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DEAR DIETITAN: Cancer and Nutrition

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — Conversely, there is a lot of misinformation on nutrition, especially when it comes to cancer.  Cancer patients are sometimes afraid and vulnerable, which may make them susceptible to quack nutrition.  Remember we live in a “let the buyer beware” society, and there is nothing in the First Amendment that requires free speech to include the truth.

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By Leanne McCrate

Dear Readers,

Today I am writing about a topic near to my heart: nutrition and cancer, or more pointedly, nutrition myths and cancer. My clinical experience included twelve years of oncology nutrition, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Good nutrition can help prevent some types of cancer, and not surprisingly, it is the same diet that helps prevent other diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.  You’ve heard it before and read it in this column: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Eat more plant foods.

Conversely, there is a lot of misinformation on nutrition, especially when it comes to cancer.  Cancer patients are sometimes afraid and vulnerable, which may make them susceptible to quack nutrition.  Remember we live in a “let the buyer beware” society, and there is nothing in the First Amendment that requires free speech to include the truth.

These are just a few myths involving nutrition and cancer:

  1. Sugar feeds cancer. This is misleading.  The real question is “Does sugar make your cancer worse?”  The answer is no.
  2. A ketogenic diet does not involve glucose (sugar) and so starves the cancer tumor. The truth is our bodies must have glucose in order to survive.  If we don’t consume it in our diet, our bodies will make glucose from fat and/or protein in a process known as gluconeogenesis — a fancy name for making new glucose.
  3. Alkaline water/diet – similar to the baking soda myth. Supposedly, alkaline foods (including baking soda) and water neutralize a cancer-friendly acidic environment.  The truth is the pH of our blood is slightly alkaline.  Mechanisms are in place to keep this in place; otherwise, the human body cannot survive. It doesn’t matter what the pH of your food or drinking water is, your body will always maintain a blood pH balance of about 7.2.
  4. Vitamin D. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, an internationally renowned facility in New York: “Intake of vitamin D through diet may protect against breast or colorectal cancers or affect markers for prostate cancer.  However, vitamin D by itself does not prevent or treat cancer.  Other large studies show that high vitamin D levels do not reduce the risk of many other cancers, and may increase risk for pancreatic or aggressive prostate cancers.”
  5. An-all vegetable diet. There was a patient in the hospital that revealed she had followed an all-veggie diet for cancer, and exclaimed, “I lost 30 pounds, and it was all muscle!”  A vegetables-only diet will leave you malnourished and dissatisfied, and on no uncertain terms, will not improve a cancer diagnosis.

While nutrition is a very important aspect of cancer treatment, there is no nutritional cure for cancer.  It is important to stay well-nourished in order to help maximize the outcome of cancer treatment. Registered Dietitians (R.D.s) are available wherever you receive cancer care to help you maintain a healthy nutritional status. My goal is to help you make informed decisions when nutrition is concerned.

Sincerely,
Dear Dietitian

Leanne McCrate, RD, LD, CNSC, is an award-winning dietitian based in Missouri.  Her mission is to educate the public on sound, evidence-based nutrition.  Do you have a nutrition question?  Email her at deardietitian411@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune.

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Why heart health is important for women with diabetes

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., killing one woman every 60 seconds. It’s the leading cause of death for African American and white women and, among Hispanic women, it causes as many deaths as cancer each year.

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(Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

If you have diabetes, you have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. While men and women generally have similar rates of Type 2 diabetes, women are twice as likely to have heart disease.

In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., killing one woman every 60 seconds. It’s the leading cause of death for African American and white women and, among Hispanic women, it causes as many deaths as cancer each year.

Two-thirds of women who die suddenly of heart disease have no previous symptoms. Women are more likely than men to have the following heart attack symptoms:

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, abdomen or back
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

More than 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Women of all ages can get heart disease. While the risk gets higher with age, lifestyle, diet, smoking and hereditary conditions can increase a younger person’s risk.

Risk factors for heart disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity

If you have a family history of heart disease, there are still steps you can take to lower your risk. Below are some important steps women can take to reduce their risk of heart disease:

  • Know your risk factors; have your blood pressure checked regularly, along with your cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat healthy, including lean proteins such as white meat chicken and lean ground beef, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out the Healthy Eating video at parklanddiabetes.com/healthy for more tips on eating healthy with diabetes
  • Find ways to relax more and lower your stress level
  • Get moving and exercise more. Check out the Move Your Body video at parklanddiabetes.com/move for easy tips on how to get more exercise into your day

If you are a woman who has diabetes, it’s very important to keep your blood sugar within the range recommended by your doctor. If you don’t know how to manage your blood sugar, make an appointment with a health care provider to get more information on keeping your diabetes under control.

For more information on how to keep your heart healthy and manage your diabetes, go to www.parklanddiabetes.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune.

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Dallas Post Tribune

Parkland providers urge men to take care of their physical, mental health

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women. Each June Parkland Health & Hospital System observes Men’s Health Month to raise awareness by encouraging men to adopt healthy habits for both mind and body.

