Tag Archives: asking questions

Calculate Heart Attack Risk

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Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • being overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity

It’s essential that you measure your risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it in the near future. Use this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years. It will also check to see if you may have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that greatly increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes. This Risk Assessment can be use by people age 20 or older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.

After you have finished using the tool, you can print a copy of your risk assessment results, risk factor summary report, metabolic syndrome assessment and action plans for those areas you need to work on in order to reduce your risk.

Learn your Risk Graphic Text

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp

Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

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Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

In addition to following a healthy diet and incorporating important heart nutrients, you must also exercise to maintain the health of your heart. Exercise can help you prevent as well as reverse heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, you should include a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, three to four days a week.

Why is exercise important?
Many studies have proven conclusively that making improvements to and maintaining your physical fitness will significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease and all other illnesses. Put simply, regular exercise keeps your body in a healthy condition, and a healthy body can ward off disease much better than an unconditioned one.

Let’s take a look at the various types of exercise and why it can improve your health:

Aerobic Exercise
The word aerobic means “oxygen-producing”, and as such aerobic exercise stimulates the production of oxygen. Aerobic exercises include those where you are in motion including walking, running, biking, swimming, etc., exercises which make your heart rate increase for an extended period of time.

When your heart rate increases, this means more blood is being circulated around your body, providing necessary oxygen to your cells and tissues. Regular aerobic exercise is very important for maintaining heart health.

Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise comprises short-lived, intense bursts such as sprints and weight lifting. Whereas aerobic exercise is best for cardiovascular strength and endurance, anaerobic exercise is best for muscle strength and flexibility. This will help you maintain your health and avoid injury.

Should you do aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
Although it depends on the time you can allot to exercise each day, we recommend a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise if possible. This way you can improve your cardiovascular health as well as increase your muscle strength. Adding stretching to your routine will also warm up and loosen your muscles so you can avoid injury.

Following are the many benefits of a regular exercise routine. It’s easy to see why exercise is so important:

1. Improving cardiovascular efficiency – heart & lung functioning.

2. Improving strength and endurance.

3. Increasing energy levels and metabolism.

4. Relieving stress and tension.

5. Increasing range of motion and flexibility.

TIPS AND TRICKS

1. Before you start any exercise program, consult your physician to make sure you don’t have any heart conditions or other health problems that might prevent you from safely performing certain exercises. Your physician also might be able to recommend a program that is right for you.

2. Set aside time each week to exercise, and make sure you are consistent. Try to work out at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities (i.e. running on the treadmill and lifting weights).

3. Start slow! Don’t rush into an exercise program. Rather, take your time and ease into it, increasing your time, intensity and/or weights gradually as you go along. You will see much better results like this, rather than going overboard with it.

4. Make sure you stretch before and after exercising. It is important that you warm up before you begin any activity, and cool down once you are finished. if you do not adequately stretch your muscles before and after you exercise, you will be much more susceptible to injury or muscle tearing. We recommend 5-10 minutes of warming up before you begin, and at least another 5 minutes of cooling down post workout.

5. Keep water with you at all times, make sure you are hydrated throughout your workout.

6. Maintain a steady workout regimen. Sporadic workouts are not the way to go about it. Stick to a schedule. Also, make sure you maintain a heart healthy diet and include important heart nutrients to improve and maintain your heart health.

Fruit Lables

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Talking Fruit

How to de-code the information on those little stickers
By Marion Owen, Fearless Weeder for PlanTea, Inc. and
Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul

While unpacking groceries, you pull out the bag of apples and decide to eat one then and there. You take it over to the sink, wash it off and — with some effort — peel off the little sticker. Pausing to look more closely at the sticker you wonder, “What do those numbers mean?”

As much as we may dislike them, the stickers or labels attached to fruit do more than speed up the scanning process at the checkout stand. The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, tells you how the fruit was grown.

As reported by Maria Gallagher, in the June 26, 2002 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, by reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced withchemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.

