Menopausin’? 7 Ways to Cool Down Hot Flashes

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I don’t think I ever heard the word “menopause” cross my mother’s lips.  Nope, for her it was the dreaded change of life or simply the change.  For years I connected these terms with the idea of eventually losing my marbles and sprouting hair on my chin.  Heck, according to my mom and aunts, some women went through the change and never came out of it!  (Now that I think about it, I always wondered where Aunt Betty disappeared to). Continue reading

The Breath of Life

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Marie Goscicki

When my mother-in-law was in her 70’s, she had heart bypass surgery.  Marie, a tough old bird, made it through the surgery with no problems. However, after the surgery, her lungs were too weak for her to breathe on her own.  She had to depend on a respirator.  For several months, until her final breaths of life, she remained on this respirator.  Unable to breathe on her own, or talk to her loved ones.  
She hated it.  Continue reading

October: Dental Hygiene Month

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This is the tooth fairy? I pictured her differently. And what’s with the hammer? 

Question of the day: Why does a dental hygienist insist on carrying on a conversation with you while she’s scraping and poking at your teeth?  And it’s not a monologue!  She actually expects you to respond to her questions.  What’s up with that?

Continue reading

World Heart Day – September 29th

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Cholesterol: Enemy of your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 29th is World Heart Day, an annual campaign from the World Heart Federation 

The goal of the World Heart Federation is to reduce the number of early deaths from cardiovascular disease throughout the world. 

Celebrate World Heart Day  by providing your heart with loving care. 

15 Ways to Love your Heart: 

  • Snack on almonds (1 ½ ounces every day can help lower bad cholesterol). Other types of nuts are good for heart health as well.
  • Enjoy fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamin C and your heart will be rewarded with potent antioxidants.
  • For a heart-healthy breakfast, try regular or steel-cut oatmeal instead of the instant options.  Add blueberries (or other types of berries), walnuts or almonds, apples with a tablespoonful of honey. Top with soy milk.  
  • When eating out, choose broiled salmon, lake trout, or whitefish instead of a steak.  The omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish can help us reduce heart attacks and other heart conditions. 
  • Love tacos? Make ‘em heart-healthy by skipping the ground beef. Try a soft taco made with whole grain tortillas, ground turkey, brown rice, and seasoned black beans. Top with avocado slices. Ground turkey is also great in chili.
  • Choose healthy fats and avoid trans-fats like the plague. Dump those highly processed foods.
  • Enjoying a bowl of tomato soup?  Add black beans for added fiber. Eat other foods that are high in fiber, as well.
  • Sweat it up!  Strenuous exercise a couple times a week is heart-healthy. Adults need to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week; not only good for your heart, but for your overall health.
  • Don’t forget vitamin D – research shows that vitamin D deficiency may lead to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Cuddle with your significant other or your furry friend. This helps lower stress levels and blood pressure.
  • Floss your teeth – good for your gums, and may help protect against heart disease.
  • Let go of anger and resentment – this reduces stress and blood pressure, and can help lower your heart rate.
  • Find a reason to have a good belly laugh.  At least one daily.  Laughing not only reduces stress and tension, it improves blood flow, reducing blood pressure.
  • Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Lack of quality sleep leads to a higher risk of heart disease.
  • Practice yoga for your heart health. 

Sources

Gillinov, A. Marc, MD5 Things to Do Daily to Keep Your Heart Healthy. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials.

5 Things to Do Daily to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Getting Heart Healthy One Simple Step at a Time.

For further reading:

Prevention Magazine. 28 Days to a Healthier Heart

World Heart Day – Taking Action

Take Action

Medical News Today: Latest Heart Disease news

©2017 Vital Aging for Women

Cholesterol: Enemy of your Heart

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Cholesterol: Enemy of your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

I first discovered that I had high cholesterol levels when I was 23 years old. I was skinny as a rail, but inside, fat was globbing up my arteries. (Is globbing a word? Not sure).  My body produced cholesterol like it was going out of style. I inherited this tendency from my mom, along with her nose (aarrrgghh!) and eyes.

