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Posts Tagged ‘Heart Disease’

What do David Letterman, Burt Reynolds, Reggie Lewis, Barbara Walters, Bill Clinton, Hank Gathers, Toni Braxton, Kelsey Grammar, Dick Cheney, and Bret Michaels all have in common? All of them have or had some form of heart disease.

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women in the United States? Even if you do not have a personal or family history, it is likely that you will still be impacted in some way by heart disease during your lifetime. Whether it is a friend, a co-worker, a professional athlete, a celebrity, a neighbor, or a loved one, if you don’t already know someone who has been diagnosed, you likely will.  

Mittens holding a heart shaped scoop of fresh fallen snow

The Live Healthy Live Well Team invites you to get “Strong @ Heart” with us this February as we celebrate American Heart Month. You may be thinking, yeah, yeah, yeah, but I don’t want a bunch of medical jargon thrown at me. Great! The Strong @ Heart email challenge will give you some information about heart disease and some tips on how to help you stay healthy, but it will be relatable. You see, many of the writers have personal stories as to why this topic is so important to them.

We know that 2020 was a rollercoaster for most people, and 2021 might feel the same. During the Strong @ Heart challenge, we hope to connect with you on a more personal note about how heart disease has impacted and continues to impact the lives of many of us.

What can you expect? Two weekly e-mails will be sent directly to you from an OSU Extension Professional from February 1, 2021 – March 10, 2021. A few of the topics covered include: prevention, signs and symptoms, sleep, physical activity, dining out, good fats, mindfulness, hobbies and laughter.

Become Strong @ Heart with us! You can register by finding your county link below. If your county is not listed, please use the link for Ohio at the end.

Strong @ Heart photo with red, stitched heart
Ohio CountyRegistration Link
Belmontgo.osu.edu/LHLWBelmont
Brown, Clermont, Hamiltongo.osu.edu/LHLWCincinnati
Butlergo.osu.edu/LHLWButler
Carrollgo.osu.edu/LHLWCarroll
Champaigngo.osu.edu/LHLWChampaign
Clarkgo.osu.edu/LHLWClark
Coshoctongo.osu.edu/LHLWCoshocton
Cuyahogago.osu.edu/LHLWCuyahoga
Darke, Mercer, Preblego.osu.edu/LHLWWest
Fairfield, Hockinggo.osu.edu/LHLWFairfield
Fayettego.osu.edu/LHLWFayette
Franklingo.osu.edu/LHLWFranklin
Fulton, Williams, Defiance, Henry, Pauldinggo.osu.edu/LHLWArea1
Greenego.osu.edu/LHLWGreene
Hardingo.osu.edu/LHLWHardin
Holmesgo.osu.edu/LHLWHolmes
Licking, Knox, Muskingumgo.osu.edu/LHLWLicking
Lucasgo.osu.edu/LHLWLucas
Mahoninggo.osu.edu/LHLWMahoning
Meigsgo.osu.edu/LHLWMeigs
Miamigo.osu.edu/LHLWMiami   
Montgomerygo.osu.edu/LHLWMontgomery
Morrowgo.osu.edu/LHLWMorrow
Noblego.osu.edu/LHLWNoble
Perrygo.osu.edu/LHLWPerry
Pickawaygo.osu.edu/LHLWPickaway
Pikego.osu.edu/LHLWPike
Rossgo.osu.edu/LHLWRoss
Sandusky, Ottawago.osu.edu/LHLWSandusky
Trumbullhttps://go.osu.edu/lhlwtrumbull
Tuscarawasgo.osu.edu/LHLWTuscarawas
Vintongo.osu.edu/LHLWVinton
Washingtongo.osu.edu/LHLWWashington
Warrengo.osu.edu/LHLWWarren
Waynego.osu.edu/LHLWWayne
Woodgo.osu.edu/LHLWWood

Strong @ Heart Ohio link:  https://go.osu.edu/lhlwopen

Writers: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu and Patrice Powers-Barker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Lucas County powers-barker.1@osu.edu

Reviewers: Michelle Treber, Lisa Barlage and Jenny Lobb, Extension Educators, Family and Consumer Sciences

References:

When It Comes to Heart Health, Americans Don’t Know Their Numbers. (2017). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 01/22/2021 from https://newsroom.clevelandclinic.org/2017/02/01/comes-heart-health-americans-dont-know-numbers/

Scammahorn, R. (2021). What does it take to be strong @ heart? Live Healthy, Live Well, Ohio State University Extension. Retrieved 01/22/2021 from https://livehealthyosu.com/2021/01/18/what-does-it-take-to-be-strong-heart/

Heart Snow photo from Pixabay

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Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States (about 1 in 4 deaths). In this blog we have shared how dietary choices, including adding more plant foods reduces the risk of heart disease. Increasing physical activity is another important way to strengthen our hearts and bodies. Researchers are always learning more about heart health and ways to reduce the risk of disease. Here are some recent updates and recommendations.

