Sunday, April 1, 2018

Does Nutrition Info Listed in Restaurant Menus Matter?

One fast-food chain in the state of Washington recently announced that-for an entire year-it had been posting inside its menus the nutrition facts about its meals. And yet its customers never seemed to blink an eye-hardly anyone changed their eating habits significantly. Are we Americans just not interested in what we're eating?

Researchers at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in Tacoma, Washington, decided to test whether this assumption about restaurant diners was true: are customers neither interested in nor influenced by the nutrition information restaurants list in their menus?
Sit-down vs. Fast-food Restaurants

The researchers at first hypothesized that the consumers in sit-down restaurants were more likely to pay attention to information on the menu about nutrients than were the patrons of fast-food establishments. At a sit-down restaurant, the scientists reasoned, diners are often less hurried, and therefore would be more likely to examine the nutrition specs in the menu.

They further reasoned that, in contrast to this sit-down group, the fast-food people:
are often pressed for time
know what foods they're going to order even before they walk in
aren't expecting to be dining in some nutritional utopia

But no! The study showed that neither of these groups changed their eating habits much in eateries that listed nutrition info in their menus. This was true both for the people eating at sit-down restaurants and for the denizens of fast-food places.

Another explanation?

The researchers now theorize that most of the people who already are eating healthy diets might have been excluded from their study because these diners:
are by now well aware of which menu options are healthier overall and lowest in calories
typically don't eat in fast-food restaurants

So, do we Americans, on average, already know what's in the foods and beverages we consume? If so, readers, what do you look for in food labels and menus? And what do you consider "deal-breakers" in terms of calories, fat, sodium, and so on?

Making Sense of Menus and Food Labels

Here are some tips for deciphering all the food choices confronting us daily, and for spotting "deal-breakers," whether you're at a greasy squat-and-gobble or a 4-star restaurant.


If you're watching your weight, which many of us are doing these days, a range of 300 calories to 600 calories per meal is probably appropriate. If possible, avoid drinking calorie-laden beverages, especially some of those smoothies, which are super sugary.


A range of 30 grams (g) to 45 g of carbohydrate per meal might make sense, but steer clear of any ingredients listed as "simple carbohydrates," which can indicate refined sugar.


These are listed on a food label in the "carbohydrates" section. Even milk and fruits, for example, contain simple sugars (lactose and fructose, respectively). Try to keep in mind that, overall, every 4 g of sugar listed on a label is equivalent to 1 teaspoon, or a packet, of refined sugar. So, next time you're about to order a latte containing 40 grams of sugars, now you'll at least know that that yummy drink contains about 10 packets of sugar -ouch! Around 15 g of sugars or less per meal/snack is the general rule.


A normal, healthy adult's recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 50 g per day, but many studies have shown that a lot of Americans eat more protein than they need. Around 20 g of protein per meal is sufficient for most, so eating any more than 50 g in a day means that you're taking in extra calories. And for some people, such as those with kidney issues, more than 50 g a day can be downright harmful.


Many Americans typically consume a diet that's too high in fat, particularly the saturated and trans fats that contribute to heart disease. While everyone on the planet needs some fat for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and the proper functioning of certain hormones, most people don't need more than 40 g to 50 g of fat per day. Therefore, more than 10-15 g of fat per meal could be a deal-breaker. On a list of ingredients, 5 g of fat is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of fat, or a pat of butter. A snack containing more than 5 g of fat is probably not a wonderful idea.


A teaspoon of salt contains about 2,000 milligrams (mg) of sodium, more than enough for most healthy adults during a day. Of course, many people consume far more than this, but more than 600 mg of sodium per meal is not ideal, and many healthcare professionals recommend less.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Is Your Sugar Intake Making You Look Even More Like A Tired Parent?

Tired Parent: Could Sugar causing you to look even more over tired?

Many health professionals state that sugar changes the appearance of your skin. In fact, experts now believe a lifetime of overeating sugar can make skin dull and wrinkled. Too much sugar can cause damage to the collagen and elastin in your skin. These are the protein fibers that keep skin firm and elastic. So, if you are looking more tired, drawn out and 'blotchy' than normal, it may be that you have too much sugar in your diet. When you're a tired parent, it's easy to assume this lack of elasticity or dullness in just due to the tiredness caused by bringing home a newborn baby.

Sugar is often hidden in foods you think are healthy

Regardless of how healthy you think your diet may be, if your skin is not as fresh and bright as it used to be, start paying attention to the processed foods in your diet to see what effect they might be having. Most nutritionists will tell you that sugar is one of the negative foods in your diet. It's an ingredient that is very difficult to avoid if you're not paying attention. Foods such as pasta sauce, yoghurt, spreads, crackers and chewing gum are laden with sugar to enhance taste.

