Folic Acid- What, Why and How

spinach kale folic acid folate supplement

Broccoli is a good food source of folate, but you may benefit from a high quality folic acid supplement.

Folic acid is famous for its benefits to babies in the womb- it helps prevent many birth defects, like spina bifida (incomplete formation of the spine). What you may not know is that folic acid is important for all people to take, regardless of sex or age.

Folic acid is a B vitamin, and it supports your health in a variety of ways. For example, folic acid helps your body build new cells. Cell building is a constant process happening within your hair, skin and fingernails (which are frequently damaged by cosmetics and our environments). Folic acid also helps keep your blood healthy- you may develop anemia (a low red blood cell count) if you don’t get enough folic acid.

Another surprising fact about folic acid is that the medications you take may deplete folic acid from your body. If you are on a medication for Rheumatoid arthritis, seizures or Type 2 diabetes (just to name a few), you should consider taking a folic acid supplement to replace what you lose. If you drink more than one alcoholic beverage per day, or if you have celiac disease, you may also be at risk for folic acid depletion.

You can increase your daily folic acid intake by including leafy green vegetables (like kale, broccoli and spinach), whole grains and beans in your diet. Look for “vitamin B9” on the nutrition labels of food items to see if they’re enriched with folic acid. You may find it difficult to get all the nutrients you need from food alone because of your schedule, health or food choices. That’s when high quality supplements come in handy. Call, email or visit CarePro Advance Health or your local CarePro Pharmacy. Our expert pharmacists can help you find a folic acid supplement to fit your lifestyle and dietary needs.

Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/index.html; http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/folic-acid.html

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Get Moving to Feel Better

exercise walking accountability motivated friend buddy

Grab a friend or family member and get moving! Just 30 minutes a day can help improve your mood.

Feeling stressed and out of energy this December? A little exercise may be just what you need to kick your winter funk.

When you exercise, your brain releases chemicals that help you feel happier and more relaxed. Exercising regularly also helps improve your muscle strength and increase your endurance. That means you’ll be able to work or play longer and enjoy it more after you get into a regular exercise plan.

However, you don’t have to haul yourself to the gym alone to get in a decent workout. Invite a friend as an exercise buddy- it’s a great way to stay accountable, and you’ll be less likely to skip a workout if your friend is counting on you to come along.

Here are a few ideas to get moving while remaining social:

  • Take a nightly walk with your kids or pet
  • Go for a jog with your spouse a few times per week
  • Sign up for a spin or yoga class with a friend
  • Throw a leaf raking party with the whole family

A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day can help you feel more energized, refreshed and focused. With the holidays approaching fast, you’re going to need that extra energy. Check out the CarePro Worksite Wellness page on Facebook for fun workout ideas and tips to help you stay motivated.

Remember:  exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore. Find an activity you and your exercise buddy enjoy, and get active!

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On the Road Again: Managing Diabetes While Traveling

family travel with diabetes

With a little planning, travelling with diabetes can be fun for the whole family.

Traveling with diabetes can be difficult, but a little planning will ease your mind and make the trip more enjoyable.

Before you leave, see your doctor to make sure your numbers are under control. While you’re there, ask your doctor for the following items:

  • A letter that explains what you need to do for your diabetes and all the equipment you use to manage it (diabetes pills, insulin, syringes, monitors, etc.)
  • A prescription for your insulin or diabetes pills just in case
  • A complete list of your medications, as well as a list of items to which you are allergic (foods, medications, etc.)

It’s a good idea to pack extra supplies in case of emergency or an extended trip. If you are flying, check with the airline before your trip to ensure that you pack your supplies and medication properly. Pack some of your supplies in your carry-on bag in case you become separated from your luggage.

For more information on traveling with diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association website or connect with the staff at your local CarePro Pharmacy. We’re always happy to help you get the answers you need.

It’s hard enough to pack for a trip without having to prepare for the complications that may arise when you have diabetes.

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Tips for People who Don’t Enjoy the Holidays

lady stressed out upset

Are you not a holiday person? That's OK! Use our tips to help control your stress this season.

