Tag Archives: heart disease

Have a Heart, Give a Gift

Heart disease, not cancer, is the #1 killer of women.  I learned that and other invaluable information on Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters blog.

Over the years I’ve “stolen” and reposted many a wonderful post from Carolyn Thomas.  Her blog, Heart Sisters, has been one of the few I’ve followed for years.  I have forgotten what led me to her blog but once I read both her compelling stories and the up-to-date information on  women’s health, in particular heart disease, I was a Carolyn-groupie.  

Apparently Johns Hopkins was a groupie too when they asked her to write a book on Living with Heart Disease.  My guess is that her down-to-earth writing coupled with up-to-date research and information appealed to Johns Hopkins as much as it did to me.

Here’s just a sample of info found on Carolyn’s blog:

“Did you know: Women generally fare far worse than men after experiencing a cardiac event? One possible reason is that it can be confusing to make sense of warning symptoms when they do hit. Women are also less likely than our male counterparts to seek immediate help at the first sign of cardiac symptoms. Instead, we end up:”

  • toughing them out
  • waiting to see if they go away
  • blaming them on stress, muscle soreness, indigestion or other less serious non-cardiac causes

Read 12 cardiac symptoms women must never ignore

I can’t say enough good things about Carolyn – you’ll have to read her book and her blog to see for yourself what fabulous advocacy and education Carolyn has provided since her own “widow-maker” heart attack. (Full disclosure:  we are not related, I’ve never met her in person, and I don’t get a kick-back!)

Buy a copy and give the gift of life to a woman you love . . . maybe it’s even yourself

Save 20% when you use the code HTWN when you pre-order the book from Johns Hopkins

Order your copy click here:  Johns Hopkins University Press 

Johns Hopkins University Press is the publisher and here’s a fraction of what has been said about Carolyn’s Book:

[A Woman’s Guide to Living with Heart Disease] gives women the knowledge they need to become their own advocates in a health care system that continues to be weighted against them.”

“This book brings a needed focus to a leading killer of women today and is a must-read for women and their loved ones.”

“If you are a woman, or love a woman, this is a book for you! Cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of women. Here is a book focused on women’s cardiovascular health. It is all here—prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Read it for the people you love.”

“This work is an important contribution to the discussion about heart attack and misdiagnosis in women. Thomas’s personal story—alongside the stories of millions of other women—provides a needed reminder of recognizing one’s symptoms, avoiding denial, and seeking medical attention. This elegant book is a unique addition to women’s health books and a necessary read for women and the people who care about them.”

Thank you Carolyn for pushing through your own symptoms to write a book of this magnitude.  

 

Now that I’ve got your attention . . .

Heart disease

is the NUMBER ONE killer of women.

screen-shot-2015-09-04-at-12-36-30-pm

Excerpt from HEART SISTERS Most Common Heart Attack Signs:

“These cardiac symptoms often come and go – sometimes over a surprisingly long period of time.  They’re not always severe. We may believe that heart attack chest pain must be described as “crushing”, but it’s often frequently described by women with words like pressure, heavy, burning, full or tight – not “crushing”.”

“Almost 40% of women experience NO CHEST PAIN at all during a heart attack.”

Read the full post here: http://myheartsisters.org/2015/09/20/most-common-heart-attack-signs/

I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  

P1010944

The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms

 

 

“I don’t want to talk about it”

I should go out in the garden and eat worms.  I’m exhausted.  I hurt all over.   It’s hard not to have self-pity.   I TRY to limit my public and private kvetching because I know it doesn’t help . . . me or you.  There’s scientific basis for the harm we do to ourselves when we talk about trauma – any kind of trauma. 

