In the United States, there are over 3 million heart attack cases each year. Fortunately lifestyle changes have made people healthier nowadays. But that number is still too high. What is not included in this number is ‘silent’ heart attacks. This means we can imagine a worse number of cases each year. Silent heart attacks often produce no obvious symptoms and are sometimes ignored. It is important to know the signs of a silent heart attack and to never disregard the symptoms.
The Danger Of A Silent Heart Attack
Over 85 percent of damage done to a heart is within 2 hours of having a heart attack. This damage can lead to future, more severe heart attack(s). Medical attention soon after symptoms of heart attack can help this damage. So, if some heart attacks can be silent, or don’t produce noticeable symptoms, how do we know one is occurring?
Risk Factors and Signs
Yes, certain factors make risk much higher in people. These include being overweight and not active, smoking, heavy drinking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and hereditary factors. People with such risk should make smart changes to decrease that risk and also have regularly scheduled tests.
But even without high risk, a heart attack may occur. This makes it very important to know other signs, besides chest pain and shortness of breath. Other symptoms could be unexplained, extreme fatigue, sudden weakness, unusual indigestion, a muscle-type soreness in chest, upper back, arms, or jaw. Even a feeling of anxiety could be a sign that a heart attack is happening.
What To Do
The most important thing to do is to not ignore what may be symptoms of a heart attack. No symptoms are insignificant when future heart damage is at risk.
Keep informed by having yearly checks of your cholesterol and blood pressure.
If you have any unexplained symptoms that cause concern, don’t hesitate a visit to a healthcare professional or facility. The provider will evaluate your physical exam and symptoms, either advising treatment or further need of medical attention.
Season and schedule changes are two of the biggest reasons people quit their workout routine. It may be hotter temps or kids being out of school, but if you set out to lose weight at the beginning of year, and now aren’t working out, you can easily get back on track with these surefire tips!
Set Small Goals
At the beginning of the year, you set a weight loss goal. Maybe you reached it or perhaps you were close, but you have started making excuses and getting back into bad habits. Now is the time to get back on track!
And just like the beginning of the year, you need to set goals. But not the same goals! The point is to get back to a healthy routine, so in order to start, goals must be small.
Whether it has been a couple of weeks or a couple of months, small goals will help you get back on track without undue strain.
Maybe you were working out for an hour or two, maybe 30 minutes a day. Your small goal is to set 10 minutes a day to working out. Add just 5 minutes a day each week and you will be back up to 30 minutes a day by the end of the month.
No Days Off
While the goals are small, the schedule has to be more consistent than ever. It is important to work out every day. By easing back into working out with small goals, you can keep the healthy habit up each day. While days off are needed to rest and recuperate with strenuous exercise, a slow start allows for working out each day, helping to make it a habit once again.
Have you turned off your FitBit reminders to move? Have you stopped recording your achievements in exercise? These are ways to be accountable for the goals you set. But just like with new goals to get back on track, new methods of accountability should be set.
One way to be accountable is to work out with a friend or family member. Each person motivates the other and exercising is harder to back out of when there is a partner.
Over 4 million Americans develop skin cancer each year. Skin cancer is on the rise, especially Melanoma. In fact, since the 1970s, Melanoma cases have tripled.
Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer. While it isn’t the most common, it results in the most deaths. Death occurs because the cancer spreads to other parts of the body, due to it being left untreated. When caught early, it is almost always curable.
Basal Cell is the most commonly diagnosed skin cancer. Although it is not known to spread, an area can grow deep and wide. When left untreated, this could lead to the destruction of skin, tissue, and even bone.
While Basal Cell begins in the basal cells, the third type of skin cancer, Squamous Cell, begins in the middle and mostly outer layers of the skin. Although uncommon, because this cancer is aggressive, when left untreated, it could also spread and lead to death.
In general, risk for skin cancer is increased with lighter skin, a family or personal history of skin cancer, a history of sunburns especially early in life, a history of indoor tanning, people with green or blue eyes, and certain type of moles.
Risk also increases with age, mainly due to years of sun exposure. People with suppressed immune systems are at higher risk. And as for gender, men are at higher risk, although because of indoor tanning, the gap is changing.
A person’s lifestyle poses risk also. People who are exposed more to sunlight because of work or outdoor activity. Smokers are also at a higher risk and people who come in prolonged contact with certain chemicals.
How To Protect
Some risks cannot be avoided due to genetics, but lifestyle choices should be considered because of skin cancer possibility.
Because UV exposure is still the main cause of most skin cancer cases, it is important to use sun protection in the forms of sunscreen and clothing.