Some people LOVE the holidays; the decorations, the shopping and the feasting are a welcome hustle and bustle every year. But not everyone looks forward to the holidays- and that’s OK. If you’re not a holiday person, use these simple tips to help get you through the season without stressing yourself to the max.

  • Keep your healthy habits in mind:  Eat a healthy breakfast including protein and whole grains. At your holiday meal, make sure your plate is half full of vegetables before you reach for turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and other traditional treats. Remember, starving yourself to “save room” before a big holiday meal will usually backfire- you’ll be ravenous, so you’ll be less inclined to choose healthy foods and instead may opt for richer, heavier foods to fill up faster.
  • Make time for yourself:  Even though your routine will be out of whack, be sure to make a little time for yourself. Go for a brisk walk while your guests are showering. Get up a bit earlier than everyone else to enjoy a nice cup of coffee in silence. Work in 30 minutes of exercise each day (walk the dog, wrestle the grandkids, go for a swim at the gym or do some calisthenics at home). Carving out a little “me time” will help you find balance during the frenzy of the holidays.
  • Shop within your budget:  You’ll feel a lot of unnecessary stress and rack up debt if you try to please everyone over the holidays. Instead of searching the world over for the perfect gift, be direct and ask people what they want. Remember that homemade gifts that are practical and made with love are often treasured more than the latest gadget or toy, and will likely last longer. Friends and family will also enjoy gifts of your time- offer to water their plants, walk their dogs, watch their kids for free or treat them to a home cooked meal. It’s easy to show you care without breaking your budget.

If what you feel is more like depression than stress, or if the holidays weigh heavily on you this year because of a lost loved one, check out this helpful article from Mayo Clinic:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544

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Why Are Diabetic Shoes Important?

Diabetes patients often need special shoes

Diabetic shoes come in a variety of styles to fit your health needs and personal fashion.

Proper foot care is essential for diabetes patients. If you have diabetes, you may also have peripheral neuropathy, a common effect of diabetes that causes loss of feeling in the feet due to nerve damage. You could step on objects or develop blisters without feeling pain in your feet.

Peripheral neuropathy puts you at an increased risk for developing foot complications. A small nick or blister could lead to an infection, a troublesome ulcer or worse. In order to properly care for your feet, you should inspect your feet for damage daily and wear properly fitted shoes.

Foot Care. Think about foot care as part of your morning and evening hygiene routine. Soon it will become automatic. Check your feet for:

• Corns, blisters or calluses

• Pressure areas

• Ingrown or broken toenails

• Redness, swelling or warm areas

• Scratches or lacerations

• Objects embedded in the foot

• Check for objects in your shoes before you put them on (small toys, rocks, pins, etc.)

If you are physically unable to inspect your own feet regularly, ask your healthcare provider, a friend or a family member to check them for you. This small change in your daily routine may spare you a painful, long-lasting foot injury and hundreds of dollars in treatment.

Diabetic Shoes. Many people worry that diabetic shoes will make them look stodgy. However, diabetic shoes have become trendier and more attractive in recent years. You can find a wide range of styles to accommodate your health needs and your personal style.

It’s a good idea to visit a diabetic shoe specialist to help you select the right style and fit. Shoe specialists at CarePro Pharmacies will make sure that:

• The shoe provides the support and protection you need

• Good circulation is maintained in your feet

• Your skin is allowed to breathe

• The shoe is comfortable and complements your lifestyle

Wear the socks you plan to wear with your new shoes when you are fitted. That way, you’ll be sure to get a proper, comfortable fit. Your foot shape and needs change over time, so it is important to have your shoes inspected and replaced periodically.

CarePro Pharmacies accept Medicare, Medicaid and most other insurances. Your provider may cover your diabetic shoe purchase. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to call or email your local CarePro Pharmacy, or stop in to talk to a footwear specialist. We’re happy to help you with your diabetic shoe needs.

