You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Cardiac’ category.
Pets are a great way to remain more active and to have a connection to another living being. They encourage us to care for them and to care for ourselves in the process. They keep us stimulated mentally, socially and physically. And, there is evidence that those who have pets have a better mood and decreased tendency toward depression.
Just watch the face of someone when a puppy or kitten comes in the room! Pet’s are good listeners and will unconditionally love. They can decrease feelings of isolation and give one a sense of purpose. When walking a dog, a person is more likely to connect with others. This alone enhances well-being and reduces stress. Physiologically, having a pet has been proven to resist heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Pets can promote a relaxation response that would decrease the likelihood of any stress related disorder.
Answer submitted by Mary Michaelsen, Occupational Therapist at Provena Mercy Medical Center
The American Heart Association recommends that we should consume less than 1500 mg of sodium per day. However, the average American consumes over 3400 mg of sodium daily. Sodium is hidden in many foods, and the sodium content is extremely high in restaurant foods, prepared or canned foods, soups and condiments. There is about 600 mg in a ¼ tsp of table salt, so be careful not to add salt to your foods! Substitute pepper, seasonings or lemon juice to add some flavor to your foods.
Why is this so important? Taking in too much salt can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack, stroke and can also damage the kidneys. Excess sodium intake leads to fluid retention, and as more fluid is added to the vascular system, the blood pressure will rise. Hypertension makes the heart work harder, damages the blood vessels, and can eventually lead to a heart attack. High blood pressure is also hard on the kidneys and is a risk factor for stroke.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, if Americans reduced their salt intake by 1200 mg per day, we could greatly improve our health. We could decrease the number of coronary heart disease patients by 90,000 a year; the number of stokes by 49,000 a year; the number of heart attacks by 76,000 a year; the number of deaths from all causes by 68,000 a year. Now, that is a pretty good reason to put down the salt shaker!
Answer submitted by Melissa Leguillon APN, CNP, Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner at Provena Mercy Medical Center
Quitting smoking can be a difficult thing to do. About 70% of people who smoke want to quit smoking and only about 4-7% will successfully quit smoking (cold turkey) without any help or medication. Approximately, 25-33% will be successful and off cigarettes for at least 6 months when using medications to help. Up to 40% of people who smoke and participate in smoking cessation programs successfully quit smoking and stay off cigarettes for at least one year. Success rates may seem low but do not get discouraged, everyone is not always successful on their first try.
It is important to understand that smoking is an addiction caused by the nicotine in cigarettes. It can be as addictive as cocaine and alcohol. Because your body becomes dependent on smoking, your body makes it difficult for you to quit. If you have tried to quit before, and were not successful, please DO NOT GIVE UP! Try again in a few weeks and reflect on the past experience or experiences to help you be successful this time.
If you have not tried nicotine replacement therapy or medications yet, it is definitely something to look into. There are over-the-counter nicotine replacement agents and prescribed medications that can help you quit. Some of the over-the-counter medications are the Nicotine patch, gum or lozenges. Some of the prescribed medications are Zyban, Wellbutrin, Chantix, Nicotine inhaler and Nicotine nasal spray. Please consult with your physician if you are considering trying any of these.
Look for support! Your support system can greatly impact your outcome. People who have a good support system have a higher success rate. Tell your family and friends that you are quitting and ask them to help and support you. Find someone to lean on and call when you feel that you may be giving in to a cigarette. This person should be aware that you are trying to quit and know that you will call him/her when you are feeling weak. Look for support groups close to you. Support groups give you the opportunity to share and learn experiences with others that are going through the same thing as you.
Finally, look for a smoking cessation program close to you. A smoking cessation program will provide you with all the information and support necessary to help you be successful in quitting. It will address topics such as coping skills, medications, nicotine replacement therapy, nicotine dependence, quitting skills, recovery and relapse prevention and stress management.
Provena Mercy Medical Center offers a “Freedom from Smoking” cessation program. Please feel free to call 1-866-PROVENA to obtain information on the next available clinic and register.