Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Cardiovascular Disease

2014-12-23 22.32.30Our heart is truly amazing, especially when you consider that it is the size of our two hands clasped together. Our heart is responsible for delivering blood to every single one of the estimated 3 trillion cells in our body. In just one day, it beats 100,000 times; that equates to 2.5 billion beats over our lifetime. And, in just one day, it pumps blood over a total distance of 12,000 miles; that is four times the distance of our country, from sea to shining sea.

Keeping our heart healthy is something we should all take to heart. Although heart disease is an umbrella for a number of conditions, it is often used interchangeably to describe cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Cardiovascular Disease:

What is cardiovascular disease? It refers to a number of abnormal conditions that affect the heart vessels. Atherosclerosis is the primary culprit, and this term stems from the Greek word athere meaning “porridge,” and sclerosis meaning “hardening.”

And this is a very apt description: atherosclerosis begins with soft, porridge-like fatty deposits that eventually harden into plaques. Similar to rust buildup within a pipe, the resultant plaques can cause narrowing or blockage of heart vessels and prevent an adequate supply of blood to our ticker.

What is this “porridge” we are referring to? Too much low-density lipoprotein (LDL), smoking, high blood pressure, or diabetes can result in damage to our blood vessels. When this occurs, LDL, a form of cholesterol that circulates in our blood, can enter the wall of the artery. And because our immune system sees the accumulation of LDL in the vessel wall as abnormal, they enter as well and try to digest it. This can result in a “plaque:” a clump that is comprised of LDL, immune cells, and other debris.

What’s wrong with a little clump of plaque? The plaque has one of the following fates:
• Stays the same size or grows slightly, but does not block blood flow or create symptoms.
• Grows large enough to decrease blood flow, causing the organ it feeds to become chronically oxygen deprived. Imagine our heart, brain, or kidneys not getting the needed oxygen, energy, or nutrients; it can impair proper function. In some instances, we see symptoms occur when an organ’s oxygen demand increases more than its supply. For example, when we exert ourselves by going up a flight of stairs or lifting something heavy, our heart is working harder and needs more oxygen. Because of blockage of blood flow, a person with atherosclerosis may not receive an adequate supply of oxygen and can experience chest pain, known as angina.
• Ruptures from the shearing stress of blood flow, or other injury, and causes complete blockage of the vessel. This occurs because the body tries to contain the damage by sending swarms of immune cells to attack the exposed contents and clotting cells to stop the bleeding. Although it is a noble cause, the body’s response can lead to complete blockage of blood flow. Cell death, or infarction can occur within a matter of minutes.

I’ve heard the terms ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ cholesterol. How can cholesterol be good? High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is often referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol from the arteries. This results in decreased plaque formation. Consequently, high levels of good cholesterol may be protective against heart disease, stroke, and kidney injury due to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is something I will worry about down the road, right? Wrong! Fatty plaque buildup has been shown to begin as early as 15 years of age.

How can I stop (and possibly reverse) atherosclerosis?

• Maintain normal blood pressure. In addition to thickening our blood vessels, high blood pressure can also damage them. Staying physically active and lowering salt intake and stress are important. If we are diagnosed with hypertension, there are a number of medications that can help manage it. They work best when lifestyle changes are also implemented.
• Control diabetes. It is a well-known fact that diabetes accelerates the development of atherosclerosis. By keeping blood sugars well-controlled, it can help normalize this effect.
• Avoid (or stop) smoking. Smoking damages the walls of our arteries, allowing LDL to enter and begin plaque formation.
• Become physically active. I always say that this is a win-win-win situation. Physical activity decreases LDL levels, weight, and our risk for diabetes and hypertension. At the same time, it increases HDL levels and nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels and can help with circulation.

Our heart is truly amazing. Not only does it provide oxygen and fuel to every single of the 3 trillion cells in our body, it also transcends our worldly understanding. For example, “Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss, dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen but felt only by the heart.” Let’s take care of our heart…our lives…and passions depend upon it.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

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Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Courtney Barnett

***Opinions in this article are those of @KralTunes, and not necessarily shared by Tonight At Dawn***

Courtney Barnett is the type of artist that is rarely seen around these musical parts these days: a clever lyricist with an actual message to convey. Her newest album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, has been widely anticipated by critics and music scenesters for quite some time.  For her sake, I hope her offering is enough to please the Indie Rock Gods!