Acrylic on Canvas, by moi
Acrylic on Canvas, by moi

 If you or anyone you know has a “story of pain” (physical, psychological, social, economic etc) read Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters excellent post.  Here’s a teeny taste:

Rehashing a traumatic story/event does some of the following:

  • puts our system on high alert
  • triggers inflammation
  • triggers the fight/flight response
  • triggers shutdown mode

On the flip side Carolyn talks about the benefits of sharing with close friends:

“Dr. Laura Cousin Klein and her team found that the credit for women’s unique stress reactions may belong to the hormone oxytocin (also known as the “lovehormone”).  It’s the body’s own wonder drug – released when we nurse our babies, for example, as well as during a woman’s stress response. It’s instinctual, it buffers the fight-or-flight response and it encourages us to tend children and gather with other women instead – what’s called our tend-and-befriend response to stress.  This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.”

Read the entire post “I don’t want to talk about it“- a Judy’s-Must-Read-Blog-Post.

Heart Rescue

P1010944My father had quintuple bypass surgery in his 70’s.  Doctor’s said it was mainly due to his smoking since a teenager.  He quit in his 60’s but by then the damage was done.  I won’t even begin to recount how horrible the recovery was for him and our family.

On my Mother’s side of the family my Mother, my Aunt and Uncle all had arrhythmia’s and pacemakers.  

With this history I should have been more aware of heart disease but I really wasn’t UNTIL I needed a pacemaker.   Here’s  a scenario of a heart attack happening and what to do.  It will only take a few minutes of your time to give someone else a life time.

CLICK HERE to find out what you should do – http://www.heartrescuenow.com/

Click here for a site that lists the places you are most likely to locate an AED
Thanks Sharon for sharing this really important information

What Is an Automated External Defibrillator?

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm. If needed, it can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm. AEDs are used to treat sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

SCA usually causes death if it’s not treated within minutes. In fact, each minute of SCA leads to a 10 percent reduction in survival. Using an AED on a person who is having SCA may save the person’s life.

Overview

To understand how AEDs work, it helps to understand how the heart works.

The heart has an internal electrical system that controls the rate and rhythm of the heartbeat. With each heartbeat, an electrical signal spreads from the top of the heart to the bottom. As the signal travels, it causes the heart to contract and pump blood. The process repeats with each new heartbeat.

Problems with the electrical system can cause abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs). During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm. Some arrhythmias can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the body. These arrhythmias cause SCA.

  • The most common cause of SCA is an arrhythmia called ventricular fibrillation (v-fib). In v-fib, the ventricles (the heart’s lower chambers) don’t beat normally. Instead, they quiver very rapidly and irregularly.
  • Another arrhythmia that can lead to SCA is ventricular tachycardia (TAK-ih-KAR-de-ah). This is a fast, regular beating of the ventricles that may last for only a few seconds or for much longer.
  • Ninety-five percent of people who have SCA die from it—most within minutes. Rapid treatment of SCA with an AED can be lifesaving.

In people who have either of these arrhythmias, an electric shock from an AED can restore the heart’s normal rhythm. Doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on someone having SCA also can improve his or her chance of survival.

Footprint on my Heart

Footprint on mon coeur.

Haiku-Heights
prompt, footprint

                 dis-ease of broken heart or

                                 evidence d’ amour?

I’ve “borrowed” again from Carolyn Thomas’ My Heart Sisters:

“This year, heart disease will kill six times more women than breast cancer will.  In fact, heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer combined.”

Watch this 3-minute film called “Just a Little Heart Attack” from the American Heart Association. It was originally brought to my attention by Carolyn Thomas.  Please share with others.

And READ THIS from Carolyn

“When other researchers reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at more than 10,000 patients (48% women) who had gone to their hospital Emergency Departments with chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, they found that women under the age of 55 are SEVEN TIMES more likely to be misdiagnosed in mid-heart attack than their male counterparts are.”

“And it gets worse! In 2005, the American Heart Association surveyed physicians in the U.S. to see how many were aware that more women than men die of heart disease each year (a statistic that’s been true since they started keeping track in 1984).

Only 8% of family doctors knew this fact, and (much worse!!) only 17% of CARDIOLOGISTS were aware of it. CARDIOLOGISTS! This is their business. This is all they do!! Shocking, really!”

Do check out Carolyn’s blog.  She does an amazing job keeping up with the latest news and research and information.  Here’s a sample of a funny post that may not be so funny:

Is My Bra Too Tight?

