In This Issue
Does Having Kids Late in Life Equal Longevity?
Best Apps to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions
OTC Drugs You Definitely Don't Want to Overuse
Important Study Shows Progesterone Does Not Prevent Miscarriage
Cold Weather Workout Tips

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How Reducing Stress Can Save Your Lifestress

We're often told that stress is bad for our health. But the truth is, the link between stress and heart disease isn't entirely clear.

Studies have shown that when you're stressed your body releases adrenaline into your blood stream, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to go up temporarily. If you're constantly under stress, your body doesn't get the chance to rest because you're always in high gear, and as a result, your artery walls become damaged.

While the link isn't entirely clear from a scientific standpoint, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together: If you've been diagnosed with heart disease, your world just got rocked. And even if you haven't been diagnosed, stress can trigger all of your risk factors.

Think about how stress affects you under normal circumstances: It makes you feel anxious, tense or depressed; random aches and pains appear out of nowhere; it can make you gain weight and lose sleep; it can even make you get sick.

Now imagine what stress can do if your heart isn't 100 percent healthy. If it can make a healthy person ill, you can only imagine what it can do to someone who has been diagnosed with heart disease - or worse, someone who has suffered a heart attack or stroke.

Diagnosis or not, stress is something you need to put the kibosh on. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

1. Take a deep breath. Carve out time for meditation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi, crank up some tunes or go for a short walk. Whatever activity you find calming, find the time to do it every day for at least 15 minutes.

2. Give up your vices. Overdoing it with alcohol or caffeine can put stress into overdrive, so try to cut back as much as possible. If you smoke, you already know it's a bad habit. Drop it. We know quitting isn't easy, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

3. Burn some steam. Give your endorphins a boost withregular physical activity. Exercise relieves mental and physical tension, and anyone who has experienced runner's high knows what we mean. Not to mention, physically active adults have a lower risk of depression and function better mentally. Try walking, swimming, biking or another form of cardio every day.

4. Consider stress management. If you're always in a rush, impatient, hostile or constantly stressed, stress management classes might be worth looking into. They're usually held at community colleges, rehab programs or hospitals, and your healthcare professional can likely recommend one for you.

Believe it or not, eating heart healthy can be equally as delicious as it is good for your body. And if you could save your heart by improving your diet, wouldn't you at least want to give it a try?

These delicious, healthy recipes have tons of flavor and are low in saturated fat. Once you start eating this way, you may wonder why you didn't start sooner.

Toss whole-wheat pasta with tender broccolini, crisp radishes and creamy feta cheese. Top with an orange vinaigrette for a fresh, healthy meal.
Our turkey burger features flavor-filled mix-ins like Worcestershire and hot sauces. We top it off with sweet caramelized onions.    

When a breakfast this delicious is ready in less than 10 minutes, you'll have no reason to skip the most important meal of the day.

This slimmed-down version of the classic salad has all of the crisp, creamy flavor with less fat and fewer calories.

Don't skip dessert if you're on a heart-healthy diet, just choose wisely. Reach for one of these chewy cookies, packed with oatmeal and low in saturated fat. 

Want more mouth-watering and healthy recipes?  Visit Food

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February 2016  

February is National Heart Health Awareness Month
February is American Heart Health Awareness Month. This national awareness month provides us the opportunity to spread the message about heart disease in women. Heart disease affects more than 6 million American women, and another 37 million women are at risk for developing heart disease. It is the number one killer of women and is responsible for 1 in 3 deaths in women annually.

We've all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene may not be that dramatic. Chest pain isn't the only thing to consider - find out more by reading, The Surprising Symptom of Heart Attacks for Women.

If there's one thing we all have in common, it's stress. Whether it's because of a deadline at work, getting the kids off to school, or an overwhelming to-do list, everyone experiences stress. Nevertheless, stress definitely affects our bodies. Studies have found that women differ from men not only in their emotional responses to stress, but also that acute and chronic stress may take a greater toll on women's physical and mental health. The key is to learn how to "disengage" from daily stress. Find out How Reducing Stress Can Save Your Life.

Yoga is a great way to stay fit, but new research suggests that regular practice can offer you much more than toned arms and abs. Here's how hitting the yoga mat can help improve your heart health.