Of course sugar is not the whole answer to your tiredness when you're a new mum - that waking baby has a pretty big impact! However, when you feel extremely tired it is very tempting to resort to sugar laden foods to wake you up. This has become a habit and before you know it you have developed an addiction to sugar. When you consume sugar, it also gives you an instant 'high', so for that moment and a few moments afterwards, you feel happy and energetic. Unfortunately, this positive feeling does not last. Your body gets a quick burst of sugar, but because it happens so quickly, it depletes your body and causes you to feel more tired that you were to begin with. The effects of sugar are not so easy to detect, because they happen so gradually. Being a tired parent can also mask the effects of sugar. You may assume your skin tone is solely the result of becoming a new parent, when in fact sugar may be playing an important part.

Do you have a sweet tooth?

The go-to food for many people when you're feeling tired, emotional or overwhelmed is chocolates and sweets. You don't have to give them up completely, however, you will find the moment you reduce your sugar intake, your cravings for sugar will reduce also. If you have a sweet tooth, there are loads of sugar free treats you can introduce into your lifestyle so you don't feel you are missing out. Try our free recipe for chocolate almond protein balls here. When you have your next sugar craving, sink your teeth into one of these instead. You will feel satisfied and you'll begin to swap processed sugar for healthier sweet alternatives.

The good news about sugar

The exciting thing is the effects of sugar on your health are irreversible. You'll start to see results very quickly. If you are looking for a way to get back into your healthy lifestyle, take a look at Refresh Your Life: motivational weight loss program. This program makes it easy to eat low sugary foods, in a balanced way.

Friday, March 30, 2018

5 Great Foods for People With Kidney Problems

When the kidneys are no longer able to function as intended, there is a risk of food waste building up in the blood. For this reason, it is beneficial to eat a specially prepared diet that puts less stress on the kidneys. Let's take a look at a few of the best foods to eat for people with kidney disease:


Cauliflower is a type of cruciferous vegetable that is nutrient-dense with plenty of B vitamin folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. Also, it is a great source of fiber and high in anti-inflammatory compounds. The cauliflower is a versatile vegetable which can easily be mashed and used as a substitute for potatoes. This use of cauliflower is certain to appeal to those looking to eat a meal low in potassium.


Blueberries are one of the finest sources of antioxidants. They benefit the body in many different ways, including the ability to protect the body against a variety of diseases, such as diabetes, cognitive decline, certain cancers and heart disease. Also, the high nutrient content and low potassium, phosphorus and sodium can make a very good light snack that is kidney-friendly.

Sea Bass

Adding a serving of sea bass to your diet is a great way to introduce a high-quality protein. It is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are useful for reducing inflammation. Plus, it has the potential to help people who suffer with anxiety and depression. A further benefit of this type of fish is the low amount of phosphorus content compared to many others like salmon and shellfish.


A special diet for people with kidney disease should be relatively low in sodium. So, a great alternative to adding salt to a dish for flavor is to use a substitute like garlic. Garlic is not only able to improve the taste, but can also provide several nutritional benefits. It is rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese and sulfur compounds that are known to help with inflammation.


Buckwheat is one of the few whole grains that aren't high in phosphorus. It is rich in nutrients like fiber, iron, magnesium and B vitamins. Plus, it is naturally gluten-free which makes a practical choice for those people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. Buckwheat is available throughout the year and easy to use in a variety of dishes. It can even be used as a very acceptable substitute for porridge or rice.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Healthy Eating Habits - The Best Time to Have Your Daily Meals

The Best Time to Eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner:- When it comes to having your very basic and regular three meals of the day that is: breakfast, lunch and dinner, one simply shoves the food down his throat, like any other task of the day, which is to be performed on daily basis, without paying any attention to the time of having those meals. However, for these meals to provide your body with adequate amount of energy and required nutrition, it is very important to have them at its required time because right timings are as important as the meal items itself. Therefore, having your food may sound very simple, but it may become one of those biggest mistakes that make huge difference to your body, overall health and fitness. Hence, it becomes really imperative for each one of us to know the right timings to have your regular three meals.

Below are certain points that one need to observe and analyze once, to inculcate the habit of having food at its required time:
How frequently do you delay your breakfast or skip your meal after a heavy workout? How often do you eat right before bedtime? Do you take long gaps between meals? Hence deciding the ideal time to have your food can be a tricky question to answer.

