• Healthy Living

     
     
     
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    5/16/2012

    Did you know that how you live may play a part in how long you will live? This is great news-you have some control over your own health and well-being. You may already have heart disease, but it's never too late to make changes in your lifestyle that will help your heart. And if you have had an "eye-opening" heart problem, you are likely more ready than ever to follow a healthier lifestyle.

    So, now is a great time for you to consider improving your health. What changes should you make? Research shows that the following factors all play an important part in preventing and managing heart disease:

    If you have or are at risk for cardiovascular disease, it’s also especially important to take precautions for weather-related emergencies, including extreme heat. Check out the SecondsCount Guide to How Extreme Weather Can Affect Your Heart.

    Don't Give Up. Find Support.

    Following a heart-healthy lifestyle is a life-long effort that starts now. But sometimes it may seem difficult to keep at it, even when you know it is worth the effort. So it is important to find support that encourages you to keep at your goal of a longer, healthier life.

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    Are there things we can do now to keep our children from developing heart disease later? Dr. David L. Brown discusses how today’s heart-healthy choices can impact your children’s health for decades to come.

    Involving family members in your efforts can be an important source of support. Heart disease runs in families. Type 2 diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease, also runs in families. Living a healthier lifestyle improves your own health, but also models good habits for your children and everyone in your family. This is a powerful way to encourage them to join you in lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes for your whole family. There are even fun ways you can support each other and stay on track by planning healthy family meals, engaging physical activities, and stress-reducing habits.

     As a bonus to a heart-healthy lifestyle, your whole family may also:

    • catch fewer colds and viruses (with regular, moderate exercise),
    • maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity,
    • prevent or delay the progression of diabetes,
    • keep your mind sharp by possibly preventing dementia, and
    • reduce the risk of these health problems for your children.

    A Cautionary Note

    You should always speak with your doctor before you change, start or stop any part of your healthcare plan, including diet and exercise. Reading health information online may be helpful, but it cannot replace the professional diagnosis and treatment you might need from a qualified healthcare provider.

    Before making any lifestyle changes, your doctor should assess your current health status and inform you of any precautions you should take. Your medications may interact with certain foods or be affected by exercise. Your doctor can make you aware of these interactions and help you prevent them. Your doctor can also help you decide how to change your diet or exercise plans, or refer you to other health professionals (for example, a dietitian or exercise physiologist). 

    If at any time you think you may have a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1 immediately.

    Keep in mind that sometimes lifestyle changes alone are not enough to overcome risk factors that are not changeable, such as genes, gender and age. Lifestyle changes are often used in addition to medications and other treatments recommended by your doctor. 

  • More About Healthy Living

    19 Everyday Things That Could Impact Your Heart Health (and What Your Heart Has to Say About It)

    It’s American Heart Month 2014! To mark this awareness month, we’re sharing our list of 19 common things in our lives that impact our heart’s health. Read below for interesting bits and bites of information.

    5 Tips to Keep You Moving During the Holidays

    During the holidays, routines often go out the window. Diet? Blown with the influx of cookies and decadent party buffets. Sleep? Pass the coffee, please. Exercise? Who has time? These changes to your healthy habits can take a toll on your heart. Try these five tips for squeezing in some exercise amidst the hustle-and-bustle.

    A Message for Caregivers: This New Year, Resolve to Guard Your Heart, Too

    With the holidays in full swing, we’d like to take a moment to remember the caregivers -- the parents and grandparents who take care of sick children as well as the women and men who tend aging parents, sick spouses or other family members, neighbors and friends. Caregivers’ lives are busy and sometimes stressful, and the last thing they need is another request. But the SecondsCount Team has a request nonetheless...

    Am I Stressed or Depressed?

    Neither stress nor depression is good for your heart. When you have heart disease—and particularly after you’ve had a heart event, such as a heart attack or coronary artery bypass surgery—it is common to temporarily feel sad or overwhelmed. Your emotions may stem from feeling powerless or frustrated at your limited physical capabilities. But they should go away within a few weeks after you are able to return to your normal routine.

