Knowledge

Cold Weather Safety Tips

The teeth-chattering cold is here and it’s nothing to laugh about. Cold weather extremes can be dangerous. Follow these important cold weather safety tips for you, your family, and pets when the mercury and wind chills drop.

  • Minimize outside activities, particularly the elderly and very young.couple walking in the cold
  • Dress in layers. Several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing will keep you warmer than a single layer of heavy clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Invest in a good brand of thermal underwear and layer beneath a turtleneck, topped with a wool sweater, then a long coat or fleece-lined parka. Try runners’ tights to wear underneath your pants, which will keep you even warmer than thermal underwear.
  • Wear the right gear. Our bodies prioritize keeping our organs warm, which means hands and feet are typically the first to feel the cold. Wear either wool-lined winter gloves or heavy mittens, and sturdy, waterproof boots, protecting your extremities. A hat is essential, preferably one that covers your ears. Cover your face and mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • Don’t forget your pets, bring them inside! They need adequate shelter. In sub-zero temperatures, their paws, noses and ears can succumb to frostbite. If you can’t bring them in your home, house them in a garage or basement with plenty of warm bedding.
  • Know frostbite signs: numbness, flushed gray, white, blue or yellow skin discoloration. Did you know that frostbite could occur in less than 30 minutes if proper precautions are not taken? Frostbite is damaging to body tissue, if symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.
  • Know hypothermia symptoms: uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If body temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.
  • To keep pipes from freezing wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of water to run from a faucet if your pipes have frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe should burst.Winter Car safety cartoon
  • Be safe with heat sources. When using alternate heating sources, such as your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions to ensure they are ventilating properly. Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use it. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Many house fires result from these practices.
  • Seal off unused rooms by stuffing rolled-up towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets. Consider installing inexpensive insulating window film, which you can purchase at any hardware store.
  • Check tire pressure and your car battery. Be sure your car has a winter safety kit that includes a blanket, warm clothes, and gloves in case your car breaks down or becomes stranded.
  • And most importantly, be a good neighbor. Check in with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure they are safe.

For further information check out weather.gov and farmersalmanac.com


Holiday Healthy Eating

The holidays are all about family, fun and food! Below are some great tips to help you celebrate the season without putting your healthy habits on hold.

Watch our website later this week for heart healthy holiday meal recipes.

HEALTHY EATING

Here are some simple ways you and your family can eat healthy. Learn more at Eat Smart
INCLUDE

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish, skinless poultry, and plant-based alternatives
  • Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
  • Healthier fats and nontropical oils

LIMIT

  • Sodium and salty or highly processed foods
  • Saturated fat
  • Sweets and added sugars, including sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Fatty or processed meats — if you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts

AVOID

  • Trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils and excessive calories

TIPS

  • Choose wisely, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary by brand and preparation.
  • Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Watch your calorie intake. To maintain weight, consume only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories or burn more calories.
  • Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served.
  • Eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
  • Prepare and eat healthier meals at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients.</li
  • Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy diet. Learn more at Heart Check

BE SMART ABOUT BEVERAGES

The holidays are chock full of delicious dishes, but they can come with extra calories and unwanted ingredients. Try these tips to enjoy your favorite winter beverages.

EGGNOG

  • Mix it up. Fill your glass with half- to three-quarter-parts of low-fat or skim
  • milk and one part eggnog. You’ll still get the flavor without all the calories.

  • Act like a kid. Take out the alcohol. This simple step will reduce the caloric content.
  • Cut the fluff. Pass on that big dollop of whipped cream to avoid the extra sugar and saturated fat.
  • Find an alternative. Try a low-fat or non-dairy version.

HOT CHOCOLATE

  • Lighten up. Try hot chocolate made with low-fat or skim milk, and without whipped cream.
  • Do some research. With instant hot chocolate, look for products marked “low-fat/fat-free” and use low-fat or nonfat milk or hot water. Choose options with less added sugars.
  • Go easy on the toppings. Use mini-marshmallows instead of large ones. Use low-fat whipped cream, or stick to less than one tablespoon. Try lighter toppings like grated cinnamon or nutmeg.

