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February - Have a Heart Healthy Month! Featured

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February is a fitting month to focus on heart disease and stroke. After all Valentine’s Day is in February. The American Heart Association has chosen February to be their month for heart health advocacy on an annual basis.

Statistics are a frightening thing when they are focused on disease development and the lifestyle that many Americans have. So I want to focus on real information that people can relate to. I am re-posting an article that was written by a physician, Dr. Manny Alverez, that covers a great deal of information in an understandable way. Let’s start here:

February is Heart Health Month, putting the spotlight on the No. 1 cause of death for both men and women in U.S.

Coronary artery disease, also known as coronary heart disease, is a narrowing and obstruction of the coronary arteries, which are responsible for bringing oxygen and nutrients to the heart itself. As early as your teen years, fat deposits begin to develop in some of these arteries, and as time goes by, the fat deposits build up, ultimately creating an obstruction that begins to decrease the amount of blood to the heart and cause an inflammation as the artery tries to heal itself.

Over time the fat deposits in the arteries begin to harden, and you begin to get deposits of small platelets that compound the obstruction. All of this can lead not only to a significant narrowing of the arteries, but to blood clots that may either obstruct the artery or get dislodged and create further obstructions elsewhere in the plumbing system.

One of the consequences of this narrowing or total obstruction of the coronary artery is ischemia, which occurs when there is an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood for the heart muscle. Any activity—eating, excitement, or changes in temperature—can make the problem worse.

One of the most common symptoms of ischemia is angina, which is a discomfort, heaviness, pressure, numbness, or squeezing feeling in the chest. Sometimes it is mistaken for indigestion or heartburn. It is usually felt in the chest, but it can also migrate to the arms, especially the left shoulder. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats or palpitation, a very fast heartbeat, nausea, and sweating. If this ischemia is not corrected, if it lasts more than 30 minutes and does not get better, a heart attack may result.

In a heart attack, the heart muscle begins to fail, either through a very erratic electrical stimulation called an arrhythmia or by stopping altogether. It is important to recognize these symptoms because early intervention could save your life.

A doctor can tell you if you have coronary artery disease by discussing your symptoms, especially shortness of breath, taking your medical history, and looking at your risk factors, in particular, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar control. There are a host of diagnostic tests your doctor can do, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG); an exercise stress test; an ultrafast CAT scan, which looks for calcium deposits in your coronary artery; and cardiocatheterization, which can help determine the degree of obstruction of the artery.

If you are diagnosed with coronary artery disease, treatment is threefold. The first has to do with lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, starting to exercise, and keeping to a low-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol diet.

The second aspect of treatment is medication, which may be needed to get your heart working more effectively. Other medication will be prescribed to reduce the cholesterol.

The third aspect of treatment has to do with procedures to help improve the blood flow through the coronaries. One possibility is a balloon angioplasty, in which a small balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the coronary arteries and then inflated to open up the clogged artery. Another possibility is placing a small, metal stent inside the artery to keep it open and improve blood flow.

A heart bypass operation takes place when total replacement of the piece of the coronary that is obstructed becomes necessary.

Plumbing vs. Electrical Problems

Other types of cardiac disease have nothing to do with obstruction of the coronaries but with the way the electrical system of the heart works. Sometimes the specialized cells that electrically stimulate the heart become dysfunctional, and you can develop an arrhythmia, where the heart beats either too slowly, too quickly, or out of sync. These conditions can be diagnosed with an electrocardiogram, and sometimes medications alone can help to regulate the rhythm.

Another common problem is heart failure. This occurs when the heart can no longer effectively pump all the blood that it receives. Heart failure affects about five million Americans, and it’s the leading cause of hospitalization of people older than 65. Many times, heart failure is due to prior damage caused by coronary artery disease, or by arrhythmias that have weakened the function of the heart. Ultimately, heart failure creates a backlog of pressure into the lungs, and people with heart failure tend to have difficulty breathing. Depending on the cause of the heart failure, different medications are available for treating it.

