Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Break Free From Osteoporosis!

*Repost* National Osteoporosis Foundation

May is National Osteoporosis Month!

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone and/or make too little bone. This means your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from simple actions, like sneezing or bumping into furniture.

Osteoporosis means "porous bone." Under a microscope healthy bones look like a honeycomb but in bones with osteoporosis the honeycomb holes and spaces are much bigger. This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal making the bone weaker and more likely to break.

FACT: One in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis. For women, the incidence is greater than that of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.*

May is National Osteoporosis Month! We hope you will help us celebrate by taking the #JumpingJackChallenge. We issued this challenge to raise awareness about building bone strength and density when you’re younger to achieve peak bone mass and to maintain bone health and strength as you age.
Accepting the Jumping Jack Challenge is easy – videotape yourself, your kids, family or friends doing 10 jumping jacks in less than 10 seconds. Share the video via your social media page with the hashtag #JumpingJackChallenge and challenge your friends to do it too – or they should make a donation to NOF at You can learn more and see an example on this page of our website: Please remember that if you have osteoporosis you shouldn’t do jumping jacks, but you can do “stepping jacks” (step side-to-side raising your arms above your heard as you would for jumping jacks). This is a safe way for everyone to take part in the Jumping Jack Challenge!
You might wonder why we chose jumping jacks for this challenge. As noted above, we hope to raise awareness about building peak bone mass in children and adolescents. Peak bone mass is the greatest amount of bone an individual can attain. We reach our peak bone mass between 25-30 years of age. Focusing on bone health in children and adolescents is not just about growing strong bones, it also may help strengthen the concept of disease prevention over treatment. Most children do not consume the necessary amounts of nutrients needed to sustain strong bones during the key bone-building years of 9-18. In fact, a quarter of childhood injuries include fractures that could have been prevented through better nutrition.
Prevention of osteoporosis later in life begins in childhood with a strong health curriculum that teaches children healthy lifestyle choices including about proper diet and exercise.
I recently surveyed the community including educators and health leaders to determine if they think a curriculum including bone health is important to implement in schools and more than 75% said yes! Check out the following infographic to learn how you can incorporate bone healthy behaviors with your children or grandchildren before, during or after school.
We hope to see your posts on social media for the #JumpingJackChallenge!
Andrea Portillo, MPH, CHES®
Marketing, Consumer & Professional Education Manager
National Osteoporosis Foundation

Friday, May 5, 2017

What Is Medicare Supplement Insurance?

                      *repost:               What's Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap)?

A Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy, sold by private companies, can help pay some of the health care costs that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Some Medigap policies also offer coverage for services that Original Medicare doesn't cover, like medical care when you travel outside the U.S. If you have Original Medicare and you buy a Medigap policy, Medicare will pay its share of the Medicare-approved amount for covered health care costs. Then your Medigap policy pays its share.
A Medigap policy is different from a Medicare Advantage Plan. Those plans are ways to get Medicare benefits, while a Medigap policy only supplements your Original Medicare benefits.

8 things to know about Medigap policies 

  1. You must have Medicare Part A and Part B.
  2. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can apply for a Medigap policy, but make sure you can leave the Medicare Advantage Plan before your Medigap policy begins.
  3. You pay the private insurance company a monthly premium for your Medigap policy in addition to the monthly Part B premium that you pay to Medicare.
  4. A Medigap policy only covers one person. If you and your spouse both want Medigap coverage, you'll each have to buy separate policies.
  5. You can buy a Medigap policy from any insurance company that's licensed in your state to sell one.
  6. Any standardized Medigap policy is guaranteed renewable even if you have health problems. This means the insurance company can't cancel your Medigap policy as long as you pay the premium.
  7. Some Medigap policies sold in the past cover prescription drugs, but Medigap policies sold after January 1, 2006 aren't allowed to include prescription drug coverage. If you want prescription drug coverage, you can join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
  8. It's illegal for anyone to sell you a Medigap policy if you have a Medicare Medical Savings Account (MSA) Plan.

Medigap policies don't cover everything

Medigap policies generally don't cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing.

