Women and Heart Attack Warning Signs

 Women and Heart Attack Warning Signs Early signs of a heart attack are missed in 78% of women and their heart attacks are more fatal.

*Although not exactly what Valentine’s Day is about, we here at Calamity Politics.com thought it was important to highlight women’s heart health.*

Women and Heart Attack Warning Signs

D. S. Mitchell

It’s Not Always Crushing Chest Pain  

Signs of a heart attack are often the same for both men and women, but not always.  The most common symptom of a heart attack for men most often includes “crushing” left upper chest pain. Also notable is generalized upper body pain and discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, and lightheadedness. Women, however, can have a heart attack without the traditional “crushing” chest pressure/pain.”  They like men may also experience: 1) pain or pressure in the lower chest, jaw or upper abdomen, 2) dizziness or faintness, 3) upper back pressure, 4) overwhelming fatigue. Any of these symptoms without the crushing chest pain can be early signs of a pending coronary event.  Any of these signs can occur weeks before the actual heart attack.

Statistics Reveal Inequality of Research

What is important is that early signs of a heart attack are missed in 78% of women and their heart attacks are statistically more fatal than those of  men. Women often report NO chest pain. The reason for these startling facts is that the majority of heart research has centered on men. Typical tests such as electrocardiograms and blood work come out normal for women because they were designed to interpret information about men’s hearts. Often women are sent home mis-diagnosed with “anxiety” or “heartburn” when in fact they are experiencing a myocardial infarction (MI).

What’s an MI?

An MI occurs when one or more of the arteries that feed the heart with blood and oxygen is totally blocked by a blood clot or fatty plaque. This means immediate care is essential. Without treatment the affected parts of the heart will die.  Muscle tissue death, depending on how severe, typically leads to the death of the individual. An emergency trip to the cath lab is imperative during such events. It is in the cath lab where stents can be placed to open the blockage and save the patient’s life.

Our Bodies

It is time for more heart research funding to be spent on women’s cardiac health and diagnosing potentially lethal events. It is especially important that women with a family history of heart disease to be especially vigilant when assessing their symptoms. Women must be more persistent when discussing symptoms with their care givers and insistent that when something feels wrong it might very well be. We know our bodies better than the physician. Be your own best advocate.


  1. Pale clammy skin
  2. Difficulty breathing
  3. Heart fluttering or rhythm irregularities
  4. Cold sweat
  5. Unusual fatigue
  6. Dizziness and or lightheadedness
  7. Shoulder, neck, jaw, arm, and or back pain
  8. Nausea, and or vomiting
  9. Insomnia
  10. Stomach pain

If you experience any of the, above symptoms, whether you are a man or a woman, please immediately chew 160 milligrams of aspirin and call 911. Your life may well depend on it.


Tips For Maintaining Good Brain Health

Use my engaging games and puzzles to stay mentally sharp


D. S. Mitchell

Insight Into Mental Sharpness

Cognitive decline is one of the biggest hurdles facing aging adults. As we grow older, our bodies change, including mental functioning. Mental decline is not inevitable, however. Here are some tips from the experts to insure good brain health. Every day we are learning about new research into brain health. That research gives us insight into how to keep our brains sharp throughout life.

 Get a Good Workout

Regular exercise helps all the muscles and organs of the body, including the brain. A good workout can lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels which is good for both brain and heart. Research shows that regular exercise increases the number of tiny blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the areas of the brain that are responsible for thinking.

Eat Right

The MIND diet is designed to help prevent dementia and slow the loss of brain function that can happen as we age. Dieters are encouraged to consume vegetables, berries, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, fish, beans, poultry and wine. The diet depends on frequent servings of green leafy vegetables. Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards and other greens that are packed with vitamins A and C and other nutrients. At least two servings a week can help, with memory. However, researchers found six or more servings a week provide the greatest brain benefits.

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The Dangers Of Sugar

The Dangers Of Sugar

The dangers of sugar are not obvious. The danger comes with the amount and daily intake

The dangers of sugar are compounded by repeated use. Sugar works slowly, its devastating results often taking years to manifest themselves in measurable ways, such as diabetes.

The Dangers Of Sugar

By D. S. Mitchell

When I started writing this article, my intention was to write a quick easy read, nothing in-depth, certainly nothing scientific. Something along the lines of, “Ten Reasons To Kick The Sugar Habit”. That plan was quickly dashed as I read one scary article after another explaining the dangers of sugar consumption. If you are suffering from any of the diseases highlighted in this article, remember, you are not alone. If you want a better, longer life, it is time to take a look at your relationship with sugar in all of its malevolent forms. 


