Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, taking an estimated 17.9 million lives each year. CVDs are a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels and include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. As February is the month of Heart Health, we at Cayman Pharmacy Group encourage everyone to be mindful of their health and start taking better care of their heart!
Here are some easy to follow tips to increase your heart health:
Give up smoking
Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same. If you’re a smoker, quit. It’s the single best thing you can do for your heart health.
Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. You will feel the effects within the first 24 hours. Statistics say just a year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
If you’d like more information on how to quit smoking, here is a helpful article.
Getting – and staying – active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress reliever.
Do 150 minutes of moderate-high intensity aerobic activity every week. One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on 5 days a week. We have great gyms and fitness classes offered on island. If you want something more cost-efficient and outdoors, not to worry. We live on a beautiful, tropical island with access to the beach being just a hop, skip and a jump away. Consider doing beach walks, beach yoga, or long swims as part of your weekly activity.
Manage your weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity. Use the BMI calculator as a starting base for your fitness goals. From there, you can plan your meals and activity accordingly to achieve your goals and stay heart healthy!
Eat more fibre
Eat plenty of fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease – aim for at least 30g a day.
Eat fibre from a variety of sources, such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and veg.
Cut down on saturated fat
Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases your risk of heart disease. Here are examples of foods that are high in saturated fats:
- fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- dark chicken meat and poultry skin
- high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
Choose leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat (or whole) milk.
Get your 5 A Day
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They’re a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
There are lots of tasty ways to get your 5 A Day, like adding chopped fruit to cereal or including vegetables in your pasta sauces and curries. Living on a beautiful island we are access to a large variety of exotic fruits and vegetables such as yellow squash, avocados, callaloo, cassava, calabash, spring onions, pineapples, tomatoes, peas, chili, peppers a great range of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, bananas and plantains.
Cut down on salt
To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking.
It may seem difficult or even impossible to cut down on your salt intake as salt makes everything delicious, but that’s all part of the conditioning. Once you get used to food without salt, you’ll crave it way less.
Watch out for high salt levels in ready-made foods. Most of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy.
Check the food labels – a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g.
Adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day in total – that’s about 1 teaspoon.
Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as fresh snapper, mahi mahi and wahoo are a source of omega-3 fats, which may help protect against heart disease. We have a great
Drink less alcohol
We all know alcohol is good to avoid for many health reasons. Regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends can have a noticeable impact on your waistline. Try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.
Read the food label
When shopping, it’s a good idea to look at the label on food and drink packaging to see how many calories and how much fat, salt and sugar the product contains.
Understanding what’s in food and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices.
Happy February and Happy Heart Health Month Cayman! Wishing you a healthy month and we hope this blog post sparked some inspiration in you to take care of your heart.
Until next time!
It’s December and officially the best month of the year here in Cayman! We have the ‘winter’ breeze keeping us cool, the roundabouts are decorated and illuminated, and there are more holiday events than we can count. With all the festive joy and bottomless drinks that it brings, it’s important to take a step back and make responsible decisions about drinking alcohol, especially while taking medication.
Alcohol often has harmful interactions with prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and even some herbal remedies.read more →
The holidays are charged with overwhelming emotions for all of us. As exciting and joyous they can be, it’s no doubt that they can cause a great deal of stress. December is the time where people can tend to over-exert themselves to fulfil the needs of their friends and families. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some helpful tips to get through this holiday season, here we go.
When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. The best course of action is to ‘nip it in the bud’ and regulate yourself before your stress snowballs. Here is a list of tips you may find helpful in managing your holiday stress:
Acknowledge your feelings: Whatever it is you’re feeling, it’s completely okay to let yourself feel that feeling. Life can get difficult. If you’re going through a hard time this holiday season, whether it’s the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or an unexplainable rut you can’t seem to get out of, tell yourself you’re allowed to be upset. You can’t just force yourself to be happy because it’s the holiday season.
Reach out: If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering is also a great way to help others and heighten your spirits.
Be realistic: The holidays don’t have to be perfect. They also don’t have to stay the same every single year. Life changes and so do family dynamics. Accept what you can’t control and have an open mind to change. For example, if your children can’t make it to your holiday party, find another way to connect with them like Facetiming or sharing videos and photos.