Opener ‘Elevator Operator’ is a ridiculously catchy tune, in spite of the protagonists’ monotonous life cycle and dead-end job:

“Feeling sick at the sight of his computer,

He dodges his way through the Swanston commuters,

Rips off his tie,

Hands it to a homeless man,

Sleeping in the corner of a metro bus stand and he screams,

‘I’m not going to work today,

Going to count the minutes that the trains run late,

Sit on the grass building pyramids out of Coke cans””

First single ‘Pedestrian At Best’ is already a contender for song of the year, and the point in the album where the boss lady over @tonightatdawn started to take notice.  Its sarcastic-tinged lyrics and scruffy guitars harken back to the early-mid 90’s. It also possesses one of the more enduring choruses I’ve heard in a while:

“Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you,

Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you,

Give me all your money,

and I’ll make some origami,

honey I think you’re a joke,

but I don’t find you very funny”

Guitar solos are abound on the amazing ‘Small Poppies’; it’s a 7-minute bleary epic that immediately takes me back to MAZZY STAR (not sure if this is apropos, since I only know a handful of her material, but these are my thoughts in my own head, so butt out!). I especially enjoy the very last line: “I dreamed I stabbed you with a coat hanger wire (all my married peeps out there know this feeling, amirite?!?!)  If it wasn’t for the awesome-sauce lead single, this would be the album’s best cut.

While some of these songs may sound rhythmically simplistic, its Ms. Barnett’s lyrics that elevate this set of songs into something memorable.  She has a great knack for turning the mundane of everyday life into poetry.  ‘Depreston’ turns a young couple buying their first home into an internal dialogue about the previous elderly owners:

“Then I see the handrail in the shower,

a collection of those canisters for coffee tea and flour,

And a photo of a young man in a van in Vietnam,

And I can’t think of floorboards anymore,

whether the front room faces south or north,

And I wonder what she bought it for.”

Courtney Barnett even manages to touch on more wide reaching societal issues (ENVIRONMENTALIST NERD ALERT!!). ‘Dead Fox’ touches on the shark cull of Australia:

“More people die on the road than they do in the ocean,

Maybe we should mull over culling cars instead of sharks.”

While ‘Kim’s Caravan’ hits on the Great Barrier Reef:

“There’s a paper on the ground,

it makes my headache quite profound,

As I read it out aloud,

It said “The Great Barrier Reef,

it ain’t so great anymore,

It’s been raped beyond belief,

the dredgers treat it like a whore.”

Courtney ends this entrée with a 1-2 punch of despair with the aforementioned track, ‘Boxing Day Blues’, an ode to an over-aspiring partner, whose ideal they will not match. Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit definitely leaves you sitting and thinking.

Lyrically, this is one of the more exceptional albums live head in quite some time.  The music complements the verses almost perfectly every time, making this an early favorite for album of the year contestant, and my new Australian rock music ambassador (move over, ACDC)!!!

China’s ‘Rare’ Monopoly

Rare earth metals are the backbone of your tablets and laptops along with cars and fighter jets. These metals, which line one of the bottom levels of the Periodic Table, were discovered in the United States and most notably applied to technology developments by Americans.

According to last night’s 60 minutes, the first rare earth mine was shut down because it was polluting the Mohave Desert and a major rare earth company in Indiana sold itself -and its patents- to China before many of us could imagine their current ubiquity in our lives.

Although, Lesley Stahl conveyed these facts in the segment, I sensed a propagandist tone against the Chinese in her phrasing.

For example, Ms. Stahl asks, “So how did they pull it off? What were the factors that allowed them (China) to basically take this away from us (United States)?”. Later in the segment she reemphasized, “The U.S. developed this technology, but China bought most of it right out from under us. For instance, in 1995, China bought the biggest American rare earth magnet company, “Magnequench” which was based in Indiana.” 

I am not arguing against guest Dan McGroarty’s confirmation that Chinese control of the industry creates dependency on China or that they are mining the metals without attending to environmental concerns.

Instead, my issue with the segment is that, to me, the tone perpetuates the media’s underlying narrative of the ‘evil Chinese’ rather than simply presenting the facts. “Take away from us..” and “…bought most of it right from under us” makes it sound like theft. Or like we are sore losers.

Contrarily, I think Ms. Stahl more accurately defines the circumstances in this transition, “The mine lay dormant (after the Mohave pollution) for a decade, giving China an opportunity.”.

As we try to revive the rare metals industry in the United States, it’s convenient to be outraged as we grip onto our cell phones and laptops. As I type this on my tablet now, I get the longing- but not the outrage. 

