Cambration May 2011 Newsletter
Happy Mother's Day! Keeping Women Healthy and Happy in May
Women are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. That is why it is important to be informed, educated and knowing your options. The leading cause of death among Canadian women is Cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke. With May being Stroke Awareness month you will find lots of great information and links in the first article from www.heartandstroke.ab.ca
Every year, seven times more Canadian women die of these two diseases than breast cancer. Unfortunately, many women are still unaware they are at risk for heart disease and stroke. There are factors within your control to reduce your risk. Read the articles to prevent and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Is your blood pressure more than 135/85? High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. Did you know that you can check your blood pressure in store at Cambrian Pharmacy. Read on to find out the signs and symptoms to recognize a stroke occurring.
Enjoy and celebrate being a woman and a mother all month long!
Heart Disease and Stroke
Women’s unique conditions related to heart disease and stroke
Women are living longer, healthier lives than ever before. That's why it's even more important to prevent the leading cause of death among Canadian women: Cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke.
While most of the risk factors and signs are the same in women as they are in men, there are unique aspects to women's heart health that you should know.
The role of estrogen
During a woman's reproductive life cycle, from about age 12 to 50, the naturally occurring hormone, estrogen, provides a protective effect on women's cardiovascular health. However, estrogen's protective effect can change depending on a variety of factors and conditions.
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives)
Modern oral contraceptives are much safer than the forms used decades ago. In women under the age of 35 who don't smoke, contraceptive use does not increase the risk of stroke. However, in a small proportion of women, oral contraceptives increase the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots. The risk is greater if you: smoke, already have high blood pressure (especially if you are over the age of 35), have other risk factors for heart disease or stroke, or already have a blood clotting problem.
Over the nine months of gestation, women may develop certain conditions that put them at higher risk of heart disease.
- Pre-eclampsia is a condition that typically starts after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine (the protein indicates that there is a problem with the kidneys). Although there is no proven way to prevent pre-eclampsia, you may be prone to the condition if you have high blood pressure or are obese prior to becoming pregnant. Other risk factors include being younger than 20 or older than 40, are pregnant with more than one baby, or have diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma. All women should be monitored by their healthcare provider throughout their pregnancy. Have your blood pressure checked often. Pre-eclampsia is treatable under the supervision of a doctor.
- Gestational diabetes While pregnant, a woman's body must produce extra insulin because increasing levels of pregnancy hormones interfere with the body's ability to use insulin efficiently. If the woman's body can't produce the additional insulin sufficiently, her blood sugar levels may rise, causing gestational diabetes. There are no warning signs so it is important that women get tested for diabetes as part of their prenatal care and continue to be monitored throughout their pregnancy. Although gestational diabetes usually disappears after the baby is delivered, it can increase the risk of the mother and baby developing diabetes later in life. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- Stroke occurs rarely in young women of childbearing years. Strokes associated with pregnancy and childbirth are usually the result of an underlying problem such as a pre-existing blood vessel malformation or eclampsia. The risk of a pregnancy-related stroke is greatest in the six weeks following childbirth. Read about the warning signs of stroke.
You may want to be assessed for heart disease by your doctor before you conceive and be followed closely throughout your pregnancy and after childbirth. Heart disease can complicate pregnancy. Visit The Hospital for Sick Children and learn more about Heart Disease and Pregnancy. The Heart Disease and Pregnancy website also provides information about the risks associated with pregnancy and strategies for the management of pregnant women with heart disease. The website was developed by an international panel of physicians including internists, cardiologists, obstetricians and other medical specialists with expertise in pregnancy and heart disease.
Menopause is a time when a woman stops having menstrual cycles. If you have reached menopause, your overall risk of heart disease may increase due to the reduction in the hormones estrogen and progesterone produced by your body. Before and after menopause, you may experience:
- An increase in total blood cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) and triglyceride levels
- A decrease in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol)
- A tendency toward higher blood pressure
- An increase in central body fat, which can be harmful to your body because you may be more prone to blood clots and blood sugar problems Symptoms such as severe sweating or sleep disturbances
Hormone Therapy (HT) refers to different types of estrogen and progestin that a woman may take to ease some of the symptoms related to menopause. Randomized controlled trials have shown that HT does not reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke, or prevent future heart disease or stroke. It is not recommended to begin or continue to use HT, either estrogen alone or combined estrogen-progestin, for the sole purpose of preventing heart disease and stroke. Discuss all health risks and benefits of HT with your healthcare provider.
You may have heard or read that natural estrogen helps to keep cholesterol levels in a healthy range. After menopause, as natural estrogen levels drop, more and more women tend to develop high cholesterol. Talk with your doctor about how often you should have your cholesterol checked. Read Living with Cholesterol.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body. A high triglyceride level often goes with higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL, lower levels of HDL and an increased risk of diabetes. Research suggests that having high triglycerides may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke for women. Talk to your doctor about your risk.
Making heart-healthy changes in your life
A woman’s overall risk of heart disease or stroke is determined by all of her risk factors. You can control some of these risk factors, but not all of them.
- Risk factors that you can control include smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, physical inactivity and obesity.
- Risk factors that you cannot control include age, gender, family history and ethnicity.
Women can prevent and reduce their risk of heart disease by:
- Becoming and remaining smoke free.
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Being physically active for at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Maintaining a blood pressure through lifestyle changes (such as increased physical activity) and when needed through medication.