Below are the appropriate guidelines that one should follow with respect to you regular three meals of day, promising you a healthy lifestyle:


One should aim to eat within the window of 30 minutes, post waking up in the morning
Best time to have first meal of the day is Around 7am
Breakfast should not be delayed later than 10am
Ensure to include a good amount of protein in your breakfast


Around 12.45pm is the best time to have lunch
One must maintain a difference of approximately 4 hours between your breakfast and lunch
Lunch should not be delayed post 4pm


The best time to take dinner is before 7pm

One should keep a gap of 3 hours between your dinner and time you sleep
Delaying dinner post 10 pm is not considered to be healthy practice
Eating right before going to bed can deter your healthy sleep
What you don't consume off will probably be stored as fat, as you turn out to be less dynamic towards the finish of the day
Eating excessively near sleep time enhances your blood glucose and insulin levels, which makes it tougher to sleep
Your last supper must be lightest of the day and needs to be eaten before three hours prior to your sleep time at night

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Biggest Mistake After a Late Night Junkout

Many of my clients over the years have done it - some over and over, despite my recommendations to go in a different direction.

This article covers the biggest mistake you can make if you had a junk-out or mini-binge last night, what to do instead, and why.

Okay, last night's junk-out. Maybe it started with crackers and segued into a large bag of chips or cookies, which you polished off completely.

What happens the next day is critical.

What many of my clients used to do was skip eating for almost half the day, or even more. To me, this is a mistake with massive impact.

It seems to be based on the common "a-calorie-is-a-calorie" perspective (it's tempting to say "myth"). Calories do matter, but avoiding food for much of the day following a late-night binge can be a bad idea for several reasons.

A late-night binge will seldom center on broccoli, kale or asparagus. It usually involves junkier foods - crackers, chips, cookies, and so on. As a result, it affects a number of factors.

Junk-outs impact blood sugar (glucose).
Bingeing on junky carbs can result in a reactive hypoglycemic response, making the morning glucose level lower than normal. Some people are more susceptible to this than others, of course, but that doesn't mean it seldom happens. It can be fairly common, and those who binge frequently may be among the susceptible ones.

Junk-outs impact brain chemistry.
Again, a binge typically consists of junky foods, which have fairly predictable effects on brain chemistry. I'll address only a few of those effects.

• For those who are susceptible, these binge foods may trigger an addictive response. That response will virtually guarantee a repeat binge that involves the same addictive foods or others like them.

• The binge foods are likely to trigger cravings the next day for the same foods or similarly troublesome ones.

• The after-effect of the binge may be a drop in key brain chemicals, which in turn leaves us feeling blah, cranky, or worse. Such emotionally "low" states are more likely to prompt the desire to self-medicate the next day just to change the mood or feeling.

Junk-outs impact several hormones.
These may include insulin, ghrelin, CCK and others.

These hormones, along with the other factors above, in turn influence appetite, food preferences, and even a degree of emotional attachment to the foods.

Junk-outs delay breakfast.
The following day's desire to eat will likely be pushed back by hours. This is probably due to the calories consumed during the binge and may be the only factor that calories control directly.

What's wrong with postponing breakfast?

Skipping food until late in the day, even late in the morning, allows all of the effects that last night's binge had on glucose, brain chemicals, hormones, appetite, food preferences, cravings, mood (and more) to control the next day.

What Should You Do Instead?

Take control immediately. Wake up at your usual time, use the bathroom as usual, go directly to the kitchen, and eat. No, it's not necessary to eat a full breakfast if you really don't want it, but at least have protein.

Why protein? Protein - even by itself - will address most, if not all, of the problems listed above:

• It will help to raise low blood glucose to a healthy level.
• It will boost metabolic rate from its morning low.
• It will trigger brain production and release of chemicals that are mood boosters.
• It will trigger the release of the hormone CCK (cholecystokinin), which reduces both appetite and the desire for carbohydrates, especially junky ones.
• It will trigger release of glucagon, a hormone that opposes the not-always-beneficial effects of insulin. Protein is the only food-type that will do this - the only other way is through exercise.
• Eating first thing in the morning may help to prevent the shift of calorie intake to the late hours of the day, where they may negatively impact weight management.

What About a Full Morning Meal?

A full meal is fine, as long as it includes a full serving (20-plus grams) of protein. The problem is that many late-night binge eaters don't want a meal early in the morning and continue the habit of putting off eating till the afternoon, or at least till late morning. That mistake has far-reaching consequences, so have protein first thing the next morning.

Which Foods Have Protein?

Examples include eggs, chicken, fish, shrimp, beef, lamb, cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt with 20 grams of protein per serving.

Yes, you can eat chicken or fish in the morning.

Vegans may want to use plant proteins. Hemp, pea or vegetable protein powders would be a good choice.

Please note: Nuts are NOT protein; they're fats. Quinoa is NOT protein; it's a carbohydrate.

