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
The following are 5 creative approaches to combat menopausal symptoms, from Dr. Mache Seibel, author of The Estrogen Fix.
(BPT) - The use of hormone therapy (HT) can minimize risks and maximize menopausal relief for common symptoms like hot flashes, dryness, mood swings, fractured sleep, brain fog, irritability and weight gain, according to Dr. Mache Seibel, author of The Estrogen Fix: The Breakthrough Guide to Being Healthy, Energized, and Hormonally Balanced. When taken at the right time, estrogen therapy can lead to substantial improvements in health and quality of life and lower the risk of breast cancer, heart disease and dementia. Women should be aware of one caveat: Beginning estrogen after a woman’s estrogen window closes at age 65 may increase their risk for breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and osteoporosis.
Heeding advice about how and when to stop taking HT is important and revealed in new studies featured in Seibel’s book. The book reaffirms the safety of vaginal estrogen, as well as its effectiveness in controlling weight; it outlines newly available estrogens and progesterones and offers the latest hormone-free FDA solutions for women with vaginal dryness.
The following are 5 creative approaches to combat menopausal symptoms:
1. Hot flashes: Women experiencing hot flashes and night sweats can find relief using an FDA-approved estrogen hormone therapy called Divigel, a gel that is applied to the upper thigh daily. It contains the plant-based estrogen hormone estradiol, the same hormone made naturally by a woman’s ovaries before menopause and delivers estrogen identical to that naturally produced in the body.
2. Irritability/sleeplessness: Lack of sleep can contribute to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. A natural supplement with melatonin like Vitafusion Beauty Sleep promotes a good night's sleep without prescription medication. Sex and/or self-pleasure are natural ways to decrease stress and can help with the onset and quality of sleep as well.
3. Painful sex: Internal vaginal dryness can be relieved for three days with hormone-free Replens Vaginal Moisturizer. Alternatively, prescription remedies like vaginal estrogen or DHEA can be used.
4. Weight gain? Eat to defeat menopause: Food is the fuel for every cell in your body, so avoid packaged and processed foods and limit sugary drinks and desserts to ensure you’re optimizing energy. Stick to unprocessed whole foods as there are no hidden ingredients or calories. Your body will also appreciate fresh and/or organic produce and hormone-free meat or grass-fed beef as often as possible.
5. Hair lacking luster, less-than-glowing skin and brittle nails: Loss of estrogen leaves many women dealing with thinning hair, increased dry skin and brittle or breaking nails. Introducing biotin into your diet with a raspberry-flavored gummy like Vitafusion Gorgeous Hair, Skin & Nails can ensure you’re consuming sufficient biotin and other helpful nutrients including vitamins C and E.
Every woman has safe, new options, from prescription HT to those available over-the-counter, to suit her unique needs. Schedule a chat with your health provider to discuss the right hormone therapy or alternative option for your personal menopausal challenge.
There are small, everyday steps you can take to make a big impact on your overall health, using available resources in your city or county. Here are five easy tips to help increase your daily wellness.
(BPT) - No one wants to come home from vacation packing extra pounds in addition to great souvenirs and fond memories. Yet even the most dedicated, healthy eater can find it difficult to maintain good dietary habits while traveling. New surroundings, new cuisines, a need for convenience and all that appetite-building activity can tempt you into making poor dining choices. Nevertheless, it is possible to stay on track while on the road.
“Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean your food conscience — that little voice inside that tells you what’s healthy or unhealthy to eat — needs to go on vacation, too,” says Millie Wilson, a registered dietician with My Fit Foods, a unique retail concept that specializes in handcrafted, fresh, grab-and-go meals as well as meal-planning services. “In fact, when you’re on a trip, eating well is even more important so you can feel energized and healthy, and able to enjoy every moment of your vacation.”
However, healthier dining while on vacation doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor. Here are four tips to help ensure you make better food choices while still savoring the fun of your trip:
1. Don’t delay dining
With so many things to see and do on your vacation, it’s easy to forget to eat — until you find yourself so hungry you’ll eat just about anything. Extreme hunger is a recipe for binging and unhealthy choices.
“After about three hours without food, blood sugar begins to fall,” Cleveland dietician Amy Jamieson-Petonic says on WebMD. “Once you’ve crossed the five-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel.”
Instead of letting your hunger reach crisis point, try to stick to your regular dining schedule. Pack some healthy snacks in your travel tote or handbag to tide you over in case you get hungry between meals.
2. Map out healthy meals
Just as you planned other aspects of your trip — the sights you’ll see, how you’ll get there, etc. — it’s important to plan meals, too. Make a map of where and when you will eat to avoid unhealthy temptations.
Resources like HealthyDiningFinder.com can help you locate restaurants that serve healthy and delicious fare, like My Fit Foods. The retail concept is the first-ever restaurant to have its entire menu certified to meet Healthy Dining’s nutrition criteria.
