HEALTH / FITNESS
Information about fitness, health, nutrition and weight loss
Do you know of a new diet or fitness routine that you'd like us to review? Or perhaps you want to write a review yourself and see it in print! Got a great recipe you want to share? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this Section....
May Recipes - Click Here
This month is a celebration of mothers everywhere and fiesta time!! What better way to celebrate Mom than with a Cinco de Mayo feast? We've taken some of the best Cinco de Mayo dishes and put them together for a meal that you can serve Mom on her special day too! She'll love the idea of a theme for her day, especially when she gets to the frozen margarita part! Enjoy!!
We'd love to feature one of your favorite recipes in any one of our monthly issues, just send them on to us at email@example.com. Hope to hear from all of you in the following months!
May Exercises - Click HereEach month we will feature simple exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home and without buying fancy expensive equipment.
Recognizing Female Heart Attack Symptoms
On a Monday morning in April, Merle Rose, a New Jersey woman, experienced what some doctors call "female heart attack symptoms;" a feeling of indigestion and extreme fatigue. Later, she had nausea, vomiting and fainting. But she never had chest pain-a "typical" male heart attack sign. When she got to the emergency room, doctors couldn't find any sign of heart attack and Rose says, "They would have sent me home."
As Rose's experience shows, many doctors-and women themselves--still don't realize that female heart attack symptoms can look very different than those of men. In fact, according to a study of women's early heart attack signs published in Circulation, women have more unrecognized heart attacks than men and are more likely to be, "mistakenly diagnosed and discharged from emergency departments."
In the emergency room, physicians had assumed she had a gastrointestinal illness. But at the time, no one told Rose that she had suffered a heart attack.
When an outside cardiologist recommended by Rose's regular doctor ordered testing that uncovered major blockages, doctors still made no mention of heart attack, she says. So when did she finally get word? Not until several months later, when she visited a new female cardiologist. This doctor told her in retrospect that she had suffered a textbook case of undiagnosed female heart attack. "That's the first I ever heard," Rose says. "This doctor told me, 'They didn't connect the dots.'"
Female Heart Attack Symptoms: What are They?
These chest-related heart attack signs often appear in men, and many women get them, too: Pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of the chest, which may spread to the neck, shoulder or jaw; Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
But many women don't have chest pain. In the Circulation study on early female heart attack symptoms, researchers found that during a heart attack, 43% of the 515 women studied had no "acute chest pain... a 'hallmark symptom in men,'" according to study authors. Nevertheless, the study cited evidence that many emergency room doctors still look mainly for chest pain. Only a minority check for the other types of symptoms that women tend to develop. As a result, doctors may miss heart attacks in women. "Although women can have chest tightness as a symptom of a heart attack, it's also important for women to recognize that might not be their symptom," says Nieca Goldberg, MD, a cardiologist and chief of Women's Cardiac Care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and author of "The Women's Healthy Heart Program." "Women commonly have symptoms of shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue, or pressure in the lower chest, so they easily mistake it as a stomach ailment."
In the Circulation study, common female heart attack symptoms include:
- shortness of breath (57.9%)
- weakness (54.8%)
- unusual fatigue (42.9%)
Women also had these symptoms:
- Lower chest discomfort
- Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort that may feel like indigestion
- Back pain
Female Heart Attack Symptoms: Warning Signs That a Heart Attack May Be Coming
In the weeks preceding an actual heart attack, some of these symptoms may even appear as early warning signs, according to the Circulation study. Goldberg, who is familiar with the study, says, "About six weeks before the actual heart attack, women were more likely to experience shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue or stomach pain as an early warning sign that they might have a blocked artery."
Rose was a prime candidate for a heart attack: a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Long before her heart attack, she had struggled with extreme fatigue. "I felt like I was being rolled over by a steam engine-couldn't make plans," she says. Doctors put her on antidepressants. She also developed shortness of breath. "I was constantly gasping for breath." But because of the depression diagnosis, "I thought this was an anxiety issue."
"I did have symptoms of heart disease," Rose says. "They just didn't connect it and I didn't connect it." If you get early warning signs, call your doctor and talk about the possibility of heart disease. "That's the time to come in for an evaluation," says Goldberg.
On the day of a heart attack, these symptoms can strike without any provocation; for example, shortness of breath may come without physical activity. Symptoms can appear during rest or even awaken a woman from sleep, and they're much worse, Goldberg says. "They just come on and they're severe. I had one patient describing that she was so short of breath that she could barely talk to the 911 operator."
Female Heart Attack Symptoms: Calling 911
If you believe you're having heart attack symptoms, dial 911 right away for an ambulance to take you to the emergency room. Wait no more than 5 minutes. "As a doctor, I know from experience that when chest pains or other symptoms occur, most women are reluctant to call 911," Goldberg says. "That's precious time that we could be saving your heart muscle." Women often worry about being embarrassed if they're not having a heart attack after all, she says. But embarrassment will pass without causing long-term damage; a heart attack may not. Others don't appreciate the seriousness of the situation. One of Goldberg's patients had heart attack symptoms at age 57 and insisted on straightening up her house before she let her husband call 911. "This delay could have been fatal," Goldberg says. Calling for an ambulance is better than taking a taxi or having someone else drive you, Goldberg says. And unless you have absolutely no other option, you shouldn't drive yourself. "You don't want to pass out driving your car," she says.