Insurance plans that aren't Medigap

Some types of insurance aren't Medigap plans, they include:
  • Medicare Advantage Plans (like an HMO, PPO, or Private Fee-for-Service Plan)
  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plans
  • Medicaid
  • Employer or union plans, including the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP)
  • Veterans' benefits
  • Long-term care insurance policies
  • Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health plans

Dropping your entire Medigap policy (not just the drug coverage) 

If you decide to drop your entire Medigap policy, you need to be careful about the timing. For example, you may want a completely different Medigap policy—not just your old Medigap policy without the prescription drug coverage. Or you might decide to switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage.
You have to pay a late enrollment penalty when you join a new Medicare drug plan if:
  • You drop your entire Medigap policy and the drug coverage wasn't creditable prescription drug coverage, or
  • You go 63 days or more in a row before your new Medicare drug coverage begins

Friday, April 14, 2017

50 Easter Egg Fillers!

Easter Egg Filler Ideas!

Planning an Easter Egg hunt for this weekend? Make it an EGG-stra fun experience 
with these 50 different plastic egg filler ideas. Your day is sure to be EGG-cellent!

We suggest you visit your local Dollar Tree or Party Store for some
of the ideas below:

1. Candy / Snacks
2. Coins / Arcade Tokens
3. Rubber Bouncy Balls
4. Legos
5. Toy Figurines
6. Future "Date" Nights - Ice Cream, Park, Movies, Etc.
7. Silly Putty
8. Small Kids Watch
9. Stencils
10. Play Dough
11. Music Headphones
12. Pencil Erasers
13. Hair Bows / Clips
14. Plastic / Rubber Mini Animals
15. Glow Sticks
16. Stamps
17. Hot Wheels
18. Fun Shoe Strings
19. Stickers
20. Bubbles
21. Mini Flashlight
22. Socks
23. Crayons / Mini Pencils
24. Removable Tattoos
25. Toy Bugs
26. Yo-Yo
27. Mini Notebook / Notepad
28. Whistle
29. Bracelets
30. "Just Add Water" Grow Toys
31. Key Chains
32. Nail Polish
33. Garden Seeds
34. Balloons
35. Chalk
36. Hacky Sack
37. Magnets
38. Beads
39. Marbles
40. Chap-stick
41. "Coupons" - Stay Up Late Pass, 1 day of no chores, Etc.
42. Finger Puppets
43. Barbie Accessories
44. Band-aids
45. Slinky
46. Fun Personal Note or Bible Verse
47. Stuffed Toys
48. Toy Jacks
49.Polly Pocket
50.  Small Army Men

Happy Shopping! 
We hope you have a wonderful Easter Weekend!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hepatitis C - Why Baby Boomers Should Get Tested

Hepatitis C and Baby Boomers (1945-1965)

*Repost* Brought to you by: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Hepatitis C Overview

Hepatitis C is a serious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C has been called a silent epidemic because most people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected.
While some people who get infected with Hepatitis C are able to clear, or get rid of, the virus, most people who get infected develop a chronic, or lifelong, infection. Over time, chronic Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver problems including liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer. But many people can benefit from available treatment options that can eliminate the virus from the body and prevent further liver damage.

Why should people born during 1945-1965 get tested for Hepatitis C?

In 2012, CDC started recommending Hepatitis C testing for everyone born from 1945 – 1965. While anyone can get Hepatitis C, up to 75% of adults infected with Hepatitis C were born from 1945 - 1965
Most people with Hepatitis C don’t know they are infected so getting tested is the only way to know.
  • Baby boomers are five times more likely to have Hepatitis C than other adults.
  • The longer people live with Hepatitis C undiagnosed and untreated, the more likely they are to develop serious, life-threatening liver disease.
  • Liver disease, liver cancer, and deaths from Hepatitis C are on the rise.
  • Getting tested can help people learn if they are infected and get them into lifesaving care and treatment.

Why do baby boomers have such high rates of Hepatitis C?

The reason that baby boomers have high rates of Hepatitis C is not completely understood. Most boomers are believed to have become infected in the 1970s and 1980s when rates of Hepatitis C were the highest.