Dem Bones

I’ve not been blogging as frequently.  Did YOU NOTICE?  (Don’t tell me.  I actually don’t want to know!)
My saggy saga. . .
the medication that was controlling my atrial fibrillation. . .  caused the long q-t interval (life threatening). . .which necessitated Tallulah Pacehead to be implanted.  Tallulah  caused . . . my AV node to act up which activated light-headedness and propensity to pass out when exercising.  The great news is this is not life threatening.  The bad news is I’ve been poooooooooped.
So . . .
The doctor and I decided to titrate off the atrial fibrillation medication to see if some of the dominoes could be righted.  Wronged!  I’m back on the meds after having chest pain with every little move, wild blood pressure and constant arrhythmia.  Guess that medication has been working just fine!

The weird part is I couldn’t get these Dem Bone lyrics out of my head while all this was going on.  I don’t think I’ve heard this song since I was a child.  AND I had no idea, until now, that the gospel song was actually based on Ezekiel.

How great is this!?  
I wouldn’t have had the song play in my mind if all this hadn’t happened to me and I wouldn’t have googled it to see if I remembered it correctly and I wouldn’t have known the song was from the Bible and YOU wouldn’t be reminded of the Dem Bones song which will now play over and over in your mind which will lead you to heaven-knows-what . . .
Gospel Song Lyrics
James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)

E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
E-ze-kiel cried, “Dem dry bones!”
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

The foot bone con-nected to the (pause) leg-bone,
The leg bone connected to the (‘) knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the (‘) thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the (‘) back bone,
The back bone connected to the (‘) neck bone
The neck bone connected to the (‘) head bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord!

Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gon-na walk a-roun’
Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk aroun’
Oh hear the word of the Lord.

The head-bone connected to the neck-bone,
the neck-bone connected to the back-bone
The backbone connected to the thigh-bone
the thighbone connected to the knee-bone
the knee bone connected to the leg bone
the leg bone connected to the foot bone
Oh hear the word of the Lord

Ezekiel 37
The Valley of Dry Bones

1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!

5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath [a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’

12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.

13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.

14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.'”

Humph! The dear girl is losing it . . .

Men Explode, Women Erode

Tallulah Pacehead sez: "DRINK MILK"

Tallulah, my pacemaker, is doing her job and luckily resting on her laurels a lot (translation:  my pacemaker is only having to work 2% to 25% of the time).  I still having a bit of “heart matters” going on so this post on my favorite Heart blog: Heart Sisters caught my attention.

(P.S.  Fascinating information on Stem Cells and their impact on MEN)

If you are a woman or know a woman take a moment to listen.

“One out of every two of you reading this right now will be impacted by cardiovascular disease in your lifetime, warns cardiologist Dr. Noel Bairey-Merz, Director of the Cedars Sinai Women’s Heart Center in Los Angeles. And worse, diagnostic and treatment strategies “developed in men, by men, for men for the last 50 years” are not working so well for women.”

Sign up for My Heart Sisters Newsletter. 

http://myheartsisters.org/newsletter/

Don’t Jump to Conclusions even if it is Leap Year

I got home from the office early tonight.  My last appointment was with a wonderful couple I’ve seen for a few years. The woman didn’t look like her usual smiling self and said she didn’t feel good.  On the drive to my office she suddenly had a strange feeling that spread all over her chest, felt nauseated, had pain across her shoulders.  They thought it was anxiety.

I sent them to the nearest emergency room.  Why?  I NEVER assume physical symptoms are simply stress or anxiety unless a person has ALREADY had it checked by a doctor and disorders/disease have been ruled out.  It is better to be relieved that it’s just stress rather than to be dead or disabled because you dismissed the symptoms.

I hope that they both are upset with me

for sending them to the emergency room because all she was experiencing was a stress reaction.

Heart Attack Warnings Can Be Subtle

“Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading killer of women in America, accounting for over one-third of all deaths. That’s more than the combined death rates from breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers.

