Functional Medicine

Diabetes, Lifestyle Changes, and You

Monday, 23 Jul 2018

Diabetes has become increasingly common in the United States today. You probably know someone (or it may even be you) who has been diagnosed with it.

What exactly is this disease and why is it so rampant? There are two types of diabetes, and for many, lifestyle changes can make a significant difference when it comes to getting this disease under control. At Balanced Body Image, a metabolic health practice in Sugar Land, Dr. Julia Ward helps her patients understand their bodies, symptoms, and overall health — and the lifestyle changes that may help improve it.

First, let’s dive in and learn more about diabetes.

The two types of diabetes
You may have heard about “Type 1″ and “Type 2” diabetes. What’s the difference?

With Type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin, which is the hormone that helps glucose move from your bloodstream to the cells that power your body. Only 5 percent of people with diabetes have Type 1. If you are within that number, your doctor may prescribe insulin therapy.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body makes insulin but doesn’t use it properly. You become resistant to the insulin that is available. The pancreas tries to pump out more insulin to accommodate the problem, but over time, it simply can’t make enough.

Regain control with lifestyle changes
No matter which type of diabetes you have, lifestyle changes may help you keep your blood sugar closer to target levels. As a holistic medicine physician, Dr. Ward not only practices evidence based medicine, but she also seeks natural ways to help her patients return to health.

For example, she counsels her patients to make changes in what they eat and how they exercise. Swapping refined sugars (such as white bread and soda) for complex carbs (like vegetables and whole grains) and pairing them with protein will release the glucose into the bloodstream more slowly. Smaller, more frequent meals often help to keep blood sugar levels constant, as well.

Exercise helps with diabetes because it increases insulin sensitivity; that means your cells are able to absorb and use glucose more easily. You don’t have to be a weight lifter; even just 30 minutes each day of light to moderate exercise (such as walking or biking) will help.

Supplementing everyday care
Dr. Ward works with her patients from day one to develop a nutrition and exercise regimen that fits specific diabetes requirements. Would you like to learn more about diabetes? Contact Balanced Body Image in Sugar Land at (281) 710-3380 or click here to request an appointment.

Fighting Fatigue?

Monday, 23 Jul 2018

Chronic fatigue affects many aspects of life. More than just an “I’m tired” feeling, fatigue can also be very debilitating. It’s like carrying around 50 pounds of wet towels on a hot day. You feel completely zapped, and no matter how much you “rest”, you never quite recover.

We’ve all experienced that feeling, and let’s face it. Life’s hectic pace of work, school, kids, and pets can leave you feeling totally drained. But before you blame your lifestyle, know that many health conditions can cause fatigue too.

Knowing the root cause of your fatigue is key, and when it begins to affect your quality of life, it may be time to consult a physician. Julia Ward, MD, is a family practice doctor who specializes in holistic medicine in Sugar Land. It’s her mission to help her patients feel better and live better – and that includes overcoming the draining effects of fatigue.

Her first step? To find the cause.

What Causes Fatigue?

It’s important to first determine if an illness is the cause of the fatigue. Dr. Ward may order diagnostic tests, such as blood tests, to help her detect the reason. If an illness is discovered, she’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan.

Sometimes, though, fatigue is caused by a poor diet and hectic routine. When your body doesn’t get all of the nutrients it needs on a regular basis, you may start to feel sluggish and tired.

Micronutrient testing provides Dr. Ward with details about the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids nourishing your body. If you’re deplete in any of these areas, Dr. Ward may recommend IV nutritional therapy. Far more effective than supplements, this outpatient procedure delivers nutrients directly into your bloodstream for immediate results.

Nutrition isn’t the only way to combat fatigue.

Our bodies are often fraught with toxins obtained in the very air we breathe and water we drink. Poor diets can lead to toxic buildup, as well, which makes it difficult for your liver and kidneys to perform efficiently. Detoxification removes heavy metal and environmental toxins from your body, and the result is invariably a feeling of rejuvenation and renewed energy.

Hormone imbalance is another possible cause of fatigue. If diagnostic tests reveal this is the case, bioidentical hormone replacement is a natural way to safely restore energy.

