Home Authors Posts by Valerie Paxton

Valerie Paxton

Valerie Paxton is a co-founder of AllegroMedical.com and lives in Phoenix, AZ. In 1997 she set out with her business partner, Craig Hood to form Allegro Medical - a company dedicated to helping people lead more independent and healthy lives. They poured their knowledge and experience into AllegroMedical.com and now have more than 1 million customers nationwide. Valerie has a degree in Journalism from the University of Nebraska and has spent most of her career in communications, marketing, PR, and investor relations. She enjoys giving advice, mentoring, volunteering, writing, reading, cooking, telling funny stories, healthy eating, her cocker spaniel Honey, her boyfriend Todd, hiking, kayaking, jokes and world travel. Follow Valerie on Twitter at http://twitter.com/vpaxton

Apparently you can get really, really sick if you don’t keep your portable humidifier clean. 

Here are Mayo Clinic’s Tips for portable humidifiers:

  • Use distilled or demineralized water. Tap water contains minerals that can create deposits inside your humidifier that promote bacterial growth. And, when released into the air, these minerals often appear as white dust on your furniture. You may also breathe in some minerals that are dispersed into the air. In addition, use demineralization cartridges or filters if recommended by the manufacturer.


  • Change humidifier water often. Don’t allow film or deposits to develop inside your humidifiers. Empty the tanks, dry the inside surfaces and refill with clean water every day if possible.


  • Clean humidifiers every three days. Unplug the humidifier before you clean it. Remove any mineral deposits or film from the tank or other parts of the humidifier with a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, which is available at pharmacies. Some manufacturers recommend using chlorine bleach or other disinfectants.


  • Always rinse the tank after cleaning to keep harmful chemicals from becoming airborne — and then inhaled.


  • Change humidifier filters regularly. If the humidifier has a filter, change it at least as often as the manufacturer recommends — and more often if it’s dirty.


  • Keep the area around humidifiers dry. If the area around a humidifier becomes damp or wet — including windows, carpeting, drapes or tablecloths — turn the humidifier down or reduce how frequently you use it.


  • Prep humidifiers for storage. Drain and clean humidifiers before storing them. And then clean them again when you take them out of storage for use. Throw away all used cartridges, cassettes or filters.


  • Follow instructions for central humidifiers. If you have a humidifier built into your central heating and cooling system, read the instruction manual or ask your heating and cooling specialist about proper maintenance.


  • Consider replacing your humidifier each season. Over time, your humidifier can build up deposits that are difficult or impossible to remove and encourage growth of bacteria. Even if you plan to toss out your humidifier at the end of the season, it still needs frequent cleaning in the meantime.

 To keep humidifiers free of harmful mold, fungi and bacteria, follow the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer.

Buy one from Allegro Medical that needs very little maintenance, like the 3.5 Gallon Care Free Humidifier Plus with 100% protection against bateria, molds and spores. 

For more info, see  Humidifier Types & Tips.

I argue with my mom about this all the time.  She insists that the only way to lose weight is to expend more calories than you eat.  I tell her that there is an insulin component in there that regulates the way your body stores and uses fats and sugars.  If you know how your body works, you can use that to your advantage if you want to lose a few pounds here and there.  I am not advocating anything like the Adkins diet, although it works very well.  It just seems so unhealthy to eat so much fat and protein in whatever quantities you want.  That is the hook, though.  I like to eat a modified low-sugar diet complete with high complex carbs that break down slowly and don’t cause a big blood sugar rush.  When I want to lose weight faster, or get it “going”, I cut back on the carbs.  There are plenty of books and resources out there about how to do this safely, and plenty of reasons not to do it at all if you don’t know what you’re doing, but here’s a quick synopsis of how it works.

Low Carb Step-by-Step:

1.  You stop eating carbohydrates – bread, rice, pasta, high-starch veggies (potatoes, corn, peas), anything with sugar, fructose, honey, etc. in it including fruit and things like ketchup, salad dressing, gum & baked beans.   Instead, you eat low-starch veggies, plus protein and fat – things like lettuce, turkey, eggs, cheese, olive oil, chicken, fish, seafood, beef & pork.   This depletes your body of sugar.  It takes about 48 hours to get the sugar out of your blood and it sucks but your sugar cravings go away pretty quickly.  I always feel tired and a bit confused the first few days if I go too low on the carbs.  This too passes as my body figures out a new way to burn fuel. 

