The Time of day that you take your medication can make a big difference in how well you do.

Few doctors talk to their patients about the best time of day to take medication or undergo surgery, but it can make a big difference. Examples...

If you have high blood pressure, it's usually best to take slow-release medication at bedtime. For osteoarthritis, your pain reliever needs to work hardest in the afternoon. Why does the timing matter?

Virtually every bodily function-including blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature-is influenced by our circadian (24-hour) clocks. External factors, such as seasonal rhythms, also play a role in certain medical conditions.

For optimal results when treating your diabetes...

Physiological reactions that are more detrimental at night than in the morning are believed to play a role in both type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome-a constellation of conditions that includes insulin resistance (in which the body's cells don't use insulin properly), abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and elevated LDL "bad" cholesterol.

The body produces and uses insulin most effectively in the daytime hours and its metabolism is most active during the day. The liver, pancreas and muscles are better able to utilize blood sugar (glucose) and bum calories when metabolism is high. Because metabolism slows at night, someone who eats a lot of snack foods, for example, at night will be unable to efficiently remove the resulting glucose and fats from the blood. Over time, this can cause a chronic rise in insulin and cholesterol and may lead to metabolic syndrome.

For best results: People with metabolic syndrome or diabetes (or those who are at increased risk for either condition due to obesity or high blood pressure) should synchronize their meals with their metabolic rhythms. Consume most of your calories early in the day. Eat a relatively light supper-for example, a piece of fish, a green salad and vegetables-- preferably at least a few hours before going to bed. Diabetes drugs, such as insulin, should be taken in anticipation of daytime calories and carbohydrates.

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