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Monday, July 25, 2011

Stress Management

Stress Management
What are some of the most common causes of stress?
Stress can arise for a variety of reasons. Stress can be brought about by a traumatic accident, death, or emergency situation. Stress can also be a side effect of a serious illness or disease.
There is also stress associated with daily life, the workplace, and family responsibilities. It’s hard to stay calm and relaxed in our hectic lives. With all we have going on in our lives, it seems almost impossible to find ways to de-stress. But it’s important to find those ways. Your health depends on it.
What are some early signs of stress?
Stress can take on many different forms and can contribute to symptoms of illness. Common symptoms include headache, sleep dis-orders, difficulty concentrating, short temper, upset stomach, job dissatisfaction, low morale, depression, and anxiety.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How does stress affect my body and my health?

How does stress affect my body and my health?
Everyone has stress. We have short-term stress, like getting lost while driving or missing the bus. Even everyday events, such as planning a Excerpted from “Stress and Your Health,” by the Office on Women’s Health (, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, August 1, 2005. meal or making time for errands, can be stressful. This kind of stress can make us feel worried or anxious.
Other times, we face long-term stress, such as racial discrimination, a life-threatening illness, or divorce. These stressful events also affect your health on many levels. Long-term stress is real and can increase your risk for some health problems, like depression.
Both short- and long-term stress can have effects on your body. Research is starting to show the serious effects of stress on our bodies. Stress triggers changes in our bodies and makes us more likely to get sick. It can also make problems we already have worse. It can play a part in these problems:
• Trouble sleeping
• Headaches
• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Irritability
• Lack of energy
• Lack of concentration
• Eating too much or not at all
• Anger
• Sadness
• Higher risk of asthma and arthritis flare-ups
• Tension
• Stomach cramping
• Stomach bloating
• Skin problems, like hives
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Weight gain or loss
• Heart problems
 • High blood pressure
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Diabetes
• Neck and/or back pain
• Less sexual desire
• Harder to get pregnant
What are some of the most stressful life events?
Any change in our lives can be stressful—even some of the happiest ones like having a baby or taking a new job. Here are some of life’s most stressful events (from the Holmes and Rahe Scale of Life Events, 1967):
• Death of a spouse
• Divorce
• Marital separation
• Spending time in jail
• Death of a close family member
• Personal illness or injury
• Marriage
• Pregnancy
• Retirement
How can I help handle my stress?
Don’t let stress make you sick. Often we aren’t even aware of our stress levels. Listen to your body, so that you know when stress is affecting your health. Here are ways to help you handle your stress.
It’s important to unwind. Each person has her own way to relax. Some ways include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy. If you can’t do these things, take a few minutes to sit, listen to soothing music, or read a book.
Make time for yourself.
It’s important to care for yourself. Think of this as an order from your doctor, so you don’t feel guilty. No matter how busy you are, you can try to set aside at least 15 minutes each day in your schedule to do something for yourself, like taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, or calling a friend.
Sleeping is a great way to help both your body and mind. Your stress could get worse if you don’t get enough sleep. You also can’t fight off sickness as well when you sleep poorly. With enough sleep, you can tackle your problems better and lower your risk for illness. Try to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
Eat right.
Try to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Good sources of protein can be peanut butter, chicken, or tuna salad. Eat whole-grains, such as wheat breads and wheat crackers. Don’t be fooled by the jolt you get from caffeine or sugar. Your energy will wear off.
Get moving.
Believe it or not, getting physical activity not only helps relieve your tense muscles, but helps your mood too! Your body makes certain chemicals, called endorphins, before and after you work out. They relieve stress and improve your mood.
Talk to friends.
Talk to your friends to help you work through your stress. Friends are good listeners. Finding someone who will let you talk freely about your problems and feelings without judging you does a world of good. It also helps to hear a different point of view. Friends will remind you that you’re not alone.
Get help from a professional if you need it.
Talk to a therapist. A therapist can help you work through stress and find better ways to deal with problems. For more serious stress-related disorders, therapy can be helpful. There also are medications that can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety and help pro- mote sleep.
Sometimes, it’s not always worth the stress to argue. Give in once in awhile.
Write down your thoughts.
Have you ever typed an e-mail to a friend about your lousy day and felt better afterward? Why not grab a pen and paper and write down what’s going on in your life. Keeping a journal can be a great way to get things off your chest and work through issues. Later, you can go back and read through your journal and see how you’ve made progress.
Help others.
Helping someone else can help you. Help your neighbor or volunteer in your community.
Get a hobby.
Find something you enjoy. Make sure to give yourself time to explore your interests.
Set limits.
When it comes to things like work and family, figure out what you can really do. There are only so many hours in the day. Set limits with yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to say no to requests for your time and energy.
Plan your time.
Think ahead about how you’re going to spend your time. Write a to-do list. Figure out what’s most important to do.
Don’t deal with stress in unhealthy ways.
This includes drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, smoking, or overeating.
I heard deep breathing could help my stress. How do I do it?
Deep breathing is a good way to relax. Try it a couple of times every day. Here’s how to do it.
• Lie down or sit in a chair.
• Rest your hands on your stomach.
• Slowly count to four and inhale through your nose. Feel your stomach rise. Hold it for a second.
• Slowly count to four while you exhale through your mouth. To control how fast you exhale, purse your lips like you’re going to whistle. Your stomach will slowly fall.
• Repeat five to 10 times.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

