Thursday, January 28, 2010

7 Steps for a Healthy Heart

From Diet to Exercise to Cholesterol, AHA Identifies 7 Factors for Cardiovascular Health
The American Heart Association has identified seven "simple" steps you can take for a healthy heart. But like everything in life, the road to better cardiovascular health will take some work. The AHS has listed seven health points that can help you aim for better heart health!
1. Never smoked or quit more than a year ago.
2. A healthy body mass index (BMI), an estimate of body fat determined by a formula using weight and height.
3. Physical activity, and the more the better. The new measure says at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise is necessary for ideal health, or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous physical activity.
4. Blood pressure below 120/80.
5. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 milligrams/deciliter.
6. Total cholesterol of less than 200 milligrams/deciliter.
7. Eating a healthy diet. Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet are followed. For a 2,000-calorie diet, these include:
1. At least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day
2. At least two 3.5 oz. servings of fish per week, preferably oily fish
3. At least three 1-ounce servings of fiber-rich whole grains per day
4. Limiting sodium to less than 1,500 milligrams a day
5. Drinking no more than 36 ounces weekly of sugar-sweetened beverages
The AHA hopes the seven factors could improve the cardiovascular health of Americans by 20% by the year 2020, and also reduce deaths from cardiovascular-related diseases and strokes by 20%.
The AHA says its goals represent the first time it has adopted better health as a principal goal and that it has developed a new online resource, “My Life Check,” at By completing the assessment, people can determine what they need to do to achieve better cardiovascular health.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spooning Up the Wrong Dose

Many people still use kitchen spoons to measure a dose of liquid medication. Research shows that when people use kitchen spoons rather than medicine dosing spoons to measure a dose of the medication, we get it wrong.

A study of dosing errors (getting too much or too little of a given medication) reported to poison control centers found that failing to distinguish between teaspoons and tablespoons was a major cause for overdosing of cough and cold medicines and liquid acetaminophen. Although too much cough medicine is typically not a major health worry, many liquid medications contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Acetaminophen overdose is a major health concern and can lead to serious illness, liver failure and even death. And while small dosing errors may not seem like a major concern, excessive doses can add up and make it easy to exceed the recommended daily limit of the medication you are taking.

A medicine’s safety and how well it works is tied to taking the correct amount. You should always use a measuring cap, dosing spoon, measuring dropper or dosing syringe instead of relying on kitchen spoons. Dosing spoons are inexpensive and are found in all pharmacies. The cost of a simple medicine dosing spoon is a small price to pay to make sure that the dose of your liquid medication is correct and safe for you and your family.