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What is CHD?

 

CHD

February is not only a time to celebrate love and Valentine’s Day with hearts, it is a time to raise awareness of Congenital Heart Defects and Diseases. Two years ago, I would have let February pass by like any other month, with the exception of flowers and candy from my husband. However, everything changed in the summer of 2018 when I was pregnant with our son. The day we heard our doctor say what no parent ever should have to hear, “We can’t see a clear picture of his heart”. After weeks of tests and ultrasounds, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect (CHD) – structural deformities that are present at birth and can be “fixed” or “repaired” after birth.  There are also congenital heart diseases which also have abnormalities within the heart but have lifelong impacts; and are often more severe in nature

Once we started researching with our doctor, we learned how common CHDs were in infants. It is the most common birth defect occurring in almost 1% of births. More than 40,000 infants are born each year in the United States with a CHD.

There are many types of CHDs that range in severity. The CDC website lists information for some of the more common ones. Our son has Tetralogy of Fallot, which is one of the most common, and easiest to repair. However, it is often difficult for me to explain his diagnosis. That is why I find this website helpful.

Many of the congenital heart defects require surgery; over 25% of children will need it. Some of the defects even require it before the age of 1 year old, and/or involve multiple surgeries. Our son is the 1 in 110 that was born with a CHD, and required surgery at 3.5 months old. He continues to have complications post-surgery, even after a successful repair. CHD is something he will live with the rest of his life, as will we, and the thousands of others that have been diagnosed with them will live with them for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for CHD, but there are ways to bring awareness to these defects and their lifelong impact. If you would like to learn more or help support those with congenital heart defects, please visit the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association website.This is a great organization that provides support to local families, advocacy at the state and national level, and education to communities. There are also various organized CHD awareness walks, fundraisers, and other events throughout the year.

Another way to show care is by volunteering or giving to the closest Ronald McDonald House, many children and families with CHDs spend several months over their lifetime in the hospital. If you have friends or family that are, pregnant or planning to try to conceive encourage them to get all of their prenatal care.

 

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, November 12). Specific Congenital Heart Defects. Retrieved from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/heartdefects/specificdefects.html

Mended Hearts. (2020). Retrieved from Mended Hearts: https://mendedhearts.org/

Pediatric Congenital Heart Association. (2020). We are Conquering CHD. Retrieved from Pediatric Congenital Heart Association: https://www.conqueringchd.org/

Written by: Bridget Britton MSW, LSW Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Carroll County

Reviewed by: Emilee Drerup  MPH, CHES Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Hancock County

More Love Letters…

February is American Heart Month but it’s also my favorite time of year and always has been since I can remember! And to make this month even more meaningful I had a special gift delivered on Valentine’s Day – a baby boy! What a gift he is!  But each day should be a gift, especially during heart month.

Woman writing "Love You" in a journal. Letters and chocolate bar.

So, in honor of the love month, I do a few special things starting with writing love letters. I write love letters to each of my children reminding them of my love and how proud I am of their accomplishments. I send these letters through regular mail on purpose – no email allowed – so they can see my handwriting and feel connected to me. I also take time to send Valentines to friends, family and the elderly. 

Something special happens when writing: the act of sitting down to write causes me to slow down and think of those I love for a moment. Other good benefits of handwriting letters are:

  1. You feel more in touch with the person you are contacting.
  2. You get to take a moment out of your hectic schedule to just breathe and write.
  3. You get to practice your handwriting.
  4. You can use all your fun stationery supplies for a totally legitimate reason!

The American Heart Association agrees that we should do simple things each day for our hearts. Aside from writing letters, you might:

  • Count your blessings
  • Stretch
  • Read a book or magazine
  • Clean up clutter (start with just one drawer)
  • Take a walk
  • Draw hearts on post-it notes and stick on someone’s coffee mug

It’s the little things in life that add up and make a big difference. We can all choose to do a little something each day to improve our health and share joy of the gift of another day with the people we love.

Have a wonderful February!

