Keep holiday food in check this season
The holidays can be a great time to reconnect with family and friends. However, too much celebrating with food and drink could put your health at risk, especially if you are living with diabetes.
Before heading out to the next festive event, be smart about managing your diabetes by:
• Planning ahead. If you know you have a party to attend after work, limit your consumption of carbohydrates during the day. If you’re the one hosting the party, have healthy options available, such as vegetarian chili or a fresh veggie platter with hummus or yogurt-based dip.
• Sipping carefully. Eggnog, hot cocoa, punch and warm apple cider can all be filled with sugar, which can increase your blood sugar. Look for smarter options, such as sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or no-sugar-added cocoa.
• Taking food out of the celebration. Try hosting an event where food isn’t the focus, such as a holiday craft party or a fun day of outdoor activities.
• Watching portions. Just because your family and friends are piling up their plates at the buffet doesn’t mean you should too. Try filling your plate with healthy options, such as veggies or a handful of nuts and accenting them with small portions of your holiday favorites.
Heartburn or heart attack?
When chest pain strikes, it’s sometimes hard to know if the cause is something you ate or a heart attack. Symptoms of heartburn and heart attack can be quite similar, but the right diagnosis can be a matter of life and death.
Heartburn is very common and many treat chest pain by selfmedicating. However, it is better to be safe and report chest pain to your provider, especially if it’s a new symptom. Severe, chronic heartburn is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The main symptom of GERD is frequent burning pain in the lower part of the chest.
According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately 70 million Americans experience non-cardiac chest pain caused by gastrointestinal issues. Symptoms of heartburn/GERD include:
• The chest pain usually occurs after eating, or while lying down.
• Pain may be accompanied by a sour taste in the mouth, due to stomach acid moving up into the esophagus.
• Pain may be brief, or may continue for several hours.
• Chest pain may be accompanied by dry cough, asthma symptoms, or trouble swallowing.
Chest pain signaling a heart attack involves uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center or left side of the chest that can be mild or strong. The discomfort lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. Chest pain is also accompanied with other symptoms that should be taken seriously.
Symptoms that go along with cardiac chest pain include shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, cold sweat or tightness and pressure during physical activity or under emotional stress.
If you regularly experience heartburn and the pain seems to worsen, or is different than usual — or if it occurs during physical activity and is accompanied by any of the above symptoms, call 911 or proceed to the nearest emergency room, immediately.
Siloam Springs Regional Hospital recently was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation based on rigorous on-site evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. Hospitals that have earned the American College of Cardiology Chest Pain Center Accreditation have proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms. They have streamlined their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and recommendations and assistance in patient lifestyle changes.
The emergency room at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is here for you and your family 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn more about our services, visit Northwest Health.com today.