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Healthy Living: Research shows heart attacks peak on Christmas Day

Ever heard of “holiday heart attacks”?  It’s a real thing!  According to the American Heart Association, more people die from heart attacks during the holidays than any other time of the year.

In fact, research from a 2004 report

shows more cardiac deaths occurred on December 25th than any other day of the year, followed by December 26th and January 1st.

Dr. Francisco Yuviengco with CHI Franciscan Health says part of the reason is changes in lifestyle around the holidays.  Poor diet, lack of exercise and increased alcohol play a role in increased risk of a heart attack, but the biggest culprit may be stress.  Doctors say stress can cause blood vessels to narrow.  Stress can also causes an inflammatory cascade which is not healthy for your blood vessels and releases endogenous proteins that can causes clots to happen in otherwise healthy blood vessels.

Another concern, according to Dr. Yuviengco, is people who are suffering symptoms of a heart attack often delay seeing a doctor or going to the emergency department, primarily out of inconvenience.

Warning signs for a heart attack include chest discomfort, discomfort in areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.  In addition, women may also experience vomiting, back and/or jaw pain.

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 right away to get it checked out.  Minutes matter in saving lives and preserving quality of life.

For more information visit the American Heart Association

Remember, cold weather can also play a role in an increased risk for heart attacks.  Chilly temperatures can constrict arteries and increase demand on the heart.

According to the American Heart Association, people who have had a heart attack are at increased risk of another one and should be careful through the holidays as their habits change.





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‘Healthy Living Program’ to continue – The Inter


BUCKHANNON — St. Joseph’s Hospital continues its “Healthy Living Program” with presentations scheduled for today and Dec. 18.

“Staying Fit with Yoga” will be presented at noon today by Physical Therapist Jessica Koerner. This session will address the benefits of yoga, and participants will have the opportunity to go through some basic yoga postures. Participants are asked to dress comfortably and bring a yoga mat if available.

“Dining with Diabetes During the Holidays” will take place at noon Dec. 18. Guidelines for planning healthy meals and setting lifestyle goals will be addressed. Participants are encouraged to bring their favorite holiday recipes to share.

The sessions will be held in the library at St. Joseph’s Hospital. All sessions in the “Healthy Living Program” are open to the public and are free.

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Knowing your illness: Cold, flu similar to other winter ailments

When you come down with a virus, it’s not as simple as saying you have a cold.

There are numerous explanations for your symptoms, according to Brandon Greiner, a physician’s assistant and director of Provider affairs with MedExpress, who said, “Flu and influenza-like illness, or illness that presents with symptoms similar to those of the flu, are very common this time of year.”

“We see more than just flu, too, this time of year — many people come in with colds, strep throat, ear infections and upper respiratory infections like sinusitis — or sinus infections — and bronchitis, as well,” he added.

Each illness may impact various parts of your senses and likely include an infection of some sort, and at times may appear similar to one another.

“Signs and symptoms of the flu are often similar to the common cold, like cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and a headache,” Greiner said. “But look for other signs and symptoms of the flu, like fever, chest discomfort, extreme exhaustion, weakness and severe body aches.”

“While symptoms of the common cold typically start slowly and increase in severity over a period of days, flu symptoms tend to come on quickly,” he added. “On the other hand, a sore throat, stuffy head and body aches with no fever is usually a sign of the common cold.”

An infection is also behind one of the more painful ailments this season that can impact not only what you’re eating and drinking, but how you feel overall. Greiner said strep throat, though it may appear to be a bad sore throat, can actually lead to red and swollen tonsils, a tender neck and difficulty swallowing. Red spots can also appear at the back of your mouth, he said.

“Also keep an eye out for fever, chills, nausea, vomiting or a rash — especially in children — as these are common signs that your sore throat could be strep,” he said.

Moving up from the throat, another common infection begins in the tubes behind your middle ear. Greiner said an ear infection can cause pain that makes it tough to hear, sleep and eat.

For children, Greiner said it’s common to see a low fever and crying, as well as the child tugging or pulling at their ear, particularly while lying down. In adults, tenderness and swelling in and around the ear are common, as is the recommendation in some cases that the fluid be drained from their ear.

However, if a tight chest, coughing or even post-nasal drip are your symptoms, it might instead be an upper respiratory infection like sinusitis or a sinus infection. Bronchitis may also be an explanation for the symptoms.

“If you have a headache with pressure around your eyes in addition to post-nasal drip, you may have a sinus infection,” he said. “Coughing, low-grade fever and tightness in your chest when you cough often indicates bronchitis.”

