It’s Prematurity Awareness Month, and a premature birth takes place more than 3 weeks before the expected due date.
Learn the signs and symptoms that you might be going into labor early.
Some of the greatest risk factors for premature birth are previous premature births, a pregnancy with multiple babies, smoking or drug use, and going less than 6 months between pregnancies.
Premature babies can deal with mild symptoms or more serious complications. Some signs include a small size, sharper features from a lack of stored baby fat, low body temp, and trouble breathing or feeding.
Premature babies will likely need longer hospital stays. Your doctor and a specialized team help care for the baby and can explain what’s happening every step of the way.
Short-term complications from premature birth can include issues with their lungs, heart, brain, blood, metabolism, and immune system.
Long-term complications from premature birth can include cerebral palsy, chronic health issues, and problems with their learning, vision, hearing, and teeth.
If you’re at risk of a premature birth, your doctor might have you take progesterone supplements or have a surgical procedure on your cervix. They might also have you avoid vigorous activity or go on bed rest for the end of your pregnancy.
It’s Atrial Fibrillation Month, and atrial fibrillation, also known as AFib or AF, is a type of irregular heartbeat that can raise your risk of other health problems. Learn more.
For most people, their heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. Those with AFib can have heart rates as high as 175 beats a minute.
AFib can feel like drums or thunder pounding in your chest or even flip-flopping in your chest. Talk to your doctor if you’ve experienced this kind of discomfort.
If you’re experiencing AFib and other issues, like shortness of breath with light physical activity, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fatigue, your heart might not be getting enough blood and oxygen out to your body.
AFib raises your risk of stroke by 5 times. It can allow clots to form, which can cause strokes that can cause serious damage to your tissue and brain.
Some people may just have to cut caffeine in their diet to improve their AFib. Others may need special medication and treatment to address the underlying cause.
If you suffer from heartbeat irregularities, changes in your lifestyle, like being physically active, quitting smoking, or managing stress and your blood pressure can also help.
July is Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month. Just because something is natural or a “supplement” doesn’t mean it’s safe, especially if you’re taking other prescription drugs.
Herbal supplements with cranberry extract as a primary ingredient can interact with blood thinning medications, so you shouldn’t take both at the same time.
Ginkgo, most commonly taken to improve memory, has been shown to interact with aspirin, diuretics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, and blood thinners.
Echinacea, largely used to fight the cold and flu, can interact with some chemotherapy agents, caffeine, liver medications, and meds that decrease your immune system.
Saw palmetto, a popular active ingredient in supplements, can be dangerous during pregnancy and can interact with birth control, hormone therapy, and medication that prevents blood clots.
Fish oils, taken for heart and bone health, may interact with high blood pressure meds, birth control, and some meds that prevent blood clots.
Keep a list of all your prescriptions and supplements and talk to your doctor about them to make sure there aren’t any interactions. You can also learn more by reading warning labels on your medications or talking to your pharmacist.
It’s American Heart Month, and this year’s focus is on preventing heart disease and promoting heart health in young adults. More young adults are dying of heart disease, and their rates of risk factors are rising.
When you’re a young adult, the best way to protect yourself from heart disease is with smart lifestyle choices, like eating a heart-healthy diet.
Find time to be active, from yoga class to lunchtime walks. Aim for 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.
Teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke tobacco products. Avoid tobacco altogether, or kick it now to protect your heart.
You’re never too young to know your numbers. High blood pressure and cholesterol can affect you younger than you might realize. Learn to take your own blood pressure.
Stick to a medication routine to manage and control conditions like high blood pressure that put your heart at risk.
Reduce stress in your life to protect your heart. Even high levels of noise, like living by railroad tracks, may be bad for your stress level and your heart.
Stay in the know and see your doctors annually. Even now, we’re still learning more about what can cause heart attacks in healthy people.
Just when you think the holidays are over and the thrill of the new year has finally tapered down, here comes February — Groundhog Day, Super Bowl Sunday, Mardis Gras, Valentine’s Day, and Presidents Day. February is a multi-themed, food-filled month of celebration.
We anticipate the shadow reveal of Punxsutawney Phil, we break out the football-shaped cheese ball to root for our team, we plan our menu of anything and everything on Fat Tuesday, and if that isn’t enough, we love to eat chocolates on the day of love. Then when it’s all over (and after a slight weight gain), we hit the mall for some comfy stretch wear with Presidents Day sale bargains!
But wait, how about doing something this month to celebrate our health and focus on our heart? If we can take advice from a small woodchuck about the weather, we surely can take advice from the American Heart Association about our health!
February is American Heart Month, and part of that is National Wear Red Day. For those of you who know me, my wardrobe pretty much consists of drab colors and neutrals, but this year, I broke out my red floral scarf for a splash of color as a symbol of support!
The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute encourage all of us to take action against this killer disease. Studies show that 80% of cardiac and stroke events may be preventable with education and action.
Find time to talk to your family and get everyone on board with heart health. Encourage healthy eating habits by making healthier versions of your favorite food. Choose foods and recipes low in sodium and with no added sugar or trans fats. When you shop, buy colorful fruits and vegetables, which are all powerhouses when it comes to nutrition, and stay away from dairy and meat products that are high in fat.
Fiber is important in your diet, and you can find fiber not only in fruits and vegetables, but also in beans, nuts, and whole grain. Take the time to read the nutrition labels on items, and check out the sodium content. (A general rule is, if anything has more than 250 mg of sodium, you may want to search for something with less.)
Physical activity can also help you stay heart healthy. It’s not only what you put into your body, it’s also what you put out. Exercise helps to improve heart health, and it can even help reverse certain heart disease risk factors. Our heart becomes stronger from exercise, which helps it pump more blood through the body and work at maximum level without strain.
Aerobic activities at least 3 to 4 times a week are the best. Choose walking, swimming, or biking, and allow for a good 5 minutes of stretching beforehand to warm up your muscles and a cool down period after you’re through. And of course, always check with your doctor before starting any new physical routine.
So this February, maybe forego indulging in lavish holiday food choices (remember that New Year’s resolution?) and celebrate in a new way. Go out and buy something red to wear to celebrate heart health AND 6 more weeks of winter, or will it be an early spring? Better check with Punxsutawney Phil before you go!
Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.
It’s National Mediterranean Diet Month, and research has proven that it’s great for not just weight loss but also your heart and brain.
Get started by focusing on fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish, and healthy fats.
Image via Health..com
A hearty side to try the Mediterranean Diet is Mediterranean Barley with Chickpeas.
Whip up tasty Lemon Chickpea and Tuna Salad for a light lunch.
Make these Greek-Style Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce and skip the beef.
Image and Recipe via The Iron You
This simple Baked Salmon with Dill is a showstopper for parties or any day of the week.
Image and Recipe via My Fitness Pal
One-Pot Lemon Pasta with Greens and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is quick and delicious.
Make Baked Cod with Chickpeas for a heart-healthy and hearty dinner any night.
Image and Recipe via Clean Eating Mag