Posts Tagged ‘Physical Health’

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Hand wearing watch and holding mug

Intermittent fasting is having its moment.

Silicon Valley executives have considered it a type of biohacking, a productivity hack that may optimize human performance. Today hosts Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb have publicly committed to a month-long trial of it. And for many people admonishing themselves for the holiday cookies and candy they’re enjoying this season, it’s sure to be a 2020 New Year’s resolution.

Yet, despite the many entertainment news segments, celebrities, and water-cooler chats about intermittent fasting, there remains much to learn about the increasingly popular “health” trend.

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Orthorexia: Can “Clean Eating” Go Too Far?

Toast topped with eggs and avocado

By Jillian Lampert

Natural. Organic. Healthy. Clean.

These all seem like positive indicators that a particular food will make a positive impact when consumed as part of a healthful lifestyle. Indeed, it might. However, as with other extreme behaviors, an overly stringent focus on only including these kinds of foods in the diet can have unanticipated negative consequences, some of them with the capacity to be devastating.

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When Two Worlds Collide: The Dangerous Intersection of Diabetes and Eating Disorders

Bowl of fruit and blood sugar monitor

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 22 million individuals are living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. These individuals are also at significantly higher risk for eating disorders. When this dual diagnosis exists, treatment and recovery are often complicated by the complexity and conflicting demands of the two conditions.

Although the approach to treatment can vary among those with Type 1 (DMT1), Type 2 (DMT2) and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), it is important to be aware of the increased risk these individuals carry for disordered eating and eating disorders. It is estimated that the risk for ED behaviors is three times higher in individuals with DMT1 (1) and that up to 40% of individuals with DMT2 are affected by ED behaviors (2). There are numerous factors that increase the risk for disordered eating for those with diabetes. Several common challenges include:

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The Link Between Eating Disorders and Suicide

Depressed-looking man standing on the street

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, there are resources that can help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

In the United States alone, over 30 million individuals struggle with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex and biologically-based illnesses that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, size, or any other demographic categorization. Sadly, eating disorders are often severe and may become life-threatening. Among adolescents, eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness, and the rate of children living with eating disorders is on the rise.

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s eating habits and self-perception. Due to the complex nature of eating disorders, the DSM-5 has broken eating disorders up into the following categories:

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How Primary Care Providers Can Support Sustained ED Recovery and Recognize Signs of Relapse

When a client has a history of an eating disorder, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of eating disorder relapse. If a client states they are struggling with relapse, a provider has one job: to get them to an eating disorder assessment. Healthcare providers shouldn’t feel like they have to make the patient feel better on their own, and they certainly shouldn’t tell the client they should wait to see what happens.

If a client communicates concerns about eating, they’ve probably had concerns for quite some time. This isn’t something people often share in the first month that it is happening. Once noticed, the provider needs to treat the eating disorder the same way that they would treat any other disease–connecting their client with the best person to treat the illness.

A common mistake made in primary care offices is a medical provider saying, “Maybe you’ll snap out of it, come back to see me in a month and we can see what happened.” Two or three things are likely to occur in this scenario. The client may hear that what is happening to them is not that serious, perhaps thinking, “My doctor doesn’t think it’s a big deal, so maybe it’s not.” Another outcome may be that the person will get worse over the next month. And if the eating disorder gets worse, it becomes increasingly less likely that they will seek treatment. So, telling someone to wait should be avoided at all costs.

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Fostering Open, Judgment-Free Communication with Patients about Eating Disorders

Man and doctor

As a medical provider, you may be the first person to recognize that a patient has an eating disorder. That’s because eating disorder behaviors often occur in secret, and those struggling are typically very good at keeping their eating disorder a secret from the people in their lives.

Eating disorders are often apparent in a medical setting because we check weight, assess vital signs, and spend time discussing physical symptoms with patients. Signs of eating disorders that could be recognized even in a routine check-up may include dramatic changes in weight, menstrual irregularity, dizziness, dry skin, leg cramps, hair loss, and bruising. If you’re lucky, your patient may view an appointment as a natural time to share that they are experiencing eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. However, many patients are not forthcoming and the medical system is very poorly designed to talk to people about food and body issues.

Usually, the first thing that happens when a patient walks into a provider’s office is that they are asked to step on the scale. Patients are usually told their weight or it is written on a piece of paper.  After that, patients are taken into an office and asked several questions about medications, habits and health concerns. The patient may see one or two providers before seeing their primary medical provider.

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