Recognize and Reverse your Risk for Diabetes
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Category: Health
Diabetes is a major public health problem in the United States and is rapidly growing in prevalence. Approximately 34.2 million people or 10.5% of all Americans have diabetes.
The chronic disease occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces. Having diabetes increases the risk of serious health issues, including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and amputation of toes, feet or legs.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and it’s anticipated that worldwide deaths death from type 2 diabetes will double by 2030. Surprisingly, an estimated 7.3 million people with diabetes remain undiagnosed, and 88 million people over the age of 18 have prediabetes, a condition in which their blood sugar is high, but not high enough to qualify as type 2 diabetics.
“With type 2 diabetes your body is resistant to the insulin your body is making, which ultimately results in elevated blood sugars.” says Dr. Kay Lovig, Chief of Endocrinology at White Plains Hospital. “You should get tested for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes if you have a family history, are overweight or obese, have a history of elevated blood sugars in pregnancy, or have symptoms of elevated blood sugars. Common symptoms of elevated blood sugars include increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and a darkening of your skin on your neck or fingers. The good news is, even if it’s prevalent in your family history, both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be regulated with diet and exercise.”
The likelihood that you’ll develop prediabetes begins to rise at age at age 45. To slow and reverse the onset of prediabetes, Dr. Lovig recommends these steps:
Change your eating habits. Studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial to weight loss. The diet encourages eating nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains while limiting processed foods and sugar. Dr. Lovig also suggests monitoring your carbohydrate intake.
Work up a sweat. Regular exercise can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. A National Institutes of Health study indicated that a half hour of walking or other low-intensity exercise daily, combined with a low-fat diet, can reduce the possibility of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Lose a belt loop or two. “Being overweight increases your risk for prediabetes,” says Dr. Lovig. “Losing just 5% of one’s weight can help delay or reverse prediabetes as well as the long-term complications of uncontrolled blood sugars.”
Dr. Lovig also recommends talking with your doctor about medications to control prediabetes and having your sugar checked during office visits.
Dr. Kay Lovig is the Chief of Endocrinology at White Plains Hospital, seeing patients in Armonk, White Plains and New Rochelle. To make an appointment, please call 914-849-7900.
Photo Opps: Vaccine Cards, Eagle Scouts and a Day of Hope
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Category: Health
Here's some news and photos from around the neighborhood as spring emerges and spirits lift:
Maxwell(11) and Charlie (8) Geer realized that vaccination cards would soon be as essential as driver’s licenses. On one of the first warm days this year, they set up a table outside their Greenacres Avenue home to laminate neighbors inoculation cards. Let’s hope they keep it up as more of us get vaccinated.
Tyler McCarthy and George Primoff were officially recognized as Eagle Scouts, the highest level attainable in scouting, at a Court of Honor held at Hitchcock Church earlier this year.
Both 18 years-old , George graduated in 2020 and Tyler is set to graduate this year from Scarsdale High School. They started out as cub scouts in Scarsdale Pack 440, chartered by Hitchcock Church, over ten years ago and then joined Troop 4, also chartered by Hitchcock, as Middle Schoolers.
Currently studying engineering at Northeastern University, George is an avid backpacker and was a member of the High School’s Ultimate Frisbee and Wrestling teams. For George’s Eagle Scout service project, he rebuilt by hand a large outdoor patio space at his synagogue, Scarsdale Synagogue, which had fallen into disrepair. George’s project resulted in an attractive outdoor space that allowed the congregation to gather in a safe, socially-distanced manner for celebrations.
Tyler has held leadership positions as Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader with the Troop. Tyler also attended the National Scout Jamboree and Sea Base High Adventure. By earning the rank of Eagle Scout, Tyler follows in the footsteps of two grandfathers, his father, brother and cousin. Tyler’s Eagle Project entailed building four houses for the Scarsdale Fire Department that are used for training. The houses are made of wood and stand about 4 feet high with four rooms and an attic with windows and doors. It teaches the different ways fire and smoke move through a house depending on the airflow in the house.
While Tyler and George grew up in scouting, middle and high school boys are welcome to join Troop 4 with or without previous scouting experience. For further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Contributed by Midori Im)
White Plains Hospital’s Day of Hope
On March 9th, 2020, White Plains Hospital received its first COVID-19 patient—marking the start of a journey that changed us all. One year later, the hospital brought together its leadership, COVID-19 survivors, elected officials and community members to reflect and honor its healthcare heroes—first at 6:30 AM as its morning shift employees arrived to work, and again at 6:45 PM as first responders joined in a community applause in front of the White Plains Hospital Emergency Department. Attending were COVID-19 survivors, including Hugo Sosa, former FDNY Captain who beat COVID after a 44-day hospitalization; The Westchester Children’s Chorus; Susan Fox, WPH President and CEO; White Plains Mayor Tom Roach; and nurses, physicians and staff who led the COVID fight.
