Healthy Tips - November 2017


Topics This Issue:

Find and Treat Diabetes Early

Of the 30.3 million Americans who have diabetes, 7.2 million are not yet diagnosed*. Get tested today.

Nearly one in 10 American’s have diabetes—but many of us don’t know it. Diabetes is a life-altering disease, and it’s important to catch it early. The earlier you detect diabetes, the better your chances of avoiding future health problems.

The best medicine? Learn the basics of diabetes, know your risks and talk with your doctor.

Diabetes Basics

Diabetes is a disease in which there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. It occurs when a person’s body is unable to produce or use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in our bodies.There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young adults. It occurs when the pancreas produces little to no insulin. This form of diabetes can be managed with daily insulin injections.
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 percent of cases. It occurs when your body resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough. This type is commonly linked to obesity, but not always.

If left untreated, either form of diabetes can increase the risk of serious health complications, including heart attack, kidney disease, limb amputation and blindness.

Diabetes Risk Factors and Symptoms

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Age—being over 45
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Infrequent or irregular physical activity
  • Women who had diabetes during pregnancy
  • Certain races/ethnicities, such as Pacific Islander, Asian-American, Mexican-American and African-American

Symptoms include frequent infections, extreme fatigue, frequent urination, or tingling and numbness in the hands and feet.

Ask Your Doctor about Screening

If you have one or more risk factors for diabetes or notice any of the above symptoms, talk with your doctor about being screened as soon as possible. If you receive a diabetes diagnosis, you are not alone. Ask your doctor about diabetes education and nutrition support.

If you are looking for a primary care provider, we invite you to meet the PacMed Primary Care team. If you are already living with diabetes or have recently been diagnosed, the PacMed Diabetes Management Program offers comprehensive medical care, health education and support.

*Statistics as reported in the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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Think of Exercise as Diabetes “Medicine”

There are millions people in the U.S. living with diabetes, and if Dr. Sonja Maddox had her way, they would all be doing one thing to prevent onset of the disease: exercise.

Dr. Maddox, a family medicine physician at PacMed Renton, says people should think about exercise as “medicine.” Here’s how she explains this idea: “If you exercise and you don’t have diabetes, it can help prevent the disease. If you have diabetes and exercise regularly, it will lower your blood pressure, lower blood sugars and can even prevent the need for medication for a long period of time.”

Patients with diabetes can control their weight and blood sugar with diet and exercise. Although a diabetic patient may eventually need oral medication or insulin, exercise can help delay that need. Delaying the progress of the disease also means delaying the ravaging effects of diabetes on the heart and vascular system.

“The reason to work hard—to eat properly and exercise—is that you may have diabetes for just 30 years as opposed to 40 or 50 years. The longer you have the disease, the greater the likelihood you’ll develop retinopathy [eye damage], nephropathy [kidney damage]or heart disease,” says Dr. Maddox.

So what counts as exercise?

You don’t need to run a marathon to reap the benefits of exercise. You don’t even need to jog! Walking between 6,000 and 10,000 steps daily is an attainable goal for most people. Plus, it’s available to everyone. Use a step counter—or simply count your steps for 5 minutes and do some math. If you have mobility problems, water aerobics is a great alternative.

The recommended amount of physical activity is 150 minutes per week. That’s 30 minutes of exercise on five days, or 20 minutes every day. Your routine could include anything from high-intensity exercise to walking or gardening. Any activity that gets the heart rate elevated can be counted as physical activity. So, find something you enjoy and will do, and stick with it! A partner in exercise can also be motivating.

One last point in favor of exercise...

Dr. Maddox points out that medicine works only so well for so long. The more weight a person gains, the less well the medicine will work over time. Getting daily exercise is a health strategy for everyone, but especially for people with diabetes.

Are you looking for a primary care provider? PacMed offers preventive, primary care through our Family Medicine and Internal Medicine teams. Dr. Sonja Maddox sees patients at our Renton clinic.

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Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

Well, hello holidays! As we approach winter’s many holidays, now is a good time to think about how to savor those special meals—while saving our waistlines at the same time.

You know what November and December mean: winter holidays and festivities. And right alongside these activities come a plethora of delicious food traditions: festive parties, cookie exchanges, exquisite desserts, once-a-year beverages, family meals and homemade treats.

Eating healthily during the winter holidays can prove challenging for even the most disciplined among us. But you can still celebrate while eating better and having fun. Try these tips.

