OUR PILLARSFood, movement, sleep, and stress reduction
No matter the type of metabolic condition a person is facing, lifestyle and stress-related factors can play a critical role.
The central roles of diet and exercise in diabetes prevention and treatment have been known for some time, but increasing medical research shows that sleep and stress play an important role in health and illness. The key drivers of our lives impact our weight, how we process sugars, our risk of heart disease, our mood, and overall health and well-being.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Our bodies need food on a daily basis for nourishment and to sustain our vital functions. Food provides many things, including energy, vitamins, and nutrients, which are important to every cell and organ system in the body. Unfortunately, many processed foods today are low in nutrients and high in sugar, fat, and sodium.
Here are the basic tenets we aim to bring to our patients and their families:
When we eat food as close to its natural state as possible, the nutrients are more available for our bodies to use. We value cooking, trying out new recipes, and spending time with family and friends at the table, while enjoying the taste, texture, and flavor of meals.
Sometimes fresh foods are less available due to monetary constraints. We want to help our patients find the resources to have healthy food at home regardless of income. We will work with you to help you find an approach to eating that works for you.
For those who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), note where you can double your dollars at participating markets! No matter your resources, our goal is to help patients choose wellness on a daily basis.
Cooking fresh meals can take time, and with busy work and life schedules, that may not work for you. We can help you come up with a plan that fits your lifestyle.
One size does not fit all
There are a range of dietary approaches, and what works for one person may not work for another. The good news is that the science tells us there are several different approaches with good evidence for preventing diabetes, reducing blood pressure, and reducing heart disease. Some may also help with mood and memory.
We help our patients achieve their goals by choosing the food plan that works best for them, including a moderately-low carbohydrate diet; a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet; a Mediterranean diet; or a low-saturated fat diet. We are also happy to help patients who are vegetarian or vegan find lower-carbohydrate options. For patients with food sensitivities or allergies, we can customize diet plans.
Our bodies were designed to move! Research shows that regular physical activity or exercise can have the following positive impact:
• Strengthen muscles and bones
• Improve ability to perform daily activities and mobility – and prevent falls
• Increase health span and quality of life
• Improve quality of sleep
• Improve mental health, anxiety, depression, and other conditions
• Improve mood and increase energy
• Prevent weight gain and help maintain a healthy weight
• Help manage stress more effectively
Physical activity also helps to prevent and reverse chronic disease. It has been shown to:
• Improve blood pressure
• Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke
• Improve lipid (cholesterol) profile
• Reduce risk of some cancers
• Prevent and/or reduce risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
• Increase insulin sensitivity
• Lower blood sugar
• Improve hemoglobin A1C
Can you work up to 30 minutes, five days a week?
Current guidelines recommend a minimum 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. Moderate-intensity exercise is walking as fast as you would walk if you were late for a meeting. Vigorous exercise is running or fast bike riding. Research consistently shows that resistance training and aerobic exercise combined show the best health benefits and improvements.
Try to move your body while using as many joints and large muscles as possible. As a general rule of thumb, and to easily gauge an ideal exertion level, you should be able to breathe through your nose or carry on a conversation without gasping for breath while you exercise.
Our team can design exercise programs tailored to your capabilities.
• Any movement helps
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator
• Park farther away from the building
• Stand instead of sitting
Keep it simple. Visit a local park. Do something that makes you smile, is fun, and gives you more energy. The goal is to stay active for life!
One-third of our lifetime is spent sleeping. We now know the critical healing role of sleep — it helps us grow, repair our bodies, and strengthen our minds. Most adults need seven to 9 hours of sleep per night, and children and adolescents need an average of 9.5 hours of sleep or more every night.
Unfortunately, many of us do not get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can affect mood, thinking, learning, and metabolism. There are simple practices you can do to improve your sleep. Chronic lack of sleep is associated with the development of diabetes, poor diabetes control, and a range of other serious medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, depression, and memory loss.
How can we help you sleep better?
Our center offers an interdisciplinary approach to treating sleep disorders. We work with each patient to develop an individualized plan to change sleep behaviors and adjust the environment to promote quality sleep. We focus on evidence-based methods for improving sleep, including behavioral sleep medicine and cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia. Sometimes it is also necessary to shift thoughts and beliefs about sleep that may interfere with getting a good night’s rest.
Stress can be thought of as a person’s response to demands or pressures in life, called stressors. To some extent, stress is a very normal part of living a rewarding and meaningful life. Whether its finances, family responsibilities, work, personal relationships, or health concerns, our lives are never completely free of stressors. A moderate amount of stress is okay. It can actually give us energy and improve our productivity and performance. However, at the point where stressors start to overwhelm our physical and mental resources, that is when we observe the harmful effects of stress.
Excessive stress can lead to a number of problems. There can be physical symptoms, such as headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and sleep problems. There can also be psychological symptoms, including anger, depression, and anxiety.
When we are stressed, we also tend to act in more unhealthy ways, like sleeping less, exercising less, eating fewer healthy foods, and sometimes drinking or smoking more. There are simple practices you can do to reduce stress in your day to day life. When high levels of stress continue for an extended period of time, it can also contribute to a number of medical conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal problems, depression, and sexual dysfunction.
How can we help you with stress management?
Treatment for stress is highly individualized. We begin with a comprehensive assessment to determine the causes of stress in your life. We then work with you to develop a personal plan to manage stress effectively. Some of the most effective approaches include mindfulness and relaxation practices, exercise, quality sleep, a nutritious diet, and spending time with friends and family. We will also work with you to shift your appraisals of stressors and develop a sense of control in your life. This can reduce feelings of helplessness that are often experienced by people with high levels of stress.
Make an Appointment
WVU Medicine Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Health and Healthy for Life Clinic for Children and Adolescents
1001 Sushruta Drive
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Office: (304) 597-5038
Fax: (304) 596-0025
Harper’s Ferry Family Medicine
171 Taylor Street
Harper’s Ferry, WV 25425
Office: (304) 535-6343
Fax: (304) 535-6618
Women’s Health and Family Medicine
203 East 4th Street
Ranson, WV 25438
Office: (304) 728-6343
University Endocrinology Associates – Ranson
211 E. 5th Avenue
Ranson, WV 25348
Office: (304) 596-5038
Fax: (304) 596-5037
University Healthcare Physicians
WVU Health Science Center- Eastern Division
2500 Foundation Way
Martinsburg, WV 25401
Emma Morton-Eggleston, MD, MPH
Sarah Moerschel, MD, FAAP
Pediatrics, Obesity Medicine
James Field, MD
Rosemarie Cannarella Lorenzetti, MD, MPH
Mark Cucuzzella, MD
Jon Deiches, PhD
Madison Humerick, MD
Catherine Feaga, DO
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