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Heart Healthy Holidays

heart health tips

The holidays are getting closer!  Are you committed to heart health?

The real question is, come new years resolution time are you going to be happy with how you treated your heart from now until then.  Can you say no to the extra piece of pumpkin pie; and yes to the treadmill?

What are some small daily choices you can make to help ease the holiday gain and the slump in gym attendance?

Heart Health Tips

For me, I start with the plate.  I have some basic rules that help me to portion my food well.  First, no layering of foods.  You laugh, but its true!  How many aunts and uncles pile green bean casserole right on top of the corn casserole?  Then, make sure you can see the color of the plate between food items.  These secret tricks help me to be sure I don’t get to much food on one plate.  Then, choose wisely what you put on that plate.  You have two choices…get little tiny one or two bites of lots of things; or get larger portions of just a few things.  I usually get one or two bites of many things so I get to taste them all!  Yummy!  After all you must tell Auntie how great her rolls were, and grandma how wonderful her yams are.  Then, DO NOT GO BACK!  No seconds or you forgo the desert.  If you do forgo desert or decide to go for the pie…either way…use only half of your plate.  I visually cut it down the middle and only put food on one side.  When it comes to leftovers…eat normal, no need to indulge every meal till the turkey is gone.  But that is me, that is how I am careful about eating my way through the holidays.  The AHA has some great ideas about choosing what goes on your plate by color, check out their recommendations HERE.

The second step is keeping your workout routine a priority.  I like rewards, I was the kid in school that would work like crazy to get the ribbon come report card day.  So I reward myself with alone time.  The holidays are stressful, so I give it my all in a good run around the block and then do an extra lap walking and just enjoying some me time.  I find it really puts the holidays and my goals back in perspective.  Sometimes I go for a power walk with a friend and “winercize.”  We power walk and drink a glass of wine while we are walking.  Its great!  We gab and get some cardio in all at the same time.  When we are done, we are both refreshed and wondering why we don’t do it more often.  If you would like more details about how to stay fit during the holidays, HERE are some great ideas.

One thing about the holidays that play a part in heart health is stress and depression.  These can be very serious and yet very avoided. If you are feeling stressed or depressed beyond what you feel is normal, please see your doctor right away.  There is no shame in asking for help from a doctor; no more than there is shame in asking someone to help you move a box that is to heavy for one person.  We all need help occasionally; give help to others and take it when you need it.  To help avoid those stressful times I try and experience the holidays like the kids are.  I try and remember the excitement.  Some of my favorite things were no stress and FREE!  I loved (and still do) going to look at all the Christmas lights.  Sometimes we drive, but sometimes we would go for walks and take hot chocolate with us.  I loved watching the holiday shows, every year the same ones and I look forward to them even to this day.  There are so many things you can do to help with stress; for more ideas go HERE.

I would love to hear what you do with your family to keep the holidays heart healthy, you can comment and as long as it is related to the blog, I will approve it.

Thanks!

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

Communication! Communication! Communication!

signs of stroke

 

There are many signs of a stroke you can watch out for. When a person is suffering from a stroke, communication with the hospital is essential.  If the EMT’s will warn the hospital that a stroke patient is en route, the hospital can be prepared when they arrive.  This small step can save so much time which can change the outcome of the stroke damage.  Truth is, EMT’s fail to do this simple yet vital step over 1/3 of the time and don’t notify the hospital when they see signs of a stroke.  Simply having the hospital ready for evaluation and treatment can change the outcome.

“Pre-notification was independently associated with better treatment times:

  • arrival-to-imaging times of 25 minutes or less,
  • arrival-to-treatment with the clot-busting drug tPA within 60 minutes,
  • symptom onset-to-tPA treatment times of 120 minutes or less,
  • and more eligible patients treated with tPA.”

This notification is especially critical if the patient is suffering from a stroke called ischemia; when a blood clot cuts off oxygen to the brain.  Clot busting medications can only be given within a 3 to 4.5 hour time frame.

National guidelines do recommend that these steps of communication are followed, but little change has been made.  If word spreads and EMT’s are knowledgeable of this vital communication step, there are significant positive results.  For example:

“Among patients arriving within two hours of symptom onset, patients with EMS pre-notification were more likely to:

  • be treated with tPA within three hours (82.8 percent vs. 79.2 percent);
  • have shorter arrival-to-imaging times (26 minutes vs. 31 minutes);
  • have shorter arrival-to-tPA treatment times (78 minutes vs. 80 minutes); and
  • have shorter symptom onset-to-tPA treatment times (141 minutes vs. 145 minutes).”

To see a map of rates to identify where communication needs to be improved go see the article referring to this problem written by the American Heart Association.
If EMT’s are aware of this problem, I believe that they will do everything possible to help their patients.  They are hero’s after all!
Have a Heart Healthy Day!
Kristi Krouse

Swimming makes my heart pitter-patter!

We all know that swimming for exercise is great to burn calories and great cardiovascular exercise; but how great is it?  How does it compare to the weight loss go-to…running.  I have to admit I was surprised.