(8) Part Eight : Additional Help and Information

Glossary of Terms Related to Cardiovascular Disease

Aneurysm: A thin or weak spot in an artery that balloons out and can burst.
Angina: A recurring pain or discomfort in the chest that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood. It is a common symptom of coronary heart disease, which occurs when vessels that carry blood to the heart become narrowed and blocked due to atherosclerosis.
Angioplasty: A medical procedure in which a balloon is used to open a blockage in a coronary artery narrowed by atherosclerosis. This procedure improves blood flow to the heart.
Aorta: The major artery coming out of the heart that supplies blood to the body.
Arrhythmia: A problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart can beat too fast, too slow, or with an irregular rhythm.
 Definitions in this chapter were compiled from documents published by several public domain sources. Terms marked 1 are from publications by the Office on Women’s Health (; terms marked 2 are from publications by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI,; and terms marked 3 are from publications by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS,
Cardiovascular Disorders Sourcebook, Fourth Edition
Arteries: Blood vessels that carry oxygen and blood to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body.
Atherosclerosis: A disease in which fatty material is deposited on the wall of the arteries. This fatty material causes the arteries to be-come narrow and eventually restricts blood flow.
Atria: The two upper chambers of the heart. The atria receive and collect blood.
Atrial fibrillation: When rapid, disorganized electrical signals cause the atria to fibrillate, or contract very fast and irregularly.
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs): Special defibrillators that untrained bystanders can use to restore a person’s heart rhythm in an emergency. AEDs are programmed to give an electric shock if they detect a dangerous arrhythmia.
Blood pressure: The force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps out blood.
Body Mass Index: measure of body fat based on a person’s height and weight.
Bradycardia: A heartbeat that is too slow.
Cardiac Rehabilitation: A medically supervised program that helps improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems. Rehab programs include exercise training, education on heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress and help a person return to an active life.
Cardiogenic Shock: A state in which a weakened heart isn’t able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It is a medical emergency and is fatal if not treated right away. The most common cause of cardiogenic shock is damage to the heart muscle from a severe heart attack.
Cardiomyopathy: Diseases of the heart muscle that cause it to be- come enlarged, thick, or rigid. In rare cases, the muscle tissue in the heart is replaced with scar tissue. As cardiomyopathy worsens, the heart becomes weaker.
 Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): Emergency procedure performed when a person’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped.
cardiovascular diseases: Disease of the heart and blood vessels.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Glossary of Terms Related to Cardiovascular Disease

Glossary of Terms Related to Cardiovascular Disease

Carotid Artery Disease: A condition in which a fatty material called plaque builds up inside the carotid arteries.
Carotid Endarterectomy: Surgery to remove plaque from the carotid arteries.
Cerebrovascular Disease: Disease of the blood vessels in the brain.
Cholesterol: A fatty substance present in all parts of the body. It is a component of cell membranes and is used to make vitamin D and some hormones. Some cholesterol in the body is produced by the liver and some is derived from food, particularly animal products. A high level of cholesterol in the blood can help cause atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. In the blood, cholesterol is bound to chemicals called lipoproteins. Cholesterol attached to low-density lipoprotein (LDL) harms health and is often called bad cholesterol. Cholesterol attached to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is good for health and is often called good cholesterol.
Congenital Heart Disease: Abnormalities of the heart’s structure and function caused by abnormal or disordered heart development before birth.
Coronary Angiography: A test that uses dye and special x-rays to show the inside of the coronary arteries
Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting: A type of surgery used to improve blood flow to the heart in people with severe coronary artery disease (CAD). During this surgery, a healthy artery or vein from another part of the body is connected, or grafted, to the blocked coronary artery. The grafted artery or vein bypasses the blocked portion of the coronary artery. This new passage routes oxygen-rich blood around the blockage to the heart muscle.
Coronary Artery Disease: Also called coronary heart disease. It is the most common type of heart disease that results from atherosclerosis, the gradual buildup of plaques in the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that bring blood to the heart.
Coronary Micro vascular Disease: A condition in which a fatty material called plaque builds up in the heart’s smallest arteries.
Deep Vein Thrombosis: A blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body.
Echocardiography (Echo): A painless test that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart.
Cardiovascular Disorders Sourcebook, Fourth Edition
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): An external, noninvasive test that records the electrical activity of the heart.
Endocarditis: An infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves called the endocardium.
Event Monitors: Devices that record problems with the heart’s rhythm when symptoms occur.
Heart Block: An arrhythmia that occurs when the electrical signal is slowed or disrupted as it moves through the heart.
Heart Disease: A number of abnormal conditions affecting the heart and the blood vessels in the heart. The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which is the gradual buildup of plaques in the coronary arteries.
Heart Failure: A condition in which the heart can’t pump blood the way it should. In some cases, the heart can’t fill with enough blood. In other cases, the heart can’t send blood to the rest of the body with enough force.
Heart Murmur: An extra or unusual sound heard during a heartbeat. Murmurs range from very faint to very loud. They sometimes sound like a whooshing or swishing noise.
Heart Transplant: Surgery to remove a person’s diseased heart and replace it with a healthy heart from a deceased donor.
Heart Valve Disease: A condition in which one or more of the heart’s four valves don’t work properly.