2.  The fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you produce.  Note:  Insulin is produced when your blood glucose levels rise in order to bring the levels down in your blood stream (otherwise you have a build-up of sugar in your blood, i.e. diabetes).  Insulin also acts as a hormone to condition your body to store future carbs as fat in case of starvation and it also tells the cells not to release stored fat.

3.  So, if you aren’t eating anything that converts to glucose (carbohydrates), then insulin does not get produced and your body goes into “ketosis”.

4.  Ketosis is a state where your body primarily uses fat to fuel the body since there is no fast-burning fuel available.  Fast-burning fuel is made from carbohydrates and it is burned first.  If that’s gone, you start burning fat for energy and thereby lose weight.  If you’re always carbo loading, your body continues to burn that first plus you store the fat and never lose it.

I definately recommend you talk to your doc before starting any diet plan.  My doctor and I talk about what I eat and when I eat it (sometimes why I eat it) at every visit.  I’m a good student and I only significantly reduce my carbs for short periods of time, then reintroduce high complex carbs a little at a time (whole grains, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes), always trying to avoid white rice, white breads, potatoes and refined sugars (especially high fructose corn syrup).

See My Favorite Breakfast – Cheesy Egg Muffins

Important Things To Remember:  If you’re going to go out for a low-carb dinner, go ahead and have that wedge salad with blue cheese, grilled steak (try to pick a lean cut) smothered in mushrooms, some creamed spinach and grilled asparagus on the side.  Enjoy every bite.  It’s all low-carb or no carb.  If you’ve already burned off any sugar in your body (maybe since lunch depending on what you did to burn energy that day) and you don’t add any bread or potatoes or desert or alcohol to your meal at dinner, you will burn that meal as fat as long as you don’t add any carbs before it is burned, which could take a while.  If you eat that big fat meal and have a few bites of a roll and maybe a glass of wine or a little bit of dessert, your body is going to release insulin, burn the roll and dessert as energy first, tell your body not to release the fat and you will have just consumed a gazillion calories of food that will stick to you like glue.  That’s the danger of going off and on the carb wagon without knowing what you’re doing.  You could easily gain weight instead of lose!  Along those lines, be sure to check the “nutritional facts” on the food packaging.  Many products contain sugar or carbs and you would never know it.  Beware of foods marked “lite” or “low-fat” as well.  They can be surprisingly high in carbs.  Did you know that pretty much everything at PF Changs has sugar in it?  Be sure to ask your waiter about the ‘sauce’ you’re about to order, wherever you are.

One of the most important components of keeping the weight off is an exercise plan.  Now hear this.  You can lose weight without the burden of a full blown workout schedule and maybe that’s the best way to go at first, but I guarantee you will feel better if you get moving.  Start with a slow, short walk and some stretching and go from there. 

Allegro Medical has a Dietary Supplements category with everything from Low Carb Products to Herbal Supplements and Vitamins that just by reading the different product descriptions will educate you.   I also recommend a visit to our Exercise/Fitness area for tools to get your in-home workout plan going.  Need help losing weight?  Visit our Weight Loss Help category.

Please respond with comments below.  I would love to hear from you about your experiences with dieting, recipes, advice, etc.

As always, thanks for being an Allegro customer.


0 3572

Todd and I have been reducing our carb intake over the past couple weeks (ugh) to coax those holiday pounds off.  One good thing is that we’ve stumbled on the perfect low carb breakfast for busy people.  It’s a variation of a recipe listed in the book for Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.  (See “How Does the Low Carb Thing Work Anyway?“).

If you know anything about frittatas, omelets or “crustless quiches”, then you know that as long as you have some eggs you can pretty much toss in whatever is in your fridge or freezer and it will come out perfect, unless all you have is mustard, beer and leftover pizza. 

These savory “egg muffins” have no flour in them so they’re very low in carbohydrates.  You can make them ahead of time, stick ’em in the fridge and take them with you to work or eat them on the run. 

Since I’m cooking for two I start with a  couple of teflon muffin tins that hold 6 muffins each (large muffins, not those little cupcake sized ones).    I use a combination of meat, cheese and veggies but you can use whatever you want, in any combo, as long as it doesn’t have sugar or flour in it.  Avoid potatoes, corn, peas and carrots because of the starch (sugar).