  • Choose pumpkin pie. Pumpkin contains beta carotene, a helpful antioxidant. Pumpkin is also technically a veggie, and one slice can count as a half-serving of your daily recommended amount of vegetables. Finally, a slice of pumpkin pie usually has about 200 fewer calories than other pies, such as apple. This is mostly thanks to pumpkin pie not having a top crust.
  • Cook stuffing separately. When baked inside the turkey, stuffing absorbs the turkey’s fat drippings. Cook it in a pan, and you save on calories and fat. Other ways to cut calories are to use low-fat, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth instead of butter … swap the bread for a higher-fiber, higher-protein option like wild rice … and replace the giblets, bacon and pork sausage with chicken sausage, nuts, celery, diced carrots, apples or dried cranberries.
  • Eat popcorn—but keep it healthy. Yes, popcorn can be a good snack in a healthy diet! It’s whole grain and a good source of fiber. Roughly three cups of air-popped popcorn equal 100 calories. (That’s about equal to one and a half cheese strings or one-half of a sugar cookie.) To keep things interesting, add toppings such as drizzling olive or canola oil, parmesan cheese or herbs such as rosemary, garlic or dried basil. But avoid too many popcorn balls, kettle corn or caramel corn.
  • Baked potatoes. Potatoes are a good source of potassium and vitamin C. Instead of mashed or scalloped potato dishes, go for the baked potato; it contains fewer calories and fat. If you do have mashed potatoes, substitute skim milk for cream or butter or add in plain yogurt in exchange for sour cream. Then, limit the gravy and add extra vegetables like peppers and green onions to boost flavor.

Making these small changes can help you to alleviate stress and enjoy a healthy holiday season with family and friends. Don’t beat yourself up over the occasional splurge. Just keep your focus; instead of trying to lose weight during the holidays, aim to maintain and avoid seasonal weight gain.

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Want a fun new recipe for your Thanksgiving spread? Try stuffed squash instead of stuffing to watch your carbohydrates and still get lots of flavor!

Serves 8. Prep time 20 minutes. Cook time 50-60 minutes.


2 medium acorn squash (about 1 1/4 pounds each), halved width-wise and seeded
Cooking Spray
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
8 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 3-ounce links apple chicken sausage, cooked and diced
8 ounces kale, stemmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 cup fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth

1 cup dried cornbread stuffing

Optional: Top with dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Coat a baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and place squash cut-side down in the pan. Add about an inch of water and bake for 30 minutes.

3. While the squash is baking, add olive oil to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté mushrooms and chicken sausage until golden brown. Add kale, salt (optional) and pepper and sauté until kale is wilted, about 5-7 minutes.

4. Add the chicken broth and cornbread stuffing to the mushroom mixture and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed.

5. Remove squash from the oven. Turn the squash over in the pan so the cut side is up. Fill each squash with ¼ of the mushroom mixture then return to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

6. Cut each squash in half and serve.

Optional: Sub spinach, collards or Brussels sprouts for kale

Recipe from the American Diabetes Association at

Nutrition Information per Serving (1/2 sweet potato)

Calories: 150, Total Fat 5g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium: 280mg, Total Carbohydrate: 21g, Dietary Fiber 5g, Protein: 6g

More recipes online! Go to

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Diabetes Screenings from The Living Well Alliance

Get diabetes health screens or educational classes for your employees today! We can help.

As of 2015, 30.3 million Americans have diabetes and an estimated 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed each year.* This is why it’s important to know your risk of developing this disease. At the Living Well Alliance, we have found that health screenings—such as for diabetes and prediabetes—are paramount to each employee’s ability to take charge of his or her ongoing health.

The Living Well Alliance offers a complimentary biometric health screening that measures the participant’s risk of developing diabetes. Our screenings, always conducted by our registered dietitian or registered nurse, are confidential and give participants the opportunity to ask other health-related questions. Participants will also gain an idea of their risk for other chronic diseases.

Our goal is to slow down the diabetes epidemic, while also helping individuals and companies control future health care costs. Small steps add up. If we each check our risk yearly, whether at our doctor’s office or at employer events, we can have a big impact in controlling this disease.

If you and your employees want to change behaviors to achieve better health, the best place to begin is with information delivered by trustworthy professionals. The Living Well Alliance is passionate about supporting your employees, so visit us for more information about booking a biometric screening today.

The Living Well Alliance is run by Pacific Medical Centers. Call us today at 206.621.4419 for more information or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

*Statistics as reported in the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

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