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Author: Karen Owoc
Hi! I'm a clinical exercise physiologist, cancer exercise trainer, and healthy lifestyle expert. As a TV host/producer and health & fitness contributor for TV, radio, and print, my goal is to help you cultivate healthy habits in a distinctive, fun and artful way.
If you’re experiencing heart attack symptoms, aspirin is the BEST form of first aid. But all aspirins are not alike nor are all methods of taking aspirin alike. Join alongside KRON 4 Morning News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, in taking this lifesaving quiz!
Aspirin can stop an impending heart attack. A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is permanent damage to the heart muscle. Most heart attacks develop when a cholesterol-laden plaque in a coronary artery ruptures. Plaque deposits are hard on the outside and when this outer shell ruptures (cracks), platelets rush to the area in an effort to ‘patch’ the ruptured area.
Platelets (or “thrombocytes”) are disc-shaped components in the blood that aid in clotting. Aspirin, an anti-platelet, helps inhibit platelet activity. As a clot grows, it blocks an artery. When the artery is completely blocked, cardiac tissue dies from the lack of blood supply and you have a heart attack.
NOTE: Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, and acetaminophen is an analgesic. They are NOT anti-platelet drugs.
A Clot Grows Minute by Minute!
Aspirin can help stop the platelets from forming a larger clot if you take the aspirin BEFORE the clot gets too big. Time is of the essence, so it’s critical to know how the aspirin works the fastest.
QUIZ — Question #1
What is the best DOSE of aspirin to take during a possible heart attack?
See how certain types of food can soften a chicken bone — just like your enamel. Your toothless grin at six may have been cute back then, but as an adult, it’s not so adorable. Check out my ‘chicken bone experiment’ to demonstrate dental health to Marty Gonzalez, anchor of KRON 4 Weekend News. We all know that candy and sweets aren’t good for your teeth, but preventing tooth decay and preserving your aging teeth involve more than what NOT to eat…
Enamel Enemy No. 1
Your enamel is the hard outer layer on your teeth that protects them from harmful acids. Your teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. When sugars from the food you eat/drink mix together with plaque, acid is formed. SUGAR + PLAQUE = ACID
Acids attack your teeth. Repeated attacks can cause the tooth enamel to break down (soften) which can lead to cavities.
Everyday food and drinks contain varying amounts of acid and sugar (an acid producer).
Acids dissolve the calcium and minerals out of bones to make them soft.
Similarly, the acids that attack your teeth can erode your enamel (by removing minerals from the enamel) making them susceptible to wear, pain and decay.
Foods that Build Strong Teeth
Foods that contain bone-building vitamins and minerals (e.g., magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D) will help you preserve your aging teeth.
Magnesium is an especially important mineral in strengthening aging teeth and bones, so include plenty of:
Nuts, nut butters, seeds
Dried beans, lentils, whole grains
Green leafy vegetables. dried fruits
2. Calcium and Vitamin D
In general, dairy products are good sources, but non-dairy foods are also excellent sources of bone-building calcium. They include:
Dark-green leafy green vegetables (e.g., kale, spinach, arugula, basil)
Ever wonder what your blood pressure numbers mean? Here’s an explanation using a water faucet and pipe to demonstrate. And now there’s a THIRD pressure that’s important to your overall health and is worth monitoring as well.
What’s Your Pulse Pressure?
Pulse pressure is the numeric difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Predictor of Heart Attacks and Cardiovascular Disease
A resting pulse pressure in sitting position in healthy adults is about 30-40 mm Hg. For adults over age 60, especially men, a pulse pressure higher than 60 can be a useful predictor of heart attacks or other cardiovascular disease.
A greater pulse pressure indicates that your vessels are stiffer and more damaged.
If the aorta becomes rigid, such as from atherosclerosis, a.k.a., “hardening of the arteries”, your pulse pressure would be very high.
Per a meta-analysis of several studies of 8,000 elderly subjects, the combined results found that a 10-point increase in pulse pressure increased the risk of major cardiovascular complications and mortality by nearly 20%.
NOTE: A low pulse pressure (i.e., 25 mm Hg or less) may mean aortic valve stenosis or congestive heart failure where a low volume of blood is ejected per beat.