XOXO

Shari

Written by: Shari Gallup, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Licking County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

  1. American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/
  2. Abrahamsen, Shelley. (2019). The Art of Writing Letters (and why you should start today!) https://littlecoffeefox.com/art-writing-letters-start-today/The
  3. Brencher, Hannah. The World Needs More Love Letters.  http://www.moreloveletters.com/

 

heart disase

Learning you have heart disease is a major life change.  Upon receiving a diagnosis, your healthcare team becomes an important part of your recovery process.  Listen to what they say, follow their advice, and make healthy lifestyle changes for the best possible life ahead.  In addition, there are steps you can take to protect your heart and overall health and move forward to live your best life:

heartKnow Your Type of Heart Disease

Learn about the type of heart disease (coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, etc.) you are diagnosed with by your physician.  Remember to keep a positive attitude.

medicationTake Charge of Medications

  • Take your medications regularly and on time
  • Learn what each medication does and why you are taking it
  • Set up a system to make it easier to manage medications

healthcare teamGet Involved with Your Healthcare Team

  • Talk to your doctors regularly. Be clear about your fears and goals.
  • Keep a journal on how you feel at different times throughout the day. Document how medications, diet and exercise make you feel.  Share journal entries with your doctor and discuss them.

heart symptomsLearn About Symptoms of Concern

Symptoms such as chest pain or discomfort,  shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, palpitations, lightheaded, dizziness and depression are important and should never be ignored.  If you experience any of them, discuss them with your doctor.

heart lifestyleAdjust Your Lifestyle

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
    • Include a variety of fruits & vegetables, low- fat dairy products, whole grains, skinless poultry & fish, and nuts & legumes
    • Limit intake of saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, red meat, sweets, and sugar
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Live tobacco free
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Manage stress – learn coping techniques

 

healthcare technologyExplore Helpful Personal Technology, such as:

  • Home blood pressure monitoring devices
  • Wireless scales that record and store your weight over time
  • Activity monitors that remind you to stay active
  • Heart rate monitors that will alert you if your heart rate exceeds a determined threshold

stay on trackStay on Track

  • Set and write down realistic goals
  • Make one change at a time
  • Prepare for setbacks – They happen, just get back on track

A friend helps a person join a company club team or other group.Join a Support Group

  • Keep up with family and friends.
  • Recognize that living with heart disease can be challenging. It can be helpful to join a group of people that are facing the same difficulties.

 

Written by:   Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County.  lobb.3@osu.edu

 

References:

https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/06-5716.pdf

https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/default.htm

 

 

 

Broth versus Stock

Most soups and stews are made from a base of stock or broth.  Have you ever wondered what the difference is between these two items?  The main differences are:

  • the use of bones or meat
  • length of cooking time
  • the type of seasonings added

Stock is made using bones (unless it’s a vegetable stock), water, and a mixture of aromatic vegetables including onions, carrots and celery. The mixture is simmered on the stove top for at least 2 to 6 hours. Generally, there are no seasonings added to stock. This makes stock a lower sodium option for recipes, and a great base for recipes that already have significant flavor. The use of bones in stock makes it a thicker, more gelatinous consistency. 

Broth, on the other hand, takes less time to make, and contains meat (unless it’s a vegetable broth), vegetables and seasonings. Broth is generally simmered on the stove top for no more than two hours, as cooking meat in liquid for longer periods of time toughens the meat.   

Given these definitions, bone broth – which has become increasingly popular in the last few years – is a bit of a misnomer. Bone broth is technically a stock because it is made using bones, as well as vegetables and herbs. It is simmered on the stove top for 12 to 24 hours.

Determining whether to use stock or broth in a recipe may depend on what you are making.  Typically, stock is used in sauces, gravies, stews and as a braising liquid for meats.  Broth works well as a base for soups, stir-fry dishes, dumplings, stuffing, and for cooking grains and legumes.

Although broths and stocks can be purchased in cans and cartons at the grocery store, it is fairly easy to make your own at home. Making broths and stocks from scratch can be a cost saving activity if you save and utilize meat and vegetable scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. Stock can be made on the stove top, in a slow cooker, or even in an electric pressure cooker! The Kitchn provides instructions for making chicken stock using each of these methods.

Sources:

Foster, K. (2018). What’s the Difference Between Bone Broth, Stock and Broth? The Kitchn. https://www.thekitchn.com/the-difference-between-bone-broth-stock-and-broth-254174

Jones, T. (2017). What are the differences between stock and broth? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stock-vs-broth

Rattray, D. (2019). What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth? The Spruce Eats. https://www.thespruceeats.com/difference-between-stock-and-broth-3057787

Written by: Joyce Riley, MS, RD, LD. Former Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Union County.

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, MPH, RD, LD. Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Franklin County.

Comfort zone is a concept that has kept reoccurring in different workshops, trainings, and conferences I have attended over the past couple years. In fact, our 2019 OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Conference was titled “Growing Our Comfort Zones.” Though not a new concept to me, some people have probably not considered if or how often they get out of their comfort zone. Over the past few years, I have been questioning and ultimately growing my comfort zone through a variety of experiences, opportunities, and challenges.

