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I Completed My 90-Day Journey With Omron!

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Well, I’ve completed my 90-day journey with the Omron EVOLV blood pressure monitor.  Over this time, I’ve had good days and I’ve had bad days; I’ve had good blood pressure readings and I’ve had bad blood pressure readings; but overall, I think things have mostly gone well.

It is comforting to know that if I am “not feeling right” (and if you are also a heart attack or stroke survivor, then you know what I’m talking about) that I can sit on my couch or my bed in the comfort of my own home in the middle of the night and check my blood pressure to see if all my numbers are normal.  The monitor is even small enough that I’ve thrown it in my purse and taken it to work on those “not feeling right” days in case I needed to check my blood pressure throughout the day.

Generally, my numbers have been pretty consistent during the past 90 days, but a couple weeks ago, I did have a little scare when I checked my blood pressure one night and the numbers were kind of high compared to my norm.  I continued to monitor my numbers throughout the evening, and they only dropped a little bit.  I attributed it to a pill I had taken earlier that day and hoped that the numbers would get back to normal over the next day or so, which they did.  But it was an alarming thing to see and to get recorded on the Omron Connect app!

My cardiologist has adjusted some of my meds since my last post, so I was interested to see if my blood pressure would be affected by the change.  There has not really been a change, but that is one thing that I was looking forward to monitoring with the home monitor!  So, I’m glad to have that ability so I can monitor how my body is adjusting to the med changes over the next few weeks.

A change I’ve made with my eating is that I’m now eating a serving of steamed broccoli almost everyday!

Mmmmm…plain steamed broccoli! Sometimes, I just crave this stuff!

If I don’t get broccoli, then I’m making sure to get a side garden salad or some fresh fruit daily.

I’ve never been a big fan of blueberries, but I’m kind of starting to like them a little bit lately.

So I may not be getting all the recommended servings in daily, but I’m definitely getting in more servings over the course of a week than I was before, and that feels great!  I’m better about this on the weekends when I have more control over my meals than during the work week when things can get crazy.  So, on the weekends I try to do two vegetables and a protein per meal.

I have not purposely increased my steps lately but I did have a couple days last week where I was so busy that I got over 10,000 steps on 2 different days!!!  Man, I was exhausted last week!

What successes did you have on your 90 day challenge?  Did you make any changes in your daily routine/lifestyle? If so, do you plan to stick to these changes?

And remember Omron’s Going for Zero mission (which I personally think is fantastic) to eliminate heart attacks and strokes through prevention and education.   Make sure to check this out and make it your personal mission, too!

 

 

 

What is the Heart Walk Celebrating in 2018?

The American Heart Association’s annual Heart Walk is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year!  Can you believe it?  25 years!!!

I was honored to be invited to a kick-off event for the 2018 Orlando Heart Walk recently with some of the Executive Champions that I shared a billboard with last year for reaching a specified fundraising goal by a designated date to kick-off the 2017 Heart Walk.

This year, that goal has been raised to $5000!!!  Not sure if I’ll get to be on a billboard again to help promote the Heart Walk if I reach the goal, but I am definitely going to make every effort to reach EACH OF YOU to raise this money; so start putting aside some dollars now!  I will post my team and donation link in a couple weeks to get the fundraising ball going!  Everyone was so wonderful and giving in your support of the Heart Walk last year (even if you couldn’t be there to walk), you helped me surpass my goal.  I can’t do this without all of you, so who’s with me?!? 🙂

I wanted to put a few things in perspective on this post since it has been 25 years since the Heart Walk started – to show you how far your dollars have come in making a difference over the years.

This is relevant because I’m sure Jurassic Park got your hearts racing 25 years ago, and now it’s come back full circle with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom coming out this summer to get your hearts racing again! I feel old! eeekkk!

 

If you smoke, stop! And don’t be around smokers. Second-hand smoke is even worse. When I had my heart attack, the first questions the doctor asked me in ICU were if I smoked, if I EVER smoked, or if I was ever around smokers. My answer was “no” to all three.

 

This is direct proof that research dollars are getting put to good use!

