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May is nationally known as ALS Awareness Month! ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is a motor neuron disease that affects a person’s ability to walk, dress, speak, swallow, and eventually breathe. About 6,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with ALS every year, yet there is no known cause or cure. ALS is also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which refers to the Yankee’s first baseman who passed away from the disease in 1941 at just 37 years old. Although there have been significant advances in research and treatment, there is still much more to learn about ALS. ALS Awareness Month seeks to spread awareness, and encourages donations to support research, assist with family services, and provide financial support to individuals with ALS. The Alpha Group will be accepting donations to benefit the Massachusetts Chapter of the ALS Association, and will also be participating in the…
April is Autism Awareness Month! Autism is a developmental disability that derives from an abnormality in the brain. It affects about 1 in every 68 births. It is characterized by difficulties with social and communication skills, repetition of behaviors, and resistance to major or minor changes in routine. Its full name is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which implies that some cases are more serious than others. Although there is no cure for Autism, early intervention with children that do have Autism is vital to give them better brain function, communication skills, and social behaviors. The earlier it is detected, the more help a child can get. That is why it is very important to spread awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorder! The Alpha Group is looking to help spread this awareness by holding a fundraiser. This will help raise funds toward public awareness, safety, family crisis assistance, job training, housing and…
To Keep the Weight Off, Keep Tracking Your Diet NEW ORLEANS — Keeping track of the foods you eat is an important strategy for weight loss, but continuing to monitor what you eat is also important to prevent regaining that weight. Now, a new study finds that stopping food tracking is linked to regaining weight. In order to prevent re-gaining weight, people should make an effort four months after starting a diet to refocus on food tracking, according to the study, presented here Sunday (Nov. 13) at the American Heart Association's annual meeting called the Scientific Sessions. The researchers found that people tended to stop dietary monitoring after about four months, and that this was followed by regaining weight, said Qianheng Ma, a public health researcher at the University of Pittsburgh and the lead author of the study. The effects of food tracking, or "dietary self-monitoring," on weight loss have…
Good vs. Bad Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are an important part of your diet, but that doesn't mean you're free to load up on cakes and cookies to get your daily amount. Here, we explain the difference between good and bad carbohydrates. By Diana Rodriguez Medically Reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, but there's much discussion about the good and bad carbohydrates. So how do you know which is which? The answer is both simple — and complex. Good vs. Bad Carbohydrates Carbohydrates, often referred to as “carbs,” are your body's primary energy source, and they're a crucial part of any healthy diet. Carbs should never be avoided, but it is important to understand that not all carbs are alike. Carbohydrates can be either simple (nicknamed "bad") or complex (nicknamed "good") based on their chemical makeup and what your body does with them.…
Why Fruits and Vegetables Are Vital Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for good health. Find out why experts say Mother Nature's bounty packs better nutrients than supplements. If we are what we eat, then many of us must be tripping all over the place due to a lack of balance. That's because the average American eats about three servings of fruits and vegetables per day — a stark contrast to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new guidelines stating that we should be eating 5 to 13 servings of nature's best, depending on the number of calories you need. So if we want to grow to be strong like Popeye, why can't we just down some supplements instead of devouring a pile of spinach? Nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables work together. Kristine Wallerius Cuthrell, MPH,…
March Is… National Nutrition Month March is National Nutrition Month! This month we will be reviewing what food we put into our bodies and considering better and healthier options. Americans typically exceed the recommended daily portions for calories from solid fats and added sugars, refined grains, sodium, and saturated fats and yet do not get enough of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils. During the month of March, let’s look at our diet and nutrition and see where we can improve. Studies have shown that keeping track of your eating throughout the day for extended periods of time can help people cut down on their eating. Many people have food journals or use Smartphone applications such as My Fitness Pal that keep track of eating, drinking, and exercise habits. The Alpha Group will also be holding a month-long food drive in the lobby of Alpha Place. These donations will…
Smartphones Could Be a Boon to Heart Health Research Smartphones might revolutionize cardiac research by giving instant, accurate insight into the physical activity of people using them, a new study finds. "People check these devices [an average of] 46 times a day," noted study senior author Dr. Euan Ashley, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. "From a cardiovascular health standpoint, we can use that personal attachment to measure physical activity, heart rate and more," he said in a university news release. In the study, Ashley's team enlisted subjects via a free iPhone app called MyHeart Counts. The researchers enrolled more than 47,000 Americans across all 50 states, and were able to track data about the physical activity of nearly 5,000 participants who took a six-minute walking fitness test. "The ultimate goals of the MyHeart Counts study are to provide real-world evidence of both…
Thursday, 16 February 2017

Alpha Cares: Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

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Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and call 911 if you feel: Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. Download our heart attack warning signs infographic. Symptoms Vary Between Men and Women As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest…
By making these 10 lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you might be worried about taking medication to bring your numbers down. Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication. Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. 1. Lose extra pounds and watch your waistline Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure. Besides shedding pounds,…
Thursday, 02 February 2017

Alpha Cares: 28-Days to a Healthy Heart

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Join us during American Heart Health Month as we put in time and effort to care for our hearts. Follow the Heart Truth’s “28-Days to a Healthy Heart” Challenge yourself every day of the month of February to do more for your heart! When we make an effort to care for our heart, we will definitely reap the benefits.
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