    Analyzing Your Eating Behaviors

    Before you can change the way you eat, first look at the way you are eating now. Tracking what you eat can help you figure out your typical food choices and especially your portions. It also helps you identify whether stressors or emotions play a part in why you eat the way you do. Identifying these factors will allow you to change one part of your eating plan at a time, which will make these lifestyle changes more realistic and manageable.

    Are You & Your Heart Ready for Cold Weather?

    If you have heart disease, taking care of your heart is a job you have to do 365 days a year. In addition to monitoring your symptoms, taking your medications as prescribed, and following recommendations for a heart-healthy lifestyle, you have to be prepared to handle the curveballs Mother Nature sometimes throws, including snowstorms and the complications they may bring, such as power outages or road conditions that could make it tough to get to the pharmacy, among other things.

    Are You Eligible for Cardiac Rehabilitation?

    If you’ve had a heart attack or have had other heart problems including surgery on your heart, you may be referred to a cardiac rehabilitation (or cardiac rehab) program.

    Beginners' Steps to Moving More

    Try these basic steps to work toward reducing sedentary behaviors and getting more physical activity and exercise.

    Cholesterol and Children

    Obesity and high cholesterol levels in children are becoming disturbing trends, but do your children really need to have their cholesterol checked? And, whether your child has high cholesterol or you simply want to get your kids to eat and enjoy healthy foods, there are simple strategies you can start right now.

    Clinical Trials for Smoking Cessation

    If you are trying to quit smoking, participating in a clinical trial research study may be another option for you. There are many studies in progress to help determine the best treatments for smoking cessation. Participating in a study may give you earlier access to new treatments that can help you quit smoking.

    Common Exercise Myths

    There are a lot of myths out there about exercise, and the last thing you need is misinformation to discourage you. SecondsCount sets the record straight, dispelling common exercise myths. So, the next time you are active, you will know for sure what you are doing is effective and worthwhile for your health.

    Common Smoking Myths

    Don’t let one of these smoking untruths keep you from attempting to quit smoking. Any way you look at it, you will have a greater chance at a longer and healthier life if you quit smoking.

    Continuum of Care

    You might come under a cardiologist's care for having risk factors for cardiovascular disease or for existing disease. Regardless of the severity of your cardiovascular disease when you come under a cardiologist's care, you will become a part of the continuum, or spectrum, of care. The spectrum of care describes treatment options that range from least invasive to most invasive: lifestyle changes, medical therapy, angioplasty and stenting, and surgery. Your cardiologist will assess your level of disease and talk with you about your treatment options.

    Control Your Cholesterol

    If you have peripheral artery disease (PAD), you can reduce your symptoms or your risk for heart attack or stroke by controlling your cholesterol level. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the walls of cells throughout the body. Too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can cause fatty deposits, or plaque, to build up on the inside of your artery walls. As plaque builds up, the arteries become “hardened” and narrowed. Blood flow through narrowed arteries is slowed down or blocked.

    Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease

    Diabetes and cardiovascular disease often go hand-in-hand. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than people without diabetes. In fact, about 68 percent of people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke-one more factor that makes cardiovascular disease the most common cause of death in both men and women.

    Do You Have Insomnia Due to a Heart-Related Sleep Problem?

    Insomnia is a common condition in which you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or returning to sleep after you awaken in the night. Find out if your insomnia may be due to a heart-related sleep problem. Your doctor may be able to help you sleep better if you bring your sleep problems to his or her attention.

    Do You Snore Loudly or Have Sleep Apnea?

    Do you snore loudly? Do you also regularly suffer from daytime sleepiness? If so, you could have sleep apnea, a common and serious sleep disorder that affects many people with cardiovascular disease. And even if you don’t yet have cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea increases your risk for cardiovascular disease. So, even though snoring is not always related to sleep apnea, it could be a reason to be checked by your doctor.

    e-Cigarettes, Vape Pipes, Hookah Pens: Nicotine Vapor Products & Your Health

    Since the first “electronic cigarettes” were sold as novelty items in 2008, nicotine vapor products have become extremely popular. Industry experts estimate that 2.5 million U.S. adults smoke e-cigarettes, and the Centers for Disease Control recently reported that 1 in 10 adolescents have tried nicotine vapor products. Since tobacco-related illnesses account for 1 in every 5 deaths in the United States, many people wonder about the potential health risks of e-cigarettes and similar products. Are these cigarette-like products safe?

    Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common problem in men with heart disease. ED is a complicated problem that involves the brain, hormones, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and emotions. But talking about it with your doctor will help you find the underlying causes so that you may start looking for solutions.

    Extreme Weather & Your Heart

    Shoveling snow is hard work and causes stress on the heart, especially when you consider that a shovel of snow can weigh about 16 pounds. Factor in the length of a driveway or sidewalk and the shock of the cold air, and it can add up to a lot of strenuous activity for someone who may have underlying cardiovascular disease or who is often sedentary. Watch as SecondsCount Editor and nurse practitioner Rena L. Silver, MSN, APN, CNP, discusses the special risks posed by snow shoveling and precautions to take.

    Extreme Weather and Your Heart: Important Info for When It Gets Cold

    If you have heart disease, taking care of your heart is a job you have to do 365 days a year. In addition to monitoring your symptoms, taking your medications as prescribed, and following recommendations for a heart-healthy lifestyle, you have to be prepared to handle the curveballs Mother Nature sometimes throws. That means knowing how to handle extreme weather conditions.

    Extreme Weather and Your Heart: What You Need to Know When It Gets Really HOT!

    When outdoor temperatures rise (or you move to, or travel to, a hot climate), your heart has to beat faster and work harder to pump blood to the surface of your skin to assist with sweating to cool your body. If your body can’t cool itself enough, strain is put on the heart, and organs can begin to suffer damage - a potentially fatal condition known as heat stroke.

    Fun Online Tools and Smart Phone Apps to Help You Quit Smoking

    There are many “high-tech” tools available online that can help you quit smoking. You may find they help make quitting more fun, give you something to focus on, and keep you motivated. Try these free tools—which is just a sampling of the hundreds available!

    General Safety Tips for Getting Started With Exercise

    No matter which type of exercise you do, there are certain factors to consider each and every time you exercise. Most are important for your safety.

    Heart-Healthy Antioxidants in Foods

    Some foods, such as grapes, tea and chocolate, contain special components called phytochemicals that may be beneficial to your heart health. While you enjoy them in moderation, you may be doing something healthy for your heart.

    Heart-Healthy Diet Also Reduces Midlife Weight Gain

    Combating “middle age spread” may come down to small and sometimes surprising daily dietary and lifestyle decisions, according to a new research analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study confirms what many have suspected: the diet that’s good for your heart is also good for your waistline.

    Heart-Healthy Diet Myths

    Research can be confusing, especially when it pertains to heart-healthy eating. As a result, there are many myths about how to eat for a healthy heart. If you are working hard to change your lifestyle, you want to know the whole story, don’t you? Set the record straight so your efforts will not be in vain.

    Heart-Healthy Dining Out

    Dining out is an American way of life. Even though you are trying to prevent heart disease, you can still enjoy a convenient, delicious meal away from home. It is often easy to exceed recommended fat, cholesterol and sodium limits with just one restaurant meal. Butmany fast-food and sit-down restaurants now offer more heart-healthy menu items, or will prepare your foods to order. You just have to know how to find the healthier options on a menu.

    Heart-Healthy Eating Guidelines

    Following a heart-healthy eating plan may seem complicated. Try these eight tips for changing your diet to make your heart healthier.

    Heart-Healthy Holiday Eating

    For most people, holidays are a time of celebration with family and food. It can be difficult to resist tempting foods prepared with unhealthy fats, sodium and excess sugar. But you can still enjoy your favorite traditional foods by learning how to make them more heart-healthy and how to budget them into your holiday plans.

    Heart-Healthy Nutrition

    If you’re worried about heart disease, one of the most important things you can do today is to start eating a heart-healthy diet. Learn how you can protect your heart with a balanced diet and lifestyle.

    High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) in Children

    High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 10 to 15 percent of the school-age population, according to several studies. Even babies can have high blood pressure.

    How Does Being Sleep-Deprived Affect Your Health?

    If you’re one of the 37 percent of people who sleep fewer than 7 hours per night—or if the quality of your sleep is poor—you might be sleep-deprived. While some people need less sleep than others, studies show getting less sleep than you need may negatively affect your health.

    How Does Stress Affect Your Health?