Holter Monitors: Devices that record heart rhythm continuously for 24 to 48 hours.
Hypertension: Also called high blood pressure, it is having blood pressure greater than 140 over 90 mmHg (millimeters of mercury). Long-term high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and organs, including the heart, kidneys, eyes, and brain.
Hypotension: Low blood pressure.
Ischemia: Decrease in the blood supply to a an organ, tissue, or other part caused by the narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels.
Ischemic Stroke: A blockage of blood vessels supplying blood to the brain, causing a decrease in blood supply.
Long QT Syndrome: A disorder of the heart’s electrical activity that causes a person to develop a sudden, uncontrollable, and dangerous arrhythmia in response to exercise or stress.
Metabolic Syndrome: A group of risk factors—including large waist- line, abnormal blood fat levels, higher than normal blood pressure, and higher than normal blood sugar levels—linked to overweight and obesity that raise the chance for heart disease and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke.
Mitral Valve Prolapse: A condition in which one of the heart’s valves don’t close tightly.
Obesity: Having too much body fat. People with a body mass index of 30 or higher are obese.
Pacemaker: A small device that’s placed under the skin of the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. This device uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate.
Palpitations: Feelings that the heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or fast. They can occur during activity or even when sitting still or lying down.
Pericarditis: A condition in which the membrane, or sac, around the heart, called the pericardium, is inflamed.
Peripheral Arterial Disease: A condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the head, organs, and limbs, often causing pain and numbness in the lower body.
Plaque: A buildup of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that ac- cumulate in the walls of the arteries.
Post stroke Rehabilitation: Therapy to help stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged.
Raynaud Syndrome: A rare disorder that affects the arteries, causing reduced blood flow to the fingers and toes.
Septum: A wall of tissue that divides the right and left sides of the heart.
Sleep Apnea: A condition that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep.
Stent: A small mesh tube that’s used to treat narrowed or weakened arteries in the body. A stent is placed in a weakened artery to improve 625 Cardiovascular Disorders Sourcebook, Fourth Edition blood flow and to help prevent the artery from bursting. Stents usually are made of metal mesh, but sometimes they’re made of fabric. Fabric stents, also called stent grafts, are used in larger arteries.
Stress Test (Treadmill Test): A test that gives doctors information about how the heart works during physical stress. During a stress test, a person exercises (walks or runs on a treadmill or pedals a bicycle) to make the heart work hard and beat fast. Tests are done on the heart during exercise.
Stroke: Stoppage of blood flow to an area of the brain, causing permanent damage to nerve cells in that region. A stroke can occur either because an artery is clogged by a blood clot (called ischemic stroke) or an artery tears and bleeds into the brain. A stroke can cause symptoms such as loss of consciousness, problems with movement, and loss of speech.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA): A condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. When this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.
Tachycardia: A heartbeat that is too fast.
Total Artificial Heart:A device that replaces the two lower chambers of the heart. These chambers are called ventricles.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): A “mini-stroke” where there is a short-term reduction in blood flow to the brain usually resulting in temporary stoke symptoms. Does not cause damage to the brain, but puts a person at higher risk of having a full stroke.
Triglyceride: A type of fat in the blood stream and fat tissue. High triglyceride levels (above 200) can contribute to the hardening and narrowing of arteries.
Ultrasound: A painless, harmless test that uses sound waves to produce images of the organs and structures of the body on a screen. Also called sonography.
Varicose Veins: Swollen, twisted veins that be seen just under the surface of the skin. These veins usually occur in the legs.
Vacuities: A condition that involves inflammation in the blood vessels.
Ventricles: The two lower chambers of the heart. The ventricles pump blood out of the heart into the circulatory system to other parts of the body