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Diabetes Word Cloud Concept

Fitness Professionals: November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Did you know in 1980, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 5.6 million Americans had been diagnosed with diabetes? This had more than doubled by 2000, with 12 million reported cases of diabetes. If this trend were to continue, by 2020 there would be an estimated 24 million diabetics in the United States alone. However, in 2012 the American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimated that 9.3% of the population, or 29.1 million Americans, have diabetes.

Baby Boomers and Joint Replacement Surgery

Close to 800,000 people in the United States will have a joint replaced this year. Osteoarthritis is the main—but not the only—reason. Joint replacements have become so common that most massage therapists can expect to see clients who are in various stages of recovery from this procedure. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s risk-free, and a person who has had a joint repaired has a significant chance of complications that impact bodywork choices in both the near and long-term.

Wellness Coaching & Heart Disease

Maybe The Last Heart Attack

Each year over one million Americans experience a heart attack, about one every thirty seconds. CNN produced a program recently about this that has everyone talking: Dr. Sanjay Gupta Reports: The Last Heart Attack. (watch the entire program while it’s archived here)

Following the odyssey of former President Bill Clinton and two more every-day Americans, Dr. Gupta introduces us to the work of Dr. Arthur Agatston whose method of screening for coronary calcium is considered one of the best predictors of heart disease. We’re also exposed to the work of Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn whose diet and lifestyle-based programs have shown recognized medical effectiveness at preventing and even reversing heart disease.

“Heart disease could be as rare as Malaria in our country if we put into practice what we already know,” says Ornish. Gupta asks “Could we see the last heart attack in America?” The program brings us excellent information about what we need to do, but hangs on the gigantic “if” in the middle of Ornish’s statement.

Doctor giving medicine to senior woman for arthritis painWhat we know is that medical check ups using the best testing methods available must be combined with successful lifestyle improvement. We know the formula. “Although people with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, you can take steps to dramatically reduce your risk. Create an action plan to keep your heart healthy by tackling these to-dos: get active; control cholesterol; eat better; manage blood pressure; maintain a healthy weight; control blood sugar; and stop smoking.”  —The American Heart Association.

What they are recommending, is all about behavioral change.

The work of Dean Ornish has been widely accepted as medically legitimate for years, yet always qualified by mentioning that the probability of Americans adopting the lifestyle recommended is remote. Becoming a complete vegetarian, exercising regularly, practicing stress management skills and increasing social and emotional support is a tall order to say the least. Yet it works!Gupta’s report is telling us that change is possible, now we have to discover how.

Here are some suggestions for the behavioral side of preventing that potential heart attack.

1. Know about your current state of health, in detail. Don’t put off that check-up or blood-work, make a commitment to yourself to get it done.

2. Envision what you want your health to be like.

3. Ask yourself, “What has to change in my life for me to live that vision?” This creates a solid foundation for you to create the plan that you will follow to make your vision a reality.

4. Develop a wellness plan that has a series of small steps. Small steps overtime lead to large lifestyle changes.

5. Gather support for your plan. Share your vision and plan with the people you know who will be positive and encouraging.

6. Track your behavior. Avoid self-deception by writing down or entering on a phone app your progress.

7. Acknowledge and celebrate every success along the way to a better life.

For the person who has already had that first heart attack all of this information and the contents of “The Last Heart Attack” are especially important. Like David Servan-Schrieber says about cancer, there is a lot we can do about heart disease, and when we don’t let people know about the legitimate resources and information out there, we are giving them “false hopelessness.”

Diagram of healthWellness and health coaches need to know about this information as they help their clients explore their way forward towards a wellness way of living. Coaches need to insist that any client they are working with on health issues be under active medical care. Lifestyle improvement is no substitute for medical treatment. Taking on the more behaviorally demanding protocols of lifestyle improvement that Ornish and Esselstyn require may be incredibly easier and more effective with an active alliance with a wellness coach.

We know that people can be successful at improving their health if they can be successful at lifestyle change. Wellness coaching may be the bridge to span the huge gap created by the word “if”.