Sixty-Five Pounds Annually

The average American consumes 65 pounds of sugar annually without even being aware of it. That information alone should be a heart stopper. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day and women no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams). On average each of us ingests 19.5 teaspoons or 78 grams a day. Research on the dangers of sugar on health are ongoing, and new information is being constantly being uncovered.

Dangerous And Addictive

If there was ever any doubt about the dangers of sugar they are being put to rest by a series of scientific studies. Research is proving sugar is both dangerous and extremely addictive. A person who drinks one 20 oz sugary beverage every day will cut their life expectancy by nearly five years. That is,  comparable to being a regular smoker. If that fact doesn’t get your attention, read on, it gets worse, a whole lot worse.

Just As Bad

Sugar does a lot of damage to our bodies.  With all the negative news about sugar is there an alternative?  Some people say, “just use a sugar replacement.” Whoa.  Evidence is mounting that sucralose, saccharin and aspartame are just as dangerous as sugar.  Research shows that sugar replacements injure and destroy the essential microbiome in the gut.  Microbiome are the millions of microorganisms inside our bodies that help us stay alive.  These microbes protect us against germs, they also break down food to release energy, and produce vitamins.

Find A Garbage Can

To make it clear, sugar substitutes are just as bad as the real thing.  In addition to the physical damage products like sucralose do, they are also associated with weight gain and glucose intolerence-the very things people use them to prevent.  Those folks trying to cut down on sugar may be drawn to advertised benefits such as “maple syrup’s antioxidant benefits” or “honey’s healing power”.  Forget such misinformation.  Sugar is sugar, no matter what form it takes. I suggest that no one consume them.  Keep them out of the house.  If you have any of these sugar substitutes in your cupboard toss them in the closest garbage can.

Highs And Lows

The body’s reaction to sugar is like taking a roller coaster ride; an unending ride to extreme highs, followed by extreme lows, sending the body into a spiral of endless cravings. People report being “hungry all the time”. Descriptions include “being obsessed with food”, and literally feeling “addicted” to food. It makes perfect sense, because everything they eat and drink is loaded with sugar.

Addictive Cycle

High sugar intake sends the body into a crazy, roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

The danger of sugar is easy to describe, it is addictive, sharing all the highs and lows of  any other addictive drug.

The danger of sugar is easy to describe.  As the addictive cycle begins, say after you eat a piece of cake, a predictable pattern begins.  Blood glucose begins to rise.  Then, Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers is released, messaging that everything is “great”.  Meanwhile, if you are not a diabetic, your pancreas is busy releasing insulin into your blood stream to help lower the threat of rising blood sugar.  High insulin levels signal the body to store fat throughout the body, including the liver.  With the release of insulin, blood glucose drops.

Another Piece Of Cake

As the sugar high subsides, your brain begins sending signals that you are ‘hungry’.  The ‘false hunger’ signals kick cravings into high gear, demanding another piece of cake. Predictably, as you consume that second piece or cake, or cookie, the sugar driven roller coaster takes the body on another crazy, dizzying ride.

Mood Swings

The ups and downs of unstable blood sugar will cause a person to experience mood swings, fatigue, and headaches.  As described in the “addictive cycle” unstable blood glucose contributes to cravings, which begins the cycle of “false hunger”.  When the body is under stress, it immediately kicks into fight-or-flight mode, releasing large amounts of stimulating hormones.  Interestingly, the body has the same chemical response when it detects low blood sugar, created by the insulin response.  After eating a sweet snack, stress hormones begin to compensate for the crash, by raising your blood sugar.  Unexplained anxiousness, irritability, and even tremors often result.  By contrast, those who avoid sugar have fewer cravings, and feel emotionally balanced and energized.


Can’t sleep?  Thirty percent of Americans complain of insomnia, or interrupted sleep.  Sugar may be keeping you up at night.  Researchers have found that eating more sugar, along with less fiber and more saturated fat, is associated with lighter, more disrupted and less restorative sleep.  Insomnia has been connected to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.  This deadly trio of health conditions, is now being directly tied to sugar consumption.

Sugar And Mental Health

Consuming high-sugar products like cookies, candy and sugary drinks, are associated with a higher risk of depression.  Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysfunction, and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.  Sugar in fact, could be making you sad and depressed.  Capping off a bad day with a comforting sugar laden snack may make you feel worse in the long run.

Increased Depression

A recent Columbia University study found that post-menopausal women whose diets were high in added sugar and refined grains were at a high risk for depression. Study participants, that ate more dietary fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and unprocessed fruits had a decreased risk of depression. In another study, men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day.