 

 

 

Viral Verse #1 

Text by K. Cecchini 


Scramble up boxcars

Fleshed pressed to La Bestia 

Full moon shanks refuge. 


➡️Viral Verse is poetry about current events and issues. This particular one was inspired by various segments on Central American immigrants’ treacherous route including a podcast from Radio Amublante and Vice’s HBO show.

 

Silk Rhodes

Text by KralTunes

***Opinions expressed in this article are not endorsed nor representative of Tonight At Dawn***

Baltimore’s Sasha Desree and Michael Collins pay homage to the soulful funk of the late 70’s in their self-titled release, SILK RHODES. The intro (aptly dubbed INTRO) serves up some funky R&B instrumentals that segue into the lead single. Ultimately, “Pains” serves as a precursor for the entire album; it imbibes slinky and simplistic beats with grooves that encompass Desree’s sultry, falsetto lyrics.

Still the duo veers away from straight R&B at times and makes a satisfying hard left into a funk, with tracks like “Face to Face” and “Reeltime”.  Then the album takes a smooth right into the slow, booty bumping instrumental “Personal Use” before easing into drone-funk. Each of these sparsely laid tracks feature one specific instrument that is accompanied by the bedrock bass/drum combo.

Although a formula of limited instrumentation can drag along like a monotonous landscape, Desree and Collins do a fine job of shifting gears just enough to make the trip enjoyable (it also helps that the whole album clocks out at 30 minutes).

Still, the interludes are hit or miss; the 30 second “Horizon Line” may exceed the useless “Laurie’s Machine” by miles, it is still unnecessary.  Armed with a nice looping groove, “Group 1987” is the best of these scenic overlooks.

Its ultra mellow lounge act may be more BEE GEES than COMMODORES for my taste, but SILK ROHDES still has the charm of taking you back to the music you heard while buckled (or not) into the backseat of the family car.

Silk Rhodes

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Depression in Men

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We have all heard the saying “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” I giggle when I hear that the genders come from different planets because there is more than a grain of truth to it. Men and women seem to possess their own unique customs, language, and visions of relationships (as well as many other things). But did you know that when it comes to the way diseases present, gender differences may also exist? The reason for this must lie somewhere on the mystical X and Y chromosome.

Doctors and researchers are starting to pay attention to these “gender specific” presentations to avoid giving one species a bum rap. This is particularly the case for clinical depression. Depression is typically associated with sadness and crying. However, in males, it manifests as anger, irritability, and aggression. Consequently, women are more likely to be diagnosed, and as a result, successfully treated for it. But in reality it affects men almost equally.

Dr. Nina’s – What you Need to Know: Let’s take a look at some of these “gender specific” symptoms of depression in men:

    • Anger. Although this appears to be on the opposite end of the spectrum from sadness, anger and sadness may just be two sides of the same coin. Experts believe that a man who realizes something is wrong may need to compensate by demonstrating that he is in control or capable. Depression in men is more likely to present as hostility or even controlling behavior. In some situations, verbal and physical abuse towards their mates, children, or loved ones can be seen.
    • Reckless behavior. Sudden embarking in dangerous sports, reckless driving, gambling, and substance abuse may be a sign of depression. Alcohol and illicit drugs can become a maladaptive coping mechanism. An interesting point is that alcoholics are more likely to suffer from depression compared to those who do not drink.
    • Irritability. Negative thoughts may manifest as frustration, crankiness, or excessive agitation when provoked. Irritability can also be accompanied by an increased heart rate, breathing, or sweating.
    • Physical pain. Headaches, backaches, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction, and digestive problems that are resistant to normal therapy may be a sign of depression in men. When a physical illness or other condition is caused or aggravated by a mental factor, it is referred to as psychosomatic.
    • Stress. It may be more socially acceptable to report symptoms of depression as stress. This may be the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” dilemma. It is also well known that prolonged exposure to stress can result in depression.
    • Anxiety. Depression and anxiety often come hand-in-hand. Interestingly, women are more likely to experience anxiety, but men are more likely to talk about it. Experts suggest that it may be easier to put words to worries and fears.

“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” than to speak to a loved one that they may be suffering from depression. However, by doing so, you may be the key to, and motivating factor, that can help him get better and maybe even save his life. Remember, you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Avoid being critical or judgmental. Stating that “you appear to be having more frequent headaches” or “you seem to be under a tremendous amount of stress” is less of an affront than “you are depressed and need help.” Your chances at success may be increased with the foot in the door technique. Recommending a visit with his primary care physician may encounter less resistance than getting him to initially see a mental health professional. Additionally, his doctor can help rule out other medical causes of depression and then make suggestions for further treatment.