Reprinted with permission from the Real Balance Wellness Blog.

Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC is a licensed psychologist, Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and a Certified Wellness Practitioner. His work as a professional coach with Real Balance Global Wellness Services includes coaching people to achieve more of their potential in three areas: wellness coaching; leadership coaching; and mentor coaching of aspiring coaches.



Breast Cancer and Exercise

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when pink ribbons remind women to schedule their mammograms and honor those who have died from or survived breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, one in eight American women (12.3%) will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime.

Post-Stroke Rehabilitation with Physical Therapy

In the United States more than 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year. Approximately 2/3 of these individuals survive the cerebral vascular accident and require rehabilitation (relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged). The goals of rehabilitation are to help survivors become as independent as possible and to attain the best possible quality of life.

Physical therapists specialize in treating disabilities related to motor and sensoryInstructor And Elderly Patient Undergoing Water Therapy impairments. They are trained in all aspects of anatomy and physiology related to normal function, with an emphasis on movement.  They assess the patient’s strength, endurance, range of motion, gait abnormalities and sensory deficits to design individualized rehabilitation programs aimed at regaining control over motor functions.

Functions compromised when a specific region of the brain is damaged by stroke can sometimes be taken over by other parts of the brain. This ability to adapt and change is known as neuroplasticity. Physical therapists help the patient regain the use of stroke-impaired limbs, teach compensatory strategies to reduce the effect of remaining deficits and establish ongoing exercise programs to help people retain their newly learned skills. The repetitive use of impaired limbs encourages brain plasticity!

In general, physical therapy emphasizes practicing isolated movements, repeatedly changing from one kind of movement to another and rehearsing complex movements that require a great deal of coordination and balance. Balance retraining may consist of walking up or down stairs or moving safely between obstacles.  People too weak to bear their own weight can still practice repetitive movements during hydrotherapy (water providing a sensory stimulation and allowing for weight support) or while being partially supported by a harness.  A recent trend in physical therapy emphasizes the effectiveness of engaging in goal-directed activities, such as playing games, to promote coordination, balance and movement strategies.

If you or your loved one has had a stroke, be sure to be evaluated by a physical therapist as they can substantially help people achieve the best possible long-term outcome.

Caring for Parkinson’s Disease with Physical Therapy

Recent research findings have shown that a minority of clients with Parkinson’s do fine without any form of rehabilitation.  However, the majority of studies have shown that clients improved in their ability to do daily living activities in response to physical therapy rehabilitation.  62% of research participants who received physical therapy intervention had a successful outcome relative to 38% of the participants in the control group who had a successful outcome.  (Murphy & Tickle-Degnen, 2011).  In another research project, Tests Predict Falls in Parkinson’sPatients, published in the June 23, 2010 issue of Neurology, looked at 101 Parkinson’s patients who were able to walk without aids.  They tested for symptoms such as visual function, balance, gait, strength, reaction time and proprioception.  Those who did poorly on the balance tests, mobility tests and coordinating multi-joint movements were more prone to falls (42%).

Physiotherapist With Patient In RehabilitationPeople with minor motor system disorders to severe disorders will find that physical therapy can help with the rigidity, slow movement patterns, postural instability, impaired balance and coordination that seem to evolve along with this disease.  The physical therapist will evaluate for Functional Gait Testing, Functional Reach Testing, Timed Get Up and Go Test, Bed mobility screening and orthopedic evaluations for mobility and strength.

After the evaluation, the physical therapist may set up a specific exercise or movement lesson that uses high amplitude movements that overcome bradykinesia and hypokinesia (activating excessively slow motion).

My personal experience with Parkinson’s patients is one of inquiry, fun and resolution.  We even use dance as a means of increasing balance and coordination.  When it is a mobility problem like getting out of bed, the physical therapist will create a home program with specific exercises for your needs.  When it is a postural instability issue, we will work with balance/gait on different surfaces as well as strengthening for your back, legs, abdomen and torso.

Let the field of physical therapy evaluate and assess what we can do for you!