Monday, February 23, 2015

Ready for Spring

While hubby and I were shoveling snow off our driveway, we talked about the sunshine, 80 degree temperatures and pleasant breezes we enjoyed last week in western Mexico.  We wish we were still there and had missed the 12” ice and snow blizzard we have dealt with since we got home last weekend. 
Oh well, as Mom used to say, “February is a short month, the days are getting longer and spring will be here soon.”  Come on, Spring.  We are ready.    

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Which came first...the heart attack or the depression?

According to a Gallup Poll, “US adults who have had a heart attack are twice as likely as those who have not had a heart attack to report being diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives, 30.1% vs. 15.0%”.  On the other side of the coin, depression is a strong risk factor for developing heart disease, as strong as diabetes and smoking.  Both suffering a heart attack and suffering from depression cause people to be down and have difficulty making healthy lifestyle choices. 

Conversely, researchers are finding that people who feel happy and loved can more easily make healthy decisions. This research points out the importance of strong social ties which add much to our quality of life.  This research can be found at

The American Heart Association suggests these three steps to manage stress/anxiety/depression.
1.     Recognize what is causing the stress and deal with it.  Get help if you need help.  Depression which continues for weeks should be cared for.
2.     Decide which healthy habit you want to work on.  Start gradually and build healthy behaviors until they become habits.  When stress or depression causes you to revert to old habits, start over again. 
3.     One step at a time when trying to break bad habits, especially smoking.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

7 Simple Healthy behaviors from the American Heart Association

During Heart month, we will review heart healthy behaviors.  The American Heart Association calls it “Life’s Simple 7”.
1.     Increase your activity level.
2.     Eat more healthy
3.     If you are overweight, work to lose weight
4.     Stop smoking
5.     Know your cholesterol and bring it into normal range.
6.     Work to keep your blood pressure within normal range
7.     Reduce your blood sugar level

Wow, for many of us, that’s a lot of improving to start all at once. Before you make major life changes, talk to your doctor and together you can decide which one you should tackle first.  For example, if your blood pressure is within normal range, congratulate yourself and move onto the next choice.  If you’ve quit smoking, you deserve a big pat on your back and keep up the good work as you work on another of the Simple 7.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Heart Month--February

February is Heart Month--what do we know about heart attack?

What is a heart attack (myocardial infarction)?  A person experiences a heart attack when the blood supply to the heart itself is blocked and inadequate.  Just as we have arteries and veins carrying blood to all parts of our body, we have coronary arteries which carry blood to the heart muscle and veins which carry blood away from the heart muscle back into our body circulation.  When the blood supply to the heart muscle is inadequate, a heart attack occurs. 

What are symptoms of a heart attack?  Classic symptoms include 
·       Chest discomfort (discomfort like an elephant is sitting on your chest) which might be described as pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.  This discomfort can last awhile or it can go away and come back.
·       Pain that radiates up into the neck, arms (one or both), jaw, stomach, back. 
·       Being short of breath, whether you are exercising or not (especially if not exercising)
·       A cold sweat, nausea and being dizzy or lightheaded

Anyone can experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack, but often women experience the more subtle symptoms of a heart attack such as fatigue, being short of breath, nausea, jaw or back pain.  The American Heart Association talks about women’s subtle symptoms of heart attack on their Go Red for Women website at

What should you do if you experience any of these symptoms of heart attack.  Call 9-1-1 for emergency care.  Do not try to drive yourself to your doctor or local emergency room.  If you should pass out from your symptoms, you might hurt yourself and others so be smart and call 9-1-1 for emergency services.