Add some steps.  A 2020 study supports the evidence that increasing your daily step count reduces the risk of mortality of all causes. That’s right, all causes. The intensity of these steps did not have a significant difference on the overall reduction of risk. The takeaway? Make it a goal to take 8,000 steps each day, for your heart and your overall health. Movement does not have to make you sweat buckets to have a positive, long-term impact on health.

Schedule your flu shot. Did you know getting a flu shot can help to protect your heart? It is true! The flu can cause stress or damage to our heart and other organs. In a study of over 80,000 U.S. patients hospitalized with the flu, more than 1 in 10 had an acute cardiac event before discharge. An acute cardiac event could be acute heart failure, a heart attack, or a hypertensive crisis. Almost a third of those patients then required intensive care.

Image of a blooming tea flower in a clear mug on a wooden table.

Make time for tea. Studies have shown that adding tea to a heart-healthy diet can have many benefits. Some benefits may include:

  • improved brain function
  • protection against some cancers
  • better weight maintenance
  • increased HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • decreased LDL or “bad” cholesterol
  • better smelling breath

Adding sweeteners like sugar and honey can counteract the benefits that come from drinking tea. Tea contains tannins and drinking too much can lead to poor iron absorption. Tea also contains caffeine, which can cause anxiety or trouble sleeping. Most healthy individuals can safely consume 3-4 cups of tea each day. Check with a healthcare professional before starting a new diet or exercise routine.

When taking care of our heart, small changes can make a big difference. Check back to this blog often for new research findings. If you are interested in learning more about heart health join our Strong @ Heart email challenge that starts February 1! Sign up here: go.osu.edu/LHLWopen


Written by: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Cuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

References: https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/aha-names-top-heart-disease-and-stroke-research-advances-of-2020

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In July  I set an out of office message.

“I am out of the office on vacation. I will be seeing national parks, family, friends, and the Rocky Mountains; I will not be seeing emails.”

And I left.  For two whole weeks! It was glorious and much needed.  

My daughters enjoying the North Rim of the Grand Canyon July 2020

According to research done by the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left 768 MILLION vacations days unused in 2018. That statistic surprised me given how often a friend, neighbor, or colleague says, “I need a vacation!” in conversation.

Allow me to persuade you on why you should use your vacation days:

Are looking for better physical or mental health? Want to achieve a goal you’ve set? Take a vacation!!!

Several studies have shown that taking time away from your job can have physical and psychological health benefits. People who use their vacation time have lower stress and less risk of heart disease.

You may be familiar with stress when it comes to your job. Vacation helps with that too! Stress contributes to heart disease and high blood pressure. Chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol can alter our brain structure. This can contribute to anxiety and depression.  Time away from work can increase feelings of calm and relieve stress.   This allows our brains to heal in ways it can’t when it is under pressure.

Physically, the benefits are positive too.   For both men and women, the New York Times reported, taking a vacation every two years compared to every six will lessen the risk of coronary heart disease or heart attacks.

People who vacation also have a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve their goals. One study three days after vacation found subjects’ physical complaints, quality of sleep, and mood had improved as compared to before vacation found.  These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacation. Returning to work can increase mental focus, creativity, and productivity. 

If you are thinking that your current budget or financial situation does not allow a vacation at this time, allow me to point out none of this research says WHERE or WHAT you have to do for these benefits. Those benefits are available when you take a break from work! A Caribbean island may sound relaxing, but there is plenty of relaxation to be found close to home. Recently the popularity of staycations has grown.  You may be missing some great destinations right in your backyard.  Stay close and get creative if you have to, just don’t add your vacation days to that 768 million. 

Wherever your vacation takes you, we hope it is relaxing!

