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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Carotid Artery Ultrasound Can Save Your Life

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on August 29, 2018

Should you be tested for a blocked carotid artery (the artery located in the neck which supplies blood flow to the neck and brain)?

YES, if you want to discover your chances of having a stroke. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal on August 27th, clots cause about 700,000 deaths annually in the U.S., and are the primary preventable cause of disability, according to the American Stroke Association.

You might expect that you would have some symptom of artery blockage as a warning before suffering a major stroke. But, no, 80% of patients have no symptoms.

The Society for Vascular Surgery recommends that people over 65 be screened if they suffer from coronary disease, or high blood pressure or have a history of smoking. Remember: three key indicators of heart disease, which is still the number one killer in the U.S., are age, gender, and family history.

What causes a stroke? Fatty plaque accumulates in most people’s arteries and can form clots that break off and clog and interfere with blood flow.  How do you identify symptoms, if you think you have any?  Common mini-stroke symptoms include slurred speech, temporary vision loss, a one-sided facial droop and arm or leg weakness or numbness.

Does high cholesterol cause strokes? Doctors in America, especially within HMO’s whose charter it is to keep it simple and keep it cheap, are quick to prescribe drugs for high cholesterol. Firstly, what is high cholesterol? Nowadays, it’s not as simple as identifying the HDL (good) and LDL (bad). Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at University of California, San Francisco, and Director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health (WATCH) Program at UCSF, explains that LDL now has a bad (raised by sugar and refined carbs) and good (raised by fat) component, and that while there is no blood test for the good LDL, you can determine this result by comparing your Triglycerides to your HDL.  A result of “2” or lower indicates a good result.  A fuller explanation can be found in Dr. Lustig’s book, Fat Chance.  HMO’s refuse to acknowledge this test.

Carotid Artery Ultrasound  A simple ultrasound, which is quick and painless, will tell you the health of your carotid artery. It’s a simple waving of a wand over your neck. You can actually see the red and blue flow of blood through your arteries and veins in your neck on the screen.

So, knowing the health of your arteries can and will save your life, or at least prevent a stroke. So why not ask for one, especially if you are over 65?

Janice Litvin is available for keynotes as well as workplace wellness talks and is an ambassador for the American Heart Association, as well as a certified Zumba Fitness instructor and Weight Watcher leader.  She can be reached at http://www.JaniceLitvin.com.

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Heart Health Made Simple

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on February 1, 2018

Today Wellness Works Hub posted a well-written article laying out the American Heart Association’s campaign, Life’s Simple 7, to reduce heart disease by 20% by the year 2020. Below is the full text of this article. I will be presenting a talk on Life’s Simple 7 to the JCC of SF on February 9th & would like to do the same for your organization as my way of giving back. Contact me ASAP to get on my calendar. Janice@JaniceLitvin.com.

Every day is a time to focus on heart health, but that focus increases during February: American Heart Month.

Heart health is a key component of any well-run workplace wellness program. Further, such programs can help employees with elevated risk of chronic diseases including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, as well as help reduce health care cost for employers.

As part of American Heart Month, the American Heart Association writes: “Chances are, we all know someone affected by heart disease and stroke, because about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day. That’s an average of one death every 40 seconds…The biggest part of living healthy comes down to simply making healthy choices. While you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk by as much as 80 percent.”

Healthy Heart Resources

To help people with the challenge, the Heart Association has compiled an extensive set of resources on “How to Prevent Heart Disease.” Today we highlight what they call “Life’s Simple 7.”

  1. “Get active: Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”
  2. “Control cholesterol: When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. Cholesterol is a waxy substance and our bodies use it to make cell membranes and some hormones, but when you have too much bad cholesterol (LDL), it combines with white blood cells and forms plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages lead to heart disease and stroke.”
  3. “Eat better: Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to make new cells and create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases. If you are frequently skipping out on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish, your body is missing the basic building blocks for a healthy life.”
  4. “Manage blood pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.”
  5. “Lose weight: If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist — you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Even losing as few as five or ten pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction.”
  6. “Reduce blood sugar: Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Your body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.”
  7. “Stop smoking: Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. Like a line of tumbling dominoes, one risk creates another. Blood clots and hardened arteries increase your risks for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease. Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health.”

For each of these ways to help address heart disease, the piece also offers key “what to do” tips.

Contact me at Janice@JaniceLitvin.com for more information about Life’s Simple 7 & bringing me into your organization as my gift.

