Numbers for health

Optimal Operating Conditions – Live your Healthiest Life

Numbers for health
Know your optimal operating conditions

What are your optimal operating conditions? How often do you change the oil in your car? How warm/cool do you keep your home? How often do you change your furnace filter? When do you change your car’s tires?

I find we tend to be more aware of these guidelines for our cars and homes than we do for our bodies. Perhaps it is more clearly communicated how to care for your car or your home.

Most people find a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit to be comfortable. Your car’s tires were designed to perform best when driving at the speed limit. You car’s oil is designed to lubricate the moving parts of your engine for 3500 miles (up to 7-10,000 if synthetic).

Our bodies have been designed to operate BEST within certain parameters. Do you know the numbers that will help keep you most healthy? Here are a few.

Your Best Numbers for your Heart

Why are your blood pressure and pulse checked every visit to your doctor? It is because there is an optimal range to help your heart stay in top performance.

Pulse 60-90 bests per minute

Blood pressure under 140/90 without being dizzy

When your heart beats in this range, it is able to fill with the right amount of blood with each beat. It can also send out to the body the right amount of blood with each pump. If your heart pumps too slowly, there might not be enough blood per pump to get enough to all of the other parts of the body. Similarly, when the heart pumps too fast, each squirt is just a small amount of blood rather than a full load. Those small quick squirts don’t get enough blood throughout the body where it is needed.

When your blood pressure is too high, it makes your heart work extra hard. Think about a body builder gradually increasing his muscle mass. If he tries to lift too much weight all of a sudden without working up to that weight, he is likely to hurt himself. He could even rip or harm a muscle to the point his weight lifting days are over. When your blood pressure shoots up quickly or it stays high over time, you move from a strong heart muscle to an injured heart muscle. A heart attack is destruction of part of the muscle wall. Once part of the heart is no longer working correctly, the rest of heart has trouble doing its work. It has to compensate for the wounded part.

Your Best Numbers for your Sugar

At least yearly during your physical, your doctor checks your blood sugar. Sugar (technical term glucose) is essential ‘food’ for your cells. Now, sugar doesn’t just come from eating sugary, sweet food. It is the result of your body breaking down other foods into usable cell ‘food’. There are a lot of other ways the body stores, releases, and breaks down sugar. Also, insulin is what helps that sugar ‘food’ get into the cell. Your body works best when your sugar is in the optimal range, and you have the right amount of insulin to keep it in that range.

Blood glucose 60-110 mg/dL if you do not have diabetes. (Your goal might be a bit higher if you have diabetes – talk with your doctor).

A1c (glycosylated hemoglobin – this gives an indication of your blood sugar over the last 90 days)

4-5.6% if you do not have diabetes

5.7-6.4% your doctor will talk with you about ways to make changes with your diet and exercise to avoid diabetes

less than 6.5% goal for well-controlled diabetes

just over 6.5% for some people with diabetes

– your doctor will help decide your best goal

When your blood sugar is too low, you get dizzy, shaky, sick to your stomach, you sweat, and it is hard to think clearly. When your blood sugar is too high, it causes damage throughout your body. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to poor kidney function, blindness, and loss of feeling in your hands and feet and other parts of your body. Also, type 2 diabetes is linked with high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and being overweight.

Your Best numbers for your Weight

Your weight is also checked with nearly all doctor visits. Extra weight is hard on a lot of parts of your body. It creates more work for your hips, your knees, your ankles, and your feet. You are more likely to have diabetes. There are more cells to feed, beyond what your body was intended to feed. Your risk of heart attack and stroke go up. Your risk of falls goes up.

Your ideal weight is linked with your height. There are two best ways to determine if your weight is in a healthy range. One deals with your total weight. The other pertains to where you carry your extra weight.

Body Mass Index (BMI) – you can calculate your BMI here. It is based on your height.

Your BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.9

Waist Circumference – see this link to learn how to measure your waist circumference.

Women should be less than 35 inches

Men should be less than 40 inches

Can you live with numbers that are outside the normal range? Yes, you can. There will be consequences, though. When we live outside of the optimal range, systems don’t function as efficiently. They don’t operate like they were designed to operate.

Note, medications can help with these numbers. And, in all of these circumstances, our daily choices are also important to maintain optimal operating conditions. What we eat, how much we sit, how we exercise, and how we control our stress are also important in staying in these goal ranges. So, you have a lot of ability to help control your numbers!