Author: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Resources:

COVID 19: Staycation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dhr.delaware.gov/benefits/covid-19/documents/eap-staycation-ideas.pdf

Harmon, M. (2020). It’s Vacation Time. Live Healthy Live Well, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Scienceshttps://livehealthyosu.com/2020/06/29/its-vacation-time/

Importance of taking vacation. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-vacation

Kim, A. (2019, August 16). A record 768 million US vacation days went to waste last year, a study says. Retrieved August 25, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/unused-vacation-days-trnd/index.html

US TravelAssociation (2019). PAID TIME OFF TRENDS IN THE U.S. Retrieved from https://www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/media_root/document/Paid%20Time%20Off%20Trends%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf?utm_source=MagnetMail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=8%2E15%2E19%2DPress%2DVacation%20Days%20Release&utm_campaign=pr

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May is National Stroke Awareness Month. Did you know that every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke?

Every stroke and TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack, aka “mini-stroke”) is a medical emergency. If you know the warning signs of a stroke and act FAST, you could save a life. FAST is the acronym for noticing the major warning signs of a stroke and taking action:

Face Drooping – one side of the face is drooping or numb. Ask the person to smile and look for this sign.

Arm Weakness – The arm is weak or numb. Ask the person to raise both arms to the side. One arm may drift down.

Speech Difficulty – The speech may be slurred or difficult to understand. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase, such as “the sky is blue”.

Time to call 9-1-1 if any of these signs are present.

Learn the signs of stroke. Face. Arms. Speech. Time to call 9-1-1. cdc.gov/stroke

More than 40% of Americans cannot recall the major warning signs of a stroke. If you are one of them, now is the time to commit them to memory! Recognizing these signs could save a life because every moment counts when someone is having a stroke. Unfortunately, emergency rooms across the country are reporting declines in the number of non-coronavirus patients they are seeing, and doctors are worried that coronavirus fears are keeping patients from calling 9-1-1 when they need help. A stroke is not something to “tough out” at home. Recognize a stroke for what it is – a medical emergency – and encourage friends, family members and love ones to seek help when needed.

To prevent strokes from happening in the first place, make healthy lifestyle choices – like eating nutritious food and getting enough physical activity– and encourage friends, family members and loved ones to do the same. The CDC estimates that up to 80% of strokes are preventable. If you have suffered a stroke, making healthy lifestyle changes is still worth the effort, as they can help prevent future potentially more serious strokes from taking place.

A healthier you starts with change. Change starts with you. What changes will you make to become a healthier you? Take action today to avoid falling victim to a stroke, and commit the FAST acronym to memory to help save the lives of others.

Written by: Loretta Sweeney, Senior Series Program Assistant, OSU Extension Franklin County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Franklin County

SOURCES:

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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

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beets

Numerous health and wellness media outlets have printed various “The Best Foods You Aren’t Eating” articles over the last few years. Included in many of those lists are beets.  I have to admit they were not on my ‘favorite’ veggie list when I was a kid. But I’ve grown to like them as an adult, and would like to encourage you to think about incorporating them more often into your diet.

What nutritional benefits can you get from eating beets? 

  • Beets are part of the chenopod family. Other members include chard, spinach, and quinoa.
  • The reddish purple pigments in beets contain phytochemicals called betalins. Betalins help lessen growth of tumor cells in the colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate, and testicles.
  • Beets are especially protective of our eyes and our nervous system. They also help protect against heart disease, birth defects, and cancer.
  • Beets are rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and manganese.
  • Beets help reduce inflammation. Heart disease and diabetes are two chronic health problems aggravated by inflammation.
  • The fiber in beets is unique, and may provide health benefits in the digestive tract and cardiovascular system.

Preparing Fresh Beets

Cut the majority of the leaves and stems off.  Leave about 2” of the stems on to prevent bleeding.  Do not wash before storing.  Place in a plastic bag or saran wrap and wrap tightly to keep out air. They will keep about four days in the refrigerator.

Raw beets do not freeze well.  However, you can freeze cooked beets. To begin preparing beets, run them first under cold water to clean. You may notice that beets “bleed” a little and turn your hands red.  You can remove the temporary dye by rubbing your hands with lemon juice.

