Do You Know the ABCs of Heart Disease?

Today is the 10th “National Wear Red Day” to promote heart health and awareness of heart disease risks and prevention.  Did you put on something red this morning?  Are you aware of your own risks or are you planning to think about it “one day” when you have time?  Ignoring warning signs and risk factors won’t pay off in the end, so today is a good day to do a few simple things.  You don’t have to do it all today, or this week, but each little step gets you closer to a healthier, longer life. The Million Hearts Initiative, launched by the Department of Health and Human Services has a very quick way to check your risks and help you pick one or two goals that will help you focus on what’s important rather than a huge list of changes.  The ABCs of heart health are something you should think about every day to keep you on the right track and focused on your heart.  Start with a visit to get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked so you have a starting point and then get going with these easy steps: A: Appropriate Aspirin Therapy for those who need it B: Blood Pressure Control C: Cholesterol Management S: Smoking Cessation Think about these when you start the day, when you talk to your health care provider or get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and at any point that you know you can make a difference.  Or pick one and focus on that first to get started.  Taking care of your health isn’t rocket science, but it does take some attention to detail: Your...

Heart Health Needs to Come First!

It’s hard not to notice all the pink around us right now…from scarfs and umbrellas to NFL socks and neon pink shoes.  For many people who have been personally touched by cancer and specifically, breast cancer, these signs of support for the search for a cure are deeply meaningful.  Unfortunately, for others who haven’t been affected the pink has become overwhelming.  Are you aware that more women die of heart disease than all types of cancer combined?  For those who are at a high risk of breast cancer either through genetics (mothers, aunts and sisters who have had it) or through lifestyle (obesity, smoking, lack of exercise) getting mammograms, self exams and possibly CA-125 tests can be critical. For the rest of us, after we’ve taken the basic preventive steps and tests, there is all the rest of our lifestyle and genetics to look at.  How many of us have had grandparents, parents and siblings with heart disease and are on statins to lower cholesterol?  I have it coming at me from both sides of my family.  Have you taken the first important step to have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked?  Do you try to eat healthy or have you given up because losing weight and taking a walk is just too hard?  If it matters to you, go ahead, wear pink.  But do it while you’re having a salad or going to the gym or out for a walk.  In the long run, this will save many more lives. Written by www.labtestingnow.com...

Are You Protecting Your Kidneys?

You may be damaging your kidneys without realizing it.  Do you drink a lot of soda every day?  Even if it’s diet?  Do you smoke?  These habits are two of the top five that can be putting stress on your kidneys.  March 8th is World Kidney Day and March is National Kidney Month, sponsored by the American Kidney Foundation.  Your kidney works 24 hours a day filtering toxins out of your body.  If your kidney stops working your only alternative is using a dialysis machine and anyone who has ever done this can tell you it is not a pleasant way to spend a day. You can be careful about what you ingest to protect yourself and your kidneys from long term damage starting right now!  Get tested with a simple Chemistry Panel to identify Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), Calcium (Ca), Creatinine (Cr) and Glucose which check for a range of problems that affect the kidneys, including kidney disease.  Whether your test results show possible issues with your kidney  or not, you should stop doing the following 5 things to prevent future damage: Long term use of over-the-counter painkillers, known as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs).  3-5% of new cases of kidney disease every year are blamed on the useruse of NSAIDs. Smoking: Smokers are more likely to need dialysis or kidney transplants due to the damage that smoking does to the kidneys. Consuming large quantities of salt.  I think we’ve all been made aware through the media that too much salt can cause hypertension (or high blood pressure) but this high blood pressure can damage the kidneys over time...

CDC Offers Up Million Hearts to Heart Health Month

Have you been payting attention?  Hopefully you’ve worn red to work and noticed the posters, flyers and promotions for Heart Health month by the American Heart Association.  This well publicized program targets those of us, especially women, who need an extra push to pay attention to our own health.  Come on, you know you’re more likely to be one of those people than not!  The addition of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Million Hearts program adds some simple guidelines that are easy to remember, even if we have a hard time following them. The CDC recommends following your ABCS: Aspirin for people at risk – Ask your doctor is this makes sense for you. Blood pressure in check – If this is an issue, make sure you have a home BP cuff. Cholesterol management – Standard cholesterol tests and more advanced ones such as the VAP and PLAC tests can let you know how aggressive you need to be. Smoking cessation – There are so many ways to kick the habit.  You just need to pick the right one for you. These four major steps help to address cardiovascular disease, the leading of death in the United States.  In addition, cardiovascular disease and stroke are the leading cause of disability preventing people from leading full lives and enjoying time with their families.  Women are at a higher risk than many of us are aware of.  Women are used to taking care of their families and putting their own health last.  What we, as mothers and caretakers, may not realize is that putting our health at risk is a terrible way...

Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Achievable?

Although the ideal is that we all live healthy lives year round, the truth is that it’s not easy to do and this is the time of year we think about what we should be doing.  Exercising, not smoking, and going on a diet are among the top resolutions people make every year on January 1.  Unfortunately, most of us have already quit by now.  It’s been over 10 days and many of these attempts only last about 3 days.  Being realistic about what you can do is a big part of making your goals achievable.  Did you tell yourself no sweets at all?  Or no smoking starting NOW?  Or that you’ll get up at 5 am and exercise every day?  Balance is key to maintaining a habit and starting small can help you get there. Some tips for being realistic and actually reaching your goals include: If you’re trying to do something like lose weight or improve your cholesterol, you need a baseline.  Know where you are today and lay out a gradual plan for where you want to be.  Get your cholesterol and other critical health values tested with a Basic Check Up test.  Decide when you’ll go back for another test to see where you are.  Make an appointment so that you have a hard deadline and very specific goal.  If it’s weight loss get on the scale today and set a goal for where you’ll be in 3 months, 6 months or a year. Start small.  Recent studies have shown that small changes can have a huge impact on your health.  Walk for 20 minutes a...