For about 22 years, I was comfortable and content in my position as an exercise physiologist. Aside from a rare emergency, I pretty much knew what my day would look like even before I got out of bed. Now, every day of the week might look different depending on my schedule. This change took some adjusting, but I enjoy the variety now. I have grown more in the last few years than I had the previous 2 decades. Things that I would have never done, I don’t give a thought. While a few years may sound like a short time to some, it feels like a lifetime to me.

When the keynote speaker for our conference asked for a volunteer to help illustrate some of her points, I raised my hand. You see, while I am not exactly comfortable in front of a group, especially administrators and colleagues from around the state, I do like to have fun. I have learned to volunteer early, because the crowd is usually more forgiving. We performed an activity one way, then she changed it around to illustrate how being open to possibilities allows for so much more opportunities than defaulting to no. When we are open to new ideas, experiences, opportunities, and challenges, we are more likely to learn and grow as individuals, teams, and organizations.

This idea of moving out of your comfort zone might be easier said than done. For some people, the thought of doing something new or out of the ordinary may seem overwhelming, even paralyzing, while to others, it is exciting and exhilarating. What might be exciting to one person, might already be routine for another. We are all on a different journey and that is OK. More importantly, no matter what your comfort zone may be, you should continually look for ways to expand it.

Take me for instance, if someone had told me 4 years ago that I would present at the Ohio Statehouse and at national conferences in front of my peers, or apply for a leadership program that would require me to travel across the country and even to another country alone, I would have told them they were crazy! But, I have indeed done all of these things and SOOO much more. Things that I used to fear or that would make me nauseated before, no longer elicit this response. THIS is how you grow your comfort zone! Now, things that were not even on my radar, are the things that make me nervous. As I am able to grow my comfort zone, eventually, they too will no longer cause this reaction.

There are some valid reasons for getting out of your comfort zone. Stephen Schramm shares these:

  • Unlock your hidden talents
  • Know you won’t be perfect
  • Be ready for the future

According to Ann Latham, here are 16 more reasons you should get out of your comfort zone:

  • It won’t be as bad as you expect
  • Egos heal
  • No one is paying that much attention to you
  • Others are scared too
  • People with no more talent and no less fear than you are successfully doing the thing you are avoiding
  • There is no better way to grow
  • You might discover something you love
  • New challenges and experiences rewire your brain and make it more adaptable, stronger, and healthier
  • You will boost your self-confidence
  • You will be proud that you took the leap
  • Each milestone makes it easier to tackle another milestone
  • You will be more promotable and/or will earn more money
  • You will learn that failure is rare because the most common outcomes are success, learning, and growth
  • As your comfort zone expands, you will see new opportunities previously obscured by barriers of your own making
  • You will become more resilient and prepared for whatever comes your way
  • It could change your life by opening doors you never knew were there

So, if you are ready to expand your comfort zone, Andy Molinsky suggests you do these things:

  • First, be honest with yourself
  • Then, make the behavior your own
  • Finally, take the plunge

Leave us a comment about how you get out of or how you have expanded your comfort zone.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Perry County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Photo Credit:

Sources:

Latham, A. (2018.) 16 Reasons Why You Should Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Now. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/annlatham/2018/04/11/16-reasons-why-you-should-get-out-of-your-comfort-zone-now/#29b4047962e5

Molinsky, A. (2016.) If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2016/07/if-youre-not-outside-your-comfort-zone-you-wont-learn-anything?referral=03758&cm_vc=rr_item_page.top_right

Schramm, S. (2018.) Reasons to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. Duke Today. Retrieved from: https://www.today.duke.edu/2018/10/reasons-get-out-your-comfort-zone

For better and for worse, we all inherit particular characteristics from our parents. Maybe it’s our mother’s eyes, or maybe our father’s temper. Some of that is directly the result of the DNA we’ve received, and some of it comes from the influence they exerted in our environment. When it comes to our health and wellness, it can be challenging to determine whether nature or nuture has more of an impact. In some cases, it may not really matter. But when it causes you to feel powerless or apathetic about how much you can change your condition, it definitely matters.

Results of a long-term study were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Cardiology. The study tracked data on more than 2,500 Americans who were followed from young adulthood in 1985 to 2010. One of their findings is that body mass index (BMI) as a young adult appears to be the best predictor of long-term obesity risk.

