News & Articles

Sneaking More Vegetables into Meals

sneaking more vegetables into mealsWe all know we need to be eating more veggies. Some of us love them and eat them at every meal. And then there are those of us who can’t stomach the thought of chomping on something green that looks like a tree. And no, we’re not talking about four-year-olds — we mean adults, too!


Keeping a Healthy Body Weight

Keeping a Healthy Body WeightMaintaining your ideal body weight is tough, no matter where you are in your weight loss journey. Use these tips to set yourself up for success.


Avoiding tobacco best way to avoid disease, researchers find

 0109-Feature-Tobacco_WPGetting adults to quit smoking and preventing kids from ever starting are the best defenses against heart disease, stroke and other diseases, according to a new study.

Experts’ rankings of the top 28 evidence-based preventive services that healthcare providers could offer were released Monday in a study conducted by the National Commission on Prevention Priorities and published in the Annals of Family Medicine. Understanding the impact of these services can help patients, healthcare practices and policymakers put their time and money in the right places, the study authors found.

Smoking, the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S., kills about half a million Americans a year. More than 100,000 deaths annually could be prevented with smoking cessation and prevention, the authors said.

“Evidence indicates that receiving advice and help from a doctor can more than double the chance of smokers being successful at quitting,” said Michael Maciosek, senior research investigator and health economist at HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Minneapolis. “Trying until successful so that a patient can quit before a serious smoking-related disease sets in can extend quantity and quality of life and reduce healthcare costs.”

Working with HealthPartners Institute researchers, the National Commission on Prevention Priorities ranked each service based on its cost-effectiveness and how well it has been proven to prevent disease.

The tobacco recommendation and childhood immunizations all scored 10 out of a possible 10 on the authors’ scoring system.


Researchers probed the value of brief, annual tobacco counseling for 4 million youth and adults, finding that it saves lives and reduces healthcare costs. But only one-third of the potential health and economic benefits of counseling are actually being realized, the authors said.

Youth counseling could prevent 42,686 smoking deaths and save $225 a person in healthcare costs annually, according to the study. Adult counseling could stop 69,901 smoking fatalities and save $580 a person per year.

“The rankings should help guide us as a nation,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., chief medical officer for prevention at the American Heart Association. “It can be hard to know where to begin with competing priorities. This ranking makes it clear where we will see the biggest improvements for the best value.”

Maciosek said patient access to smoking help has never been greater, but there’s a catch.

“The ability of clinicians to address tobacco use is threatened by pressures on primary care physicians to increase their scope while managing the same number of patients and by looming changes to health insurance policy,” he said.

Direct medical costs from smoking are estimated at $175 billion per year. Although fewer adults are smoking, 42 million adults continue the deadly habit, and in 2015, 1.6 million middle- and high-school students reported smoking in the last 30 days.

Researchers also looked at three other services to prevent cardiovascular disease: high blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening and aspirin counseling. High blood pressure services had the biggest impact, followed closely by cholesterol screening and treatment, with aspirin counseling having a lower health impact.

Women with mild heart blockage report poorer health, more anxiety and negativity

0221-news-anxiety_WPWomen with mild heart blockage have poorer health and more anxiety and negative outlooks than men with the same condition, according to new research.

In non-obstructive coronary artery disease, the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is partially restricted. The blockage of coronary arteries is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and other major heart problems, as well as death from any cause.

A person’s perceived health status, psychological distress and personality can affect outcomes, thus making psychosocial factors proxy risk factors for future cardiovascular events, said Paula M.C. Mommersteeg, Ph.D., assistant professor of medical and clinical psychology at Tilburg University in The Netherlands.

In the study — the first to investigate gender disparity — researchers explored the association between non-obstructive coronary artery disease and psychosocial distress in 523 people with the condition and 1,347 people without it. The participants completed questionnaires assessing their physical and mental health, psychological well-being and personality profile (degree of negative or positive outlook and level of social inhibition).

Among patients with non-obstructive coronary artery disease:

— The prevalence of poor health, anxiety and Type D personality (negative emotions combined with social inhibition) was significantly higher compared to those without the condition.

— More women reported physical impairment.

— More women reported psychosocial distress.

“We were very intrigued by these sex and gender differences — we had not thought they would be so apparent,” Mommersteeg said.