At the onset of a fever or flu-like symptoms, it might seem like the time to “sleep it off” or wait for it to run its course.

However, Greiner recommends speaking with a healthcare professional early on to help find “symptom relief and potentially shorten the duration of your illness.”

“Plus, if you have the flu, there are medications that your doctor may prescribe called ‘antivirals.’ These drugs can make you better faster and also may prevent serious complications — but are best if taken within 48 hours after the onset of flu symptoms,” he said, “so be sure to visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible.”

That being said, though, Greiner also recommends helping your body fight an infection by “getting extra rest and drinking plenty of fluids.”

“Gargling salt water or sipping warm tea can help relieve a sore throat, and taking a warm shower or bath can help combat stuffiness and congestion and can open airways,” he added. “For earaches or sinus pressure, it can be helpful to apply heat to the outside of the ear and cheeks with a warm wash cloth or warm compress to ease aches.”

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Health briefs 12-11-17


n Exercise classes, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Center in the Woods, 130 Woodland Court, Brownsville. Classes include chair dancing at 9:30 a.m. followed by healthy steps at 11 a.m. Information: 724-938-3554.

Support groups

n Suicide Bereavement Support Group, 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center at Monongahela Valley Hospital. Information and registration: 724-268-1144.

n RSDS Support Group, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center at Monongahela Valley Hospital. Information: 724-929-9492.

n Alzheimer’s Support Group, 6-8 p.m., Dec. 12 at the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center at Monongahela Valley Hospital. Reservations and information: 724-258-1333.

n Stepping Stones Bereavement Support Program, beginning 7 p.m., Mondays, at the Fayette County Health Center on New Salem Road. Anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one is welcome. Information and registrations: 724-438-9373 or 724-439-1683.

n Grief support group, 6-8 p.m., first Tuesday of every month, at the St. John the Evangelist Church on West Crawford Avenue in Connellsville. The group is a collaborative effort for those facing grief due to the loss of a loved one from addiction. Information: 724-628-6840.

n Grief support group with art, 6-7 p.m., Wednesdays, Excela Health Latrobe Hospital. Information: 724-516-8605.

n Al-Anon Family Groups, 8 p.m., Wednesdays, Trinity Church basement, Fayette and Morgantown streets, Uniontown, and 7:30 p.m., Fridays, Christian Church, Pittsburgh Street, Connellsville. These meetings are for anyone who has been affected by or is having problems from someone else’s drinking. Information: or

n Survivors of Incest Anonymous group, 6:30-8 p.m., the first and third Mondays of the month, excluding holidays. This 12-step recovery program is meant for men and women aged 18 or older who were sexually abused by a trusted person as a child. The group meets at the Mount Macrina Retreat Center. A similar group, Healing Friends, is from 6:30-7:30 p.m., East Liberty Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Information:, or

n Missing Piece of My Heart Support Group, the last Thursday of each month, 6-8 p.m., at the Crime Victim’s Center conference room in the Oliver Square Plaza. The group is for families who have lost a child to a violent crime. Information: 724-438-1470.

n Silver Generation Support Program, 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays, East End United Community Center, Uniontown. The program is for ages 55 and older. Information: 724-437-1660.


n Sibling Class, 6-8 p.m., Dec. 12 in Conference Room D on the first floor of Excela Westmoreland Hospital. Intended for big brothers and sisters ages 3-8 and their parents or guardians in preparation of a new family addition. Information: 1-877-771-1234.

n Managing Your Diabetes, 8:30-11:30 a.m., Dec. 12, 13 and 14 at the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center at Monongahela Valley Hospital. Registration is required. Information: 724-258-1483.

n Yoga class, 5:15 p.m., Mondays, Conference Room D at the Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital, and Thursdays, Auditorium A/B/ in the Excela Health Latrobe Hospital.

n Chair Fit mixed cardiovascular training, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Mondays, Conference Room D in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.

n Interval Training class, 4:30-5:40 p.m., Mondays, at the Memorial Conference Center at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital.

n Body Sculpting and Core Conditioning, 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays, in the Memorial Conference Center in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital. Information: 724-830-8568.

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LIVE WELL: Make healthy swaps to eat better and move more in 2018

Improve your health every day with small, simple changes from Shape Your Future and the TSET Healthy Living Program serving Payne County.