Please contact us at Meds MASH to learn more about how to stay in your optimal operating conditions! You can reach us at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Our body will function best when it can operate at optimal numbers. God designed our bodies and these healthy parameters. God has given us optimal operating guidelines for our spiritual life, too.

This struck me hard this week while I was reading Numbers. [I’ll admit, I don’t love reading some of the Bible chapters like Numbers. They can be dry and tedious. I have accepted the challenge of reading the Bible in a year. I highly encourage you to do this. You can start any time. So many insights jump out each time.]

While reading Numbers it hit me how God REPEATEDLY told the Israelites exactly what He was going to do and what He wanted them to do. He guided them with when to move, when to stay, and where to go. He provided the food while they were in the desert with few food sources. He explained before they reached each place who they would conquer and how He would make that happen.

If they had just listened, things would have been so much easier for them. That time in the desert could have been focused on worship and praise and relaxation waiting for all the wonderful things that they were promised.

Instead, they were impatient, untrusting, and impressionable. They were easily pulled away from God’s message and onto the opinions, concerns, or temptations presented by other people.

[If you’re a Veggie Tales fan, remember the peas in Josh and the Big Wall? They said, ‘silly children’ when addressing the children of God.] Silly children!

Numbers 14:11 ESV

And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?

We sit here and read about their mistakes and wonder how they could have been so dense. Through Moses, God spelled out what they needed to do in great detail. It was very clear. What were they thinking?

Then, I remember my own thoughts, actions, impatience, lack of trust, and how gullible I can be. Who am I to judge? Because Jesus died for us and removed the rules of the Hebrew Bible, our access to God is so much easier! We really have no excuse.

Galatians 3:13 ESV

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

We don’t have to obey the tedious rules and sacrifices of the Hebrew people. Christ removed all of those rules and barriers between God and us. You have a straight link to the creator of the universe through Christ. Day by day, minute-by-minute God will guide you if you just ask.

I’ve mentioned before, my day is entirely different, less stressful, more productive, and more peaceful when I give it all to Christ. So, you’d think I would do that every day. Duh! If I give it to Christ it is an incredible day. If I get into a rush, too busy, too much too do, no time to slow down, then the whole day stays rushed and stressful.

John 16:33 ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I encourage you to consider this week how God is calling you to live. How does your ready access and potential relationship with Him change everything? If you look in the Bible, we are given the exact recipe for a life of peace and love. It’s our own decisions, impatience, lack of trust, and distractibility that takes us off that path.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Use reflective statements to enhance communication and decrease conflict

Communicate Your Way to Better Health

Use reflective statements to enhance communication and decrease conflict
Communicate to decrease conflict and increase understanding using reflective statements

How do you handle conflict? For most of us the answer is, ‘not very well’. Conflict can raise your blood pressure, constrict your veins and arteries, and make your heart beat harder and faster.

Did you know that communication is NEARLY ALWAYS at the heart of conflict. As people, we miscommunicate on a regular basis. Part of what makes good communication so difficult is that it involves at least two people. Once is communicating and one is interpreting that communication. Let’s take a look at both important parts.

Communicate a consistent message

I was at a retreat this weekend where we played a game about consistent messaging. Think about a time when someone was talking with you and their message was not consistent. Their words said something that did not match their tone or their face or their body language. Imagine someone saying, ‘I love you’ with a grimace on their face and a mocking tone. Or picture someone saying, ‘So nice to meet you’ while glancing around the room looking for someone else. Has anyone ever tried to express anger with you then started laughing? It is hard to express anger while laughing. Someone was just telling me a story about a toddler rearranging a bunch of decorations and falling into a box headfirst with her feet sticking out of the top. The decoration was too heavy and pulled her over. This parent had to stifle giggles and get a picture before retrieving and correcting the toddler.

So, when you are communicating, carefully think about saying the same message with your words, your tone, your eye contact, your facial expression, and your body language. That will help avoid misinterpretation.

Check for understanding

When you are the one communicating, make sure the receiver actually understands what you are saying. It is ok to ask them to repeat it back. Or to ask what questions they have. If we assume the other person understood exactly what we were thinking and trying to communicate, we can often be disappointed. Think about the last time you thought someone understood and they did something completely different than what you asked.

If you are the listener, this is a critical step to assure you are understanding the message.

