It Starts With Knowledge

It Starts With Knowledge – Linking Heart Health to Breast Cancer

 “A timely visit to a cardiologist can help to prevent cardiac complications after cancer therapy.” – Dr. Errol Williams, aka Errol MD

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Each year, October serves as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, helping to educate individuals around the world on the importance of knowing the facts of breast cancer, from the steps to detection to the treatment and path to recovery.

As we roll further into the autumn months and welcome November and all the changes that accompany it, ErrolMD encourages the reminder that this knowledge is power and is where that path to recovery can begin. 

Knowledge controls the access to opportunity and advancement.

For example, many are not aware that 1 in 10 breast cancer patients, treated with certain chemotherapy drugs, are put at a much higher risk for developing heart failure due to a lack of proper treatment from their cardiologist.

Facts like this, in addition to..

  • About 12 % of breast cancer patients developed heart failure within three years, often as a result of the cancer drugs and treatments

..and..

  • Only 1/3 of older breast cancer patients saw a cardiologist within 90 days of developing heart problems.

… are crucial to be aware of. Results show that those who saw a cardiologist had a significantly higher rate of proper treatment and staying in control of their heart condition. 

In an article presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research 2014 Scientific Sessions, Dr. Jersey Chen, a research scientist and cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente, along with his team of scientists, analyzed data on 8,400 breast cancer patients older than 65 who were treated either with specific chemotherapy drugs, anthracyclines or a targeted therapy, trastuzumab.

The study tracked which patients developed cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart and its ability to pump blood) or heart failure itself, (when the weakened heart causes symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath).

About 12 % (1,028) of these patients developed heart failure within 3 years after their cancer treatment, with only 34% of these patients visiting their cardiologist for treatment.

Patients who saw a cardiologist were more likely to receive standard medications for heart failure than those who did not see a cardiologist, proving that this is a truly crucial area for oncologists and cardiologists to collaborate on.

Breast cancer patients treated with such chemotherapy drugs thus need to be aware that the therapies can lead to future heart problems, and “if you have symptoms of heart problems like shortness of breath or swelling in the feet or legs,” they should seek attention quickly, preferably with doctors familiar and comfortable with treating heart failure after cancer therapy. Know the facts and be aware of the side effects.

For more information, check out BreastCancer.org for symptoms, side effects and tips for the future.

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World Stroke Day

Join Errol MD, the American Heart and Stroke Associations, and individuals across the world in raising awareness for World Stroke Day, today, October 29th!

Many may know the seriousness of Stroke, with fast facts such as:

  • Stroke is the No. 1 cause of preventable disability worldwide.
  • Stroke is the No. 4 cause of death in the U.S.
  • Asia, Russia & Eastern Europe have the highest rates of stroke mortality and disability.

Yet while someone in the U.S. suffers a stroke every 40 seconds &someone dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, did you know that one in three Americans cannot recall any of the stroke warning signs. 

October 29th recognizes World Stroke Day to help increase education and knowledge of stroke warning signs awareness in the United States.

How can you help the campaign?

Learn to Spot a Stroke

Warning signs: Face Drooping, Arm Weakness, Speech Difficulty and Time to Call 911.

Download the FAST app heretake the FAST quiz here, and join the World Stroke Day Pledge to End Stroke. 

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Share the FAST Graphic on Social Media to spread the word!

Some great examples to spread the word via social media:

  • Twitter: When you can recognize a stroke & get help fast, you save a life.
    Education is why. #LifeisWhy #WorldStrokeDay bit.ly/10J7I2m
  • Pinterest: » bit.ly/1ByF2Iu. Show your support for the millions of survivors and families affected by stroke each year. Order your Stroke Solidarity String now to have it in time for #WorldStrokeDay!
  • Instagram:» Include a screenshot of the app or photo of person using the app. If you don’t know what to look for, you can’t save a life. #WorldStrokeDay is 10.29 bit.ly/10J7I2m

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For more facts and information, see the World Day Fact Sheet here, or visit www.strokeassociation.org for more details.

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The Best Protection is Early Detection

Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is the annual international health campaign organized by breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, as well as offering information and support for those affected.