The valves of the heart are another source of heart problems. The valves can be damaged at birth or through infection. Abnormal or infected valves can interfere with normal blood flow and heart function and can lead to major cardiac disease. Surgery may be needed to replace the valves.

Sometimes the lining of the heart may be infected, a condition called pericarditis. If this membrane is inflamed, the heart may not beat properly. Valve abnormalities, arrhythmias, and heart failure all have a common symptom—shortness of breath or difficulty catching your breath. If you have this problem, see a cardiologist to get the correct diagnosis and treatment.

The heart is a remarkable organ. It is the core of life, and its beat is central to your survival. Keeping it in prime working order is of paramount concern.

All for One and One for All

When we talk about heart attacks, we tend to describe them in a way that suggests there are different kinds of heart attacks. But those are just words to describe our experience of the same underlying disease.

Number one is the silent heart attack. Here you don’t have major chest pain, you don’t have shoulder pains, you may have a little palpitation, but you’re not tired, you’re not fatigued, and you’re not dizzy. However, when you go in for a physical, the doctor finds that you have had a silent heart attack.

Number two is typical angina. This is the chest pressure that doesn’t go away, and you have thirty minutes to get yourself to an emergency room.

Number three is the sudden heart attack. This occurs when you have a major, catastrophic obstruction in a main branch of the coronary artery, and a very large area of your heart is instantly void of any blood.

Even though the three heart attacks described here evolve differently, the underlying theme is the same—they all involve chronic coronary artery disease. In other words, you don’t go around with a normal coronary artery one day and the next day develop a major clot. That’s just not the way it works. The heart attack may present itself differently in different people, but the cause is the same no matter how we experience the critical moment.

A Heart Test for Venusians

What works for men, doesn’t always work for women. We all know that, but medicine is just catching up to the fact.

The standard test for heart disease is known as an angiogram. In this test a dye is injected into the coronary arteries, which are then X-rayed to look for blockages. The test is very effective in detecting heart disease in men, but a new study has discovered that this test often misses the symptoms of heart disease in women. When the tests turn up nothing, women are given a clean bill of health, even though as many as 3 million women could be at risk with a buildup of fatty deposits that could ultimately interfere with blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack.

Hidden heart disease may be a significant problem in women. It appears that one cause may be due to a phenomenon called arterial remodeling. This means that the artery dilates as plaque is deposited in the blood vessel so that, in the early stages of atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease, very little overall narrowing is seen on an angiogram. But late in the disease, the deposits may overwhelm the body’s ability to compensate by remodeling, and severe narrowing or complete blockage can occur. If this happens, a sudden heart attack can result.

To diagnose heart disease in women, physicians will now have to use the new generation of CT scanners and magnetic resonance scanners, which can visualize the heart’s blood vessels with ever-greater detail. In many cases, these tests can detect problems before a stress test or a conventional angiogram. Physicians should test for the presence of coronary artery disease in women who have risk factors for heart disease such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease or stroke, or nicotine use.

The moral of this story is: paying closer attention to the vast differences between men and women could save lives—in this case, women’s lives.

Which Fruit Are You?

Researchers have long noted the importance of body shape in determining a person’s risk factors for heart disease. They talk about the apples versus the pears. The apples tend to store their access fat in their stomach and chest. The pears store it below the hips, in their thighs and buttocks. A recent study found that a person’s waist-to-hip ratio is an even better predictor of cardiovascular risk than their body mass index, or BMI, the commonly used ratio of weight to height. It appears that a large waist size, which generally indicates large amounts of abdominal fat, is more harmful than a larger hip size.

Determine your body shape and risk for cardiovascular disease by calculating your waist-to-hip ratio. First, measure your waist at its smallest circumference; then, measure your hips at their widest. Next, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. For example, a person with a thirty-six-inch waist and forty-inch hips would have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.9. Waist-to-hip ratios over 0.85 in women and over 0.9 in men are strongly associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.Source: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/02/10/heart-disease-fast-facts/

We will be adding articles related to this topic throughout February. If you have a story to share please send us your story through Contact Us. We are always interested to hear from you.