Reflective Statements

When you are the listener, one of the best techniques you can use is ‘reflective statements’. State back to the person communicating with you what you hear them saying. Put it in your own words. Here are some examples:

  • You are saying you are upset about _________ because _________.
  • You are asking me to _________________ and have it done by _________.
  • ___________ frustrates you when he/she ______________.
  • You want to ________________ before you agree to a hip surgery.
  • You heard that I ______________, and it has upset you.
  • Your son forgot to _______________, and not you don’t know what to do.

When you respond with a reflecting statement, you are making sure you understood the person’s message. It is a chance for them to clarify if you misunderstood. It is also a chance for them to feel heard and understood if you are correct.

Making sure you understand before taking any action, even before getting angry, and help avoid a lot of conflict.

If someone is upset or angry and respond also upset and angry, the situation escalates quickly. I have seen this happen where the two people don’t even realize they are saying the same thing. Neither is listening, they are just yelling. Now that will really get your blood pressure up!

I have found that FREQUENTLY, what I think I heard and what the person really intended were different. Especially when the topic is emotionally charged. It is our natural reaction to get defensive when someone comes at us angry. It is very hard to listen well in that state. So, a really deep breath and a calm reflecting statement can often help the situation calm back down. Sometimes when we are angry or frustrated we just want to vent. Once the venting is done, and the recipient reflects understanding, the situation doesn’t seem so bad.

Communicate with your Healthcare Team

These same techniques are very helpful when you communicate with your doctor. Sometimes the news we receive from our doctor can be upsetting. The words used in medicine are big and scary all by themselves. It can be hard to understand all of the technical information.

I highly encourage you to state back to your doctor what you just heard. Say it in your own words.   This will help the doctor know where to clarify. I have had many patients get upset by a medical term that was actually no big deal. It just sounded scary. My grandfather, after 40+ years of smoking, a heart attack, a stroke, and stomach ulcers quit smoking cold turkey. We had been trying to get him to quit for years. None of those scary medical issues made him quit. But, when he was diagnosed with hiatal hernia he quit on the spot. [Hiatal hernia is when the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach can’t close all the way. This allows stomach acid to come back up giving you heartburn. For him, this was the mildest of his issues.] I ask him why. His answer, ‘That’s a really scary word.’ I was in pharmacy school at the time. I had all sorts of scary words I could have given him. Who knew that was all it would take to get him to quit.

So, I encourage use to be clear and consistent with your communication. And, ask clarifying questions and use reflective statements when you are receiving communication. Especially if it seems upsetting, make sure you really understand the message before you make any decisions. This could help you avoid a lot of conflict.

Your heart will thank you for managing conflict better and keeping your blood pressure down.

For more information about communication techniques for your health, please contact us at Meds MASH at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

When we react without first understanding, we often get ourselves into trouble. Throughout the Bible we see examples of people making bad assumptions followed by bad actions.

The people of Israel, after God had gotten them out of slavery and out of Egypt and led them through the desert supplying food and water and protection, still made bad assumptions. While Moses was on the mountain with God himself, they assumed he wasn’t coming back, so they made a golden calf to be their god.

Exodus 32:1 NIV

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods[a] who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

When Jesus was talking with his disciples about what was coming next for him, including his death, Peter jumped right in and disagreed.

Matthew 16:21-23 NIV

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

In the bible we are also told to expect miscommunication in the future. There will be false prophets and all sorts of misinformation.

Matthew 7:15 ESV

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

1 John 4:1 ESV

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

We are called to be discerning. Ask questions. Get the full story. Make sure you understand and that what you hear matches the messages of the Bible.

I feel better when I read this passage. There will be no doubt when Jesus returns. Other people can claim what they want. I won’t believe it until it is this obvious:

Matthew 24:29-31 ESV

The Coming of the Son of Man

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

That doesn’t sound too subtle. So, until it is extremely obvious and visible to all of creation, let’s not fall for false messages.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Sugar, Pressure, and Lipids…Oh My! Metabolic Syndrome

Slide1Do you have diabetes, or have you been told you have pre-diabetes? Are you overweight, especially around your midsection? Do you have high blood pressure? Do you have high cholesterol? Did you know they often go hand-in-hand? As a group they are called ‘metabolic syndrome’.

Metabolic Syndrome

This term describes a collection of medical conditions that each impacts the other. These conditions have many negative effects on your body. The primary risks have to do with your possibility of heart disease and stroke.