Did you know?

  • Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, with over 225,000 new invasive cases diagnosed in 2014 alone.
  • 12% of U.S. women will develop the disease over the course of her lifetime.
  • In addition, over 2,000 cases have been diagnosed in men this year.

The scary statistics do not lie, but thanks in part to early detection and improvements in treatments, millions of women are surviving the disease and living to share their inspirational stories.

The active fight with breast cancer is ongoing, from recommendations for regular testing for early detection to explanations of treatment options and information on how to cope with the physical and emotional side effects. In additional, the research to help prevent, find, and treat the disease is never ending, with ambitions to find cures today to end the disease tomorrow. In fact, the ACS invests more in breast cancer research than any other cancer type. Thanks to these efforts, death rates from breast cancer among women in the United States dropped 34% from 1990 to 2010. Check out the most recent highlights at http://www.cancer.org/research/acsresearchupdates/breast-cancer-research

The lives affected and touched by breast cancer are unmeasurable; however, the inspirational moments and growth that are often another side effect are truly unreplaceable. Check out a few of the ACS’s stories of hope here:

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Alyceia Kimbrough’s Story

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My Mother the Gladiator

August is my birthday month, and my mother always does my birthday BIG. I call her gifts “a party in a box” because opening one of her presents is a special event.

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Gina Cook’s Story

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No longer surviving but Thriving

My name is Gina, and what an honor to share my story with you. My prayer is that somewhere along the line of my story, you will feel hope and strength. They say time flies when you are having fun.

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Joy’s Story

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18 Years And Counting

“I was afraid cancer meant my life was over.” Joy talks about how, after a mastectomy in her early 30s, an American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery® volunteer helped her move forward and even become a volunteer herself.

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JoJo’s Story of Hope

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I envisioned myself as this unstoppable samurai warrior

“When I was first diagnosed it was pretty scary. My husband and I sat white-knuckled in a doctors office and got the news. It was definitely breast cancer and I was in denial.”

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American Cancer Society’s video, “Making Strides and Saving Lives”, is another great way to see the importance of the cause. Every three- to five-mile walk is a powerful way to unite as a community to honor survivors, raise awareness about steps we can take to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, and raise money to help lead the fight against this disease with groundbreaking breast cancer research, information and support 24-7, and access to mammograms for women who need them.

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To find a local walk near you, check out how every step you take is personal, and together we are helping to finish the fight against breast cancer.

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To Win, We Have to Lose!

No one enjoys stepping on that scale.

Now, think of the entire country stepping on that same scale.

The CDC encourages us to imagine this in The Weight of the Nation, a HBO documentary following a group of New Orleans individuals as they make a difference in their community by transforming their school lunch menu with healthier, better-tasting options. Their mission has recently been coined, “The Great Cafeteria Takeover.”

Worth the watch, the film brings us to the well-known fact that obesity is a common, serious, and costly health problem, for adults and children alike. Just take a look at these statistics brought to us by The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, also found at  http://stateofobesity.org/.

  • 20 of the 50 states in the U.S. have an adult obesity rate above 30%
  • At least one out of five people in every state is now obese, with a whopping 68.5% of all American adults at the overweight level.
  • One in 10 children become obese from ages 2 to 5; about 5% of 6 to 11 year-olds are “severely” obese.
  • In 2013, obesity rates rose in six states -Alaska, Delaware, Idaho, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wyoming
  • Blacks and Latinos have the highest rates of obesity nationwide, and Whites the lowest.
  • 42% of Latino and 47.8% of African-American adults are obese compared with 32.6% of Whites. Childhood obesity rates among these groups follow a similar pattern.

This frightening data underscores our country’s desperate need for affordable healthy food, safe places to be physically active, and access to proper healthcare for all communities. It is essential for us as parents, siblings, friends and family alike to understand the epidemic of obesity; and it is crucial for us to see the life threatening warning for ourselves as well.