What About the Rest of the Day's Food?

My recommendation is to build meals (and even snacks, if you need them) that include protein, vegetables, healthful fats, and complex starches.

Bottom line: Don't try to 'starve off' a late-night binge. Instead, take control of the next day immediately by eating promptly after waking - or within 30 minutes at most - and having protein, either by itself or within a solid meal as described above.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

What Is Nutrition? Eating for Good Health

"If the patient has been to more than four physicians, nutrition is probably the medical answer" - Abraham Hoffer, M.D., PH.D.

Let the goal of your nutritional plan be optimal health and the lean body shall automatically follow.

I strongly believe in the statement above. The saying that clothes make a man doesn't apply half as much to clothes as it does to a healthy diet. Literally, the food you eat makes you. Some scientists have even arrived at the conclusion post studies that some of the foods you eat maybe contributing to elevated aggressive behaviours in individuals.

This is a question I get asked often, especially since the last few weeks. People wished to know what to eat in order to lose their weight. But managing your weight isn't as simple as switching the item in the menu. There are a few factors to consider.

But rest assured, as far as losing weight and maintaining your health is concerned; nutrition is not a very difficult task to handle. It's about having a balanced diet by making the right food choices, in the right quantity and quality and then sticking to it (a little cheating is OK... just a little).

The definition of nutrition in Wikipedia is given as:

Nutrition (also called nourishment or aliment) is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary (in the form of food) to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet.

Nutritional science tries to understand how the body breaks food down (catabolism) and repairs and creates cells and tissue (anabolism) - this process of catabolism and anabolism is called as metabolism. Nutritional science also examines how the body responds to food. This reveals the secrets behind why we gain fat from food and how we can shed fat from food.

Brigham Young University states that "nutritional Science investigates the metabolic and physiological responses of the body to food and diet, including the role of nutrients in the cause, treatment, and prevention of disease."

But in most of our minds the question is a simpler one - What must I eat to lose weight?

Well, if the answer were as simple then everyone would be lean and fat free. Wouldn't they? Losing weight or body fat is not just about creating a list of diet foods and simply eating them. Even good things used improperly can be harmful to you.

But the task of maintaining a fat free diet is NOT that difficult or complex once you understand the basics of creating healthy diet plans. The by product shall be a lean and fit body.

So let's begin looking at these basics:

· Why do you need proper nutrition - Simple answer, isn't it? Energy, tissue repair and overall maintenance of our health?

· Where does it come from - the food we eat - DUH!! can't get more obvious

· Are you eating foods that may be adversely affecting your health? - Chances are most of us are doing this.

1. Food for energy

Most of us eat food for the satisfaction of our palates first, the ritual of timely eating set by years of practise and conditioning and finally as a means of bringing a sense of togetherness with the people we dine with. I am yet to come across someone who actually looks at food as a means to an end and not the ultimate goal itself.

The primary goal of your food is to provide you with energy, read calories, while not adversely affecting your body. Any food item you consume should primarily provide you with energy to carry on the daily tasks. However, most food choices that we make today are notorious for their fat deposits and cholesterol spiking capabilities. Fast foods like burgers, pizzas and soft drinks bring along a major spike in the sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol content of the food. Yet most of us opt for them over whole foods like Sprout salads simply because the fast foods taste better and easily available - tell me I am wrong.

Have you ever noticed that when you eat foods like white rice, white breads, burgers and the like so feel full immediately but are hungry within an hour of eating it?

Now, try this - get a medium bowl of sprout salad and chicken, save the mayo. You'll feel the difference in your energy levels and won't feel hungry for the next 3-4 hours.

To ensure the best foods for replenishment of energy, consume foods high in complex carbohydrates like:

    Sweet potatoes
    Brown rice
    Chick peas

The best part about choosing complex carbohydrates is that they are already laden with dietary fibre which is an incredible tool in fat loss. Remember, as far as possible, cook the complex carbs in their actual form without breaking them down too much. This ensures that the nutrients remain as close to their natural state as possible. For example: Opt for baked potato instead of mashed potatoes. The more you mash, the easier it becomes to digest and that defeats the purpose. Do pay a little attention to how much you eat. The quality of the food is as important as the quantity of the food. The first key to success in fat loss is a calorie controlled diet.

2. Food for Tissue Repair

Again, when at the cafeteria at work, I see people passing remarks because there isn't anything there to eat. I agree with what they have to say but my reasons are entirely different. They are saying this because the foods they see there are either the same or not great to taste. I say this because I know the food lack enough nutrients to rebuild my body. They lack PROTEIN, the primary ingredient that your body is made up of.