APPLE CIDER

  • Read the labels. When buying cider, check the added sugar content, which can increase your calorie intake and cause weight gain. Choose options with less sugar.
  • Do it yourself. When making cider at home, use unsweetened apple juice and a variety of spices (like cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg and whole cranberries). You’ll keep the flavor while cutting calories.

COCKTAILS AND OTHER ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

  • Enjoy mocktails. Serve non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails to lower the calories. Be sure to check the nutrition label, because sometimes products that are alcohol-free have more added sugar.
  • Break it up. Drink a glass of water or sparkling water between each beverage. This will help fill you up, leaving less room to overindulge.

MINDFUL MEALS

SODIUM

  • Limit your sodium. Did you know that many of your favorite holiday dishes may be packed with sodium? Breads and rolls, poultry, and canned soups are three common foods that can add sodium to your diet. When shopping for ingredients to prepare your holiday meal, compare the labels and choose options with the lowest amount of sodium.
  • Savor the flavor. Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of salt or butter.
  • Rinse away. When using canned beans or veggies, drain and rinse in a colander to remove excess sodium.

TURKEY

  • Outsmart the bird. Reach for the lighter pieces of meat; they have fewer calories and less fat than the darker ones. Another way to cut calories and fat is to take off the skin.
  • Keep portions in check. A serving size of meat is 3 oz., about the size of a deck of cards. So, be conscious of how much you put on your plate, and pass on that second helping. If you’re also having another meat, like ham or lamb, take smaller portions of each.
  • Watch out for the gravy train. Turkey usually comes with gravy, which can add excess saturated fat, calories and sodium. Limit gravy to a tablespoon, and keep it off other items, like the dressing.

DRESSNG

  • Call it what it is. Dressing is intended to be a complement to your meal, not an entrée. Limit servings to about 1/4 cup or one spoonful.
  • Judge it by its cover. If the dressing is filled with fatty meats like sausage and pork, looks greasy or buttery, or is made with white bread or sweet rolls, it may be best to pass. Better options include dressings made with whole grain or cornbread, lean meat (or no meat), nuts (like almonds or walnuts), and lots of veggies and fruits.

APPETIZERS/SNACKS

  • Skip the extras. Make sure everyone has an appetite for the meal by skipping appetizers and serving lighter snacks like cut-up fruits and veggies.

ADDED SUGARS

  • Treat yourself right. Try bite-sized or half portions of desserts, or split servings with others.
  • Sip smart. Instead of soda or sweet tea, which can add a lot of sugar to an already indulgent meal, serve sparkling water or tea sweetened only with a bit of 100% fruit juice.
  • Lighten up. Reduce the amount of sugar you use in sides like sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce. Use herbs and spices for flavor instead.

HEALTHY HOLIDAY PARTIES

‘Tis the season of celebrations. Whatever the event, these tips can help you stay
healthy while having fun.

APPETIZERS AND HORS D’OEUVRES

  • Get involved. Whether potluck or not, offer to bring a dish. You can make a healthier item, giving yourself at least one good option to enjoy.
  • Come prepared. If the party is during lunch, eat a healthy breakfast followed in mid-morning by a high-fiber snack, such as an apple or a small handful of almonds. If the party is at the end of the day, enjoy a protein packed lunch like grilled fish or chicken with a salad and then later in the afternoon have another high-fiber snack. If you’re not too hungry when you go to the party, it will be easier to avoid overeating.
  • Go easy. Avoid loading up on foods that are fried, buttered or have a lot of cheese and cream. Even though the portions may be small, these fat-laden bites can really pack a punch. Look for fruit, veggies and dip, whole-grain crackers, and baked or grilled items.

DESSERTS

  • Use the buddy system. By splitting a dessert with someone, you can cut the calories and fat in half and avoid being wasteful. It’s a win-win!

BEVERAGES

  • Mix it up. If alcohol is being served, alternate each glass with a glass of water. This will help reduce your thirst while filling your stomach and you’ll consume fewer calories.
  • Watch seasonal drinks. Many holiday beverages have so much added sugar, they may as well be a dessert. Keep in mind what else you’ve eaten; it may be best to enjoy these drinks on another day.

