How Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms Are Different Than Men’s

Here’s some good news for all of you who received dark chocolate for Valentine’s Day: You’re eating something that is heart-healthy. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate are friendly to your vascular health and can lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to your brain and heart and make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
But while you’re munching on your chocolate (and not too much of it!) be aware of this: Sometimes the reality of hearing that coronary heart disease—not cancer—is the number one cause of death for American women is startling.
Yet, the fact is that almost twice as many women die from a heart attack, stroke or other related forms ofcoronary heart disease than of all types of cancers combined—and that includes breast cancer.
Another startling fact: Since 1984, more women have died of cardiovascular disease than men. More than one in three women have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association, with an overall increase in heart attacks occurring around 10 years after menopause.
And while it’s true that family history contributes to your risk, you can also take charge of your heart health by eating right (include fruits, veggies and whole grains), eliminating unhealthy habits (quit smoking, limit red meat and sugary foods and drinks) and getting plenty of exercise (aim for 150 minutes each week).
Since February is heart month, it’s always good to know the signs of a heart attack. Did you know they’re different for women? That could be one of the reasons why women are only half as likely as men to survive a heart attack. Either women and their health care professionals don’t recognize the symptoms, or medical personnel don’t associate women with heart attacks as readily as they do men.
A heart attack is not always the classic feeling of an elephant sitting on your chest or a sudden, sharp pain that causes you to clutch your chest and collapse. Although the most common symptom for women is similar to men—feeling chest pain or discomfort—sometimes it’s subtler than that:
You may feel short of breath—as if you’ve done heavy exercise—even though you haven’t exerted yourself at all. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
You might feel upper back pressure that may feel like there’s a rope around you, being squeezed.
You may feel dizzy or lightheaded or may actually faint.
You may feel jaw, neck, arm or stomach pain.
You might experience nausea or vomiting.
Many women attribute their symptoms to things like having the flu, being tired, experiencing acid reflux or normal signs of aging. Others may think they’re having a heart attack and simply take an aspirin, but not call 911, Neica Goldberg, MD, tells the American Heart Association. Dr. Goldberg, who is medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, stresses that heart disease is preventable. She offers these tips:
Discuss your risk for heart disease with your health care provider
If you smoke, quit. After just one year, your risk of coronary heart disease can decrease by 50 percent.
If you don’t already exercise, start now. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can make a difference.
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A New Way to Get Rid of Unwanted Fat

We all have our share of them—those spots on our bodies where fat loves to hang out. For some, it might be areas in the lower body with lovely nicknames like “bubble butt,” “thunder thighs,” “cankles,” “saddlebags,” “love handles” or “FUPA” (you’ll have to look that one up).
Then there’s that fat which accumulates in areas above the belly, known affectionately as “bat wings” or “turkey neck.”
Not. Funny.
Despite eating proportionally fewer calories than our male counterparts, it’s a fact that women store fat more efficiently than do men. It’s quite the paradox: Despite burning off more fat than men during exercise, women have more body fat than men—6 percent to 11 percent more.
Yay, us!
One likely culprit: estrogen, finds a study from the University of New South Wales. As cited in news release, the hormone “reduces a woman’s ability to burn energy after eating, resulting in more fat being store around the body. The likely reason is to prime women for childbearing, the review suggests.” (Another thing you can say to your child the next time you want to lay on some good old mommy-guilt.)
In a perfect world, we’d go to the gym, do some targeted work aimed at blasting those bulges away and whittle away all the extra fat on our (choose your dream) abs, thighs, butts, triceps, chins. But contrary to common belief, you cannot spot reduce. While fats do get broken down during exercise, those fats get broken down throughout the body—not just in the spot you wish for.
But—and here’s a bit of encouraging news—usually the spot where you gain weight first will be the same spot where you’ll lose it first.
Every little bit helps, no?
What all of this means is that sometimes exercise is not enough; you might want a little extra assistance.
There are surgical ways, but those require things like anesthesia, sutures, bruising, healing and risk of infection, as most surgeries do.
What if you want to reduce your fat, but don’t want surgery? You’re not alone: Nonsurgical fat-reduction procedures rate among the fastest-growing categories in the aesthetics market. There’s been a 42 percent increase in procedures performed between 2013 and 2014, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. There are things like liposuction (which, like it sounds, suctions excess fat from under the skin) and CoolSculpting (a technique that freezes the fat away).
There’s a new kid in town
I recently learned about a new body contouring system called SculpSure for removing stubborn fat. You know that kind of fat—the kind that, despite our best efforts at diet and exercise, remains obstinately present. Both clinically tested and FDA-cleared, SculpSure is a light-based procedure that yields results in six to 12 weeks.
How it works
Developed by Cynosure, this noninvasive procedure uses a laser that precisely targets fat cells under the skin. The temperature of the body fat is raised, the subcutaneous fat cells are disrupted and destroyed, and then, presto! The cells are naturally eliminated over time.
Bye-bye and sayonara. Gone forever.
SculpSure requires no downtime, other than sitting or lying comfortably for 25 minutes during the procedure. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Lawrence Bass, who was a lead investigator in SculpSure’s clinical trials, says, “SculpSure is also comfortable and well-tolerated, with most patients feeling nothing more than a deep warming sensation.”
Some patients feel a bit of tenderness for a few days after the procedure, but there’s nothing stopping you from having the procedure performed and getting right up and back to work and your normal schedule.
The procedure, which claims to produce up to a 24 percent reduction in stubborn fat, uses no suction to pull the tissues like CoolSculpting does. Instead, the applicators lay flat on top of the treatment area. Depending on how much fat you’re after, between one and five sessions might be necessary, each taking 25 minutes and costing an average of $1,500.
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The Amazing Reason Breast Milk Comes in Different Colors