Locals Answer the Call to Volunteer at Vaccination Sites
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Category: Health
While some of us have been focused on how and where we’ll get a vaccine, some of our neighbors have been working to administer thousands of vaccines at the Westchester County Center. Anne and Mark Ellman saw the call for volunteers to man the effort in January and quickly stepped up, though they were not immune to the mighty virus. This week, Scarsdale resident, Dara Gruenberg joined the effort as well.
Here is what they shared:
Anne and Mark Ellman
(Q) How did you get involved?
(A) In the January 7, 2021 edition of Scarsdale10583 we saw an article that said that Westchester Medical Center (WMC) was looking for volunteers for the County Center location. We provided information on-line that allowed WMC to do a background check. Several days later we were accepted into the program. Due to the substantial need for volunteers, they have asked volunteers to make a long-term commitment. There is no guarantee that volunteers will get vaccinated.
The announcement said, “Volunteers are needed to assist with operations and activities at vaccination sites, such as registration and check-in, data entry, greeting and routing participants, traffic flow, and other administrative tasks. Volunteers with specific clinical credentials to administer the vaccine are also needed. Volunteers must be 18 years of age in good health and proficient in English, with bi-lingual skills also being important. Those working at the vaccination site will be provided with training, PPE and will be able to receive the vaccine, if they wish.
Site locations will be announced in the coming days and will operate 7 days a week. Multiple shifts are available. Volunteers are asked to commit to three shifts a week during a 30-day commitment.
To register to be a part of this historic vaccine program, please click here.
(Q) Did you already have immunity? Were you concerned about exposure?
(A) Neither of us have had Covid and as far as we know, we did not have immunity.
Yes, We were very concerned about exposure and continue to be, but feel we are minimizing that risk.
(Q) What training did you have - what did you learn?
(A) The training is on the job. It is not complicated and is handled on the day of your first volunteer session. We have learned many things. Clearly, many of the people, particularly the elderly, have not been in a public space for many, many months. There is a lot of anxiety. They need to have warm eyes peering above the mask and a smile behind the mask to make them feel comfortable in such a large space with so many people. And yes, they can tell we are smiling behind the masks!
The whole experience can be overwhelming for them. That said, the County Center operation is so well run, with many, many dedicated people. Almost without exception, people leave marveling at the massive, well run operation. Yes, there have been a few days that had long waits. But considering that they are asked to handle as much as an extra 1,000 plus people in a day due to weather related cancellations, many of whom come well before their assigned time in order to beat the snow predicted later that day, the performance has been amazingly efficient. I know one of the last days I worked they said they averaged 299 people an hour for the day.
(Q) What precautions do you take when you go to the center?
(A) We double mask with one being an N95 and we wear clear goggles. We try to be very conscience of our distance to people.
(Q) What is your role?
(A) Every day is different. Welcoming and reassuring guests once they check in and enter the queue, Keeping the queue moving forward, Answering basic questions about the process, Directing newly vaccinated guests to the observation room, data entry, and other general tasks, as needed such as pushing wheel chairs or cleaning pens!
(Q) What has surprised you about the experience?
(A) It is a team effort to make the County Center vaccination program run. Of course you need the medical staff to give the actual vaccine but the National Guard, EMS, Parks Department, Law Enforcement and volunteers are all a part of what makes it work so well. The dedication of all of those involved is truly inspirational.
(Q) Have any of the people who were vaccinated had bad reactions immediately after receiving their shot?
(A) The County Center only gives the Pfizer vaccine. We have seen very few reactions to the vaccine. Generally it has been mostly anxiety and the EMS staff is always available and very present for anyone in need.
(Q) Why have you found it fulfilling?
(A) We have the time to give to the program and they need us and appreciate all that we do. The volunteers are a big part of the whole operation. It would be hard to do it without us. Most people leave and compliment us on what an amazing experience they had. The scope and scale of the national vaccination effort is historic and it is really fulfilling to help play a little part in it. Seeing so many elderly so relieved to be finally receiving their vaccines and anticipating getting their normal lives back is the best part of it.Dara Gruenberg
Dara Gruenberg, who just began this week gave her initial impressions of the operation. She said, “The County Center Vaccine Facility is a well oiled machine. The Westchester Medical Center Staff, site administrators, the National Guard, members of Westchester County Parks, EMTs and local law enforcement and volunteers all work together seamlessly to help people feel comfortable and move them through to get their vaccinations in an efficient and safe manner. Everyone is so cheerful, and people are constantly thanking one another. It is such an uplifting environment to be in especially after being so isolated this last year. It is invigorating and inspiring to be able to help in this way. I feel honored to be a part of this historic moment and full of hope that we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The best part of the job is interacting with people arriving to get their vaccines and chatting with them to put them at ease.”
