Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a type of abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia).

Your heart has four chambers that beat in a rhythm; two atria and two ventricles. The atria are the upper chambers. AF happens when the atria beat too fast and irregularly. They “quiver” instead of pumping properly.

AF is the most common arrhythmia worldwide. In fact, in the US, you have a 25% risk of getting it in your lifetime. The number of people with AF is increasing and is expected to increase further as the population ages.

Symptoms of AF include fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and reduced ability to exercise. Sometimes you may not experience any symptoms.

Who is most likely to get AF? About 70% of people with AF are between 65-85 years old. AF is more common in men than women.

Why should we be concerned with AF? People with AF have a steep increase in risk of blood clots, heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and death. These are because the blood is not being pumped around the body properly.

Having AF also triples the risk for dementia.

AF is a serious condition that requires medical advice. Treatment involves medications; but, can also involve pacemakers or implantable defibrillators.

Published in Deanna's Blog
Thursday, 03 March 2016 20:41

Nutrition on a Budget

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat nutritionally. In fact, the opposite is true. Packaged, prepared, brand-name, imported, out of season, and convenience foods will eat up your grocery budget in no time. Here are some healthy shopping tips to get you well on your way to a healthier lifestyle no matter what you dietary needs are.

  • Buy the whole chicken and cut it up yourself.
  • Grow your own – cherry tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, and small peppers can be grown in pots on your deck during the summer months
  • Eat more vegetarian meals – meat is very expensive and unless you’re buying free range, you should be questioning the quality.
  • Buy in bulk, avoid excess packaging
  • Cook more – eat out, less. 
  • Cook/Prepare in quantity – invest in a slow cooker (Cost is approx. .50¢ to operate for 8 hours)  Also having leftovers for lunch will save you from buying lunch out.
  • Buy in season and buy locally – to avoid transportation costs
  • Take your lunch to work/school
  • Make your own coffee – or better yet, drink green tea instead
  • Eat nutrient dense food – you’ll be less hungry
  • Stock up on sale items
  • Shop late on Saturday night or early Monday morning and take advantage of the marked down meats and produce
  • Check out the reduced bins and racks (Example: SuperStore, Zehr's)
  • Avoid luxury items – reserve these for “treats” only
  • Join a food co-op like the Good Food Box or hit up the local Farmer's Market
  • Check out weekly grocery store flyers or PC Points Card
  • Avoid brand names and choose generic brands instead, it's the same thing
  • Be aware of the “unit” price. A less expensive product may also be a smaller quantity
  • Use coupons - but remember, coupons are usually for name brands. Even with a coupon the generic brand often still costs less
  • Ask the butcher for bones for your dog and use them for soup stock – Fido will have to find his own bones.
  • Don’t throw out wilted veggies – these make beautiful soup stock that can be frozen and used later
  • Don’t spend too much time in the grocery store – you’re apt to spend more
  • Be aware that foods at eye-level in the grocery store tend to be more expensive
  • Don’t succumb to advertising – taste the samples but don’t buy – these are rarely sale items.
  • Avoid “ready-to-eat” foods. Buying basic food items will save you money and will be healthier for you and your family.
  • Read labels – be sure you’re getting the best nutrition for your food dollar.
  • Foods that have a Nutrition Facts label will also have an "ingredients" list. The ingredients are listed from "most" to "least" -- in other words, if sugar is the first ingredient, you know that the food is mostly sugar!
  • Shop wisely by using a shopping list, compare prices, and look at labels
  • Shop alone if you can, and be sure that you aren't hungry when you go - hungry shoppers find it hard to stick to the list!
  • Be flexible -- if you see an unadvertised special that is too good to pass up, change your plan -- add that food to your list.
  • Plan meals ahead, know what you have on hand and think about what you would like to cook
  • Make a food budget, and stick to it!
Published in Deanna's Blog
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 19:11

Fruit, Berries & Yogart

Published in slides