Have you ever noticed how the color of your breast milk can vary? Arkansas mom Mallory Smothers noticed a difference from her pumped Friday morning breast milk versus the one from Thursday night (picture above) and shared it on Facebook. The reason her breast milk batches are different is pretty amazing, and it has the Internet pumped, with more than 70,000 shares.
You see, when a baby nurses, a vacuum is created in which the infant’s saliva sneaks into the mom’s nipple. If mammary gland receptors detect pathogens from the baby’s spit via backwash, Mom’s body will change the milk’s immunological composition and produce customized antibodies.
That’s why Smothers’s latest batch of milk “resembles colostrum,” or what many know as liquid gold—the form of milk moms make late in pregnancy and in the first few days of birth. It’s filled with leukocytes and antibodies to protect newborns against disease.
“This comes after nursing the baby with a cold all night long. Pretty awesome, huh?! The human body never ceases to amaze me,” Smothers writes.
Pretty incredible!
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Lose Weight With Peanuts

Here are just a few key reasons you can lose weight with peanuts:
Because peanuts and peanut butter are packed with fiber and protein, they keep you satisfied and full for a long time, helping to manage your hunger.
Because of their protein and fiber, peanuts and peanut butter will stick with you for about 2 1/2 hours versus the half hour you’ll get from high-carbohydrate foods, according to one study.
Peanuts can increase your metabolic rate. When researchers studied resting energy expenditure on peanut and peanut butter eaters, they found that it was 11 percent greater after regular peanut consumption for 19 weeks compared to the baseline.
As you may or may not know, the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus less on specific nutrients and more on eating healthier foods to improve your overall eating habits. I’ll be writing more about the particulars soon, but since we’re on the subject of peanuts, they do play a role in those guidelines.
How? According to The Peanut Institute:
Peanuts are part of all the healthy diets studied.
Peanuts are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available.
Most peanut products are minimally processed and low in sugar, saturated fats and sodium.
When substituted for other snacks and proteins, peanuts and peanut butter improve nutritional status.
Peanuts are convenient, affordable and portable.
What’s more, a 2008 study that looked at various weight-loss regimens found that there was greater compliance to the diet as well as greater weight loss in the groups who were permitted to include nuts.
The Peanut Institute says that although peanuts are high in fat, that fat is mainly of the monounsaturated variety—which is a healthy fat that can improve blood lipids if eaten in moderation.
But before you pile on the peanut butter or eat heaping handfuls of peanuts, which, in their defense, are energy dense, high in fiber and fill you up, keep in mind that quantities do matter. Peanuts are caloric, and, simply put, consuming too many calories can pile on the pounds.
A small handful—or an ounce—a day will do you. (FYI, an ounce of dry-roasted peanuts contains about 166 calories.)
Off to the kitchen to grab my handful-for-the-day. How about you?
P.S. I tried these peanuts many years ago, and they’re among my favorites—delish!
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Sugar, Salt and the New Dietary Guidelines: Dietitians and Nutritionist Weigh In