The new year often includes goals to eat healthier and get more exercise. To make sure that Oklahomans don’t drop the ball on their healthier lifestyle goals, Shape Your Future and the Payne County TSET Healthy Living Program (HLP) are working to encourage Oklahoma families to try swapping out a few poor food choices and activities for easy, healthy ones.

These healthy swaps consist of small, realistic changes that can be made to help Oklahomans eat better and move more. With better health, people can stay protected from lifestyle-related chronic diseases, like obesity and cardiovascular disease – two of Oklahoma’s top causes of preventable death.

Healthy food swaps include choosing whole grains, lean meats, and fruits and veggies over less nutritious food options. There are also several healthy cooking swaps, like using applesauce instead of vegetable oil. Being aware of some quick, low-cost choices can make being healthier even easier, now and all year long.

Oklahomans can also choose to swap sedentary activities with ones that include more physical movement. Shape Your Future and the Payne County TSET HLP encourage families to swap screen time for play time and to add physical activity to their morning routines by doing squats or calf raises while brushing their teeth. Adding just 30 daily minutes of physical activity for adults and 60 minutes for kids to the day, can get everyone on the path to a healthier lifestyle.

These small changes can lead to big results and improving your food and activity choices helps create healthy habits for the future.

So, this New Year, join Shape Your Future and the Payne County TSET HLP in exploring healthy food and activity swaps, and have a healthier, happier 2018. For a complete list of healthy lifestyle swaps, visit You can also find other tools and resources, and dozens of easy, low-cost recipes too.

Cheers to having a happy and healthy year!

Melinda Caldwell is a TSET Healthy Living Program Coordinator.

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Cleveland Clinic Get Fit Healthy Living Expo offers more than one …

CLEVELAND, Ohio – That feeling you get when you’re at a museum in a foreign city and can’t see everything? That’s how I felt after last weekend’s Cleveland Clinic Get Fit Healthy Living Expo.

So much was there to do and see at the I-X Center, I had neither the time nor the energy to get around to even half of it. I know the event is likely to return next year, but I still feel blue about all I had to skip.

On the flip side, those elements of the region’s first major fitness convention in which I was able to participate were fantastic. I may have missed some cooking demonstrations, group fitness classes, and martial arts and cheering competitions, but I ran a hard 5K and pushed myself in a CrossFit workout.

Zachary Lewis

Have a suggestion for an activity you think I should try? Send me an e-mail.

Get Fit Healthy Living Expo seeks to inspire fitness newcomers and old pros alike

I’ve run a lot of 5Ks in my day but never one quite like the race I ran Saturday, which took place entirely indoors and on three separate stories. I knew the I-X Center was enormous. Still, I was amazed at how easy it was for organizers to plot a course of 3.1 miles.

Not that it was easy to run. To achieve that distance indoors on three levels (there’s an upstairs and basement), organizers had to lay a snaking route full of 180-degree switchbacks and ramps. Dashing around all those pillars and cones, I almost felt like I was in an obstacle race, not a 5K.

I was somewhat less enchanted by my performance at the Rogue Winter Classic in association with CrossFit, a new event organized for the expo by local CrossFit Games athlete Scott Panchik. No matter that I do CrossFit workouts four or five days a week. Two hours after running that 5K, I had nowhere near as much gas left in the tank as I thought I would.

Three workouts were on offer, all of them partner “Hero” events honoring fallen members of the U.S. military. I chose the first one, “Holbrook,” a 10-round circuit of five thrusters (front squat to overhead press), 100 meters on a ski ergometer, and 100-meter sprints.

The work was divided equally between me and my partner, a friend from my gym, and we exerted ourselves admirably. But it was no walk in the park.

I’d gladly to do it again. In fact, I already intend to. Here’s why.

Even more than the workout itself, I enjoyed the atmosphere. I’ll never make it to the CrossFit Games but at the Rogue Winter Classic, I felt for a few precious moments like an elite athlete.

The judges. The announcers. The audience. The backstage warm-up areas and corrals. The truly elite athletes milling among us. It was all like something I’ve seen on television, and all I had to do to get there was register.

My sadness at missing so much of the expo? That will pass. The joy of taking part in a serious, professional event? That’s something I’m going to hold onto for a long time. At least until next year.

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Healthy Living: Synovial Sarcoma

Synovial sarcoma is a rare, aggressive cancer of the soft tissue that can be quite resistant to treatment.

Doctors at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have created a vaccine that’s shown some impressive results in a phase one trial, with few minor side effects.