Statistical analysis revealed that the gaps could be due to several factors related to sex and gender, such as societal and cultural norms, age at diagnosis, education level, partner status, employment history and alcohol use.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Heart Attack Signs in Women

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

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.

“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, ” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. “Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”

Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesn’t get help right away.

‘I thought I had the flu’

Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.

“They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first,” Goldberg said. “There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.”Watch an animation of a heart attack.A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances (plaque).

Watch an animation of a heart attack.

Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable — the image of the elephant comes to mind — but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing.

You could feel so short of breath, “as though you ran a marathon, but you haven’t made a move,” Goldberg said.

Some women experiencing a heart attack describe upper back pressure that feels like squeezing or a rope being tied around them, Goldberg said. Dizziness, lightheadedness or actually fainting are other symptoms to look for.

“Many women I see take an aspirin if they think they are having a heart attack and never call 9-1-1,” Goldberg said. “But if they think about taking an aspirin for their heart attack, they should also call 9-1-1.”

Take care of yourself

Heart disease is preventable. Here are Goldberg’s top tips:

  • Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease. You can also learn your risk with our Heart Attack Risk Calculator.
  • Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?
  • Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Modify your family’s diet if needed. Check out these healthy cooking tips. You’ll learn smart substitutions, healthy snacking ideas and better prep methods. For example, with poultry, use the leaner light meat (breasts) instead of the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs), and be sure to remove the skin.

Hate Exercise? 5 Tips That May Change Your Mind

5 steps to loving exerciseSo how can you stop being a hater and get over exercise aversion?

You don’t have to be a gym hero to get enough physical activity to improve your health. There are a lot of ways to make regular activity part of your life – which can help you have more energy, handle stress better, reduce your risk of illness and disease, and look and feel good! It’s pretty much a no-brainer. But most of us (about 80 percent of Americans) don’t make exercise a regular habit. And many say it’s because they just don’t like it.

So how can you stop being a hater and get over exercise aversion? Here are some tips to help you add physical activity to your life – and maybe even learn to like it!

Find your jam.

Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, find ways to exercise that fit your personality. If you’re a social person, do something that engages you socially – take a group dance class, join a recreational sports team, or start a walking group with friends. Connecting with your peeps is a great way to stay motivated and avoid working out alone. If you’re more of a lone wolf, running or swimming might be a better fit. And if you’re not a morning person, you’re not likely to get up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class.

Give it time.

It can take a while for a new behavior to become a habit, so give yourself time to get into a regular routine. One way is to try to be active around the same time each day. Exercise can become addictive in a good way. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing it.

Build it in.

Build activity into your schedule and lifestyle so it doesn’t feel like a chore. There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to give up something else, like time with family and friends. Get active together as a family, you’ll all benefit. And if you just can’t imagine life without your daily phone chat with your BFF, take that call for a walk around the block.

Break it up.

It’s OK to break up your physical activity into smaller segments. The American Heart Association recommends a total of at least 150 minutes a week, but if that sounds overwhelming, try two or three 10-minute activity sessions most days of the week. It all adds up! You could do a quick yoga routine when you wake up, take a brisk walk after lunch at work, and if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way home.

Keep going.

If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. Everybody struggles once in a while. Just make sure you hit it again the next day. And if what you’re doing just isn’t working for you, revisit this list. You may need to try a different activity or a different time of day. Don’t give up!

5 Easy Ways to Find Healthier Options at the Grocery Store

Grocery store healthier options

Eating right – what you put in your mouth — starts with what you put in your shopping cart!

Adopting heart-healthy habits could save billions in Medicare costs

Women walking

More than $41 billion in Medicare costs could be saved each year if beneficiaries achieved five to seven of the healthy habits that reduce heart disease, according to new research.

The American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 is a composite measure of seven modifiable heart-healthy factors: cigarette smoking, physical activity, diet, body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.

Researchers estimated the annual financial impact of Life’s Simple 7 compliance using one year of follow-up data from Reasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), a national, population-based longitudinal study. They focused on Medicare claims for 6,262 beneficiaries over age 65 with fee-for-service coverage and no prior history of cardiovascular disease.

In primary analyses, researchers found:

  • Only 6.4 percent of participants had five to seven ideal factors.
  • Participants with fewer Life’s Simple 7 scores were more likely to be women, black or be unmarried, or have an annual income less than $20,000 or have less than a high school education.
  • Those with higher scores were less likely to have all-cause and cardiovascular disease-related inpatient or outpatient encounters in the year following their in-home study visit.
  • Inpatient and outpatient healthcare expenditures were $5,016 less for participants with the most ideal heart-healthy factors compared to those with the least number of factors.

