Mental Benefits from Exercise

12 Mental Benefits Of Exercise

http://www.treadmillreviews.com/blog/mental-benefits-exercise/

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Grief triggered from news

Most of us in the US tonight are feeling an overwhelming sensation of grief following the news of the school shooting in Connecticut.

I could not help but to feel grief upon hearing the horrible news today coming out of Connecticut. My heart aches for these families. The raw pain they must be feeling, the heaviness in their hearts, the overwhelming anger towards those who did the crimes, the loss,  and the timing of the holidays makes it even worse. I feel compelled to reminded my readers how grief and heart disease are connected. The hospitals need to be prepared. With grief comes increased heart pain. Emotional distress is a trigger for angina as well as heart attacks.

How will you grieve?

Is it possible to grieve and not have heart ache?  Should I use nitro if my heart aches?

Some suggestions if you are overwhelmed by grief I tell myself include:

  • Count your Blessings
  • Hug those you can
  • Express your love others
  • Light a candle
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Write about your emotion
  • Don’t allow your emotions over the situation compromise your health
  • Tune out…turn the news off…take a walk…..breathe the fresh air, enjoy the lights, listen to music

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Emotional distress is a common trigger of angina.

With loss many experience increased heart symptoms of chest pressure, chest discomfort, pain, heaviness, fatigue and energy loss.

 Heartache the emotional pain recognition site in the brain is located near the region that senses and interprets sensations. When we suffer emotionally, the brain responds by releasing neurochemicals we experience in our body as an intense aching in our upper abdomen and lower chest. Grief-related stress can increase blood pressure and heart rate, raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, constrict blood vessels, and disrupt cholesterol-filled plaques that line arteries. Any one of these changes raises the risk of heart attack.

Grief also makes blood “stickier” and therefore more likely to clot. Acute stress tends to increase levels of the hormones known as catecholamines which causes platelets to stick together. If a plaque bursts, the resulting clot is more likely to cut off blood to the heart.

American Heart Association’s Circulation reports scientists have found evidence that grief might actually break your heart. Studies show that people grieving the death of a close loved one could have a heart attack risk that is higher than normal.

The calculated the risk of a heart attack as 21 times higher in the first day after the loss of a loved one.  Risk declines steadily with each day after a loved one’s passing, but it remains eight times higher one week after the death and four times higher one month afterward, according to the American Heart Association journal Circulation

The link between grief and bereavement was strongest among people who had preexisting risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks, such as high blood pressure or unhealthy cholesterol levels. People mourning the loss of a loved one might further increase their heart-attack risk by sleeping poorly, eating less,  and skipping their medications. Other factors may include binge eating of comfort foods, increased alcohol or tobacco in an effort to comfort oneself from the intense loss.

.Grief

Broken Heart Syndrome; 

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart failure caused by grief or stress where the left ventricle balloons out taking on an unusual shape like a Japanese fishing pot. The symptoms are the same as a heart attack but an electrocardiogram does not always show the problem. You experience chest pain, shortness of breath, arm pain, and sweating as in a classic heart attack but its different. Postmenopausal women who are grieving are the main patients who experience this type of heart failure. It is caused when experiencing grief, stress, emotional trauma, or physical stress. The best test to confirm this heart problem is a contrast echocardiogram or an angiograph which takes pictures of your heart. The recovery for this type of heart failure usually takes less time than a classic heart attack.

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So that nitro bit….yep if you are feeling chest pain, sitting and  relaxing  controlling your emotional health by avoiding anger response or  intensive grief, …… and your doctor has  prescribed nitro  for you this would be an indication to  use it. Of course if it doesn’t get better and  your symptoms are worsening call 911.  Hospitals are you prepared?

Depression and Heart Conditions

Depression is common in heart patients. Most studies show 2 out of 3 patients will experience depression. Does depression cause heart disease or does heart disease cause depression? Probably both. We all have ups and downs, however when one finds them overwhelming and debilitating it is time to get help. According to the National Institute for Mental Health the following are the symptoms of depression:

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

One of the best things a person who is suffering from depression can do is to get daily exercise. Yet it is one of the hardest things to do when depressed. I would encourage patients to at a minimum schedule themselves 10 minutes per day of exercise. I know it is a very short duration, but it is a starting point. We build from there.  If you are a significant other of someone you suspect is depressed, don’t nag them to exercise, rather help them to engage in it. Offer to go for a walk, or go to the gym together.