Posted in American Heart Association | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Wear Red Day 2/2 9:30 am

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on January 27, 2018

Friday is Wear Red Day

Join us this Friday Feb 2nd 9:30 am 

for heart-pumping Zumba fun & fundraising for American Heart Association – Greater Bay Area.

1948 Oak Park  Blvd., Pleasant Hill

RSVP: Janice@ZumbaContraCosta.com

415.518.2202

Posted in American Heart Association, Community building, Heart Health | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Zumba Contra Costa Celebrates Wear Red Day

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on February 3, 2017

Today is Wear Red Day and Janice Litvin of Zumba Contra Costa in Walnut Creek, CA celebrated the day by getting her participants to wear red. “Any time we can spice up the class we do.  Wearing red brings awareness to heart disease,” says Litvin.  One out of every three women suffer from heart disease, which is still the #1 killer in the U.S.

Janice also speaks about heart health to Bay Area corporations, including WorkDay, Lithium, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Walnut Creek Library and more.  If you would like Janice to speak to your company about heart health or other wellness topics, simply email her at: Janice@JaniceLitvin.com. More information about Janice & her wellness talks can be found at www.JaniceLitvin.com.

zumbacontacosta-wear-red-day

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Why You Should Work Out with Weights

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on March 30, 2016

Why You Should Work Out with Weights

Janice Litvin

What happens when you work out with weights?  Well, that depends.  If you go with very heavy weights & a lower number of repetitions, then you will build bulk, aka muscle hypertrophy.  However if you work with lighter weights & a higher number of repetitions, you get what we call muscle endurance.  Muscle endurance, by definition, is the ability of the muscle to perform repeated contractions, against a resistance, over an extended period of time.

Why is this important?

Because as we age, our bodies begin to change, especially in the areas of muscle mass, bone density, and metabolism.  But all is not lost, because you can change all of that?  Did you know that with strength training you can reverse the hands of time?

How, you ask?

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), one of the unique qualities of the human body is its ability to change, if you challenge it.  Like muscle, bone is living tissue and when you challenge it, the bone becomes more dense and less brittle.

When you build muscle (or muscle endurance), you are increasing the muscle fibers, you are building bone density (to stave off osteoporosis, the loss of bone density), and most exciting of all, especially for you weight watchers, you are changing your metabolism because you are changing the proportion of muscle to fat.

What are some of the purposes of our bones?

Besides the obvious, to give us shape and allow us to move, the bones also serve several other important functions:  protect our vital organs, store calcium & phosphorus, produce red blood cells, and act as anchors for our muscles.

How to get started

One way I have found to get started is to find a strength training class through your city’s Park & Rec facilities, YMCA, or gym, if you belong to one.  Or, to keep it simple, just carry two cans of  food, as you take your walks.  Alternately you can purchase light weights (no more than 5 pounds, at first) and follow a youtube video in the privacy of your own home.

Another option is to work with a personal trainer for a few sessions until you get the hang of it.  I will be writing an entire blog post on how to choose a personal trainer soon, but suffice it to say that just like choosing any professional, not all personal trainers are created equally.  They should have a certification from one of the respected certifying bodies, such as ACSM, NASM, NSCA, AFAA, or ACE.  Also they should assess you and your injury history before one weight is lifted.

The American Heart Association recommends at least one or two weight-lifting sessions per week.  Remember to drink plenty of water, and eat protein within an hour after lifting weights.

Join me in changing your body with weight-lifting, and turn back the hands of time.  You will look better, feel younger and revitalize your body, one repetition at a time.

Janice Litvin can be reached at Janice@ZumbaContraCosta.com or Twitter: @JLitvin

Posted in Heart Health, Strength Training | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

All Calories are Not Created Equally: There’s Sugar!

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on October 27, 2015

All Calories are Not Created Equally:  There’s Sugar

“All calories are not created equally.” So says Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, and lead investigator of a study released today in Obesity Magazine online. Sugar is the culprit.

Dr. Robert Lustig

Dr. Robert Lustig

In this study, Dr. Lustig and his team, which included Jean-Marc Schwarz, a professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Vallejo’s Touro University and senior author of the paper, worked with 43 children and teens on a nine-day diet that severely restricted sugar without reducing calories. The level of caloric intake was maintained so as to isolate the effect of sugar on metabolic function.

The result: restricting sugar, not calories, was found to improve the metabolic health of all of these youths. The kids improved in blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides (fat in the blood) & glucose levels.

“What this is saying is that sugar is toxic because it’s sugar; not because it’s calories,” said Dr. Robert Lustig, and lead author of the study. “This proves conclusively, beyond a shadow of doubt, that a calorie is not a calorie.”