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Gut Instincts in 2020-Humor

By Anna Hessel

Good Intentions

Well, we are a month into the new year. I suppose we are all keeping our healthy New Year’s resolutions; or perhaps they have gone awry?  I find more often than not good intentions dealing with weight loss, visiting the gym, or other health-related  resolutions, by this time of year have hit the back burner.

Times are a Changin’

Cafe Latte

The power of mocha lattes cannot be denied.

Gut health seems to be big on the resolution scale this year.  Back in the day, it was rather unladylike to discuss one’s guts, unless, of course, you were prepping fish.  The times, they are a changin’, since it is now quite stylish to converse about your innards.  I’m sure that mine are pretty and pink, happily filled with mocha latte, with maybe a few probiotics thrown in for good measure.

Fashionable Friends

My dear fashionable friend L.J., has taken an unusual interest in my gut health this year. She has gone so far as to suggest that I embrace ginger. L.J. recommends I take some ginger root and steep it in boiling water giving me a yummy little elixir that will do truly exemplary things for my mocha latte-challenged gut.  Should I have the guts to actually drink this ginger miracle, I’m sure my system would dance an Irish Princess jig.

Following Through

I did actually go so far as to buy the ginger root, which looks like the dried up root stump of a dead bush.  It now sits on the pantry shelf, taunting me – my gut reaction is to use it the next time we have sushi.  My gut instinct tells me perhaps a simple cup of tea with a Krispy Kreme jelly doughnut chaser should perhaps replace the ginger culinary potion.  Mind you, I’m not speaking of an exotic fig twig kumquat pomegranate purple berry blast tree bark tea – but an uncomplicated cup of chamomile laced with honey, drunk with one pink-polished pinkie extended.

Stand Up

Perhaps my gut advisor, the rather debonair L.J. will join me in a simple respite of Earl Grey, or orange pekoe.  I think I will just resolve to stick to non-GMO, preservative-free, low-sodium, plant-based, meatless-Monday, actual-dairy, high-protein, real food in 2020 with a once-a-day multivitamin thrown in to top it all off. With that recipe I will allow my insides to take care of themselves. Furthermore I resolve to make frequent trips to the pool for water aerobics, to have the guts to stand up for my convictions, and of course, I’ll do it all with style…..

Anna Hessel is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Want more Anna Hessel? She’ll be back, Calamity News and Politics loves her too.

11 Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

All the goodies at the holidays can challenge any weight loss program

All the goodies available at the holidays can challenge any weight loss program. Here are 11 easy tricks to  help you stay on your healthy eating program. The holidays don’t automatically spell weight gain.

11 Easy Holiday Weight Loss Tricks

By D.S. Mitchell

I’m standing in the grocery store check-out line reading the magazine headlines when the December 9, 2019, ‘Woman’s World’ catches my attention. Their busy cover page announces, “The #1 Keto Trick for Women (It helped Tina lose 341 lbs, without surgery)”.  I have toyed with trying the Keto diet, and I couldn’t resist the teaser, and found myself tossing the magazine on to the conveyor belt.

Lovin’ Woman’s World

I love ‘Woman’s World’, because it is cheap, it has an easy to read format with lots of pictures and almost always features a weight loss trick or two for the ‘always dieting’ crowd. Once home, with feet up on the ottoman, I search for the article on Tina’s dramatic 341 lb weight loss story. Before I get to Tina’s story I landed on, “Tiny tweaks that melt pounds”.

Tiny Tweaks

As I read the “Tiny Tweaks” article I thought the ideas were great and thought they were worth passing on to my blog readers, especially with the holidays upon us and the constant temptation of homemade cake, cookies, pies and candy.

