Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tips for a Healthy Heart

At SOS Survival Products, we love preparedness. We believe that being prepared for an emergency or disaster will provide you with the best chance of survival, and know that raising awareness is the first step.

Today, we'll talk about the leading causes of death for men and women in the United States: heart disease. Heart diseases causes over 600,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. Since it is also one of the most preventable diseases, many consider this an alarming statistic. There are many contributing factors, and it's important to know them. So let's get to the heart of it. 1

Heart disease is a disorder affecting the blood vessels in and around the heart. When blood flow is compromised, arrhythmias leading to heart attacks can occur. There are a variety of reasons heart disease can present itself. We'll discuss these below.

High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure refers to the pressure your blood exerts on the inside of your arteries. You don't have to be a medical expert to understand that high blood pressure can be a risk factor for health. Blood pressure can fluctuate normally on a temporary basis, but when a person suffers from high blood pressure on a continual basis, he or she is at an increased risk for a heart attack.

We most commonly think of high blood pressure in terms of stress, but there are many other ways a person can develop high blood pressure.

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with some of the most common reasons. Are you at risk?



Smoking
Many of us are familiar with other dangers associated with smoking such as lung cancer and emphysema. But in fact, the risk of developing heart disease from smoking far outweighs these. Smoking causes high blood pressure and increases the risk of heart attack because nicotine narrows your arteries, hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot. Clotting is also a risk factor for stroke, a condition which claims nearly 150,000 lives every year. Second-hand smoke carries the same risks. 2

Weight
The larger you are, the harder your heart has to pump to supply oxygen to all parts of your body. This extra strain (oftentimes combined with a lack of physical activity) increases your risk of hypertension and blood vessel damage.

Sedentary Lifestyle
Your heart is a muscle that requires regular exercise. Since a sedentary lifestyle and obesity oftentimes go hand in hand, the risk for heart disease in sedentary persons is similar to the risk in someone who is obese. Additionally, physical activity prevents a wide variety of other health ailments that are contributing factors for cardiovascular disease. These include type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you are at a similar risk for heart as a smoker. 3

Salt
We need salt in order to survive. Salt controls fluids, muscles and nerves. However, in the U.S., we consume more than twice the recommended daily amount, on average. Too much salt causes heart disease by increasing blood pressure. It has also been shown to contribute to osteoporosis, asthma, stomach cancer and weight gain.4
The recommended daily allotment of salt is 1500 mg (or 0.75 teaspoons) per day for a healthy adult. The average intake of sodium in the U.S. is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods. 5

Alcohol
Aside from the numerous other negative health effects caused by alcohol, hitting the bottle on a regular basis also raises your blood triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease. 6
Enjoy alcohol in moderation. Not sure what "moderation" means when it comes to alcohol? Check out this article.

Your age and genetics can also contribute to high blood pressure. But don't let these uncontrollable
factors lead you to believe your risk for developing heart disease is inevitable. Your heart's health is largely in your hands.

Below we'll discuss the remaining major risks for heart disease. These consist of diet and diabetes.

Diabetes
Insulin resistance is the most common form of type 2 diabetes. In healthy individuals, the pancreas produces insulin in response to sugar and carbohydrate intake, resulting in your body’s production of usable energy. In individuals with insulin resistance, normal amounts of insulin no longer result in this energy creation. To combat this, the body produces more insulin to keep up. But eventually, insulin resistance becomes so severe that the pancreas can no longer accommodate your body's need for insulin. This causes blood glucose levels to increase, eventually leading to diabetes.7

Diabetes type 2 is 100 percent preventable. The major contributors to insulin resistance are excess weight, specifically around the waist, and physical inactivity. People with diabetes can develop vision loss, kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and stroke. A healthy diet, regular exercise and regular diabetes screenings are all preventative measures for diabetes and heart disease. 8

Diet
You've heard it time and time again: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Even long before science could understand why, we seemed to inherently understand the value of fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the last decade, countless medical articles have been published with the findings that eating fresh fruits and veggies daily show significant promise in lowering the risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.9

If that isn't enough of an incentive to incorporate some greens into your life, a brand-new study published in PLOS One in February 2017 found that "young adults who were given extra fruits and vegetables each day for 14 days experienced a boost in motivation and vitality."

The findings confirm that just two cups of fruit (roughly an orange) and three cups of vegetables (three carrots, a bell pepper and a small tomato - the perfect addition to any salad) will do the trick! 10

1. www.CDC.gov
2. www.heart.org
3. www.livestrong.com
4. http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/less/Health/
5. https://sodiumbreakup.heart.org
6. www.heart.org/heartorg/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Myths-About-High-Blood-Pressure_ucm_430836_Article.jsp
7. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/prediabetes-insulin-resistance
8. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
9. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/308796.php
10. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171206

Friday, January 20, 2017

Product Review: Student Emergency Kit



As members of the senior class of 2017 gear up to enter a new chapter in their lives, parents all across America are scrambling to make preparations. From living arrangements to school supplies, there's a lot that goes into adequately preparing for the first year of college. If you're a parent of a graduating teen this year, you may also be dealing with the natural fear of sending your child into the world alone. At home, you've made an emergency plan and stacked supplies for your family, but the dorm room won't be equipped with these things.

Our Student Emergency Kit contains everything your student will need to sustain himself or herself for three days in the event of an emergency. This handy cardboard box is extremely compact and affordable, making it easy to stock several in various convenient places.

Instruct your student to keep one in an easily accessible place in his or her room while keeping another in the car. In case of an emergency, this kit will provide six 4.227-oz. U.S. Coast Guard-approved water packages, each with a five-year shelf life, an emergency blanket, one glow stick, nine wet wipes and a 2,400-calorie food bar.

Because this kit contains only the essentials, it's versatile enough to be used in a variety of situations. Keep one in the car for yourself, pack it away in a suitcase when traveling or keep one at the winter cabin. Everything the Student Emergency Kit contains is resistant to hot or cold temperatures and can be safely kept for up to five years!