Posted by: Steve | December 20, 2011

Fat and fit?

By Stephen O’Brien
Researchers at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas are investigating why some obese people carry around extra weight — even though they’re in good shape. Ch. 8 recently did a story on their project. One of the researchers told me it isn’t a free pass to stay overweight, but it does mean that getting up and exercising regularly positively impacts health — even if all the weight doesn’t come off right away.—135674413.html
Posted by: Steve | December 16, 2011

Outpace the Grim Reaper

Fascinating story (below) about the optimal speed for walking to improve health and, as author Linda Carroll writes, outrun the grim reaper. Seems like the main take away is that it’s important to simply get moving — even if you can’t achieve the preferred 3 mph walking speed. It’s important to note, as the story does, that slow walking is probably “both a marker for poor health and an alert that some things need to be changed to improve the health of a senior. …”

Walk 3 mph or faster to outpace the Grim Reaper, scientists say

By Linda Carroll

Seniors who walk briskly may be able to delay death, essentially outrunning the Grim Reaper, a new study suggests.

Australian researchers with a wry sense of humor say they have calculated the average walking speed of the specter of death — and it’s about 2 miles per hour.

Walk faster than that and you may outrun the Grim Reaper, too, they argue in a new study published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal.

“As none of the men in the study with walking speeds of [3 miles per hour] or greater had contact with Death, this would seem to be the Grim Reaper’s most likely maximum speed; for those wishing to avoid their allotted fate this would be the advised walking speed,” the authors wrote.

The team of researchers, based at Concord Hospital in Sydney, followed more than 1,700 older men for five years, studying the walking speeds of those who died and those who didn’t.

 The men were timed with a stopwatch as they walked about 20 feet at a normal pace. During the five years that the men were followed, 266 died. Overall, their pace was slower than that of those who survived, leading the researchers to determine that people need to walk at least 3 miles per hour if they want to outrun death.

Despite its tongue-in-cheek style, the report still sends a serious message: Slow walking can be a sign that death is nipping at your heels. 

Slow walking is probably both a marker for poor health and an alert that some things need to be changed to improve the health of a senior, said Dr. Anne Cappola, a gerontologist and a professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Researchers are looking into the theory that you can get people to live longer if you can get them moving faster, Cappola said.  “People are trying things like resistance training and getting people to walk more,” she added. “That can be difficult when older people are living in confined living spaces or are afraid to go outside because of where they live.”

While other researchers have noticed that slower movers tend to die sooner, the approach of the humorous new study might spur more seniors to speed up their pace, Cappola said.

”People need to walk faster,” she said. “And if they’re doing it to outrun death that works just fine.”

Posted by: Reace Smith, APR | December 15, 2011

Meatless Meals

In this weeks Texas Health Resources/Go Red for Women blog post, Amber Massey, dietitian with the Executive Health Program at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, shares some tips from the American Heart Association about ways to go meatless.

Vegan? Vegetarian? Or just not in the mood for meat tonight? You’re not alone…even the more devout carnivores crave meatless meals from time to time. Whatever your palate preference, we’ve got some great ideas for how you can serve up a delicious dinner when passing on the poulet…

It is true that most Americans eat far too many fatty meats and full-fat dairy products which contain cholesterol raising saturated fats. While lean meat is a very beneficial staple to any heart healthy diet, choosing a meatless meal on occasion is the potential to lower cholesterol and reduce your overall risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

“Meatless menus can have a lot of variety. Cutting out meat just once a week can have significant health benefits,” said Amber Massey, dietitian for the Executive Health Program at Texas Health Fort Worth. Read More…

Posted by: Steve | December 9, 2011

Longtime Dallas cardiologist honored

By Stephen O’Brien

Dr. John Harper, medical director of inpatient cardiovascular services at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, was recently named the first holder of the Jennie Metcalf Ewton Chair of Cardiology at Texas Health Dallas. Those who know Dr. Harper know how much he deserves this honor. He’s a compassionate caregiver and educator who will help the cardiology program at THD grow.

Posted by: Steve | December 2, 2011

More than just a pain in the throat

Dr. Mark Pook, cardiovascular surgeon the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas

By Stephen O’Brien

Damage to heart valves can be caused by several factors. One thing I didn’t know until recently is that Strep throat, caused by  Streptococcus bacteria, can lead to rheumatic fever. That can cause painful and inflamed joints and even heart-valve damage. In fact, Dr. Mark Pool, a cardiovascular surgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Dallas, recently performed heart valve surgery on a woman who had two valves damaged by rheumatic fever. Kind of scarry, especially when I think about all the cases of Strep that my daughters have had growing up. But docs say that if people get tested if they suspect they have Strep and then get the proper antibiotics, they shouldn’t have to worry about rheumatic fever and heart damage.