For many suffering from depression winter can be especially difficult. The holidays may trigger episodes, a change in healthy eating habits to the holiday party foods, a change in exercise habits due to weather changes, getting out and socializing less due to weather, loss of loved ones,  and seasonal effective disorder can all be a catalyst for symptoms to worsen. If you note this contact your healthcare practitioner, consider counseling, increasing exercise, getting sunlight every day, and/or medications. It is important because if depression isn’t treated often heart disease worsens.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy

 

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/what-is-depression.shtml

 

 

Heart disease patients who have anxiety have twice the risk of dying from any cause compared to those without anxiety, according to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Patients with both anxiety and depression have triple the risk of dying, researchers said.

Many studies have linked depression to an increased risk of death in heart disease patients. However, anxiety hasn’t received as much attention. Studies show that depression is about three times more common in heart attack patients. The American Heart Association recommends that heart patients be screened for depression and treated if necessary.

Depressed heart disease patients often also have anxiety, suggesting it may underlie the risk previously attributed solely to depression. It’s now time for anxiety to be considered as important as depression, and for it to be examined carefully.”

In the study, 934 heart disease patients, average age 62, completed a questionnaire measuring their level of anxiety and depression immediately before or after a cardiac catheterization procedure at Duke University Medical Center. Patients had anxiety if they scored 8 or higher on a scale composed of seven common characteristics of anxiety, with each item rated from 0 to 3 (range of possible scores: 0-21). Depression was measured using a similar scale composed of seven symptoms of depression.

Researchers, after accounting for age, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and other factors that affect death risk, found that 90 of the 934 patients experienced anxiety only, 65 experienced depression only and 99 suffered anxiety and depression. Among 133 patients who died during three years of follow-up, 55 had anxiety, depression or both. The majority of deaths (93 of 133) were heart-related.

Researchers measured anxiety and depression during cardiac catheterization because levels better reflected how patients normally handle stressful situations. Anxiety and depression each influence risk of death in unique ways. Anxiety, for example, increases activity of the sympathetic (adrenaline-producing) nervous system that controls blood pressure.

People who worry a lot are more likely to have difficulty sleeping and to develop high blood pressure. The link between depression and mortality is more related to behavioral risk factors. Depression results in lack of adherence to medical advice and treatments, along with behaviors like smoking and being sedentary.

Future studies should test strategies to manage anxiety alone and with depression in heart disease patients.

Anxiety reducing medications combined with stress management could improve outcome for patients with just anxiety, whereas patients with anxiety and depression may need a stronger intervention involving more frequent outpatient monitoring and incentives to improve adherence.

Slowly getting there, comments from our cardiac health innovators? http://bit.ly/100zip5

Getting through the hard days

What do you do when you are having a hard day? Do you find yourself more emotional, snapping at everyone, crying frequently, using more tobacco or alcohol, eating more comfort foods? The ups and downs are a normal part of living with a chronic health condition. The challenge is to not allow the bad days to promote behaviors that can worsen your health or your relationships. Some days symptoms are more prevalent than others, those are the days to listen to your body and take it easy. Not every day is a record-setting day.

On the bad days consider:

  • What good things are happening in my life?
  • Is the situation really as bad as I perceive it?
  • What can I try to make things better?
  • Who can I talk to who will understand?
  • What is most important for me right now?

Bad days cause us to re-evaluate what is important on this day. What can I do without having symptoms? Can I limit what I had planned to do. Accept the limitations, and don’t ruminate on what you can’t get done. Listen to your bodies needs. Does it need a healthy meal, a rest, a light walk, meditation, a listening ear? Who is your support person? A spouse, a clergy, another person who lives with chronic illness, a support group, social media sites? Admitting limitations to family and asking for help are difficult for many but unless you verbalize your needs no one knows or is likely to give you the support you need. It is ok to cry to grieve, let it out then let it go. Move on from the frustrations and emotional grief. It will come back, and when it does acknowledge it and move on again.