Cut beets into quarters, leaving 2” of the tap root and 1” of stem.  Cook as lightly as possible by steaming or cooking in a small amount of liquid. When you can insert a knife or fork easily into the beet, they are done.  Peel beets on a cutting board and use gloves to prevent staining your hands. You can also eat beets raw by grating and adding to salads.

Easter Tradition

You may want to try this unique beet recipe for Easter dinner. “Beets and horseradish” is a side dish used on ham. I learned how to make it years ago from my father-in-law whose ancestors came from Czechoslovakia. It is an Eastern European tradition.

Beets and Horseradish

1 bunch fresh beets (4-5)

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon grated horseradish

Boil beets until soft.  Skin and cool to room temperature. Grate beets by hand, do not use a food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Refrigerate. Canned beets may be substituted for fresh (save the beet juice to make pickled eggs).

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.health.com/nutrition/beets-health-benefits?slide=327494#327494

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311343.php

https://foodandnutrition.org/november-december-2015/beets-deserve-spotlight/

https://www.justbeetit.com/beet-nutrition

 

 

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two hands with mittens holding a heart-shaped snowball
What comes to mind when you think of February? For many, it’s Valentine’s Day, others may think of a dreaded month of winter weather. Some may know February as Black History Month. Still others, like me, may think of American Heart Month. While all of these are accurate, one is nearer and dearer to my heart, pun intended.

You see, at the end of my junior year of high school, my dad had his first heart-related incident two days after his 37th birthday. He had to have angioplasty for a blocked artery. A month or so later, my dad’s brother John had to have open-heart surgery ON his birthday. My dad had already lost his oldest brother to a massive heart attack. Uncle Bill was in his forties when he collapsed after coming home from work. My dad’s brother Jim had suffered a heart attack and had a couple of heart procedure in subsequent years as well. My dad had another angioplasty when I was a freshman in college.

My dad attended cardiac rehabilitation after both of his angioplasties. The first time, I attended some of his sessions since I was out of school for the summer. While attending Ohio University, I learned about a program that would enable me to work in cardiac rehab. I never realized this was something I would be able to do without becoming a physician. I completed the program and was fortunate to find a position right away working for a cardiologist who had cardiac rehab as part of his practice. I worked there for 5 years before taking a position in a hospital cardiac and pulmonary rehab facility.

My dad had his first open-heart surgery shortly after he turned 44. Yes, you read that right. My dad’s oldest living brother Bob, had open heart surgery a couple months later the same year. My dad had his second open-heart surgery 2 days prior to his 57th birthday, which he celebrated in the hospital. A month or so prior to this, my uncle by marriage had to have a stent. He attended cardiac rehab at the hospital where I was working. When my dad had his second open-heart surgery, he started cardiac rehab 2 weeks after his surgery because he was recovering so well and my uncle was able to drive him. This was an interesting experience for me. The person who had always taken care of me, was now in my care. It was also a relief because I knew he was getting the best of care.

My dad will turn 67 at the end of May. I am happy to say that he is doing fairly well. He finally quit smoking once and for all. Yes, he quit each time he had a heart event, but he eventually started back. He takes his medications as directed. Stress is really not an issue for him. He could stand to be more active and eat a little better, both of which would help his weight. Overall, everything considered, he is fortunate. I am also happy to report that I turned 46 in August and I have no signs or symptoms of any heart-related conditions.

As you may have figured out, heart disease is very near and dear to me. I obviously learned at a young age that I have a strong family history. So, I have taken steps to try to help reduce my risk for developing heart disease. While we hear about all sorts of other diseases and conditions, heart disease has been and still remains the number one killer of men AND women in the United States. So, if you have not been taking the best care of your heart, it’s not too late to start. What better month than February to begin?!

10 Things You May Not Know About Heart Disease [Infographic]

Written by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Photos:

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/heart-facts-infographic

https://pixabay.com/en/heart-snowball-gloves-winter-hands-1416344/

Sources:

American Heart Association, (2019). Found at: https://www.heart.org/

American Heart Association, (2019). Cardiovascular disease affects nearly half of American adults, statistics show. Found at: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/01/31/cardiovascular-diseases-affect-nearly-half-of-american-adults-statistics-show

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2015). Preventing Heart Disease: Healthy Living Habits. Found at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/healthy_living.htm

CNN Staff, (2019).  Meet the man who created Black History Month. Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/01/us/history-of-black-history-month-trnd/index.html

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, (2013). Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes. Retrieved from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-lifestyle-changes

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Learn more about heart disease. Retrieved from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month/learn-more-about-heart-disease

Office of Women’s Health, (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/heart-disease-and-stroke

 

 

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thyroidI’m beginning to notice a higher than normal amount of questions about the thyroid at my nutrition programs. Since January is Thyroid Awareness Month, I decided to refresh my brain and hopefully yours as well about the purpose and structure of the thyroid gland.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland wrapped around your windpipe. It produces the thyroid hormone, which regulates body temperature, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, respiration, brain development, cholesterol levels, the heart and nervous system, blood calcium levels, and menstrual cycles.