A big advantage to calling 911: emergency medical personnel can start treatment, such as oxygen, heart medication, and pain relievers, as soon as they arrive, says Mohamud Daya, MD, MS, an associate professor of emergency services at Oregon Health and Science University. "When you come into the emergency room with the [cardiac] monitor hooked up, you're really taken seriously," Goldberg says. "You look the part."
When you reach the emergency room, describe your symptoms, but don't offer your own conclusions, Goldberg says. "I wouldn't go through this whole dissertation about how, 'Oh, I thought it was a stomachache, I thought it was this.' You should just tell the doctor how you feel. Don't interpret it for them."
If it doesn't occur to the emergency room doctor to check for heart attack, be bold. Goldberg tells women to say outright: "I think I'm having a heart attack." Because many doctors still don't recognize that women's symptoms differ, they may mistake them for arthritis, pulled muscles, indigestion, gastrointestinal problems, or even anxiety and hypochondria.
In short, female heart attack symptoms may be missed-and dismissed. When one of Goldberg's patients entered the emergency room with such symptoms, doctors gave her antacids. "She said, 'Listen, I'm diabetic and women's heart disease symptoms can be different, and unless you give me an EKG, I'm not leaving this place.' And the next day, she had a bypass."
Of course, stomach pain could prove to be nothing more than a bad case of gastrointestinal illness. "But what I tell all my patients is, 'It's best to check out your heart first because a potential heart attack is life-threatening,'" Goldberg says. And if your fear of heart problems turns out to be unfounded, don't sweat it, she adds. Doctors would much rather diagnose you with indigestion than a heart attack.
Submitted by: Maria Albus
Moving Meditation - Walking
Inspired by an article in Canadian Health & Lifestyle: “One step at a time: the power of a moving meditation” – By: Lisa Petty
Many of us live our lives within varying levels of stress. Whether we feel stress from work, family or friends, it’s difficult to feel in control when our minds are constantly trying to sort through the next issue/problem/situation. For those of us working towards a healthier lifestyle, feeling in control of food & exercise can evade us when stress levels are high.
More and more, science is embracing the role of relaxation therapy, mindfulness and meditation as both preventative and healing processes. Research shows that meditation improves stress levels, memory, mood and even our general outlook on life. When our energy and outlook are more positive, we are better able to control our eating and increase our motivation to exercise. However, most of us wouldn’t take the time to sit quietly and focus on breathing; our minds would be racing towards meal preparations, timing of family schedules, a presentation at work, or any other life event. More evidence is showing that going for a walk can allow us to achieve the mental relaxation/mediation necessary to decrease stress.
According to author Carolyn Scott Kortge, “connecting our mental focus with the rhythmic movements of walking can create periods of stress release that are not only physically healing, but can also help to clear paths through confusing or difficult times.” When you’re facing an enormous personal challenge, taking control of something as basic as walking may seem insignificant. But research suggests that even small acts of control can help you recover from the feeling of helplessness that often accompanies trauma or stressful situations.
Ten minutes of brisk walking can increase mental alertness, reduce anxiety and improve mood. When we’re more alert, we make better food choices and we tend to pre-plan those choices. With less anxiety, we’re less likely to turn to comfort foods as a coping mechanism. When we’re in a better mood and have a more positive outlook; we gain confidence in our ability to stay on track with healthy habits. Not only does walking have physical benefits, (i.e. reduced risk of: heart disease, breast cancer, elevated cholesterol and osteoporosis), but the mental and emotional health benefits are equally as important.
While walking, you can help to quiet your mind by concentrating on your breathing, or focus on the sound of your footsteps, the call of a bird, or the lapping of water at the shore of a stream or lake. A mantra can be effective too; something as simple as repeating the phrase: “left foot, right foot.” When you notice your thoughts moving towards worries or ruminations about life issues, bring your attention back to the day’s chosen sound.
If you’re going through a particularly rough patch, try to go walking without music or other distractions; walking in silence gives you the opportunity to get a sense of where you are mentally and emotionally. Listen to your self-talk: are you berating yourself for a decision you made? Are you blaming yourself for gaining weight? Are you worrying about all the stress in your job? Hearing our own negative self-talk is a sure-fire way of increasing stress levels, which impedes our ability to heal from an illness or overcome challenges. Replace negative talk with positive statements like, “I can; I will; I am strong; I am making healthy choices.”
Going for a 10-minute walk can give you the benefit of emotional release and can also begin the trend of a more active routine. As you go out the door for more and more 10-minute walks, you’ll soon be achieving 3-4 10-minute walks a week; soon, it will be 20-minute walks; as time goes on, you will push yourself even further and more frequently. The empowerment you’ll feel from walking will reflect on your food choices throughout the day. You will be more conscious and aware, and you’ll feel more motivated to continue on your journey to better health.
As we progress with weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes, the road can be bumpy and difficult to navigate. Finding a way to calm our agitated minds can help us progress more smoothly and maneuver around stressors with less difficulty. Believe in yourself; know that you CAN achieve your goals no matter what happens!
Written by: Dr Doug