Steps to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

The State of Obesity report suggests strategies to address disparities:

  • Ensure community-based obesity prevention and control strategies are culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Increase the use of promotores (community health workers, peer leaders and health advocates) who more effectively connect Latino communities with public health services.
  • Implement standards to limit the amount of advertising of foods of low nutritional value.
  • Recruit grocery stores through grant programs to support affordable healthy products.
  • Partnerships between government, businesses, faith-based groups, community organizations, schools and others to create healthy food access and safe places for physical activity in neighborhoods.

Involve local communities, and open up new ideas from the public by visiting the CDC here directly.

“The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.” ~William James

To win we have to lose.

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Healthy is Always in Style!

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Did you do some back to school shopping last week? Or take the family on one last getaway, to end summer with a bang?

As we made that turn around the bend into Labor Day this past weekend, we invited a new school year for teachers and children, from new backpacks and pencils to new schedules and routines. We invited a new quarter for many businesses. At the same time, we welcome other changes this time of the year brings– new seasonal fruits and vegetables, brisk temperatures- simply new beginnings everywhere we look.

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With so many new beginnings all around us, why not make this September the “new January”?

Why wait for New Year’s Eve to vow to make more time for exercise and healthy eating? According to Justice Price, personal trainer and wellness coach from The Biomechanics, “December 31, over a drink, is too late to set goals and make promises.”

“With the change of seasons comes a renewed time to rethink and restart,”

adds Chris Freytag, fitness instructor for Prevention magazine. With summer dwindling down, we encourage you to make the most of this season. What is even better is that you do NOT need hours to make this happen! According to the NY Times, running just 5 minutes a day can add years to your life. What’s more, is that the Journal of the American College of Cardiology’s recent study continued on to show that mere minutes may provide the same health benefits as running for much longer periods of time, reducing cardiovascular mortality risks among numerous other health concerns. Results of this study show an amazing 30% of participants were less likely to die from cardiovascular complications than non-runners..even if they did not run a lot! In addition, 45% were less likely to die from heart disease or stroke – almost HALF!

The key point to take home? The running-related health benefits for all participants were similar, regardless of other exercise habits, age, sex, weight, smoking, drinking, or even family history of heart disease.

So is there something particularly special about running that makes it stand out more than other exercise?

Timothy Church, professor at the Pennington Institute and co-author of the study, claims that it’s more a matter about intense exercise in general. “Running is an easy way to get intense exercise, even if you aren’t a particularly fast runner. It takes a lot more out of you than things that qualify as moderate exercise, like walking.” “The benefits are remarkable.”

So lace up the sneakers. Errol MD, along with WebMD, encourage you to try the following steps to making this September your fresh start.

Happy New Year!

  • Take advantage of the fall perks – walking, hiking, cycling, jogging – discover the beauty of sightseeing with the changing colors of the leaves at local parks or even down the neighborhood road. Use your senses to breathe in the crisp, fresh fall scents and practice your meditation and relaxation techniques

 

  • Think outside the box – Use the season to try something new. From kickboxing, to kayaking, to tap dancing, your kids’ school day and busy schedule can be an advantage for more you You can even revert to summer activities with a twist, like visiting the much less crowded beaches for a long walk or yoga session.

 

  • Integrate exercise into your life – Try “walking meetings” at work, or add music to your house chores. Make it a habit to walk every night after dinner, or plan fall activities that involve walking, like apple picking. Anything to you get you moving counts! Check out 10 great ways to enjoy an autumn walk! Or even join a walking club.

 

  • Mind, body, and soul are a package deal – Pamper yourself to a massage or learn how to meditate. Web MD recommends, “Treating yourself not just with exercise but to other activities that promote wellness, so you can feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, AND spiritually.”

 

  • 30 Days – Flash dieting did not work in the summer, and it will not work now! It takes 4 weeks for the body to adapt to lifestyle changes, which is why most people who give up on their fitness goals do so within that first 30 days. This means do not hit that snooze button. Roll yourself up and out, and the rewards will come.

 

  • Commitment, Convenience & Consistency – We are all busy; it is part of our lives and who we are. In the beginning, you may need to plan exercise as you plan everything else, like meetings, dinner, and soccer games. Put it on the calendar, so “later” does not turn into “never”. Plan things that can fit into your personal and unique lifestyle. If you have 10 minutes today, that is perfect. Allow exercise to become part of your lifestyle.