How do you get Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is usually spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. This can happen through multiple ways.
Before widespread screening of the blood supply began in 1992, Hepatitis C was spread through blood transfusions and organ transplants. People with clotting problems who took blood products prior to 1987 could have been exposed to Hepatitis C. Sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs was and is a very efficient way to transmit the virus. People have also become infected with the Hepatitis C virus from body piercing or tattoos that were done in prisons, homes, or in other unlicensed or informal facilities.
Although uncommon, outbreaks of Hepatitis C have occurred from poor infection control in health care settings. In rare cases, Hepatitis C may be sexually transmitted. Babies born to mothers with Hepatitis C can get infected during childbirth. Still, many people do not know how or when they were infected.
Hepatitis C is not spread by casual contact, kissing, hugging, sneezing, coughing, breastfeeding or sharing food, eating utensils or glasses.


Many people with chronic Hepatitis C do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected. People with chronic Hepatitis C can live for decades without symptoms or feeling sick.
When symptoms do appear, they often are a sign of advanced liver disease. Symptoms of Hepatitis C can include: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, grey-colored stools, joint pain and/or jaundice.

Information on Testing

The only way to know if someone has Hepatitis C is to get tested. Doctors use a blood test, called a Hepatitis C Antibody Test, to find out if a person has ever been infected with Hepatitis C. The Hepatitis C Antibody Test looks for antibodies to the Hepatitis C virus. Antibodies are chemicals released into the bloodstream when someone gets infected. The antibody test results will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to come back, although new Rapid Antibody Tests are available in some settings.
  • Non-reactive or a negative Hepatitis C antibody test result means that a person does not have Hepatitis C. However, if a person has been recently exposed to the Hepatitis C virus, he or she will need to be tested again.
  • A Reactive or a positive Hepatitis C antibody test result means that Hepatitis C antibodies were found in the blood and a person has been infected with the Hepatitis C virus at some point in time.

    A reactive antibody test does not necessarily mean a person still has Hepatitis C. Once people have been infected, they will always have antibodies in their blood. This is true if even if they have cleared the Hepatitis C virus. A reactive antibody test requires an additional, follow-up test to determine if a person is currently infected with Hepatitis C.

Living with Chronic Hepatitis C

How is chronic Hepatitis C treated?

Medications, called antivirals, can be used to treat many people with chronic Hepatitis C. There are several medications available to treat chronic Hepatitis C, including new treatments that appear to be more effective and have fewer side effects than previous options. For current information on approved treatments for Hepatitis C, please visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
However, not everyone needs or can benefit from treatment. It is important to be checked by a doctor experienced in treating chronic Hepatitis C. He or she can determine the most appropriate medical care. Decisions about starting treatment are based on many factors, such as the type of virus, the condition of the liver, and other health conditions. Whether or not to be treated or when to start treatment should be discussed with your doctor.

To protect your liver, you can:

  • Ask your doctor before taking any prescription, over-the-counter medications, supplements or vitamins. For instance, some drugs, such as certain pain medications, can potentially damage the liver
  • Avoid alcohol since it can increase the speed of liver damage
  • Talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B
  • Page last reviewed: January 27, 2015
  • Page last updated: January 27, 2015

Friday, March 31, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward...

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign created annually in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day, also celebrated in March, increases awareness of registered dietitian nutritionists as the indispensable providers of food and nutrition services and recognizes RDNs for their commitment to helping people enjoy healthy lives.
The 2017 National Nutrition Month® theme is "Put Your Best Fork Forward."

5 Tips to Kick Bad Eating Habits to the Curb

Reviewed by Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN

National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month!

March is National Nutrition Month... we know it's now the end of March, but you should never stop focusing on nutrition and food!

Brought to you by: Choose My Plate:


Choose a variety of foods and beverages from each food group to build healthy eating styles. Include choices from all the MyPlate food groups to meet your calorie and nutrient needs when planning or preparing meals and snacks.

Fruit Group iconFocus on whole fruits. Whole fruits include fresh, frozen, dried, and canned options. Choose whole fruits more often than 100% fruit juice.


Vegetable Group iconVary your veggies. Vegetables are divided into five subgroups and include dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables. Choose vegetables from all subgroups.


Grains Group iconMake half your grains whole grains. Grains include whole grains and refined, enriched grains. Choose whole grains more often.