Although men and women may be from different planets, depression affects them both. Proper treatment can allow the person to deal with the condition and regain the joys of life.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:

Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

Read more of her articles on Tonight at Dawn

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

The Terrorist’s Son

Text by K. Cecchini
Eight years before 9/11, a 1,200 pound bomb exploded in the World Trade Center’s parking garage; it killed 6 people and injured over a thousand people. El-Sayyid Nosair was one of the attack’s architects.
But this article is not about the terrorist. It is about a very different man – his son.

Worlds Collide

Zak Ebrahim
Zak Ebrahim
Nosair only had 7 years to share his “very hateful ideology” with his son before he was imprisoned. As detailed in his memoir, The Terrorist’s Son, Zak Ebrahim, his mother and siblings suffered for his father’s actions; Nosair’s notoriety ultimately led to the family’s transient and impoverished existence and an abusive remarriage.
Because of -or in spite of- his childhood, Zak’s worldview lies in direct opposition to Nosair’s.

Zak Ebrahim credits two things for the undoing of this worldview; bullying and exposure. Being bullied taught him empathy while kindness from people he had previously stereotyped taught him understanding,  “I realized i wasn’t being the better person because of my beliefs, I was doing to them what had been done many times before and…I didn’t want to be that person who made others feel the way that I had been made to feel.”

 Moral of His Story

For years, Zak was still hard pressed for answers from El-Sayyid Nosair  about “why he chose this ideology over is family…and why he chose to leave us so unprotected?”
But, today, he is ok without those answers.
For the past 6 years, Zak has found a much better way to not only process his father’s actions, but to also transform a volatile childhood into a positive contribution; storytelling.
The idea that his story could be useful for others to hear evolved partly from the anti-war movement of the previous decade, “I thought if people knew my story, it would help them understand the context of radicalization” and, perhaps, how to mitigate it.
“One of the main ingredients of radicalization is isolation,” Zak warns. We have to be mindful of our reactions to events like the Charlie Hebdo attack, because “marginalizing is exactly what these extremist groups want, they want Muslims to have to deal with being stereotyped and being harassed for their religion because it pushes them out of the mainstream and makes people more susceptive to joining groups….human beings more than anything want a purpose in life… that makes them feel fulfilled and unfortunately many people can be tricked into believing things that are greater than themselves.”
Although Zak has no illusions of utopia, he believes that we are more likely to defeat groups like ISIS if we all come together to rally against them. On the other hand, he echoes the concept that military force will only strengthen their narratives.
“You can choose peace.”

Coming Out

“The Terrorist’s Son” is a brave moniker to choose. And, as Zak tells it, he is an unlikely storyteller. He credits his best friend and associate Sharon for supporting their venture as his “courage before (he) had it”.
Zak attributes the traction his story has received to the fact that we can all relate to the emotions within it, but he is still amazed and grateful for the public’s reception, “there’s nothing in the world that I could have done that would’ve been better than what I’m doing now, taking such a negative experience and showing people that there is hope at the end of the tunnel.”
When Zak said, “I feel very lucky and grateful that I get to do it,” I could hear the happiness in his voice.

“We are not his children anymore.”

The last line of Zak’s book gave me chills. I had one more question; did he forgive his father?
Zak first articulated his view on the concept of forgiveness; “it’s not absolution”.
Then he delved into it. No longer seeking Nosair’s answers, Zak reflected, “In that sense I think perhaps I allowed myself I guess,” I hear him take a deep breath on the other end of the line, “to forgive myself for all the terrible things I had gone through and the way that I was made to feel because of those experiences.”
“You’ve come to some sort of peace with it, is what I’m gathering?” I tried to clarify.
Pause.
Quietly, Zak agrees, “Yes.”
Learn more about Zak Ebrahim:
Click here for Mr. Ebrahim’s website or follow him on Twitter: @ZakEbrahim
The book and the tour. The Terrorist’s Son (Memoir): Zak donates a percent of sales from his memoir to Tuesday’s Children, a community of terrorism victims and their families around the world (that was started after 9/11). Zak is looking forward to dates in Australia and he is particularly honored and amazed to be sharing a panel with Desmond Tutu in England in the spring.