Of course, I also ate the worst foods in the world, never thinking about cholesterol or how it could lead to hardening of the arteries, which could lead to heart attacks . . . Hell, I was 23, what did I know? At that age, you’re gonna live forever! (On the plus side, I did exercise like a fiend; aerobics being the fitness class of choice.)

Even my mom’s heart health woes didn’t faze me.

She suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure, a dangerous combination.  In her sixties and seventies she suffered from heart attacks, angina, mini strokes . . . She had angioplasties and bypasses. She visited doctors way too often, and depended on a wide variety of prescription medications. Yikes.  Not a pleasant way to live.

It wasn’t until I got to the top of that proverbial hill, at age 40, that I really began to take my heart health seriously. Suddenly, middle age was staring me down, and I didn’t like the look on its face. When my doctor took a blood test and my cholesterol level was something like 275, I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes.

I started fighting against cholesterol.  I knew it wasn’t enough to simply exercise. I worked to eat a much healthier diet (you know, veggies, fruit, beans, whole grains, the whole kit and caboodle) and took natural cholesterol fighting supplements.

My dad was a BIG fan of garlic (I swear, he actually put in on his oatmeal) and claimed it cured high cholesterol and anything else that ailed you. He was pretty darn healthy, for an old guy. Of course, you could also smell him a mile away.

Taking my Dad’s sage advice, I tried so-called odor-free garlic supplements.  My hubby let me know, gently, of course, that they weren’t the best form of perfume. (What?? The labels lied??). 

Lifestyle changes improved my sense of well-being. However, it wasn’t enough to make significant changes in my total cholesterol level. My doctor prescribed Lipitor®, a statin drug, and along with diet and exercise, my total cholesterol level is at 179 (at my ripe old age of 60). There are pros and cons to taking statin drugs, as described in this document from the New Zealand Ministry of Health. 

Luckily, I haven’t suffered from any noticeable side effects. And for some people, taking charge of their heart health through diet and exercise may be enough to avoid prescription medications. 

Other ways to lower cholesterol levels:

Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve your Cholesterol 

How to Lower your Cholesterol without Drugs

©Vital Aging 4 Women. 2017

Ted Talk Tuesday: Women’s Heart Health

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C. Noel Bairey Merz is director of the Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, where she is a professor of medicine.

As we’ve all now realized, heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing more deaths than breast cancer.  In this Ted Talk, Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz talks about how we can deal with this health crisis, making the important point that research has long focused on men; and that this needs to change.  Women have different kinds of heart attacks than men, and different symptoms when having a heart attack.  Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: Lisa Genova & Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Ted Talk Tuesday will be presented every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Please visit again on Tuesday, July 18th.  

Do you remember the movie, Still Alice?  It came out in 2015. Julianne Moore is Alice, a woman who struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In her case, it was familial; she carried the gene for AD. This neurological disease has also been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, along with other modifiable risk factors. In a recent bulletin, the AARP pointed out that the cases and costs of AD continue to rise, with no end in sight.* Continue reading

7 Ways Caregivers can Take Care of Themselves

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7 Ways Caregivers can Take Care of Themselves

Every airplane traveler hears the same refrain whenever they take a flight. In case of an emergency, always put on your own oxygen mask before helping another passenger. It’s the same when you’re a caregiver, caring for a loved one with a debilitating condition.  To take care of others, you first need to take care of yourself. Continue reading

Sleep Thief: Fighting Back

Sleep Thief: Fighting Back

 

 

 

 

 

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On Wednesday, I introduced the topic of insomnia with my postInsomnia, Sleep Thief.  But what about fighting back against this sleep thief?  

For occasional sleepless nights, or short-term insomnia, here are some ideas that may help: Continue reading