If you worry that you or someone you love will get heart disease or even have a heart attack, it’s understandable. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. However, research shows you can lower your risk, particularly if you team up with family, friends or co-workers. Consider these five tips that can help lower your risk of heart disease.
5 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
(Family Features) If you worry that you or someone you love will get heart disease or even have a heart attack, it’s understandable.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).
Research shows you can lower your risk, particularly if you team up with family, friends or co-workers. This kind of social support may be the key to your success.
To mark American Heart Month, NHLBI, one of the National Institutes of Health, is inviting people across the country to team up and join #OurHearts, a national heart health initiative that encourages people to improve heart health together.
“Studies show that having positive, close relationships and feeling connected to others benefits overall health, blood pressure, weight and more,” said NHLBI’s Dr. David Goff, director of cardiovascular sciences.
Consider these five tips that can help lower your risk of heart disease:
Risk: An unhealthy diet
Risk: Smoking, even occasionally
Risk: Inadequate or poor-quality sleep
Risk: Uncontrolled stress
Learn about heart health and heart healthy activities in your community at nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts. Use #OurHearts on social media to share how you and your friends, colleagues or family members are being heart healthy together.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one. Consider following these tips to achieve ideal health.
Don't Let Stroke Strike Twice
(Family Features) Not all strokes can be prevented, but making healthy lifestyle choices, like exercising, eating right, maintaining a healthy weight and treating conditions such as high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure can help reduce your risk of another one.
While there are about 7.2 million stroke survivors in the United States, people who have had a stroke are at high risk of having another one. In fact, about one in every four stroke survivors will have a second one.
Efforts like Together to End Stroke, an American Stroke Association initiative, nationally sponsored by Bayer Aspirin, work to educate stroke survivors and caregivers about how they can avoid a second occurrence.
Because the consequences of a second stroke can be more detrimental than the first, it’s important to recognize the signs, which come on suddenly, and act quickly. An easy way to remember the most common warning signs is the acronym F.A.S.T., (F – face drooping, A – arm weakness, S – speech difficulty, T – time to call 911).
Talk to your doctor about medications that may help you with your stroke prevention efforts. For example, taking aspirin regularly or other blood clot prevention medications can help reduce the risk of another ischemic stroke.
Consider following the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s “Life's Simple 7” to achieve ideal health:
Don't smoke. Smoking puts you at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Quitting is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and add years to your life. You’re more likely to quit for good if you prepare for your last cigarette and the cravings, urges and feelings that come with quitting.
Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating starts with simple, healthy food choices. You don’t need to stop eating your favorite meals, just use substitutions to make them healthier. Learn what to look for at the grocery store, restaurants, your workplace and other eating occasions so you can confidently make healthy, delicious choices whenever and wherever you eat.
Maintain a healthy weight. The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight go beyond improved energy and smaller clothing sizes. By losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight, you can also reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. There’s no trick to losing weight and keeping it off, but the majority of successful people modify their eating habits and increase physical activity.
Control cholesterol. Having large amounts of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, in the blood can cause build up and blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Reducing your fat intake, especially trans fats, often found in fried foods and baked goods, can help reduce your cholesterol. Adding more foods with omega-3 fatty acids like fish and nuts, as well as soluble fiber and whey protein, helps in managing cholesterol.
Manage blood pressure. Nothing causes more strokes than uncontrolled high blood pressure. Of the 116.4 million people in the United States who have high blood pressure, fewer than half have it under control, putting them at increased risk of stroke. Lowering your blood pressure by 20 points could cut your risk of dying from stroke by half.
Control blood sugar. By managing your diabetes and working with your health care team, you may reduce your risk of stroke. Every two minutes, an adult with diabetes in the United States is hospitalized for stroke. At age 60, someone with type 2 diabetes and a history of stroke may have a life expectancy that is 12 years shorter than someone without both conditions.
For more information on how to prevent stroke, and a complete list of warning signs, visit strokeassociation.org/americanstrokemonth.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Stroke Association
Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and it remains the second-leading cause of death for Americans, but nearly half of all cancer cases can be prevented. Research shows that diet, exercise and weight play a critical role in cancer prevention. To live a cancer-preventive lifestyle, consider taking these 10 steps.
10 Steps to Help Prevent Cancer
(Family Features) Nearly 4 out of 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and it remains the second-leading cause of death for Americans, but nearly half of all cancer cases can be prevented.
Research from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) shows that diet, exercise and weight play a critical role in cancer prevention.
“Making changes in what you eat, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight have strong and clear links to your risk for cancer,” said Alice Bender, MS, RDN and director of nutrition programs at AICR. “We know from decades of research and a thorough review of the science that there are simple things we can all do to reduce our risk.”
To live a cancer-preventive lifestyle, consider taking these 10 steps recommended by the scientific experts at AICR:
Refraining from smoking, avoiding other exposure to tobacco and limiting sun exposure are also important in reducing cancer risk.
Because it can be hard to make lifestyle changes, AICR aims to help people adopt healthier behaviors through efforts like the Cancer Health Check, a tool that shows people how their lifestyle stacks up against known cancer risks and recommends changes that can improve health.