When your diet lacks protein, the result is a poor constitution. Another ill-effect of this situation is that the body begin to cannibalize its tissues to provide for the needs generated at other sites within the body. The same is true when it comes to lack of energy within the body.

Again, when making food choices for protein skip the fast foods and don't say that they contain eggs and chicken. They also contain mayonnaise and processed cheese which skyrocket the total calories packed in the entire burger. When choosing proteins select from sources like:

    Poultry and poultry products - chicken, duck and eggs
    Meats - lean cut portions of lamb and beef
    Vegetarian - soy, Chick peas (all variety) and the various beans.

Animal proteins are superior to vegetarian proteins in their amino acid profile. But that doesn't mean you cannot have a complete protein profile in your diet if you're a vegetarian. The trick is to mix multiple protein sources that compliment each other's protein profile. While animal proteins might be the best sources of proteins, the thing to think about is that the strongest animals in the planet on land and sea are herbivorous.

3. Adverse effects of our food choices

Let's be honest, if you were to take a long hard look at your diet and be straight with yourself you'd find the following appearing in there more often than it should:

Vegetarian food that is over cooked - Either cooked in generous amounts of oil or mashed to an extent that the basic texture is lost.

White Rice - I haven't seen any other kind in anybody else's diet - even at home.

Fast foods and fried chips - they appear more often than they should in our diet. No wonder obesity is a rising concern amongst the youth and children these days.

Simple and processed carbohydrates and Trans-fat foods like chocolates, ice creams, packaged ready to eat foods and sugar rich drinks and sodas.

The only upside of the food choices we make is the ease in availability and or preparation. Apart from that it is really just a cluster of hollow calories and other content that when consumed regularly can add up to health issues including and not limited to:

    Clogged arteries resulting in cardiac trouble
    Possible causes of joint problems
    The worst one, constipation or bowel related issues. This gives rise to another set of health issues

The best remedy is to for wholesome food groups when formulating your diet plans. Foods like unprocessed grains and cereals, lentils, pasture raised meats and fresh fish preferably not raised in a fish farm would be the ideal choice of food for a healthier and fitter you.

When embarking on a journey of lifelong fitness and health, proper nutrition will help you win half the battle. Exercise and adequate rest form the other half.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Dietitians vs. Nutritionists: What’s The Difference?

Why does bad-for-you food have to taste so darn good? Even when you try to eat healthfully—well, most of the time—sometimes that glazed donut or those jalapeno chips (or maybe both) are just way too hard to resist. And while it’d be great if we could exist solely on salty snacks and sweet treats, they don’t exactly offer the nutritional value that our bodies need.

But depending on who you ask, it’s hard to know just what does offer those essential vitamins and nutrients. Is the Mediterranean diet still one of the best options? Maybe the Ketogenic diet is better? Who really knows anyway? Enter nutrition experts.

That’s right; we’re talking about dietitians and nutritionists. And no—they aren’t the same thing. So, what’s the difference you ask? Here’s what you should know:

All About Dietitians:

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are food and nutrition experts. They evaluate a person’s health and nutritional needs and come up with plans to meet those needs. RDNs help healthcare providers by providing a patient treatment plan that may include the following:

·         Ideal body weight, calorie needs and dietary needs
·         Special diets
·         Dietary changes that need to be made due to a health condition
·         Patient and family education on nutrition topics linked to diseases, such as diabetes

To become an RDN, a person must:

·         Hold an undergraduate degree with a focus on dietetics
·         Have completed an approved internship program for 6 to 12 months
·         Have passed a national exam to be credentialed as Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
·         Many have also earned a master's degree in dietetics or nutrition science

All About Nutritionists:

From nutrition coaches to wellness consultants, it may seem like there are way more nutritionist-type experts than official RDNs. And that’s because there are. But it’s important to clarify that this is due to a lack of a formal, regulated process to use the title. Often times, the term nutritionist is used by a variety of people with a range of experience—some with ample knowledge and training—others not so much.

So, if you’re set on using a nutritionist instead of an RDN, look for the title of certified nutritionist (CN) or licensed nutritionist (LDN) as these require some level of official training and experience.

The Takeaway:

Depending on your unique health goals, a RDN or a CN may be a better fit for you. But the bottom line remains that RDNs receive most intensive and rigorous training to become the leading health and nutrition experts. Not only do they have more hands-on training, they’re also required to stay up-to-date with the most up-to-date nutrition information.

So, if you’re looking for a specialist who can go beyond educating you about nutrition to taking action and making positive health changes, an RDN is right for you. Whether you’re interested in eating better for your body type, coping with chronic conditions, making better food choices or reaching your ideal weight, GMC’s Nutrition & Weight Management experts offer a variety of services to help you achieve your health goals. And yes—they’re all RDNs.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Trauma FAQs—Answered

There is no doubt that trauma is scary. This is especially true as trauma statistics continue to be staggering. With nearly 41 million hospital visits every year, trauma is an increasingly important health topic.

