Heart Attack Facts – Are You At Risk?

The very mention of ‘heart attack’ (myocardial infarction or MI), gets the chest thumping, causes a sweat and brings on nausea, but what are the facts when it comes to the dreaded words, and why is it so important to prevent one from happening?  Heart disease is the number one killer in the USA for both men and women, with the disease claiming 1 million lives annually.  Wake up and realize that being added to this statistic is a probability if we do not change certain habits and daily routines.  Claiming more lives than all forms of cancers combined, the heart is something to protect and not in the romantic way. The Heart Foundation states that every 34 seconds someone has a heart attack and every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from a heart disease related event.



Heart disease has many factors, there is not a one-line answer, but many factors and contributors need to be diagnosed.  Heart disease is a broad term and covers many different areas,for example:

  • Coronary artery disease, plaque/atherosclerosis, is mainly a build up of fat, cholesterol and calcium in the coronary arteries, blocking oxygen rich blood to the main heart muscle. The build up can be so severe it may lead to sudden cardiac death.
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease occurs when major arteries that supply blood to the legs, arms and pelvis become obstructed. This can cause, numbness, pain and major infections.
  • Carotid Artery Disease is when plaque buildup or a clot forms in the main carotid arteries around the neck, which could result in a stroke.
  • Heart rhythm disorders
  • Congenital heart defects (heart defects from birth)



The following is a guideline for common signs of a heart attack in men.  Be aware that each individual may suffer from a varied form of the below.  If in doubt, then act and call 911.

  • Chest pain, which may spread to the back, neck, jaw and arms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual tiredness a few days before an attack
  • Feeling of gas or indigestion
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweaty
  • Pounding of heart
  • Loss of consciousness



Although women and men share many of the same symptoms, they differ when it comes to signs of a heart attack. Women are less likely to spot the early signs of an attack and will often try to ignore the fact they need urgent help.

  • Pain or a feeling of discomfort in both arms, back, jaw or stomach
  • Chest pain or tightness in chest (most common symptom in both sexes)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tight pressure in chest that lasts longer than a few minutes
  • Cold sweats, nausea or lightheadedness



If suspecting someone is having a heart attack call 911 immediately, time is crucial and acting fast can triple the chances of survival.   Whist waiting for the ambulance, there are a number of possible measure to try and save a life.

  • If possible, get the victim to chew and swallow an aspirin (ideally 300mg), ensuring there isn’t an allergy before administering. The aspirin will thin the blood and reduce the risk of having a major heart attack.
  • If the person is unconscious, open the airway , check for breathing and begin CPR.
  • If the patient is conscious, have them sit up to put less stress on the heart



If fortunate to recover from a heart attack, depending on how serious the attack and how healthy the person, determines the amount of time recovery takes.  It may take a number of months to feel better, so the key is not to rush the process.  There are a number of professionals who will be there to support the healing process including:

  • Dietitians
  • Physiotherapists
  • Nurses
  • Exercise specialists
  • Pharmacists

Physical and mental strength will be worked on while in hospital, and this care will be closely monitored once returning to the home environment.  Analyzing habits and lifestyle along with required lifestyle changes are crucial to aid recovery and stop future heart attacks.  The patient’s situation will affect the specific program assigned.  Exercise will be gentle at first and steadily increase the stronger the person becomes.  It is essential to follow the guidelines given by the professionals.

Having a heart attack is not only a terrifying health wake up call, it may lead to mental issues.  It is a life-changing occurrence and patients may suffer from anxiety or even depression after the event.  Making sure that mental health is in check is just as crucial, so any feelings of anxiety or depression must be disclosed to a professional.  Mental health may also be linked to the physical recovery and overall well being.



The patients diet will be analyzed and the following suggestions may be advised:

  • Mediterranean-Style diet (Lyon Diet Heart Study, which found that a Mediterranean-style diet cut heart attacks and deaths by 70% compared with a traditional American Heart Association diet, says Dr. Willett).
  • Oily Fish, including salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines and herring.
  • Poultry (without skin)
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Drastically reduce meat butter, cream and sugars

To read more about heart disease please visit: GetThrive.com


Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit
Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit

Your Dog May be the Best Therapist

If you suffer from panic disorder, a trained dog, cat, or horse may provide the therapy you need.