Risk factors

The biggest risk factor seems to be weight. Our population as a whole has been gaining weight over the last several years. As that has occurred, the number of people with diabetes has rapidly climbed. The number of people with metabolic syndrome has also climbed. Family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and/or high cholesterol also increases your risk of developing these conditions.

Treatment

No matter what medications are used, DIET and EXERCISE are key components of treatment. In particular, less fat, salt, sugar, carbohydrates, and overall calories can help you control this syndrome. Simple carbohydrates are foods like white bread, white pasta, sweets, honey, and fruits.

There have been many new types of medications to treat diabetes in recent years. This is great news if you have type 2 diabetes! The different types of medication help control your blood sugar in different ways. So, you might find that more than one medication is used.

The situation is similar with high blood pressure. There are several different types of medications to lower blood pressure.  These impact the blood pressure from different mechanisms. Using more than one can better lower blood pressure in some patients.

The best type of cholesterol medication depends on which parts of the lipid profile are to be treated. Which are selected is also impacted by liver function.

In addition to those medicines, often a low-dose aspirin is added to further lower risk for heart attack or stroke.

So, if you have metabolic syndrome, you are probably taking several different medications. You also hopefully monitor parts of the syndrome at home – blood pressure and/or blood sugars.

If you would like to better understand your medication regimen, please contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

There are multiple different types of medications that approach the control of some medical conditions from different angles. Similarly, there are multiple ways to worship. In what ways do you worship the Lord?

Colossians 3:14-17 ESV

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

John 4:24 ESV

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Psalm 95:6 ESV

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Isaiah 12:5 ESV

“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.

Worship is so much more than going to church on Sunday. God wants you to get to know Him and to worship in multiple ways. Fully experience the glory and joy of God!

Blessings,

Michelle

Clots lead to TROUBLE

Most strokes and heart attacks have something in common – CLclotOTS.

Normally blood whooshes right through veins and arteries with nothing blocking the way. The blood carries oxygen to all of the parts of the body to provide energy to keep everything functioning properly.

Sometimes a fatty diet and genes/family history and some medical conditions lead to fibrin (a protein in the blood) and fat lining the edges of the veins and arteries. Some of this can happen with no real danger.

Then other times, something occurs that takes that fat and fibrin and knocks out a chunk of artery lining or makes the surface rough. This allows platelets (a component of the blood) and fibrin to stick to the rough/injured area. As these continue to stick, the blood goes through a more and more narrow passage. Eventually, blood flow is completely blocked.

When this happens in the brain, a stroke results. When this happens in the arteries providing blood to the heart, a heart attack happens. When this happens in the legs, it is called deep vein thrombosis. When it happens in the lungs it is a pulmonary embolus.

What can you do to prevent these clots? There are several key things:

  • Stop smoking if you smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time (even if you travel, take breaks to move around)
  • After surgery or being sick in bed, get up and move as soon as possible and move frequently.
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Eat a heart healthy diet

Take control of your future and make these positive changes so you can avoid clots.

For more information, contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

A clot often starts with some little thing going wrong. Either a tiny piece breaks off the fat lining of the artery or something roughs up the edge a bit. Then that small negative event grows and grows and grows until a major life-threatening event occurs.

How often does this happen in life and relationships?

Someone says something that hurts your feelings. It might be deliberate or a result of poor social skills or completely unintended. But, you take offense. Then, you start thinking about the words and you get more angry. Then you start recounting any other thing that person has ever done that could be interpreted negatively. Then you start watching this person and interpreting anything they say or do negatively. Maybe you even bring in other people to support your interpretation of the hurtful statement.

The next thing you know, that relationship stops receiving any sustaining positive input. It completely dies. Everyone walks away hurt.

Have you ever said or done something hurtful completely by accident? I recently was talking with a friend who plans to disown any relationships that didn’t reach out to support her when she lost a dear family member. I understand the hurt, especially at such a tender time. Did all of those people who didn’t reach out intend to hurt her? Or, was a mistake made? Did they not know how important that support could be? Did they not know how to support?

I’m not making excuses. I’m extending grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 4:32 ESV

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

James 1:19-20 ESV

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

Let’s all try to keep our focus on love, forgiveness, and grace to bring out the best in each other.

Blessings,

Michelle

I have hypertension – so what, I don’t feel any different

When your bSlide1lood pressure is elevated, most often you don’t feel anything. It is a silent condition. All medications have the potential for side effects. So many people have chosen to avoid the medications and ignore the hypertension.