Val’s Favorite Cheesy Egg Muffins

24 large eggs or egg substitute equivalent

1 pkg. low fat canadian bacon (about 12 slices) diced

12 whole mushrooms, chopped

3 or 4 scallions, chopped small – slice the green part at the top and set aside for later

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 bag frozen chopped spinach or a bag of fresh

1 lg. garlic clove, chopped

6 slices of lite swiss cheese

Red chile pepper flakes (optional)

Fresh basil leaves, about 10, chopped

A small sprinkle of feta cheese for each tin

Set the oven at 350 degrees.  If your spinach is frozen, stick it in a colander and run it under water to thaw it out.  Squeeze out the excess water.  Saute the canadian bacon, scallions, mushrooms, basil, garlic and red pepper over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil or spray butter.  When warmed through, add the spinach.  Stir to mix.   If using fresh spinich, give it a minute or two to cook down.

Spoon the mixture directly into the ungreased (teflon) muffin tins, dividing it evenly.  Add chopped swiss cheese to each cup.  Crack two dozen eggs into a large, pourable glass mixing bowl or large measuring cup.  I use a clear measuring cup so I can hold it up and look at the bottom for egg shells before I pour it.   Or, I have Todd crack the eggs because he is careful and doesn’t get shells in the bowl, so it works out well.

Whisk the eggs  together and carefully pour the beaten eggs over the meat & cheese mixture, filling each cup about 3/4 full.  I have used the eggs in a carton before and I’m not a big fan because they just don’t have that full egg flavor, but they are a huge time saver and work fine if you want to use them. 

Sprinkle some feta cheese and a few of the left-over chopped scallion greens on the top.  Grind some fresh pepper and salt on each. 

Bake each tin separately.  Place the first tin in the oven, middle rack (or top rack moved to second or third from the top) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.  They should puff up like muffins and come out with a beautiful light brown top.  Let them cool in the tin while the other pan is baking.  When cool, pop them out and put them in separate sandwich bags or freezer bags.  I have one for breakfast (and sometimes one for lunch if I’m in a hurry).  You can eat them cold or pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.  I put a little hot sauce on mine and eat it like a muffin.  It’s easy and so good.


Meat:  Real bacon bits, white chicken meat, turkey (not processed), turkey bacon, carne asada, left-over taco meat or fajita meat

Veggies & Spices:  Zucchini, yellow squash, red onion, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes (I buy them frozen), jalepenos, olives, parsley, italian blend, paprika, rosemary

Cheese:  Anything that melts.  I use light cheese to keep the fat down.  Often times I use the shredded cheese.  Try Jack, colby, cheddar, havarti – whatever you like.  I like to sprinkle parmasean or romano on top too.

Note:  You don’t have to saute your mixture.  Sometimes I just chop everything up, throw it in the tins, add the egg and put it in the oven.  You also don’t have to pay much attention to the quantities of each.  Just try it.  It’s really hard to mess up.

Do you have a recipe to share?  Please do!


No matter what your weight or height or Body Mass Index (BMI), we believe the most important thing is that your products are safe and that they fit your size and your lifestyle. 

 Generally most products accomodate a person’s weight up to 200 or 300 lbs., but within that range and certainly beyond, it becomes very important to check the weight capacities as well as the actual size of the product.  Make sure it fits in your space and you fit in its space!   

Bariatric Buyer’s Guide by Weight Capacity: 

Up to 350 lbs.

Extra Wide Tall-Ette Elevated Toilet Seat with Legs – Adds 4″ to your toilet seat, making it easier to get up and down.  Has soft foam arm rests!  Also available in 600 lb. capacity.


Bariatric Rollator – Burgundy – Sports 8″ casters and a nice burgundy color. This beauty has everything.  A large 20″ x 13″ padded seat, wire basket, loop brakes and adjustable height handes.


Up to 450 lbs.

Extra Wide Commode – Removable backrest.  Seat size is 23″ W x 18″ D.


Up to 500 lbs:

Invacare Bariatric Rollator – Spacious, comfortable, safe and extremely affordable.  Use indoor or outdoor.  Padded seat measures 18″ by 23″.  Warning:  It’s big and heavy.  Be sure you have enough room for it. 


Bariatric Safety Roller – Adjusts from 17.5″ to 22.5″ wide.  Height adjusts in 1″ increments.  Steel frame, skid resistant, folding, includes braking mechanism.  What more?

See all Bariatric Walkers and Rollators

 Toilevator Toilet Riser – Raises the actual toilet, from underneath, by 3.5″.  A great alternative to elevated toilet seats!  Super popular and highly recommended.

Bariatric Contour Cushion – For positioning and pressure relief.  Various size choices up to 28″ x 28″.


Up to 600 lbs. 

“No-Lift” Booster – 46″ L x 46″ W.  A painless way to move someone toward the head of the bed without lifting them. 