Anxiety Abound

“Service” dogs have been widely used to help people with all types of disabilities. These days, helpful creatures participate with us in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). These dogs, cats, and horses, are not merely pets. They are animals trained to provide support to a human in need. Your therapeutic pooch can even help you manage a panic attack.

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Panic disorder is often treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. A panic attack is a sudden overwhelming surge of anxiety. Symptoms can include: hyperventilation, chest pain, trembling, choking feeling, nausea, sweating, and a sense of being completely out of control. Panic disorder would encompass repeat episodes of attacks as well as a perpetual fear of having another attack.

“Talk” therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy may help you discover the key triggers for your attacks. Observing thinking patterns will be necessary. You’ll want to explore negative thoughts, their origins, and how you can replace them with positivity. To do that, you’ll need to feel somewhat secure and safe. Some people are unable to manage to get that far. This is precisely where AAT might benefit.

A therapeutic animal can aid with stress-reduction. Research has shown that pets can help lower blood pressure and relieve anxiety. Using animals can assist a person in feeling more trusting in a therapeutic environment. AAT may hasten and enhance the treatment process.

A specialist who uses AAT for mental health services such as panic disorder and agoraphobia must be a qualified mental-health services provider.

Special Training

Besides providing emotional therapy, there are service animals that also provide “physical” emotional support. Some dogs are trained to provide deep pressure therapy to their owner during a panic attack. The pressure of the weight of a medium sized dog against the sufferer’s abdomen and chest has been reported to have a significant calming effect.

If claustrophobia triggers your panic attacks, a dog can be trained to keep others from entering your personal space. He will repeatedly circle you, keeping other people at a preferred distance. And if you’re in the middle of an attack, your dog can be trained to lick your face, distract you, and reframe and re-orient your reality.

It’s Curable

Depending on the type of remedial work you’re putting in and if medication is assisting, will determine your progress. If you are a panic attack sufferer, that does not mean you will always suffer. A process is entailed, but through therapy, mindfulness, meditation, and possibly a therapeutic animal, you will be able to lead a less-worrisome life.

For more articles on mental health, family, and best living check out www.GetThrive.com


Dental Care That Can Help You Avoid a Heart Attack

Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria. And how you take care of your teeth and gums will reflect on your oral (and physical) health. Untreated gum disease has proven to increase risk of heart disease, leaving you susceptible to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. Fortunately, there are ways to help you avoid developing periodontal disease and its potentially deadly consequences.


Poor Dental Care is No Smiling Matter

Many people do not care for their oral hygiene in the best manner possible. There are several reasons why:

– lack of awareness of types of care and the serious need for care

– inability to afford care

– fear of going to the dentist

– difficulty accessing public dental service

Swollen, sore, and inflamed gums are main signs of gum disease. There are two types of periodontal issues:

Gingivitis is marked by red, tender, painful gums often accompanied by bad breath.

Periodontitis is more intense and often includes pockets of bacterial infection, pus, and extreme pain.


Who is at Risk for Gum Disease?

Basically any person who does not brush or floss often enough, or get their teeth cleaned by a professional once or twice a year is at risk for gum disease. In a 2010 report, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that one in every two adults over 30 years old had periodontal disease.

Here are the top reasons why gum disease develops:

  • Plaque build-up. A thick film of bacteria forms on teeth and gums.
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Chronic stress
  • Crooked teeth
  • Prescription medication


How is Dental Care Related to Heart Disease?

Research has shown that bacteria from oral plaque in those with periodontitis has been found in arteries of the heart. That plaque can eventually cause a heart attack. Additionally, according to the Harvard Heart Letter it’s possible that the inflammation in the mouth leads to inflammation in other parts of the body, including arteries in the heart.

Chewing and brushing your teeth releases bacteria into the bloodstream. The risk of emergent heart disease is doubled for those with gum disease. It makes sense then, to try and avoid developing gingivitis or periodontitis by practicing good oral hygienic habits.


Hope for the Heart

Besides dental care maintenance, a recent study out of China has revealed that aggressive treatment of gum disease can help lower blood pressure. Over 100 Chinese men and women with high blood pressure were part of the research. Half were treated with regular cleanings, while the other half received thorough treatment for periodontitis.