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June is Men’s Health Month

By Dallas Post Tribune Staff

DALLAS – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women. Each June Parkland Health & Hospital System observes Men’s Health Month to raise awareness by encouraging men to adopt healthy habits for both mind and body.

According to the CDC, the top 10 health issues experienced by men include heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries (such as road traffic injuries, poisoning, falls, fire and burn injuries, and drowning), chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, diabetes, suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, influenza/pneumonia and chronic liver disease. The suicide rate among American men is about four times higher than among women, according to CDC data. Women are more likely to attempt suicide but men are more likely to succeed.

“This month gives providers the opportunity to educate their patients and their loved ones about the importance of regular health checkups and encourage men to take control of their health,” said Noel O. Santini, MD, Senior Medical Director of Ambulatory Services at Parkland.

Although physical health is almost always top of mind, “We want our patients, men and women alike, to focus on their mental health, too,” said Alejandro Zavala Cervantes, LPC, a mental health counselor at Parkland’s Garland Health Center. “A person’s mental health influences how they feel, think and behave. It also affects their ability to cope with stress, build relationships and overcome challenges and all of these affect their physical health as well as their emotional wellbeing.”

According to Mental Health America (MHA, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association), every year one in five adults experiences a mental health problem and 6 million men are affected by depression. The top three major mental health problems experienced by men are:

Depression: This illness is characterized by experiencing feelings of hopelessness, sadness, loss or frustration that cause trouble with daily life. Depression can last weeks, months or even years.

Anxiety: These disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear, affecting the ability to function day-to-day.

Bipolar disorder: This illness causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar disorder experience extreme high and low moods.

Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, many people still view the subject as taboo.

“Discussing mental health issues with anyone, let alone a healthcare provider, is often seen as embarrassing or even unnecessary. In my experience, this is especially true in men,” Zavala Cervantes said. “Many of my male patients have expressed being hesitant about seeking help because doing so implies weakness and is cause for shame. As providers we need to erase this stigma and encourage patients to seek help.”

Getting appropriate and timely care can change lives, according to Celeste Johnson, DNP, APRN, PMH CNS, Vice President of Behavioral Health at Parkland. “The best treatments for serious mental illnesses are highly effective. Between 70 and 90% of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with the right treatments and supports.”

In 2015, Parkland launched a unique Universal Suicide Screening Program to identify those at risk and help save lives by intervening immediately. “Patients who later die by suicide are often seen by non-behavioral health providers in the days, weeks and months prior to death,” Dr. Johnson said. “U.S. data shows that 77% of people who die by suicide had contact with a primary care provider and 40% had contact with an emergency department provider in the year prior to death. We want to use every patient encounter at Parkland as an opportunity to identify those at risk and provide the help they need.”

Treatments for mental health issues may include therapy or counseling, medications and other treatments that can help people lead healthier lives. In addition to seeking professional help, there are many ways to take control of your mental health including:

Take care of your body: Good physical health can improve your mental health. Be sure to maintain a healthy diet and avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

Exercise: Physical activity helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods.

Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Skipping even a few hours here and there can take a toll on your mood, energy, mental sharpness and ability to handle stress.

Learn how to deal with stress: Stress takes a toll on physical and emotional health. While not all stressors can be avoided, management strategies can help you feel less overwhelmed and more in control.

When to seek professional help: If efforts to improve your mental health seem to fail, it may be time to seek professional help. It’s especially important if thoughts of self-harm or suicide are present.

“We want our patients to know they don’t have to suffer alone and in silence,” Zavala Cervantes said. “We’re here to help.”

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

To access MHA’s online mental health screening tools please visit, https://screening.mentalhealthamerica.net/screening-tools. For more information about Parkland services, visit www.parklandhospital.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune

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Gary L. Bond III Receives the Cincinnatus Award from Great Hearts Irving

DALLAS POST TRIBUNE — On May 23, 2019, Gary L. Bond III received the Cincinnatus Award  (Charity in Leadership and Magnanimity) from Great Hearts Irving Academy. At the end of the school year, Gary will complete the 8th grade where he has been active in; Track,  The Debate Team–Public Forum, and Programming–Python as extracurricular activities.

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By Dallas Post Tribune Staff

On May 23, 2019, Gary L. Bond III received the Cincinnatus Award (Charity in Leadership and Magnanimity) from Great Hearts Irving Academy.

At the end of the school year, Gary will complete the 8th grade where he has been active in; Track,  The Debate Team–Public Forum, and Programming–Python as extracurricular activities.

  • In track, he competed in the; 4×100, 4×200, 200m, and the 400m, receiving medals in the; 200m, 4×100, and the 4×200.
  • 2018, Gary received the Duke Tip Award in Texas.

Gary L. Bond, Jr. and Theronica R. Bond are the proud parents of Gary and Theodore L. Bond, the only sibling, is his younger brother.

Gary is a member of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson, Texas.

“The Dallas Post Tribune sends a “special” CONGRATULATIONS! to Gary for his achievements during the school year, 2018-2019”.

This article originally appeared in the Dallas Post Tribune.

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