With more than 50 locations in California, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and Illinois, My Fit Foods serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and specializes in handcrafted grab-and-go meals made with fresh and flavorful ingredients. The menu emphasizes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fat, making it easy – and delicious - to stay on track while traveling. Visit www.myfitfoods.com to learn more.
3. Avoid liquid calories
It’s fine to indulge with a little imbibing, but avoid going overboard and look for lighter options. Cocktails can be loaded with calories; a pina colada can pack more than 600 calories and a Long Island Iced Tea can ring in at nearly 800 calories! Since those calories are in liquid form — and taste so good — it’s easy to consume a lot of them at a time and not realize the impact until you step on the scale later.
Choose less calorie-intense alcoholic options such as wine, light beer, a rum and Coke (about 65 calories), gin with diet tonic (115 calories) or a cosmopolitan (150 calories).
4. Walk, hike, bike, swim and jog it off
Maintaining your physical activity level can help keep you in the healthful mindset you need in order to make better food choices. But who wants to take the time to exercise while on vacation? You do — and you don’t have to spend a single minute in the hotel gym to get in plenty of physical activity. Many fun things to do on vacation also involve beneficial exercise.
(BPT) - Savannah Kerr battled anorexia for 18 years before she hit rock bottom and decided that it was finally time to seek treatment.
"Suffering from an eating disorder was so hard, not just on me, but my family as well. It felt like having this dark part of my personality that controlled what I could eat and how I felt about my body," Kerr said.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses; almost one person an hour dies as a direct result from the disease. While it is estimated that up to 30 million people in the United States currently suffer from one of these illnesses, it is an issue that remains a taboo topic.
"Eating disorders can impact anyone-men and women, young and old, and all economic classes and races. Despite the high mortality rate, there is still a stigma and many people avoid seeking treatment and are unaware of how serious and life-altering eating disorders can be," said Ken Weiner, founding partner and chief executive officer of Eating Recovery Center.
Eating disorders can threaten a person's health, well-being, joy, confidence and overall life, as well as that of their families and friends.
Talking: the first step
Despite the pervasiveness of eating disorders, many myths about eating disorders continue to persist. A common misconception is that eating disorders are caused by an issue with food alone when, in fact, they are often caused by a desire to control or seek relief from painful emotions and experiences. They can develop due to a person's genetic makeup, or by environmental factors like stress.
However, as widespread as these illnesses are, recovery is possible.
"Getting treatment was one of the hardest challenges I've ever gone through, but was more rewarding than I could have ever expected," Kerr said. "People go into treatment thinking that they can't do it, but if you give it a try and succeed, you'll never want to go back."
On May 3, Eating Recovery Center, a healthcare system dedicated to providing the best care in the treatment of serious eating disorders, will bring stories of recovery to the forefront with the first-ever Eating Recovery Day. People can join the conversation on social media by using #EatingRecoveryDay.
"To make an impactful change, it is imperative to build awareness and create better understanding that recovery is possible through proper treatment," Weiner said.
Using social channels to educate patients and families and to shift the public's perception of eating disorders, the goal of the campaign is to encourage self-acceptance and create a dialogue that is both hopeful and empowering.
(BPT) - The dress, the tux, the guests, the honeymoon - there are so many details that go into your wedding day. All eyes are on you from the moment you walk down the aisle until the last dance of the night. Understandably so, brides and grooms often feel a lot of pressure to look their best on this important day - there's nothing like a wedding to motivate you to get serious about your health and fitness goals.
But crash diets or extreme exercise programs are never the answer. "It's usually best to start thinking about your specific goals three months before your wedding day to allow plenty of time to establish your routine and adjust to a healthier lifestyle," says Steve Bronston, certified personal trainer with Life Time, a healthy way of life company that operates more than 115 health and wellness centers nationwide. "This creates a great opportunity for the bride and groom to support each other and get in shape together."
Bronston and Life Time offer a three-month countdown plan to get you ready for the big day:
Focus on changing your unhealthy habits. Nutrition is key when trying to lose weight, decrease body fat and increase your overall health. Work with a professional to lay out a detailed nutrition plan that consists of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats at each meal. Then, begin with a fitness program that incorporates weight training and cardio intervals. Arm exercises like overhead press, tricep push-ups and bicep curls, and back exercises like rows and rear flys help brides looking to tone up for a strapless or low-back dress. Bronston suggests starting with two or three days of weight training, two or three days of cardio and one day of Pilates or yoga.
Now it's time to switch up your exercise routines. It's a good idea to work with a personal trainer or join a group fitness class once or twice a week to shake up your routine and stay motivated. Your workouts should include one to two weight training exercises per body part throughout the week. If you can, try to shift the amount of weight you use and number of repetitions you do to help stimulate change within your body. Continue a cardio routine of two to three days per week and add in another day or Pilates or yoga.