For me personally, I run because it burns calories to keep my clothes fitting.  Not because I love feeling the pavement under my feet or   the sweat running down my back.  Swimming though…I love swimming!  It is relaxing, calming, and you don’t feel so nasty and sweaty afterwards.   Every time I decide I am gonna use my time at the gym swimming, I feel like I am indulging and then feel guilty that I did not run off 400 calories on the treadmill.  Well, that is all gone now!

Why is swimming so amazing?

Swimming works your cardiovascular system and therefore makes your body more efficient at using oxygen…which makes your heart work easier.   As you get better and can swim longer your resting heart rate will get better too!    When you are swimming you are working every single muscle which will tone and strengthen your muscles.   There is also a low risk of injury because you are not straining joint or ligaments.   Not to mention the healing properties that water seems to give.  But this tops the cake!  Did you know…and I admit I did not.   Swimming can burn the same amount of calories that running at 6 mph!  SERIOUSLY!  On a great day I run 9 or 10 mph…and that’s bookin it :).

For me, swimming is now a huge part of  my workout routine!  I would love to hear your swimming experiences!

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

Our New Face!

Heart Smart CPR and American Heart Association has an announcement to make!

Healthy eating tips

 Great news!  Heart Smart CPR and the American Heart Association have an announcement!  The  AHA has new healthy eating tips to make healthy eating easier for your busy schedule at Subway!  When you see the logo above you know the American Heart Association approves!

I am sure you have seen this logo at the supermarket, now you can count on it when you don’t have nutritional information readily available at Subway.  For me personally, I love the fresh ingredients that Subway uses, but I always wonder about the sauces, now there is no doubt.  Way to go American Heart Association!  Thanks for making my busy life a bit easier.  Below is a list of foods that the AHA have given the stamp of approval at Subway.

  • All SUBWAY FRESH FIT® sandwich meals that include apples slices and water
  • All SUBWAY FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meals that include apple slices and low fat milk
  • 9 salads with Sweet Onion Dressing that include apple slices and water

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

 

The Ups and Downs of Arrhythmia

heart arrhythmiaFirst, what is a heart arrhythmia?

The heart has a perfect beat, not to fast, not to slow…if it wavers off, it is considered an arrhythmia; simple as that!  There are different kinds of arrhythmia’s, but lets keep it simple.

–  Tachycardia: heart is to fast.

–  Bradycardia: heart is to slow.

Arrhythmia’s are then identified by where they are happening in the heart; atria or ventricles.

You can have an atrial or ventricular arrhythmia.

Don’t get me wrong, this is very simplified, there are many other layers, but this is the basics.

Now, why does all of this matter?

Well, when your heart is not working correctly oxygen is not pumped to your major organs such as your brain.  This is when a condition with such a crazy name becomes as simple as life or death.    So how do we know if we are at risk of having a heart arrhythmia that will challenge your health?

A heart attack is the most important factor making someone a prone suspect.

If you have suffered a heart attack you are probably under doctor care and have regular EKG’s to monitor your heart.  But what if you have not had such a severe warning, what are some signs or symptoms?

–  fainting or dizziness

–  dificulty breathing

–  fatigue

–  “fluttering heart” feeling

–  flopping in your chest

–  thumping in your chest

–  chest pain

These are just a few, and if you suspect any of them, please seek medical help to begin monitoring your health.  There are many ways to treat and manage an arrhythmia.  Some are medications, pacemakers and keeping a record of your pulse.  Above all when in doubt follow your gut and see your doctor…then follow his/her advice.

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

 

CPR Stats

Everyone can and should learn CPR; I think most everyone agrees with me on this one.  But did you know that most CPR statistics say 70% of people don’t feel capable of helping in a cardiac emergency because they were never trained or training has lapsed so far that they don’t remember.  To make matters worse, CPR statistics say 88% of cardiac emergencies happen at home…so the person you may not feel capable helping is most likely going to be a loved one!  This terrifies me!  I truly hope that everyone does something to learn more about CPR, for starters go here to do a one minute training on hands-only-CPR.  The American Heart Association has put together a great video so that you can learn something now in only one minute.  I just know the people you love are worth that! 🙂

Here are some CPR statistics the American Heart Association has put together for you:

WHY LEARN CPR?
Cardiac arrests are more common than you think, and they can happen to anyone at any time.
• Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur at home.
• Many victims appear healthy with no known heart disease or other risk factors.
• Sudden cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack.
o Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become rapid or chaotic, which causes the heart to suddenly stop beating.
o A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is blocked. A heart attack may cause cardiac arrest.

WHO CAN YOU SAVE WITH CPR?
The life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be a loved one.
• Four out of five cardiac arrests happen at home.
• Statistically speaking, if called on to administer CPR in an emergency, the life you save is likely to be someone at home: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.
• African-Americans are almost twice as likely to experience cardiac arrest at home, work or in another public location than Caucasians, and their survival rates are twice as poor as for Caucasians.

