Monday, June 22, 2009

Avoiding A Heart Attack

So far there have been 3 people close to me that have had a heart attack. Surprisingly one of those people were in their late 30s an age I consider quite young to be having a heart attack. I don't consider myself at a high risk for a heart attack. However, after seeing what my friend went through at 38, the pain, recovery, job loss, and medical bills, I've decided to do more investigation on the risks of having a heart attack.

You literally can do searches on having a heart attack and get millions of results. I decided to focus my search on prevention, mainly preventive screening.

With any preventive measures you should consult with a medical professional. These are the steps my nurse practitioner told me to focus on:
  • If you smoke...Quit. If you don't smoke don't start
  • Eat a healthy diet. Cut down on foods that are high in salt and saturated fat to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Control your sugar intake if you have diabetes.
  • If your overweight, lose weight
  • Exercise. Try to workout to at least 30 min. of aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week.
  • Control your blood pressure if you have hypertension.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

What Do You Need To Be Screened For?

I think most people would agree that the health care system needs to change and will probably see a change in the near future. I think that is why preventive medicine has become so important. As medical care continues to be harder to attain for many people, preventive medicine helps with looking towards the future.

What type of medical problems can you be screened for?

There is actually more than I thought:

Coronary Artery Disease
Carotid Artery Disease/Stroke
Peripheral Artery Disease
Breast Cancer
Prostate Cancer
High Blood Pressures
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

The growth in health screening has expanded not only by the different disease preventions (see list above) available but by the access you have to screening. It's not only about seeing your doctor anymore. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants are just as involved in health screening.

Doctors Office or Mobile Health Screening?

There are companies that offer a mobile way for you to get your screening by coming to you via your job or health care event such as a health fair. Which is a great idea because those that are afraid, don't have time, or don't have access to a doctors' office are able to get screened for health problems. So the next time you ask your self "Why get screened?" Think about how good it will feel to know more about your health and what health problems you can prevent.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Do You Take Your Health Seriously?

I work around a lot of young people, around 23 to 30 years of age, and I've noticed how health concerns aren't taken as seriously for several of the younger people I work with. I also know that I didn't take my health very seriously when I was that age either.

Now I find myself looking more into my own health risk and family health history. I think this is mainly because now I have children and I want to know about what to look for as I age and how to talk to my kids when they turn into young adults about what they need to think about in terms of preventive health. In addition, what they need to screen for to ensure good health. Health screening isn't a new concept but for me it has been.

I think through watching family members and watching people not take their health seriously I think more about taking my own health seriously.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What is a silent heart attack?

My ignorance, but I just assumed that most people know when they are having a heart attack. I assumed that you feel excruciating pain in your chest and your arm. Well I recently asked someone who had a heart attack and was surprised. In fact, I read that almost 50% of people having a heart attack don't know they are having a heart attack.

I thought that silent heart attacks were rare but after reading some articles on CNN I found that there not so rare.

A concern that I'm having being that heart disease runs in my family is how do you know when your having a heart attack or when tightness in your chest is just gas and not a heart attack? When do I go see a doctor? My risk for heart attack is low but there is a family history and that's when I worry. When do I go see a doctor?

So I've learned that a silent heart attack means that that absence of pain but not the absence of damage to the heart and arteries.

Most physicians would probably encourage undergoing preventive screening when you have 2 to 3 risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. For me getting answers to questions about screening for risk of heart attack is where I've decided to start.

The Search For Heart Disease Info. Where Do I Begin?

For far too many people the initial signs of heart disease can be frightening and confusing. There is so much information that is out there and it can become overwhelming.

I have found myself scouring online sites for information. Not just websites that have calculators that calculate your risk but information on risk factors and screening options. I talked with a friend that works at a large company and he says last summer his company offered mobile screening.

Well I was enthralled with the idea of having access to health screening and it turns out my company signed on to provide mobile health screening onsite.

Well it's a start and I feel like I at least will have access to information and actually be able to talk with someone one on one about risk and preventive screening on a regular basis.

Check with your job about hosting a mobile screening for you and your coworkers. Overall it pays off not just for you but for the company. Healthy employees are happy employees : )

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Health Screening Before Retirement

"I'm 57 and healthy with no history of health problems."

"Heart diseases runs in my family but I haven't had any health problems."

"I had high blood pressure in my 30s & 40s but I'm now 65 and I feel great."

What do these 3 statements have in common? Preventive health screening is appropriate for all 3 of these people. Regardless of your circumstances if you have no symptoms you can be at risk for certain health problems. The best way to address possible risk is to have preventive health screening. It makes sense to take control of your health with health screening.

Interestingly at the age of 65 and a family history of heart disease and diabetes after talking with my family doctor preventive health screening wasn't discussed. I started thinking about retirement and how I'm going to be a grandparent soon. Oddly enough close friends and coworkers didn't really seem to be involved in preventive health screening. I decided I wanted to stick around longer than most of the women in my family and get past 70 so I can spend time with my grandchildren.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Detecting Stroke Risk

I recently was in France and met a friend that talked about time living between the US and France for many years. One of the things she missed about France compared to the US was the freshness of food, the slow paced lifestyle, and the affordability of things such as health care and basic needs. I began to feel envious of her and how life in France sounded so carefree. Then she tells me during her 40 years of marriage to an American he got sick and suffered a stroke while in France. After a couple of weeks of care in France she decided to take him back to America because of the quality of health care particularly the accessibility to specialist in the US compared to France. She and her spouse stayed in the US for his health care and he had access to more equipment to improve his lifestyle after his illness and he had high quality healthcare from a specialist.

One of things she told me that stood out was limited access in France to detect stroke risk. It turns out he was a prime candidate for stroke but wasn't aware. She feels with early detection or at the least a look at his family history would have been helpful.

Detecting risk for stroke
doesn't have to be rocket science. However, if you don't have access to preventive screening you can miss out on pertinent information that could effect your health in the future.