 

Wow! We’ve come a long way! Think of how many lives can be saved over the next 25 years with your donations!

 

Take a moment to think about what these signs will read  in the next 25 years with even more donations for research for heart disease and stroke!  It really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

During the event, we also celebrated our Heart Walk Ambassador, Zane!  He was there with his parents.  Zane was a little shy and didn’t want to speak, so his mom shared his story.  Here’s his very own sign displayed at the event.  What a brave young boy!

 

And here I will leave you with the mission statement and impact goal (even though it is only 2 years away, not 25).  

 

I hope you found this helpful and are getting as excited about the 2018 Orlando Heart Walk as I am…even if you can’t walk and you can only donate…you are doing something good.  Take it from me, a heart attack survivor.  Look for upcoming communication from me with additional information on how to donate towards my $5000 goal or to join my team.  Every dollar counts!

The 2018 Orlando Heart Walk will be held at UCF Memory Mall on Saturday, November 3, 2018.

Did You Know? May is Stroke Awareness Month

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Did you know that May is Stroke Awareness Month? Are you doing anything in your daily routine to manage your risk factors for strokes? Do you know the signs of a stroke? Would you know what to do if someone you work with or a family member was having a stroke?

It’s May, so let’s take some time out of our busy schedules to ask these questions and learn the answers!

First of all, knowing your numbers can always be helpful, and that is why Omron Healthcare makes it so easy for you to monitor your blood pressure in the comfort of your own home with your EVOLV blood pressure monitor. Tracking your numbers in the app on your mobile device can help you monitor your health so you know if you need to make changes or see your doctor if the numbers are trending high or low versus your norm.

Here I am checking my blood pressure in my living room in my pajamas. If you look closely, the monitor display says “HELLO”!

By doing your part, remember you are supporting Omron’s mission of Going for Zero, which is the elimination of heart attack and stroke. This is why they are educating the public about the importance of prevention by regular monitoring of one’s blood pressure.

What are you doing in your daily routine to protect yourself against strokes? Below is an infographic that shows you what you can do daily to protect yourself.


I may not go out and exercise daily, but I try and get as many steps in as possible with the walking that I do at work.  I also check my blood pressure regularly with my EVOLV blood pressure monitor.  I haven’t measured lately, but I hope my body composition is healthy according to this infographic!! (Note to self: buy a measuring tape.) I am constantly managing my diabetes, as I pointed out in my last blog post, and that has been going well! I must admit that I am excited to practice #6…but only in moderation, as it says.  lol. You do have to be careful about alcoholic beverages, especially when taking medications.  My cardiologist has limited me to two drinks per day, but since becoming a diabetic, I don’t have much craving for alcohol so I rarely drink – maybe an occasional glass of red wine at social functions or with dinner on the weekends.

Do you know the signs of a stroke and what to do if someone around you is having one? Four very important letters to know are F.A.S.T.!  Below is an infographic that explains these letters and how to react if someone around you is showing signs of a stroke.

It seems so easy to learn these letters, but I have to admit with as much volunteering that I’ve done since my heart attack for local associations, I’ve seen F.A.S.T. time and time again, and I still have to read the descriptions and reminders.  This month, I am making it a point to memorize and learn this acronym as well as I know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack!

What additional steps are you taking this month to become more aware of stroke and stroke prevention during Stroke Awareness Month?

How Omron EVOLV Inspires Me To Be More Heart Health Conscious

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

For the past few weeks, I have been regularly checking my blood pressure in the convenience of my home with the Omron EVOLV.


Thankfully, my blood pressure has been normal with only one reading being considered “Hypertension Stage 1” on the Omron Connect app because my diastolic reading was 80mmHg while my systolic reading was still below 120mmHg. This didn’t worry me too much since I am on medicine to keep my blood pressure lowered, and I do have regular doctor visits. However, it is enough to keep me in check and remind me to continue practicing a heart healthy lifestyle.