And with any changes under and on the skin, steps should be taken for the earliest treatment. All growths, changes in skin color, and mole growth can be examined by us. Do not hesitate coming in when you have any concerns.
Last month’s blog explained the other reasons for weight gain besides too many calories. One of those was hormonal imbalance. As a follow-up, here is a further look at the particular hormones that regulate hunger, fat storage, and metabolism. Get to know your weight management hormones!
The hormones in your body affecting hunger, fat storage, and metabolism, work together as a precise system. When one hormone is unbalanced, many follow suit, causing weight gain.
Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and it sends messages to the brain of hunger. It is the appetite-stimulating hormone and rises before meals with levels decreasing after. So, it would seem a solution for weight gain would be decreasing this hormone. Because hormones work together, this cannot be a fix. In fact, dieting can send hunger signals, making decreasing calories very difficult.
This hormone is produced in the pancreas, so how does it affect weight management? Insulin is secreted throughout the day and it promotes glucose to make energy. But it also has the purpose of being the fat storage hormone, relaying messages to store fat rather than converting into energy. While also necessary, this resistance can build and develop unhealthy fat accumulation.
Also produced in the pancreas is glucagon. While insulin is released when blood sugar levels are high, glucagon is released when glucose levels are too low. That’s why it is important these two are balanced because they work together. Any imbalance will lead to a yo-yo effect, contributingto the wrong signals being sent to the brain.
While insulin and glucagon balance each other, leptin works with grehlin. Leptin is produced by adipose or ‘fat’ cells and it regulates energy use by inhibiting hunger. Unfortunately, like with grehlin, this hormone cannot be the simple solution for weight loss. In fact, when calories are decreased, this starvation hormone will send the signals to the body to produce more fat in order to survive.
Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, with highest peaks in the early morning, and decreasing throughout the day. But, during times of stress, levels do increase, leading it to being called the ‘stress’ hormone. This steroid hormone does have the purpose of protecting the liver
and reducing inflammation, however when the brain signals stress, it reacts by overproducing for survival situations, which leads to eating too much.
This is the hormone that tells the body to use fat for fuel. The more adiponectin in your bloodstream, the more fat you will burn. However, the more body fat there is, the lower the level of adiponectin. This hormone might need an extra push for regulation by increasing magnesium, if levels are low.
But with all these hormones, the best regulation practice is eating good food, such as protein, fruits and vegetables. Processed foods and sweets should be avoided. Important also, is good sleep of 7-9 hours and plenty of exercise. Eliminating stress and keeping your body on a schedule is also best for optimal hormone function.
You’ve watched your calories and work out several times a week but you are unfortunately gaining weight despite your efforts. We know our own bodies. We know when the extra pounds will show due to the excessive splurging and little activity. But even with a strict routine, weight is increasing on the scale. What is causing it?
Your thyroid is located in the front and at the base of the neck. This endocrine gland mainly influences metabolic rate and protein synthesis. When the gland is underactive then hypothyroidism can occur. Symptoms of this disorder can include depression, tiredness, and constipation. Also, weight gain is a result from hypothyroidism. Sometimes symptoms aren’t noticeable, but if concerned, levels can be checked. Hypothyroidism occurs in more women than men, and increases with people aged over 60. The solution to this disorder is regulating the gland’s functioning again with synthetic medication that boosts thyroid stimulation. Tests of levels are then taken periodically to make any adjustments, if needed, with dosage.
Hormones are the tiny communicators in the body. Puberty is often thought about with hormones but that’s not their only purpose. Their function is to bind with receptors that signal off instructions with the systems in our bodies. This also includes digestion and metabolism. Metabolism is actually two different processes, catabolism which is the breaking down of organic matter to release energy, and anabolism, the building up of cells to consume energy. If there is any disruption in relaying the important message, metabolism and effective digestion may be caused to change. Hormone levels can be checked to see if there is a need for regulation.
In order to fix certain conditions, medication is necessary. Prescription drugs can come with unwanted side effects, however. Weight gain might be caused by changes in your system, due to the medicine. When this is noticed, with no changes in diet, a discussion with your provider can help. It may take time for the body to adapt to the medication, so it is important to keep a journal of your food intake and physical activity during this time, listing any side effects also. In some cases, there might be an alternativedrug that produces a more positive reaction with your body.
When weight loss is a goal, any of these happening, can be frustrating. But each of these circumstances can be evaluated by us and then treated.
Allergies are synonymous with Spring. However, allergies aren’t the only health concern during this season. From chronic pain to Lyme Disease, here are health conditions that arise during Spring…
Warmer weather is around the corner, but the transition period will present humidity, precipitation, cooler nights and mornings. These conditions can affect parts or systems of the body.