Bariatric Transfer Board – a sturdy 35″ L x 8″ W, with hand slots.

Home Care Bariatric Bed w/Mattress & Bedrails – Full Electric.  Heavy duty frame.  User or caregiver can lift/lower head and feet or make the bed raise or lower with a hand pendant.  Easy setup.  Also available with 750 lb. capacity.


Up to 700 lbs.:

Bariatric Shower Chair with Back – For extra stability in the shower.  17″ Wide,  16.5″ Deep. 


Bariatric Bath Chair with Back –  Suction-cup feet secure this comfortable height-adjustable bath bench in your bathtub.  Comes assembled.  Seat is 20″ W x 12″ D.  Extremely durable and rust-proof.


Bariatric Quad Cane – Super durable large-based cane.  Weighs 4 lbs. which may be a problem for some, according to customer reviews, but will be perfect for most.  Take a look at the Offset Handle Cane as well.  Also a 700 lb. weight capacity.

See all Bariatric Canes/Crutches


Bariatric Transfer Bench – Used for transfering in and out of the bathtub.

See all Bariatric Bath and Shower Chairs


Bariatric Folding Wheelchair – Choose from 26″, 28″ or 30″ seat widths – all with a weight capacity of 700 lbs.   

Up to 850 lbs.

Bariatric Bathseat – Designed to fit the contour of a standard bathtub.  For bathtub use only.  Don’t use it in the shower without the floor stand attachment or you’ll tip over!


Bariatric Steel Drop Arm Commode – Heavy-duty steel construction.  Includes the pail.  Also comes in 1000 lb. capacity.  See here for 1500 lb. capacity Bedside Commode.

On the Side

Lumbar & Abdominal Support Band – Lifts the belly and supports the spine.

Leg Lift Strap – Helps lift your leg into a wheelchair footrest, bed or car.  Gets mixed reviews, but it looks like it could come in handy.

Bariatric Towels – Pack  of 3.  We call them “big boy towels”.  They’re specifically designed for our larger customers and they’re fabulous!  Soft 11 oz. cotten and terry blend.  Up to 102″ in length.

Bariatric Bed Pan – The only one on the market!  Supports up to 1200 lbs..  Unique design prevents spills.  That makes me really happy.

Tranquility XL+ Bariatric Disposable Brief – Comes in a Case of 32.  Fits waist/hip measurements of 64″ to 84″.  Soft and comfortable.  High capacity.  Controls skin dryness and odor.  Latex free.

Self-Wipe Toilet Aid – Comfortable and easy to use.

Long Handled Toenail Clipper – Clip your toenails with less bending.

Lotion Applicator – No more dry backs with this gadget.

Long-handled Shoehorn – Helps you put your shoes on!

Deluxe Flexible Sock & Stocking Aid – Helps you put your socks on!

Heel Guide Compression Sock Aid – Helps you put your tight socks on!

Raptor Reacher – Extends your reach by 24″ and picks up things big and small.

Mechanical Column Scale with Integrated Measuring Rod – I also like the Pro Raised Dial Scale, Capacity 400 lbs. For more weight capacity, try the Portable Bariatric Scale, 750 lb. capacity.  See all Bariatric Scales.

Bariatric Ramps – 800 lb. capacity.  All sizes of lightweight aluminum anti-slip threshold, multif0ld and panel ramps.

Bariatric Over-Bed Table –  Gives you more working or eating room.  18″ x 40″.  Good looking and extremely sturdy.  Adjustable height.  Supports 500lb static load when evenly distributed.

Bariatric Arm Chair – Many sizes available.  Cool hardwood design. 750 lb. capacity.

See all Personal Care Items

I hope this categorization helps you find what you’re looking for.   Otherwise, see All Bariatric Products.  We’re adding new “heavy duty” products to the site all the time, so check back or call us at 800-861-3211 to ask a customer care agent to help you with something special.  We’ll see if we can find it for you.  Always,


0 4092

Valerie, this must be done.  You can do this…  Okay, uHum….  This is for mature audiences only. 

Those of you who know me are aware that I’m not shy when talking about sex, but I don’t usually write about it, so give me a break.  Here goes.

Allegro has some really fun, romantic, sexy products that you might want to take a look at for Valentine’s Day this year!  And they ship in a plain wrapper so your nosy neighbors don’t get all up in your business.  Order them today to get them in time.

I’ve listed products that are fun for couples.  We also have some really crazy ‘sexual well-being’ products but hey, to each their own.  They are not exactly my speed…

But I digress.