    No one can avoid stress completely. But unmanaged stress can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease. Stress appears to be a risk factor for heart disease, despite the fact that researchers don’t know exactly how. This is partly because it’s hard to measure stress and people react differently to it.

    How Much Stress Is Too Much?

    We all feel stressed at times. And a little stress serves a purpose. “Fight or flight” hormones get you moving and help you accomplish important goals. But life’s challenges, even positive ones, can quickly become overwhelming. When you feel overwhelmed by life’s demands of your time, skills, or emotions, stress can become an ongoing problem, which can lead to health problems including heart disease.

    How Often Should You Be Physically Active For A Healthy Heart?

    Any physical activity is better than none, but the closer you are to the recommended amounts, the more you will reap the health benefits.

    How Soon Do You Benefit From Smoking Cessation?

    One of the main reasons it's so hard to quit smoking is because all the benefits of quitting and all the dangers of continuing seem very far away. Well, here's a timeline that shows how quickly the effects of smoking can be undone.

    How to Be a Heart-Healthy Party Guest

    Who can resist the yummy holiday spread at the company lunch or the delicious appetizers at neighborhood gatherings? Oh, the desserts at the cookie-exchanges and other festivities! For many of us, watching what we eat goes straight up the chimney during the holiday season, and our waistlines suffer the consequences long into the new year. Unfortunately, overindulging and adding a few pounds in December can make it doubly hard to get back on track with healthy routines.

    How to Be Intimate Without Having Sex

    Even if you are not yet able to be sexually active while your heart mends, it is still possible to feel close to your partner. Try some of these ways to build intimacy while nurturing your relationship as well as your heart health.

    How to Be Supportive of Your Partner with Sleep Apnea

    Your partner may be the one with sleep apnea, but you may be just as sleep deprived as your partner. This can make being supportive of your partner more of a challenge. But communicating and working together will help both of you sleep better.

    How to Get FITT!

    All three types of exercise—cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching—are important for physical fitness. Interval training, an advanced cardiovascular training technique, offers additional benefits. Start where you are most comfortable. Then use the acronym FITT for an easy way to remember how to continually adjust your exercise to improve your fitness.

    How to Keep Your Teen Clean: Ways to Discourage Smoking in Your Children

    Whether you are a smoker or nonsmoker, if you have children you likely have worried about them picking up bad habits that affect their health, such as smoking. Try some of these tips to discourage smoking in a positive way.

    How to Make Your Quitter a Winner: Ways to Support Your Loved Ones

    You probably know you can’t force a loved one to quit smoking. The smoker has to be the one to decide to quit. But once the decision is made, you may wonder how to best offer support so he or she can be most successful. Here are some tips that may be helpful to your loved one.

    How to Manage Stress

    Managing stress is vital to your heart health. And the best way to begin to manage stress is to realize you are in control of many aspects of your life. While some things are out of your control—for example, there’s never enough time in the day and money doesn’t grow on trees—you still have choices. You are in control of your thoughts, feelings, schedule, and attitude. You alone choose how you react to stressful situations. SecondsCount can help you learn how to become a more positive, organized, and relaxed person who can better handle life’s stress. Choose to get started today!

    How to Pick an Exercise Class That Is Right For You

    Exercise classes can be a fun way to exercise, relieve stress, and meet friends. But sometimes they can be intimidating. SecondsCount can help you find an exercise class that’s right for you.

    How to Read a Medication Label

    To take your medication safely, you must be sure you understand the dosing instructions and any interactions. This sounds simple, but medication labels can be confusing. Let’s look at some common types of labels and the kinds of information that appear on them.

    How to Support Your Partner

    When your partner has heart disease, it can make you nearly sick with worry if you let it. Instead, look for ways you can channel your concern into support for your partner. Here are some tips that may be helpful to your loved one.

    Is Your Emergency Supply Kit Heart Healthy?

    While everyone should keep an emergency supply kit at home in case of a natural disaster or prolonged failure of city services, doing so is especially important for anyone with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease.

    Keep Boredom at Bay: One Month of Fun Physical Activities

    It happens to the best of us. You barely get started on a path to being more active and suddenly you’re bored. Don’t give boredom a chance to set in. Try a month of these suggestions to keep you having fun and feeling motivated to continue living an active lifestyle!