MAKING TRADITIONS HEALTHY

Keep your holiday traditions, and make small changes and smart substitutions where you can.

  • Instead of butter, use a healthier vegetable oil or substitute equal parts unsweetened applesauce when baking.
  • Use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.
  • Use low-fat or nonfat milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream.
  • Instead of only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat flour.
  • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • Use extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint to add flavor, instead of sugar or butter.
  • Use vegetable oils or soft margarine instead of butter.
  • Use whole-grain breads, rice and pasta instead of white.
  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.
  • Compare labels of your holiday ingredients, and choose products with lower amounts of sodium and added sugars.
  • Use spices, fresh herbs and citrus juice to flavor foods and drinks instead of excess salt and added sugars.

 

MOVE MORE. BE WELL.

If your holiday traditions all seem to revolve around eating, liven things up with some opportunities to be physically active with family and friends.

  • Go for a walk or run. Instead of heading for the couch after the big meal, bundle up and head outdoors for some fresh air. Walking is an activity the whole family can do together, even the dog!
  • Play to win. Start a new tradition of an annual family game of touch football, basketball, mini-golf or whatever your family’s favorite sport is.
  • Make it move. Add movements and gestures to your favorite card or board games.
  • Play in the snow. Go sledding, ice skating, skiing or snowshoeing. Build a snowman or snow fort. Team up for an epic snowball fight.
  • Break up the binge-watching. In between bowl games or your favorite holiday movies, take a walk or do something active.

If the holidays sometimes leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, take care of yourself to stay well.

  • Keep up healthy habits. Make a commitment to yourself before the holiday season begins. If you don’t completely give up your healthy habits, you won’t  feel like you have to start all over once the holidays are in the rear-view.
  • Fit in fitness. Try not to skip workouts, but when a full social calendar gets in the way, sprinkle some healthy activity like walking into your daily routine.
  • Give yourself the gift of peace. When the invitations pile up, don’t be afraid to say no to some of them. If you need some down time to recharge for the next party, take a break. Do something that relaxes you, like yoga, meditation, reading, a warm bath or spending time in nature.
  • Get your ZZZs. Aim for 7–9 hours of sleep each night to stay in the healthy zone. Don’t let your wake-up time and bedtime get too far off your regular schedule. Nap when needed and ditch the digital devices at night.

For more tips, visit Healthy For Good.


Life’s Simple 7

Life’s Simple 7 is defined by the American Heart Association as the 7 risk factors that people can improve through lifestyle changes to help achieve ideal cardiovascular heath.

  1. Manage Blood Pressure
  2. Control Cholesterol
  3. Reduce Blood Sugar
  4. Get Active
  5. Eat Better
  6. Lose Weight
  7. Stop Smoking

Over the next few months we will share more details on how to help you achieve these 7 lifestyle changes. Watch for information here on our website in our news articles under News & Information and on Facebook with a link to our blog. We are committed to keeping you heart healthy!


Boomers & Seniors Resource Directory 2019

Your resource for Health, Home, Fun & Living a Great Life!!

Senior Resource Directory 2019


Caregivers – You are NOT alone

At Alpine Cardiology we are committed to keeping you healthy and heart smart and our posts have been focused on doing just that. One area we haven’t touched on is the vital role family caregivers provide for our patients and the resources available. Caregivers may be spouses, partners, adult children, parents or other relatives. A Caregiver might do daily check ins on a loved one, provide 24 hour care or somewhere in between. Caregivers are critical partners in the plan of care for a patient with a chronic illness and often forget to care for themselves. 

Caregivers hold it all together, but they also need support and to take care of themselves. As a caregiver, it is normal to feel isolated, at a loss and unsure of yourself sometimes. Staying both physically and mentally healthy can be almost impossible when your focus is taking care of a loved one.

Remember, you are not alone. Others have been down this same path and are willing to share their experiences and insights. The links below can be indispensable as you care for someone who has heart disease or who has experienced a heart attack, heart surgery or stroke. Don’t be afraid to talk to yours or your loved ones doctor about any concerns you may have or challenges you are facing in your caregiver role. 