Every five years, U.S. law requires an update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were created in 1980 to help educate consumers about healthy nutrition.
After all, who can’t use a reminder for good or better habits, a way to maximize our health and reduce our risk for chronic diseases?
Not only are these guidelines important in keeping people like us informed (and knowing what to shop for at the supermarket!), but they’re also used for shaping nutrition policy, education, outreach and food assistance programs.
But sometimes it can feel like the government is trying to reinvent the wheel, since the guidelines generally carry the same old messages from update to update: Eat less fat, salt and sugar; focus on grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies; and of course, watch your weight.
Sugar and salt grains may look innocuous, but they are common culprits, turning up again and again when it comes to nutrition talk and health. Â And, as always, we are consuming too much of both.
Sugar has a long-standing association with empty calories, weight gain, cavities and health ills, like heart disease. A major study in JAMA Internal Medicine says that a diet high in sugar may raise your risk of dying of heart disease—even if you’re not overweight. There’s also evidence of sugar’s role in the rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.
Current Dietary Guidelines for Sugar
Americans should limit sugar to no more than 10 percent of daily calories (roughly 12 teaspoons per day for many adults). On average, Americans consume between 22 to 30 teaspoons of added sugar daily. Too much.
Salt is associated with high blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) says that too much salt in your body causes water retention, which can put an added burden on your heart and blood vessels. Having high blood pressure makes you more susceptible to heart disease or stroke.
The average American consumption of about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day is way too high, considering the AHA’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams for optimal heart-health. Cutting back to even 2,400 milligrams a day can be helpful, they say.
Current Dietary Guidelines for Salt
The new guidelines say Americans should cut sodium to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. That equalsone teaspoon (or 6 grams) of salt.
Because some of the sodium in our diets is added during food preparation, there are easy ways to cut back. You can do it yourself, by cooking with less of it and by keeping the saltshaker off the table. Most of the sodium in our diets comes from highly processed foods and baked goods, so avoid them when you can and be sure to check the labels. When ordering at a restaurant, and ask for “no extra salt.”
I reached out to four top nutritionists and dietitians to get their advice on easy ways to cut down on salt and/or sugar. Here’s what they had to say:
Jacqui Justice, MS, CNS
Substitute fresh fruit for more sugar snacks
Opt for plain yogurt and add your own fruit for sweetness. Doing so will cut the sugar by more than half.
Dilute fruit juices with water or seltzer.
Eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate (it’s got half the sugar).
If you crave sweets after meals, try brushing your teeth or licking a lemon—both change your palate and take away the craving.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, author of The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition
Get comfortable with cooking—especially with whole foods.
To get a sweeter taste without adding sugar, use seasonings like cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and cardamom.
Medjool dates or dried apricots can satisfy your sweet tooth: both are sweet and sticky (like candy). Or, dip fresh and dried fruits (which are nutrient-packed, without any added sugars) into melted dark chocolate, which has little added sugars.
To increase flavor without adding salt, use a variety of fresh and dried herbs and spices, and finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice or a touch of high-quality vinegar.
If you’re using a seasoning pack (like in taco seasoning), use just half of it.
When using canned products, use a mix of no-salt added and regular varieties. For example, mix one can of no-salt added diced tomatoes with one can of regular tomato sauce.
Isabel K. Smith, MS, RD, CRN
Cut back on sugar by adding less to your tea, coffee and other beverages. Cutting back on sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages can help, too. It’s a conscious choice—and can be a tough one—but you one can still enjoy sweetness without loading up on added sugars.
To cut down on your salt intake, watch out for packaged and processed foods.
Substitute pepper, herbs and spices for salt.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It and owner of BTD Nutrition Consultants
Keep in mind that there are naturally occurring sugars in things like milk and fruits. It’s added sugars you need to watch for—these are the sugars and syrups added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.
Water is your best bet as a beverage of choice—this includes tap, bottled, canned and sparkling waters.
Add citrus to your meal by including orange or grapefruit sections in your salad; squeeze fresh lemon juice on seafood; and use lemon zest in salad dressings, on vegetables or seafood and in marinades and rubs for meat or chicken.
Fill your salt shaker with a no-salt spice blend. Create your own or pick up a blend at the supermarket.
Watch the sugar content in things like breads, pasta sauces, salad dressings and other condiments.
If you use preserved or canned fruits, choose products packed in water rather than sugary syrup.
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Do You Do Enough of THIS With Your Kids?