    Lightening Up Your Favorite Recipes

    Lightening up your recipes to make them more heart-healthy is the best way to enjoy your favorite foods while still living a healthy lifestyle. Try these 10 simple ways to make your recipes healthier.

    Medication Safety

    Medication safety is best achieved through open and honest conversations between a doctor and patient. If, as a patient, you find challenges to taking your medication as prescribed or have concerns, discuss these with your physician. You are likely not alone in your concerns, and your physician, based upon interactions with other patients and his or her professional expertise, may have tools or suggestions to help you stay on track with taking prescribed medications. Open dialogue with your doctor about what medications you take is also the only way to prevent potentially harmful drug interactions.

    Meditation & Your Heart: Stress-Buster May Reduce Risk for Heart Attack & Stroke

    Meditation is most often associated with Eastern thought, but forms of meditation appear all over the world. This is probably no coincidence. Regularly practiced meditation can be beneficial to your heart as well as your spirits, reducing your blood pres- sure and possibly lowering your risk of heart attack or stroke. Read on to find out more.

    Most Common Reasons People Stop Exercising (And What You Can Do About Them!)

    It is not easy sticking to a regular physical activity routine. There are many barriers that creep up when you least expect them—time, money, weather, self-consciousness, boredom and fatigue, to name a few. Don’t let your plans for a lifestyle of more physical activity be derailed one more time! SecondsCount has outlined a few practical solutions for some of the most common barriers to being physically active.

    Nine Tips for Planning a Heart-Healthier Holiday Meal

    The holidays are typically a time of celebration with family and food. It can be difficult to resist tempting foods prepared with unhealthy fats, sodium and excess sugar. But you can still enjoy your favorite traditional foods by learning how to make them more heart-healthy and how to budget them into your holiday plans. Try these small changes to help you maintain a heart-healthy eating plan even during the holidays.

    Physical Activity

    Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways you can improve your own heart health.

    Physical Activity

    Making regular physical activity part of your lifestyle is one of the most effective ways you can improve your own heart health. What’s more, even if you already have heart disease, physical activity can help prevent further heart disease and may allow you to live a healthier and longer life.

    Physical Activity Tools

    When it comes to physical activity, are you working hard enough—but not too hard—for heart health? Here are some tools to help you gauge how hard your heart is working during exercise.

    Playing Santa: Giving Gifts That Encourage Physical Activity

    The holiday wish lists are in, and everyone has asked for the year’s hot new electronic items. Now what? You don’t want to be a Scrooge, but you’d prefer to use your gift giving to promote good health. Try these ideas to help you choose presents that’ll get your loved ones moving.

    Poor Metabolizers (Non-Responders)

    When you take a pill, your digestive system breaks it down just like food. Your body metabolizes and absorbs it through the bloodstream. Some people metabolize medication differently from the majority of the population. They are known as poor metabolizers of that medication.

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Sexual Activity and Heart Disease

    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your sexual activity concerns.

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Sleep and Cardiovascular Disease

    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your sleep concerns.

    Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Smoking Cessation

    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your individual smoking risk.

    Reading Food Labels

    The Nutrition Facts panel on food packages tells you everything you need to know about the healthfulness of a product. You just have to know what to look for and how to interpret the information. Learn more about what to ignore and what to consider carefully.

    Recipes

    Eating well can taste great! Our recipes are a delicious and nutritious compliment a healthy lifestyle.

    Resources for Additional Support and Information about Physical Activity

    Please utilize these resources for additional support and information about physical activity and heart health.

    Resources for Additional Support for a Heart-Healthy Diet

    Seek out resources for additional support to maintain your commitment to a heart-healthy way of eating.

    Resources for Quitting Smoking

    For more information on quitting smoking and resources to help, check with your local hospital or community health center and visit these useful websites.

    Resources for Stress Management

    When you're feeling stressed, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure where you can find more information. Here are some additional resources to help steer you in the right direction.

    Resources on Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

    For more information on sexual activity and heart disease, check with your local hospital or community health center and visit these useful websites.

    Resources on Sleep and Cardiovascular Disease

    More information on sleep and cardiovascular disease here.