  • Listen to music
  • Write a letter
  • Take a light walk
  • Do something that makes you feel good
  • Focus on what truly matters
  • Envision a better tomorrow
  • Do deep breathing, relaxation or meditation exercises
  • Start over
  • Call a friend

 

 

 

Grief and heart health

There is a link between grieving and heart problems. It wasn’t uncommon when interviewing a new  cardiac rehabilitation client to find many were grieving the loss of a loved one. In cardiac rehabilitation we would make sure to document it in their notes. Grief can be considered a risk factors for coronary artery disease. Often grieving is not addressed well enough from the medical community. Yes we label it on a chart, but what do we offer to help a person who is grieving?  Some suggestions include counseling, support groups, a listening ear, an opportunity to  reflect. It is especially important around holidays or anniversaries as many have increased heart symptoms which most likely are related to the grieving process.                                                                                           Tears of grief

Emotional distress is a common trigger of angina.

With loss many experience increased heart symptoms of chest pressure, chest discomfort, pain, heaviness, fatigue and energy loss.

 “Heartache the emotional pain recognition site in the brain is located near the region that senses and interprets sensations. When we suffer emotionally, the brain responds by releasing neurochemicals we experience in our body as an intense aching in our upper abdomen and lower chest. Grief-related stress can increase blood pressure and heart rate, raise levels of the stress hormone cortisol, constrict blood vessels, and disrupt cholesterol-filled plaques that line arteries. Any one of these changes raises the risk of heart attack.

Grief also makes blood “stickier” and therefore more likely to clot. Acute stress tends to increase levels of the hormones known as catecholamines which causes platelets to stick together. If a plaque bursts, the resulting clot is more likely to cut off blood to the heart.

American Heart Association’s Circulation reports scientists have found evidence that grief might actually break your heart. Studies show that people grieving the death of a close loved one could have a heart attack risk that is higher than normal.

The calculated the risk of a heart attack as 21 times higher in the first day after the loss of a loved one.  Risk declines steadily with each day after a loved one’s passing, but it remains eight times higher one week after the death and four times higher one month afterward, according to the American Heart Association journal Circulation

The link between grief and bereavement was strongest among people who had preexisting risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks, such as high blood pressure or unhealthy cholesterol levels. People mourning the loss of a loved one might further increase their heart-attack risk by sleeping poorly, eating less,  and skipping their medications. Other factors may include binge eating of comfort foods, increased alcohol or tobacco in an effort to comfort oneself from the intense loss.

.Grief

Broken Heart Syndrome; 

Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is a type of heart failure caused by grief or stress where the left ventricle balloons out taking on an unusual shape like a Japanese fishing pot. The symptoms are the same as a heart attack but an electrocardiogram does not always show the problem. You experience chest pain, shortness of breath, arm pain, and sweating as in a classic heart attack but its different. Postmenopausal women who are grieving are the main patients who experience this type of heart failure. It is caused when experiencing grief, stress, emotional trauma, or physical stress. The best test to confirm this heart problem is a contrast echocardiogram or an angiograph which takes pictures of your heart. The recovery for this type of heart failure usually takes less time than a classic heart attack.

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Depression: Depression is part of the grief process. This grief causes a dark sadness, insomnia, lack of appetite, and weight loss. It is considered part of the normal process of healing. After months if the person does not heal, it can become permanent and steps need to be taken by a professional level.  Meaning it is time to discuss it with the healthcare practitioner, consider counseling and  consider medications. Some people even lose their will to live. To heal, grief must be addressed. It is not an expectation that it will end but it should decrease to where it isn’t always overwhelming and effecting quality of life or daily activity. At what point does grief turn into permanent depression that is life threatening? There is no simple answer to this question. It is generally advised, if the person has not begun to come out of their grief by a year, they probably need to seek professional help. The elderly have more challenges with grief and depression as there may be problems adjusting to life.  After spending 30 to 50 years with a spouse, they simply don’t know how to live without them. They often don’t eat healthy, skip medications, become isolated, consume more alcohol or tobacco which undermines health.