For recipes, tips and other resources, visit aicr.org.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
American Institute for Cancer Research
(BPT) - Most patients undergoing knee surgery want to know when they’ll be able to return to a pain-free, active lifestyle and do the things they once enjoyed before knee pain took over. For 58-year-old Kathleen Cohan, this meant a desire to return to mountain biking, hiking and skiing — activities she had always loved to do as a youth and continued to enjoy with her husband in their hometown of Golden, Colorado.
Cohan recently participated in a clinical trial to treat persistent knee pain caused by a meniscus tear. After receiving the NUsurface Meniscus Implant — the first “artificial meniscus” — she completed a six-week rehabilitation program and was ready to return to doing the things she loved.
“The NUsurface Meniscus Implant changed my life. It feels great to not have to worry before I choose an activity about how much pain I’ll be in afterward,” Cohan says. “My husband and I recently went on a 100-mile mountain bike trip, and I climbed a 14,000-foot peak last month and my knee didn’t bother me at all. The implant gave me a chance to extend my activity level as long as I possibly can.”
Three months after surgery, most patients have completely recovered and are able to return to many activities that were too painful or difficult previously. Once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, the safest way to restart activity after meniscus surgery is to find activities that avoid placing unnecessary stress on your knee joint. Here are three activities to help you move safely after knee surgery:
1. Walk (don’t run!). Experts say walking outside your home three to five times each day is one of the best ways to regain your knee strength. While you may need to adjust the length of your step and speed, you will be able to spend more time walking for exercise once your muscle strength improves.
2. Dance. While you should avoid high-impact moves like jumping or lifts, ballroom dancing and gentle modern dancing are great ways to use leg muscles, engage in aerobic activity and have fun! Just be sure to avoid abrupt movements or twists that could potentially put your knee out of alignment.
3. Swim. Once the wound has healed, many people choose swimming as their exercise of choice as it’s not a weight-bearing activity and therefore reduces stress to the joints. If your knee is still a bit tender, opt for water aerobics or pool walking.
Want to mix it up? You can feel safe doing many other recommended activities such as yoga, golf, boating, aerobics or rowing. If you have experience prior to your surgery doing more intense activities, like Cohan, your doctor may give you the go-ahead to resume cycling, hiking, cross-country skiing and doubles tennis. Whichever activity you choose, remember that rushing into activities before you’ve recovered sufficiently may put you at risk for complications, so be sure to check with your doctor first before resuming any activity after meniscus surgery.
To be eligible for the NUsurface Meniscus Implant clinical studies, you must be between the ages of 30 and 75, and have pain after medial (the inside of the knee) meniscus surgery at least six months ago. To find a study site near you, visit www.activeimplants.com/kneepaintrial.
Enjoying the summer is about balance and planning. These tips will help your family stay happy, healthy and ready to tackle anything the summer months throw your way.
(BPT) - The sunny days of summer are here and school may be out, but your family is still as active and busy as ever. It's easy to get caught up in a hectic schedule of activities, but don't let the summer hustle keep you from a healthy lifestyle. Enjoying the summer is about balance and planning. These tips will help your family stay happy, healthy and ready to tackle anything the summer months throw your way.
1. Fuel up with breakfast
Set the tone for the rest of your day with a good-for-you breakfast. A complete breakfast gives you and your family the energy needed to take on the busy summer schedule. There are plenty of easy breakfast recipes that let you eat while you're running out the door. Try peanut butter or avocado on toast, hard boiled eggs or a fruit smoothie for a quick, satisfying meal.
2. Set a summer schedule
Create a master calendar to hang up in your kitchen. This should include everyone's daily activities for the summer so nothing is forgotten. Take a look at the calendar at the beginning of each week to get a sense of what's to come.
3. Remain active
Encourage your kids to get outside by planning a weekly outdoor activity as a family. From hiking, biking, a game of tag, skating and swimming, find something your family loves doing together. You can also get some extra steps in by taking an after-dinner walk around the block each night.
4. Snack healthy
Kids love to snack, especially when they're home for the summer. Stock up on easy go-to snacks like Snack Factory(R) Pretzel Crisps(R), fresh fruit, and granola bars so you'll be ready when their stomachs start to growl. Pretzel Crisps dipped in peanut butter or hummus create a filling, wholesome snack. They're packed in resealable bags, making Pretzel Crisps the perfect portable snack for the car rides between swim practice, summer camp and everything in between.
5. Stay hydrated
Instead of that third cup of coffee, you might want to be more conscious of your water intake. You and your family will need to stay hydrated in the summer heat, so always be sure everyone has a bottle of water with them. If there's a bottle within arm's reach, you're more likely to sip using little conscious effort.
6. Make a point to unplug
While it's important to let your kids stay connected to friends and peers during the summer, you should also be aware of your family's technology use. For example, you could make a pact to put away devices at dinner time and two hours before bedtime. Find an approach to regulating technology that works for you.
7. Stick with stellar sleeping habits
Your kids will likely want to stay up later in the summer, but make sure they're still getting adequate sleep. Work as a team to make sleep a family priority.