Set aside differences: Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Think of the holidays as a time to connect and make memories, not as a time to dig up old feuds. If you can’t set aside your differences, try to take a break so you don’t end up hurting a friend or a relative. Chances are that the person you are stressed to see is just as stressed as you are.
Stick to a budget: Before you go shopping make a gift list. Allocate a certain budget for certain people and gifts and stick to it! It’s easy to get carried away with holiday shopping. The last thing you want to do is try and buy someone’s love with an avalanche of gifts.
Try these alternatives:
- Donate to a charity in someone’s name.
- Give homemade gifts.
- Start a family gift exchange.
Plan ahead: Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.
Learn to say no: Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and flooded. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.
Take care of yourself: And don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Here are a few suggestions:
- Consciously choosing the healthy food options for holiday events
- Listening to soothing music after a night out.
- Cooking yourself a nice meal.
- Working out.
- Getting a massage.
- Reading a book.
Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently irritable, anxious, sad, unfocused, hopeless and unable to carry out everyday tasks. We recommend speaking to a doctor or a mental health professional if you don’t start feeling better.
The holidays can be stressful, but it is possible to create a positive mindset and space for yourself going through the holidays. We hope you found our tips helpful. Enjoy the holidays from us at Cayman Pharmacy Group.
Alcohol is very much a part of our lives here in the Cayman Islands. If not directly, indirectly you may know someone who has experienced the pirate’s lifestyle that is represented in today’s media. On one side we see Jack Sparrow chugging a bottle of rum while drunkenly singing around a bonfire. On the other, we see total destruction and abuse to the human spirit. Overall, Hollywood has painted a pretty serious picture of the Caribbean lifestyle relating to alcohol consumption. However, it is important to separate the truth and myths of this substance. This may help with your decisions when out for dinner or on the beach with friends.
Moderate alcohol consumption may provide some health benefits, such as reducing your risk of developing and dying from heart disease. This directly relates to reducing your risk of an ischemic stroke which is when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow. As well researchers concluded that moderate drinking could possibly reduce your risk of diabetes. For both men and women, wine was seen as reducing the risk by more than 25 percent and beer by 21 percent. Clear spirits, on the other hand, were concluded to increase women’s risks of developing diabetes by 83 percent. But health experts urge caution over these findings. Diabetes UK, the British charity dedicated to supporting people suffering from the condition, say that people should not see it as an incentive to drink.
How do we define moderate consumption? Moderate alcohol use for healthy adults means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65. Men younger than 65 should only have up to two drinks a day. Keep in mind that even moderate alcohol use isn’t risk-free. For example, even light drinkers have a tiny, but real, increased risk of some cancers, such as esophageal cancer. While moderate alcohol use may offer some health benefits, heavy drinking has no health benefits. Heavy drinking is defined as more than three drinks on any day or more than seven drinks a week for women and men older than the age of 65. As well more than four drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks a week for men younger than 65. Binge drinking like the famous Jack Sparrow can cause serious harm and is not to be taken lightly.
Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect all aspects of a person’s life. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications, can damage emotional stability, finances, career, and impact one’s family, friends and community. Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States. Up to 40 percent of all hospital beds in the US (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are directly related to the abuse of alcohol consumption. Alcoholism has little to do with what kind of alcohol one drinks. But it has a great deal to do with a person’s uncontrollable need for alcohol. Most alcoholics can’t just “use a little willpower” to stop drinking. The alcoholic is frequently in the grip of a powerful craving for alcohol, a need that can feel as strong as the need for food or water. While some people are able to recover without help, the majority of alcoholics need outside assistance to recover. Yet, with support and treatment, many are able to stop drinking and reclaim their lives.
Consider how much you are drinking on a daily or even weekly basis. We do not want to deter people from enjoying a well-deserved drink. But we wish for people to do so responsibly and understand the limits to alcohol consumption before it becomes a life altering risk. Drink in moderation and enjoy the perks that it has to offer. But more importantly, know the truth about alcoholism and understand the myths. Alcohol does not make you invincible.
The importance of getting enough quality sleep cannot be overstated. It may be just as important as diet and exercise, if not more. Poor sleep can drive insulin resistance, throw your appetite hormones out of whack and reduce your physical and mental performance. In addition to all of this, it is one of the strongest individual risk factors for future weight gain and obesity. One study showed that short sleep was linked to 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.
Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Here’s a tip: Avoid Bright Lights Before Bed! When we’re exposed to bright lights in the evening, this disrupts production of the hormone melatonin. An interesting “hack” is to use a pair of amber-tinted glasses that block blue light from entering your eyes in the evening. This allows melatonin to be produced as if it were completely dark, helping you sleep better.
Cayman Pharmacy Group
Taking Care of Your Health!
Drinking enough water can have numerous benefits. One important factor is that it can help boost the number of calories you burn. According to 2 studies, it can boost metabolism by 24-30% over a period of 1-1.5 hours. This can amount to 96 additional calories burned if you drink 2 litres (67 oz) of water per day. The best time to drink water is half an hour before meals. One study showed that half a litre of water, 30 minutes before each meal, increased weight loss by 44%.
Avoid that sugary drink – sugary drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body. This is because liquid sugar calories don’t get registered by the brain in the same way as calories from solid foods. For this reason, when you drink soda, you end up eating more total calories. Sugary drinks are strongly associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and all sorts of health problems.
Keep in mind that fruit juices are almost as bad as soda in this regard. They contain just as much sugar, and the small amounts of antioxidants do NOT negate the harmful effects of the sugar. Simply put…just drink more water!
Cayman Pharmacy Group
Taking Care of Your Health!
If dealing with multiple medications is a daily challenge for you or a loved one, you’re not alone. Nearly 40 percent of older adults take five or more prescription drugs. These strategies can make managing multiple medications easier, and safer.
Fill your prescriptions at one pharmacy.
This makes getting prescription refills simpler – so you’re more likely to take medications as directed. It also helps your pharmacist protect you from drug interactions. Jessica Merrey, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Certified Geriatric Pharmacist explains: “The risk for side effects and drug interactions rises with each additional medication you take. Using one pharmacy keeps your medication records in one place, so the pharmacist can evaluate your risk and work with your doctor to avoid potential problems.”
Use a pill dispenser or other reminder system.
“A pill box with compartments for each day of the week – and for morning, noon and night if you take medications several times a day – lets you know at a glance whether you’ve taken your medicines yet,” Merrey says. “Your pharmacist may be able to fill your pill dispenser for you.”
You can also keep a medication schedule to remind you what to take, and when. (Post it on your refrigerator or inside a kitchen cabinet door.) “Make taking your medications part of your daily routine. Try setting a timer on your phone, watch or alarm clock,” suggests Merrey. “You might always take them after you brush your teeth in the morning, for example.”
Get prescriptions refilled early.
Running out could allow health conditions to worsen. Check expiration dates frequently and discard any medicines that are out of date. Your pharmacist may even be able to help you get multiple medications on the same refill schedule so that you can make fewer trips to the drugstore.
Make a list—and update it regularly.
Keep a list of the medications you take – with the name of the drug, the dose, how often you take it and why. Put a copy in your medical files at home, carry one in your wallet to show your doctor, and give a copy to a loved one or friend in case you have a medical emergency. “Don’t assume all of your health care providers know about all of your medications,” Merrey says. “A list is essential. It can also help your doctor look for the sources of any side effects or interactions you may be having.”
Get a yearly “brown bag” review.
Toss everything you take (prescriptions, over-the-counter remedies and supplements) into a bag and take it to your annual check-up for a review. “With age, the body absorbs and breaks down medications differently. Your doctor may change the dose of something you’ve used for a long time,” she says.
If you have any other questions or concerns about your medication, speak to your physician, or stop by one of our three locations and speak to one of our Pharmacists. Remember: we are here to help you!
You’ll be amazed at the benefits from this quick and easy routine.
From helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases—going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health, says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, author of the new book The Doctor on Demand Diet. “Walking is the number one exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits,” she says.
Here’s what you can expect when you start walking for just 30 minutes every day, most days of the week.
1. Your mood will improve.
You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy with the same benefits, says Jampolis. “Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says. What’s more, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbour, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, says Jampolis, which boosts mood.
2. Your creative juices will start flowing.
Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Jampolis.
3. Your jeans will get a little looser.
This one may seem obvious, but it’s certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly, says Jampolis. “As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much,” she says. “That’s because regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat.” Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer at Crunch gyms in New York City, adds that walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to mobilize fat and positively alter body composition. “Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older,” says Iasevoli.