March was National Nutrition Month, and now that April has begun, I am continuing the practice of eating healthy by incorporating lots of vegetables into my diet – daily, if I can. Many of my meals consist of salad and grilled chicken, and while many think this is boring, I really do not get tired of it because I enjoy the fresh taste of the vegetables and the chicken so much that I actually crave it! One change that I have made in the past month or so (because my cardiologist said my blood work showed I was a little dehydrated) is that I have been trying to drink more water rather than fruity sports drinks, which I would keep with me so as not to unexpectedly let my blood sugar dip since I have Type 2 Diabetes, as well. But I think I am at a good place now with my eating schedule and my water intake so I’m no longer craving the fruity sports drinks, and it doesn’t seem to be affecting my blood sugar at all!

I’m trying to make healthier snack and munchie choices, too, when I’m at home. For example, right now, my refrigerator has a bag of grapes and a bag of carrot sticks in it. If that’s all I offer myself then that’s all I can want, right?

Does anyone have any other healthy snack recommendations?

Getting in exercise is difficult for me sometimes because of my work schedule, but I do have a one mile walk from the parking lot to my office each morning and then again back to my car in the evening. I can’t stand this walk, but all of my doctors say it’s good for me, and I know it’s good for me. I’m trying to turn this downside of my day into a plus by smiling and thinking happy thoughts during this walk to make it more pleasant and release some endorphins during the walk. Occasionally someone will drive by in a golf cart and offer me a lift, and I take it…because it is hot in Florida…and I know I will get my steps in somewhere else that day! Don’t judge me! LOL!

What are you doing to get in your exercise or your steps?

I hope I can keep up these small tweaks to my heart healthy lifestyle and maybe even come up with a few more!

Taking care of your heart and your body certainly feels good and inspires you to keep going. I’m a true testament that you only have one heart (and I only have 80% of mine) so you better make it count! In fact, Omron’s mission is Going for Zero – zero heart attacks and strokes. I definitely believe this is possible with more education and awareness, if everyone works towards prevention with the right lifestyle choices and early intervention!

If you have any heart healthy tips for lowering blood pressure or keeping your heart healthy, please comment below! I’d love to hear them!

Going for Zero Pledge

This post was sponsored by Omron. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

I took the “Going for Zero Pledge”, and you can do it, too, by clicking on this link Going for Zero!

What is Going for Zero? It is Omron Healthcare‘s company mission – to eliminate heart attacks and strokes. One way they are doing this is through new heart health technologies like the Omron EVOLV, which is a portable, wireless upper-arm blood pressure monitor.

This device is clinically validated for accuracy and has received FDA clearance. It is a one-piece monitor that fits easily over your upper arm with no tubes, wires, or tabletop unit.

It easily syncs to your smartphone via Bluetooth technology and with the Omron Connect App (free) that stores, tracks, and shares your data. The easier and more convenient it is to record and track your blood pressure, the more people will do it and be aware of their heart health, thus leading to healthier individuals. Therefore eliminating heart attacks and strokes, right!? It’s one step in the right direction for a healthier YOU!

As many of you may already be aware, the American Heart Association announced new guidelines for high blood pressure last fall, which lowered the threshold for hypertension from 140/90 mmHg to 130/80 mmHG. This means that it is even more important now to be aware of your blood pressure, especially if you were at risk of being hypertensive before. What better way to monitor your blood pressure than the comfort of your own home. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I used to get white coat effect anytime I went to a doctor appointment, which caused my blood pressure readings to be high and inaccurate. The reasons for this were that I would have anxiety about my doctor visit, and I would be overwhelmed by the office in general. If you can take the readings in your own home, then you won’t have this issue because you will be doing it at your own time when you are most comfortable. You will get more accurate readings, and you can take them more often so you can keep a record of your readings, which you can then email to a family member, friend, or your doctor.

As a heart attack survivor, I am very aware of my blood pressure and keep track of it regularly because I know how important a healthy reading is. Even though I am on blood pressure medicine since my heart attack, I still keep track of it.

For the next 90 days, I will be reporting back to you to let you know how I’m doing with my new Omron EVOLV blood pressure monitor and any key learnings I find along the way. Please let me know if you take the Going for Zero Pledge! I’d love to hear from you!