Here are my top picks.  No, I won’t tell you why they are my top picks.  Go with me on this. 


Clone-A-Willy – I love these!  Depending on which one you get (get them all) you can ‘clone his willy’ into a candle, a soap-on-a-rope, a vibrator or even a piece of chocolate.


Royal Rabbit Kit – They call this a starter kit.  I call it an ender kit!  Whatever you call it, you’ll want to spend the weekend with it.  It’s our most popular sexual well-being product and fun for him and her alike.

See all Rabbit Vibrators

See all Vibrators


The Matador.  Make way for the bull!  I promise you’ll both love this.  Believe me, it works together or alone.  Don’t ask me how I know this.

See all Bullets & Eggs


Astroglide.  Dontcha just love the name?  Throw in a bottle for super lubricated fun.

See all Lubricants


Furry Love Cuffs – Romantic, sexy and a little bit naughty.


Satin Love Mask – Hey, you’ve got her in the cuffs, you might as well go all the way and throw on a mask to get down to some serious teasin’.


Incredible Sex Stool – bouncy, bouncy, bouncy weightless sex with no strain on your thighs or knees.  Imagine the positions!  For more position fun, see our Liberators.


Fore-Playing Cards – Get the par-tay started with a deck of 52 sexual suggestion playing cards, 2 love candles and an engraved invitation to an evening of desire and passion.  Purrrrfect for Valentines Day.  Oh, the things you’ll do when a card tells you to. Yes, yes, the things you’ll do…

See all Romance Games


Camelia Latex Dress – Nothing says “take me now” faster than a latex dress, don’t you agree? Steer clear if you have latex allergies.

See all Women’s Clothing

See all Men’s Clothing


I think that’s a-plenty.  If you don’t think so, check out our entire Sexual Well-Being Catagory.  And remember, you can buy these things all year long.  Not just Valentine’s Day.  Have fun!!

0 3488

There is a good chance that you will personally witness a cardiac arrest in your lifetime.  For me, that’s enough of a reason to hope that everyone knows CPR (especially the guy standing next to me if I suddenly drop dead).  Without it, you have little chance of surviving a heart-stopping arrest. 

My business partner, Allegro CEO Craig Hood, recently completed a CPR course and kindly enlightened us on some changes in the way CPR is approached and rendered.  Every year the guidelines change as new information is gathered.  Read these myths, tips and updates and then get signed up for a class!

*  The bad news:  Lives are rarely saved by CPR.  In fact, the survival rate for out-of-hospital CPR is estimated to be between 1 and 3 percent.  The good news is that survival rates are much improved if you know CPR and they are especially improved if you have access to an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).  AEDs are used to restart a heart that has stopped beating or is beating too quickly to create a pulse.  It can be administered by anyone.  Even you.  The instructions are spoken to you directly from the machine itself.  AEDs will only work if the heart is in a position to benefit from the shock (they won’t even fire otherwise, so you can’t accidently shock someone who doesn’t need it!). 

*  Despite what you have seen in the movies, CPR will not “make the heart start”.  Rather, it simulates the beating of the heart, thereby assisting the circulation of oxygenated blood to vital organs.  This essentially keeps the blood moving and the brain alive until advanced support techniques can be provided by an AED or similar device. 

*  Permanent brain damage can occur within 4 minutes.

A heart attack is not the same as a cardiac arrest.  A heart attack is caused by blocked blood flow to the heart muscle, causing it to begin to die.  Sudden cardiac arrest is caused by life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms – abnormalities in the heart’s electrical system.  The most common arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation.  A heart attack is often preceded by chest, arm, upper abdomen, shoulder or jaw pain.  It may also, especially in women, be accompanied by dizziness, sweating, vomiting and nausea.  There is rarely a warning before sudden cardiac arrest.  Heart attack victims usually remain conscious.  Sudden cardiac arrest victims always lose consciousness. 

*  It has been circulated on the Internet that if you are alone at the time of a heart attack you should start coughing vigerously until help comes (Cough CPR).  This myth began because patients undergoing cardiac catheterization may develop abnormal heart beats (arrhythmias) and, in these circumstances, it is sometimes possible for a conscious person on a medical setting to cough forcefully enough until the arrhythmia disapppears or is treated.  According to Dr. Jennifer H. Mieres, spokesperson for the American Heart Assoc. and director of nuclear cardiology/associate professor of clinical medicine at NYU, it is unlikely that cough CPR would be of any benefit in out-of-hospital situations.