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A Versatile Lotion for Dry Skin and Diabetes

dry skin, diabetes, winter

Remedy Skin Repair Cream is perfect for dry skin in the winter, or for use all year round.

Diabetes affects all areas of the body, including your skin. If you have diabetes, your skin may dry out easily. That means your skin is likely to break open if you scratch it. Abrasions in your skin leave you more susceptible to infections, which can be hard to treat if you have diabetes.

Caring for your skin is very important, especially if you have diabetes. Remedy Skin Repair Cream is specially formulated to moisturize your skin without feeling greasy. The lotion is packed with vitamins and antioxidants to nourish your skin. It is also hypo-allergenic and non-irritating, which makes it perfect for dry, sensitive skin.

Remedy is gentle enough for everyday use and is effective for many skin conditions beyond diabetes. You can use Remedy on your whole body, including your feet, elbows, knees, face or other areas that are dry or irritated. It feels great on skin that is chapped due to the cold or sore from a sunburn. It is also ideal for people who are dealing with skin irritation from radiation therapy.

Remedy is a perfect holiday gift, too. It is lightly scented and is perfect for people who wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently (like teachers, nurses and new parents). You can save 20% on Remedy during the month of November at CarePro Home Medical in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, and at CarePro Pharmacy – Pavilion in Cedar Rapids.

Remedy is gentle enough for everyday use, but strong enough to help combat the pain and irritation that comes with dry skin. If you have questions about Remedy, please feel free to contact us by phone or email. We’re happy to help you with your skin care needs year round.

BONUS: In December, CarePro Advance Health is hosting an education session about natural skin care options. Click this link for more information!

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Diabetes and the Flu Vaccine

flu vaccine for people with diabetes

If you have diabetes, it's important to get vaccinated against the flu.

If you have diabetes, it’s important that you get vaccinated against the flu. When people with diabetes contract the flu, their blood glucose levels tend to rise, and their recovery time is often longer than that of people who don’t have diabetes.

Besides its own unpleasant side effects, the flu can lead to other severe ailments, including dehydration and pneumonia. According to Mayo Clinic, people with diabetes are three times as likely to die from the flu and pneumonia than people who do not have diabetes.

You may be afraid that you will catch the flu from the vaccine. Fortunately, you cannot catch the flu from most formulations of the flu vaccine. The most common side effects of the vaccine are minor, and they only last a couple of days. The side effects include pain and redness around the injection site and a low fever.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu. Children, senior citizens, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions (including diabetes) and people with lung, kidney or heart disorders are more likely to experience serious side effects if they contract the flu. It is important for people in these high risk groups, and for those who live and work with them, to be vaccinated against the flu every year.

Everyone should take these basic precautions to help keep each other healthy through the flu season:

• Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

• Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser.

• If you do get the flu, stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after your fever ends to avoid infecting others.

When you live with diabetes, you know that it is important to be proactive with your health. Visit your local CarePro Pharmacy for a flu shot soon. No appointments are necessary- we’re happy to help you when you stop by.

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4 Categories for Halloween Safety

Kids safety Halloween pumpkin carving

Play it safe when carving pumpkins with kids this Halloween.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many kids and adults alike. It’s fun to get out of the daily grind, and trick-or-treating is a fun way to get active with your family. However, Halloween can quickly become hazardous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Use our quick tips to have a safe, fun Halloween.

1. Clothing

  • Wear costumes that fit! Make sure costumes are not too long to avoid tripping
  • Plan for extra layers if it’s cold out (you never know in Iowa!)
  • Stick reflective tape on costumes and bags to be visible to cars
  • Skip decorative contacts to avoid serious eye injury (inflammation, scratches, infections, pain)
  • Test makeup on a small area of skin to avoid a full-face rash if you’re allergic
  • Secure accessories (swords, wings, crowns) properly, and avoid sharp edges or points

2. At Home

  • Kennel your pets- don’t risk a frightened pet injuring a trick-or-treating child
  • Clear any tripping hazards (dog tie-outs, garden hoses, loose stepping stones, etc.)
  • Light walkways with fresh bulbs (avoid candles or open flames)
  • Take over carving duty for young kids. They can use a marker to draw a face and you can cut it out for them