Most Americans consume roughly 22 teaspoons of sugar daily, mostly from processed foods and sugary sodas.

Dr. Lustig is on a quest to get the FDA to remove sugar from the safe list of foods, known as the GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) list. The first success was the recent addition of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages by the City of Berkeley.

The full text of the results of this study appeared today on Obesity online and will appear in the print version in February.

Follow me on Twitter: @JLitvin

Posted in Health | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Janice leads Fitness Break at Heart Association’s Wellness Symposium

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on August 25, 2015

Janice leads Zumba fitness break at today’s

American Heart Association Wellness Symposium in San Francisco.

Janice Litvin leading Zumba break AHA

Posted in Community building, Fitness, Heart Health, Zumba | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Break Up with Salt

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on February 12, 2015

One of the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 tools is to manage blood pressure.  At 140/90 you are considered hypertensive.  The goal is less than 120/80.  One of the easiest ways to control your blood pressure is to reduce your sodium intake by observing how much sodium is in the products you are buying.  The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your salt intake to 1500 mg. per day.  Guess how much salt is in a all-beef hot dog?

Hot dogHot Dog Nutrition Facts  680 mg. Sodium!

That’s almost half your daily allotment!  The American Heart Association would like you to break up with salt.

To take the American Heart Association’s Pledge to Break Up with Salt, visit: http://sodiumbreakup.heart.org/

Contact Ambassador Janice Litvin at 415.518.2202 if you would like her to speak to your organization about the American Heart Association’s Campaign to reduce heart disease by 20% by the year 2020.

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What is Life’s Simple 7?

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on February 5, 2015

What is Life’s Simple 7?

February 5, 2015

The American Heart Association’s annual Go Red For Women Campaign kicks off Friday, February 6th, Go Red Day. All over the U.S. women will be wearing red to increase awareness of heart disease in women and to inspire women to take charge of their heart health.

As an ambassador for the American Heart Association I had the privilege of talking about the American Heart Association’s campaign to reduce heart disease by 20% by 2020 with Life’s Simple 7TM at Workday in Pleasanton, CA yesterday.

Janice Litvin Speaks about Heart Health at Workday, Pleasanton

Janice Litvin Speaks about Heart Health at Workday, Pleasanton

Did you know that HEART DISEASE IS STILL THE #1 KILLER IN THE U.S.?

Death rates have dropped by about 40% but we still have a long way to go. The good news is that research shows that if you are in ideal cardiovascular health by the age of 50, you can expect to live another 40 years free of heart disease and stroke.  And by “ideal cardiovascular health,” we mean that you have no risk factors for heart disease.

That’s where Life’s Simple 7 TM comes in. If your health is considered ideal in each of these seven categories, you are in ideal cardiovascular health.

Life Simple 7 visualFirst of all, know your numbers. Find out where you stand in regards to cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure. Then stop smoking, eat better, lose or maintain your weight at a health pace, and get active. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity. The easiest way to stay active is to work it into your day. Ideas such as walking at lunch, walking for meetings, taking the stairs and parking far from the entrance. Workday even has treadmill desks and gives financial incentives for joining a local gym, such as 24 Hour Fitness, where you can find fun classes like Zumba Fitness and Body Pump, a barbell program set to music.

And speaking of strength training, did you know that strength training is the only way to reduce your metabolism? That’s right, for those of you struggling to lose weight, add strength training to your fitness journey, one to three times per week, and those pounds will melt off, without coming back.

If you can make one small change today, say lower your sodium or sugar intake or perhaps, add one more day to your fitness regimen, you will be on your way to improving your heart health. Join the Go Red (goredforwomen.org) campaign and the American Heart Association in stopping heart disease before it starts.  Go Red tomorrow, February 6th and tweet #GoRed @JLitvin on Twitter (https://twitter.com/jlitvin) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ZumbaContraCosta).

I am available to speak to corporate or association groups. Please get in touch at 415.518.2202 or Janice@ZumbaContraCosta.com.

 

GoRedBayArea

GoRedBayArea

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Friday is Wear Red Day

Posted by ZumbaContraCosta on February 2, 2015

go-red-for-women-logoFebruary 6th is National Wear Red Day

It’s not just a man’s disease.

Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet it’s 80% preventable.


Help raise awareness to end this killer of women.

Make a change on National Wear Red Day and all year long!

  1. Wear Red to show your support for saving women’s lives

  2. Go Red on your social media profiles using #GoRed

  3. Donate to help raise funds for awareness and research

https://www.goredforwomen.org/

Posted in American Heart Association, Heart Health | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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