WHY TAKE ACTION?
Failure to act in a cardiac emergency can lead to unnecessary deaths.
• Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival, but only 32 percent of cardiac arrest victims get CPR from a bystander.
• Sadly, less than eight percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside the hospital survive.
• The American Heart Association trains more than 12 million people in CPR annually, to equip Americans with the skills they need to perform bystander CPR.

Don’t be afraid to use the hands-only-CPR training you have learned, you can only help them.  Push hard, push fast, and call 911!

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

Mothers Day for a Cause!

It is almost Mothers day! I hope you are ready! Check out what Macy’s is doing for us to celebrate Mother’s Day.  You can send mom a card via Macy’s Facebook page and they will donate $3 to your favorite charity!  I of course am hoping you will choose Go Red for Women, after all it is Mother’s Day!  This does not cost you a penny, they are donating  and all you have to do is send a card!  Here is the link, go check it out!  You can send me one too while you are at it, let the donations begin!  Come check out a class with me at Heart Smart CPR!

Earth Day and Your Heart

Happy Early Earth Day! 

April 22nd is our official earth day celebration, are you going to do anything special?

I plan on getting outside and enjoying our precious earth!

There are some things to do in Austin and you can find them on Austin360.   I recommend planting a tree, riding a bike, or going for a walk.  Just getting outside is great, but add some exercise and you are helping your heart!

WikiHow  tells where the idea of Earth Day came about.

The celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd began in the United States in 1970 and was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson, who had long pondered about finding a way to “put the environment into the political ‘limelight’ once and for all” (his words). There are actually two Earth Day celebrations (the other one is held in March on the equinox, see “Tips”) but this article focuses on the April 22 Earth Day, which is now celebrated in most countries of the world. Earth Day is a perfect time to reflect about what you are doing to help protect the environment. There are many ways that you can celebrate alone and with others.

They also have some great ideas about how to celebrate it; such as plant a tree, recycle all day, have children recycle toys (excuse for spring cleaning), ride your bike, and of course wear green!

I think it would so great to change your Facebook profile pic to something earthy!  I plan on changing mine for the week!

If you are a teacher of any kind there are some great ideas on Edutopia’s Earth Day Challange!

I would love to hear what you plan on doing for Earth Day!

Have a Heart Healthy Day!

Kristi Krouse

 

 

 

Benefits of Donating Blood…for the Donor?!?

Yes! You heard me correct, there are many benefits of donating blood; especially for men and post menopausal women!
We all know that donating blood is very beneficial to the recipients.  But do you know how much?  Check this out…

Benefits of donating blood

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • A total of 30 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S. (2006).
  • The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
  • The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.  Type O-negative blood (red cells) can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is always in great demand and often in short supply.
  • The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
  • Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98 percent of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

So what are the benefits of donating blood?    When you are donating blood, you are removing some of the iron the blood has in it. High iron levels in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Iron is known to speed the oxidation process of cholesterol, which is thought to possibly increase damage to your (very important) arteries.  This can lead to the all know CVD; cardiovascular disease and make you more susceptible to a heart attack, stroke, etc. Men who donate benefit even more than women simply because women have monthly mensuration which releases iron.

According to Victor Herbert, M.D in a CNN article., a hematologist at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, there are normally about 1,000 milligrams of iron stored in the average adult mans body but only about 300 milligrams in a premenopausal womans. Once women stop menstruating, however, their iron levels and their heart disease risk begin to climb, eventually matching that of men.

So how does donating blood work?  I have to be honest, I have never donated…and I have blood type…wait for it…O-.  Yep, most needed, most often in short supply, and if that was not enough, here comes my guilt…

  • Only 7 percent of people in the U.S. have O-negative blood type. O-negative blood type donors are universal donors as their blood can be given to people of all blood types.
  • Type O-negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known and with newborns who need blood.
  • Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially type O-.

They had me at newborns…

No worries, I am making the trip to the blood bank!

So here is how it all works; or so they tell me.  Guess I will find out soon enough.

  • Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded.
  • Blood donation is a simple four-step process: registration, medical history and mini-physical, donation and refreshments.
  • Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood.
  • The actual blood donation typically takes less than 10-12 minutes. The entire process, from the time you arrive to the time you leave, takes about an hour and 15 min.
  • The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his body. Roughly 1 pint is given during a donation.
  • A healthy donor may donate red blood cells every 56 days, or double red cells every 112 days.
  • A healthy donor may donate platelets as few as 7 days apart, but a maximum of 24 times a year.
  • All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
  • Information you give to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential. It may not be released without your permission except as directed by law.

I could not believe it!  The actual needle part only takes 10 to 15 minutes!  I had no idea; they should advertise this.

So let me get this straight… I donate, I loose iron I don’t need, gain heart health, get a free physical, free snacks, (adult time…I am a mom of 3 wonderful children), and I could save up to 3 lives…why have I not done this.  After all I have been through labor 3 times; this has to be easier!

Well, I hope to see you there!

Donating blood

Have a Heart Healthy Day!
Kristi Krouse