As a survivor, I want nothing more than to get everyone as heart healthy as possible so no one has to go through what I went through.

Did You Know…March is National Nutrition Month?

Well, it is! So, what will you do this month to get healthy or maintain your healthy eating habits?

Here are tips from the American Heart Association for eating more fruits and veggies:

  • Add frozen peas or broccoli to rice when it’s almost done cooking.
  • Add extra veggies to soups and stews.
  • Have a meatless meal once a week.
  • Fill out a sandwich with fruits and veggies.
  • Keep frozen and canned fruits and vegetables on hand for when you need to throw together a meal in a hurry.
  • Work fruits and vegetables into your family’s favorite dishes.

Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have any other tips to add? Please share in the comments, and have a happy and healthy March!

Welch Allyn Home 1700 Series Blood Pressure Monitor

If you are looking for a blood pressure monitor to use at home for hypertension management, then you’re probably like me and you want to get the best.  When I’ve shopped for blood pressure monitors, there are lots of choices out there, so it’s hard to tell which one to get.  Well, I’m here to tell you that Welch Allyn Home 1700 Series Blood Pressure Monitor is one that I’ve tried and with which I’m very happy.  I recently visited a friend in the hospital, and I noticed the familiar brand of Welch Allyn on some of the equipment used by the nursing staff.  Knowing that hospitals use this brand makes me even more confident in my use of this Home BP Monitor!

The Welch Allyn Home BP 1700 requires 4 AA batteries, which are included in the box, and the cord for the cuff easily snaps onto the monitor.  The cuff has lines and directions on it so it can easily be positioned on your arm.  In fact, the same SureBP technology used by doctors and hospitals enables an accurate measurement in half the time of the leading competitor without the unnecessary discomfort or overinflating. The large display screen is also bright and easy to read.

My favorite thing about this Home BP Monitor is that you can pair it with your smartphone.  I have an iPhone that doesn’t have a lot of memory left on it, and I was able to quickly and easily download the Welch Allyn Home App from the App Store and pair my phone to the device.  (You can also download from Google Play). It was so simple.  I was taking my blood pressure in no time – a reading actually takes 20 seconds!  Instead of having to write down your results (in case you have to record them for doctor’s visits), the app records the results and you can enter comments with each result.  You can also set a SYS/DIA goal, and the app will chart your results on a graph so you can see your range over time. This allows you to track and share your readings with loved ones and caregivers if that’s what you need. Check with your physician to see if he/she participates in the Welch Allyn Home Hypertension Program. This clinical portal is available to establish critical connectivity between physicians and patients to provide access to trusted care team members to review blood pressure results automatically.

You can get more information on the Welch Allyn Home Hypertension Program and more information regarding the Welch Allyn 1700 Series Blood Pressure Monitor on their website: WelchAllynHome.com. The Home BP Monitor currently retails for $109.99.

This post is sponsored by Welch Allyn, but thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m on a Billboard!!

We did it!!! With your help, I completed the Executive Challenge by raising $3000 by June 30th for the American Heart Association's Greater Orlando Heart Walk!!  Thanks to you, the message of heart disease awareness is now being spread throughout Orlando in the form of Clear Channel billboards for the Heart Walk! There are dozens out there. 

Here is a photo courtesy of Clear Channel that AHA sent me. 

I have not seen one of the billboards in person yet, so if you find one, please take a picture and post it with the location so I can go find it! 

Not sure how long they will be up, but the Heart Walk is September 23. 

Thank you again for all of your support!!

Virtual Roundtable with Dr. James Rippe

dr_rippeI recently had the pleasure of being invited to join a virtual roundtable with renowned cardiologist, Dr. James Rippe, founder and director of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute.  Dr. Rippe is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School with post-graduate training at Massachusetts General Hospital. You can read more about his accolades here.  

This roundtable was to discuss NO (nitric oxide) and its beneficial effects on the heart, according to Dr. Rippe’s extensive research.  Below are some bullet points that I took from the roundtable when Dr. Rippe was talking about medical benefits and overall information of NO.  You will need some basic medical background to understand the bullets below, as I took the notes as I would have in college but have added in some layman’s terms.