How Does the Thyroid Work?

One of the clearest explanations I’ve found comes from Dr. Jeffrey R. Garber (Harvard Medical School).

“Think of your thyroid as a car engine that sets the pace at which your body operates. An engine produces the required amount of energy for a car to move at a certain speed. In the same way, your thyroid gland manufactures enough thyroid hormone to prompt your cells to perform a function at a certain rate.

Just as a car can’t produce energy without gas, your thyroid needs fuel to produce thyroid hormone. That fuel is iodine. Your thyroid extracts this necessary ingredient from your bloodstream and uses it to make two kinds of thyroid hormone.

When your body needs thyroid hormone, it is secreted into your bloodstream in quantities set to meet the metabolic needs of your cells. If the amount is unbalanced, you may develop a thyroid disorder.”

Thyroid Disorders

There are different types of thyroid disorders, but hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are the most common. Other thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer.

According to the American Thyroid Association, approximately 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disorder. Other details include the following:

  • Thyroid disorders are common, however 60% of people are unaware they have a thyroid issue.
  • Women are more likely than men to have a disorder. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.
  • Stress can exacerbate a thyroid disorder (make it worse).
  • Genetics, an autoimmune attack, removal of the thyroid gland, nutritional deficiencies, and/or toxins in the environment can contribute to thyroid imbalances.
  • Untreated thyroid issues can affect other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

Can Food Help?
Eating lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, heart-healthy fats and omega-3s, high-fiber foods, and appropriate portions can help manage or prevent illnesses associated with thyroid disease such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Nutrients to monitor include:

  • Iodine: Iodine is a vital nutrient in the body and essential to thyroid function because thyroid hormones are comprised of iodine.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is linked to Hashimoto’s (the most common cause of hypothyroidism). Sources that contain vitamin D include fatty fish, milk, dairy, eggs, and mushrooms, as well as sunlight.
  • Selenium: The highest concentration of selenium is found in the thyroid gland, and it’s been shown to be a necessary component of enzymes integral to thyroid function. Healthy sources include Brazil nuts, tuna, crab, and lobster.
  • Vitamin B12: About 30% of people with autoimmune thyroid disorder experience a vitamin B12 deficiency. Food sources of B12 include mollusks, sardines, salmon, liver, and dairy.

How do you know if you have a thyroid problem?

Many symptoms may be hidden or mimic other diseases and conditions, the best way to know for sure is to ask your doctor for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, a simple blood test to verify your thyroid gland’s condition. Because thyroid disease often runs in families, a review of their medical histories may reveal other individuals with thyroid problems.

Bottom Line?

If your thyroid gland isn’t working properly, neither are you.

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/women/manage-hypothyroidism-17/balance/slideshow-foods-thyroid

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935336/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17557-thyroid-disease-description

https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/thyroid-diseases

https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/do-you-need-a-thyroid-test

https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/070112p40.shtml

 

 

 

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The last couple of weeks have been spent moving from a home with 20 years accumulation of “stuff” to a new home. While it has been exciting, it has also been exhausting.  I realized a few days ago that I was staying up later than usual to unpack and rearrange items and then not falling asleep when I did go to bed. My mind kept racing thinking about everything I needed – or wanted – to do the next day. The result was a tired, somewhat grumpy version of me!

Eating well and being physically active are two basic activities that we think of when we discuss being healthy.  Something that is often overlooked is the importance that a good night’s sleep plays in our overall health. Research has shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of disorders, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, stroke and depression. It’s also associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Most of us have heard that all adults need 7 – 8 hours of sleep each night. That generally holds true but it is important to remember that the quality of your sleep is just as, if not more, important than the quantity!  You should feel rested when you wake up in the morning. It is important to listen to your body’s biological clock which is set by the hours of daylight where you live. This should make it easier for you to stay awake during the day and sleep at night.