Of course trauma is certainly not something that anyone plans or expects to experience, so it’s essential to know basic information. To walk you through the fundamentals of trauma, GMC’s Trauma Program Manager, Gina Solomon, RN, provides answers to some of the most common trauma questions.

What is trauma?

Trauma is an injury to the body including those that are self-inflicted, intentional or unintentional. It can impact a single body system or multiple systems. Traumatic injuries occur suddenly and are sometimes severe. These injuries have a variety of causes, including blunt impact or penetration.

What are the top causes of trauma?

It seems like every year the number of traffic accidents only continues to rise. In fact, 2016 was named one of the deadliest years for American drivers in a decade. With staggering statistics estimating that 20-50 million people are injured or disabled in traffic accidents each year, this is a top cause of traumatic injuries.

Now, you’ve likely heard about the risks that come with texting and driving, right? Well what about driving while you’re tired, talking to passengers, using navigation or even eating and drinking; any of these things can cause you to be distracted while driving.
And with over 387,000 people injured as a result of distracted driving alone, this is a key concern.

Another top cause of traumatic injuries is falls among Americans aged 65 and older. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 25% of this age group falls each year. In particular, falls within the home can be especially traumatic causing a range of severe and damaging injuries.

Is trauma really that common in Georgia?

Surprisingly, traumatic injuries in Georgia account for one million emergency department visits, 75,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths annually. This is higher than the national average.

What is a trauma center?

A trauma center is a hospital that has the necessary personnel and equipment to effectively care for critically injured patients 24 hours a day. This includes specialized resources such as trauma surgeons, CAT scan machines and designated operating rooms, all of which are readily available.

Are there different levels of trauma centers?

A trauma center is designated a specific level (I, II, III or IV) depending on the available resources to care for patients (specialty physicians, hospital staff and equipment) as well as its ability to participate in trauma research, health care professional education and injury prevention.

For example, a Level I trauma center is usually a large teaching hospital that can care for all types of injuries as well as provide support to community hospitals, perform trauma research and provide medical education.

A Level II facility has all the same resources as a Level I trauma center, it is just not involved in trauma research and does not provide a surgical residency program. Finally, Level III and IV centers stabilize patients and transport them to a higher level of care if necessary.

Did you know that GMC is a Level II Trauma Center?

As one of only 9 trauma centers in the state of Georgia and the only Level II trauma center in Gwinnett County,GMC-Lawrenceville is prepared to evaluate, diagnose, stabilize and mange patients who have suffered a traumatic injury. To provide customized care for trauma patients, GMC has a designated trauma surgeonavailable at all times. GMC also has trauma nurse specialists, orthopedic, neurosurgery and complex facial trauma specialists readily available.

Make sure to join GMC's trauma team on Saturday, March 31 for hands-on tourniquet training. This important program puts life-saving information into your hands in the event of a traumatic injury. Stop by and learn how to stop the bleed and help save lives. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

5 Unexpected Reasons For Your Midnight Pee Breaks

Why is it that you always have to pee at the most inconvenient times? When you’re in the middle of a meeting, during the best part of a movie or when you just got in the car to go somewhere—it almost never fails. And while those frequent visits to the bathroom may be annoying during the day, it’s definitely no fun when it’s the middle of the night.

But turns out, waking up one or more times a night to go to the bathroom is a super common problem for people of all ages. Overtime, this can lead to disrupted sleep and a host of other effects ranging from stress and irritability to exhaustion and lower quality of life.  

Even though nocturia, or frequent nighttime urination, is common, that doesn’t mean that you can’t minimize the common causes. Here are 5 things that may be upping your midnight pit stops:

1.    Fluid and Caffeine Intake

It may seem obvious, but cutting back on fluid intake before bed can go a long way in the pursuit of a full night’s sleep. Diuretics, like coffee and alcohol, also increase urine production and can leave you waking up to pee in the wee hours. The caffeine won’t help you stay asleep either.

Practice better drinking habits by stopping fluid intake 2 to 4 hours before bed and removing caffeine and alcohol consumption from your evening entirely. Certain medications are also diuretics, so be sure to research your prescriptions and try taking them in the morning if you can.
2.    Other Sleep Issues

A lot of times, we aren’t waking up to pee, we’re peeing because we woke up. In fact, your brain actually works to suppress the urge to urinate while you sleep. Once we’re awake, though, it’s hard to ignore the feeling of a full(ish) bladder. And heck, you might as well go while you’re awake.