Protein Foods

Protein Foods Group iconVary your protein routine. Protein foods include both animal (seafood, meat, poultry, and eggs) and plant sources (nuts, beans and peas*, seeds, and soy products). Choose a variety of lean protein foods from both plant and animal sources.
*Note: Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group.


Dairy Group iconMove to low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified soy beverages (soymilk). Choose fat-free (skim) and low fat (1%) dairy foods.

Oils are part of healthy eating styles because they provide nutrients for the body, like fatty acids and vitamin E. They also enhance the flavor of your food. Some oils are eaten as a natural part of the food such as in nuts, olives, avocados, and seafood. Other oils are refined and added to a food during processing or preparation such as soybean, canola, and safflower oils. Choose the right amount of oil to stay within your daily calorie needs.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Where's My Tax Refund?

Where’s My Refund?

Go online to find out when to expect your money

This year some taxpayers won’t get their refunds until the week of Feb. 27. — Getty Images
On Feb. 15, something wonderful happened: The river of money taxpayers send to the federal government temporarily reversed its flow.
Yes, it’s tax-refund season, although that reverse flow won’t start hitting individual bank accounts until next week at the earliest, depending on whether you filed on paper or electronically and whether you asked for direct deposit. The season officially began Feb. 15 for taxpayers who claim child-related deductions and for low-to-moderate-income families who qualify for the earned income tax credit, thanks to legislation called the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015.
The IRS’ Where’s My Refund? webpage, which the agency will start updating on Feb. 18, lets you check on when your money should arrive. There’s also a smartphone app, for the super impatient who need hourly updates.
Starting this year, the 2015 law requires the Internal Revenue Service to hold refunds until Feb. 15 to give it more time to detect fraudulent claims. Tax season is a boom time for identity thieves, who file thousands of bogus returns early in the season in an attempt to pilfer refunds before the real taxpayers get around to filing. Earned-income and child-related refunds are favorite targets because those are usually worth thousands of dollars.
“It’s a quick refund, and it adds up to be a lot of money when you file a lot of fraudulent returns,” Richmond, Va.-based CPA David Creasy told the Los Angeles Times. “They don’t just file one or two. They file in the hundreds or even in the thousands of returns.”
This year Feb. 15 fell on a Wednesday. Allowing for processing time and a long Presidents Day weekend, the IRS said it’s possible that some taxpayers won’t get their refunds until the week of Feb. 27.
As always, AARP offers IRS-certified volunteers, both online and in locations throughout the country, who provide free tax help. For information, check here.

More on Taxes

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

National Heart Health Month

February is Heart Health Month

*REPOST* Brought to you by: The Heart Foundation

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It is also one of the most preventable.  Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart disease, having regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspects of saving lives from this often silent killer.  FEBRUARY IS HEART HEALTH MONTH.  Make a difference in your community by spreading the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encouraging those around you to have their hearts check and commit to heart-healthy lives.

How can YOU make a difference during Heart Health Month
  • Wear red on National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 3rd to increase awareness of heart disease.  Then share a photo of you and your friends in your best red gear on social media with the hashtag #theheartfoundation.
  • Like The Heart Foundation on Facebook and follow us on Twitterand SHARE the postings with your friends.
  • Purchase jewelry from the Amanda Rose Trends Collection during the month of February and The Heart Foundation will receive $1 from each item purchased.
  • Register for one of our upcoming indoor cycle fundraising events or our CPR/AED training event (more details to follow soon)
  • Educate yourself.
  • Donate to The Heart Foundation and help support heart research.

What is Heart Disease?

To clarify, when we use the term heart disease on The Heart Foundation website, we are primarily referring to coronary artery disease, also called coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.  This is a condition in which plaque, which is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances in the blood, builds up inside the coronary arteries which supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
This plaque build-up is called atherosclerosis.  A plaque can grow large enough to reduce or completely block blood flow through an artery.  More frequently, a plaque may rupture, causing a blood clot to form that either blocks the artery or breaks off and travels somewhere else in the body causing a blockage at another site.  When the blockage takes place in a blood vessel that feeds the heart, the result is a heart attack or, depending on the severity, Sudden Cardiac Death.
If the plaque build-up or blood clot resulting from the plaque rupture occurs in the carotid arteries on either side of the neck, this is called Carotid Artery Diseaseand can result in a stroke.  Peripheral Arterial Disease is when the major arteries that supply blood to the legs, arms or pelvis are obstructed.  If blood flow to any of these areas of the body is reduced or blocked, numbness, pain and sometimes dangerous infections such as gangrene can occur.