There will be times that you find it more difficult to fall asleep than others. If you are under stress, experiencing pain from an injury or illness, consuming excess caffeine or alcohol, you may find that falling and staying asleep are difficult. In that case, recognizing the reasons and making some adjustments to your daytime activities should help you sleep more soundly.

Some suggestions for improving your sleep:

  • Create a comfortable, calming sleep environment. This could include room darkening window coverings.
  • Avoid electronic devices in your bedroom – computers, tablets, games, etc. should be shut down before bedtime.
  • Establish a routine that you follow each evening to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Have a consistent bed time – even on the weekends.

There are small changes you can make to your daytime activities that may lead to better sleep.

  • Try to spend some time outdoors every day.
  • Exercise earlier in the day instead of later in the evening.
  • If you nap, limit yourself to 20 minutes or less.
  • Avoid both caffeine and alcohol close to your chosen bed time. Do some experimenting to find the cut off time for you – everyone will be a little different!
  • If you smoke, quit! Nicotine in cigarettes can make sleep more difficult.

If you continue to have sleep problems, it might be wise to visit your doctor to be sure you don’t have a more serious sleep disorder.

While sleep is not a guaranteed cure all for you, it doesn’t hurt anyone to establish sleep habits that help you consistently get a good night’s sleep!

 

WRITTEN BY: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

REVIEWED BY: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/10/cover-sleep.aspx

https://healthfinder.gov/healthtopics/population/men/mental-health-and-relationships/get-enough-sleep#the-basics_2

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/ask-the-doctor-right-amount-of-sleep

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Did you know your blood pressure reading is affected by many factors, including how you are sitting?  When you have your blood pressure checked, be sure to follow the list below to ensure an accurate reading:

  • Empty your bladder before taking your blood pressure.
  • Avoid caffeine, exercise and smoking for at least 30 minutes before taking a reading.
  • Sit in a back-supported chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  • Don’t cross your legs.
  • Put your arm on a table, desk or some other support, so your arm is supported at heart level.
  • Relax for at least five minutes before your blood pressure is taken.
  • Don’t have a conversation while it is being taken.
  • Use the correct size cuff.
  • Place the cuff on your bare arm.Picture3

Nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure, according to the new guidelines (listed in the chart below) from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Normal blood pressure 120/80 mmHg or below
Elevated blood pressure 120-129/<80 mmHg
High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 1 130-139/80-89 mmHg
High blood pressure (hypertension) stage 2 140 or higher/90 or higher mmHg

People with stage 1 hypertension are at double the risk for a heart attack or a stroke when compared to those with normal blood pressure. This does not mean all of those with stage 1 hypertension need to take blood pressure drugs, though.  It is important to talk with your health care provider as to what may work best for you.  Some life style changes can make a difference in your blood pressure readings.

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Following the DASH diet can help lower blood pressure.  The DASH diet was rated by US News and World Reports as the best diet overall for the eighth year.  Other steps to take which may reduce your blood pressure:

  • Lose weight if you need to. Losing 10 pounds often improves blood pressure.
  • Lower your sodium intake.
  • Increase your physical activity. Aim for 90-150 minutes per week of either aerobic activity or resistance training or a combination of both.
  • Use stress coping techniques to reduce your stress levels.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Stop using tobacco.
  • Increase your consumption of potassium containing foods, such as potatoes, banana, almonds, peanuts, avocados, broccoli, carrots, oranges and other citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables, and milk.
  • Take any blood pressure medications that you are prescribed.

Keeping your blood pressure at the normal level or below reduces your risk of heart disease or stroke.  Since 80% of strokes are preventable, keeping your blood pressure at normal levels or below is very important.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

References

American Heart Association. (2018). Understanding Blood Pressure Readings, American Heart Association.  Available at www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/KnowYourNumbers/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp#.WqBVUSVG3cs

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Preventing Stroke Deaths, CDC Vital Signs.  Available at www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/2017-09-vitalsigns.pdf

Dow, C. (2018). Pressure Points, More people have hypertension, say new guidelines, Nutrition Action Healthletter, January/February 2018.  45(1) 7-8.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2018). DASH Eating Plan, National Institutes of Health.  Available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/dash-eating-plan

 

 

 

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