Tuesday, June 24, 2008



Heart Disease is the No. 1 cause of death for men and women in the U.S. And, Stroke is the No 3 cause. This means it's important for you to do everything you can to reduce your risk and prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Learn about the things that increase your risk and take steps to make changes. Even if you've already had a heart attack or stroke, it's not too late to improve your health and prevent future damage to your heart or brain.


Your risk of a heart attack or stroke increases if you:
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol
  • have a family history of heart attack, stroke, or heart disease
  • have had a heart attack or stroke
  • are overweight or obese
  • have diabetes
  • smoke
If you've already had a heart attack or stroke, then you know it's important to prevent having another one in the future. Lifestyle changes and taking medications can reduce your risk. It's important to make a treatment plan with your doctor and stick to it.

Personal and Close to Home ~~~
This past weekend Saturday and Sunday consecutively two of my dear friend's husbands had 'heart attacks'. It was very scary there for a while for all of us. These men are 55 and 58 (not very old in the scheme of things) One was dealing with extremely high blood pressure; the other, this was his 3rd heart attack and he had also undergone open heart surgery about 3 years ago. Both were diagnosed with a blocked coronary artery (arteries that service the heart).

What Happens

  1. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your artery walls and cause them to harden and thicken.
  2. Plague, which consists of cholesterol, fat, calcium and other substances, can build up in the damaged lining of an artery. Over time, it narrows and blocks the artery. As this plaque continues to build, the artery becomes narrower, harder and less flexible. This reduces blood flow to the artery.
  3. Eventually, the plaque cracks. If this happens, platelets, which are particles in the blood, clump together on or near the crack and can form a clot, thus cutting off the blood flow to the heart or brain - thus leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of a heart attack or stroke are not the same for everyone. Also signs of a second heart attack or stroke may be different from those a person experienced the first time.

  • pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • pain or discomfort in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back
  • pressure, squeezing or fullness in the chest
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea, vomiting, cold sweat or dizziness

  • sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg on one side of your body
  • trouble walking or dizziness
  • sudden confusion or trouble speaking
  • loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • sudden, severe headache

NOTE: Women's Symptoms May be Different
In addition to the symptoms listed above, Women may also experience such things as:
- unusual fatigue
- sleep disturbance and anxiety 'weeks' before a heart attack

Minutes Matter - Every Second Counts...
If you or a loved one or someone you know are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, have someone drive you or them to the nearest emergency room or in most cases CALL 911. Many people waste valuable time thinking the symptoms aren't serious, but it's important to take action as soon as your symptoms appear. About 50 percent of people who die from a heart attack die within one hour of the onset of symptoms. And, it's no different for stroke patients --every minute that passes increases your risk of serous brain damage or disability.

10 Lifestyle Changes that You Can Make to Reduce Your Risk of a Heart Attack or Stroke.

1. Reduce High Blood Pressure. If you have high blood pressure, make a plan with your doctor to lower it. Work with your doctor to reduce your current blood pressure.

2. Reduce High Cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes and medications that can help you get your cholesterol under control.

3. Lose Weight. If you have extra body fat --- especially around your waist--- your risk increases. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce your risk. Make sure to talk to your docor before beginning a wight loss or exercise plan.

4. Be Active. Start slowly and add minutes to your workout everyday. Try to make exercise part or your daily routine. If you have had trouble sticking to an exercise plan in the past, choose activities that you enjoy and recruit friends and family to join you. If you miss a day, don't be discouraged -- just start again the next day.

5. Control your Diabetes. Monitor your blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association recommends that your A1C (the test that measures your average glucose over two or three months) be below 7 percent.

6. Quit Smoking. If you smoke, your risk of having a heart attack doubles. But, after just 24 hours of quitting, your risk goes down. After one year, your risk is half that of a smoker, and after 15 years, your risk will be the same as that of a nonsmoker.

7. Avoid Excessive Alcohol Use. Limit your alcohol intake to one drink per day for women (two for men). One drink is equal to 12 oz of beer, 4 oz o wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof liquor.

8. Reduce Stress. High stress levels can contribute to heart disease. Take steps to reduce stress in your life, and consider practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation or getting a periodic massage.

9. Eat a Healthy Diet. Talk to your doctor abut developing a plan to help you eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, and low in sodium. Read nutritional labels on packaged food, and pay close attention to total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol and sodium.

10. Talk Openly to Your Doctor. It's normal to experience anger, guilt or depression after having a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor can help.

For additional information and resources visits the Websites below:

American Heart Association ~~ www.americanheart.org
American Stroke Association ~~ www.strokeassociation.org

Information from Healthy Advise for You and Your Family - 2008 Healthy Advise Networks...

To Your Health & Success !
Miss Julia


Thursday, June 19, 2008

WHY SLEEP MATTERS ~~ Are You Getting Enough?

If you are not getting enough sleep (and many millions of us are not), you need to zero in on why this is happening and what you can do about it.

Some nights you feel like you never close your eyes. Or you fall asleep just fine, but then you wake up and watch the clock. If this sounds familiar, a good night's sleep regularly escapes you. This can mean more than just some next-day grogginess. Too little sleep that results in 'tossing and turning' can affect your health, relationships, and job, and can even put your safety (and those around you at risk).

Tossing and Turning
Not getting enough sleep doesn't just make you tired. It also:
  • decreases your ability to concentrate
  • decreases your reaction time
  • increases your memory lapses and forgetfulness
  • increases your likelihood of accidents and injuries
  • increases moodiness
  • increases your susceptibility to illnesses

While you may think of sleep as merely a time of rest, researchers have found it is actually an action-packed period when many processes vital to your health and well-being occur. New evidence, for instance shows that sleep is critical for helping you strengthen your memory and ability to think clearly. Sleep also affects mood and plays a pivotal role in the normal functioning of your body's endocrine and immune systems, which regulate the release of key hormones and help protect your body from disease.