“Studies on cardiac events in women reveal that many women may experience prodromal —  or early — symptoms of cardiac distress in the days, weeks, or even months leading up to a heart attack. Unfortunately, many of these signs may be dismissed as nothing out of the ordinary — by both women and their doctors. The most common early warning signs include:

71%  Unusual fatigue — “Fatigue is a common complaint and one that may indicate that you’re simply missing out on sleep, fighting a virus, overextending yourself, or experiencing a side effect to medication. But unusual or extreme fatigue may also be an early heart attack symptom or a warning sign of heart disease. In one study, more than 70% of the women surveyed experienced marked fatigue in the days or weeks prior to their heart attacks.”

48% Sleep disturbances –– “It’s not unusual to feel tired due to a lack of sleep or a particularly demanding week or month, you should still take special notice of any unusual or prolonged disturbance in your sleep patterns. A recent study revealed that almost half of the women who had recently suffered a heart attack also experienced sleep disturbances in the days or weeks leading up to their attacks.”

42% Shortness of breath during normal daily activities,

39% indigestion

35% anxiety

30% Chest Pain

“So how do you know if your symptoms are serious? Getting into the habit of noting your typical aches and pains and your normal reactions to foods and activities may help you recognize when something is truly amiss. Also, remember that if you have risk factors for heart disease, you should be especially vigilant about monitoring how you feel — particularly if any of your usual symptoms are often early heart attack signs. If you experience worrisome or unusual changes in your energy level, comfort, or sleep habits, you should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider, especially if you have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, a smoking habit, or a sedentary lifestyle. (Here are 12 things you can do right now to help prevent a heart attack.)”

http://www.realage.com/womens-health/

Go RED! Go Tallulah!

Tallulah Pacehead

My Dears,

I had such an incredibly mahhhhvelous, exciting day yesterday. Unfortunately what “Turns me on . . . and off” isn’t the same mahvelous experience for Miss JudyJudith.  Humans are rather delicate. Pity.

Well, back to me.  I commemorated Go RED! for heart disease day with a visit to my personal cardiologist.  For the better part of 2 1/2 hours I was administered to.  Such a delight since most of the time I toil unrecognized and behind the scenes.

I was turned up.  I was turned down, I was adjusted and tweaked.   Truely a spa day to bring out my glow. I am as magnetic a personality as always.

And I was exonerated.  You won’t believe how much I get unjustly blamed for.  It’s undoubtedly because of my feminine beauty that the finger always gets pointed to me. Being a star it comes with the territory but it is tiring.

Seems as if JudyJudith’s V-nodes (too complicated for those of you not as close to the heart of things as I to comprehend) are competing and the beats aren’t beating and the circuits are heating.  Blood pressure is elevating, Judy is deflating. Ah I wax poetic.

JudyJudith was told by the doctor to take it easy so I, ONCE AGAIN, am helping her out by writing all of you.  I’ll see to it that she’ll be just just fine.  Never as good as new, of course because she’s not new.  So what’s new . . . ?  She wants me to assure you that all is well.

Well, back to me.  I’m doing mahhhhhhvelously well.  And  I want to remind you that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women.  So please take heart, take care and review the symptoms of heart attack.  We pacemakers prefer being in the bodies of  humans who are alive.

Ta, Ta,

with much love,

Miss Tallulah Pacehead

Should you want to refresh yourself on my activities –  how Pacemakers are implanted etc here are past posts: Cranky Tallulah, Open Letter from Tallulah,  Pacemaker Activity Hospital Guidelines,  Pacemaker Implant Instructions)

http://www.goredforwomen.org

http://myheartsisters.org/

“Gumping” Through 2011

Forrest: “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama.

For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going”.

At the end of every year I find myself at another ocean, re-viewing my own “run” . . .

2011 has been an eventful year — Tallulah was falsely blamed for my light-headedness, chest pain.  That went on for about 3 months.  I was visited by “mysterious visitors” that kept me up all night coughing.  That went on for about 6 months. (recurs periodically but still don’t know why).  Couldn’t run without pain for about 6 months. (Finally gave in and had a cortisone shot).

I worked 7 days a week.  Every week I figured since I already had worked 5 I might as well work two more.

