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Posts Tagged ‘heart health’

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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Adopting our dog, Wes, was one of the best things my husband and I could have done, both for us and for him. We saved Wes’ life, and he has made ours better and healthier. Research has shown that owning a dog can benefit the owner’s health. Wes is an Australian cattle dog, and he needs a lot of activity. As with most dogs, a daily walk is a must. This extra incentive to get walking every day can have a positive impact on your heart health. Your furry buddy will thank you for making the extra time and effort for him or her as well!

WesOwning and caring for a dog can also have beneficial effects on your mental health by gaining a sense of meaning and companionship from your dog. The bond you can build with your dog is such a special one. I remember when we first brought Wes home, he was very timid and shy. As a result, he was not much for being pet or cuddling with his new parents. We all took our time, and he came to trust us. He is now the most loyal pet either myself or my husband have ever known. He loves to be spoiled, and he cuddles up with us on the couch or in bed regularly now. Blood pressure measurements have been shown to decrease while petting a dog, which can be a nice stress reliever. There’s nothing better than coming home to a furry “smile” and a quickly wagging tail at the door at the end of a long day.

If you can afford to care for one, I highly recommend rescuing your next best friend. There are many sweet and loyal dogs in shelters all across the state just waiting to be adopted into a loving “fur-ever” home. They can help you develop some healthy habits along the way, and you will gain an unconditionally loving best buddy!

Written By: Amy Meehan, MPH, Healthy People Program Specialist

Reviewed By: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension, Perry County

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3351901/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/having-a-dog-can-help-your-heart–literally

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-dog-could-be-your-hearts-best-friend-201305226291

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TomPuppy2

My brother-in-law and sister had to put their beloved dog to sleep a few months ago. Needless to say, this was a sad time for them. Tom (my brother-in-law) recently shared an observation about his weight during this time. When . they had to put their dog, Chippy to sleep, his average weight was 199. He noticed a weight gain of 9-10 pounds after this time. Since they brought home a new puppy, Chummy, his weight has dropped by 5 pounds!

What does this have to do with your health? According to the American Heart Association, owning a pet – a dog, in particular, can be good for your heart health.  This article supports the findings that my brother-in-law recently shared with me. The CDC also reports that having a pet can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels and decrease your feelings of loneliness.

These factors may contribute to his recent weight loss:

  • Taking a walk at least twice a day with Chummy
  • Enjoying the social interaction with the new puppy
  • Spending time with the puppy which makes it easier to avoid snacking

If you can’t have or don’t want a pet, what can you do to improve your heart health? Go back to the basics:

Enjoy physical activity most days of the week for at least 30 minutes. It is fine to break up the 30 minutes into three 10-minute sessions. Adults should aim for 150 minutes per week.

Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Enjoy a wide variety of nutrient rich veggies & fruits. Be creative with the way you add them to your day. Start the day with a fruit or veggie for breakfast (think smoothie, veggies added to eggs, or a piece of fresh fruit).

Need more help? Visit MyPlate’s SuperTracker to customize your food and activity plan. It is free and easy and will help you on your wellness journey.

While you are enjoying the health benefits from you new (or old) pet, don’t forget basic cleanliness habits to keep you and your family from becoming ill. One reminder from CDC is to wash your hands after handling your pet, pet food or treats or if you pick up their stools.  Not sure how to wash your hands? Here are the basics on handwashing from CDC:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Do you need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Are these good reasons to get a pet? Yes! Remember that if you are ready for a new furry family member, it just might help your health!

Sources:

http://heartinsight.heart.org/Fall-2017/Is-Owning-a-Pet-Good-for-You/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/dogs.html

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/pet-food-tips_8x11_508.pdf

https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/myplan.aspx

Writer: Michelle Treber, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

 

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carrots

The Easter Bunny came to visit a couple of weeks ago, and while he was here he ate some nice, healthy carrots. We need to follow his example, because his favorite food is actually one awesome vegetable.

A 10-year study recently completed in the Netherlands shows that carrot intake can greatly reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We all remember our moms telling us to eat carrots to protect our eyes, but our heart? Not so much. So this study is really eye-opening (excuse the pun, I couldn’t resist).

Research participants were asked to eat fruits and vegetables from four main color categories: green, orange/yellow, red/purple, and white. Of the four categories, orange/yellow was found to be the most protective against cardiovascular disease (especially foods with deeper shades of orange).

Participants who ate at least one-fourth cup of carrots (about 2-3 baby carrots) per day had a lessened risk for CVD, and participants who ate the most (one-half to three-fourths cup per day) had a significantly lowered risk.

Carrots have always been known as a good source of antioxidants in terms of their beta-carotene content. But they also contain phytonutrients called polyacetylenes, which help inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells. Cancer, eye, and heart protection—who knew the humble carrot had all that going on?

Planting

If you are putting in a garden this summer and have never tried growing carrots, this might be the summer to give them a spin. Carrots are easy to grow from seed, so the initial expense is minimal. For your first effort, consider miniature carrots.  They have small, shallow roots that are quite sweet and grow well in soils with some clay content (that’s us, folks).

