Join Us For A Pet Therapy Stress Break on Valentine’s Day

Dogs are affectionately called man’s best friend. But did you know their companionship also offers benefits for your heart health? Studies show a canine companion can help with everything from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress.

That’s why Lexington Medical Center is hosting its annual “therapy dog stress break” where visitors and staff members can come to the hospital and spend time with furry friends on Valentine’s Day. The event is free and open to the public.

Community members are invited to the East Tower Atrium inside Lexington Medical Center from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 14 to shake off some stress by petting a hospital therapy dog. Lexington Medical Center clinicians will also be on hand to answer questions about how managing stress and finding relaxing activities can help our health. And, visitors can receive a free blood pressure screening.

According to the American Heart Association, pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, may help reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease:
*Studies have found that pet owners have lower blood pressure and resting heart rates than people who do not have a pet, even when they had a similar body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic profile.
*Research shows dog owners are more likely to be physically active than non-dog owners — tending to walk longer and more often.
*A study found that younger children whose families owned a dog were less likely to be overweight or obese compared with children in families without a dog.
*Additional research has found that pets lower stress and help heart patients live longer.

Each of the dogs participating in the event is a certified therapy dog that visits patients at Lexington Medical Center’s main campus in West Columbia and Extended Care, the hospital’s skilled nursing facility in Lexington. They are a popular and important part of Lexington Medical Center’s Volunteer Services department.

Heart Disease in Women: A Soap Star’s Real-Life Scare

She’s one of the most famous soap opera stars of all time, starring on All My Children for decades. This week, Susan Lucci opened up about a real-life heart scare she had recently. The actress nearly died from a heart attack. With heart disease being the #1 killer of women, her story has an important lesson about listening to your symptoms and seeing your doctor. Here is an interview from NBC Nightly News.

According to William D. Brearley, Jr., MD, of Lexington Cardiology, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, heart attack symptoms in women can be atypical. Chest discomfort is most frequent, however other less recognized symptoms include back pain, fatigue, breathlessness and arm or joint pain. Women do not always present with the classic feeling of the “elephant on your chest,” which is more common in men. Misdiagnosing these symptoms as being caused by stress or a hectic schedule can be deadly.

Dr. William Brearley

“I’ve heard several women say, ‘I never thought I’d have a heart attack,’” Dr. Brearley added. “No one thinks it’s going to happen to them. Unfortunately, that’s not true. More than 200,000 women in our country die each year from heart attacks.”

Women should have an annual physical with a blood pressure check and lipid panel. Symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors should also be reviewed.

A lipid panel is the measurement of different components of cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in your bloodstream. There are two types: LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque formation in arterial walls. This plaque can narrow your arteries or rupture, causing a heart attack. HDL is called “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to your liver, where it’s removed from your body.

There are different target levels of LDL cholesterol, depending on risk factors and existing conditions such as diabetes or known coronary artery disease. In low risk patients, LDL should be less than 160 mg/dL. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL, and triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL. Exercising and limiting saturated fats in your diet helps to lower your cholesterol.

Don’t ignore symptoms; talk to your doctor. Exercise regularly, don’t smoke, and eat nutritious foods. Be a positive example to others. Heart disease risk factors including diabetes and obesity rates are climbing in our community, in adults and in children. Let’s work on keeping our hearts healthy.

Lexington Medial Center wants you to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. Visit LexMed.com/Know to test your heart health knowledge with a quiz.

Superfood of the Month: Red Cabbage

Red cabbage, also known as purple cabbage, is a cruciferous vegetable that’s delicious raw and cooked.

While both red and green cabbage are good for you, red cabbage packs a more powerful nutritional punch and more antioxidants. It’s also known as red kraut or blue kraut and can provide much-needed probiotic benefits.

Benefits
1. Boosts the Immune System
-Contains vitamin C
-Stimulates the activity of white blood cells

2. Fights Inflammation and Arthritis
-Contains phytonutrients that may help reduce chronic inflammation
-Has sulforaphane, a potent inflammation killer found in many cruciferous vegetables

3. Aids Healthy Bones and Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis
-Is a vitamin K-rich food

4. Combats Chronic Disease
-Is high in antioxidants to give the body its best chance to prevent and combat serious chronic diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes

5.Promotes a Healthy Gut
-Improves gut health by supporting the growth of healthy bacteria

Fresh Burrito Bowl
Ingredients
1/4 cup black beans
1 tsp chicken broth
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of garlic powder
1/2 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
3 oz pre-cooked grilled chicken breast, thinly sliced
2 T non-fat Greek yogurt
2 T fresh salsa
Fresh cilantro as garnish
Sliced green onions as garnish

Directions
1. Microwave black beans with chicken broth, oregano, cumin, cayenne and garlic powder on high for 30 to 45 seconds until heated. Set aside.
2. Put sliced red cabbage in a bowl and spoon black beans on top. Layer with sliced chicken, Greek yogurt, salsa, and cilantro and green onions.