Do you know the warning signs of stroke?
Stroke can be treated. That is why it is so important to recognize and respond to the warning signs immediately. The Heart and Stroke Foundation provides the following Five Signs of Stroke:
If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.
It may be difficult to determine if you or someone you are with is experiencing a stroke. We never want to believe the worst-case scenario is actually happening and so we are prone to ignore or brush off early warning symptoms. In the case of stroke, minutes are vital and early detection can make a very real difference to the health and survival of the stroke victim.
Try asking the following simple questions:
S *Ask the individual to SMILE.
T *Ask them to TALK and SAY A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently, so they are clearly understood)
R *Ask them to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
Or finally, ask the person to stick out their tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other rather than straight out, that can also be an indication of a stroke.
Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity can all increase your chances of stroke. Women using oral contraception and over the age of 35 should check with their doctor regularly to ensure that this use does not increase their risk factors.
For more information on stroke prevention and risk factors, see the Heart and Stroke Foundation website www.heartandstroke.com
CPR Makes You Undead
You may see more zombies in the streets than normal over the next few weeks. No, it’s not just preparation for Hallowe’en, the Heart and Stroke Foundation launched its new cardiac health awareness campaign this week CPR Makes You Undead.
The campaign runs for October and November and its intention is to raise the profile of CPR training in Canada. You can watch the campaign here:
Most people know to Call 911 if they suspect someone is having a heart attack or has suffered from a cardiac event. In a major urban centre, we are lucky that usually help isn’t very far away
but every minute is critical and can truly mean life or death when someone has had a cardiac arrest. Learning CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is a skill that could help you actually save someone’s life as the survival rate for cardiac arrest increases to 20% when CPR is performed (it is only 5% for those who do not receive emergency medical attention within the first minutes of the attack). The survival rate increases even more if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is used.
Many people say they are afraid to touch someone if they have had a cardiac arrest for fear of making the situation worse or breaking a rib. The main thing to remember is you cannot make someone more dead and ribs will heal.
So what can you do?
• Know the signs of a cardiac arrest – sudden collapse, sudden unresponsiveness and/or abnormal or no breathing.
• Learn CPR. Many organizations across the country offer First aid and CPR training. If you aren’t sure where to look in your community, contact the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
• Find out if there is an AED where you work, go to school or live. If there is, find out if training is being offered in how to operate it. Using an AED can increase the survival rate by 75%! Most shopping malls, community centres, schools and government buildings are now equipped with AED units.
For yourself, take the Heart and Stroke Risk Assessment Quiz on their website to determine what your risk factors are. The quiz takes only a minute and will provide you will a personalized report outlining what you can do to lower your negative risk factors. Small changes can make a big difference.
Stress, high blood pressure, high alcohol consumption, smoking and excess weight are all be factors that can negatively impact your cardiac health. Find out what you can do to lower your risks and improve your heart health. Visit the Heart and Stroke Foundation website
The case against sugary drinks
Marilynn Marchione, Toronto Star
New research powerfully strengthens the case against soda and other sugary drinks as culprits in the obesity epidemic.
A huge, decades-long study involving more than 33,000 Americans has yielded the first clear proof that drinking sugary beverages interacts with genes that affect weight, amplifying a person’s risk of obesity beyond what it would be from heredity alone.
This means that such drinks are especially harmful to people with genes that predispose them to weight gain. And most of us have at least some of these genes.
In addition, two other major experiments have found that giving children and teens calorie-free alternatives to the sugary drinks they usually consume leads to less weight gain.
Collectively, the results strongly suggest that sugary drinks cause people to pack on the pounds, independent of other unhealthy behaviour such as overeating and getting too little exercise, scientists say.
That adds weight to the push for taxes, portion limits like the one just adopted in New York City, and other policies to curb consumption of soda, juice drinks and sports beverages sweetened with sugar.
Soda lovers do get some good news: Sugar-free drinks did not raise the risk of obesity in these studies.
“You may be able to fool the taste” and satisfy a sweet tooth without paying a price in weight, said an obesity researcher with no role in the studies, Rudy Leibel of Columbia University.
To read the full article: http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/1261562--the-case-against-sugary-drinks
Brittle bones for Canada's aging junk-food generation
Cy Frank, Winnipeg Free Press
If you think junk food goes directly onto your hips, you're right. But it gets worse. It gets into your hips, and into other bones in the body, too.
Food that is high in fat and sugar robs the skeleton of the building blocks it needs to grow and remain strong to ward off degenerative conditions like osteoporosis.
There are two mechanisms for this bone robbery.
First, a diet high in saturated fats and sugar blocks ingested calcium from being absorbed, so it excretes in the urine. Thus, the calcium needed for healthy bones washes through the body and is lost.
Second, saturated fats tend to form insoluble 'soaps,' which coat the intestines. This coating becomes a barrier to the calcium bones need. Thus, the calcium from the cheese on a burger will pass through the intestines mainly unused.
The picture is not pretty. Junk food layers fat onto a skeleton that it weakens of the ability to support the extra weight.
Approximately two million Canadians suffer from osteoporosis, a disease known as the 'silent thief' because, with no symptoms, it robs the bone of tissue leaving it with thousands of tiny pores. Porous bones can break with little stress.
Women are particularly at risk, with a rate of osteoporosis twice that of men. One in four women in Canada over 50 has osteoporosis. One in three women over 65 will suffer a hip fracture. About 20 per cent of hip fractures related to osteoporosis will result in death.
Treating osteoporosis and related fractures costs Canada's public health system an estimated $1.9 billion per year.
Your diet can be an enemy or an ally in your battle against osteoporosis.
A growing child, near puberty and rapidly laying down new bone, could optimize his or her bone growth and accumulation by eating healthy foods and being physically active. The more bone developed, the lower the chance of fractures from osteoporosis later in life. Parents and grandparents, however, are past the stage of building bone. By following a healthy diet, being physically active and, if necessary, taking medication to slow bone loss, they can reduce their likelihood of fractures from osteoporosis.
Helping to break the fall
A former Windsorite and exercise researcher is pairing up his interests in aging and video games to find a way to improve balance and prevent falls among seniors.
Daniel Goble, who grew up in Woodslee and studied human kinetics and biomechanics at the University of Windsor, now specializes in motor neuroscience research at San Diego State University in California.
Goble’s interest in aging and fall prevention led him to study proprioception – a person’s sense of where their body is in space in the absence of vision – using Nintendo Wii balance boards and games.
The research could one day help reduce the likelihood of serious injuries and death from falls, especially among seniors.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls account for more than half the injuries among Canadians over age 65. One-fifth of injury-related deaths in this age group can be traced back to a fall. PHAC estimates these injuries cost the country’s health care system $2 billion each year, to say nothing of the emotional and physical cost to the individual who suffers a fall.
In the Windsor-Sarnia region in 2010-2011, almost half the reported falls occurred in people over age 65 and there were more than 5,500 visits to the emergency room as a result of them.
“This sense of proprioception really is important for preventing falls,” Goble said, adding that falling – unlike major diseases such as cancer – is perhaps the most preventable cause of death among older people.
A lot of the existing research on why seniors fall focuses on coordination, vision and muscle strength, he said, but proprioception – which is kind of like a sixth sense – is also a part of the puzzle.
“If you’re sitting down right now and you can’t see your foot, you could still probably tell me: is your foot pointing forward, is it pointing to the side, is it curled over, are you tapping it,” he said. “That’s your sense of proprioception.”
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