Here’s more info on the signs and symptoms of Strep:

Posted by: Reace Smith, APR | November 30, 2011

What is a vascular screening and who should get one?

In this week’s Texas Health Resources/Go Red for Women post, Dr. John Willard, medical director of cardiovascular services and cardiologist at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, answers the question: What is a vascular screening and who should get one?

Of the half a million Americans who will have a stroke this year, all share one thing in common: a weakened vascular system and most of them don’t even know it.

“They may be walking around with no symptoms and think they’re fine, but in reality they have a chronic, progressive disease,” says Dr. John Willard, medical director of cardiovascular services and cardiologist at Texas Health Harris Methodist Fort Worth. The process of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, can begin in a person’s teens or 20s. A good protection against stroke or heart attack is vascular screening to identify the problem.

Screening is not for everyone, only those who have certain risk factors, says Dr. Willard. If you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, such as stroke or aneurysms, or if you smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, a screening could be a lifesaver, or at least a life changer. Read More…

By Stephen O’Brien

We’ve all forgotten a name, where we put our keys, or if we locked the front door. It’s normal to forget things once in a while, but what if it’s happening more often? On Dec. 10, three nationally renowned experts in the aging brain, dementia and other neurological conditions will discuss what happens to the brain as we get older. What’s most interesting is that the latest research is finding that cardiovascular health throughout life — exercising regularly starting in our teens and throughout adulthood — actually impacts brain health, helping prevent some of the normal declines in brain function that we associate with aging. Featured presenters are Dr. Benjamin Levine, director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas; and Dr. Myron Weiner, professor of psychiatry and neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. They will discuss the latest in detecting and preventing memory loss and how cardiovascular health can help preserve memory. The audience will also be encouraged to get involved in clinical trials that are helping scientists find out the best methods for detecting and treating neurological decline. The free event will be held from 9 to noon, Dec. 10, and will include refreshments. To register or for more information, call 1-877-THRWELL.

Posted by: Reace Smith, APR | November 23, 2011

I was at the gym working out and literally flatlined.

In this week’s Texas Health Resources/Go Red for Women post, Rechele Bonner tells us about the time she flatlined at the gym.

It was July 4, 2011. I fell off the treadmill. A lady working out behind me screamed, and I was out on the floor. Completely. I don’t remember any of it.  She came around the machines and started CPR. My trainer joined her. They called 911. It took the EMTs only three to four minutes to get to me. My husband, who’s a police officer, was working that day and heard it come over the dispatch. What they said was a lady had fainted. He knew I was at the gym but didn’t put two and two together. And then one of the EMTs, a buddy of his, called and said, “It’s your wife, she’s fainted, you need to come to the gym.” He finished writing a ticket and headed right over to the gym. They met him at the door and told him it was a bit more than me fainting.

At that point he could see over their shoulders. They had hooked me up to an AED. First shock, nothing. Second shock, I went into a heart rate of like 260 something. The third one brought me back down to about a hundred, and they packed me up and took me to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. I was in hypothermia for four days. They found 90% blockage in my LAD artery, put a stent in and I’m here. Amazingly. Read More…

Posted by: elizabethmlong | November 23, 2011

Got Food Safety?

During the holidays, most kitchens are full of hustle and bustle—kids coming in and out, doorbell ringing, pets running under your feet. With so much frenzied activity, food safety may sometimes be forgotten.  But this doesn’t have to happen to you.

Emily Bullard, a registered dietitian, shares some simple food safety tips that will help keep your friends and family from getting a food-borne illness.  Emily offers such helpful guidelines as:

  • Keep everything clean-Before preparing any food items, wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm, soapy water.  (Twenty seconds is about as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.)
  • Rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly, use a soft scrub brush if necessary.

Learn more.

Posted by: rachelraya | November 17, 2011

Simple steps to managing high blood pressure

Douglas D. Hawthorne, FACHE, CEO of Texas Health Resources

By Doug Hawthorne

Taking responsibility for our own health is the first step toward improving our collective health.

As the focus of health care continues to evolve from sick care to prevention and wellness, it’s important to consider the impact high blood pressure has on our health and make the small changes we can to lower this health risk.

The American Heart Association recommends that people with high blood pressure work with their doctors to combine an appropriate diet and exercise program with medication therapy, where necessary.  Simple steps like losing weight or quitting smoking can help prevent more serious conditions from developing.

Read More…

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