3. Candy

  • Inspect treats for open wrappers, tampering, expired candy and choking hazards (small pieces, toys, hard candies, etc.).
  • Pass on homemade treats:  you can’t verify their ingredients or the cleanliness of the kitchen in which they were made
  • Send older kids with a group or with a trusted adult, and set a family curfew/meeting place. Kids under age 12 should not trick-or-treat without an adult
  • Feed the family a healthy meal prior to trick-or-treating to prevent excess munching

4. Parties

  • Eat treats sparingly. Empty calories add up, and you may end up with a sick stomach
  • Arrange a designated driver if you plan to drink. This one is self-explanatory!
  • Avoid driving in a bulky or cumbersome costume, especially one that blocks your vision

For more family Halloween safety tips, visit the CDC website or the American Academy of Pediatrics website.

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5 Healthy Tailgating Food Swaps

Tailgating equals football, friends and FOOD. While the first two are great, the third can throw a wrench in your healthy eating progress. Thankfully, there are many tasty snacks that are healthy, too, so you don’t have to stick to salad and water on game day.

boneless wings substitute game day snack

These tasty, spicy snacks are sure to please your hot wing-hungry friends on game day.

1. Choose thin crust pizza instead of thick crust pizza. Less bread means fewer empty calories that fill you up temporarily, but are devoid of nutrition.

2. Wrap hamburgers in lettuce leaves and ditch the buns. Each bun you skip saves 100 or more empty calories.

3. Trade potato or tortilla chips for snap peas. Snap peas have the crunch you crave without the trans-fats that come with frying.

4. Swap hot wings for buffalo cauliflower (yes, it’s a thing, and it’s delicious). This recipe from Rachael Ray omits the grease and gives you the spice and texture you crave.

5. Grill seasoned Portobello mushroom caps instead of burgers. Savory, juicy and delicious- everything you’d get in a burger for an eighth of the calories!

Bonus swap:  Drink a glass of water between beers or pops to feel fuller, save calories and stay hydrated as you enjoy the game.

Do you have other strategies to save calories on game day? Tweet your ideas to @CareProHS, or email them to us at info@careprohs.com.

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Avoid the Flu – Get Vaccinated!

Flu vaccination, flu vaccine, influenza shot

Getting a flu vaccine is a great way to protect yourself - and your family - from the flu this fall.

Now is the time to plan for your family’s flu immunizations. The annual flu season usually peaks between December and March, but it can begin as early as October and last through May. The earlier in the season you get your flu vaccine, the better your chances of protecting yourself, your family and your coworkers from the flu.

Common symptoms of the flu include:

  • fever and chills
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • fatigue
  • cough
  • headaches
  • runny or stuffy nose.

The flu can also lead to dehydration, pneumonia and other severe ailments.

Some people avoid getting immunized for fear that they will get the flu from the vaccine. Fortunately, you cannot catch the flu from most formulations of the flu vaccine. The most common side effects of the flu vaccine are minor and only last a few days. These include pain and redness around the injection site and a low fever.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older be immunized against the flu. Children, senior citizens, pregnant women, people with chronic conditions (such as asthma and diabetes) and people with heart, lung or kidney disorders are more likely to experience serious side effects if they catch the flu. It is important for people in these high risk groups, and for those who live and work with them, to be vaccinated against the flu every year.

Everyone should take these basic precautions to help each other stay healthy through the flu season:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when you sneeze or cough.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • If you get the flu, stay home from work or school for at least 24 hours after your fever ends to avoid infecting others.

If you have any questions or concerns about the influenza vaccine, talk to your pharmacist or physician. You can read more information about flu shots from the CDC or the Iowa Department of Public Health websites. Vaccinations are quick, easy and can help you stay healthy. Flu shots, as well as other vaccines, are available at your local CarePro pharmacy. Our pharmacists are happy to answer your vaccination questions- connect with us today!

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