- Eating a healthy diet that is lower in fat, higher in fibre and includes foods from each of the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide.
- Using medications to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke as prescribed by your healthcare provider, for example medications for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes, or other medications like acetylsalicylic acid (ASA commonly known as AspirinTM).
Go to our section on Healthy Living to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
For more information on women and heart disease, please read our brochure HeartSmart™ Women: A guide to living with and preventing heart disease and stroke.
To be more aware of women and heart disease, visit our Heart Truth campaign.
For more information on women and health and lifestyle trends, visit womenshealthmatters.ca. You can also join Le Club and share your stories and experiences with other women or talk to health experts at the Women's College Hospital.
Coffee tied to lower stroke risk in women
Women who enjoy a daily dose of coffee may like this perk: It might lower their risk of stroke.
Women in a Swedish study who drank at least a cup of coffee everyday had a 0.22 to 0.25 times lower risk of stroke, compared to those who drank less coffee or none at all.
"Coffee drinkers should rejoice," said Dr. Sharonne Hayes, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. "Coffee is often made out to be potentially bad for your heart. There really hasn't been any study that convincingly said coffee is bad."
"If you are drinking coffee now, you may be doing some good and you are likely not doing harm," she added.
But Hayes and other doctors say the study shouldn't send non-coffee drinkers running to their local coffee shop. The study doesn't prove that coffee lowers stroke risk, only that coffee drinkers tend to have a lower stroke risk.
"These sorts of epidemiological studies are compelling but they don't prove cause," said Dr. David S. Seres, director of medical nutrition at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.
The findings were published online Thursday in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.
Scientists have been studying coffee for years, trying to determine its risks and benefits. The Swedish researchers led by Susanna Larsson at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm said previous studies on coffee consumption and strokes have had conflicting findings.
"There hasn't been a consistent message come out," of coffee studies, said Dr. Cathy Sila, a stroke neurologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.
For the observational study, researchers followed 34,670 Swedish women, ages 49 to 83, for about 10 years. The women were asked how much coffee they drank at the start of the study. The researchers checked hospital records to find out how many of the women later had strokes.
There were 1,680 strokes, including those who drank less than a cup or none.
Cup a day is enough
Researchers adjusted for differences between the groups that affect stroke risk, such as smoking, weight, high blood pressure and diabetes, and still saw a lower stroke risk among coffee drinkers. Larsson said the benefit was seen whether the women drank a cup or several daily.
"You don't need to drink so much. One or two cups a day is enough," she said.
Larsson, who in another study found a link between coffee drinking in Finnish men who smoked and decreased stroke risk, said more research needs to be done to figure out why coffee may be cutting stroke risk. It could be reducing inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity, she said, or it could be the antioxidants in coffee.
Since study participants were asked about their past coffee consumption and then followed over time, there is no way to know if they changed their behaviour.
Women in the study were not asked whether they drank decaf coffee, but most Swedes drink caffeinated coffee, the researchers said.
Larsson and others point out that those who want to reduce their chances of a stroke should focus on the proven ways to lower risk:
- Don't smoke.
- Keep blood pressure in check.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Last year, British researchers also reported a link between any coffee drinking and reduced risk of stroke in a general population.
A Vascular Health Quiz for National Stroke Awareness Month.
Taken from www.stroke.org | Source: Society for Vascular Surgery
Try this quick National Stroke Awareness Month quiz. Knowing the risk factors for a stroke may save your life.
- Is your blood pressure more than 135/85? High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke.
- Do you have atrial fibrillation?
- Do you smoke cigarettes?
- Do you drink alcohol beyond moderation?
- Is your cholesterol high?
- Do you have diabetes? Is it under control?
- Do you exercise for 30 minutes a day?
- Do you enjoy a low sodium (salt) diet? This can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke.
- Do you have circulation problems?
"Being over age 55 and having a family history of stroke are additional risk factors," said Dr. Anil Hingorani, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery®. "Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise can positively impact your vascular health and reduce the chance of having a stroke."
Build-up of plaque in the carotid artery in the neck is a major cause of stroke. As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Hingorani has witnessed first-hand the effects of stroke, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's 2010 National Vital Statistics Report. In 2008, 133,750 people died from stroke.
"Every 40 seconds, an American suffers a stroke," said Dr. Hingorani. "Strokes occur suddenly and without warning. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable through risk factor management."
The American Stroke Association estimated that Americans spent $73.7 billion for stroke-related medical costs and disability in 2010. This includes physical, occupational, speech language, and recreational therapy.
If you witness someone with the following signs of a stroke, call 911 immediately.
- Numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
- Severe headache with no known cause
Mocha Snack Bites
From Metabolic Cooking@2011 by Dave Ruel
- ½ cup oatmeal
- ½ cup oat bran
- 6 egg whites
- 1 scoop/30 grams chocolate protein powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- pinch of stevia
- 2 apples, diced
- In blender mix all ingredients (except apples).
- Blend until thick and pour into a big bowl.
- Pour mix in a baking dish and cook at 350 degrees until cooked approximately 30 minutes.
- Cut into 8 equal bite size squares. 137 calories per square. Protein: 17 g Carbs: 15 g Fat: 1g
This is a great substitute to high sugar, high calorie granola bars for easy on the go energy snacks. Protein powders and Stevia can both be found at the Cambrian Pharmacy.