Unrelated sleep issues like insomnia or sleep apnea, for instance, may be the real offenders. Talk to your primary care provider about ways to identify and treat common sleep problems, and you may find your late night pees to be few and far between.
3.    Bladder or Prostate Issues

Sometimes late night urination may be a sign of bladder or prostate issues. Bladder irritation can be the result of anything from spicy food to urinary tract infections. However, bladder issues often present themselves throughout the day as well as at night. For men, an enlarged prostate gland can cause urination problems as they age. The added pressure on the bladder can make it feel like they need to pee, increasing the frequency of bathroom breaks both during the day and at night.

Managing bladder or prostate issues with your primary care provider will offer relief, putting a stop to those sleepless nights spent trekking back and forth between a warm, cozy bed and those cold bathroom floor tiles.  

4.    Genetics

Like many health issues, genetics may be to blame for your poorly-timed tinkles. A recent study has identified a protein known as Cx43 that determines how full your bladder can get before your body signals that it’s time to pee. The higher your Cx43 levels, the less urine you can hold before the urge to go is triggered. While Cx43 levels are determined by genetics, researchers are developing ways to target therapy to genes that express Cx43 in the bladder. 

5.    An Underlying Condition

Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of chronic conditions that contribute to frequent urination. The two biggest culprits are diabetesand heart disease. In diabetics, excess glucose rushes to the kidneys, bringing water with it. This water ultimately ends up in the bladder, causing it to fill up quicker than the bladders of nondiabetics.

On the other hand, heart issues can prohibit proper blood flow, causing fluids to build up in the body. As a result, the kidneys and bladder work harder to dispel the excess fluid. Other conditions affecting the urinary tract specifically, including pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, urinary tract infections and a prolapsed uteruscan cause these same issues.

Don’t fight the urge to go. To the doctor that is. Because anything from your dietand exercise routine to your family health history and age can impact your bathroom habits, you may not find the cause on your own. By working with the experts at Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care, you’ll find the care you need to get a full night’s rest—pee-break free.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Your Period Changes As You Age: What You Should Know

We all remember that daythe day when you got your first period. Once the initial shock and embarrassment wore off, it took a little getting used to. But like most women, you probably figured it’d get easier with age. After all, once you reach your 30s and 40s, you’ve had decades of experienceright? Unfortunately, though, it isn’t quite that simple. 

In fact, for many women, it can feel like their period is anything but routine. Sometimes it’s heavy, sometimes it’s light and other times you have the worst—cramps—ever. As it turns out, periods don’t just change from month to month, they actually change from decade to decade. Hopefully that means they'll be moving in the lighter direction!

Here’s a quick look at your period through the decades:  

Your 20s:

While irregularity was the name of the game in your teenage years, your 20s come just in time with some much needed consistency. A typical period in your 20s lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 days and comes every 21 to 35 days (hopefully luck is on your side and you fall on the shorter end). But just because this is a typical cycle for a majority of women doesn’t mean it’s the norm for you and your body. Don’t fret if your period doesn’t come and go like clockwork. And if you have frequent cramping to boot, that is to be expected as women in their 20s report more cramping than older women.

It’s important to clarify that while irregularities here and there may be common, experiencing them several months in a row isn’t. Here’s what you should know:

·         Missed periods: Everything from stress, medications and exercise can impact your period, but if it goes missing for several months, there could be something else to blame (like polycystic ovary syndrome). If you miss 3 in a row, it’s time to see your women’s health provider.

·         Heavy bleeding or spotting: Benign growths, like ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids, are common culprits when it comes to irregular bleeding. Spotting can also be the result of lower than normal progesterone. But timing is everything, so if you notice spotting after sex or your period is extra heavy several months in a row, it’s time to see your doctor.

Your 30s:

Unlike your 20s, your 30s are a time when your monthly cycle becomes less about the actual bleeding and more about all the accompanying symptoms. Thanks to an uptick in hormonal surprises, you’re more likely to experience night sweats, mood changes, breast tenderness and shorter cycles (meaning more frequent periods).

Some of these changes are due to a shift in hormones, namely a drop in estrogen levels. Make sure to take note if you notice these changes:

·         Intense PMS: Sure, you may have left the intense cramping back in your 20s, but now the bloating, sore breasts, food cravings and mood swings really settle in. There are subtle, everyday changes you can make to minimize these symptoms, like getting sleep, routine exercise and a balanced diet. But if these changes don’t seem to make a dent in your PMS, ask for help from your women’s health expert.

·         Extra heavy bleeding: A heavy period is hard to define--after all, it means something different to every women. However, a good rule of thumb is to talk to your provider if you are changing your feminine hygiene products every 2 to 3 hours, multiple days.