So what?

If untreated, high blood pressure (hypertension) can lead to heart attacksstrokesheart failure, and other cardiovascular conditions. It really is a big deal.

So what can you do if you have hypertension?

First, take your medicine every day as prescribed! If you have side effects or problems taking it, tell your doctor or pharmacist right away.

Second, if you smoke, it is truly important that you stop. Smoking greatly increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Third, if you drink alcohol, limit yourself to 1 drink per day and let your doctor know that you drink. This way your medicine regimen can be chosen with that in mind to reduce any risks to you.

Fourth, limit your salt intake. Ideally stop using your saltshaker, rinse your canned vegetables and
cook them in fresh water, watch sodium content in foods.   Many quick and easy (heat and eat) foods are high in sodium. This can increase your blood pressure.

Fifth, maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk for heart disease and makes your blood pressure harder to control. Losing weight usually requires a combination of healthier eating and exercise. Check with your doctor before you start an exercise routine to be sure it is a healthy one for you with your hypertension. (You can calculate your body mass index at this link.)

Sixth, control your diabetes. Many people with diabetes have hypertension and are overweight. Metabolic syndrome is a term to describe having hypertension; obesity, especially around your middle; high cholesterol; and diabetes. Having this syndrome is another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

So, there are several healthy steps you can take to protect your heart and lower your blood pressure.

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

Choices. We are faced with them every day. Sometimes the bad choices seem so much easier than the good choices.

Where can you find the strength and willpower to make good choices?

On your own, there are definite limits to what you can do. Temptations can be great. Life changes, whether your diet, your exercise, or a host of other areas, can be a source of great frustration. Words like procrastination, justification, avoidance, and defensiveness come to mind. Have you experienced any of these?

But you do have access to infinite strength and support.

Philippians 4:13 ESV

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Deuteronomy 20:4 ESV

For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Rather than trying to make important changes with your own strength and willpower, turn to your true power source. Take that minute by minute journey with God leading you through.

Blessings,

Michelle

Hypertension ≠ High Tension

I have Heart - NIHhad several clients who have interpreted the medical condition hypertension as ‘high tension’. They thought this was a condition related to stress. And then, several thought the condition was only present when they were feeling stressed.

How much stress is there in your life right now? How much stress is there in the world? Some of us feel stressed much of the time. Others take a laid back approach to life and rarely feel stress.

Is it true that the stressed people have hypertension and the laid back people don’t?

NO

Hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) is a medical condition that goes way beyond stress or tension. It is a complex condition that is related to our genes (which we can’t control), our environment (some of which we can control), our behaviors (which we CAN control), and likely other factors that are still to be discovered.

Because it is such a complex condition with so many systems in the body involved, there are many medications that are used to treat it. Each category, or type, of medicaion treats hypertension in a different way. So, for some people, hypertension can be controlled with one medication. For other people, it could take two, three, four, or more medications, each acting on a different aspect of the condition.

How high is too high? The very general answer is a blood pressure over 140/90 is too high based on current guidelines. If someone has a history of heart disease or diabetes or some other conditions, your doctor might give you a lower goal such as less than 130/80.

How low is too low? Too low is not a strict number. Rather, it is more related to symptoms. If you feel dizzy when you stand or turn, have seen a marked decrease in your energy since starting your hypertension medicine, or are having trouble catching your breath, talk with your doctor.

Blood pressure that gets too high can be dangerous. It can lead to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke.

So what can you do about hypertension if you have it?

Check back next week for a ‘prescription’ for lowering and controlling your blood pressure.

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

Do you have stress in your life? Do you worry? Does your mind keep you awake at night thinking about all you need to do, or the things you are worried about?

I don’t know about you, but just watching the news can increase my stress level. It all seems so out of control.

It is at those times that we can be assured that God is in control. Ultimately, God wins. This universe, all of history, all current events, and the future belong to Him.

On Sunday our pastor mentioned that you could sum up the entire Bible in two words – GRACE and PEACE. Jesus came to provide access to both. His grace and peace are with us at all times; we just need to quiet ourselves, turn our hearts and minds to Him to experience it.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:34 ESV

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

John 14:27 NLT

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. God is in control.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image Source:  National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Stiff and Inflexible – Arterial Stenosis

atherosclerosis NIHSo why shouldn’t you eat all of the high fat foods that you want? They really do taste good. You know other people who eat those foods. So why shouldn’t you?

