Monday, July 16, 2012

7 Hidden Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

7 Hidden Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Poor Sleep? Heartburn? It Might Be a Sign of Something More Serious

7 Surprising Symptoms

You know the classic Hollywood image of a heart attack: A man clutches his chest and falls to the ground. But a heart attack typically looks far subtler in a woman, with a constellation of symptoms -- including fatigue, heartburn, indigestion, sudden dizziness, and troubled sleep -- that develop over hours, days, or even weeks. It's tempting to write off these signs as "nothing, really," but the more of them you have, the more likely you're suffering a heart attack. If you suspect you're having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Plagued by Fatigue?

Fatigue is a common complaint, and one that may indicate you're missing out on sleep, fighting a virus, overextending yourself, or experiencing a side effect due to medication. Unusual or extreme fatigue, however, may also be an early heart attack symptom or a warning sign of heart disease. In one study, more than 70% of the women surveyed experienced marked fatigue in the days or weeks prior to their heart attacks.

Troubled Sleep

It's not unusual to feel tired due to lack of sleep or a demanding week or month, but take notice of any unusual or prolonged disturbance in your sleep patterns. A recent study revealed that almost half of the women who had recently suffered a heart attack also experienced sleep disturbances in the days or weeks leading up to their attacks.

Shortness of Breath

Having trouble taking a deep breath but don't think you have asthma? Unexplained, severe shortness of breath during normal daily activities is one of the most common early heart attack symptoms in women, as is coughing.

Heartburn and Indigestion

When it comes to heartburn, a rich meal isn't always to blame. Nearly 40% of women who have had a heart attack say they experienced heartburn or indigestion shortly before the attack. Heart attack symptoms in women may also include unexplained nausea or vomiting. Women are twice as likely as men to experience gastrointestinal problems when having a heart attack.

Unexplained Anxiety

More than one-third of women experience unexplained anxiety as an early heart attack symptom. Yep, a heart attack can mimic a panic attack. Unfortunately, this can delay lifesaving treatment. Feeling anxious for no reason at all? Call for help, pronto.

Widespread Pain

Although sudden chest pain is considered a classic heart attack symptom, only about 30% of women report having chest pain. Women also report pain or discomfort in other areas of the body before or during a heart attack. Pressure, tightness, aching, or burning in your upper back, neck, shoulders, and arms -- or even in your jaw or throat -- can indicate a heart attack. Women have also described their chest pain as sharpness, fullness, or tingling.

Dizziness and Sweating

Nearly 40% of women suffering a heart attack say they feel dizzy or light-headed. Another 40% also break out in a cold sweat. It's easy to write off both as symptoms of menopause, but sudden dizziness can also be a symptom of stroke, so check with your doctor to be safe.

Know Your Heart Disease Risks

How do you know if your symptoms signal a heart attack? Get into the habit of noting your typical aches and pains and your normal reactions to foods and activities so you can recognize when something is truly amiss. If you have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, a smoking habit, or a sedentary lifestyle, be especially careful about monitoring how you feel. Alert your doctor if you experience unusual fatigue, changes in your sleep habits, or other subtle heart attack symptoms.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recommended Blood Glucose Levels

We talk about carbs and diabetic diet info here, but we haven’t really covered the recommended blood glucose levels before. You can’t be on a low carb diabetic diet without having a target in mind, so knowing what your blood sugar should be is a pretty critical component in the overall picture. To get started, let’s talk about what types of blood glucose readings you will take, and then what those should be.

Fasting Blood Glucose

One of the two times to measure blood sugar is first thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. This is called your fasting blood glucose, and the recommended blood glucose levels for fasting are anything below 100. If your blood sugar reading is 101-125, you have prediabetes. A fasting blood glucose level of 126 or more is a diagnosis of diabetes. Experts are starting to discount the accuracy of a fasting blood glucose reading, though it used to be the first indication of blood sugar control issues. Now, the recommendation is the postprandial reading.

Instead of fasting blood sugar readings, try following the recommended blood glucose levels in a postprandial test. Postprandial simply means after eating, and is typically taken at one or two hours after a meal. The one hour reading is slightly more accurate, and has the added bonus of being easier to remember! :) For the postprandial reading, aim for anything under 140. 141-199 is prediabetes, and a reading of 200 at any time of day is enough to warrant a diagnosis of diabetes.

Recommended blood glucose levels have been determined after extensive research. While it can be tempting to fudge the numbers or discount a slightly elevated reading, if you get a reading in the prediabetes or diabetes range, you need to stop what you’re doing right now and work to improve your blood sugar control. It really is that serious. Prediabetes can actually be reversed, giving you a second chance at a healthy life, so pay attention to those recommended blood glucose levels and stay healthy!

How Do I Calculate Glycemic Index on Foods?

How Do I Calculate Glycemic Index on Foods?

The Glycemic Index, though making great advances all the time, does not have information on all foods out there. For that reason, many people are wondering if there is a way to calculate Glycemic Index numbers on the foods they can’t find online.
The short answer to this question is, no, you can’t calculate Glycemic Index on your own. This is because to assign a Glycemic Index rating to a food, it must be control tested in a laboratory, with blood sugar monitored regularly to see how foods affect blood sugar. The University of Sydney, home of the Glycemic Index, calculates Glycemic Index by giving a measured portion of a food to 10 or more people and measuring their blood sugar. They assign a rating based on how the food compares to the standard, white bread, which has a GI rating of 100.
The best thing you can do is use common sense when deciding to eat a food, and then measure your own body’s response to the food. The Glycemic Index is a helpful guideline, but the best information comes from knowing your own body. We all respond differently to foods, so while one person may be able to get away with a white potato now and again, eating that same food may cause a spike in blood sugar for you.
By testing and recording your results on different foods, you will have no need to calculate the Glycemic Index of foods, because you will have one better than that – your own research.
For foods that are already tested and assigned a calculated Glycemic Index rating, visit to find the GI rating. More foods are added all the time, so keep checking back if your food is not listed, and remember, the best answers will come from your own body.