    Salt & Your Heart: Cutting Back on Sodium May Be a Life Saver

    Did you know that the average American consumes more than twice the amount of sodium recommended by the American Heart Association? And worldwide people on average consume nearly double the levels recommended by the World Health Organization. Researchers have found that this consumption contributes to 2.3 million deaths per year from cardiovascular disease, primarily from coronary heart disease, which causes heart attack, and stroke. You can’t change your age or your family history of heart disease, but your sodium intake is a heart disease risk factor that you can do something about, starting today.

    Seasonal Allergies & Your Heart Health

    If you are a heart patient and you also suffer from seasonal allergies, it is important that you discuss your over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription allergy medication options with your cardiologist. Click here to learn why.

    SecondsCount Guide to Medications That Help You Quit Smoking

    Medications can help you stop smoking. So, if you’re not one of the very few people who can quit “cold turkey” (stopping cigarettes abruptly), then don’t despair! Medications, some that contain nicotine or others that do not, may make it easier to break the habit.

    SecondsCount Smoke-Free Success Plan

    Smoking is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease. That’s one important reason to quit. In addition, a 2010 report from the Surgeon General announced cigarettes are an addictive, deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals that damage your arteries, lungs, reproductive system, and your children’s health.

    SecondsCount Survival Guide: Taking Care of Your Heart When Mother Nature Strikes

    If you have heart disease, taking care of your heart is a job you have to do 365 days a year. In addition to monitoring your symptoms, taking your medications as prescribed, and following recommendations for a heart-healthy lifestyle, you have to be prepared to handle the curveballs Mother Nature sometimes throws. That means knowing how to handle extreme weather conditions, power outages, and natural disasters that might make it tough to get to the pharmacy, among other things. To help you get prepared for, check out the SecondsCount Survival Guide.

    Sensible Snack Suggestions

    To snack or not to snack? That is the question. The answer? Snacks can be sensible and helpful if they supply important nutrients for your body and satisfy your hunger just enough until the next meal.

    Setting Goals and Starting a Heart-Healthy Physical Activity Plan

    Hopefully you are visualizing all the benefits of physical activity that can be yours if you only get started. If so, you are probably wondering, where should you begin? This SecondsCount section can help you get started.

    Setting Goals and Starting an Eating Plan

    Where to begin? After analyzing your eating behaviors, it is important to set small, achievable goals for yourself as part of a plan that will ensure your success. You may also want a referral from your doctor for nutrition counseling by a registered dietitian, who can help you determine realistic nutrition and weight-related goals.

    Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

    Sex is a very common concern among people with heart disease—one-half to three-quarters of people experience sexual problems after a heart event. Heart disease and the medications you take for your heart can affect your desire for sexual activity and your performance. Or perhaps the fear of straining your heart (or your partner’s heart), or even depression, may be getting in the way of intimacy. But there are ways you can improve your sex life even after a heart event.

    Share Your Heart Healthy Recipes Now

    Do you have Heart Healthy recipes you love? Now, right here at SecondsCount.org, you can share your favorite recipes with others like you who are committed to getting, or staying, healthy.

    Sleep and Cardiovascular Disease

    Inadequate sleep is not just an annoying fact of life. Studies have shown it may raise your risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, the effect of poor sleep on cardiovascular disease is a two-way street. Inadequate sleep appears to contribute to cardiovascular disease. And cardiovascular disease may disturb your sleep. This could become an exhausting, vicious cycle if you ignore your sleep problems.

    Smoking Cessation

    Smoking is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Especially if you have heart disease, that’s reason enough to quit.

    Special Considerations for Physical Activity

    Physical activity is not without risk, but for most people the benefits outweigh the risks. If you have congestive heart failure, are an older adult with heart disease, or have heart disease and limited mobility, these guidelines can help you discuss physical activity options and restrictions with your physician.

    Special Considerations for Your Diet

    When you have high blood pressure, heart failure, or heart valve disease, you should be aware of special dietary considerations that will contribute to your wellness. For many patients, these are critical for health and may even help manage symptoms and make you feel better.

    Steps to Quit Smoking

    If you’ve tried to quit before, you know that a tool or technique that worked for someone else might not work for you. You started smoking and continued to smoke for personal reasons that are unique to you and your life circumstances. The tools below will help you identify those reasons and develop a personalized plan for quitting that’s best for you.