Colonoscopies Dropped 86% During the Pandemic. See Why This is Dangerous
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
- Category: Health
It’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and time to get back on track by getting a colonoscopy. It will take time to grasp the many ways COVID-19 has taken a toll on our health as individuals and as a society. Yet, one fact is already alarmingly clear right now – the colorectal screenings that everyone put off last year will lead to thousands of more lives lost over the next decade. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance estimated last year that pandemic fears caused the number of colonoscopies to drop sharply by 86%.
“While there may be other, less invasive screening tools and tests to detect colorectal cancer, colonoscopy is far and away the gold standard for its ability to view the entire colon,” notes Dr. Robert Antonelle, Chief of Gastroenterology at White Plains Hospital. “This test is effective and safe, even during a pandemic. There is no longer a reason to delay this important, lifesaving screening.”
Age is still the biggest risk factor for developing colorectal cancer, so follow these guidelines:
If you are in your 20s or 30s…
Take this time to learn your family history and identify any risk factors. Colorectal cancer is not just a disease of the elderly. Cases of young-onset colorectal cancer, in people in their 40s, 30s and even some in their 20s, have increased by 51% since 1994, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Colonoscopies are excellent at detecting polyps, which can be removed before they evolve into cancer, which is one of the reasons the rates of colon cancer in people over 50 has gone down in recent years.
If you are in your 40s…
• Ask your doctor if you have risk factors that would suggest starting screening in your 40s.
• While the general recommendation is for average risk people to start this screening at age 50, multiple professional societies are now advocating to start low-risk screening at age 45.
If you are in your 50s…
• Average-risk patients should start screening with a colonoscopy every 10 years.
• There are several other screening methods with different abilities to detect or prevent colorectal cancer, including fecal blood and DNA tests, sigmoidoscopy (which only looks at a section of your colon) and CT colonography that scans the entire colon. Speak with your doctor about the best screening test for you.
If you are in your 60s…
• Continue screening with colonoscopy every 10 years.
If you are in your 70s…
• Colorectal screening should continue through age 75; people ages 76-85 should decide with their medical provider whether to continue screenings.
One of the mottos of this year’s Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month is “It’s Time to Get Back on Track.” Call your physician to schedule a screening and get ahead of this highly preventable disease.
Dr. Robert Antonelle is the Chief of Gastroenterology at White Plains Hospital, seeing patients at 311 North Street in White Plains and 99 Business Park Drive in Armonk. To make an appointment, call 914-949-7171.
Follow the Three “M’s” for a Healthier Lifestyle
- Written by White Plains Hospital
- Category: Health
The start of a new year symbolizes a fresh start, a chance to reassess our lives and set new goals. Two of the most common pledges we make every year are to lose weight and get in shape. To help achieve your aspiration of realizing a healthier you can follow the three M’s – Mediterranean diet, mindfulness and movement.
Take a Trip to the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seafood, with liberal use of olive oil and a limited intake of red meat. It’s not without its rewards – the diet plan also allows for a few glasses of red wine per week.
With easy to follow guidelines the diet has proven to be so successful that U.S. News & World Report recently ranked it No. 1 on its 39 Best Diets Overall list, labeling it as a Best-Heart Healthy Diet. “Because it’s plant-based and it removes packaged foods, sugar, and saturated fats from your diet, it creates a core deficit that can help you lose weight,” says Diane May, MPH, MS, RD, CDN, CSOWM, a registered dietician with Scarsdale Medical Group. “Studies have shown the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as the incidence of cognitive impairment associated with dementia. It’s not a fad diet. It’s been used in research and is evidence-based.”
Put Your Mind at Ease
Mindfulness, the practice of focusing on the moment at hand, has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness. People who practice mindfulness have seen an improvement in mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and experienced relief from physical ailments such as chronic pain, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure.
“Deep breathing is an easy method that can help ease stress,” says Mary Beth Schmidt, Senior Staff Chaplain at White Plains Hospital. “If you’re in a tense situation, take a deep breath, hold it for five seconds, and then let it go for ten seconds. It will lower your blood pressure and change how your body reacts to stress.”
Chaplain Schmidt also suggests mindful eating. Most of the time we don’t pay attention to what we’re eating because we’re preoccupied or eating at our desk while we work. When we eat with more mindfulness, paying attention to the texture and taste of the food, we slow down and digest our food better which helps get more vitamins and minerals and aids in overall digestive health.
Move it! The Advantages of Movement and Exercise
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, only 23% of Americans 18 and older meet the federal standards for aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise.
Movement affects many aspects of our health including circulation, digestion and immunity. It also helps our bodies regulate hormone activity and detoxify.
“It sounds obvious, but the little things like enjoying the outdoors, walking, or playing with your pets are great for your overall health and also allow you to be alone with your thoughts and center yourself for whatever you’re going to face next,” says Dr. Christopher Robles, Family Medicine and Primary Care physician at White Plains Hospital Physician Associates.
Small changes, every day …. by following the three M’s you may soon look in the mirror and see the promise of a healthier you fulfilled.