Each year in the U.S., there are 35 million hospital stays, with an average length of stay of 4.6 days. Whether from a planned surgery to an unplanned sickness, recovering after a hospital visit can feel like it takes longer to feel like ourselves. The good news is that with the right strategies you can support a strong recovery.
Here are expert answers to four common questions that will help you do just that.
No matter how big or small the procedure, surgery inflicts trauma on your body. Recovery time depends on the type of surgery you had, but even then, it's variable how long it'll be before you can resume normal activities.
Good nutrition can play a key role in helping you regain strength and heal after surgery.
If you invest in good nutrition now, you can give your body a "nutritional reserve" if you have a health setback. Jacqueline Boff, Ph.D., MBA, a research scientist at Abbott, recommends eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Specifically, make sure you're consuming:
Your muscles are a critical source for strength and energy as you recover. When you're sick or hospitalized, your body often doesn't get enough of the nutrients it needs to recover, such as protein, causing it to break down muscle tissue. This kind of muscle loss is associated with delayed recovery from illness, slowed wound healing, and diminished quality of life.
In addition to a balanced diet with plenty of protein, you can also consider adding HMB to your diet. HMB or beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate is a substance that supports muscle health. HMB is naturally produced by your body when it breaks down leucine, an amino acid found in protein-rich foods.
"However, HMB naturally declines in the body as we age," Boff said. "It’s important to be proactive about muscle health as we age and consume enough protein to support muscles, and when needed, add HMB supplements.”
HMB can be found in small amounts in avocado, citrus fruit, catfish and in nutrition supplements.
Nearly 60% of adult bodies are water. And it should come as no surprise that water is essential for keeping us functioning well and feeling our best.
Water helps keep your blood flowing, carries nutrients and oxygen to your cells and protects your joints. As your body recovers from an illness or injury, it sends water and nutrients to that location. If you're not replenishing those fluids, the wound healing and cell repair processes take longer, ultimately hindering your recovery.
In addition to drinking water, food choices can account for approximately 20% of your daily fluid intake. Turn to foods like melons, tomatoes, and strawberries, which are naturally rich in water and electrolytes and critical to healthy nerve and muscle function as you recover.
The last step to getting back on your feet? Just that! Light activities like resistance training, daily walks, stretching, or yoga can be hugely beneficial, especially if you're feeling fatigued after a procedure or sickness. Be sure to work with your physician to determine what's best for you.
Keeping your whole body strong and healthy year-round means you can maintain your independence at any age, even if you're recovering from an illness, injury, or surgery. Remember, it's never too late to live your best life – no matter what life brings you.
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Small Dietary Changes Can Help Lower Your Blood Sugar and Manage Diabetes
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and another 1 in 5 people don’t know they have the chronic condition. As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, it’s more important than ever to adopt healthy habits and strategies to manage diabetes. Keeping your glucose in check is of the utmost importance when you're managing type 2 diabetes. Often, ensuring your glucose levels stay within a healthy range requires a multifaced approach of a healthy eating plan and exercise along with potential medication. Managing diabetes doesn't have to feel like work, though. In fact, even slight behavior and eating plan changes may have a significant impact on your glucose management. And according to a new pilot study, diabetes specific nutrition as part of a balanced diet shows promise to help improve glucose management. How Diabetes-Specific Nutrition Shakes May Help Pilot data from Abbott and published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care illustrates the important role diabetes-specific nutrition and continuous glucose monitoring can play on glycemic response management of people with type 2 diabetes. The study found that when participants with type 2 diabetes replaced their typical breakfast and an afternoon or evening snack with a diabetes-specific meal replacement, they experienced a lower glucose level after breakfast. The real-world study also demonstrates how continuous glucose monitoring with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre® Pro can help physicians conveniently monitor glucose trends and patterns to make more informed treatment decisions for people with diabetes. The small randomized controlled trial looked at the impact of two daily servings of Glucerna Hunger Smart® shake, a diabetes-specific nutritional formula, on participants' glucose levels. Eighty-one adults with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the study and followed a two-week intervention. In the baseline phase (days one through six), participants continued to follow their regular eating pattern. During the intervention phase (days seven through 14), participants were randomly divided into one of three groups: Group A: Control group with no dietary intervention. Group B: Participants drank one Glucerna Hunger Smart shake as a breakfast meal replacement and a second shake as a mid-afternoon snack. Group C: Participants drank one Glucerna Hunger Smart shake as a breakfast meal replacement and a second shake as a snack before bedtime. In assessing the glucose levels of participants throughout the study, researchers found that drinking a Glucerna Hunger Smart shake twice daily was associated with a 47% reduction in post-meal peak glucose after breakfast, as compared without/before Glucerna Hunger Smart[TS1] . What Does This Mean for Those Managing Type 2 Diabetes? Abbott’s Glucerna brand is one of the most clinically studied diabetes specific formulas with more than 50 clinical studies spanning 30 years.* This research shows that although diabetes is a complex disease, one tool that may make it easier to manage is with the help of a meal or snack replacement such as Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes. Scientifically formulated with CarbSteady®, a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates to help minimize glucose spikes and 15 grams of protein to help satisfy hunger, Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes can serve as a meal or snack. It also packs zinc, vitamins A, C, D and E to support immune health, as well as 6 grams of fiber in 180 calories, and nutrients to help support immune health. While incorporating this nutrition shake to your everyday routine, as part of a balanced eating plan, may help you manage your blood sugar levels, there are a few other ways you can keep your health on the right track.
Reduce Teens' Risk for Prediabetes Through Nutrition and Exercise
Prediabetes is increasingly affecting children and young adults in the United States. A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that around one in five adolescents (ages 12–18) and one in four young adults (ages 19–34) in the U.S. are now living with prediabetes. People diagnosed with this condition have an excess of sugar in their blood, but not high enough to be called diabetes, which can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves over time. They're also at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the complications associated with diabetes. However, by incorporating good eating and exercise habits, this diagnosis can oftentimes be reversed.