When you get home from work and your kids get home from school, do you collapse onto the sofa and veg out in front of the TV together? Or, after dinner, do you just have a few minutes left to help with homework? Then, when it’s all done, you and the kids grab your smartphones or tablets to check social media before turning in for the night.
You’re not alone. We’re a nation of couch potatoes.
A recent survey says families are not getting enough physical activity together. When moms spend 10 minutes or more doing something with their children (ages 5 to 18), it’s more likely to be sedentary than active, according to the survey by Woman’s Day magazine and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation to combat childhood obesity.
The top three activities moms do with their kids are eating a meal (90%), watching television (79%) and doing homework (65%), according to the survey. Only half of the 1,154 moms surveyed had gone out for a walk, run or bike ride with their kids in the last week and just over one-fourth had played a sport, run around or danced together.
Almost half (44%) of the moms said their children don’t get the recommended seven hours of activity per week. They blame homework, the children’s attitudes and the “draw of the screen.”
There’s a lot to blame, but the result is that rates of overweight and obesity have soared in the United States. In 2012, more than two-thirds of adults and more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. Consequently, the nation as a whole is not very healthy, especially compared to other countries where people are more active.
“We know that Americans are busier than ever, but becoming more active can help set up families for a lifetime of healthy habits and lowering the risk of obesity and heart disease,” says Susan Spencer, editor-in-chief of Woman’s Day. “By partnering with the Alliance on this survey, we learned 67 percent of moms believe it would be easy for them to add an extra 10 minutes of movement with their kids daily.”
To inspire families to get moving, the Alliance launched #Commit2Ten, a social media campaign challenging everyone to add 10 minutes of physical activity to their daily routine throughout September. The website offers a personalized fitness profile, a 30-day activity calendar, resources and motivation to commit to 10 additional minutes of physical activity per day.
I know from experience that life gets crazy when you’re juggling work and kids and their busy schedules. It gets even harder to find time for fitness when school starts and the pace of work increases and the frequency of play decreases.
Plus, when the school buses start rumbling down my street, my melancholy moods roll right along with them. I know that soon cold weather will arrive, and I won’t get out as often to walk or jog or garden or go to the beach. I’ll go to the gym, but I’ll miss being outdoors.
This survey and campaign provide reminders about the importance of committing to activity, even if only in 10-minute spurts.
My latest short habit is to do 30 pushups on the sink vanity a couple times a day. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it helps keep my muscles toned and my bones strong.
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Resetting Your Exercise Mojo

I know. It’s NOT the new year—but I can’t help it. September feels like it might as well be.
And you know what happens over the summer. We get complacent. Lazy, even. The long days stretch out and all we want to do is luxuriate in the extra light and lounge as if we’re lying on the beach (even if we’re not).
It’s not a bad laziness, but rather a type of laissez-faire, laissez le bon temps rouler time of year. (Like my French? That’s about the extent of it.)
As much as I abhor routines, I do realize the value they have. They help keep you on track; help you plan and stay accountable to yourself. They make you feel organized, in a way. And since I score a solid “B” in organization, I need all the help I can get. When September hits, many of us realize—at least I did—that some routines just need to be resurrected.
One of the most common routines to lose during the summer is our exercise routine. And if you’re searching for a way to get it back … you’re welcome.
Get Cerebral.Just thinking about the benefits of exercise is a huge motivator. In a nutshell, exercise can:
Control weight
Help boost HDL (good) cholesterol
Help decrease (unhealthy) triglycerides
Improve mood
Boost energy
Promote better sleep
Protect against heart disease, high blood pressure and some kinds of cancer
Be Realistic. If you don’t have long legs and a naturally small waist, all the imagining in the world (see below) won’t get you those attributes you (can only) dream about. Many workout attempts have been derailed because people don’t get the results they want. You can get the results you want—if you’re realistic about them.
Imagine. Close your eyes and think about what you’d like to look and feel like. It’s possible, with the right kind of exercise, to transform your body. But remember, you must be realistic (see above).
Do What You Like. If you think walking on a treadmill is akin to waterboarding, then don’t expect you’ll suddenly embrace the idea just because you’ve decided you will. There are plenty of other ways to exercise. Do something you love, and you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. And, if you like working out later in the day, go ahead. Just because someone says the “optimal” time to exercise might be early morning, if you are not a morning person, all bets are off that you’ll do it.
Prepare Yourself. Set your exercise clothes out the night before. Put your gym bag near the front door. Leave your water bottle on the counter. These subtle reminders will help you remember the thing you might rather forget.
Buddy Up. There’s nothing more motivating than knowing there’s someone, somewhere, depending on you. Whether it’s a friend you walk with regularly or a trainer expecting you to show up, that’s a silent nudge to get moving.
Write It Down. Put it on your calendar, just like you’d schedule a doctor or dentist visit (and it’s a lot more fun and less expensive than either of those!). If you don’t block out the time for exercise, it’s too easy to find an excuse (that’s where “I’d rather get a root canal” comes from) not to do it.
Do It Anywhere. A gym is not the only place to work out. Take advantage of nice days and take your workoutoutside. Find a local park, many of which have free fitness equipment where you can do things like crunches, pull-ups, dips and more. Or, work out at home—even in front of the TV—using some hand weights and fitness bands.
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