By extending estimates from the primary analyses to corresponding 2014 Medicare beneficiaries, researchers found participants with fewer than five of the heart-healthy measures accounted for more than half of all inpatient costs each year and about one-third of total outpatient claims. The potential annualized cost reduction is $41.2 billion for inpatient, outpatient and total expenditures, respectively, if all Medicare beneficiaries had five to seven Life’s Simple 7 factors.

“The actual cost for persons with fewer than five to seven factors is almost certainly higher,” said Kristal J. Aaron, Dr.P.H., lead author of the study and clinical data manager at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. “Skilled nursing facility, home health and hospice care, durable medical supplies, and medications were excluded in this analyses; thus, our study was limited to inpatient and outpatient visits for beneficiaries with Medicare fee-for-service in the 2014 calendar year. So this is probably a very conservative estimate.”

The research is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Eat Healthy on a Budget by Planning Ahead

Eating healthy – lots of fruits and veggies, lean protein, whole grains – doesn’t have to be more expensive. If you shop smart and plan ahead, you’ll be surprised at how much goodness you can haul without breaking the bank.  

The reality is, many of those ready-made, super-fast, prepackaged foods actually cost MORE than homemade foods. And they tend to have more calories, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.   

So drop the excuses because scoring those nutrientdense, fiber-rich foods your body needs is easier – and cheaper – than you think.  
Planning ahead is
 key to success 

Preparing menus and grocery lists ahead of time can keep you from making impulse food choices, which often aren’t healthyWith a little planning, you can make the healthy choice the easy choice. 

  • Plan out one or two weeks of healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take a few minutes over the weekend to go through your favorite healthy recipes and map out your meal plan. Update your go-to list as you come across new recipes, and don’t be afraid to try new things! 
  • Use a grocery list or meal-planning app with a grocery list feature. This will help you quickly grab the ingredients you need for your healthy meal plan 
  • If your work week is crazy, cook over the weekend and store pre-portioned meals in the fridge or freezer. Now this is a real time and money saver! Just thaw and reheat for hassle-free lunches and dinners.  
  • Cut up fruits and vegetables and keep them handy in the fridge, or pre-pack individual servings for when you’re on the go. You’ll have ready-made healthy snacks and meal ingredients at your fingertips.  

Shop smart to save big.  

Knowing how to navigate the grocery store can save time and money. 

  • Keep an eye out for specials. Stock up on frozen and canned produce when it’s on sale. 
  • Use coupons and join store rewards programs. You’ll be more aware of what’s on sale and able to work it into your meal planning.  
  • Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in season.  For example, blueberries cost less in spring and summer, when they’re in season. You’ll pay more in the fall and winter when they’re shipped from warmer climates.  
  • Skip the ready-made foods and individually-packaged snacks.The convenience may be tempting but it’s usually healthier and cheaper to prepare these same foods at home. So aim your cart in another direction.  
  • Buy local at a farmer’s market. The produce may be fresher because it wasn’t picked before ripening to travel on a truck long-distance to get to you. You’ll know where your food is coming from and help your local economy. You can save money by buying in bulk and splitting the cost with friends or family.  

Practices makes perfect. 

Putting a new healthy routine in place doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t give up!  

  • Make healthy changes one step at a time. You and your family won’t feel blindsided or deprived of all of your favorites if the changes are gradual.  
  • Involve the whole family.  Kids can help with meal planning, grocery shopping and even cooking. Let each family member be chef for a day and take charge of a particular meal. Encourage older kids to make a game of reading food labels at the grocery store. Let younger kids pick out new types of fruits and vegetables to try.Get more budget-friendly tips online. The AHA has got your back in the grocery store and the kitchen. Learn how to eat healthy and check out this list of healthy foods under $1.  

Annual Gaylord Chamber Awards Banquet

Congratulations to Dr. Kristine E. Bobish, D.O. of Alpine Cardiology, who is this years recipient of the Gordon G. Everett Memorial Bell Tower Award. This award is for recognizing new construction and/or renovation projects that best exemplify investment in Otsego County while maintaining the Alpine spirit and theme.

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