8 posts tagged “heart attack”

Get Pumped for American Heart Month

Posted February 7th, 2013 by

February Is American Heart Month

You’ve all heard this fact before:  heart disease (including heart attacks and heart failure) is the leading cause of death among American men and women, claiming around 600,000 lives each year.  But what are you doing about it?  Are you and your family working on the controllable risk factors that play a role in this largely preventable disease?

For example, how are you doing with these controllable risk factors?

Cholesterol levels
Blood pressure
Obesity
Diabetes
Tobacco use
Physical activity

During American Heart Month this February, it’s the perfect time to ride the momentum of your New Year’s resolutions and move towards a more heart-healthy lifestyle.  That means making small to large changes in your daily routine that really pay off.  From what you eat to how much walking you do, take stock of what you can control…and share your experiences with other PatientsLikeMe members.

Not sure where to start?  Use a BMI calculator to find out whether your Body Mass Index (BMI) falls within a healthy range.  Also, make sure you go in for an annual checkup this year, which will give you and your doctor a chance to look at your cholesterol, blood pressure and heartbeat.  That way, if there’s a red flag anywhere, you can start doing something about it sooner rather than later.

Also, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the warning signs of a heart attack – and how they may be different for men and women.  Here’s to keeping the blood pumping this year and many more!


Building a True Picture of Diabetes During American Diabetes Month

Posted November 5th, 2012 by

Get a Clearer Picture of Diabetes During American Diabetes Month This November

November is American Diabetes Month, and this year, the American Diabetes Association is working to reshape the understanding of diabetes.  The goal is to raise awareness of the fact that diabetes is life-changing disease with a huge societal impact – and not a minor hindrance, as some people think.

As part of this mission, the ADA is asking patients with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes to send in a photo that captures what life with diabetes is like.  What are the everyday challenges and considerations?  Help the ADA build a mosaic of the “true picture of diabetes” and CVS will donate a $1 for every photo uploaded, up to $25,000.

Upload Your Photo of Life with Diabetes, and CVS Will Donate $1 for Each Photo.

Another way to get a clearer picture is to consider some of the alarming facts about diabetes, which is projected to affect as many as one in three Americans by 2050:

  • 26 million Americans are currently living with the disease
  • 79 million Americans have prediabetes, putting them at risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart attack or stroke
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and new cases of adult blindness
  • The cost of diabetes is $1 out of every $5 in total healthcare costs

If you are living with diabetes, or you’re at risk for developing it, connect with others like you at PatientsLikeMe.  There are more than 1,000 type 1 diabetes patients and more than 4,700 patients type 2 diabetes patients in our community who are sharing experiences with blood glucose controlsymptoms, treatments and more.

How do they evaluate common medications such as Metformin and Insulin Glargine?  How many have undergone a kidney transplant?  Who’s taking part in a diabetes-related clinical trial?  Exchange knowledge and support with those facing many of the same struggles as you.

A Snapshot of the Type 2 Diabetes Community at PatientsLikeMe

For an in-depth picture of a family affected by diabetes, check out our interview with kidney transplant recipient Michael Burke.


Rediscovering Life’s Simple Pleasures: An Interview with a Heart Patient

Posted October 10th, 2012 by

Learn About World Heart Day 2012

Last week, we recognized World Heart Day on the blog and discussed why there is an urgent need for awareness about heart disease and stroke, the world’s number one killer.  We also talked about how heart disease can be an abstract concept until you are exposed to someone’s personal story.

That’s why we are pleased to introduce you to Alan, a PatientsLikeMe member who is living with congestive heart failure (CHF) following a heart attack.  A few years ago, he had a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) – or a battery-operated mechanical pump – surgically implanted to help his heart continue to pump blood to his body.  What has he learned from his experience, and what’s his lifestyle like today?  Find out that and more in our interview.

1) Tell us about your heart attack and how this journey began.

I suffered a heart attack some twelve years ago. While working in the yard one very cold afternoon I had “cold sweats” and a very sore throat. I started feeling better and decided to go to work the following day. Late in the morning of the second day I began feeling much worse and called my wife and told her she needed to pick me up and we should go to the hospital together. I told my wife and the triage nurse in the ER that I was developing pneumonia.

After a short time in the ER a technician came in and conducted an EKG. He immediately told the other personnel in the ER that I was exhibiting “tombstone T’s.” I was rushed to the Cath Lab and had a stent inserted into a vein in my heart. I never suffered any of the “classic” signs of a heart attack (crushing chest pain, pain in my arm(s), losing consciousness, losing the use of any extremity, etc.) Eight weeks after the stent implant I had open heart surgery (aorta valve, four bypasses, repair aortic aneurysms, etc).

