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Hi, everyone. Welcome back to our corner.

I’d like to take us back a bit today. You know what a fan of Susan Cislo, D.O., I am.

The rheumatoid arthritis I have in my back was bothering me so much I was close to picking out a cane when I first went to her. Every session with her, I’ve improved greatly. She gives me exercises to do between visits, and I can honestly say that today, I am without pain. In fact, I had a full body manipulation recently, and I feel 16 years old again….really!

I know I sound like a commercial, but I feel so amazing, I want to shout it from the rooftops. I believe if we have good news we should share it. Her telephone number, should you need it, is 731-0921.

Today, I’d like to return to our discussion about the difficulty in knowing when you are actually having a heart attack.

I want to return to it because it is the No. 1 killer of both men and women, and I want to keep us all around for as long as possible.

Susan Cislo was very helpful in giving me a couple of excellent references to research: www.webmd.com and www.heart.org.

This is some of what I learned there: The most common heart attack symptom is still the squeezing, uncomfortable pressure, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest. It lasts more than a minute, goes away and comes back. If you should experience this, don’t wait, call 911 immediately. Don’t take a chance — every moment counts.

It’s the “unusual” attacks we need to revisit.

The following symptoms are a little less recognizable:

Pain in your arm(s), back, neck or jaw

Stomach pain.

Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness , or having trouble breathing

Sweating

We all know our own bodies, and we know when something just isn’t quite right, so let’s keep these warnings in mind, and don’t wait. If you experience any of these symptoms, that you know just aren’t quite right, make that call to 911.

Before we get to that stage, let’s work on keeping our hearts healthy, or, in some cases, make an unhealthy heart healthier.

The doctors say that becoming more active is one of the best things we can do for our hearts. Exercise helps with blood pressure and weight, and makes our hearts stronger.

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Even as little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days helps. Some examples are walking, water aerobics, washing your car, or come out to the college and sign up for Adaptive PE. That’s where I like to hang out. Always consult your doctor for exercises that are appropriate for you. As with all things, it’s more fun to stay motivated if you do these activities with family or friends.

Weight is a factor, also, so let’s talk about a Heart-Healthy Diet. The recommended diet lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

The recommendations are:

Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products

Eat less total fat, saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol.

Limit the amount of red meat, sweets, and sweetened beverages you eat.

Lowering the amount of salt we eat can help lower the amount of fluid our body holds onto. This lowers our blood pressure and makes it easier for our heart to do its work. Getting no more than about a quarter-teaspoon of table salt helps the most.

Helpful tips:

  • Read labels. Look for “salt”, “sodium,” “sea salt”, and “kosher salt.”
  • Rinse salty canned food such as tuna before using it.
  • Substitute herbs and spices for sodium and salt when cooking.
  • Avoid instant or flavored side dishes, which usually have a lot of added sodium. Instead, try cooking plain rice, pasta, or grains without adding salt. Flavors or a bit of salt can be added when the foods are served.
  • Look for “low sodium” on food labels.

There, that doesn’t sound so terrible. We know we want to live longer. We also know we want to be healthy. It’s amazing how exercise and eating healthy can make you feel.

I wasn’t going to mention this one, but we should also mention diet and alcohol. When I read the following, it got my attention: Drinking too much alcohol can make heart disease worse.

Why? It raises our blood pressure; increases our chances of a stroke; increases our risk of dying if we have a heart attack; and damages our heart muscle and leads to heart failure. However, there is some good news; moderate use of alcohol may have these two benefits: Lowering our blood pressure two to four points, and increasing the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in our blood.

“Moderate” drinking means the following: No more than two drinks per day for men, and no more than one drink per day for women. I can live with that? How about you?

Well, here’s a toast to good health, good friends, happiness and a long and happy life.

Life is good, let’s be smart and do all the things we need to do stay feeling great.

Remember, too, we always want to be kind and loving to one another.

See you next time. It’s been fun, as always.

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Contact Betty at bettyrrhodes@sbcglobal.net.

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