In Healthy Living, Courtney Hunter explains how they’re now working on making the vaccine even more effective.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center doctors and therapy developer Immune Design are pushing forward with more improvements for the vaccine.

Immune Design just announced a randomized phase three trial that will include the vaccine, the booster and a drug that blocks an immune checkpoint.

The trial should open next year.



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7 Healthy-Living Bloggers You Should Totally Start Following

We could all use some inspiration and motivation. And what better way than to follow a health blogger who’s bursting with bright ideas about new workouts, delicious and nutritious recipes, and expert advice on how to feel good inside and out, both mentally and physically.

“Following food and fitness blogs can be very motivating—if you follow the right ones. Sometimes all it takes is one post to motivate change within ourselves,” says Heather Mangieri, R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The key is to follow blogs that promote positive messages, she says. Overall, their posts should make you feel good about yourself.

On the other hand, people who promote unrealistic images don’t belong on your feed. That’s especially true “if they are claiming you should look and feel like they do, even though they’re not dealing with your barriers,” says Mangieri. To cultivate the perfect blogs for you, look for health bloggers who lead a similar lifestyle as you, and also think about exactly what you’re looking to get out of the blog (healthy recipes, motivation, real life stories?), she suggests. 

To help you get started, let’s talk about seven positive and inspirational health bloggers you may want to follow. (Editor’s note: Mangieri’s blog, Nutrition Checkup, where she shares recipes and tips for athletes on fueling their busy lifestyles, belongs on this list, too!) Whether you’re in an eating slump, feeling confused about which foods are “bad” or good for you, or you’re getting bored with your workout routine, make these girls your go-tos. And, if you need a little rah-rah spirit to remind you that you are amazing/dynamic/worthy of all the good things, they’re here for that, too.

Get ready to fall in love…

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From the Ground Up workshop to focus on agriculture, healthy living

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259,

Contact: Dana Tarter, 940-552-9941,

WACO – From the Ground Up: Connecting Agriculture and Health will be held in conjunction with the Blackland Income Growth Conference Jan. 11 at the Extraco Events Center, 4601 Bosque Blvd. in Waco.

The workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. Pre- registration is required, which is $40 and includes lunch. Student registration is $25. Online registration is available at or by calling 979-845-2604.

“The information provided during this conference will help consumers and health educators gain a better understanding of the connection between the food choices we make and our health, along with the important role agriculture has in providing a safe and healthy food supply,” said Dana Tarter, Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service regional program leader in Vernon.

Neva Cochran, a registered dietician nutritionist, will give the keynote address titled “Eating Beyond the Headlines: Sorting Evidence from Emotion.”

Other presentation topics will focus on using today’s technology to feed tomorrow’s people, antibiotic use in meat animals, the livestock industry and the role it plays in Texas agriculture, and healthy recipe cooking demonstrations.

Five clinical professional education activity units will be given by Commission on Dietetic Registration. All other professionals will receive a certificate for five hours of education.



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Vegan Reggae Star Macka B is Making Healthy Living Cool, Says Vogue

6’3 Macka B adopted a vegan diet over 30 years ago, which he still follows, proudly, to this day. His catchy song, ‘Wha Me Eat’ quickly became what is now known as an anthem for reggae-loving vegans everywhere, due to the many plant based foods he raps about.

His all-positive approach has seen attention from big-name celebrities. Naomi Campbell and Tracee Ellis Ross both shared Macka B’s rap about cucumber, and Vogue has claimed that Macka makes plant based cool.

Twice a week Macka B posts raps on his Instagram to show just how cool plant based foods are and encourage healthy eating. Yep, you’ll want to turn on those post notifications for MEDICAL MONDAY and WHA ME WEDNESDAY.

Macka is responsible for the internet sensation which went “Cucumber, Cucumber, Vitamins, Minerals very high number, Silica, Hair and Nails get longer, Other Vitamins make your bones dem stronger”?

However, this artist didn’t find veganism to be his muse until seven years ago, before that he rapped about mostly black pride, gender equality and politics.


Speaking about his latest album, Health is Wealth, with Vogue Macka claimed his new work is very spiritual. The artist wakes up between 4-5am to work on his music as it’s the time of day he finds he’s at his personal optimum brain function. Macka said when he writes lyrics, it is a mystical process.

The reggae artist adds, “you gotta look after yourself. You’re number one and really worth it… If you love yourself, you’ll give yourself only the good things in life”.

Image Credit: OMA CaribbeanReggaeSpace | Macka B


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