What can it hurt?

Your arteries are the part of your venous system that carry the clean, full-of-oxygen blood from your heart throughout your body. Your veins then carry the blood that has given up its oxygen to ‘feed’ your body and is now ready to go back to the heart to get a fresh supply.

In addition, your veins and arteries dilate (open up wider) or constrict (squeeze down tighter) based on the pressure needs in your body to keep the blood flowing. This ability to change how open they are is essential for blood pressure control, heart protection, kidney function, and more.

Arterial stenosis is a condition where those flexible, open tubes start to get thicker and less flexible. When this happens, they cannot respond to the body’s pressure needs as well. Specific areas where this thickening can be problematic is in the renal arteries (main arteries of the kidneys), carotid arteries (main arteries to the brain), and the aorta (main artery leaving the heart). This can cause quicker fatigue, decrease exercise tolerance, and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Those fatty foods can increase the cholesterol in your blood. That cholesterol can then ‘stick’ to the walls of your arteries making them even more thick and inflexible.

Too much cholesterol, too little exercise, smoking, diabetes, and being overweight can all increase risk of and worsen this condition.

So, making those good decisions about the food you eat, getting regular exercise, and not smoking can keep your blood flowing easily. This will keep your heart, your kidneys, your brain healthy and keep you living your dreams!

For more information, contact us at www.medsmash.com.  There you can find a short movie demonstration of a clean verses a stenotic artery.

Biblical Application

How often do we become too stiff and inflexible in our lives? Has God ever compelled you to do something, and you ignored or refused?

Have you ever had your feelings hurt and shunned the person who hurt you without trying to talk it through?

Do you know anyone who has stopped going to church or attending church functions because they don’t agree with some aspect of the service, or the people in leadership, or who sits where, or whatever reason?

Why do we get so caught up in small matters that we miss the BIG PICTURE of love and grace and eternity?

Like thickening of our arteries, sin, greed, jealousy, strife, self-interests can thicken our spiritual life-line causing us to be inflexible and obstinate.

God’s word mentions the stubbornness of us humans from the very first book.

Genesis 16:12 ESV

He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

Psalm 81:11-12 ESV

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.

Hosea 4:16 ESV

Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture?

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

Job 36:11 NIV

If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.

The only way I will keep a pliable, obedient spirit in the larger decisions is to look to Him and to obey in the smaller ones.”  Catherine Marshall

Next time you’re feeling irritable and obstinate, take a minute to reconnect with the One who can keep your spiritual arteries clean and flowing. Let His love and acceptance flow unimpeded through you with prayer, time in the Bible, and fellowship with faithful people.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Timing Is Everything – STROKE

Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA), also known as stroke, usually comes on quickly without warning. We should all know the warning signs.

F—Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

A—Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?


S—Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

T—Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Take immediate action. When you get to the hospital, a brain CT scan will be done. This is to determine if there is a stroke. It will also determine if it is a stroke from a clot or from a bleed (ruptured vessel in the brain). With quick treatment, stroke damage can be reversed or never happen. However if the timing is delayed, stroke damage can be permanent and debilitating and alter a life forever.

It is better to be evaluated and be fine than to delay stroke treatment. If you take quick action, and stroke is caught early, the clot can be removed or the bleeding stopped.

Strokes can happen at any age. 1/3 are under age 65.

Nearly 800,000 people in the US have a stroke each year.

1 in every 20 deaths is due to stroke.

Your risks are higher if you have –

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of stroke

or if you smoke.

If you ever have these symptoms for a few minutes, then they go away, still call 911. A Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a temporary blockage of a brain blood vessel. It is a huge warning sign that you are at risk for a full stroke. Never ignore these!

If you would like to be assessed for you personal stroke risks contact www.medsmash.com.

Biblical Application

The same is true so many of our actions. God’s timing is impeccable. Sometimes God says ‘Go’ and you should go quickly and not hesitate. Other times God says wait.  Waiting can be hard, but throughout the Bible we are encouraged to wait.

Habakkuk 2:3 ESV

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Isaiah 40:31 ESV 

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 27:14 ESV 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Ecclesiastes 8:6ESV  

For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Know your stroke warning signs, and act immediately!  Listen for God’s leading in all aspects of life.  His timing is perfect!

Blessings,

MIchelle Fritsch