 

  • Create a challenge - Anything worth having takes work. Creating a challenge for yourself will motivate you, as will encouragement and accountability. “Tell me something you can do three times a week for 10 minutes and be great at? It doesn’t exist,” added personal trainer, Price. “If it was easy to be great, everybody would be great.”

 

 

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Get Fit, As a Family!

Do you ever think that healthy eating and working out would be easy if it weren’t for your spouse or kids? Reasons that prevent a family from getting healthier are wide-ranging – from your child being in a non-vegetable eating phase, the constant need for on-hand snacks & sweets, the higher calorie content need of another family member, to holidays and birthday parties alike.

These common challenges families face to adopting healthier lifestyles are having dire consequences.   According to research by the CDC, “America’s youth, as a group, are becoming more out of shape with every passing year, regardless of their family’s economic situation.” Statistics show that less than a third of children 12-18 exercise as much as they should. The Cleveland Clinic has even started a pediatric cardiology clinic and, as its director states, “Thirty years ago, we would not have expected to see 12-year-olds with symptoms of cardiac disease.”

But guess what? You can take steps to get fit, as a family!

Fill up on the good, leave less room for the bad -
It might not be possible to give up some unhealthy favorites.  Are you or anyone in your family a die-hard creamy ice cream fan? Instead of filling up the bowl with ice cream, add fruit to the bowl and top with a small scoop of ice cream. Or try new flavors of low-fat frozen yogurts.

Sneaky Cook –
Sneak healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods into your family’s favorite meals. For example, if your children like cheese omelets, keep fat in check by using 50 percent reduced-fat cheese and liquid egg whites, adding in a garden fresh veggies like tomatoes, red peppers, even broccoli.

Make it Fun -
A stop at the nearest fast food joint does not count as family quality time, but getting the kids or your spouse involved in food shopping or cooking can be! It not only strengthens the family bond but it can actually help them take more of an interest in your efforts to eat healthfully. Flip through pages of a healthy eating cookbook and pick out something new tonight!

Summer’s #1 Advantage? Early and Extended Daylight
You don’t need to wait until the sun is at the highest point to tie the laces. Exercise first thing in the morning or, after work, take the family to the park. Depending on where you live, the lake or the beach might also be possible.

Make Fitness A Family Event
Does your child takes an active interest in why you lay out a yoga mat and bend your body into pretzel shapes? Or does your spouse find the lap around the block as relaxing as you do? Invite the family along! From yoga and walking to aerobic dancing and fitness DVDs, you have a huge variety of options to choose from.

No Excuses!
Are you totally sure your 7 year olds’ busy schedule is keeping you from working out?  Throw on a pair of sneakers and walk the perimeter of the baseball field while he or she practices?

Schedule That!
Just like PTA meetings and dentist appointments, if you throw it on the family calendar, everyone is more likely to show up! Choose a time after school or after work or on the weekends when most family members are likely to be free and plan a family outing.

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Move That Body!

Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. – Denis Waitley

Regular exercise can improve heart function, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar control, alleviate depression, decrease the risk of cancer, ensure a good night’s sleep and help manage weight.  I’m not talking about strenuous exercise – studies show that even gentle walking and moderate intensity physical activities have health benefits.

Have you noticed the way you feel after a great walk around the neighborhood? Exercise is endorphin boosting as well and brings out those smiles and positive attitudes.

SO GET MOVING!

Consult your doctor before exercising if you’re seriously overweight, have a personal or family history of heart disease, take medication for a heart condition, have chronic pain due to a structural problem, injury or surgery. Be cautious –  Stop working out if you experience chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, or shortness of breath.  Start out easy and gradually increase your fitness program.

Pick something you enjoy…

Try something new…

Add variety…

Make it fun!

For great tips on getting active, check out the American Heart Association’s TIps here: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/GettingActive/Get-Moving-Easy-Tips-to-Get-Active_UCM_307978_Article.jsp.

 

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