*  Research has shown that performing CPR on a cardiac arrest victim prior to shocking with an AED makes the heart much more likely to respond.  The only exception is if the defbrillator is with the victim when the heart stops (unlikely).  If so, use it right away.

*  Research shows that cardiac arrest victims are unlikely to respond to a second or third succssive shock if the first doesn’t work.  They are, in fact, much more likely to respond to a repeat shock after two minutes of CPR.

*  Even if you can’t remember all the techniques and ratios you were taught, doing CPR badly is better than doing nothing at all.  Remember, the person has no pulse.  They are essentially dead.  You can’t make it worse.

How to Save a Life in Two Steps (even if you are untrained in CPR):

1.  Call 9-1-1

2.  Push hard and fast in the center of the victims chest.  Don’t be afraid, just do it.  I mean, wouldn’t you want someone to do it for you if you were dying?  You can only help.  Keep doing compressions until an AED arrives and is ready for use or an EMS provider takes over. 

This is called “Hands-Only CPR”.  Studies show that these two steps can be as effective as conventional CPR (chest compressions plus mouth-to-mouth).  Providing Hands-Only CPR to an adult who has collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest can more than double their chance of survival.

*  How fast should you push on the chest?  103 beats per minute.  That is exactly the beats per minute in the disco song “Stayin’ Alive”.  A study by the Univ. of Illinois found that 10 docs and 5 med students who listened to the song while practicing CPR not only performed perfectly, they remember the technique five weeks later.

*  If you have been trained in CPR and you are confident in your abilities to provide rescue breaths with minimal interruptions in chest compressions, then you should provide either conventional CPR using a 30:2 compression-to-ventilation ratio or Hands-Only CPR.  Whichever you use, you need to continue it right up until the moment that an AED is ready to use, or an EMS provider takes over.

*  Heart disease is not a man’s disease.  Heart disease is the #1 killer of women.  Know the Heart Attack & Stroke Warning Signs:  Men vs. Women.

* There are known and published risk factors for heart disease.  Are you at risk for a heart attack or stroke?

*  Know the facts about heart disease.

*  Get educated and get involved.  Here are 5 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month.

Do you have any tips or myths?  Share them please!

Here are some disturbing statistics published by the American Heart Association.  Much of this is taken from Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – 2009 Update.

Did you know?

*  Nearly 2,400 Americans die of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) each day, an average of one death every 37 seconds.

*  Preliminary mortality data for 2006 show that CVD accounted for 34.2% of all 2,425,900 deaths in 2006, or 1 of every 2.9 deaths in the United States.

*  Good news:  From 1995 to 2005, death rates from CVD declined by 26.4%.

* Cardiovascular disease claims about as many lives each year as cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents and diabetes mellitus combined.

*  Half of adults 50 and younger with low 10-year risk of  CVD have high lifetime risk (News Release Jan. 13, 2009).

*  One in three female adults has some form of cardiovascular disease.

*  Since 1984, the number of CVD deaths for females has exceeded those for males.

*  In 2005, CVD was the first listed diagnosis of 3,023,000 females discharged from short-stay hospitals.  Discharges include people both alive, dead or of unknown status.

*  More than 150,000 Americans killed by CVD in 2005 were less than 65 years of age.

*  In 2009, an estimated 785,000 Americans will have a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 will have a recurrent attack.  It is estimated that an additional 195,000 silent first myocardial infarctions occur each year.

*  Each year, about 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke.  On average, every 40 seconds someone in the US has a stroke.  Good news: From 1995 to 2005, the stroke death rate fell 29.7% and the actual number of stroke deaths declined 13.5%.


Are you at risk for heart disease?  Do you know what to do in the event of a heart attack?  Are you up to date on the latest CPR Myths & Tips?

Read 5 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month for more information on how to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Here’s a Power Point Presentation for 2009 American Heart Org Stats in case you want to present these facts to your family, school or group.

 Here is a summary of “Risk Factors for Heart Disease” from the American Heart Association:

* Diabetes Mellitus – At least 65% of people with diabetes mellitus die of some form of heart or blood vessel disease.   Let Allegro help manage your diabetes with low cost Diabetes Supplies.

 * High Blood Cholesterol and Other Lipids – High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol levels of less than 40mg/dL are associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease.  Determine your cholesterol quickly and easily with a Home Cholesterol Test Kit.