2) What’s your lifestyle like today with your implanted LVAD?

Living with the LVAD has changed for the good and for not so good. I am somewhat limited in what I can do and not do, as opposed to my pre-LVAD life. There are activities I absolutely cannot do, and some I choose not to do. I cannot swim, bathe or shower without a special waterproof bag for electronics, fly the airplane we owned, drive fast cars and fast boats, hunt in the mountains, or bass fish in Mexico and South America. I have found that I can cook, watch grandchildren graduate from high school and college, watch great grandchildren come into the world and watch them grow and change.

3) What’s been the most unexpected part of your experience?

The most unexpected part of the heart disease journey was discovering that it did not take a club and a ball, a gun (shotgun or rifle), a rod and reel, flying an airplane, going off to fish and/or hunt, owning a fast car, etc., to be happy. Some of the other things I discovered were: vacations do not have to be long (distance and duration), they just have to be taken with someone you deeply care for, and who deeply cares for you; you discover which of your friends are sincere and true, and endeavoring to be a true and sincere friend in return; and many of the simple pleasures in life have been lost along the way in life’s journey.

Soaking in the Sunset:  One of Alan's Rediscovered Pleasures

4) What do you want others to know about their hearts?

Hopefully, even if it is only one person, what I say here might preclude that person from making the same misguided and poor decisions I made concerning diet, lifestyle, stress and the “things” it requires to be happy.


World Heart Day: Taking Prevention to Heart

Posted October 1st, 2012 by

Did your heart beat a little faster this weekend?  This past Saturday was World Heart Day, sponsored by the World Heart Federation.

World Heart Day 2012

Founded in 2000, this global event was created to educate the public about heart disease and stroke, the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.3 million lives each year.  What’s a major concern is that these numbers are rising.  By 2030, it’s expected that 23 million people will die from cardiovascular disease each year – which is more than the entire population of Australia. The main message of World Heart Day is that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors – tobacco, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity – are addressed.   That means that the way you live is inextricably tied to the health of your heart.

Children Are a Major Focus of World Heart Day

Children are a particular concern for the campaign as kids often have little control over their environment, lifestyle and food choices.  Unless families around the world prioritize a smoke-free home with healthy meals and regular exercise, the children of today are going to be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.  How can you help today’s kids have a strong hearts and a healthy future?  Check out the Kids on the Move Toolkit and Superheart Cartoon Leaflet for Kids to learn how you can put together a customized program for your family, school or community.

Like many health conditions, heart disease may not cross your mind until a human face is put on the disease, especially a face that looks like you or your loved ones.  That’s why the World Heart Federation is collecting personal stories via short conversations in person or by phone.  If you’ve been affected by heart disease or stroke, learn how you can participate in this global project.  Your story can help both world leaders and fellow community members focus on heart health with greater urgency.  We also encourage you to exchange support and tips with PatientsLikeMe members who have experienced a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, valvular heart disease or other cardiovascular conditions.

Speaking of individual stories, check out our interview with Alan, a PatientsLikeMe member who’s living with congestive heart failure (CHF).


How Heart Attack Warning Signs Differ in Women

Posted February 21st, 2012 by

A heart attack is unmistakable, right?  Not exactly.  And especially not if you’re a woman.

Elizabeth Banks in "Just a Little Heart Attack"

We kicked off February by recognizing National Wear Red Day and sharing a hilarious video created by actress Elizabeth Banks for American Heart Month.  In the short piece, a harried working mother begins having strange symptoms one morning, including tightness of the jaw, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, muscle pain and pressure on her chest.  Despite all of this, she remains more concerned about getting her husband and kids off to work and school, respectively.  Her son is the only one to recognize what’s going on, saying “Mom!  I think you’re having a heart attack.”

Part of 2012 Heart Month message is that the warning signs of a heart attack for women can be different than for men.  Unlike the stereotypical image of a man clutching his chest and falling down, heart attacks may appear less dramatic in women.  For example, a woman can experience a heart attack without severe chest pressure (“an elephant sitting on my chest”).  Also, women are somewhat more likely than men to report more subtle symptoms such as back or jaw pain, shortness of breath and nausea/vomiting.  The danger is that even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly.

The Key Statistic Behind This Year's American Heart Month

Would you be shocked to have a heart attack?  That’s what many women report – that they never thought it could happen to them.  As a result, they assume their discomfort must be something more routine like the flu, acid reflux or normal aging.  They also may downplay it in order to put their family’s needs first.  Don’t make this mistake.  A heart attack strikes someone every 34 seconds, and heart disease is the number one killer of women.  So if you think you or someone you love might be having a heart attack – even if the symptoms are subtle – don’t wait more than five minutes before calling 911.