  • Afternoon Snack: A recent study found that by shifting a morning snack of an apple or a handful of nuts to the afternoon could give dramatic weight loss results. The reason the study suggests is that there is a bigger time span  between lunch and dinner, than between breakfast and lunch. The snack gets us through the long afternoon and that healthy snack prevents overeating on those holiday treats.
  • Weigh Daily: Weighing in every morning is a good way to reverse sneaky weight gain trends. In fact, researchers in Finland found that people who weighed daily at the same time each morning shed more weight than other test subjects.
  • Pay With Cash: I loved this one. When you go grocery shopping, always plan to pay with cash. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that paying with cash actually reins in the impulse junk food purchases. Researchers explain that the “pain of paying with cash” makes people less likely to splurge on unhealthy extras. Awesome. I know this tip will work for me.
  • Add a sprinkle of salt:  This tip comes from British researchers who discovered that women who add a bit of salt to their vegetables will increase their intake of the green goodies by as much as 70%. It seems that using the flavor enhancer can actually cause us to start craving vegetables in as little as three days. Who knew?
  • Red Wine: A glass of red wine in the evening can help you lose weight. It seems the polyphenols in red wine “help the body process excess blood sugar before it can be turned into fat. Investigators discovered that women who sip one glass of red wine daily are “30% less likely to experience weight problems than teetotalers”.
  • Rearrange Pantry: If you must have high calorie indulgences in the pantry try rearranging their position on the shelves. Experts suggest storing high calorie treats on the right side of the shelf and good for you snacks, such as dried fruit and nuts on the left. In this case, researchers at University of South Florida, tell us that the reason is that the brain is wired to read numbers from left to right. Fascinating. When a person sees foods displayed this way we are subconsciously reminded that the foods on the left are healthier for us.
  • Turn On Soft Music: This one surprised me, but at the same time it made sense. Before you sit down to eat, find a soft music channel and let it play throughout the meal. You will find you eat less and enjoy it more. The best part is Psychological Reports found most people will eat 175 fewer calories per meal; which is an easy way to shed 15 pounds a year.
  • Seek Encouragement From A Friend: It seems if you feel you are at risk of diving face first into the office buffet you should take a minute and text, or call a friend or loved one, about your weight loss progress. Duke University scientists say that exchanging words of encouragement reminds and reinforces your goals. Such reinforcement doubles your odds of sticking to your healthy living plan and helps you lose up to six pounds a month.
  • Recall A Happy Moment: Happy thoughts help us stay on track. Researchers at Cornell, suggest that when cravings strike, recall a positive memory. Apparently, being in a positive frame of mind switches off the desire for instant gratification of a chocolate or calorie heavy treat and encourages healthier choices.
  • Chop It Up: Before gobbling down that Hersey’s bar, take a minute and break it up into small pieces. Scientists at Arizona State University say cutting sweets into “bite-size bits tricks your brain into thinking your eating more than you are, triggering the release of appetite-taming signals”.
  • Count To 10: Remember the old saying, “count to 10 before you speak”. In this case, it is “count 10 before you eat”.  Harvard researchers discovered that people who are able to count to ten (or any simple ritual) before eating that piece of cake or chocolate bar are able to consume much fewer calories than those who just dive in. Why? Repeating familiar behaviors or “rituals,” stimulates the part of the brain that controls self-discipline.

Now that you are armed with these dietary tricks, hopefully you can get through the holidays without feeling either deprived, or guilty. Happy holidays.

Tools To Help You Quit Smoking Now

Tools To Help You Quit Smoking Now

D. S. Mitchell

I used to smoke cigarettes. I quit fifty years ago. So, I guess this year is my Golden Anniversary of smoke free-living. I had tried to quit several times and had sadly returned to the nasty habit. In 1968 I participated in a grad study in college.  I suddenly realized quitting was actually easier than I had thought. I just needed a different set of tools. The grad study used journaling and self contracting to accomplish behavior change. Both techniques are addressed below.

I’m writing this post for one special person in my life. I pray every day that she will quit smoking cigarettes. She says she wants to quit, but she hasn’t been able to.

Addiction specialists recognize that cigarettes, “are the crack cocaine of nicotine,” because smoking a drug intensifies its effect.  Researcher Jack Henningfield described the process as, “brain altering.” So, if you, like my loved one, have not been able to quit, read on.

I wrote a journal entry each time I lit a cigarette. That entry included the time, the place, the circumstances and the emotion I felt with each cigarette I smoked. I did that for one week before quitting. During that time, I identified my triggers, my emotional involvement with nicotine, and the habituating ritual involved with each cigarette. In my case when reviewing my notes I realized there were only a couple of times a day I really wanted a cigarette. Wow, what a realization. Out of the fifteen cigarettes a day I was smoking I only really wanted about three of them. Eye opening. But everyone has a different relationship with nicotine so I pulled together some science and psychology and thought I would share with you some common sense ideas to help you become smoke free.

Saul Schiffman, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, recommends using cue cards to help patients kick the smoking habit. His cue cards resemble what follows. You can print these “cards” out and refer to them when you need to reinforce your choice to quit cigarettes, or rewrite them on real 3×6 cards. Be sure to personalize each action.

Card #1

Start by giving yourself Reasons to Quit:

1.) Save your life: By not smoking you are giving yourself an extra decade of life. If you are over 35 and smoke you are increasing your risk of dying from lung cancer by 12 times and emphysema by 10 times and doubling your odds of developing heart disease.

2.) Improve your health: Within 30 minutes of your last cigarette your blood pressure drops. Within 48 hours taste and smell improve. Within two weeks to two months walking becomes easier and lung function improves up to 30%. Within the first year there is a noticeable increase in energy levels.