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Resilience

Stress is everywhere today especially following a heart problem. It is possible for people to find ways to be resilient and thrive and even grow from the stress that you experience following a heart problem.  The  stress of heart disease can impact both mental and physical health. It is possible to find and create well-being in the midst of all the stress and health challenges you face.

Resilience

Psychological resilience is an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity. Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly from disruptive change, illness, or misfortune without being overwhelmed or dysfunctional.  This coping may result in the individual “bouncing back” to a previous state of normal functioning, or simply not showing negative effects.  Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, and not a trait of an individual.

It is important to learn and understand how to be resilient to avoid the tendency to struggle through from one crisis to the next, but develop skills to survive and become a stronger person along the way.

Resilience

 

Resilience.

 10 Steps to Resilience

Heart disease is frightening you have a choice, a choice to be resilient or defeated.

Tips for Resiliency: Bouncing back

  1. Expect ups and down in your mood. These are normal emotions to experience, if you don’t experience them that could be a problem.  Quiet the voices in your head that are negative. Acknowledge the  negative thought you have, stop thinking negative, give yourself a pep talk and focus on the positives in your world.
  2. Taking control.  Focus on what you have control over. You may not have control over your heart disease, but you do have control on how you manage it. Set your goals to exercise, eat healthy, relax, stop smoking, take your medicines and love those in your life.
  3.  Surround yourself and educate yourself with a good team, Cardiac Rehabilitation programs are great for this. Consider finding a support group or an online forum. Resist the urge to isolate yourself
  4. Consider what you are grateful for such as surviving, stopping smoking, weight loss, improved diet and your relationships. Fifty percent don’t survive their first heart attack. Daily find something at the beginning or end of the day in which you are thankful for.
  5. Keep a journal and keep track of your thoughts and progress.
  6. Think about your character’s greatest strengths.
  7. Find things you love to do. It could be some hobbies or favorite pastime. If you cannot return to these activities, what else is important to you? Who knows your favorite book, movie, inspirational quote,  songs, spiritual beliefs. Share your loves and passions with others.
  8. Stop saying “why me?” and start asking “Why not me? How am I going to handle this?” Many get bogged down in thinking but I did everything right and still had a heart problem. Consider maybe that is why you survived the heart problem.
  9. Keep your mind occupied. Don’t make time to feel sorry about yourself. Helping others is a great way to boost your resilience. Mentor another who is going through a heart problem.
  10. Forgive, Accept and Adapt. It is easy to get angry and bitter. The best thing you can do to have resilience is to make the decision to forgive and then have the willingness to reinvent yourself. There are many inspirational heart patients out there who have thrived since surviving their heart condition.

For about 20 percent it comes naturally; people are glad to get back into the swing of life pretty quickly, feeling stronger for having weathered the storm. For others, it’s a long, slow slog through the blues until you come out the other side.  Consider counseling if you continue to struggle. Fortunately, everyone can learn how to gain the health benefits of resilience: less stress, lower risk of heart disease, less depression and anxiety. Here are three ways you can strengthen your ability to bounce back:

  •  Cultivate an optimistic outlook, which is a key part of being resilient. Looking on the bright side is enhanced with daily meditation.
  • EXERCISE Keep your body strong  and limber by eating a diet powered by lean protein and lots of veggies, fruits and 100 percent whole grains. When you feel physically strong, your self-esteem increases, another vital part of resilience. Fuel your body with healthy foods avoid junk food, comfort food, alcohol, tobacco.
  • Nurture your social connections. They provide security and love, and help keep emotions on an even keel. Blood pressure goes down; ability to cope goes up. So reach out and touch someone, physically and emotionally. Call a friend, go out, visit your family, talk to others about your experience.

Read more: Secret to Longevity: Resilience

Resilience.

http://heartfitclinic.com/reversing-heart-disease-with-resilience/#

http://www.newsmaxhealth.com/drsozandroizen/longevity_dr_oz/2012/06/11/455745.html