American Heart Association Support Network

American Heart Association Caregiver Support

Caregiver.org

US Department of Health & Human Services Resources for Caregivers

National Institutes of Health Caregiver Resources

Otsego County Commission on Aging is a great resource for assistance in your community and hosts a caregiver support group at Otsego Haus in Gaylord. Link below for more information.

Otsego County Commission on Aging Caregiver Support Group


Managing Blood Pressure with a Heart-Healthy Diet

What are the benefits of heart-healthy eating?

Eating a heart-healthy diet is important for managing your blood pressure and reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke and other health threats.

Aim to eat a diet that’s rich in:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grains
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Skinless poultry and fish
  • Nuts and legumes
  • Non-tropical vegetable oils

Limit:

  • Saturated and trans fats
  • Sodium
  • Red meat (if you do eat red meat, compare labels and select the leanest cuts available)
  • Sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages

Be sure to work with the “chefs” in your household and plan together for any dietary changes that are needed. When cooking at home, try heart-healthy recipes. When dining out, look for healthy options.


Read the labels
By adopting the habit of reading food labels, you can choose foods more wisely. Watch for foods that have saturated fat or trans fat — factors that can raise your cholesterol. Eating foods that are high in sodium (salt) can increase blood pressure. Generally, the higher your salt intake, the higher your blood pressure.


Look for the Heart-Check mark
With so many marketing messages being thrown at you in the grocery store, it can be difficult to know what is truly healthy. To make it easier, the American Heart Association (AHA) developed the Heart-Check mark. When you see this symbol on food packaging, it means that the product meets AHA criteria for saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium for a single serving of the food product for healthy people over age 2.


The DASH eating plan
As its name implies, the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan is designed to help you manage blood pressure. Emphasizing healthy food sources, it also limits:

  • Red meat
  • Sodium (salt)
  • Sweets, added sugars and sugar-containing beverages

In addition to being easy to follow, delicious and varied, the DASH eating plan is proven effective. Download a PDF of the complete DASH eating plan.


Craving a cup of joe? What does the research say about coffee and your health?

  Coffee. Cup of joe. Java. No matter what you call it, millions of people worldwide wake up and fuel their day with it. And though consumers might be jittery about the recent court battle in California over cancer warnings, experts say most of the science actually indicates coffee could have health benefits.

“The overall picture is quite clear,” said Dr. Frank Hu, chair of nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “There is no long-term increased risk of major chronic disease, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease or even cancer.”

The java confusion stems over an eight-year court case. A Los Angeles-based judge’s preliminary decision last month requires cancer warning labels because of concerns about acrylamide, a chemical produced during the roasting process. Acrylamide also is present in some fried or roasted starchy foods, including french fries, potato chips, breakfast cereals and toast. It’s also found in cigarette smoke. The judge gave the coffee industry a few weeks to file appeals and could issue a final ruling late this month.

But there’s little evidence acrylamide levels in food cause cancer in humans. Studies have found no consistent evidence acrylamide exposure in food is associated with cancer risk, according to the National Cancer Institute. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed more than 1,000 human and animal studies and issued a statement in 2016 that “found no conclusive evidence for a carcinogenic effect of drinking coffee.”

“The California judge’s decision to label coffee as a cancer risk is really inconsistent with the scientific literature,” Hu said. “It’s very misleading and has already caused a huge amount of confusion in the general public. The health outcomes have been remarkably consistent.”

Hu was senior author of a 2015 study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation that concluded people who regularly drink moderate amounts of coffee daily — fewer than five cups — experienced a lower risk of death from heart and neurological diseases.

About four years ago, the U.S. government gave coffee its OK, too. The Department of Agriculture’s dietary guidelines for all Americans, published every five years as a go-to source for nutrition advice, said three to five cups a day, which can be up to 400 milligrams a day of caffeine, can be part of a healthy diet. The AHA suggests that people who have an arrhythmia, an abnormal heart rhythm, talk to their health care provider about caffeine intake.