The intensive treatments included antibiotics, tooth removal (if necessary), and cleaning down to the roots of the remaining teeth. Those participants showed a drop of three systolic points after a month, and a drop of over 12 systolic blood pressure points six months after the treatment. Diastolic pressure dropped approximately four points. (Those who had a regular cleaning showed no change in blood pressure numbers.)

So, can improvement of oral health treatment prevent cardiovascular problems? It seems likely to be so.


Word of Mouth

The American Dental Association recommends:

  • Brushing at least twice per day and spending at least four seconds on each tooth each time. (That’s about 2-3 minutes each brushing.)
  • Flossing at least once a day or using another method that cleans thoroughly between each tooth.
  • Decrease sugar consumption in foods and beverages.
  • Visit a dentist regularly for a hygienic cleaning, prevention, and treatment of oral disease (which includes gum disease.)

Another recommendation from holistic dentists is the ancient practice of oil pulling. Many people today swear by it for thorough cleaning of teeth, tongue, and gums. Some stores sell essential oil flavored mixtures, but coconut, sesame, or sunflower oil will do just fine as well.

You do not gargle with it—rather you swish the oil inside your mouth, pulling it through the crevasses of your teeth. You also never swallow it. Swirl it around with your tongue and jaw for several minutes. When done, spit it out. Rinse your mouth with fresh water.

Basically, brush, floss, keep sugar consumption low, manage your stress, don’t smoke, and you should be able to avoid developing gum disease. In turn, you will find yourself at less risk for cardiovascular disease. Being that heart disease is the #1 killer, perhaps starting with your dental care is a simple way to stay on a healthy living track. Check out GetThrive! for more up-to-date health tips for you and your loved ones.













Does Working Longer Mean Living Shorter?

A long-term study of Europeans, Americans, and Australians points to higher risk for heart attack and stroke for those who work 55 hours a week or more.

Heart-ly Worth It

We’ve all heard the stress is tough on our hearts. Researchers weren’t that surprised to discover that overworking could bring on cardiac problems. They were surprised, however, to see the increase in possibility of stroke.

The Long And Short Of It

The interesting findings about the stroke-risk is that it increased across-the-board with the increase in hours-worked. No other factors played a part in these determinations such as: gender, race, age, or economic status.

Although this study seems conclusive, there were certain other considerations that were not implicated such as the participants’ family health history, cholesterol, or blood pressure, according to one medical expert.



I’m Afraid I Might Have Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is a very real condition that currently affects over 6 million Americans. If you are concerned that your day-to-day worry and stress is heightened and persistent, it’s possible you are suffering in silence. Let’s take a look at what you’re experiencing and see if it’s time to get the healthy care you need.

Take an Honest Evaluation

One of the most important steps in getting help or cure for any physical or mental condition is to address it. Our society, although supportive in many ways, can make us feel “embarrassed” or “ashamed”—especially in the arena of mental health. It’s essential you take note of your feelings and behaviors, and what triggers them in a negative way.

For example, one day, you may see a news report about an earthquake that occurred across the globe. The next day, you start worrying that an earthquake might happen in the city in which you live. You stop taking the subway, afraid that if there’s a quake, you’ll be trapped. You text your children several times a day, worried that they won’t follow school safety protocols. You freak out if they don’t respond right away. This goes on for days, or weeks. You’re afraid to go far from home. You’re so afraid of your own worry that it makes you feel even more helpless and fearful.

Anxiety can take over and sweep you into a downward spiral of debilitating emotions.

Anxiety disorder doesn’t suggest there’s something “wrong with you.” It’s a medical label for those of us who experience more worry and fear (and more often) than the average Joe. When addressed properly, anxiety can be managed and dissipated.

When It Feels Like It’s Just Too Much

Unfortunately, often, panic attacks occur when the anxiety becomes too great to tolerate.

Here are some symptoms that accompany panic attacks:


  • your heart rate increases and you feel like your heart is pounding too hard or too fast

  • you have the sensation that you can’t breathe or can’t catch your breath

  • chest pain

  • nausea or stomach pain

  • dizziness

  • sweating

  • you think this sensation will never end

  • you think you might pass out or die

Yes, those are scary symptoms. They are frightening for the person who is having the panic attack as well as for anyone who is with that person.

What Action Can I Take?

