As another new year arrives, it’s the perfect time to take stock of what you’ve accomplished in the last year and what you aim to improve in the coming year. If you hope to achieve a healthier lifestyle in the new year, allow us to share some tips to make resolutions that will lead to long-term success.

  1. Set concrete, realistic goals. Every goal consists of numerous small steps in the right direction. Rather than resolving to improve your hemoglobin a1c, break it down into attainable, bite-sized pieces: For example, plan to see your endocrinologist quarterly, your ophthalmologist yearly, and schedule those appointments. Maintain a glucose logbook with 4 checks per day, and create a plan to share these numbers regularly with your provider. Create a medication schedule or set alarms so you no longer miss doses. Choose appropriate target numbers with your provider: If a hemoglobin a1c of 7.0 is too ambitious, then aim to decrease your a1c by at least 1 point in the next 3 months.  
  2. Remember that you are more than a set of numbers. Targeting a specific body weight can be stressful. It can lead to overly close monitoring of the bathroom scale, provoking anxiety and frustration when that weight doesn’t respond immediately to efforts. Make your resolutions more holistic, and remember that your self-worth is not tied to these goals. Instead of aiming to lose 20 pounds, set your sights on a well-balanced diet and increasing physical activity with the ultimate goal of feeling energized, healthy, and HAPPY. Don’t neglect stress and sleep either – mental and physical health go hand-in-hand, after all.
  3. You can resolve to change at any time – not just January! Recognize the stage of change that you are in: Pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. Regardless of what your healthcare provider, friends or family tell you, a behavioral change cannot occur until you are ready.  Whether it’s quitting smoking or eating less fast food, it’s never too late to take that first step towards your goals.   
  4. Understand your healthcare. You are the single best advocate for yourself. Next time you go to the doctor, find out what all the lab results represent. Ask why certain treatment decisions are being made and ask about the alternatives. Know what resources your provider and your insurance plan can offer to you.
  5. Know when to ask for help. Don’t carry the entire burden on your shoulders. Build a support system to help make sustainable changes that will last throughout the year. Let your medical providers help you build a customized plan and hold you accountable for your goals.

Happy new year from all of us at Diabetes and Endocrinology Associates!

Please be advised that numerous lots of natural thyroid formulations (including Armour, NP thyroid, and Westhroid) have been recalled for subpotency. If you’re on one of these medications, check with your endocrinologist ASAP.

https://www.fda.gov/safety/recalls-market-withdrawals-safety-alerts/rlc-labs-inc-issues-voluntary-nationwide-recall-all-lots-nature-throidr-and-wp-thyroidr-current?fbclid=IwAR1ZWQ_Y0FLajEgoS1MnPFYik_UOvaAlf-_NAfYLB5TJDthGN_7EOdmRQkc

By Meghana Kumar, MD

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin | Chronicles in Health

Vitamin D has been a buzzword of sorts lately during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a vitamin that acts more like a hormone and has been implicated in all sorts of processes in the human body. Read on to find out why you should make sure to maintain normal levels of vitamin D and how to do so.

Vitamin D comes from two primary sources: food/supplements and sunlight (hence why it’s nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin”). This is activated by enzymes in the body, and activated vitamin D then helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels. So inadequate Vitamin D means that we lack some of the key building blocks for healthy bones.

A deficiency of vitamin D can lead to fatigue, weakness, poor balance, increased fall risk, bone pains, and, if prolonged and severe, can affect bone strength and even lead to bone fractures. As we get older and osteoporosis risk increases, it is especially crucial to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. It has also been linked to the body’s protection against infections, wound healing, and mood.

Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency, which can be checked by bloodwork, is typically easy to fix. Most experts recommend that adults get at least 600 IU of vitamin D per day. As you can imagine, vitamin D deficiency is particularly common in the wintertime when people spend less time outdoors in the sun. Here are some foods that are excellent sources of vitamin D:

-fish

-egg yolks

-mushrooms

-cheese, yogurt, milk

-fortified orange juice

-fortified cereals

However, for some people, dietary intake and sunlight exposure still are not enough. Before starting a vitamin D supplement, check with your doctor about what the appropriate dose, type, and route is. For example, people with kidney or liver impairment may need special formulations of vitamin D that are already activated. Someone with gastrointestinal problems may need a higher dose to achieve adequate absorption of the vitamin D. Vitamin D toxicity is possible, so you want to make sure not to overdo the supplements.

When you go to the pharmacy aisle, you will notice that vitamin D comes in two forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 comes from plant-sources while D3 comes from animal sources. Most studies show that D2 and D3 are equally effective, though the source may be important to consider if you practice a vegan diet.  

Like any supplement, it’s important to discuss the details with your doctor. Though mineral and vitamin supplements are easy to obtain over the counter, the minutiae of dosing and formulation can have significant impacts on your body if not carefully supervised. So next time you’re in the pharmacy, take a good look at the supplement aisle and do your research before investing in a bottle!