3.) To save your looks: You will be stopping a habit that causes premature wrinkles especially around the mouth, stained teeth and yellow fingernails.

4.) To save your loved ones: If you have young children by not smoking you are no longer increasing their likelihood to developing asthma, ear infections, or bronchitis. Additionally, you are not providing a role model for smoking.

5.) To save money: You will have more disposable income. If you buy four cartons of cigarettes per month at $60.00 per carton that is $3,120 per year. OMG! You can now afford that vacation to Cancun.

6.) To save your freedom: You are no longer the slave of an addiction. Your time is once again your own.

If you notice your resolve weakening re-read your reasons to quit. To personalize the program add your own motivators to the list, because each person will have their own reasons why they want to stop smoking.

Card #2

Make a plan to kick the habit:

1.) Pick a date, make your quit date about a week away. Once you set your date do that journaling I mentioned, so you can identify when and why, you light up each of those coffin nails.

2.) Make an “I Quit contract”: The “contract” has been used for years by psychologists and psychiatrists to change behaviors. Write up a contract committing to at least 12 weeks to become a non-smoker. Keep it simple, but make it specific. Sign and date it.

3.) Get motivated: Focus on your reasons for quitting-refer to your reasons to quit list.

4.) Make a plan, plan for the challenges you will face and figure out how you will deal with the anticipated obstacles.

5.) Gather tools: Nicotine patches, gum, and lozenges are available over the counter. Or, you can visit your doctor and get a prescription. Studies show that use of such aids will double your chances of success.

6.) Get help: Ask the people around you for support. Join a quit program, call a hotline or go online for information.  Here are some valuable numbers to use when you need encouragement. 800-QUIT-NOW, smokefree.gov, and lungusa.org.

7.) Eliminate the visual reminders: On your chosen quit day, get rid of all cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.

Card #3

Those First Smoke-Free Days:

1.) Give yourself some pats on the back: You have made it another day Smoke-free. That’s a big deal, celebrate it. Think of how you will reward yourself.

2.) Plan ahead: Use your powers of visualization. Imagine the next 24 hours as a non-smoker. Make a plan on how you specifically will avoid each challenge as it presents itself. You have already learned through journaling what your triggers are. Use that knowledge to fortify your defenses.

3.) Use your tools: If you got a prescription from your doctor for Zyban remember to take it, set the alarm on your hand-held. If you are using nicotine replacement make sure you have enough to get your through the day.

4.) Line up support: Identify who will help you get through those moments of weakness. Is there someone at your workplace that has quit? Attach yourself to that success story. If you do not have a cheering squad; make a call, or go on-line and touch base with professionals.

5.) Stay centered: Practice yoga, do some visualizations, listen to music–anything that puts you in a relaxed and focused state of mind.

6.) Wear a reminder: Create a bracelet from yarn or leather to remind you of your vow to quit.

7.) Be kind to yourself: Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and take a walk. If you were smoking 20 cigarettes a day you can multiply that 20 by the 10-15 minutes you engaged in the action and Voila! you have magically created 3.3 additional hours in your day to create, to communicate, to love.

Card #4

Emergency strategies for when you see yourself giving into cravings

1.) Delay: Studies have shown that if you can hold off for 15-20 minutes the urge will pass.

2.) Depart: Get out of the situation. Take a walk, go to the ladies room. Change your surroundings.

3.) Replacement: Twist a rubber band, play with a paper clip, chew gum, eat a piece of fruit. Go for a jog. Work out. Exercise will increase your chance of success and keep any potential weight gain to a minimum.

4.) Distract: Focus on a recent success you’ve had, or plan your vacation, or fantasize about those new shoes you have eyed. Find something pleasant to replace the cigarette.

5.) Refocus: Get out your list of reasons why you want to quit. Each of those reasons are important, and sometimes we just need a little reminder of what is really important.

6.) Medicate: If you are using nicotine lozenges or gum take a piece now. If you are a menthol brand smoker consider doubling up on cessation aids. Evidence strongly suggests that the minty menthol kick makes quitting more difficult. I was a menthol smoker and think this is especially good advice.

Remember that most cravings are worst during the first week of cessation. The intensity of the symptoms will drop significantly with time. At least half of smokers report withdrawal symptoms that include dizziness, headaches, nicotine cravings, anxiety, depression and weight gain.

These symptoms are usually mild. Take a Tylenol and move on. You will be so glad you did. I’m sure quitting smoking when I did has saved me over a $100,000 dollars.  Bad habits can be expensive in more ways than one. Break the hold of nicotine on your life.


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