It is important to be familiar with the anatomy of the heart and how it functions in the body to truly understand heart disease.  Click here to view the video Cedars-Sinai Heart Center Anatomy of the Heart.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Symptoms of a heart attack or myocardial infarction can vary greatly from person to person, but in order to help you identify a possible heart attack, we have listed some of the most common symptoms below:
  • Approximately 2 out of every 3 people who have heart attacks experience chest pain, shortness of breath or fatigue a few days or weeks before the attack.
  • A person with angina (temporary chest pain) may begin to find that it takes less and less physical activity to trigger the pain.  Any change in the pattern of angina should be taken very seriously and brought to the attention of your physician.
  • During a heart attack, a person may feel pain in the middle of the chest which can spread to the back, neck, jaw or arms.  The pain may also be felt only in the back, neck, jaw or arms rather than the chest.   
  • A person having a heart attack may have gas-like pain or pressure in the stomach area which is often mistaken for indigestion. The pain is similar to angina, but it is usually more severe, longer lasting and does not improve with rest or a nitroglycerin pill.
  • It is important to note that approximately 1 out of every 3 people who have heart attacks do not feel any chest pain.  Many of these are women, non-Caucasian, older than 75, have heart failure or diabetes or have had a stroke.
  • Nausea & vomiting which are sometimes mistaken for food poisoning or the stomach flu
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath, especially in older people
  • Feelings of restlessness, sweatiness, anxiety or a sense of impending doom
  • Bluishness of the lips, hands or feet
  • Heavy pounding of the heart or abnormal heart rhythms
  • Loss of consciousness (This can be the first symptom of a heart attack!)
  • Disorientation resembling a stroke may occur in older people.
  • Also, older people, especially women, will often take longer to admit they are not well and to request medical assistance.

Helping a Victim of a Heart Attack

Half of the deaths from heart attack occur in the first 3 or 4 hours after the onset of symptoms, so it is important to know and recognize the warning signs.
  • If you think that you or someone in your presence is having a heart attack, call 911 IMMEDIATELY!  Every minute you delay can result in more damage to the heart muscle.
  • Having the victim chew an aspirin after the ambulance has been called may help reduce the size of the blood clot. 

Helping a Victim of Sudden Cardiac Death

  • Call 911 IMMEDIATELY!
  • Begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR.  CPR can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chances of survival. 
  • Utilize an automated external defibrillator (AED) if one is available.  Follow the instructions provided by the unit.  Many public places such as airports and shopping malls now have AEDs.  Brain death begins in only 4 to 6 minutes after cardiac arrest, but it is often reversible if treated within a few minutes with defibrillation, or an electric shock to the heart, as from an AED, to restore a normal heartbeat. 
The chances of survival for a victim of Sudden Cardiac Death drop by 7 to 10 percent with every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation, and very few attempts at resuscitation succeed after 10 minutes, so the key is to ACT QUICKLY!

Heart Disease: Scope and Impact 1

  • Heart disease (which includes Heart Disease, Stroke and other Cardiovascular Diseases) is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, killing nearly 787,000 people alone in 2011.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics and Whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer.Heart Disease Scope and Impact Photo
  • Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually.
  • In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.
  • About 720,000 people in the U.S. suffer heart attacks each year. Of these, 515,000 are a first heart attack and 205,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
  • In 2011, about 326,200 people experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States. Of those treated by emergency medical services, 10.6 percent survived. Of the 19,300 bystander-witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the same year, 31.4 percent survived.
  • Direct and indirect costs of heart disease total more than $320.1 billion. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

Women & Heart Disease 1

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.
Women and men are not the same when it comes to heart disease.  Visit the Information on Women and Heart Disease page of our blog to learn more.