When you’re in the midst of a panic attack, you can feel completely overwhelmed and helpless. However, if you’re reading this and you can relate, the next time an attack comes on, you’ll be armed with some tools.

The first thing is that you will recognize what is happening to you. You can actually say to yourself, “I am about to have a panic attack”, or “I’m having a panic attack.”

Acknowledge the episode.

Don’t let it get the best of you.

If you feel it coming on, try to take a mental step back. Try and look at yourself objectively, as if you are the professional and not the patient. Tell yourself you will get through this. You will live through it. You know you will!

Start taking deep breaths and focus on relaxing and getting to a calmer place. This will help distract your brain from the worrisome thoughts.

If you know someone you trust and understands what you’re experiencing, call them. Don’t feel ashamed. Asking for help is noble.

Best Practices

Whether it’s you or a loved one who is suffering through an attack, assure yourself (or them) that everything will be OK. Because it will be. You know it will!

Crying, hyperventilating, falling to the ground, curling into a ball—these are all common reactions to anxiety overload transformed into panic. Once the panic subsides, the body will naturally relax, and most often will become very tired (and feel worn out.)

Talk through your episode afterwards. You may be able to more clearly see the origin of worry and its trigger.  Next time, you may be able to prevent an episode before it grabs hold of you.

Help Is Available

When we get beyond the stigma of mental illnesses, we can all begin to heal ourselves—and society as a whole. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or family. If you feel you won’t be taken seriously or understood, then go to an outside source. There are many professional resources for those suffering from anxiety disorder.

Speak with your health practitioner or go online and do a search, “help for anxiety disorder.” Again, it’s a pervasive mental illness and it can be helped. If you want help, it’s available.

For other articles on best physical and mental health practices, check out www.GetThrive.com





Migraines Linked to Heart Attack and Stroke

A recent study links women with migraines to heart attack or stroke. In fact, they are twice as likely to suffer a cardiovascular event.

My Aching Head!

In the past, a specific type of migraine headache has been linked to stroke. It’s called a “migraine with aura”, which affects one in four male or female migraine sufferers. These patients can be affected by bright light, experience vision blurriness or even distorted vision.

The results of a new preliminary study were recently presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016. For three years, 917 women were evaluated for risk of heart disease. After a six-year follow-up, those who had suffered migraines had a 225% increased risk in a future cardiovascular event.

Study Specifics

This particular study was conducted with just female participants. Their average age was 58, and over 75% were Caucasian. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Rambarat, claimed that after factoring other risk factors, the women who had migraines were twice as likely to have cardiac problems.

Additionally, after the six-year follow-up, the increased risk of stroke turned out to be much greater than having a heart attack.

Some of the “other” risk factors were: age, BMI, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and family history of heart disease. The study doesn’t claim that migraines cause strokes. However, the connection between the two shouldn’t be ignored.

What to Do With This Information?

The data from the study can inform women with migraines and their physicians. Perhaps preventative heart disease measures should be considered. Rambarat suggests that maybe now migraines need to be regarded as a possible risk factor for future cardiovascular event.

Whether you suffer from migraines or not, it’s always a wise move to make heart-healthy choices. Even if you’re a young woman, it’s never too early to practice cardiovascular-disease prevention. Here are some suggestions:

-quit smoking; if you don’t smoke, please don’t start

-manage stress; practice what relaxes you (reading, swimming, dancing, yoga, cooking, etc.)

-eat lots of vegetables and fruits; avoid foods that lend to high cholesterol

-get rest; allow yourself eight hours per night

-avoid estrogen-based birth-control pills

Finding out what triggers your headaches is a great way to try and avoid getting them, if possible. Some possible triggers are: stress, neck or back injury, allergy (especially to MSG), and sugar substitutes. Check out Thrive for more updates on health and taking care of yourself and your family.


A Way to Decrease Asthma Attacks?

Researchers have long been confounded for the sharp increase in asthma cases. New studies, in the meanwhile, are looking for ways to decrease the number and severity of attacks. One such study has developed a theory and possible headway.

Breathing Blunder

Asthma has affected many people around the world. Swelling of the airways and/or chronic inflammation cause acute spasms in breathing passageways. Asthma is frightening, can be painful, and in worst cases deadly.

In the past couple of decades, the number of cases has spiked significantly. Currently, there are about 300 million sufferers globally.

Why Do Some People Have it?