Too little sleep is found to be associated with a variety of serious health problems, including hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, diabetes, heart disease, alcohol use, and depression. Being sleep-deprived can also result in difficulty concentrating and making decisions, as well as forming new memories.

Lack of sleep can damage your health in other ways as well. Drowsy driving is likely the cause of more than 100,000 police-reported car crashes and more than 1,500 deaths every year. Sleeping poorly costs employers in lost productivity and also increases the risk of workplace accidents.

Some Causes of Insomnia...

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Using Stimulants (including over-the-counter and prescription medications)
  • Grieving over the loss of a loved one
  • Chronic Pain (caused by a medical condition)
  • A change in your environment
  • Sleep/Wake schedule interruptions
  • Medication side effects
  • Menstruation, pregnancy or menopause (in women)
  • A Change in your Schedule
  • Environmental noise
  • Extreme temperatures

While sleep needs vary from person to person, to be fully alert the next day sleep experts recommend adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. However, the 'quality' of your sleep also counts. To be refreshing, your slumber needs to be continuous, not disrupted by repeated awakenings. You also need enough sleep to avoid sleep dept - this is the collective effect of not getting adequate sleep over time.

If sleepiness is interfering with your ability to carry out your daily activities, you probably need more shut-eye!

While you are asleep, you usually pass through a repeating cycle of five phases of sleep: Stages 1,2,3,4 and REM (rapid eye movement-also know as 'dream sleep'). It takes 70-90 minutes to move through one cycle of sleep. Typically, you will have four to six cycles a night. At the end of each cycle you are nearly awake before beginning the cycles again.

Stage 1:
Light sleep, drifting in and out

Stage 2:
Helps refresh your body

Stage 3:
entering deep sleep; stages 3 and 4 are the most restorative cycles

Stage 4:
deep sleep, your body produces more cells and breaks down proteins; if awakened, you may feel groggy or disoriented

Stage 5:
REM (Dream Sleep) stimulates the parts of your brain used for learning; breathing is more rapid, irregular, and shallow; heart rate and blood pressure rise, males may develop erections.

While everyone has occasional sleepless nights, you need to tell your doctor about it if you are having difficulty falling or staying asleep at least three times a week. Your sleeplessness may be a type of insomnia, but it could also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or other types of Sleep Disorders

A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP -Ten Tips to Help You Sleep Better

  1. Relax Before Bedtime. Train yourself to associate restful activities with sleep and make them a part of your bedtime ritual. Try a warm bath, deep breathing, guided imagery or reading.
  2. Get Regular Exercise. Exercise 30 (or more) minutes every day. Be sure to exercise at least five t six hours before going to bed
  3. Steer Clear of Caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Don't consume caffeine in the evening, including: coffee, chocolate, soft drinks, teas, diet drugs and pain relievers which contain caffeine.
  4. Make It Dark and Cozy. Have soft, comfortable bed linens and curtains to block out outside lights.
  5. Limit Alcohol. Alcohol can rob you of deep sleep and keep you stuck in the lighter, less restful stages of sleep.
  6. Keep the Room Temperature Pleasant. Feeling too hot or too cold can disrupt your sleep or prevent your from falling asleep.
  7. Don't Just Lie There. The anxiety of not being able to fall asleep can actually contribute to insomnia. If you cannot sleep, get out of bed and calmly do something else until you feel tired.
  8. Get Up With the Sun. Sunlight helps your body's internal clock reset itself each day.
  9. Set A Sleep Schedule. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
  10.  Natural Sleep Aids.  If all else fails, Mother Nature is in your corner.  You do not have to resort to narcotics or other sleep meds.  See how a natural product can help you get to sleep safely and naturally.

To Your Health & Success!
Miss Julia,  Licensed Professional Nurse

Visit me online @  JuliaGrayonLine.com

Information from: National Sleep Foundation Health Monitor (Guide to Better Sleep)
Healthy Advice - Taking Care of Yourself (Trouble Sleeping)
Market Health - Oxy-Sleep Natural Sleep Aid

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


In large quantities, coffee - can be bad for your health. However, researchers at Harvard have recently shown that drinking coffee in moderation may not only be harmless, but can possibly have positive benefits.

Among these benefits are:

~ Lowering your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

~ Lowering your risk of developing gallstones

~Lowering your risk of Colon cancer

~ Lowering your risk of Liver damage and Parkinson's disease.

~ Coffee may also help improve endurance in long-duration physical activities.

Spreading your coffee consumption over the course of the day will help you stay more alert than drinking most of your coffee intake during one period. So, instead of a 16 ounce serving first thing in the morning, try consuming 4-6 ounces every hour.

Moderation is still the key. Caffeine is a mild addictive stimulant that can still have harmful effects such as an increased heart rate and blood pressure. Limit yourself to two or three cups a day.

"Reduce Your Risk of Cancer"

The National Cancer Institute estimates that over 11 million North Americans have a history of cancer. If you have been thinking about quitting smoking, here's another reason. Tobacco can cause cancer in the lungs, throat, mouth and esophagus. More than 80 percent of lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoke.

Get Screened. There are many tests that can help detect cancer before it becomes difficult to treat. The earlier you spot it, the faster and easier it will be to contain.

Eat Healthy. One-third of all cancers diagnosed every year may be related to what we eat. Cut down on fat and eat more fruits, vegetable, nuts, beans and whole grains.

Start Exercising. A little more physical activity will help control your weight and reduce your chance of developing some types of cancer.

To Your Health and Success !
Julia Gray, Licensed Practical Nurse
Proud Member of MyVMTeam


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