4. You’ll slash your risk of chronic disease.
The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in the New England Journal of Medicinein 2002, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.
5. You’ll keep your legs looking great.
As we age, our risk of unsightly varicose veins increases—it’s just not fair. However, walking is a proven way to prevent those unsightly lines from developing, says Luis Navarro, MD, founder, and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City. “The venous system includes a circulatory section known as ‘the second heart,’ which is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot,” he explains. “This system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs—and walking strengthens this secondary circulatory system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts healthy blood flow.” If you already suffer from varicose veins, daily walking can help ease related swelling and restlessness in your legs, says Navarro. “Also, if you are genetically predisposed to have varicose and/or spider veins, walking daily can help delay the onset.”
6. You’ll start to get more “regular.”
If you currently praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That’s because a regular walking routine can greatly improve gastric mobility, says Tara Alaichamy, DPT, a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,” she says.
7. Your other goals will start to seem more reachable.
When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine—and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviours. “I firmly believe that walking regularly can help you to accomplish other goals you set your mind to,” says Kim Evans, a personal trainer, and daily walker.
It’s important for each of us to take the time to take care of ourselves – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Walking 30 minutes a day is a great way to take care of yourself. It doesn’t have to be a gruelling experience – here are some tips to enjoy your daily walks:
- Don’t Cling To the Gym: You don’t like the gym…no problem! Walk around your neighbourhood, walk to work, walk to the store, just walk!
- Walking Partner: Take a friend or family member with you – chances are, you will enjoy spending time together, and forget that you’re exercising.
- Listen to some Music: Listen to some music while you walk, something that motivates you if you’re walking in the morning, or something that helps you to de-stress if you’re walking in the evening. Music helps make any ‘chore’ more enjoyable.
- Audio Books: Don’t like listening to music while walking? Well, how about a great audio book? Catch up on all that ‘reading’ and self-improvement that you’ve been putting off – all while walking.
- Change It Up: Do you get bored easily… then change it up! Don’t cling to your treadmill – go walking in different areas. Go for a drive and find another location to walk each evening. Walk at the beach, go for a hike, walk at the track, then go walk at another beach, and another, and another! Take advantage of our amazing beaches in Cayman.
- Enjoy the Scenery: Finish up your evening beach walk by watching the sun set.
Summer is here, the time where everyone wants to hit the beach, have fun swimming, play volleyball, party, and hang out with friends and family. It’s the time where most people want to stay fit and keep or achieve a “summer body”.
Nevertheless, there’s just too much sugary and junky temptations so what does it really take to stay healthy as summer is coming up? Here are a few tips to help you stay fit for the upcoming summer.
Drinking water is very important because your body depends on water to carry out a lot of things including helping your cells and tissues to work properly, lubricate your joints, regulate your body temperature, and keep your skin hydrated. Its no doubt that you’ll at some point be in the sun and keeping your skin well-hydrated makes it more resistant to sun burns. You can have fun, stay fit and stay hydrated!
Hit the gym, play some sports, or go for a jog. There’s so many ways that you can stay active don’t just sit at home doing nothing, get up and go out, get active. Being active will continuously push your body to be better and can have present and long-term benefits, just staying active can improve the quality of not only your summer but your life. Exercising will boost your energy and makes your body work more efficiently so that you can tackle summer head on!
Eating healthy is essential to developing and keeping your body in good shape, by mixing eating healthy and being active you can maintain a healthy weight and fit body for the summer. By eating healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables your body maintains its strength so that you can have fun in the summer!
Sleeping is very important to staying healthy and fit, sleep is the time where your body gets to repair itself including repairing tissues and blood vessels, in addition to growing muscle. Lack of sleep can affect how you function during the day, your appetite and immune system so overall make sure to get that rest.
Protect yourself from the sun
Make sure to wear sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen to prevent sunburns, which are not just painful but also bad for your health.
You have been working hard and it’s time for you to slow the pace a little and enjoy the season and allow your body to rest.
Above all, it is the time to give yourself the opportunity to relish in the season all while maintaining your health and fitness.
A few months ago we discussed the importance of drinking water. Following up on the importance of water and staying hydrated it is equally as important to not become overhydrated. Yes – it’s possible to drink too much water.
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