There have been other studies that have identified certain genes that have been shown to contribute to a person becoming overweight and obese. There are rare inherited causes of obesity, but this is not the case for most of the population. This recent study suggests that knowing our BMI is more beneficial than purchasing a genetic test.

Hopefully, this research can empower people to know that being obese doesn’t have to be someone’s destiny. Their healthy lifestyle choices – the foods they eat, their portion sizes, and physical activity – can result in a better quality of life.

As I reflect on my childhood, I watched my mother struggle with her weight. At one point in my early adolescence years, she lost a significant percentage of her body weight. This was mainly the result of strict dieting with little change to physical activity. Within a few years she had gained it all back and even more. She was obese for most of the years that I remember her.

My mom had a massive heart attack when she was 59-years-old. It forever changed my life and my brother’s life. She enjoyed being a grandmother to my son for 18 months, but her three granddaughters were born after her death.

None of us  know what the future may bring. We do know that research shows being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers. The healthy steps we take to reduce and maintain our weight can mean a better quality of life for us and for our families. May this be an encouragement today that you can make changes in your life, even if you need a little help.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013) Genes and obesity. at https://www.cdc.gov/genomics/resources/diseases/obesity/obesedit.htm

HealthDay: News for Healthier Living (2020) What matters more for obesity risk, genes of lifestyle? at https://consumer.healthday.com/vitamins-and-nutrition-information-27/obesity-health-news-505/what-matters-more-for-obesity-risk-genes-or-lifestyle-753678.html

Live Healthy Live Well Ohio State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (2019) Make healthy fast food choices. at https://livehealthyosu.com/2019/10/03/make-healthy-fast-food-choices/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2020) Aim for a healthy weight. at https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/

“Polygenic Risk, Fitness, and Obesity in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study,” JAMA Cardiology. DOI: 10.1001/jamacardio.2019.5220

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (2020) Nonsurgical weight management. at https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/weight-management/weight-management-nonsurgical

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/push-ups-exercise-fitness-workout-888024/

Written by: Emily Marrison, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Coshocton County

Reviewed by: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

Good Mental Health is a Precursor to Good Physical Health

It’s no secret that our society is living longer.  Based on the U.S. 2017 Census Report, by 2040 the number of individuals 85 years old and over are projected to increase by 129%.  The thought of my friends and family living longer is certainly appealing to me.  However, with the aging process comes added physical and mental health concerns for caregivers.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the most common chronic physical conditions aging adults experience include:

            Health Disease

            Cancer

            Chronic bronchitis or emphysema

            Stroke

            Diabetes mellitus

            Alzheimer’s disease

Many of us are familiar with the physical conditions but did you know, mental conditions can be just as debilitating if not treated?  Mental health issues are often overlooked or viewed as a “normal” part of the aging process.  Let’s be clear, mental health problems are not a normal part of aging and should not be overlooked!  One in four (6 to 8 million) older adults age 65 or older experiences a mental health disorder and the number is expected to double to 15 million by 2030.  The most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and depression/bipolar. 

Good physical health is a precursor to good mental health and good mental health is a precursor to good physical health.  To age at our full potential, we must place the same value for treatment of mental conditions as we do on physical.  Recognizing the warning signs and seeking treatment can improve quality of life.  Signs and symptoms can vary but examples include:

            Noticeable changes in mood, energy level, or appetite

            Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions

            Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

            Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless, or on edge

            Increased worry or feeling stressed

            Anger, irritability or aggressiveness

            Ongoing headaches, digestive issues, or pain

            A need for alcohol or drugs

            Sadness or hopelessness

            Suicidal thoughts

            Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions

            Engaging in high-risk activities

            Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior

            Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with work, family, or social life

            Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people

If you notice any of these warning signs in yourself or a loved one, please make an appointment to discuss these concerns with your doctor.  Treatment works and the earlier the intervention the better the outcome for recovery and improved quality of life. 

Please remember if you or someone you know is in crisis, call the toll-free National Crisis Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or text the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.  Both hotlines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all calls/texts are confidential! 

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, M.S., Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University

Reviewed by: Emily Marrison, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension

References:

Older Adults Living with Serious Mental Illness – The State of the Behavioral Health Workforce. store.samhsa.gov/system/files/new_older_adults_living_with_serious_mental_illness_final.pdf.

“Older Adults.” Older Adults | Healthy People 2020, http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/older-adults.

“Behavioral Health for Older Adults: Mental Health.” NCOA, http://www.ncoa.org/center-for-healthy-aging/behavioral-health/.

“Older Adults and Mental Health.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/older-adults-and-mental-health/index.shtml.