    Stocking a Heart-Healthy Fridge

    The best way to begin eating healthier is to make small changes to the way you eat now. Start by stocking your refrigerator with heart-health in mind and make it work for you at meal and snack times. This will make sensible foods more accessible and will set you up for success.

    Strategies for Healthy Holidays

    The winter holiday season may be the most difficult time of the year to stick with your heart-healthy regimens. Let’s face it, we’re busier than ever and the clock’s ticking to get everything done. WATCH as SecondsCount Editor and nurse practitioner Rena L. Silver, MSN, APN, CNP, offers Five Tips for a Heart-Healthy Holiday Season.

    Stress Management

    A little stress in life is natural and good. It may help you buckle down and focus on a task at hand. But modern life is more stressful than ever. So, many of us experience ongoing periods of stress with little relief. Although it’s hard to measure stress and people react differently to it, there is evidence that it can add up and emotionally drain us and physically affect our heart health.

    Stress Management

    A little stress in life is natural and good. It may help you buckle down and focus on a task at hand. But modern life is more stressful than ever.

    The Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise

    If you want to improve your physical fitness, but you find the idea of exercise overwhelming, it may help you to know exercise and physical activity are not the same thing—yet both are beneficial to your health. Learn the difference.

    The Flu & Your Heart: Need-to-Know Info for People with Heart Disease

    It’s the worst flu season in years, say doctors and nurses at many hospitals across the United States. No doubt about it, the flu is miserable for anyone who contracts it, and it can be dangerous. A growing number of deaths are considered to be related to the seasonal flu, prompting many healthcare providers to issue reminders to get a flu shot. Are there special precautions that people with heart disease or congenital heart defects should take? Read on to learn more about the flu and steps you can take to protect yourself.

    Tips for Coping with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine

    When you first learn you need to use a CPAP machine every time you sleep, you may feel limited, overwhelmed, or even alarmed about the idea. But once you have the right machine and mask for you, you should be able to breathe easier and sleep better.

    Tips for Reconnecting With Your Partner After a Heart Event or Procedure

    After you have had a heart event, you may be feeling many different emotions, including fear, sadness, and vulnerability. Sometimes you may want to clam up and withdraw from your partner, but being open and honest is the first step toward helping each other through this difficult time. Here are some other steps.

    Tips to Improve Your Sleep

    Some sleep problems may improve if you change a few of your sleep-related habits. A routine that helps get your body ready for sleep is sometimes called “proper sleep hygiene.” In general, avoiding stimulants and engaging in relaxing behaviors before bedtime promotes better sleep. Here’s how you can develop a sleep routine to promote heart health.

    Top Ten Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

    In medicine, there is no magical cure-all. But if there were one, physical activity would be it. No other therapy provides as many health benefits! Unfortunately, many Americans still aren’t moving enough to reap the rewards. Don’t let that be you. Take a step toward better heart health and get started today!

    Weighing in on Heart-Healthy Body Shapes: Goodbye to Apples and Pears

    For years, people have been warned that body shape is an important risk factor for a heart attack. That is, it’s not just being overweight that counts, but also where body fat tends to accumulate most on your body. Read about a study that challenges the thinking that “apple-shaped” people are at higher risk of a heart attack than “pear-shaped” people.

    What Causes Stress?

    Stress can be caused by anything that requires you to change or respond to your environment. The things that make you feel stressed are called “stressors.” These may be minor inconveniences (for example, traffic or time limitations) that add up, or they may be life-changing events (for example, a serious illness). While we often think of stressors as negative changes, keep in mind, stressors may even be positive changes, such as a wedding, a new job or promotion, or a move.

    Why Am I Not In the Mood?

    There are many reasons you may not be in the mood for sexual activity with your partner. Once you are able to identify which of these factors may be affecting you, it can help you know where to begin discussions about your sexual activity with your partner and your doctor.

    Your SmartPhone as a Health Tool

    Whether you got on the smartphone bandwagon by choice or were hauled aboard by an insistent friend or relative, chances are good you have a smartphone. If so, you may be pleased to learn that your phone can be an excellent tool for your health. As with any tool, you’ll want to learn how to use it as well as its pros and cons—and remember that no tool is perfect for every job.