(BPT) - We're sitting too much and it's dangerous. The average American spends more than seven hours sitting every day, and the more time you sit, the higher your risk of serious, potentially life-threatening health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So, what can you do about it?
Fortunately, there are simple changes you can make during the day - anywhere, even at the work place - to improve your wellness and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. As part of the American Diabetes Association's(R) Wellness Lives Here(SM) initiative, the Association encourages everyone to get active for National Get Fit Don't Sit Day(SM) with these 10 tips for the workplace and beyond.
Park a few blocks away from the office each morning and walk to work.
This allows you to start off your mornings energized and ready to take on the workday. If you take public transportation, get off one stop earlier to squeeze in some light exercise before 8 a.m.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Waiting for the elevator often takes just as long as walking up the stairs, so why not use this opportunity to get your heart rate up? Plus, you'll get the chance to work your leg muscles.
Get up and move around the office once every 90 minutes.
When you're nose-deep in work, it's easy to lose track of time. Set up reminders on your phone or email every 60-90 minutes to get up and do a quick lap around the office. You can use this time to fill up your water bottle, go to the bathroom or catch up with coworkers.
Ask questions and discuss issues face-to-face.
Rather than sending an email every time you have a question, go to your coworker's office to discuss the issue face-to-face. This gives you a good excuse to get moving and a chance to more effectively hash out solutions in person.
Use your lunch break to move around outside.
So many Americans today work through their lunch break. When possible, take advantage of this time to walk outside and soak in the nice weather. Fresh air and vitamin D are often all you need to stay focused and push through the afternoon slump.
Stand up and stretch.
If you don't have time to walk around the office every 90 minutes, use the opportunity to stand up and stretch instead. Stretching is a great way to increase energy levels, reduce muscle tension and get your body moving.
Pace around the office during conference calls.
Conference calls are the perfect time to be active. Put clients and coworkers on speaker, or use your mobile phone during meetings to move around without any trouble.
Do chair exercises at your desk.
You've been wanting to tone your arms for the summer - why not achieve your goals at the office? When you need a break, do a few reps of chair sits. You can even alternate between chair exercises and push ups!
Hold standing or walking meetings.
Many coworkers will welcome the opportunity to stand and stretch their legs for a moment. If you have a two-person meeting, consider going for a walk.
Fidget when you work.
Small movements and quick exercise breaks add up, especially in a sedentary work place, so challenge yourself to stand, stretch or even tap a foot to bring motion into otherwise still parts of your day. Just remember to keep it professional!
Making a point to move throughout the day puts you on the right track toward wellness. For more ideas on how to increase physical activity and maintain a healthy lifestyle, download the Association's e-tool kit today to incorporate the principles and activities of National Get Fit Don't Sit Day into the workday and beyond.
The brain is the body’s most complex organ. It’s also the most important one. As it turns out, the things that you do to keep your body and heart healthy may also be good for your brain. Incorporate these eight healthy habits and activities into your daily life to help you optimize brain health and stay sharp in the years ahead.
8 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Sharp
(Family Features) The brain is the body’s most complex organ. It’s also the most important one. That’s why keeping it healthy is critical, especially as you age. Every day, scientists are discovering how closely our minds and bodies are connected. As it turns out, the things that you do to keep your body and heart healthy may also be good for your brain.
Incorporate these eight healthy habits and activities into your daily life to help you optimize brain health and stay sharp in the years ahead.
Eat to Thrive
Know Your Blood Pressure
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Discover a New Talent
Talk to Your Doctor
For more tips on keeping your brain healthy and thriving, visit BrainHealth.gov.
(BPT) - If you spend a large portion of your day sitting, you're not alone.
Inactivity is one of the key factors contributing to the nation's high rate of obesity and its related health effects. Research shows 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours a day sitting, and 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV.
This type of inactivity - or 'sitting disease' - can lead to serious health conditions. For example, nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are among the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. is $147 billion. Annual medical spending on an obese patient is estimated to be $1,429 higher than it is for a person of normal weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While those figures are discouraging, there is one easy solution that could have a profound impact.
Walking is one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective ways individuals can improve their health. It does not require any special skills, expensive equipment or a gym membership.
Below are six easy ways to incorporate more walking into your day:
1. Take a walk with a coworker at lunchtime or schedule a walking meeting.
2. Schedule a walk with the family after dinner.
3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
4. Walk to see a colleague rather than call or e-mail.
5. Get off the bus or train one stop early on your way to work.
6. Start or join a walking or hiking group.
By getting just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week, you could realize significant health benefits. Walking has been shown to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, improve muscle, bone and joint health, maintain a healthy weight, lead to better sleep and provide a mental boost.
That's why the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association encourages individuals, groups and whole communities to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle through its WalkingWorksÂ® program. WalkingWorks, now in its 10th year, was developed in partnership with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to help Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country also host annual National Walk@Lunch day events as a way to promote healthy habits by incorporating walking into a busy work day.
So don't just sit there and let that warm weather go to waste. Take steps to a better you, and see how walking does work!
*Before beginning any weight loss or nutritional program or new exercise regime, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.
For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA.
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