December 30, 2013
Keys to a Stress-Free New Year
Stress-busters for the New Year
Posted by Third Age on December 26, 2013 8:39 PM
By Dr. Eudene Harry
Although the media inundates us with stories about holiday stress, we all know that the condition doesn’t end on Jan. 1. Here are some year-round stress busters to carry you through the four seasons.
On the job and at home
Manage expectations. Not the end of the world if things don’t go perfectly. If you are going to spend time thinking about it ahead of time, why not try optimistic thoughts?
Train like an athlete for what you want to accomplish. To enhance their performance athletes often visualize the plays they want they want to make, the muscles they want to use. Imagine yourself doing a great job.
Don’t be afraid to cut back. In every large family gathering, and every office, there are people you want to avoid and people that you enjoy interacting with. Maximize time spent with people you enjoy, and politely excuse yourself from those that drain your energy.
Ask for help! If whatever you’re doing is too much for you, don’t do it by yourself.
Shop smart. Even though the holiday season is at an end, you’re liable to be fighting crowded stores and packed parking lots. Because of the stress, your purchases can become more emotional and impulsive. Try to avoid that by shipping on the Internet, or going to the store early or late. Shop early or late to avoid crowds. Be well rested and fed before you go.
Get Paid to Implement New Year’s Resolutions for Diet & Exercise
The study is being conducted in central North Carolina, so you will need to be reasonably close to the three centers that are supervising the exercise program: The Center for Living near Duke, Meadowmont in Chapel Hill, or Duke Raleigh. The diet that will be tested is called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). It has been well studied and has been shown to help lower blood pressure. The aerobic exercise program involves a 10 minute warm up and 30 minutes of walking, biking or using an elliptical machine or treadmill plus 5 minutes of cool down and stretches.
In the spirit of full disclosure, we want you to know that this Duke University study will in part be sponsoring The People’s Pharmacy radio show for the next several weeks. But we would be supporting this research regardless. We think that it is crucial to learn whether a healthy diet and an exercise program can improve heart health and brain function and we are pleased to help recruit people for this study.
We cannot think of a better way to start 2014 than by signing up for a healthy diet and regular exercise program that will assess cardiovascular health and cognitive function. To get paid $470 in the process is just icing on the cake.
Should you wish to participate in the ENLIGHTEN study, you can call (919) 681-4747 and tell them The People’s Pharmacy sent you. Or visit the Duke website for more information:
Anxiety Tied to Stroke Risk in Study
WebMD News from HealthDay
By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter THURSDAY, Dec. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) –
Could anxiety boost the risk for stroke? A new long-term study suggests just that — the greater the anxiety, the greater the risk for stroke.
Study participants who suffered the most anxiety had a 33 percent higher risk for stroke compared to those with the lowest anxiety levels, the researchers found.
This is thought to be one of the first studies to show an association between anxiety and stroke. But not everyone is convinced the connection is real.
“I am a little skeptical about the results,” said Dr. Aviva Lubin, associate stroke director at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, who had no part in the study.
“It still seems a little hard to fully buy into the fact that anxiety itself is a major risk factor that we need to deal with,” she said.
Lubin said that treating risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure and diabetes are the keys to preventing stroke. “I doubt that treating anxiety itself is going to decrease the risk of stroke,” she said.
The report was published Dec. 19 in the online edition of the journal Stroke.
The study was led by Maya Lambiase, a cardiovascular behavioral medicine researcher in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Her team collected data on more than 6,000 people aged 25 to 74 when they enrolled in the first U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, started in the early 1970s.
These people were interviewed and had medical tests and completed questionnaires to assess their levels of anxiety and depression.
Over the following 22 years, the researchers used hospital or nursing home records and death certificates to keep track of strokes among the participants.
The investigators found that even after taking into account other factors, even modest increases in anxiety were associated with greater odds of having a stroke.
“Everyone has some anxiety now and then. But when it’s elevated and/or chronic, it may have an effect on your vasculature [blood vessel system] years down the road,” Lambiase said in an American Heart Association news release.
It’s not clear whether anxiety itself increases the risk of stroke, or if the rise is due to the behaviors these people exhibit. For example, people with high anxiety levels are more likely to smoke and be physically inactive, the researchers noted.
In addition, higher stress hormone levels, heart rate or blood pressure could also be factors, Lambiase pointed out.
Although the study found an association between higher anxiety levels and increased risk of stroke, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.