When you think of menopause, hot flashes, insomnia, and night sweats probably come to mind. Heart disease may not be high on your list of health concerns, but perhaps it should be. Heart disease is the top killer for women, and a woman's risk of heart disease increases dramatically around the time she goes through menopause - for most women this is between the ages of 50 and 54. Protect yourself by knowing the Signs that Your Heart is changing during Menopause.

It may sound obvious, but losing weight reduces the strain on your body and heart. Making small changes to your diet and the way you cook can have a big impact on the amount of calories you consume, without you even realizing it. By incorporating healthy ingredients into recipes, you can reduce the fat and calorie content. It's simpler than it sounds and there are loads of ways you can try it out during National Heart Month. We've assembled a few of our favorite Heart-Healthy Recipes to help get you started. 

Wishing you a very Happy Valentine's Day!  
With warm regards,
The Practitioners and Staff of Lawrence OB/GYN 
Surprising Symptom of Heart Attacks for Womensymptom
Chest pain isn't the only thing you need to consider.

Let's get this out of the way first: Heart attacks don't just happen to older, overweight men. A new statement issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) finds that women are being under-treated. In fact, close to 50,000 women died from heart attacks in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-not exactly chump change (about 735,000 Americans have heart attacks every year, per the CDC).

When you picture someone having a heart attack, you most likely imagine them doubled over with severe chest pain-a pretty obvious signal that something's not okay-but symptoms of a heart attack in women can actually be a lot subtler than they are in men.

Yes, you might have pressure or pain in the center of your chest, but surprisingly, women might experience jaw pain while having a heart attack. Other symptoms specific to women include upper back pain, arm pain, intense fatigue, heartburn, or "just not feeling right," says Laxmi Mehta, M.D., clinical director of the Women's Cardiovascular Health Program at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center and lead author of the AHA's statement. According to the AHA, if the heart isn't giving a good signal, pain can radiate to the jaw, neck, or back. But Mehta says doctors don't know why jaw pain and discomfort in other areas of the upper body tend to manifest as symptoms in women and not men.

Close to 50,000 women died from heart attacks in 2014.
So why aren't women getting the treatment they need? According to the AHA, women wait around 54 hours before visiting a doc, while men only wait about 16 on average. "Women tend to have a lack of awareness of their essential risks," says Mehta. "They can sometimes be more passive [about their health]." They also may have more barriers to seeking care, like having kids to take care of, says Mehta.

The longer you wait to get treatment, the worse shape you could find your heart in, says Mehta. "Women tend to develop cardiogenic shock," meaning your heart suddently can't pump enough blood, she explains. Mehta also says that if you wait too long, aggressive treatments may no longer be an option.

Women of all ages are at risk, says Mehta, and generally, young women who have heart attacks fare worse than young men who have heart attacks. Those with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are the most at risk. The AHA also noted that African American and Hispanic women have more risk factors, as they may often have less awareness and less access to medicine.

As far as treatment options go, a doctor will first assess the patient with an electrocardiagram (EKG) to see how bad the damage to the heart is, says Mehta. Then, she'll be given medication like aspirin, which helps thin the blood and prevent clots, before an M.D. looks for any blockages to determine where to go from there. Once she's discharged, the patient will be placed on aspirin or a beta-blocker or statin, both of which lower blood pressure.

"We also recommend patients to attend cardiac rehab, where they're in a monitored controlled environment to start an exercise program so we can look for abnormal rhythms of the heart," says Mehta. "They need to follow up with their physician on a regular basis [and] make sure their blood pressure is still intact, [and] make sure their cholesterol looks okay-those kinds of things need to be discussed and monitored over time."

Women also need to watch for recurrent symptoms, says Mehta, because rates of having another heart attack are actually higher for them than they are for men.

The bottom line: "Women definitely need to be aware of their symptoms and risks," say Mehta.

Signs Your Heart is Changing During Menopause menopause
During menopause, levels of the primary female hormone estrogen in a woman's body drop significantly. When estrogen levels drop, your heart and blood vessels become stiff and less elastic. Because of these changes, your blood pressure tends to rise. Elevated blood pressure can place added strain on the heart, says Joanne Foody, MD, medical director of cardiovascular wellness service at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

High cholesterol: Lack of estrogen also can cause detrimental changes in your cholesterol and blood fats. Your good cholesterol (HDL) may go down, and your bad cholesterol (LDL) may go up, which increases your risk of heart attacks and dying of heart disease, says Dr. Foody. Triglycerides, another kind of fat in the blood, also increase from a lack of estrogen.

