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
Could you have a heart attack? Reduce your odds through these tips.
(BPT) - Many Americans consider themselves well-informed and attentive when it comes to their health.
That’s why it's so puzzling that many remain unfazed by the threat of heart disease.
That was among the findings of the MDVIP Heart Attack IQ Survey, a national study showing Americans are more concerned about cancer than a heart attack — even though cardiovascular disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, heart disease is the underlying cause of one in three U.S. deaths. Many Americans don’t take it seriously because they believe most heart problems can be treated with medication or surgery, while others simply procrastinate when it comes to adopting healthier behaviors that help prevent heart disease.
As a result, many are surprised when faced with a life-threatening heart attack, which can happen to anyone at any age. While the average age for a first attack is 66 for men and 70 for women, the risk increases significantly as soon as men reach 45 and women reach 55.
“Despite the statistics, people assume a heart attack is going to happen to somebody else, but not to them,” said MDVIP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrea Klemes. “Heart disease can be dangerously silent, which is why it’s important to know your risk factors and the steps you can take to minimize them.”
Gloom and doom aside, awareness of the issue is the first step, and there is much you can do to prevent heart disease. Some 80 percent of heart attacks and strokes are preventable.
Consider these suggestions for reducing your risk of heart attack:
* Partner with your primary. Your primary care doctor is your first line of defense in helping prevent heart disease. Make sure you partner with a physician who has the time to identify and discuss your risk in detail, who will work on a plan to control your risk factors and who can provide ongoing support to keep you motivated and accountable. Physicians like those in the MDVIP network maintain smaller practices so that they can devote more time to each patient and provide the coaching needed to keep them on track.
* Stay up to date on screenings. When’s the last time you had your blood pressure and cholesterol checked? But don’t stop at the basics. Most heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. You also want to get a read on whether you have inflammation in your arteries or insulin resistance, both of which raise your heart disease risk. You can only act on what you know, and knowing your numbers is key to early detection.
* Make heart-healthy changes. Creating and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar in check and lower your risk for heart disease. So don’t skip your exercise, weight management or smoking cessation programs. Just make sure you consult with your doctor before changing your diet or beginning a new exercise program.
* Sleep more, stress less. While often overlooked, insufficient sleep and excessive stress can put strain on your heart over time. Both can also influence your eating habits, mood and overall health. Most adults need seven to nine hours per night; if you’re getting that and still feel tired, consider asking your doctor for a sleep apnea test. Also, try starting a regular practice — whether it’s a yoga class, deep breathing or a daily walk outside — to better manage stress.
Take the Heart Attack IQ quiz and learn more about finding a preventive physician by visiting www.mdvip.com/HeartAttackIQ.
The HealthiHer movement aims to give women the tools they need to make such changes at home, at work or in their communities. If you’re among those struggling to take good care of yourself because of other obligations, consider how these suggestions might help.
(BPT) - If you’re an American woman today, chances are your busy lifestyle is preventing you from seeking out the regular check-ups and screenings so important to maintaining your health. And that’s true regardless of your economic status or whether you live in a rural, urban or suburban area.
So reports a recent HealthiHer survey showing that only 66 percent of U.S. women ages 30 to 60 feel “somewhat in control” of their own health, although 83 percent are happily managing the health of their families. The study, co-sponsored by Redbook magazine, HealthyWomen and GCI Health, found that a full 77 percent of women in that age group say that their job schedules prevent them from attending regular check-ups.
"Women today wear many hats — they’re wives, mothers, caregivers, employees, business leaders and breadwinners, often at the same time," says Wendy Lund, CEO of leading communications agency, GCI Health. "Even when it feels like there are not enough hours in the day, we somehow manage to integrate everything in our lives to ‘make it work’ and accomplish insurmountable tasks. And this constant juggling can come at the cost of our own health."
The good news? The survey also reveals that 79 percent of respondents see positive change as achievable. The HealthiHer movement aims to give women the tools they need to make such changes at home, at work or in their communities. If you’re among those struggling to take good care of yourself because of other obligations, consider how these suggestions might help.