It is important to keep up with your developing healthy habits as the weeks progress, but as your wedding day approaches, you're sure to feel the stress of planning. "A new focus on rest and relaxation during this time period is key," Bronston says. You can eat well and exercise perfectly, but without sleep, stretching, rest and recovery, your body is at risk of not functioning properly.
Planning a wedding can be stressful and tiresome, but if you commit to a healthy diet and fitness plan, you'll walk down the aisle feeling confident and ready for your new life ahead.
New Year Boosters for Body and Mind
(Family Features) A new year is the perfect time to commit to making personal improvements to your body and mind. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to bolster and guide you for nearly every self-improvement effort you can imagine.
If you’re seeking inspiration, these ideas will put you on track to better yourself inside and out during the coming year.
Eat well with ease. Eating better tops many New Year’s resolution lists, but the demands of a busy schedule can quickly derail your plans. Take the guesswork out of portion control and calorie counting with complete, freshly prepared meals you can pick up or have delivered to your home. Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating offers a range of calorie plans, as well as vegetarian meal options. Based in Illinois, the freshly prepared meal company conveniently serves up weekly plans consisting of three meals per day or 21 meals per week. Learn more by calling 1-800-442-3438 or visiting seattlesutton.com.
Banish stress. Find ways to ease your mind and reduce tension and anxiety like a pro. Although an ultra-connected life can be the source of your stress, it can also give you some handy tools to help keep pressure and worries from mounting. Whether you tend to journal away your aggression, need some quiet time with soothing music or want a mindless distraction while you take a break, you can find dozens of apps to help keep stress in check.
Learn a language. Keep your mind active by challenging yourself to learn a new language. With courses designed by a professional team of linguists, authors and teachers, Babbel tailors lessons to help you become conversational in as little as 10 hours. The interactive lessons are available in 14 different languages and use real vocabulary for real situations. With cloud-based content, you can seamlessly learn at your desktop, laptop, smartphone or tablet, whether you're at home, taking a break or on the go. Learn more at Babbel.com.
Energize your exercise. When weight loss or a more sculpted shape is the goal you’re pursuing, it can be tough to stay motivated. Keep the long-term prize in sight by celebrating short-term victories. Wearable devices help track your movement and activity, as well as numerous health indicators, so you can watch your progress on a daily and weekly basis as you work toward the finish line.
Fuel yourself. Smoothies are a popular source of vital nutrients and energy – and, luckily, you can make them part of your daily diet with just one machine. The Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ Compact System, which is available at retailers nationwide, provides nutrient and vitamin extraction with high-performance blending to take drink customization to a whole new level. But it doesn’t stop at drinks – the system also helps prepare appetizers, meals and desserts. Accessories include multiple cups, blending and prepping tools and a 30-recipe guide. Additionally, the system offers the first-ever coffee and spice grinder blender attachment (sold separately). For more information, visit ninjakitchen.com.
Putting the right tools and resources in place helps ensure your New Year’s resolutions are within reach, so you can focus on working toward a better version of yourself all year long.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Eat What You Love, Drop Extra Pounds
(Family Features) If your holiday eating habits have you scared to step on the scale, don’t fret. There is a simple solution available to help you lose that extra holiday weight no matter your lifestyle or eating preferences.
The new, flexible Stop & Drop Diet is a healthy and effective way to lose weight. Complete with hundreds of simple ways to stop eating high-calorie foods and drop up to a pound a day in the first five days, it includes more than 200 balanced, satisfying and delicious meals, and is filled with simple meal lists and at-a-glance guides for easy swaps and small steps for success.
After analyzing the more than 40,000 products in the average supermarket, plus menu items at popular chain restaurants and ingredients in everyday recipes, The New York Times best-selling author and Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief Liz Vaccariello reveals hidden fat bombs that you should avoid and simple, healthier substitutions you can make.
“With my new diet plan, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods or cook all the time,” Vaccariello said. “Instead, simple substitutions and easy tweaks make success more achievable for anyone.”
The plan offers satisfying meals under 400 calories to help you kick-start weight loss and has three distinct phases: Kickstart, Steady Loss and Maintain. Each customizable phase offers 80 mix and match meals. From yogurt for breakfast to a salad for lunch or a burger for dinner – and whether you want to cook at home, grab something on the go or sit down at a restaurant – the visual guides show you what to stop eating (high calories, unhealthy ingredients) and what to start eating instead.
The Stop & Drop Diet also offers a complementary online course, which features Vaccariello presenting 21 days of motivational lessons in videos, slideshows and interactive graphics that teach how to stop making bad choices and start making good ones, so readers can drop up to a pound a day in the first five days. Individual results may vary based on various factors, but as always regular exercise and proper nutrition are essential to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Pick up a copy of “The Stop & Drop Diet” everywhere books are sold and learn more about the eating plan and the course at stopanddropdiet.com.
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