With so many beverages and prepared foods containing added sugars, Americans are eating way more of the white stuff than they used to. According to the American Heart Association, eating too much is contributing to a plethora of health issues including obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Women are urged to cut back and consume no more than 100 calories of added processed sugar each day, which is equal to six teaspoons (25 grams). Do you think you exceed this amount?
- Difficulty breathing. Tightness in the chest, wheezing, shallow breathing, or constantly coughing are all symptoms of asthma. If a person has these symptoms or full-on asthma attacks, and they're left untreated, the muscles used for breathing can get tired. That means the amount of oxygen getting into the lungs will decrease, while the levels of carbon dioxide increase. This has a drowsing effect on the brain, and the person may stop breathing, which could result in death.
- Blood in your urine. When you go to the bathroom, you shouldn't see blood, and if you do, it could be a sign of kidney stones, bladder infections, or cancer of the kidney, urethra, or bladder. Even if you don't feel pain, call your doctor.
To see the other red flags keep reading
'Tis the season for drinking. You're bound to enjoy champagne toasts with family, wining and dining with friends, and sipping back an eggnog at your office holiday party. One drink is fine, but a recent study shows that for women, consuming more than two alcoholic drinks a day can lead to heart problems. The condition is known as atrial fibrillation, and it's a type of rhythm disorder that causes a rapid heart rate. This can lead to difficulty breathing, fainting, fatigue, dizziness, and could even lead to a deadly stroke. Drinking more than two drinks a day increases a woman's risk for atrial fibrillation by 60 percent.
So enjoy the holidays with a mulled wine or hot toddy, but don't go overboard, for your heart's sake. And if that is not reason enough to stop after one glass, check out these five reasons to drink in serious moderation.
We all know that smoking pot regularly just isn't good for our health. It can impair learning, affect memory retention and retrieval, and cause perceptual abnormalities (where you think you hear or see something that isn't there). The smoke from marijuana is also linked to lung cancer, and now research shows that chronic pot smoking can raise a person's risk of a heart attack or stroke.
When blood protein levels were measured in heavy pot smokers, they were especially elevated — by 30 percent as compared to non pot smokers. These high levels of blood proteins increase the level of triglycerides. This is a type of fat found in the blood, that can contribute to hardening of the arteries and thickening of the artery walls, all of which raise a person's risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease.
As if that's not bad enough, smoking pot regularly could cause or worsen psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression in teens. Now that I am a mom, I'm certainly cataloging all the reasons to just say "No."
Biking is a great way to work your legs without taking a toll on your knees. To work the separate muscle groups in your legs it pays to pedal with clips, or straps, that secure your foot to the pedal.
Emphasize the downstroke: If you push on the downstroke you will work your quads - the muscle in the front of the thigh. This is also considered the most efficient stroke.
Emphasize the upstroke: Pulling on the upstroke will work your hamstrings - the muscle in the back of the thigh. While this technique is not the most effective for endurance riding, it will help you with sprints.
Emphasize smooth: Peddling in circle - this method will work your calves nicely. You hear this style called out a lot by Spin instructors. You imagine drawing a smooth circle with your foot as you're pedaling. This keeps the weight of your foot consistent through the entire stroke.
Experiment with different pedaling techniques and take full advantage of your leg power. Try this on the stationary bike at the gym, or if you have pedal clips on your own bike try them out on the road.
Every time you go to the doctor, they wrap a little inflatable cuff around your upper arm, pump air into it, and squeeze your poor little bicep until it just about explodes. They're measuring your blood pressure, but how does it work?
The air is pumped until your circulation is cut off (you know, that uncomfortable feeling). When they place a stethoscope under the cuff, they can't hear anything. Then as the air is slowly let out of the cuff, blood begins to flow again and they can hear your blood pulsing.
This is the point of greatest pressure (called Systolic), and is usually expressed as how high it forces a column of mercury to rise in a tube (that's why they look at that little dial). 120 mm is about normal.
Then, as more and more air is let out of the cuff, the pressure exerted by the cuff is so little that the sound of the blood pulsing against the artery walls subsides and there is silence again. This is the point of lowest pressure (called Diastolic). 80 mm is normal.
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 (systolic/diastolic) or less. When both numbers start to go way up, you've got high blood pressure.
Reuters is reporting that a recent Swedish study has found that the risk of stroke among women increases the less educated you are. The reason is not simply that education magically improves your health, but that by being educated, you make healthier decisions based on learned knowledge. This can mostly be attributed to the significant differences in health behaviors in well educated versus non-educated women such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
The risk of stroke was significantly related to years of education completed and the hazard ratio was 2-times higher for the least educated compared to the most educated women.
So maybe it's time to sign up for that 2nd (or 3rd) language class that you have always wanted to try.