Causes of Arterial Stiffness
The most important cause of an elevated pulse pressure is arterial stiffening, in particular, stiffness of the aorta (the largest artery in the body). Arteries stiffen with age, just like tissues in your skin, lungs, heart, tendons, and joints, due to:
Fatty deposits damaging the arterial walls and resulting in them being less elastic (atherosclerosis)
Results of Arterial Stiffness
Your heart enlarges. When arteries stiffen and lose their elasticity, your heart must contract more forcefully with each heart beat in order for your blood to circulate adequately. The extra work that your heart must perform can lead to physical changes in the musculature of your heart (e.g., size and shape), specifically the lower chambers (the ventricles). It’s just like how your biceps get bigger that occurs when you exercise them harder.
You’re prone to irregular heart beats (cardiac arrhythmias). If the remodeling also affects the upper chambers (the atria), it can disrupt the electrical pathways that generate the signals telling your heart when to contract.
You’re at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. The cause of most cardiovascular events and cerebrovascular accidents is the growth and eventual rupture of arterial plaques.
Which Is the Better Pulse Pressure?
160/120 mm Hg OR 110/70 mm Hg? (The pulse pressure in each pair = 40 mm Hg.)
Higher systolic and diastolic pairs imply higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease
Can Atherosclerosis (Coronary Artery Disease) Be Reversed?
Have you ever talked to someone on the phone and determined the person is old just by the sound of his/her voice? You’ve likely heard an older person speak with that classic gravely, weak. raspy, wavering, hoarse, and/or breathless voice. When it comes to anti-aging, most people think about how to look younger and how to feel younger, but don’t usually think about how to “sound” younger.
As with everything else, your voice ages too, and most people don’t think about taking care of their ‘voice muscles’ like they do their biceps. On this KRON 4 health segment, Weekend News anchor, Marty Gonzalez, and I talk about how to keep your voice sounding “young”.
Causes of Sounding Old
Over 30% of people over age 65 have voice problems. As you age, your larynx (a.k.a. voice box) changes. The following conditions may be causing your voice to become hoarse and weak causing you to sound “old”:
Vocal cords are less elastic (just like aging skin and muscles) and are unable to work in the same way as when you were young. Your vocal cords move and vibrate to make sounds. When the surrounding muscles move, your vocal cords either tighten or loosen. To make higher sounds, your cords tighten.
Vocal cords and muscles in the larynx wear out and become more thin. As a result, your voice may sound higher.
Vocal cords are dry due to a decrease in blood supply and number of lubricating glands.
Weak abdominals – In order to form a sound, your abs and rib cage squeeze your lungs which make you exhale air.
Decreased lung capacity – By the time you’re 80, you may have 50% less volume compared to when you were 20.
Acid reflux can cause harshness, sore throat, cough.
Rheumatoid arthritis – This condition can lead to hoarseness because your vocal cords cannot move well. The inflammation limits the ability of the joint near your windpipe (cricoarytenoid joint) to move.
Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night? If so, caffeine could be keeping you awake even though you never consume it at night. That’s because caffeine has a longer-lasting effect than you may think.
Negative Health Effects of Insomnia
Caffeine disrupts deep (restorative) sleep and the ability to fall asleep which cuts down on total sleep time resulting in:
Increased mortality — According to a study by the American Cancer Society (Mortality Associated with Sleep Duration and Insomnia), insufficient sleep can shorten your life. Causes of death associated with sleep duration include heart disease, stroke, and breast/colon cancer.
Why Caffeine Has a Lasting Effect (Half-Life Explained)
Caffeine has a half life of five to six hours. In other words, it takes five to six hours for the amount of caffeine in your body to be reduced to exactly one-half of its concentration. (Translation: the amount of caffeine remaining in your body after six hours is equal to the amount you excrete.)
How It Breaks Down
The half-life of caffeine in a healthy adult is six hours. This does not take into consideration half-life variables (see below) that can influence how fast/slow a person metabolizes caffeine.
Due to the half-life of caffeine, caffeine starts accumulating in your body when you consume it throughout the day. This could be in the form of another drink, food, or even medication.
For example, if you drink two cups of coffee every day at 8:00 AM, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM nearly 45 gmof caffeine could still be in your system.
To compound the caffeinated effect, if you drink anothercup of coffee at 2:00 PM as an afternoon pick-me-up, by Day 3 at 2:00 AM, nearly 90 gmof caffeine could still be in your system. That’s nearly the amount of caffeine in a 16-oz Frappuccino® — a clue as to why you may not be able to sleep well.