February 2019 Edition
Wellness Matters
Summit ESC's Wellness Program
In This Issue...
  • February Focus- Heart Health and Stroke Awareness
  • Valentine's Day Ideas
  • Bizarre Factors that Increase Risk of Heart Disease
  • Healthy Recipes
February Focus- Heart Health and Stroke Awareness

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. That’s one in every four deaths in this country.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type is coronary artery disease, which can cause heart attack. Other kinds of heart disease may involve the valves in the heart, or the heart may not pump well and cause heart failure. Some people are born with heart disease.

Are you at risk?

Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. It occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in your arteries. When this happens, your arteries can narrow over time, reducing blood flow to the heart. Smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, and not getting enough exercise all increase your risk for having heart disease. Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes also can increase your risk for heart disease. Ask your doctor about preventing or treating these medical conditions.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. For many people, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the first sign. Someone having a heart attack may experience several symptoms, including:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that doesn’t go away after a few minutes.
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Weakness,light-headedness,nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), or
  • a cold sweat.
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately.

How is heart disease diagnosed?

Your doctor can perform several tests to diagnose heart disease, including chest X-rays, coronary angiograms, electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), and exercise stress tests. Ask your doctor about what tests may be right for you.

Can it be prevented?

You can take several steps to reduce your risk for heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Tips on reducing saturated fat in your diet are available on the Web site for CDC’s Division for Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition

  • Prevent or treat your other health conditions, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

How is it treated?

If you have heart disease, lifestyle changes, like those just listed, can help lower your risk for complications. Your doctor also may prescribe medication to treat the disease. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to reduce your heart disease risk.

For More Information, learn more at the following websites:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp

What is stroke?

Stroke kills almost 130,000 of the 800,000 Americans who die of cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 19 deaths from all causes. A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. You can greatly reduce your risk for stroke through lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medication.

Are you at risk?

Anyone, including children, can have a stroke. Every year, about 610,000 people in the United States have a new stroke. Several factors that are beyond your control can increase your risk for stroke. These include your age, sex, and ethnicity. But there are many unhealthy habits that you can change. Examples include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and not getting enough exercise. Having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes also can increase your risk for stroke. However, treating these conditions can reduce the risk of stroke. Ask your doctor about preventing or treating these medical conditions.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The five most common signs and symptoms of stroke are:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden dizziness, trouble walking, or loss of balance or coordination.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
  • If you think that you or someone you know is having a stroke, call 9-1-1 immediately

How is stroke diagnosed?

Your doctor can perform several tests to diagnose stroke, including brain imaging, tests of the brain’s electrical activity, and blood flow tests.

Can it be prevented?

You can take several steps to reduce your risk for stroke:

How is it treated?

If you have a stroke, you may receive emergency care, treatment to prevent another stroke, rehabilitation to help you relearn the skills you may have lost because of the stroke, or all three. In addition, lifestyle changes, such as the ones listed above, can help lower your risk for future strokes. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to reduce your stroke risk. For More Information, learn more about stroke at the following Web sites:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp

The Nation Goes Red in February
National Wear Red Day ®
Friday, February 1, 2019
On the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. From landmarks to news anchors and neighborhoods to online communities; this annual groundswell unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke. Please join us at Summit ESC in wearing red on Friday, February 1, 2019.
3 Ideas for A Fun and Healthy Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day usually includes chocolates and dinner, but you don’t have to break your diet to have a good time. Whether it’s a romantic night with your significant other or a fun night out with friends, you can stay on track with your diet and exercise with these fun ideas for a healthy Valentine’s Day:

  • Enjoy a Massage—This can be a relaxing and healthy option to enjoy on Valentine’s Day. Pamper yourself after a workout or a long day of activities. Massages not only help the body to release toxins and function better, but it can help to release endorphins into the bloodstream which make you feel better.
  • Take a Class—Motivate your significant other or friends in a quick workout class at the Center. Learn a new dance to keep you moving and have fun in a dance class. Discover a healthy and tasty recipe in a cooking class. There are several types of classes you can take to try something different that will keep you active and on track with your healthy lifestyle.
  • Give the Gift of Health—Cards, flowers and chocolates aren’t the only gifts that are Valentine’s Day appropriate. Give a gift your fitness partner or friends would love like a sports watch, activity tracker, a yoga mat or their favorite healthy snack. You can also buy accessories such as headphones, a water bottle or that nice gym bag that they’ve mentioned. Workout gear and running shoes would also be great for the partner or friend who would rather hit the gym than a box of chocolates. Presenting these gifts will motivate your partner or friends to stay focused on their fitness goals. (dexterwellness.org)

11 Bizarre Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Heart Disease

You go for runs, limit your doughnut consumption, and have never smoked a cigarette. So you're probably never going to get heart disease, right?

Er, not quite. 

It's true that the biggest risk factors for heart disease certainly aren't shocking: They include obesity, a lack of exercise, smoking, high blood pressure or cholesterol, a poor diet, a strong family history, and stress, according to the  American Heart A ssociation. 