Diabetes: When women go through menopause, they can also become more resistant to insulin, the hormone needed to convert blood sugar and starches into energy for cells to use. As a result, "women are more likely to become pre-diabetic and diabetic as they transition to pre-menopause to menopause," explains Foody. Having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.

Atrial fibrillation: Women also may see an increase in abnormal heart rhythms, or atrial fibrillation (afib), around the time they go through menopause. "Sometimes hormonal changes can cause a slowing of the heart and heart blocks that can cause symptoms including dizziness," notes Foody. More commonly, the change in hormones causes faster heart rates. Atrial fibrillation also can be brought on by high blood pressure, and menopausal women are at risk for high blood pressure.

Weight gain: Estrogen affects where women store fat and how it is burned, says Stacey E. Rosen, MD, vice president of women's health clinical services at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and an associate professor at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. Menopause can cause the metabolism to slow, which contributes to weight gain. This can put stress on your heart and increase your risk of heart disease, according to Dr. Rosen.

Don't Ignore Symptoms of Heart Disease
With menopause, a lot of factors conspire to change a woman's risk for heart disease, Foody says. "It's important for women to understand while menopause transition is natural, some of the symptoms around it, such as heart palpitations or increases in blood pressure, can have significant consequences."

Heart Disease in Menopause Is Preventable
Menopause is an important time to take good care of yourself and your heart. "On the good side, a lot of this is reversible or preventable," Foody says.

If women eat a healthy, nutritious diet, monitor for weight gain, exercise and quit smoking, they can lower their risk of heart disease even as they age. "We know women who exercise tend not to get high blood pressure as much. Exercise also can prevent your heart from stiffening as you age," Foody says.

4 Ways Yoga is Good for Your Heartyoga2 
yoga_class_pose.jpg Those sun salutations and downward dogs could be as good for the heart as cycling or brisk walking, and easier to tolerate for older people and those with health challenges, according to a new review of existing research. In honor of American Heart Month, here are four ways that yoga promotes a healthier heart.

1. Yoga helps beat stress
When you encounter a stressful situation, the brain releases adrenaline into your system to help you either fight or flee the threat. This causes your heart to beat faster and your blood pressure increases.  While this response can help you protect yourself when facing a threat, living in a constant state of stress may wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, people who are prone to stress have a higher risk for heart disease than their calmer counterparts. 
"What we want is a nervous system that reacts to stressful situations when they happen, but then shifts back to relaxation," says Dr. Timothy McCall, a San Francisco-based doctor of internal medicine and medical editor of the Yoga Journal. Yoga may help by dampening your body's reaction to stress. A 2012 article published in the journal Medical Hypotheses suggests yoga could prevent and treat some medical conditions, including cardiac disease, by improving stress-related imbalances in the nervous system.

2. Yoga reduces inflammation
Inflammation is your body's way of responding to injury and harmful situations, including stress. But it's also "at the core of most pathologies, including heart disease," says Dr. Hana Stastny, a medical doctor and yoga therapy instructor at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
Learning to relax through yoga may help decrease stress-related inflammation. A 2010 study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine showed that when women who practiced yoga regularly were exposed to a stressor, they had less of a blood compound linked to inflammation than novice practitioners.

3. Yoga may lower blood pressure
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, long-term high blood pressure can weaken your heart and damage blood vessel walls, causing plaque to build up and potentially narrow or block arteries. This is a leading cause of heart attack and stroke.

While poor diet and lack of exercise are major risk factors, "we know there's an element of stress involved in high blood pressure," says McCall. A 2012 review published in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice suggests that yoga practice may be an effective treatment for high blood pressure because of its ability to decrease the body's response to stress.

4. Yoga promotes physical activity
People who are physically inactive are twice as likely to be at risk for heart disease as those who do exercise, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Yoga improves strength and flexibility, which contributes to cardiovascular health, says Stastny.

Research shows that people who do yoga are also more likely to stick with an exercise routine. A 2012 study published in the journal Alternative Therapy Health Medicine enrolled previously inactive people in twice-weekly yoga classes for 10 weeks. Researchers found that doing the classes significantly increased the likelihood that the participants would continue to take part in physical activity.

Source: Best Health

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