Here’s how it works:

For conventionally grown fruit, (grown with chemicals inputs), the PLU code on the sticker consists of four numbers. Organically grown fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 9. Genetically engineered (GM) fruit has a five-numeral PLU prefaced by the number 8. For example,

A conventionally grown banana would be:
4011

An organic banana would be:
94011

A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be:
84011

The numeric system was developed by the Produce Electronic Identification Board, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, a Newark, Delaware-based trade group for the produce industry. As of October 2001, the board had assigned more than 1,200 PLUs for individual produce items.

Incidentally, the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren’t edible.

Do you REALLY know what’s in your dinner?

Today, 7 out of every 10 items on grocery stores shelves contain ingredients that have been genetically modified. In other words, scientists are using new technology to transfer the genes of one species to another, and these altered foods are in the market stream. And yet many scientists have concerns about the safety — to people, wildlife and the environment — of this process. That’s why consumers in Asia and Europe are demanding that their food be free of genetically modified ingredients.

To learn more about food safety, GM (genetically modified) foods and what’s wrong with them, and what you can do bring about changes:

Salt Substitutes

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I have had a few questions, and suggestions about Salt Substitutes. There is a few things to concider when you look into salt substitutes.  There are a range of substitute products

Salt consists of sodium chloride, and table salt often has iodine added in. Salt Substitutes are usually potassium chloride. There are also products like Morton’s Salt Lite that is a mix of sodium and potassium. When looking at the nutrition content in the 1/4 tsp serving of these products,

Salt (590mg sodium)

Diamond Crystal Salt Sense flake salt (390mg sodium)

Morton Salt Balance (440mg sodium, 200mg potassium)

Morton Lite Salt Mixture (290 mg of sodium, 350 mg potassium)

Morton Salt Substitute (0mg sodium, 610mg potassium)

Nu-Salt (0 mg sodium, 530mg potassium in 1/6tsp)

No Salt Original (0 mg, 650mg potassium)

lo-Salt (170mg sodium, 450mg potassium)

Biosalt (230mg sodium, 300mg potassium)

As you can see there is a lot of choices with a wide range of nutrition values. 

I had been wanting to do a seafood boil, since we live in Louisiana and it is crawfish season! I managed to find a no sodium liquid concentrate crab boil seasoning. This was a very happy find for me, since I previously thought boil was out of the question because the traditional Zatarain’s granulated boil seasoning has 5110mg sodium in 1/2oz. But the concentrate also calls for salt or salt substitute to be used. So, Of course, Just to be safe I asked my doctor about the use of substitutes when I saw him on Wednesday. This is the explanation I got from him regarding salt substitutes….

For some people, a salt substitute can be a good option for adding flavor to food without adding sodium. On the other hand, too much potassium can be bad too. Normally the body flushes out excess potassium through the kidneys, but people with certain medical conditions may have problems eliminating sodium which can lead to high potassium levels – a condition which can be dangerous. These include people with kidney disease, diabetes, and heart failure.

People who take certain medications are also at high risk of potassium imbalances if they use a salt substitute. These include certain blood pressure and heart medications. Even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can contribute to potassium imbalances in people using salt substitutes. For this reason, anyone who has medical problems or is using a blood pressure medication, heart medication, or anti-inflammatory should consult with their doctor before using a salt substitute.

Basically as a person with heart failure I need to avoid the potassium just as much as the salt. Think about the fact that Potassium Chloride is the lethal of the drugs used in the lethal injection used on death row. Though death by potassium is not a common thing, but it is possible. An adult can have serious medical reactions including death from as little as 10 tsp of potassium chloride. There are also cases of infants stopping breathing and even death with as little as 3/4tsp. 

I do not use or recommend salt substitutes in any of my cooking. I prefer herbs and spices for flavor. As I have said before, it only takes about 3 weeks of no salt cooking for your taste buds and cravings to change, and you will not miss(and even grow to despise)the taste of sodium. 

**This post and all posts on this blog are by no means meant to make any medical recommendation or decisions for anyone. Always consult a physician before making any major changes in you diet or exercise routine.