Beyond knowing the warning signs, a little prevention (such as quitting smoking or walking just 30 minutes a day) goes a long way.  Learn your heart attack risk – as well as how you can lower it – with the American Heart Association’s Risk Calculator.


Wear Red Tomorrow for Women’s Heart Health

Posted February 2nd, 2012 by

Friday, February 3, 2012, Is National Wear Red Day

Did you know that heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined?  And that it’s largely preventable?

Now you do – and there’s something you can do about it.  Participate in National Wear Red Day® tomorrow, February 3, 2012.  Better yet, get your friends and co-workers to dig into their closets as well.  Together, you can make a vibrant, high-impact statement with your sea of red.

Another easy way to show your support is to “Like” the Go Red for Women page on Facebook.  Everyone who becomes a fan will receive a free red dress pin to wear every year for this important event.  Want to get inspired to do more?  Watch comedic actress Elizabeth Banks in the short film “Just a Little Heart Attack” below.

Learn more about the risks of heart disease in women here.  And if you’ve already been diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition – such as cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease or valvular heart disease – don’t go it alone.  Join PatientsLikeMe to share and learn with others like you.

National Wear Red Day® is a registered trademark of the American Heart Association and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


Get Healthy for Good: An Interview with Catie Coman of the National Psoriasis Foundation

Posted October 7th, 2011 by

Catie Coman, Director of Communications, National Psoriasis Foundation

In August, we recognized Psoriasis Awareness Month on our blog and shared some facts and figures about this autoimmune disease, which affects 7.5 million Americans. One of the statistics we shared is that psoriasis often occurs in conjunction with other serious health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, heart attack and obesity.

What these conditions share is that they can often be improved by reaching an ideal body weight. But losing weight – and maintaining it – is easier said than done. That’s why the National Psoriasis Foundation has launched the Healthy for Good campaign. Here’s what Catie Coman, Director of Communications at the National Psoriasis Foundation, tells us about this new online program.

1. What is Healthy for Good, and why should patients join in?

Healthy for Good (www.healthyforgood.org) is program designed to help people lose weight, while raising funds for a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. It’s unique in that is uses a public platform and the fundraising tactic of “friends asking friends” to help people reach their goals.

Forty percent of people with psoriasis have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and abdominal obesity. By joining Healthy for Good, they’ll get tools to stay motivated, lose weight and reduce their risk factors for these associated conditions. They’ll also be able to support research to find a cure for psoriatic diseases.

2. How will Healthy for Good reduce the risk factors for these conditions?

Healthy for Good may reduce the risk factors for these other serious conditions by providing participants with a platform to lose weight safely and set achievable goals. Healthy for Good supports a weight loss goal of up to two pounds per week. Participants will make a commitment to eat right and exercise—and reduce their risk for other serious diseases while they get healthy.

3. How is this program different from other health and fitness campaigns?

First, it gives people a chance to go public. Research shows that people are far more likely to achieve a goal when they put their reputation on the line—by publicly announcing their intentions. Healthy for Good helps people be accountable by giving them a platform to broadcast their commitment.

Also, it will help people stick to their resolution by asking others to support their efforts. For every pound that someone commits to lose, they will ask loved ones to donate $1, $5, $10 or more to help the National Psoriasis Foundation find a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Participants will track their progress each week, and the Healthy for Good tracker will calculate their overall progress toward their goal. In order to help people stay motivated, each person who meets their weight-loss and fundraising goals will be entered to win prizes.

4.  Is Healthy for Good only available to psoriasis patients or can anyone join?

Anyone can join Healthy for Good. People without psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can use this program to overcome weight loss obstacles and lose the pounds, while helping others at the same time. And it’s a great way for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis to get healthy, reduce their risk of other serious associated diseases and raise funds to find a cure.

PatientsLikeMe member mcotter



Be of Good Heart Today

Posted September 29th, 2011 by

Today, September 29th, is World Heart Day. Sponsored by the World Heart Federation, this annual event was started in 2000 to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke, the world’s leading cause of death with more than 17.1 million lives lost each year. All around the globe, activities such as talks, screenings, walks, concerts and sporting events have been organized for today.

World Heart Day 2011

One of the main goals of World Heart Day is to educate the public about the fact that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided. All it takes is controlling the three main risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity. Beyond those, another related risk factor is high cholesterol, which was the subject of yesterday’s blog post.

Here at PatientsLikeMe, a number of patients report cardiovascular conditions as well as conditions that put them at high risk for heart disease or stroke. They include:

If you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions, join our growing community and connect with patients like you today. Have a loved one who’s at risk? Educate yourself about the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke. According to the World Heart Federation, over 70 percent of all cardiac and breathing emergencies occur in the home when a family member is present and available to help a victim.