You can begin planting carrots in mid-April. Start by loosening the soil in the planting bed at least 8- 12 inches deep, rake smooth, and then sow seeds about a quarter inch deep. Seeds should be spaced approximately two inches apart. You don’t need to plant all the seeds at once; judge how many to plant by your family size. For a continuous supply of young carrots, start a new row of seeds approximately every three weeks.

Harvesting

Pull carrots when mature in size and color. Twist off the long green tops to prevent moisture loss, and use a dry vegetable brush to remove any clumps of soil. At this point, there are two rules of thumb you can follow when it comes to carrot storage.

Some “dry camp” followers say to seal the unwashed carrots tightly in a plastic bag in the coolest part refrigerator and wash just before using. The “wet camp” followers believe carrots should be washed and placed in a container with water (which should be refreshed every 4-5 days). Your choice, but just make sure they are covered because carrots begin to go limp when exposed to air.  Most varieties keep for a month in the fridge if stored properly.

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:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0013609

http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scenea765.html

 

 

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ginormous

Did you know the body needs only a very small amount of sodium in the diet to function? According to the American Heart Association, that amount is less than 500 mg per day, which in cooking terms is about ¼ of a teaspoon. The reality, unfortunately, is that very few of us come close to keeping our sodium intake that low.   Most people consume a lot more—a whopping 3,400 milligrams per day on average.  What’s even scarier? 97% of Americans do not know, or seriously underestimate, their daily sodium intake. The newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting our daily amount of sodium consumption to 2,300 mg or less per day.

The majority of sodium we consume in the diet is in the form of salt. Where is it hiding, you ask? Approximately 77% of sodium intake comes from restaurant meals, processed foods and prepackaged foods.  To illustrate, fresh broccoli contains a mere 27 mg of sodium. However, if it’s processed into canned cream of broccoli soup, it shifts from 27 mg to 770 mg of sodium!

Which foods are the top sources of sodium? The list includes:

  1. Breads
  2. Lunch Meats
  3. Pizza
  4. Soups
  5. Sandwiches, including burgers
  6. Cheese

Here are five tips to help you limit your sodium intake:

*Read labels and make yourself aware of serving sizes. This can be a real eye opener when looking at the sodium content in many products sold at the grocery stores.  Foods that contain 20% or more of the % Daily Value for sodium are considered high in sodium; 5% or less is considered low.

*At a restaurant, ask the chef or cook to prepare your food without salt.

*When shopping, choose fresh and/or less processed vegetables. If purchasing frozen, try to avoid added salts and sauces.

* Don’t put the salt shaker on the table. Even though salting at the table only accounts for about 6% of our total salt intake, every little bit helps.

* Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of cooking with salt.

 

Sources: The American Heart Association  http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/

 

Written by: Susan Zie, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension – Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu

 

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extesnion- Erie County, Green.308.osu.edu

 

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Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States? Heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year…..that is approximately one woman every minute.

If you had heart disease, would you recognize the symptoms? Most think of crushing chest pains, but that is not always the case for women. Some of the common symptoms for women include shortness of breath, nausea, back pain, vomiting, and jaw pain. These are often more subtle and women mistakenly write them off as a less serious issue such as the flu, aging, or acid re-flux.

There are actions you can take to reduce your risk. Your behavior and lifestyle are major factors in your overall heart health. These involve things you can control:

  • blood pressure
  • cholesterolheart health
  • smoking
  • diabetes
  • diet and weight control
  • physical activity

It is important that you measure your risk for heart disease and do what you can to prevent it. To get started, check out this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack.

You need to make your heart health a priority because no one else will do it for you. Be sure to schedule a well-woman visit, a prevention check-up to review your overall health so your doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses. It is a great time to schedule if you haven’t already done this.

February is American Health Month and a great way to show your support of women’s heart health is to participate in National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 5th.

heart health 2

 

 

 

Sources

American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp#.VqEIdfkrJD9

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/

 

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

Reviewed by: Daniel Remley, Field Specialist, Family Nutritional Wellness, Assistant Professor, OSUE-Human Ecology Ext Admin, remley.4@osu.edu

 

 

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Autumn

Stress often gets a bad rap. In small doses, stress serves as a motivator to get things done.  It also gives us the ability to run faster and think more quickly when facing an emergency. Yet, if you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price.

Protect yourself by recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects. Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process.

Many health problems are caused or exacerbated by stress, including:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Weight issues
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Managing stress is about taking control and taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, thoughts, schedule, and your environment.  Strengthening your physical health will help you cope with the symptoms of stress.

There are a number of techniques that are useful to reduce stress. Here are a few of these ideas:

  • Set aside relaxation time
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Find something that calms you and get in the right mindset to face these challenges. Managing your stress will bring balance to your life.  While we may not be able to control all the stressors in our lives, we can change how we react to them!

Writer: Beth Stefura, MEd., RD, LD, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Mahoning County.

Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S. RDN,LD, NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed

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