Consequently I got fibro fogged and messed up my appointments – double booking or forgetting to write down the right time or writing the right time on the wrong day …

Those are the things that went wrong.  What went right?  I’m sure there was a lot – I just don’t remember where I wrote them down.

Not quite sure what I’m suppose to learn from 2011 . . . yet.  With years of hindsight I figured out that having fibromyalgia gives me greater compassion; Having  heart problems reminds me to wake up everyday with a  loving heart;  My study of Baha’i removed my fears and gave me faith and  a bit of wisdom.

I can hear my friends saying it was time to apply the compassion, love and wisdom to myself and stop running.

Hey, Forrest, pass me the box of chocolates . . .

P.S.  In case you didn’t notice, I have been lying on the beach without a computer for the last several days!


Take the Heart Risk Factor Test

I  Keep trying to change to a healthier lifestyle, better nutrition, consistent exercise, reduced stress.  TRYING is the operant word.  I succeed for bits and burst and then fall back into old unhealthy patterns.

Despite the fact I’ve been back and forth to cardiologists and my internist over 8 times in the last 3 weeks I continue NOT losing the 20 -30 pounds that would help my conditions.

Now, I’m not here to diminish the debilitation and pain that comes with any chronic condition I’ve just been wondering why cancer patients I know are so much more motivated to change their life style than I am with fibro and cardiac problems.

The conclusion I’ve come to FOR MYSELF is that I’m not scared enough (the biggest motivator for me, and I suspect for many others, is fear.)

Logical, NO.  Emotional, YES:

  • Cancer is scary. Many years ago I had a suspicious tumor in my leg muscle and as SOON as I found out I scheduled surgery to get it OUT. I view cancer as an invader to be vanquished, shown I’m more powerful.  It doesn’t belong and when something doesn’t belong in my body it’s frightening.
  • My heart isn’t an invader, it belongs.  It might be defective but I don’t want to vanquish it.  How do I treat something that gives me life?  I nurture it, console it and Feed it.
  • Fibro resides in a mysterious place called my central nervous system.  Not even the medical establishment really knows what is happening.  There’s nothing to vanquish.  It’s invisible.  Fighting the symptoms seems almost futile.  I’m not SCARED of “it”.  It’s my brain.  I AM MY BRAIN.
  •  I have HOPE that something EXTERNAL – medication, a pacemaker, physical therapy, acupuncture, surgery, a miracle etc. – will provide the cure so I abdicate my responsibility to take charge of my own life and health.
  • I WANT someone, something else to take care of me, heal me, comfort me, cure me . . . The idea that I am responsible is at best overwhelming and at worst tiring and maddening.

However, while I wait, want and hope I am more and more at risk and more and more debilitated.

What prompted my thoughts is an excellent post on Carolyn Thomas’ Heart Sisters Blog. You can see the entire article at:

Lung tumor, Photograph by Moredun Animal Health Ltd/Science Photo Library

Here’s an excerpt: “Is there any group of doctors who have succeeded in getting their patients to stop whatever they’re doing, and to suddenly focus every ounce of energy on regaining their health?”

Yes, he (Dr. Fogoros) answers: it’s the oncologists.

Patients who are told they have cancer, he explains, often put everything in life on hold and steel themselves to do whatever is necessary (whether surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, often painful, and often lasting for months or years) to attempt a cure.

This is the same attitude that people ought to adopt when told they are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, he warns:

“After all, being told you are at high risk for a cardiac event is not all that much different than being told you have cancer. Heart disease is no less fatal, and the outcome no less dependent on your attitude and your active participation in doing what’s necessary.”

Dr. Fogoros believes that the high-risk patients who are most successful are the ones who adopt a “change it all now” attitude – the ones who accept that a complete change in lifestyle is needed. They’ll stop smoking, adopt an exercise program, and change their diet all at once. And they do it by making risk factor modification the central organizing theme of their lives.

Here is a quiz on cardiac risk factors tailored especially for women.
True or False?

For each “true” statement, give yourself the number of points indicated.

