7 steps to healthy holiday eating

Indulge without guilt at Thanksgiving dinner

healthy thanksgiving

Thanksgiving kicks off a season of celebration, and nothing brings a celebration to life more than good food — and lots of it. Just remember: There are ways to indulge in the flavors of the season with an eye toward healthy holiday eating — without the guilt! Here are some tips to keep you on track:

1. Don’t skip meals before your holiday feast. It’s tempting to “save calories” for the big dinner. However, showing up hungry may cause you to overeat, make less mindful choices and consume even more calories for the day than if you had eaten a light breakfast or lunch. Try healthy oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and a light salad with lean protein for lunch.

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LVAD patient gives extra thanks this year

Cara Reischel feels blessed to be able to watch her daughter grow up

Cara Family Photo blog

Cara Reischel is giving extra thanks this holiday season … for her husband, Joel, daughter, Cora, and her improved health due to a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that was implanted in February at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

Although she admits that being an LVAD patient and getting accustomed to her new device hasn’t always been easy, Cara is a firm believer in taking one day at a time and being thankful for all that life has to offer, especially time with Joel and 11-year-old Cora.

As a baby, Cara was diagnosed with a hole in her heart, which doctors monitored closely. It wasn’t until Cara suffered sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at age 15 that doctors changed her diagnosis to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). HCM is a congenital heart muscle disease that can affect people of any age and is a common cause of SCA in young people. Approximately one in 500 to 1,000 young people are diagnosed with the condition. Continue reading

Pulmonary hypertension treatment options make the difference

Sharon Stewart's doctor gave her 2 years to live … 11 years later she's planning a 2-month road trip to Alaska

PH Patient blog

Sharon Stewart is no stranger to many of southeast Michigan’s healthcare facilities. For years, the now 64-year-old went from doctor to doctor, trying to find someone who could diagnose her increasingly debilitating condition, which was causing severe symptoms, including high blood pressure, excruciating migraines, bleeding in her eyes and fainting spells. She was finally diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension (PH) — high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries of the lungs. PH can have no known cause, can be genetic or can be caused by drugs or toxins. It can also occur because of an underlying disease or health issue.
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Broken heart syndrome – is it real?

broken heart Blog

The recent news about former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie’s parents dying within an hour of each other after being married for 56 years is shining the spotlight on broken heart syndrome.

According to Flutie in a Facebook post, his father, Dick, had been ill and died of a heart attack in the hospital on Nov. 18. Less than an hour later, Dick Flutie’s wife, Joan, suddenly had a heart attack and also died.

The American Heart Association explains that broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike even if you’re healthy. Takotsubo is a Japanese word for an octopus trap that resembles the heart’s shape during the abnormal contracture. Broken heart syndrome, although often treatable, can lead to short-term heart muscle failure and even death. Continue reading

6 simple tips to help you quit smoking for good

The Great American Smokeout Day is November 19


More than 400,000 Americans die as a result of cigarette smoking each year. But no one ever died from quitting! Here are six simple — but not easy — tips to help you quit smoking for good.

Tips to quit smoking

  1. Prepare in advance by setting a “Quit Day.” Then, celebrate when that date comes. It’s a special occasion and should be treated as one.
  2. Think about your tobacco behavior and identify what triggers your urges and cravings. Then, learn to separate yourself from the situations in which you used tobacco by changing your routine. Most people find the craving goes away within a short period of time. Until it does, don’t go back to your old routines. Continue reading

Hope for advanced heart failure patients

Studies aim to improve quality of life

hope blog

Tremendous advancements have been made since the first U.S. human heart transplant was performed in 1968. Today, promising new studies involving devices and procedures are giving hope to the 5.1 million advanced heart failure patients living in the U.S.

Several studies currently being conducted by physicians, researchers and scientists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center are building on the success of our Heart Failure Program. These include:

  • MOMENTUM III: This study compares the HeartMate III heart pump with an older version (HeartMate II) to evaluate whether a smaller pump design with new features will benefit patients with advanced stages of heart failure. The heart pump is intended as a bridge to heart transplantation or as destination therapy.
  • CTSN Cell Therapy LVAD Trial II: This study will evaluate the use of stems cells that are injected into the patient’s heart at the time of receiving a Left Ventricle Assist Device (LVAD). This study will determine if stem cells improve the function of the heart.

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