Sources: Nu-salt, Morton Salt, Biosalt, Losalt, Alsosalt, Potassium risk assesment UKSodium and potassium intake and risk of cardiovascular events

The Waiting Game…Again…

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Once again I am sitting around the house, waiting for my appointment for my Cardioversion. I feel like I am stuck in a Groundhog Day scenario. Wasn’t I just here? Waiting for Thursday to come?

I keep thinking about the procedure. How will I react to the Propofal? How will I feel afterwards? Will it work? If it works, will it last?

The cardiology team said that if we wait too long, there is less chance that they can convert me out of A-fib. I keep thinking back on the end of the year, before I ended up in the hospital. I was sick for months, getting progressively sicker. My A-fib was diagnosed on January 1st, but I was sick a lot longer, so there is no real telling exactly how long I have been in A-fib. What if it has already been too long? What if this doesn’t work? What is next if this doesn’t work?

I have found myself just staring at my laptop, not really doing anything productive, just stuck in a zone. I can’t seem to focus on anything.  I can’t seem to find anything to successfully distract me and pass the time.

So many questions, that have no answers, but to just wait and see what haqppens….please God let Thursday come and be a success.

Adventure Trying to Eat Out

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Had a busy day, out and about yesterday. Got lots of laundry done, Mrs. Geneva showed me where the Habitat for Humanity thrift store was, as well as the library. While we were in Covington we stopped at Piccadilly for lunch. The thought was that since this was a place that had a cafeteria style, you pick and choose the pieces of the meal you want, it should good choices of food for me to eat there.  Think again. Upon arriving the food smelled great, and the variety was wonderful. I went straight to the vegetable section to see what they had to offer, a lovely colorful array for choices, red potatoes, broccoli, corn, carrots, Lima beans, green beans.

I immediately notices that all the vegetable choices were all rather juicy looking pans. Now of course this could be from sauces, or just water and natural condensation from a steaming process, so I had to ask how they were prepared. Turns out most of the vegetables were cooked in a bacon base, and the others were cooked in a butter base. None of them were just steamed without any sauces or butters. So I explained to the woman that I am on a very low salt diet and need just plain vegetables with out any seasoning or sauces. She proceeded to shake her head and just plainly say “Well you best just go down to the salad then”. No offer to see if they could possibly steam me some thing, not a shred of interest in accommodating my needs, just a direction away from her section. 

So I proceeded down to the salads at the end. Now mind you, this is not a salad bar, this is a bin of lettuce and a bin of tomato and they put up a line of  little side dish bowls with a touch of lettuce 2 slices of tomato and then sprinkle with shredded cheese and bacon bits. Well again I can not just grab and go with cheese and bacon. So I ask this lady if it would be ok to get a little plate with 2 servings of just the lettuce and tomato, no cheese or bacon. She was nice and did this for me without hassle. I also noticed some little fresh fruit bowls, made sure they weren’t canned fruit in a syrup, and added them to my tray. They had no low sodium options for dressing, and you would have thought I was speaking Japanese when I asked if they just had plain vinegar, so i grabbed a couple lemon wedges from by the tea and called it a meal.  I grabbed a root beer at the end of the line, since it was the only non-caffeinated choice other than water. This little lunch cost me $7.50.

Lucky for me, I had a container Planters Nut-rition mixed nuts and some Trader Joe’s Plantain Chips in the car. So I topped my lettuce with a handful of those and my squeezed lemon and it made a tasty salad in the end. 

Now I don’t want this to discourage anyone into thinking that you can’t eat out and enjoy a meal with friends. You can! I had food that was needed to fuel my body for the rest of the afternoon, we had great conversation, we even ran into another member of our kingdom hall and had a nice talk with him as well. All in all it was a nice lunch. 

The lesson in all of this experience is the importance of asking questions, and not being afraid to find out how things are prepared.  I like to think of it in the same way as someone who has allergies, you would not take a chance that something was prepared with an ingredient that could send you into an allergic shock would you? In addition, just as someone with allergies would carry an Epipen, or a diabetic may have to take their Insulin with them when they go out, I like to make sure I have no salt snacks in my purse or car. This way I am never stuck without options of things to eat. To me it is no different, this is a part of my medical process, my food is a key ingredient in my recovery and is as valuable as any of my prescriptions.