1. Sources: – Heart Disease Facts
American Heart Association – 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Update, compiled by AHA, CDC, NIH and other governmental sources

How to Reduce Your Risk

  1. Choose a Heart Healthy Lifestyle.
    • Engage in regular moderate aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week.
    • Adopt a diet low in salt, saturated and transfats and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, etc.) like the Mediterranean Diet.
    • Maintain a normal body weight with caloric adjustment.
    • Take fish oil supplements.
    • Avoid smoking and recreational drug use.
    • Imbibe no more than ½ to 1 alcoholic beverage per day.

  1. Know and review your risk factors with a trusted physician.
  2. Your physician may recommend medications to control cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes.
  3. High-risk individuals should consider taking a daily aspirin.
  4. Avoid hormone replacement unless you have severe menopausal symptoms.
  5. In selected cases, it may be necessary to conduct non-invasive or even invasive tests to determine the nature and severity of the heart disease.
  6. Sometimes angioplasty/stenting or even bypass surgery may be needed if you have severe and symptomatic arterial blockage.
  7. Learn CPR.
  8. And as Dr. P.K. Shah always recommends, CHOOSE YOUR PARENTS WISELY!

Common Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart disease can occur at any age. However, four out of five people who die from coronary heart disease are aged 65 or older. The risk of stroke doubles with each decade after the age of 55.
Men and women are equally at risk for heart disease, but women tend to get coronary artery disease an average of 10 years later than men. The risk for women increases as they approach menopause and continues to rise as they get older. Death rates from heart disease and stroke for women are twice as high as those for all forms of cancer.
Family History (Heredity)
Presence of heart disease in a parent or sibling, especially at a young age, increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Smokers are twice as likely to suffer heart attacks as non-smokers, and they are more likely to die as a result. Smoking is also linked to increased risk of stroke.  The nicotine and carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke damages the cardiovascular system. Passive smoking may also be a danger. 46 million Americans (25 million men and 21 million women) smoke.  Women who smoke and take the oral contraceptive pill are at particularly high risk of heart disease and stroke.
The higher the blood cholesterol level, the higher the risk of coronary heart disease, particularly if it is combined with any of the other risk factors. Diet is one cause of high cholesterol – others are age, sex and family history. High levels (over 100 mg/dl) of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad cholesterol”, are dangerous, and low levels (under 40 mg/dl in men and under 55 mg/dl in women) of HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good cholesterol”, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. High levels (over 150 mg/dl) of triglycerides (another type of fat), in some, may also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Nearly 40 million Americans have high cholesterol levels.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (over 140/90 mmHg and over 130/80 mmHg in diabetics) increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, and kidney damage. When combined with obesity, smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes, the risk increases several times. High blood pressure can be a problem in women who are pregnant or are taking high-dose types of oral contraceptive pill. 72 million Americans over age 20 have high blood pressure.
Physical Inactivity
Failure to exercise (walking or doing other moderate activities for at least 30 minutes five days a week or more vigorous workouts at least 20 minutes three times a week) can contribute to an increased risk of coronary heart disease as physical activity helps control weight, cholesterol levels, diabetes and, in some cases, can help lower blood pressure.

People who are overweight are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke, even if they have none of the other risk factors. Excess weight causes extra strain on the heart; influences blood pressure, cholesterol and levels of other blood fats – including triglycerides; and increases the risk of developing diabetes. 66% of Americans over age 20 are obese.
Small amount of regular alcohol consumption (1/2 to 1 drink per day for women and 1-2 drinks per day for men) can reduce risk of heart disease. However, drinking an average of more than one drink a day for women or more than two drinks a day for men increases the risk of heart disease and stroke because of the effect on blood pressure, weight and levels of triglycerides – a type of fat carried in the blood.  Binge drinking is particularly dangerous.
Drug Abuse
The use of certain drugs, particularly cocaine and amphetamines, has been linked to heart disease and stroke.  Cocaine can cause abnormal heartbeat which can be fatal while heroin and opiates can cause lung failure. Injecting drugs can cause an infection of the heart or blood vessels.
The condition seriously increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even if glucose levels are under control. More than 80% of diabetes sufferers die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.
Previous Medical History
People who have had a previous heart attack or stroke are more likely than others to suffer further events.
Stress, Depression, Anger/Hostility
Stress, depression, and negative emotions have also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.