“This guidance on coffee is informed by strong and consistent evidence showing that, in healthy adults, moderate coffee consumption is not associated with an increased risk of major chronic diseases (e.g., cancer) or premature death, especially from cardiovascular disease,” the federal guidelines say. “However, individuals who do not consume caffeinated coffee or other caffeinated beverages are not encouraged to incorporate them into their eating pattern.”

More recently, a review of more than 200 studies published last fall in the BMJ concluded three to four cups a day may be “more likely to benefit health than harm.” It found a lower risk of liver disease and some cancers in coffee drinkers, and a lower risk of dying from stroke.

All of that should be good news to the people around the world who drink more than 1.1 billion cups of coffee each day.

But it’s still easy to be confused. A quick search for coffee and health online yields hundreds, even thousands, of results.

Studies abound – some funded by the coffee industry. For example, a European Journal of Nutrition study investigated the effects of coffee and its antioxidant properties and found no effect. Researchers took blood samples of 160 volunteers who drank up to three to five cups of coffee or water each day for eight weeks.

“Up to five cups of coffee per day had no detectable effect, either beneficial or harmful, on human health,” that study concluded. It was funded by Kraft Foods, which makes Maxwell House coffees.

Of course, “no one is talking about coffee as a magic bullet,” Hu said. He and other experts say it’s important to keep track of the bigger picture, with the focus on moderation and dietary patterns.

“You can’t pin anything on any one specific lifestyle behavior, particularly with diet,” said Alice Lichtenstein, a senior scientist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University in Boston and past chair of the AHA’s nutrition committee.

“When we talk about diet, it should really be about the whole package, not single items. Right now, the majority of the evidence suggests there may be a health benefit from drinking coffee and there doesn’t seem to be any disadvantage. Of course, with a caveat that you don’t want to add a lot of cream and sugar, or to use it as an excuse to have a few cookies or a pastry. Then, there is a downside,” said Lichtenstein, a professor of nutrition science and policy who also was an advisor on the federal dietary guidelines.

“We have a tendency to focus on one or two specific foods or beverages, and that’s when the whole floor falls out from under us.”


How Much Do You Know About Heart Health Answers

Question #1

Answer: D. The latest statistics suggest that nearly 900,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 36% of all deaths. Cancer claims about 550,000 lives; accidents are responsible for 108,694 deaths; and HIV/AIDS kills about 13,000 Americans annually.

Question #2

Answer: E. All the foods listed above contain considerable amounts of sodium. In fact, some cereals have more sodium than potato chips. Even if you don’t add a single dash of salt to food, you could be getting too much sodium. Most of us take in more sodium through convenience foods than by using table salt.

Questions #3

Answer: E. Each is considered “a drink.” Men should only have up to two alcoholic drinks per day; women should stick to one drink.

Question #4

Answer: E. None of the above. There is not sufficient science to justify taking antioxidant (or other types of nutritional) supplements to prevent heart disease.

Question #5

Answer: E. All of the above. As with men, a woman’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms (some of which mimic a bad case of indigestion). Experiencing chest discomfort, particularly with one or more of the other signs listed above, for more than five minutes warrants seeking medical attention.


How Much Do You Know About Heart Health? Take The Quiz!

Quiz yourself on your knowledge of heart health!

1. How many Americans die from heart disease each year?

A) 20,000
B) 75,000
C) 350,000
D) 900,000

2. As salt intake increases, so does your blood pressure. Which food is high in sodium?

A) Potato chips
B) Cereal
C) Cookies
D) Cheese
E) All of the above

3. Studies show that moderate alcohol intake is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Which is considered a “drink”?

A) A 12-ounce bottle of beer
B) A 4-ounce glass of wine
C) 1½-ounce shot of 80-proof vodka
D) 1 ounce of 100-proof alcohol
E) All of the above

4. Which of the following supplements should you take to reduce your risk of heart disease?

A) Selenium
B) Vitamin E
C) Vitamins B6 and B12
D) Vitamin C
E) None of the above

5. Which symptoms of a heart attack are most common to women?

A) Chest pain or discomfort
B) Shortness of breath
C) Nausea/vomiting
D) Back or jaw pain
E) All of the above
 

Check Your Answers Here!

 

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