Heart Health Chat Recap: Ask a cardiac nurse

Botsford Hospital recently hosted a Facebook chat to answer questions about heart health, stress and healthy living. Our cardiac nurse expert who answered questions was Heather Glover, a registered nurse and manager of Botsford’s cardiopulmonary and cardiac rehab programs. Since her special interest is heart disease prevention and she’s an advocate for good health, exercise, attitude and life balance, she was a perfect fit to host the chat.

Below is a transcript of the questions and answers. You can see them in their original form here.

Please keep in mind that all answers and advice given by Heather Glover, RN is meant to be general health information. Always talk to your doctor if you have questions regarding your personal health care needs.

Heart Health Questions via Facebook and Answers by Heather Glover, RN:

1.     Can stress affect hearing? I’ve noticed that when I am under stress, it seems like a fan is lightly blowing and I don’t hear certain tones. When I’m more relaxed, it I don’t notice the ” white noise.” Any thoughts?

Heather’s Answer:What a great question! It turns out that it possibly can. Stress can

Heather Glover, RN is a cardiac nurse and manager of Botsford Hospital's cardiopulmonary and cardiac rehab programs.

affect us in so many ways. There are researchers now looking into how stress affects the hearing, because hearing loss and tinnitus (a ringing or roaring in the ears) are common complaints, more now than ever. Personally, I believe in stress reduction and management for sure; you may also want to consult an audiologist (a Physician specializing in hearing) for an evaluation; your family physician would be a great place to start. Good luck to you

2.     I am a 37-year-old male who plays hockey twice a week. I also live a fairly active life style. I feel I am in decent shape but I eat alot of pizza, fast food, etc. Should I be concerned about my heart health?

Heather’s Answer: Great job on keeping so active; it probably helps balance the ‘junk’ food. I’m a heart health advocate, so I would always tell you to be concerned, especially as we get older. Do you see a Physician regularly? Have you had your cholesterol checked? Besides not the healthiest food choices, fast food doesn’t offer a lot of nutritional value. A good engine needs quality gas to run at peak efficiency. The better you eat, the better you’ll feel (and maybe even score more often!)

3.     How do I tell the difference between indigestion and a potential heart warning sign? When my acid reflux flairs up, I notice my shoulder/arm hurting.

Heather’s Answer:  I feel for you; those symptoms are no fun, and can be scary. The truth is, you may not be able to easily tell the difference. If you are being treated for the reflux and are pretty regimented with your prescribed routine, but are still having the arm symptoms, it’s time for a doctor call/visit. Either way, talking with your doctor about your concerns and maybe getting a stress test/EKG/Physical exam, would be a good plan. There’s significant value in addressing your symptoms, getting your questions answered, and peace of mind. Here’s a list of the Botsford cardiology services that maybe helpful: http://www.botsford.org/medical_services/cardiology/services/ Good luck to you

4.     I’m worried about the effects of too much stress on my heart. I’m overloaded at work, my aging mother has recently suffered her second heart attack and I’m worried about her, and I am a bit of a perfectionist. How can I tell if I’m overstressed and hurting my heart?

Heather’s Answer:  Wow,  you have a lot on your plate (sometimes I call it a platter!) My heart and well wishes go out to you and to your mom. Are you having symptoms of anything? Heart symptoms, especially for females, can be more than just chest pain….jaw pain, back pain, nausea/vomiting; any new symptoms definitely warrant a call/visit to your physician. Stress reduction is definitely a point for you. I’m a perfectionist, too, and there’s NO shame in asking for help. I’m sure you have family/friends who would love to be there for you. Don’t carry the weight of the world by yourself. Take care of yourself, so you can be there for others.

5.     I have to get a stress test. What is it like? What should I expect?

Heather’s Answer:  There are a few different types. In the Botsford Stress Lab, we have echocardiogram types and nuclear medicine types; both options have walking on the treadmill or medicine types (for those who have difficulty walking). If you’re walking, you’ll be tired and sweaty! You will be closely monitored with an EKG and blood pressure machine, and expert staff of course! If you’re not walking, you will be laying down with an IV infusion; again, expert staff are always at your side. http://www.botsford.org/medical_services/cardiology/services/ Take a look at our website which gives you more info… Good luck to you!

6.     If I have a heart condition should I be careful of my stress level? Will it cause a heart attack?

Heather’s Answer:  Everyone should be careful about stress levels…it’s a stressful world out there. There are lots of ways to keep your stress level in balance…deep breathing, exercise, chatting with friends, taking a ‘time out’, etc. Stress and its effects can cause heart attacks, as well as other physical symptoms….another great reason to keep it in check. See my recent blog post…great question!! http://www.botsford.org/blog/index.php/2013/02/27/the-young-heart-attack-trend-whats-causing-it-and-how-to-avoid-it-yourself/ Good luck!

7.     What is your daily routine to be healthy?

Heather’s Answer:  I try to watch my diet; fruits and vegetables, limit breads/sweets. Over time, although it’s not always easy, I found that I feel better when I eat better. I try to keep active every day, and exercise at least 3-4 days per week….exercise does nothing but good things for a body from stress relief, to looking good, to feeling great! Lastly, balance is key. It’s a rough world out there some days; we have to find time to laugh, be silly, and enjoy life while we balance the rough spots and stressful times. Good luck to you

What do you think? Should we host another Facebook chat? Let us know or leave us a topic suggestion in the comments below.

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