Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Go Red For Women

This isn't strictly a psychiatric post, but it's not about inmates for a change so I guess it's OK. I just thought I'd drop a short note on the blog to remind people to watch their cholesterol, exercise regularly, control your blood pressure and stop smoking. In spite of what the blog says about Death and Hot Fudge Sundaes, do it anyway. I rather like our blog readers and I'd like them to be around for a while. I also thought I'd let people know that the American Heart Association has a program called Go Red For Women, designed to education women that heart disease is their biggest killer.

To bring this into the psychiatric realm, psychiatric disorders are associated with heart disease, particularly clinical depression. Untreated clinical depression is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well as death following myocardial infarction. There is some evidence that treatment with SSRI's post-infarct can decrease mortality. It's not known whether there is a direct physiologic effect on the heart from depression, or whether it's due to other factors related to depression that can interfere with compliance with health care such as loss of energy and motivational impairment. So for those of you undergoing treatment for psychiatric disorders, there's another reason to take your meds.

I'm posting a link to an interview about women's cardiac issues, Leading a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle: A Mother and Daughter Perspective, because I think you don't hear enough about taking a family approach to health issues. Every once in a while at the gym I'll see a mother-daughter pair walking around the track or playing in the pool, and it makes me want to give them a pat on the back. What a great legacy to leave your kids. And yes, this counts for fathers too.

For more about heart healthy lifestyle, see the American Heart Association's web site.

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And a word about the picture: it's an anatomically correct chocolate heart. I found it on a web site called Pushin Daisies, a self-described "mortuary novelty shop". Personally, I must have the anatomically correct chocolate brains. Brains, I must have brains.