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).
(BPT) - Many women trying to conceive are confused about their period, the 28-day cycle and when they’re most likely to get pregnant.
When a couple is planning to have a baby, understanding the 28-day cycle can mean the difference between success and disappointment, says Gloria Richard-Davis, MD, Ob/Gyn, fertility specialist and author of Planning Parenthood.
Timing is a critical factor when you're trying to get pregnant. As more and more women are waiting to conceive until later in life, we have seen an uptick in fertility tracking technologies — from apps to wearables that help women pinpoint their most fertile days. However, it's important to supplement an app or fertility monitor with simple ovulation tests to accurately identify your fertile days.
Each month, the body prepares for ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovaries. The cycle begins on the first day of menstruation and serves as a detox to dispose of old uterine lining and make way for the next cycle. Day one, the first day of menstrual bleeding or spotting, represents a new opportunity to conceive. Days eleven-sixteen are the optimal time to kick-start baby-making efforts, as ovulation is nearing.
A simple at-home ovulation predictor kit like First Response Ovulation Test Kit will identify your two most fertile days by pinpointing a surge in the luteinizing hormone (LH) that triggers ovulation. Women can maximize their chances by having sex within 24-36 hours after detecting this luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. If a sperm successfully fertilizes the egg, conception occurs.
The lining of the uterus thickens between day seventeen and twenty-four, and if the egg and sperm have successfully met, the fertilized egg will soon implant or attach to the uterine lining (endometrium). The end of the cycle is near, and PMS symptoms may present themselves if pregnancy has not occurred, as progesterone peaks around day twenty-one or twenty-two.
If you think you might be pregnant, but haven't missed your period yet, try the First Response Triple Check Pregnancy Test Kit. It includes one Early Result Pregnancy Test that can let you know six days before your missed period, a Digital Pregnancy Test for women who like to see a yes/no answer, and a Rapid Result Pregnancy Test to take on the day of your missed period or anytime after.
Other important considerations to keep in mind when trying to conceive include:
* Keeping a healthy, well-balanced diet and practicing stress relief.
* Prenatal vitamins with sufficient folic acid like prescription OB Complete are critical even before trying to conceive to ensure a healthy pregnancy journey for both mom and baby.
* Vaginal dryness is twice as common in women who are trying to conceive due to the stress of ‘sex on demand.’ Traditional lubricants can harm sperm motility, which is why using a fertility-friendly lubricant like Pre-Seed is crucial, as it encourages sperm to swim freely and meet an egg.
Don’t guess at your fertile window when it’s so easy to identify the best time to conceive. Every woman is born with millions of immature eggs, but the quantity and quality of remaining eggs, known as the ovarian reserve, decreases. If you’re not able to get pregnant, your ovarian reserve may be low. Tracking ovulation can be challenging as well, especially if your menstrual cycle is irregular. Remember to note your cycle and its symptoms so you can discuss concerns with your medical provider and schedule a preconception checkup.
Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but sleep problems – such as sleep apnea, which is a serious breathing disorder that causes you to snore loudly and stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night – can hinder sleep quality and lead to other severe health complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, erectile dysfunction, acid reflux, diabetes and stroke. If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea and could be at risk for these health complications, see a doctor to discuss your sleep problems and treatment options.
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