* High Blood Pressure – About 69% of people who have a first heart attack, 77% who have a first stroke and 74% who have Congestive Heart Failure have blood pressure higher than 140/90 mm Hg.  Do you know your blood pressure?  Take it anytime, anywhere with your own blood pressure monitor

* Metabolic Syndrome – Defined as having three or more of the following abnormalities:

– Waist circumference greater than 102 cm (40 inches) in men and 88 cm (35 inches) in women.

– Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher.

– High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level less than 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women.

– Blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher or drug treatment for hypertension.

– Fasting plasma glucose level of 100 mg/dL or higher.

Men and women with the MetS were approximately 1.5 and 2 times more likely to develop CHD. Among the components of MetS, elevated blood cholesterol and low levels of HDL cholesterol exhibited the strongest associations with CHD. Similar associations were found between the MetS and incident ischemic stroke.

Overweight and Obesity – You are considered overweight if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 25 and higher. You are considered obese if your BMI is 30 and higher.  Get weight loss help!

Physical Inactivity – The relative risk of coronary heart disease associated with physical inactivity ranges from 1.5 to 2.4, an increase in risk comparable to that for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or cigarette smoking.  Get your heart pumping with these popular exercise/fitness products.

Tobacco – a whole lot of bad news for smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke:

– From 1997-2001, an estimated 438,000 Americans died each year of smoking-related illnesses; 34.7 percent of these deaths were cardiovascular-related.

– An estimated 35,052 nonsmokers die from coronary heart disease (CHD) each year as a result of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

– One-third of those who receive percutaneous coronary artery vascularization are current smokers, and 50-60 percent continue to smoke after the procedure.

– Cigarette smoking remains a major cause of stroke in the United States. The evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between smoking and subclinical atherosclerosis.

There’s hope yet:  The 2004 Health Consequences of Smoking Report of the Surgeon General states that the risk of stroke decreases steadily after you quit smoking. Former smokers have the same risk as nonsmokers after five to 15 years.

– A study of women below age 44 found there was a strong dose-relationship for MI, with a risk of 2.5 for those smoking one to five cigarettes per day, rising to 74.6 for those smoking more than 40 cigarettes per day, compared with nonsmokers. – Another study on female smokers found the highest risk (6.8) for MI was in women younger than 55 years of age.

If you are at risk for heart disease or stroke, know that there are ways to manage these risk factors.  Please talk to you doctor about your concerns. 

Educate yourself and spread the word to your friends and family!  Read Staggering Heart Facts, Heart Attack/Stroke Warning Signs: Men vs. Women and  CPR Myths, Tips & Updates

People die every day because they ignore the signs of a heart attack.  They don’t want to “bother” anyone, or they thought the symptoms would just go away.  Here’s the deal, though… you never know for sure and it’s not worth guessing.  Personally, I’d rather be sent home with a prescription for GasX than be sent home in a box.

First things First:

Okay, so, the most important thing is that you dial 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY  (no more than 5 minutes) if you have heart attack symptoms.  Time is critical, especially now that they have all these new medications and treatments that will stop some heart attacks and strokes. 

Most heart attacks don’t happen the way we see them on TV.   Granted, some are obvious and immediate, but most heart attacks start slow, with only mild discomfort.  That’s what makes them so tricky!  Hey, you know when something is just not right.  Don’t wait too long if have the following symptoms:

Heart Attack Warning Signs for Men (from the American Medical Assoc.)

  • Chest Discomfort – Take heed if you are feeling uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Other Upper Body Discomfort – You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of Breath – This could happen with or without the chest discomfort or pain.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling lightheaded or nauseous

Heart Attack Warning Signs for Women

Cardiovascular disease is the Number 1 cause of death in women and it is the most preventable.  Women experience the same heart attack symptoms as men, most commonly chest pain or discomfort, but women are more likely than men to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness or breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain

Women, Respond to these Symptoms!

  • Chest pain – may include back pain and/or deep aching and throbbing in one or both arms
  • Breathlessness and/or inability to catch your breath when waking up
  • Clammy sweating
  • Dizziness — unexplained lightheadedness and possible blackouts
  • Anxiety — unusual nervousness, feelings of impending doom
  • Edema — fluid retention and swelling in the ankles or lower legs
  • Fluttering, rapid heartbeats or palpitations
  • Nausea or gas
  • Feeling of heaviness, such as pressure-like pain between the breasts that may radiate to the left arm or shoulder 

What do I do if I Think I’m Having a Heart Attack?

Don’t second guess!  And don’t have someone drive you to the hospital if you can help it.  You’ll almost always get faster treatment if you call 9-1-1 and let the EMS crew take care of you.  You’ll also get faster treatment at the hospital if you arrive by ambulance.  Don’t ever drive yourself to the hospital unless you have absolutely no other option.