The humidity can make the head feel stuffy, increasing sinus pressure when leaving the air-conditioned indoors. Along with sinus issues, people who suffer from chronic headaches may see more headaches during this time. Warm compresses will help both, but also try a nasal flush with saline solution to remedy the sinuses.
Cooler, damp days also affect arthritis, with joints having more pain. In addition, consistent back or knee pain will be increased because of the weather. Epsom salt baths are helpful with all. Pain can also be reduced with alternating heat and cold packs. Adjusting your diet to help with inflammation is suggested, so is adding Vitamin D and Calcium.
Since there is more activity outside than during the winter months, other health problems present themselves.
As mentioned, allergies are affected during this time of year because of the pollen in the air. It’s best to be proactive with allergy season and begin treatment at least two weeks before it starts. Also, adding an air purifier to the home is helpful. These same conditions make asthma worse also. Please consult with your health care provider to be prepared for any asthma flareups that may occur during this time.
In Oklahoma, caution must be taken to decrease exposure for tick bites. Spring through Summer is the active time. Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just two of the illnesses stemming from ticks. Protective clothing and DEET spray will help, but avoiding heavily wooded areas is best. Always inspect body after being outdoors and never assume a bite was a harmless one, scheduling an appointment quickly.
Included with warmer weather, is more physical activity. Injuries from scrapes and bruises, to strains and breaks will be more prevalent.
The days are starting to have more daylight. This is when clocks are adjusted forward one hour. This time change can cause a few problems, however. Mainly, while the body adjusts to the change, sleep is affected. This lack of sleep can be the catalyst for other heath risks. These are some, but not limited to, ulcers, high blood pressure, and even heart attack.
This change in time and season also can affect mood. Depression is increased during the Spring season. Along with that, contrary to most beliefs, suicide happens more during Spring, rather than during the holidays. Extra time with family and friends is a good idea for all.
Spring is a wonderful season that brings warmer weather and more activity. Be mindful of these health concerns so Spring can be fully enjoyed.
It might be a resolution for 2018 to eat healthier. So, we have gathered 5 easy habits for you to help stick with your resolution this year!
1. Don’t skip breakfast. Instead, prepare ahead of time and have it ready to go! Busy schedules get in the way of the most important mealtime, often leading to it being skipped altogether. Breakfast is what jump starts the metabolism! It is crucial for healthy eating. To accomplish this, fix it the night before, so it’s ready to go even with the busiest of schedules. You wouldn’t skip your coffee, so make this a priority as well. Boil an egg, mix a smoothie, prepare some oatmeal. All of these healthy options can keep until the morning, some may even travel well on the morning commute!
2. Bring your lunch. Yes, lunch breaks can be a time to decompress and socialize, which are very necessary, but during at least half of the week, consider bringing the healthy protein and veggies from home. As is the same with breakfast, this healthy eating habit is something that can be prepped the night before, or even for the week. Time saver for the win!
3. There are times you do go out for lunch or even dinner, so now what? Portion control! Restaurants can serve a very large amount of food for a meal, exceeding what should be a daily intake of calories. Especially when the caloric information isn’t listed, be mindful of your portion size. A good rule of thumb is a healthy meal is one that fits on a salad size plate, not a normal dinner size plate. Portion control can also be practiced at home. You will start noticing a lot of leftovers once you develop this habit, eventually saving you money!
4. If you haven’t already, it’s time to throw out and avoid packaged foods. Not only are these foods some of the most sodium-packed foods, there are other dangerous additives or chemicals that do not aid in healthy functioning of our bodies. The convenience might have been appealing at one time, but now is the time to avoid heavy processed foods and opt for the cleaner varieties.
5. Our favorite habit is make it all about color! Have you posted your pretty meal to Facebook or Instagram lately? If you are including fruits and veggies alongside your lean proteins, your healthy choices are making for some great photos. Healthier food is prettier! Compare that Chik-Fil-A sandwich and a salad with a range of greens, the deepest purple, and pops of red. You’ll never want unhealthy again!
People work to see results. With weight loss and fitness, people like to see progress. There are times, however, when that progress stops. Some of the time, this stall is what is referred to as a ‘plateau.’ Other times, this could be a goal that has been reached. With both exercise and weight loss, there are ways to know if you have reached a goal or a plateau.
