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The Avera Staff
Pumpkin: More Than Meets the Pie
They are everywhere this time of year: on
porches, in windows, at your local grocery
store. Pumpkins are a symbol of fall, and they
usually make an appearance on our Thanksgiving
tables. There are many reasons to enjoy eating
pumpkin outside of pie. Pumpkins, a member of
the squash family, have enormous health benefits
Pumpkin is very high in
beta-carotene. Research shows people who eat a
diet rich in beta-carotene are less likely to
develop some types of cancers. Pumpkins also
contain high amounts of carotenoids, which in
addition to giving pumpkins their vibrant color,
are antioxidants that can provide your body with
Pumpkins are high in
lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help prevent
the formation of cataracts and reduce the risk
of macular degeneration. Aside from these
helpful antioxidants, pumpkins have many common
nutrients such as iron, zinc and fiber.
So this year when it's time to start
carving, remember there are many ways to use
pumpkin as more than
pie filling (although that's a delicious
option, too). You can cook pumpkins whole by
simply using a knife to cut a few holes in the
pumpkin and baking at 350 degrees for about an
hour. You can use pumpkin anywhere you would use
squash in recipes like soup or ravioli. It's
also great in breads, muffins and puddings.
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Diabetes: You may have it and not even know it.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease marked by high
levels of sugar in the blood. It affects more
than 20 million Americans. Diabetes affects the
normal process that breaks down food to convert
it to energy.
People with diabetes have
high levels of blood sugar because their
pancreas does not make enough insulin, or their
muscle, fat and liver cells do not respond to
The most common of the
three types of diabetes is type 2.
Type-2 diabetes normally occurs in
adulthood, but increasingly young people are
being diagnosed with the disease. More than 40
million Americans have pre-diabetes, or early
type-2 diabetes. You can help prevent type-2
diabetes through exercise and weight management.
Just 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise, such
as walking, can help you prevent the disease.
Many people with type-2 diabetes do not know
they have it because of its gradual onset, even
though it is a serious medical condition. Some
symptoms of type-2 diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Increased appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
One immediate goal of type-2-diabetes
treatment is to treat high blood glucose levels.
Long-term goals of treatment are to prolong
life, reduce symptoms and prevent
diabetes-related complications such as
blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and
amputation of limbs.
If you have early
type-2 diabetes or have been diagnosed with
type-2 diabetes, your doctor may suggest such
treatments as increasing the amount of exercise,
improving diet and/or using medications.
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Dealing With a Diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's Disease, a disease that affects
about 1 million Americans including actor
Michael J. Fox, is a disorder of the brain that
leads to tremors and difficulty with walking,
movement and coordination. There is currently no
known cure for Parkinson's Disease, so the goal
of treatment is to manage the symptoms. Being
diagnosed with Parkinson's disease can be
difficult for patients and their families, but
patients who come to terms with their diagnosis
and take a more active role in their treatment
often have an improved quality of life.
Typically when someone is diagnosed with
Parkinson's Disease, both the patient and his or
her family feel a gamut of emotions. At first,
many patients experience denial, especially if
symptoms are mild. Sometimes this proves to be a
useful coping mechanism because it allows the
patient to largely ignore symptoms and go on
with life as usual. Patients may experience
discouragement as well, where they become
preoccupied with looking for a direct cause for
Because symptoms with
Parkinson's fluctuate daily, people with the
disease and their families sometimes can feel
frustrated. Often, patients look to others with
the same condition for education and support.
Many take on the work of achieving their optimal
level of independence.
Assuming a more active role in their
health helps those diagnosed with Parkinson's
realize they are not alone, and there are many
sources of support available to them. In the
United States 50,000 to 60,000 new cases of the
disease are diagnosed each year.
scientists work toward a cure and make progress
in identifying the best treatment options for
patients, it's important to keep in mind the
emotional health of the patient. Caring for each
patient's emotional well-being can be just as
important as treating the symptoms of the
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In Great Health is one in a series
of Avera eNewsletters that gives readers
valuable information about health and wellness
at Avera facilities. It is not intended to
replace personal medical advice, which should be
obtained directly from a physician.