that forward leaning motion with your head and neck extended directly at the screen. Over the last few years, sitting and its effects on our bodies has received a lot of press and for good reason. It turns out, too much time on the hind end, not only makes us stiff and sore, it actually puts us at risk for serious health consequences and premature aging. A 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, commuting (running errands), working at a computer, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. The study found that those who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes. The inactivity of sitting leads to higher documented rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Zoning in on cancer in particular, the University of Regensburg in Germany examined close to 70,000 cancer cases. They found that sitting is associated with a 24% increased risk for colon cancer, 32% increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer. And the really bad news is that you can’t exercise this away at the end of the day. Even those who regularly exercise are susceptible to health consequences if they sit too much the rest of the time and don’t take routine breaks. The body is a complex mechanism and researchers still do not know exactly how sitting contributes to poor health. Here is what we know so far: Sitting Causes a Biochemical Mishap Research suggests that sugar and fat are metabolized differently when we sit which affects a person’s risk for diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Marc Hamilton, an expert in sedentary physiology at the University of Houston, explains that sitting for prolonged periods has been shown to induce biochemical changes in lipoprotein lipase (enzyme) activity. This enzyme normally allows muscles to remove fat from the bloodstream but when we sit too long, it essentially turns off. As a consequence, fat in the bloodstream goes directly to fatty deposits. So yikes, more fat, less muscle. Sitting = Weight Gain = Elevated Risk for Chronic Diseases You burn 30% more calories when you stand than when you sit. Days, months, and years of sitting add up and the number of unused calories adds up which leads to weight gain. These additional pounds also contribute to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Sitting = Bad Posture and Pressure When we sit, we generally crouch forward which leads to an unnaturally curved spine. This is especially true of folks who do lots of desk work. This uneven pressure puts strain on the spine, muscles, and joints. In addition, because we are hunched over, our lungs have less space to expand. This limits how deeply we breathe which limits the amount of oxygen in our bloodstream and brain. (This is why we actually become less productive and tired the longer we sit. The brain needs oxygen to stay alert and active.) Finally, sitting compresses tissue especially in the glute and thigh regions. This cuts off circulation and causes swelling in the lower extremities. By the way, substituting standing for sitting is not the answer. Standing in one place also puts pressure on the body and can lead to circulatory problems such as varicose veins. Sitting Speeds Aging A Swedish study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that telomeres (tiny caps on the ends of DNA strands) in people who sit all day get shorter. As telomeres get shorter, the rate at which the body ages and decays speeds up. Conversely, the study found “that the telomeres in [those] who were sitting the least had lengthened. Their cells seemed to be growing physiologically younger.” The Good News – Movement is the Answer and its FREE! The bottom line is our bodies were made to move. We have over 360 joints and 700 muscles – all made to move. A 2008 Australian study found those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had narrower waists, lower weights, and lower cholesterol. The average length of their breaks: just four and a half minutes. The American Academy of Family Physicians and the Cornell University Ergonomics program suggest the following to keep us healthy as possible in a sit-down world: Take a one to three minute break about every half hour during the day to stand. Cornell suggests, for every 20 minutes of sitting, stand for 8 minutes and move for 2 minutes. (Either way – get into the habit of moving around every 20 minutes or so.) Stand or exercise while watching TV. Set achievable goals and scale up slowly. For example, reduce sitting time by 15 to 20 minutes a day and then set weekly goals to improve. Aim to cut two to three hours of sedentary time. Stand and walk around while talking on the phone. Set an alarm on your phone or computer to get up and move every ½ hour. MOVE throughout the day, every day. Remember exercising one hour a day is great (keep doing it) but it won’t counteract prolonged sitting. Frequent movement variety throughout the day will help neutralize the effects of sitting. Lorraine Wichtowski is a community health educator at Noyes Health in Dansville. If you have questions or suggestions for future articles she can be reached at lwichtowski@noyeshealth.org or 585-335-4327. ... Read More

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