For the longest time, the “hygiene hypothesis” was believed to be the cause for asthma. The hygiene theory explains that our world has become too sterile. Children’s immune systems today don’t have to work as hard to fight off viruses and bacteria as they used to. And, because they’re not exposed, and there’s less to fight, the immune system starts to fight off “non-deadly” invaders such as dust and ragweed. This hypothesis would support asthma as a result of allergic reaction.

Another such explanation in a similar vein is that we live in “tight” homes. Our society doesn’t live outdoors where there is constant air circulation. We live in houses that are sealed, and inside can be mold, animal dander, cigarette smoke, and other elements that trigger irritation in the lungs and the airways.

But it’s not that simple. Asthma can be triggered without an allergic reaction.

It’s Not Just the Air, Either

A female scientist conducted a study in both East and West Germany shortly after the countries became unified again. East Germany had horrific air pollution from industries, but they had far less asthmatic cases than West Germany. So it wasn’t just a matter of air quality that presented weaker lung function.

Collecting More Clues

Other studies over the years have been conducted with children who live on farms. They are exposed to bacteria from livestock and from drinking unpasteurized milk from a very early age. Perhaps they have different strains of normal bacteria in their airways or more active immune responses. Whatever the reason, those children almost never had asthma—cause by allergy or otherwise.

More recent research has pointed to obesity as a contributing factor.

Additionally, other experts are suggesting asthma prevalence is higher in those with vitamin D deficiency. Our lungs (and immune system) require ample vitamin D intake for proper and healthy development. Maybe because kids are spending more time indoors, they are missing out on a natural source of D.

The Newest Method on Decreasing Attacks

Following suit on the vitamin D theory, researchers recently conducted a study where participants included a vitamin D supplement in addition to their standard asthma treatment. Seven trials with over 1,000 participants (over a year period), which included children, adults, and ethnic diversity, all reaped the same results.

“After the participants were administered oral vitamin D supplements, the team noted hospital admission and emergency department attendance dropped from 6 percent to approximately 3 percent. In addition, they also noted a decrease in the amount of asthma attacks that required treatment with steroid tablets.”

Until scientists are able to pinpoint the causes, there may not be a foolproof prevention for asthma at this time. Strengthening your immune system with proper diet, rest, and exercise can certainly benefit—and the side effects are all positive. Check with your medical advisor and see if vitamin D supplements may be beneficial in addition to your current treatment.

For more news updates on best health for you and your family, check out www.GetThrive.com

New Blood Test May Predict Heart Attack

Testing, Testing

Cholesterol and blood pressure levels are used as heart-attack risk markers, but a new blood test may tell more.

Silent and Scary

It’s been fairly well documented that the symptoms of an impending heart attack can be silent. Meaning, you didn’t really know it was coming. And for women, the signs can be very different and even subtler. It’s scary to wonder if you’re at high risk for having at heart attack. High blood pressure and elevated cholesterol have been concerns. Now, however, a new blood test may reveal that your risk of attack is low, even if you have those “other risk factors.”

The Blood Tells a Story

A team of researchers in London studied over 1700 people for more than five years. All of the participants were at risk for heart problems. 470 of those people suffered a stroke or a heart attack during the study period. The blood of those who had an attack was compared to those who did not. Those who had an episode were found to have low levels of antibodies.

Antibodies—molecules produced by the immune system—were found in abundance in those who did not suffer an attack. Hence, the stronger the immune system, the less risk of having a heart attack. Even with other risk factors, those with high levels of IgG antibodies remained heart-problem free.


IgG anibodies are found within all our bodily fluids. They protect our body against viruses and bacteria. Greater levels of IgG found in the blood tests linked to a lower risk of heart attack and even heart disease. This blood test could eventually become another predictor of heart attack risk.

Additionally, these research findings indicate that a stronger immune system protects against heart attack and stroke, even with other factors. So, for example, you have high cholesterol. If your IgG antibody count is super high, you are still at low risk (even with the cholesterol numbers.) That means certain cholesterol-lowering drugs many not be needed if the IgG theory holds true.

One expert explains, “These are very interesting findings linking the immune system to protection from heart disease.” More focus placed on strengthening the immune system may be the way to avoid heart attacks. This certainly seems positive and a greater holistic approach to health maintenance.


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