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Healthy Living Newsletter - Volume 2, No. 4

Issue Date: March 2, 2005
Publisher: Mellanie True Hills, The Health & Productivity Revitalizer

Escape the hype. The Healthy Living News cuts through all the health clutter to bring you reliable news to optimize your life, your health, and your work.

February was very busy—many Heart Month speeches and appearances and lots of travel. I'm now trying to catch my breath and catch up. In the middle of it all, the new edition of the book arrived. For those who pre-ordered copies of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life, they've shipped and you should have your copy soon.

What's on my mind this month? Stress and the brain were the subjects of some very important research findings recently.

  1. What's Good For Your Heart is Good For Your Brain
  2. Don't Let Stress Get To You

What's Good For Your Heart is Good For Your Brain

A Kaiser Permanente Health Plan study (published in Neurology) tracked nearly nine thousand plan members over a quarter of a century and found that those who had any of the classic heart disease risk factors (smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol) while in their forties were at greater risk for dementia later. A combination of three risk factors increased the risk by 2.3 times. It's logical that the clogging of the arteries that is often associated with heart disease would also diminish oxygen and nutrient flow to the brain, thus leading to Alzheimer's and other dementia. So now we know that controlling your heart disease risk factors also protects your brain.

Don't Let Stress Get To You

As winter lingers on, many of us are getting frequent frigid blasts accompanied by snow, and others are getting 70+ degree temperatures one day and 30 degrees the next, all of which stresses the body.

Or your stress may come from other sources--constant job or personal demands, difficult people or situations, or oppressive torrents of e-mail or voicemail that you can't seem to dig yourself out from under. A constant refrain that I hear almost daily is "I can't keep up!"

Well, you don't have to, not if it means sacrificing your health. You can give yourself permission to do the best you can, and then not stress about it. We all know that's hard, but our health has to come first.

We've come a long way in understanding stress over just the past two years. When I had my heart incident in early 2003, stress was very controversial but wasn't considered a risk factor for heart disease. Over the past year, however, we have seen a stream of proof that "stress kills." In fact, 52% of executives will die from stress-related illnesses. That's scary.

New research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (published in the New England Journal of Medicine) has given us even more important insight into the impact of stress. Researchers studied 19 people who had experienced something stressful or traumatic and then went on to have what looked like a heart attack. They didn't have clogged arteries like most heart attack victims, but instead had 2-3 times the level of stress hormones (i.e., adrenaline) as heart attack victims, and from 7-34 times normal stress hormone levels. Something emotional or traumatic triggered a deluge of stress hormones that swamped the body. Interestingly, these victims didn't experience lingering heart muscle damage like heart attack victims do, and within weeks, their damage was gone.

All victims, except one, were women. Research continues to point out that women are more vulnerable to stress than men. Certainly some of it is due to the many hats that we women wear and our tendency to have a greater family/caregiver load. And for many of us, our workplaces aren't female-friendly and that triggers stress. But researchers are also questioning whether there is a physical component and will continue to explore this mind-body relationship and hopefully unlock the pieces of the puzzle explaining why women are simply more vulnerable to stress.

But there is hope--you can do something about it. You can take control of your stress by identifying your stressors and making a plan for how to deal with them so that you can avoid the health problems that can result.

If you have other risk factors besides stress, such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history, inactivity, or overweight, you can get them under control, too, and it's not as hard as you might think. Getting started now will make you healthier! It's never too soon to start, nor is it ever too late! Just do it!

Get Health and Longevity

With A Woman’s Guide to Saving Her Own Life you'll have a step-by-step process to overcome your stress, eat healthfully, and avoid the silent killers.

Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, the American Heart Association's 2003 National Physician of the Year, said,

"Mellanie has researched an impressive repository of information and has crystallized the HEART program designed especially for women. I highly recommend the book."

Until next time, wishing you all health, happiness, and longevity,


Mellanie True Hills
The Health & Productivity Revitalizer
Speaker, consultant, health and productivity coach, and
Author of A Woman's Guide to Saving Her Own Life: The HEART Program for Health and Longevity - read the first two chapters

PS. Invite Mellanie to speak at your company, organization, or association. Her latest speaking topic is Getting More Done Without Killing Yourself. See some organizations for whom she has spoken or with whom she has worked at and view comments from attendees at her speeches.

PPS. Feel free to reprint this or any of my articles in your publication, company newsletter, or on your intranet. Please include attribution, copyright, and contact information ( and and please send us a copy. Thanks.

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