·         Long stretches between periods: More time between periods may be music to your ears, but big gaps between periods could be cause for concern. For instance, going over 60 days between periods could indicate low estrogen levels or premature ovarian failure.

Your 40s:

Just when you thought you were a period pro, then along come your 40s. Similar to your teenage years, this decade throws a bit of a curveball as period irregularity becomes your new normal. Thanks to your ever-shifting hormone levels, each month’s period is a bit of a wild card. Some months you may not have any bleeding, other months your ovaries are making up for lost time with a heavier-than-normal flowit just depends on the month. And don’t forget about increased PMS symptoms like hot flashes and moodiness.

While you may be counting down the years until you’re done with periods for good, in the meantime, if you notice any of these changes, talk with your women’s health provider:

·         Extra heavy bleeding (and pelvic pain): Because of varying estrogen levels, it makes sense that your periods may be varying, too. However, conditions like endometriosis and fibroids can be aggravated by shifting hormone levels. If you notice heavy bleeding with pelvic pain, make sure to see your women’s health provider.

·         Skipped periods: Just because irregular periods may be more common, that doesn’t mean there can’t be a (unexpected) underlying cause behind an absent period. It’s important to be mindful of pregnancy until menopause.

Everything you need to know about your flow.

Women’s health is only one piece of your overall health, but that doesn’t make it any less important. That’s why GMC’s Health Navigator offers personalized care and support to honor what makes you--and your health--unique. Whether you’re in search of expert information, preventative care or recommendations for diagnostics and treatment, Sheila is always there, ready to help. Remember, there is no health concern too small.

Friday, March 16, 2018

5 Harmless Habits That Are Actually Aging You Overnight

While getting older is an inevitable part of life—along with the aches, pains and gray hair that come with it—who doesn’t want to make the most of this process by doing it as gracefully as possible? For some, that may mean paying big bucks for a new skin serum, for others that may mean eating more antioxidant-rich foods and getting a good night’s sleep. After all, it’s called beauty rest for a reason—right?

So, even if you know the big 5 for healthy skin—sun protection, not smoking, routine cleansing, eating healthy and minimizing stress—you may still be causing damage to your skin unknowingly. Here are 5 sneaky habits that are aging you overnight:

   1. You’re sleeping on your side—or worse—your stomach.

We’re looking at you on this one, ladies, as women are twice as likely as men to sleep on their sides. And while it may be the most comfortable sleeping position (who can sleep on their back all night?), it’s not doing your skin any favors. That’s because when your face is snuggled into that favorite pillow, gravity pulls at your skin and its connective tissue causing sagging, wrinkles and eventually a loss in collagen.

   2. You’re not nurturing your eyes.

It’s bad enough that most of us spend the entire day staring at a screen of some kind—phone, tablet, work computer or all of the above—but when you add in screen time right before bed, you’re begging for eye fatigue. Having red, tired eyes would make just about anyone look older.

Plus, if you’re not caring for the delicate skin around your eyes—the thinnest skin on your whole body—puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles are more likely.

   3. You’re eating dessert (almost every night).

Sometimes that delicious chocolate chip cookie is just too good to resist. But if delicious dessert becomes a part of your daily routine, you may be harming your skin—along with many other things.

In fact, when you eat something sweet, those sugar molecules attach to protein fibers, a process called glycation. Overtime, this can lead to a loss of radiance, dark circles, uneven tone, puffiness, fine lines and increased pore size. So, in the name of skin health, it’s time to put that package of cookies away.

   4. You’re a fan of the heat.

Whether it’s turning up the thermostat a little higher or lingering in that extra hot shower, if you’re a fan of keeping things toasty, your skin may be paying the price. That warm air and extra hot water suck the moisture right out of your skin, which can cause it to be inflamed and dehydrated. Over time, irritated, flaky skin can have some serious aging effects. And your go-to makeup may actually be accentuating those problem areas, or worse, causing further irritation.

   5. You’re always stressed.

In fact, you’re probably stressed out right now (Why is minimizing stress so stressful?). As you may know, stress causes a negative chain reaction within your body. Your stress hormones spike, your heart rate increases, your blood vessels narrow and your blood pressure rises. But that’s not all, stress also impacts your DNA and can speed up the aging process.

So, what can you do? After all, if it was easy to get rid of stress, then we’d all be feeling a whole lot better. Unfortunately, though, it seems like stress is one of those tricky things that’s nearly impossible to get rid of completely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t minimize it.

A great place to start is with a complete team of health experts whose top priority is your health. At the GMC Primary Care & Specialty Center-Suwanee, you will find the services, resources and support you need to look and feel your healthiest. Peace of mind is possible with expert health care you can always count on.