  1. My parents or siblings have had a premature (before age 55 for men, or age 65 for women) heart attack, stroke, bypass surgery or angioplasty. (2 points)
  2. I am age 55 or older, or post-menopausal. (1 point)
  3. I am a smoker. (2 points)
  4. I do not routinely exercise for at least 30 minutes, 4 times per week. (1 point)
  5. My blood pressure is over 120/80. (1 point) I have diabetes or take medication for my blood sugar (2 points)
  6. My HDL cholesterol is less than 50 mg/dl, or my total cholesterol is greater than 240 mg/dl, or I don’t know my cholesterol levels (1 point)
  7. I am 20 pounds or more overweight (1 point)
  8. I am taking birth control pills (nonsmokers add 1 point, smokers add 2 points)
  9. My blood CRP (C-Reactive Protein) level is elevated (1 point)
  10. I have metabolic syndrome. (2 points) (Metabolic syndrome is any three of the following: high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, hypertension, and central obesity (“fat belly.”)

Results

Add up your points. If your score is 5 or higher, your risk of developing heart disease is high. If your score is 2 – 4, your risk is moderate. If your score is 0 – 1, your risk is low.

If your risk is high, you need see a doctor soon for a cardiac evaluation, and for help with aggressive risk modification. If your risk is moderate, you should see a doctor for a complete risk assessment and for guidance in risk modification. Even if your risk is low, you need to deal with any modifiable risk factors you have (those mentioned in statements 3 – 11.)

Mosca L, Banka CL, Benjamin EJ, et al. Evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention in women: 2007 update. Circulation. 2007 Mar 20;115(11):1481-501. Epub 2007 Feb 19.


Are you satisfied with job, family, love, leisure, standard of living, sex, and self?

Having heart problems and the fact that more women & men die from heart disease than cancer, articles about heart health get my attention.  This posting from RealAge.com made me stop and think.

Here it is with some editing for length:

 “New British research has found that the more satisfied you are with your life, the lower your danger of coronary heart disease.”

Happy Life, Happy Heart
“While it’s long been known that negative emotions such as depression and anxiety put you at risk for heart disease, there’s been surprisingly little research on whether positive emotions prevent coronary trouble. To find out, scientists asked nearly 8,000 people to rate their satisfaction in seven key areas of life: jobs, family, love, leisure, standard of living, sex, and self. Those who scored higher than average satisfaction in all categories had up to 13 percent less risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and angina. That’s major.”

“People who were happier in four areas — jobs, families, sex lives, and selves — also had healthier hearts. But feeling contented in just the other three areas — leisure activities, love relationships, and standard of living — didn’t have a significant impact.”

C’mon, Get Happy
“While it’s not yet clear exactly how feeling good about your life helps your heart, it’s well established that happiness is vital to your health. Studies have repeatedly found that happy people produce fewer stress-related hormones, have stronger immune systems, and live longer. Now it’s clear that one reason is their hearts.

  • Talk nice to yourself. Is your inner voice quick to snap out things like, “How could you forget that, you idiot?” Trade put-downs for encouraging words; they set you up for success.
  • Connect. Talk — really talk — to people you care about; you’ll both benefit by connecting. Get physical, too; hugs stimulate oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” spreading a feel-good boost. Lovemaking does, too, in steady relationships (those couples report the highest happiness levels).
  • Keep a gratitude journal.
  • Don’t sit around. Physical activity is a significant happiness booster. Get moving for 30 minutes a day
  • Meditate. It eases stress, improves sleep, strengthens immunity, and measurably increases happiness (in one study, by 20 points on a scale of 100).
  • Help others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, hospital, or shelter. Giving back adds more meaning which is essential to happiness in your life.
  • Go outside. Spending time with nature makes you feel alert, enthusiastic, energetic, and, simply happy.”
Am I satisfied with my life?  I’ve never thought about in those 7 categories. There’s a tendency for me, to believe that “the grass is greener on the other side”, there’s a tendency to want more, want better, longer, stronger.  
The actual survey wasn’t posted so I just thought about those 7 areas.  Satisfaction is hard to define but I think I am only satisfied in 3 areas.  Gulp!