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Take care of your ticker while you still can!

1 Feb


Get out there and do some damn cardio, you bastards!



Start Early To Curb Heart Risks For A Lifetime

05:35 pm

January 25, 2012

A stethoscope rests on top of a puzzle shaped like a heart.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. But who’s at the most risk?

A study in the lastest New England Journal of Medicine offers a simple way to predict the risk of a fatal or debilitating heart attack or stroke for a middle-aged person over the rest of his or her life.

“If at age 45 you have two or more of either elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or smoking, and you’re a man, then there’s a 50-50 proposition that you will have a heart attack or a stroke during your remaining lifespan,” cardiologist Donald Lloyd-Jones, who headed the study at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Women with two risk factors have about a 30 percent chance.

Having even one risk factor dramatically increases the risk of heart disease. And 95 percent of middle-aged Americans (ages 45-55) have at least one risk factor for heart disease.

In this study, Lloyd-Jones and his colleagues tallied the results of 18 long-term studies conducted over the past 50 years. The studies included men and women, African-Americans and whites. All told, there was information on more than 250,000 adults.

The specific risk factors were most important, regardless of age or race.

If you’ve got some of these risk factors, don’t despair, though. You may not be able to get down to zero, but you can reduce the odds for cardiovascular trouble with exercise, a better diet and treatment for the conditions.

Indeed, Lloyd-Jones says talking about lifetime risks may help motivate patients do that sooner rather than later.

He says he worries that patients won’t take action on diet or exercise when they hear they have just a 3 or 4 percent risk of suffering a debilitating heart attack or stroke over the next five or 10 years. If, on the other hand, he provides a clearer picture about what is in store for them over a lifetime, they’ll be more likely to adhere to a healthful lifestyle.

There was some heartening information in the study, according to Lloyd-Jones. Nonsmokers who make it to middle age with normal blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar have almost no risk of heart disease. “Our data suggested that for a 45-year-old man the likelihood that he would have a heart attack or stroke by 80 was only 1.4 percent,” Lloyd-Jones says.

If more people could get to middle age without the usual risks, it could make a big difference. That means patients and doctors should start tracking blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar starting early in adulthood.

Cardiologist Gordon Tomaselli, president of the American Heart Association, says young adults without a doctor should measure their blood pressure on their own with one of the automated blood pressure cuffs common at pharmacies and grocery stores. If the reading is high, get to a doctor.

If there’s a family history for high cholesterol or diabetes, get that checked early too.

Diet, exercise and drugs can be highly effective when people have these health problems, Tomaselli says. And while they can’t wipe out heart disease risk entirely, they can keep it under control.

Trail running?

26 Aug

Nothing too groundbreaking today, just a thought…

Trail running is pretty cool. I did it for the first time yesterday (still working on that 10k program) and thought, “Hey, this doesn’t suck.” That’s a good sign!

The 110*F heat did suck, however.

You will run, and you will like it.

16 Aug

I love cycling.

I have never loved running.

I’m embarking on a mission to change that. Cycling brings me happiness, alone time, fitness, etc but it also has equipment and maintenaince. Cycling is not as carefree as lacing up some shoes. Where are my bibs? Do I have a clean jersey or is it a t-shirt day? Lube the chain, check tire pressure, check cables…

I long for the simplicity of running. To be able to lace up a pair of shoes and attain that solitary peace that I get on my bike, but anywhere in the world. Traveling and cycling do not go well together, but shoes will fit in any bag. I long for the day I get the endorphin rush and high that lasts for hours from a run just like I can from a ride.

As an aside to the main goal here, I am also starting with a minimalist approach (shoe of choice: Nike Free Sparq). I’ll admit, Born To Run struck a chord with me. It seems so simple, yet elegant, so I’m going to give it a shot.

My knee problems started in middle school when I was hit with the full force of Osgood–Schlatter disease (more of a temporary affliction; “disease” seems a bit dramatic) and it went downhill from there. Last time I went to an ortho I had one knee scoped for meniscus repair and while they were in there they saw that I had torn half of my ACL (apparently they didn’t catch it on the MRI) but at that point they were in too deep (pardon the pun) to do anything at that time. Since then it’s just been management and hoping that the day it decides to let loose is still far off.

Basically, I don’t want to be like this again for a loooooong time:

I’m hoping that sticking to a plan, re-learning good running form and listneing to my legs will get me to my goal.

So here’s the plan:
I’m starting from the bottom. Seriously. The ‘couch to 10k’ plan.

Day 1 was yesterday. No knee pain (I would hope not! Look at all that walking!). I’ll update this weekly, either on this post or with a new one.

Starting weight: 214 (8-16-11)

Wilderness medicine – feeling a little less inadequate (and other thoughts)

1 Aug

1, 2, 3, 4, 5… AVPU… A, B, C, D, E… Vitals… SAMPLE… oh, and watch out for that snake over there.

The outdoors appeal to me in a way I can’t really put into words. Whether it’s as simple as getting on the road bike and pedaling until I’m away from everything or doing some destination hiking in Rocky Mtn Ntl Forest, trying my best to not break me or my MTB on any number of trails, or (like last week) watching Pacific Ocean waves crash into rocky Mexican cliffs with a good book in my hands, I am a creature of solitude. Fiancée excluded (she also LOVES traveling and escaping the mayhem ❤ ), I love to get away. People, noise, hustle, deadlines, people, pressure, people…

Getting away from people and noise means just that though. Getting away from a support network should the need arise. For reasons I can't fully explain a couple weeks ago, maybe while reading Fire Season by Phillip Connors (great read, btw), I decided that I should be more prepared, both for my own benefit and for anyone who might be near me. Two weeks later I snagged the last open spot in a wilderness first aid course put on by NOLS and WMI (think of regular first aid but with more improvisation and without the luxury of being able to call 911 and have the problem taken off your hands in less than an hour).


So, 16 hours of class later here I sit. Exponentially better prepared for the shitty part of the search for solitude and peace. In fact, after going through this class I decided that I’d like to go even further. Anyone who really knows me can attest to the fact that I can’t sit still. I always have to be learning, or doing, or teaching, or building or something. I’ve already started thinking about going to the next level and going through the wilderness first responder level stuff.

Another cool part of this weekend is that one of our instructors is an ultrarunner… and I love to blog stalk endurance athletes. After logging who knows how many miles last summer on the roadie (with some amazing century rides) and a couple more on the MTB, I got off the bike for MUCH longer than I should have (work, life, etc). Life is affording me some much needed downtime at the moment, and after reading a couple pages of our instructor’s blog I have to say I’m re-inspired.

It’s never too early to prep and I always work better with an endgame in mind. I think it’s time to put a plan together for the Hotter ‘n Hell Triple Threat next summer. 13 mile MTB race Friday night, 100 mile roadie ride Saturday and a half marathon trail run Sunday. Who know’s maybe this jumbled mess of thoughts in blog form will transform into a training log.

Maybe she’ll check her site traffic and see the click from here and maybe not, but either way, big thanks to Liza Howard (and Ky Harkey) for the great time this weekend. Though unexpected and certainly not part of the lesson plan I also have a bit of a new perspective on things.

And all of this also reminds me that this blog is about more than the day to day nonsense that frantically zigs and zags throughout my brain. I need to do a better job of documenting the experiential side of life. To the three people who might occasionally read what I write: expect more ride reports, trip summaries, beer reviews, etc in the next few weeks to months. Cheers.

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