NO:

  • It has a short 1/2 life
  • Multiple mechanisms exist in the body to produce it
  • Most importantly, it **DILATES ARTERIES**
    • This includes heart and coronary arteries
    • It works in the endothelium of the coronary arteries
  • It is generated from the AA (Amino Acid), Arginine
  • It is generated from Nitrates that we eat
  • Nitrates are converted to Nitrites that are then converted to NO
  • Patients with hypertension will have increased BP (blood pressure) due to decreased NO
  • Aging causes decreased NO
  • It is generated in people who are physically active, ex. Michael Phelps (Olympic Swimmer)
  • It plays a signaling role in the GI (gastrointestinal) tract
  • It has an immune function
  • It has an anti-platelet function

Eating certain vegetables can increase your Nitrates, thereby increasing NO.  Below is a list of vegetables high in Nitrates.

Dr. Rippe is an advocate of the Berkeley Life supplement, which is available at select locations nation-wide and comes with test strips to indicate the levels of NO in the body.

Berkeley Test - 10 Pack - Left Angle - with Strips - 3D VisualAW_1798_Berkeley Life_3D Image_Heart Health_Left Angle

Dr. Rippe said that 2 pills/day is equal to 1/4 lbs of spinach (or similar green leafy vegetables like kale and even beetroot).

I submitted a couple of questions during the session – one of them being whether or not this supplement would interact with all of the cardiac medicines I already take that are prescribed by my doctor (since I am a heart attack survivor).  He said that he is not aware of any cardiac meds that interact with NO.  However, I would still be most comfortable, as with any supplement, to get this cleared by my cardiologist before taking it to make sure there were no interactions.

My other question was that with all of my research after my heart attack on what to eat and not eat, I’d read that processed meats with Nitrates and Nitrites as preservatives should be avoided because they were bad for the heart, so I asked about this because it obviously contradicts what he is saying.  He said that Nitrates and Nitrites in processed meats are the same but in higher concentrations.  Yes, they are used as preservatives.  So, don’t go around consuming large quantities of them, but it is ok to eat them in moderation.

So, all in all, this was an eye-opener for me about Nitrates and Nitrites since I had always heard the opposite.  It is very interesting research and something that I definitely want to read/learn more about.

If any of you have tried this supplement, please comment below if you’re comfortable sharing your experience with it.  I would be curious to know how it is working for people and if they can tell a difference.

Happy researching!

Kimby

Greater Orlando Heart Walk’s Executive Challenge

Because I did so well in raising money (almost $3500) in last year’s Heart Walk, the American Heart Association here in Orlando decided to sign me up for the Executive Challenge this year.  What is the Executive Challenge you might ask?  Well, see the flyer below.

EC and Registration Flyer.pub

Even though I am not an “Executive” at my company, I guess my company is large enough for me to qualify to participate.  I’m honored to be entered into this challenge, so I HAVE to meet the goal!  And what better way to get my story out there and to spread the message of heart disease than to be in the Orlando Business Journal and on a Clear Channel billboard!!  It’s a win-win situation for everyone!

So, I accepted the challenge, and even though I was on vacation for 2.5 weeks during this time, I worked hard to send out messaging to friends, family, and colleagues before vacation; and I’ve been working hard to send out messaging this week to hit my goal by the 30th of June, which is this Friday!  I am SO CLOSE!!!!!  As of today, I am $250 away, and I just have to make it.  I can’t believe that each of you has helped me raise so much in such a short amount of time.  It’s almost as much as we raised last year during the entire summer!!

If you are able to donate to this great cause and would like to help me towards my goal by this Friday – or even help me towards my overall goal by the September Heart Walk, you can follow this link to donate to me and my team.  

Click here to Donate

Thank you so much.  Every little bit counts and is very much appreciated!!  I am living proof of how far medical research has come and how it is saving lives, and hopefully I will be a further testament to this as I go in this week for my 2nd heart catheterization procedure as a precautionary due to some symptoms I’ve been having. Wish me luck!

#2ndChanceatLifeisWhy

Love,

Kimby <3