* Truth: You can’t help others without caring for yourself. Why do emergency airline instructions tell you to attach your own oxygen mask first? Because you could otherwise pass out before helping others. That same principle applies to your general health; you must maintain your own energy and well-being so you can stay around to be an effective mom, wife, daughter, sister and/or friend.
* Take stress seriously. While not all stress is bad, long-term unrelieved stress can have major adverse effects on your health, reducing the effectiveness of your immune, digestive, sleep and reproductive systems. Recognize the risks, plan methods for fighting stress and carve out time for exercise, sleep, meditation, yoga and/or other remedies.
* Try online resources. An annual in-person physical is always recommended, but health issues in between check-ups can often be taken care of through online sites that diagnose issues through questionnaires or video chats — then prescribe medicine or other therapies without need of an office visit.
* Make exercise a no-brainer. As the saying goes, sitting is the new smoking. If you don’t make daily movement of some sort a priority in your life (doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of brisk exercise per week) you’re putting your physical and emotional health at substantial risk. Among other benefits, exercise can help prevent diabetes and heart disease while reducing stress, back pain, arthritis, asthma and other common ailments.
* Set health care appointments well ahead. To secure the slots that work best with your schedule, call or go online way ahead of time so you have a wider range of options. Some clinics now offer evening or weekend hours to help those with demanding daytime jobs or roles. Planning ahead, and writing each appointment in ink on your family calendar, helps ensure you’ll make your own care a priority even if your schedule ramps up.
"It isn't selfish to put ourselves first, but in all honesty, we know that will never happen, our kids will always come first," says HealthyWomen CEO Beth Battaglino. "However, can we shoot for second? This is an investment in both our health and the health of our families. Women who don't take care of themselves are not going to be around or it will affect their ability to care for their loved ones, and this survey revealed that those who don't make time to get their health screenings, like mammograms, pap tests, eye exams, blood pressure, etc., actually had more health concerns."
More women’s health tips related to the HealthiHer Movement can be found at HealthyWomen.org or Facebook. Participate in the movement by posting a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram depicting you taking charge of your health (Use the hashtag #BeHealthiHer).
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.
Keep on cruising with a regular maintenance schedule for your joints
(BPT) - Whether it's a brand-new Bentley or a classic 1970 Mustang, most people have a car they dream about. If they're lucky enough to own it someday, you better believe they're going to take care of it. Regular maintenance is an essential part of keeping a vehicle in tip-top shape. The same is true of the human body, particularly the joints.
"Prevention is the only thing that actually prolongs the health of your joints, similar to the care of a machine," says Matt Johnson, health and performance expert and president of On Target Living. "If you want something to last as long as possible, and to cost as little as possible over the long run, you have to do maintenance, checkups, and change the oil. Taking care of your body is no different. If you do, your joints can last until you're 80, 90, or even 100 without tendon or ligament issues."
Johnson notes that joint issues are some of the most common concerns he sees in his practice. These issues can happen at any age, although many start to manifest between the ages of 40 and 50, after years of wear and tear cause pain and inflammation.
Johnson's mantra: If you take care of the body it will take care of you. To help people of any age maintain joint health, he provides this four-point joint maintenance plan.
The first part of healing the joints is to rest the joints. Massage, meditation, light yoga, stretching, and cool baths are great ways to rest the joints. Additionally, quality sleep each night is essential. (Quick tip: Take an epsom salt bath once a week.)
2. Healing Nutrients
Studies show that omega-3 fats can help support joint health by limiting inflammation after exercise and boosting hormones that help the body heal. Take a daily, high-quality omega-3 supplement like Nordic Naturals that has been third-party tested for purity, and is known for its great, non-fishy taste.
Superfood herbs and spices help the body get maximum nutrients in minimal amounts. For example, curcumin and bromelain are both great for helping joint pain and repair. Remember, limited processing of the product is ideal for optimal absorption.
4. Exercise and body alignment
You can't have optimal joint function if the body is out of alignment. There are five key joint checkpoints: ankle, knee, hip, shoulder and neck. This is where you start to achieve perfect posture, after which you can focus on strengthening the large muscles.
"The best age is always now," says Johnson. "Start as soon as possible and think about it like you take care of a car or nice jewelry. Joints are meant to last as long as you live. The key is to take care of them with quality nutrition, normal exercise, and adequate rest."
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.
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