It is frustrating to lose weight consistently, only for it to suddenly stop. It might be you have reached your ideal weight or you perhaps have plateaued. When the number has stopped decreasing, try the following…
1. Adjust What You Consume
You have set an ideal and safe caloric amount, but it is no longer working. It’s not the time to take in less calories. You can easily figure out you have reached a plateau if you adjust your routine. Perhaps, you have too much salt intake or not enough water consumption. You may even need to increase your lean protein. It is important that you now start journaling your consumption and adjust it to see change. If there are no changes, you have reached an ideal weight!
2. Change It Up
Exercise is important in achieving weight loss. When weight loss has stopped, it is time to change your routine. You could be a runner, so it might now be the time to start weight training. The idea is to trick your body. It is known, doing the same thing over and over will achieve the same results. Interval training or maybe even having fun playing a sport, will work on other areas that weren’t being used in your routine. You don’t have to get rid of your favorite routine, just change it up from time to time.
Whether you’re a runner or body builder, safety is paramount in achieving goals. This should be considered when results are not being seen. A person could add 5 lbs. weight to squats each month, but eventually the human body will not be able to do any more. Perhaps you are working towards a marathon, adding miles periodically will help you reach your goal. You can also work to increase your time. But, with any exercise, listening to your body is crucial. If your body is strained by serious injury, it is time to evaluate your program and goals. Setting goals is always a good idea, but realizing you have reached them, is even better!
Time To Organize
Start the new year by dedicating some time to record a health history for you and your family members. This will consist of major injuries, surgeries, and disease. Also include needed medical history from relatives. This is helpful with hereditary conditions. A thorough history can help your medical provider when treating you. Once this is started, updating is easy with current information.
Also, the new year is a perfect time to clean out and restock the medicine cabinet. Safely dispose of expired medication, both over-the-counter and prescriptions. Make sure all basic supplies are stocked for minor injuries and illness. This could include age appropriate restocking with growing children. And also consider your storage of medication by exploring kid safe options.
Checkups and Programs
The holiday season from October to December might have brought an unwanted weight gain. Start the new year with a focus on nutrition. Setting up a program to follow for the year can keep you on track. A program can be as extensive as meal planning or as simple as eliminating a few things from your diet, such as soda or fast food. Along with nutrition, add an exercise program for 2018. Fitness is nothing new, but setting a program will help to organize and achieve your goals.
Valuable checkups are also needed each year for optimal health. Schedule your appointments. You will want to add having your vitals checked and blood tested to such things as annual vision and dental checkups. Hormone regulation and blood pressure are important in maintaining overall health.
Write It Down
Besides recording a permanent medical history, adding a daily or weekly health journal will not only help your health providers, but help you understand yourself. For instance, when you journal your food consumption along with headaches, you may discover a sensitivity to a certain food or additive. Record sleep, all you consume, your activity, and how you feel physically.
Accountability is also included when you write it down. If 2018 is the year you focus on improving your health, recording what you ate and how you exercised is extremely helpful when it comes to losing weight or improving your health. Do you want to lower your blood pressure? Or is this the year to quit smoking? Whether you use an app, write on paper or your computer, accountability has been proven to help achieve goals.
Here’s to a healthy 2018!
We’ve come to know depression by certain signs of sadness, too much sleep, overeating or even severe lack of appetite. But what happens when depression is hidden?
How To Recognize
Just as there are varying degrees of depression, there are also varying signs. Hidden depression is exhibited in behavior that masks its appearance vs. the outwardly signs of sadness, excessive sleep, and extreme change in appetite.
One behavior to be aware of with yourself or others is a realism that is present instead of optimism. Not necessarily complete negativity, but a response that is void of hopeful thinking. An example would be instead of someone saying “I hope I get the job,” they would say “There were a lot of applicants so I know my chances are slim in getting the job.”
Besides this, topics of conversation and thought often turn philosophical with a person who normally doesn’t discuss such things. These could include the meaning of life, evaluation of your life or questioning your purpose.
Another sign is excuses always ready not to be social or attend an activity. Everyone has schedules, but repeated excuses from a once social person could be a signal.
Why It’s Happening
Depression is nothing new for the many who suffer from it. What IS new is our adapting to that depression. Work and home life schedules are more demanding than ever. Between a full day at the office and children’s activities after work, there is little time left.
This adaptation has originated from our current busy situations and produced a coping mechanism that helps us to function daily. This brief coping guards against triggers that are known to affect someone’s mood. But much like the functioning addict, this coping is only temporary.
Most certainly, this adapting behavior can lead to an acceptance. This is dangerous when the brain is trained to accept a different quality of life.
And most importantly, because these ways of fending off masked depression are mostly unknown, there is a danger that the depression will not be addressed and treated. When left untreated, depression can worsen.
Visiting a healthcare professional to evaluate any concerns is necessary when signs are present of hidden depression.