Difference Between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack is caused by a circulation or blockage problem in the heart whereas cardiac arrest is caused by an electrical problem in the heart.  Sudden cardiac arrest is more frequent in people who have had heart attacks before because their hearts may be damaged and may pump poorly. Damage to the heart muscle can lead to disturbances of the electrical system and in turn can cause dangerously fast heart rhythms that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. 

Signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest:

  • Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning
  • The victim is unresponsive (no response to tapping on shoulders)
  • The victim is not breathing normally (no normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds)

What do I do of Someone is Having a Cardiac Arrest?

  • Tell someone to call 9-1-1 and get an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) (if available)
  • You begin CPR immediately (while someone else calls 9-1-1).  Read CPR Myths, Tips and Updates
  • If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) before you begin CPR
  • Use an AED as soon as it arrives

Stroke Warning Signs (from the American Stroke Assoc.)

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

Notice that the word *SUDDEN* appears in every case.  One of the “signs” is that these symptoms happen very quickly.  Like, you’re fine one second and not fine the next. 

What do I do if I Think I’m Having a Stroke?

If you or someone you’re with has one or more of these signs, immediately call 9-1-1 so an ambulance can be sent.  As with a heart attack, time is the biggest factor in your odds for recovery.  Check the time the symptoms first appeared so you can tell the EMS team.  There is a clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) that, if administered within three hours of the start of symptoms, can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

Stop heart disease and strokes before they happen!  Read Staggering Heart Facts, 5 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month and Are You At Risk for Heart Disease?.

Do you have something to share that might help someone?  Please reply below!

Valentine’s Day and President’s Day aren’t the only holidays we’ll be celebrating this month. February is American Heart Month! Cross my heart.

It seems that matters of the heart are quite serious. So serious that every year since 1963, Congress has required the President to proclaim February ‘American Heart Month’.  The American Heart Association helps to draft this proclamation and get it signed.  Who knew?

Even so, after 45 years of ‘proclaiming’, cardiovascular disease remains the number 1 killer (including stroke) in our nation today. Let’s join President Obama and the American Heart Association’s plight to fight heart disease and raise awareness, shall we?

Here’s how:

1. Get Heart Smart. Like the American Heart Association (AMA) says, “learn and live”. Did you know that the death rate from cardiovascular disease (CVD) is higher for females than males? And that the warning signs of a heart attack may be different for men and women?  Read Staggering Heart Facts and Heart Attack & Stroke Warning Signs: Men vs Women.

2. Check yourself. According to the AMA, if you’ve made it to middle age (eg, 50) and you’re a non-smoker without high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes then congratulations!  You can look forward to: a substantially longer life; lower risk for CVD; lower risks for CVD death and non-CVD death; better health-related quality of life in older age; and, substantially reduced Medicare expenditures. Start monitoring your cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels now. They’re sneaky and you might not even know you’re in trouble. The good news is, they are manageable with help from your doc. If you smoke, quit it. It’s gross and stinky and stupid and so uncool,  unlike you.  Here is a List of Heart Attack & Stroke Risk Factors and Guidelines.

Products to help you measure and track from home:  cholesterol test kit, blood pressure monitors and diabetic meters & test kits.   Monitor your heart health here.

3.  Get Heart Healthy.  Eating right, staying fit and managing your weight will go a long way to keeping a heart attack at bay.  Learn how here.  Get started with  heart rate monitors.

4.  Spread the Word.  As with all diseases, I believe that awareness is half the battle.  You could save someone’s life by sharing your knowledge about heart disease with your family, friends, schools, social groups, community groups.  Even if it is just in casual conversation, try to work in “have you had your blood pressure checked lately?”  or “did you know that… “.  The AMA asks you to be part of the cure.  Become an advocate!  Another way to spread the word is to get involved with local heart charities.  You can volunteer at hospitals, deliver leaflets door to door, start your own campaign or attend charity events.  Here are some specific ways to give.

5.  Cover your bases.  Do you know what to do in the event of a heart attack?  Do you know how to do CPR? Does your school, home, company and shopping mall have an Automated External Diffibrilator (AED)?  They are so affordable now, there is no excuse.  If you or a loved on is at risk for a heart attack you may also consider getting a 911 Medical Alert System

See all Diagnostic Products.

If you’ve read all of these articles and you crave more, visit the American Heart Association website.

Happy American Heart Month!  Please take care of yourself.  We heart you.