Working Together for Better Health

As your partner in health, Dr. Ward will work closely with you to identify the source of your fatigue. Then together, you’ll decide on treatment options that will restore you to health. It may be medication, but also supplements, nutritional therapy, bioidentical hormones, or other holistic approaches.

Schedule time to meet with Dr. Ward or contact us for more information. If you’re fighting fatigue, we’ll go into the battle with you!

The Pros and Cons of Protein

Monday, 23 Jul 2018

Without a doubt, good nutrition is vital to health and wellness. What you eat and drink has a significant impact on how your body functions and feels.

We’re inundated daily with ads for diet plans and programs that are “guaranteed” to help you drop inches and transform your body. These days, the buzzwords are “high protein” and “ketogenic”. With all of these hot trends and information overload, how do you know what is actually good for your health?

At her functional medical practice in Sugar Land, Balanced Body Image, Dr. Julia Ward helps you break it down.

High protein benefits

Nutritionists often recommend high protein diets because, with fewer carbohydrates available, your body is forced to burn fat for energy. This process, known as ketosis, is thought to support weight loss. Protein can also help you feel satisfied and full, so you may not be as tempted to continue eating (and consuming more calories).

Protein is required for many bodily processes too. In addition to building muscle, protein helps manufacture hormones, repair and build skin and bone, and produce enzymes that are involved in thousands of biological chemical reactions. Proteins also help strengthen your immune system.

Current research is also investigating the positive effect of a ketogenic diet in Alzheimer’s disease.

Potential drawbacks

Consuming a high protein diet may come with some risk, though. Consider the source of your protein. If you’re cutting back on carbs in favor of red meat and full-fat dairy, you may be increasing your fat/cholesterol intake – which is not so great for your risk of heart disease. High protein diets may also be hard on kidney function.

Fully eliminating carbs from your meals may also mean that you’re not eating enough natural fiber. Insufficient fiber can cause constipation.

The bottom line

Always consult a physician before putting yourself on a high protein diet. At Balanced Body Image, Dr. Ward addresses every aspect of your health, including nutrition and healthy eating.

Services she offers at her Sugar Land medical spa, like micronutrient testing, assess nutritional deficiencies – and help Dr. Ward determine the best nutritional course for your optimal health.

To learn more about your health and ideal nutrition, contact Balanced Body Image today!

Is Your Metabolism Healthy?

Friday, 01 Jun 2018

“Metabolism” is a word we commonly use but may not quite understand. Scientifically speaking, metabolism involves chemical processes that enable our bodies to break down molecules and synthesize the essential compounds we need to thrive. In plain speaking, metabolism describes how our bodies break down the food we eat for the energy and fuel we need to function every day.

Whether due to age, illness, or other factors such as hormonal imbalance, your metabolism can slow down and cause numerous symptoms that are hard to ignore.

Common Signs of Metabolic Malfunction
In addition to constantly craving sweets, common symptoms of a metabolism in distress include inability to lose weight (despite your best efforts), constant hunger (even right after a meal), dry skin, and brittle fingernails.

You may also experience what is known as metabolic syndrome. Factors contributing to metabolic syndrome include high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and increased blood pressure. Any of these factors in and of themselves are serious, affecting health with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

If you are experiencing any of these common signs of a faulty metabolism, it may be time to seek medical care.

Julia Ward, MD established her functional medicine practice in Sugar Land, Balanced Body Image, to offer patients a holistic, healthy way to address metabolic function and other illnesses and health concerns.

At Balanced Body Image, Dr. Ward offers a personalized approach to patient care that recognizes and treats the root causes of most illnesses such as hormonal imbalance, poor choices in diet and exercise, or significant stress. Dr. Ward’s holistic treatments begin with a thorough evaluation and diagnosis followed by a comprehensive plan of care.

Patients diagnosed with metabolic syndrome may be prescribed lifestyle changes such as clean eating, regular exercise, and supplements. With holistic services that consider the entire body and the way all systems work together, Dr. Ward strives to bring better health and vitality to every patient.

If you are concerned about your metabolic health, consider an appointment with Dr. Ward at Balanced Body Image. With careful assessment and holistic therapies, you can achieve better health at any age.