Lahey Clinic Medical Center
In This Issue
Deep Vein Thrombosis: Are You At Risk?
Health Tip: Exercise That Raises More Than Your Heart Rate
Ask the Doctor: Do I really need to worry about how much salt I eat?

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Top  Winter/Spring 2010
Cardiovascular Health Center for Women

Happy belated Valentine's Day!

You're probably already aware that February is American Heart

Month. Hopefully you're making your heart health a priority every month, but if not, now's the time to start!

Eating right and exercise are crucial to keeping our hearts in good shape, and these are two topics we address in our newsletter. In recognition of DVT awareness month in March, our feature story is about deep vein thrombosis - a condition that affects more than 2 million Americans each year. 

And, as always, we offer a heart healthy recipe: yummy low-fat brownies with raspberry sauce.

We also want you to be the first to know that we're in the planning stages for our next Heart of a Woman event, scheduled for Saturday May 1, 2010. We've taken many of the suggestions from last year's attendees and are looking forward to hosting an even bigger and better event this year! We'll keep you posted on the details.

Yours in good heart health,The Cardiovascular Health Center for Women Team

The Cardiovascular Health Center for Women Team

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Are You At Risk?

Three days before his death in 2003, NBC correspondent David Bloom complained of a pain behind one knee. Bloom, who was covering the war in Iraq, had spent long days crouched in a military vehicle, a sedentary position that doctors say led to the blood clot that ended his life.

Health Tip: Exercise That Raises More Than Your Heart Rate

People exercise for many reasons: to lose weight, improve cardiovascular fitness or flexibility, maintain overall health, and even for sheer enjoyment. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not get enough exercise. In fact, Americans have steadily become more sedentary - and more obese - in recent years. Aside from the commonly reported lack of time barrier, many people lack motivation to keep moving. Walker
Well, here's a different way to energize your exercise plan, which may help you add miles - and meaning - to your workout: exercise for a cause. The benefits include achieving your personal fitness goals and raising money and awareness at the same time. And you won't be doing the job alone; exercising for a cause usually provides a social outlet as well. So, to get you started, here is a sampling of the countless opportunities that are available.

Walks for Hunger

In cities throughout the United States, thousands of people come together to raise awareness and funds to help alleviate hunger in their area. The Walk for Hunger in Massachusetts, for instance, is the oldest pledge walk in the country. Pledge walks are those in which the walkers collect donations that are then submitted to the sponsoring organization

Cancer Research and Awareness

Some of the most well recognized national events are intended to support survivors of breast cancer, to honor those who have passed, and to raise awareness and money for research. Popular walks and runs include the Breast Cancer 3-Day, the Komen Race for the Cure, and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Breast cancer is not the only cancer cause, however. The "Light the Night" Walk is a nationwide evening event organized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise awareness of blood cancers and fund research for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma. During the event, in which both adults and children are welcome, participants carry illuminated balloons to celebrate and honor the lives of those touched by cancer. There are similar national events for prostate, lung, colon, ovarian and other cancers. Of course there are also local events like Lahey Clinic's own 5K cancer walk held each June.

Go It Alone

You don't necessarily need to participate in an organized event in order to exercise for a cause. If you are passionate about a cause, you can set your own fitness goals for "meaningful movement." For instance, one woman was not particularly self-motivated to exercise, but did feel compelled to act in honor of those who died in the 9/11 attacks. So she set a personal fitness goal: to run one mile in honor of every man or woman who was killed. She achieved this goal, in so doing showing respect for both her own health and the lost lives of others.

It's Your ChoiceRunners

Whatever causes you are interested in, there is likely an active event-be it walking, running, cycling, or swimming-that you can find to participate in. An excellent source for identifying events is the Web site: This site offers an expansive list of both individual and team events that occur all around the country throughout the year. Some events have sponsorship and simply require registration fees, while others are pledge events, which require that you collect donations to submit to the cause.

In addition to working on personal fitness goals through both training and participation in these events, getting involved will enrich your life by allowing you to meet new people, have fun, and contribute to worthy causes.

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Ask the Doctor: I don't have blood pressure or heart disease. Do I really need to worry about how much salt I eat?

Good question. While you don't have to worry as much as someone with high blood pressure or heart disease, it helps to be aware of how much salt, or sodium, you are eating.

There is some debate among nutrition experts regarding what the appropriate sodium recommendations should be. Some believe that all people should limit their sodium intake to less than 5.8 grams (2,300 milligrams of sodium), with 3.7 grams a day preferable. Salt

Other nutritionists advise that only people with high blood pressure or those who are believed to be "salt sensitive" need to limit sodium in their diets. "Salt sensitive" people make up about 30 percent of the population and are those whose blood pressure is likely to increase when they eat a high-sodium diet. You may or may not be particularly sensitive to the effects of sodium and because there's no way to know who might develop high blood pressure as a result of a high-sodium diet, it's best to err on the side of caution.

Interestingly, a recent research study in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine suggested that slashing salt intake by 3 grams a day (approximately a half teaspoon) could dramatically reduce the incidence of heart disease and death in adults in the U.S. The researchers reported the projected reductions would be a similar to the benefits accruing from a 50 percent drop in the smoking rate and a 5 percent decline in body mass index among obese adults. Taken a step further, these researchers then predicted that the reduction of 3 grams of salt per day would cut the number of new cases of coronary heart disease by 60,000 to 120,000; stroke by 32,000 to 66,000 cases; and heart attacks by 54,000 to 99,000.

Click here to learn how to reduce your sodium intake.

Ask the Doctor invites you to submit your questions to [email protected]. All questions should be impersonal in nature, related to heart health and address topics others might want to know about as well. Due to the large volume of submissions expected, we will most likely be unable to answer every question. We will, however, answer as many questions as possible and post the questions and answers in future e-newsletters, as well as on our Web site.
Lahey's Cardiovascular Health Center for Women
We understand that women can have unique needs when it comes to matters of the heart. Although all of our physicians are highly qualified to meet those needs, sometimes, and for some patients, having a female doctor can make a difference. Our team of five female clinical cardiologists and one female cardiothoracic surgeon set Lahey apart in an era when, unfortunately, not many women are entering these specialties. So whether you're concerned about your risk of heart disease, dealing with a frightening heart arrhythmia, or in need of bypass surgery, we invite you to become familiar with us. Patients already diagnosed with a cardiac condition who are looking for a cardiologist or a second opinion can request an appointment by calling 1-877-LAHEY-96 (524-3996) or by emailing [email protected]

Lahey Clinic