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Sallys Stuff

Senior Citizens Discounts

This information was passed along to us; we thought this would be interesting information to post on our website, since we all love a good deal!

In order to receive the Senior Citizen discounts listed below, you have to mention the discount prior to paying.

If you find that some of these locations do not offer the discount any longer, or if you come across a vendor that should be added to the list, please go the “Contact US” Tab on the homepage of the website.  Send us an email, for a vendor to be added or removed. Happy Shopping& Saving! ~ From the staff at Sallycares.com


RESTAURANTS:
Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan's: discount varies by location (60+)
Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee ( 55+)
Chili's: 10% off ( 55+)
CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Denny's: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members ( 55 +)
Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee ( 55+)
Einstein's Bagels: 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)
Fuddruckers: 10% off any senior platter ( 55+)
Gaetti’s Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)

Hardee's: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)
IHOP: 10% off ( 55+)
Jack in the Box: up to 20% off ( 55+)
KFC: free small drink with any meal ( 55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off ( 50+)
Long John Silver's: various discounts at locations ( 55+)

McDonald's: discounts on coffee everyday ( 55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)
Shoney's: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday ( 50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+)
Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)
Taco Bell : 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off ( 55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off ( 50+)
Village Inn: 10% off (60+)
Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's: 10% off ( 55 +)
Whataburger: 10% off (62+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

RETAIL & APPAREL :
Banana Republic: 30% off ( 50 +)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month ( 50 +)
Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month ( 55 +)
Big Lots: 30% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days ( 55 +)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (50+)
Clarks : 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 20% off ( 55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 40% off (Wednesdays only) ( 50+)
Kohl's: 15% off (60+)Modell's Sporting Goods: 30% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday ( 55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off ( 55+)
Stein Mart: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month ( 55 +)

GROCERY :
Albertson's: 10% off first Wednesday of each month ( 55 +)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday ( 50 +)
Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)

Food Lion: 60% off every Monday (60+)

Fry's Supermarket: free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday ( 55 +)
Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off every Tuesday (60+)
Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location)
Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday ( 50 +)
Publix: 15% off every Wednesday ( 55 +)
Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)
Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace: 15% off (62+)

TRAVEL :
Airlines:
Alaska Airlines: 50% off (65+)
American Airlines: various discounts for 50% off non-peak periods. (Tuesdays - Thursdays) (62+)and up (call before booking for discount)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club & special fares for select destinations.
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount).
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking for discount)

Rail:
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)

Bus:
Greyhound: 15% off (62+)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50+

Car Rental:
Alamo Car Rental: up to 25% off for AARP members
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Budget Rental Cars: 40% off; up to 50% off for AARP members ( 50+)
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off ( 50+) Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members

Overnight Accommodations:
Holiday Inn: 20-40% off depending on location (62+)
Best Western: 40% off (55+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Waldorf Astoria - NYC $5,000 off nightly rate for Presidential Suite (55 +)
Clarion Motels: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Econo Lodge: 40% off (60+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 40% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Traveler's Discount (50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 25% off (62+)
Motel 6: Stay Free Sunday nights (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 30% off ( 55 +)
Quality Inn: 40%-50% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 40% off (60+)

ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT :
AMC Theaters: up to 30% off ( 55 +)
Bally Total Fitness: $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa, FL: $13 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
Massage Envy - NYC 20% off all "Happy Endings" (62 +)
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 50% off Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket ( 55 +)
SeaWorld, Orlando , FL : $3 off one-day tickets ( 50 +)

CELL PHONE DISCOUNTS :
AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan $19.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service ( 50 +)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).


MISCELLANEOUS:
Great Clips: $8 off haircuts (60+)
Supercuts: $8 off haircuts (60+)