But those aren't the only factors that can increase your risk of developing a blockage in your arteries, not by a long shot. It just so happens that seemingly innocuous factors like your love life, how you spent your childhood, and even the age at which you got your first period can affect your risk of heart disease. Yes, seriously. That means, if you really want to lower your risk of heart disease, you need to pay attention not only to the "everybody knows" risk factors for heart disease, but also the bizarrely sneaky ones. (Not to scare you, but heart disease is the number-one killer of women in the world: Every minute in the U.S., one of us dies from heart disease, according to the  American Heart Association .) 
Here, cardiologists share the under-the-radar risks factors for heart disease that every woman needs to know. 


The earlier you start puberty, the higher your risk of heart disease later on, says Adam Splaver, M.D., a cardiologist at Nanohealth Associates in Hollywood, Florida.
In fact, a recent heart study found that women who got their first flow before the age of 12 are about 10 percent more likely to have heart disease than women who got theirs at 13 or older. (On average, women in the U.S. get their first period at age 12, according to a study in the  Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. ) The researchers didn't theorize as to why this happens, but  other research  has shown that increased estrogen levels (a hormone that plays an essential role in puberty) can increase your risk of blood clots and strokes over your lifetime. Talk to your doctor about healthy lifestyle habits that will help counteract this increased risk if you're concerned. 


Most diet pills don't work . But, even worse, they could kill you. "Any pill with a stimulant effect, including most diet pills, can hurt your heart," Amber Khanna, M.D., a cardiologist at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. "They increase your blood pressure and heart rate which puts stress on your heart. If you take them long enough, you can cause permanent damage." Stick to proven weight-loss methods like eating a  healthy diet and exercising —two things guaranteed to lower your risk of heart disease.


Having the  flu  increases your risk of a heart attack six-fold for at least a year after you've been infected, according to a new study published in  New England Journal of Medicine.   If you ever find it hard to breathe laying down and you're swollen after having a cold or flu, get to a hospital immediately, she says. Certain bacterial and viral infections can move into your heart, causing heart disease and even heart failure, Khanna says. ​


Feeling lonely and socially isolated increases your risk of heart disease by 30 percent, as much as smoking does, according to a study published in the journal  Heart . Thankfully, this is one risk factor for heart disease that's relatively simple to take care of, Splaver says. His recommendations? Get off social media, join a club or group, and get a pet—not only do they provide unconditional love but walking a dog is also good exercise. Bonus: Having a pet has been shown to not only decrease loneliness, but may independently improve heart health, according to research reported by  Harvard .


Growing a baby is a lot of extra work for your circulatory system, says Khanna. Your blood volume doubles and your heart has to work extra hard. That alone doesn't increase your risk for future heart disease, but if you also get gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, or have high blood pressure during your pregnancy then you're at a significantly increased risk for heart disease, even years down the road. Always tell your doctor about any conditions you had during pregnancy, she says.


There's a reason that we call an extremely sad event "heartbreaking," and that's because emotional distress can cause actual heart problems. It even has a name:  broken heart syndrome . "This one is hard to prevent or avoid as any deeply upsetting event can cause it, including a breakup, loss of a loved one, financial distress, a move, or a divorce," Splaver explains. The key isn't to avoid  heartbreak  (is that even an option, really?) but to have a plan with how to deal with those hard feelings using healthy coping techniques like exercise, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and therapy, he adds.


There's a lot of conflicting information on the effect of  alcohol  on heart disease but it's safe to say that while moderate drinking—one drink or less per day—is likely fine, Khanna says. Anything more than that however, especially if you're drinking more than two servings of alcohol a day, increases your risk of heart disease, she adds. If you're really concerned about your heart, she recommends skipping alcohol all together.


Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis have two scary things in common: They're more likely to affect women and they both increase your risk of heart disease. It all comes down to inflammation, Khanna says. Inflammation damages blood vessels, causing plaque to build up, she explains. Talk to your doctor about your diagnosis and how you have help mediate the inflammation.


Being depressed not only increases your risk of getting heart disease, but it also doubles your risk of dying from it, according to a study presented at the  American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session  in 2017. It's not clear what exactly the connection is but people who are depressed often have higher  cortisol , the stress hormone, which is linked to heart disease, Khanna says. Depression may also make it harder to do things that reduce heart disease risk like seeing a doctor, exercising, and taking medication, she adds. Seek treatment if you've got a feeling of sadness you just can't shake. 


Talk about pouring salt in a wound: Women who experienced three or more traumatic events as a child—such as being abused, witnessing others being hurt, or being a victim of bullying—have an increased risk of heart disease as an adult, according to a study published in  Circulation . While experts so far have no idea why the connection exists, it's still one more reason to combat emotional scars head-on, researchers explain.


The most commonly used medications used to treat attention-deficit hyperactive disorder are stimulants and these drugs can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, putting extra strain on your heart, Splaver says. While more research needs to be done in this area, one study published in  The BMJ   found that long-term use of ADHD medications slightly increased the risk of heart disease in children.