Wear Red Friday & Raise Your Voice!

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TCHC employees on National Wear Red Day 2016!

By: Stephanie Larson, RN, TCHC Hospital Informatic, Wellness Co-Chair

Happy Heart Health Month!!!  Friday, February 3rd, we celebrate the 15th anniversary of National Wear Red Day.  To this day, Heart Disease is still the #1 killer in women killing 1 in 3 women each year, but 293 fewer women die daily from cardiovascular disease.  The awareness and education are helpful, but there are still an average of 1 woman every 80 seconds that will die from heart disease.

There are many risk factors that play a part, and both men and women can make small changes to decrease their chances.

These include:

  •  Losing weight
  • Increasing exercise
  • Changing our diets
  • Getting our cholesterol checked
  • Talking with your doctor about developing a heart health plan ( you don’t realize the impact salt plays in your life until the doctors take it away).

While prevention is key, we need to know the different symptoms for both men and women.  While we think of heart disease and what symptoms there are, many think chest pain, arm and jaw pain.  Don’t forget sweating, lightheaded, and stomach pain. Women often experience other symptoms that include nausea, shortness of breath, and chest pressure.

So what is the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest? 

Click on this infographic!

The best way it was ever explained to me was that one needs a plumber and one needs an electrician to repair them!  A cardiac arrest occurs when the conduction system that keeps your heart beating decides to stop, is interrupted, or a malfunction in the heart causes it to stop beating.  The blood flow in the arteries is not affected by any sort of blockage.  If the blood flow has been affected, then this is what would be considered a form of a heart attack.  Either way, the person needs your help!  Fast action can save lives!  Learn CPR today.  Nearly 400,000 out-of-hospital cases occur every year in the US.  89% of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die because they do not receive immediate CPR.  Call 911 and push down and fast.

I had the chance about one year ago to help create a video to be shared with anyone who will listen. It is a reenactment of what happens when someone suffers from a cardiac arrest and what a great outcome there can be.I feel passionate about everyone knowing how to perform CPR.  With this knowledge and education, we are saving lives! I am living proof of this!

Watch it here:


About the Author: Stephanie Larson has worked at TCHC for 13.5 years in various roles.  Currently, she is the Hospital Informatics Nurse.  She resides in Wadena with her husband, Jesse, and two children, Aiden (13) and Isabelle (11). She is also a survivor. After having a cardiac arrest in October 2011, she was able to recover and receive a new heart in September 2012.  Every chance she gets, she tells her story to help educate others!

What’s your WHY? Why Exercise became critical in my life

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By: Rachel Amiot, Wellness Coordinator at Bertha Area Wellness Center & Certified Personal Trainer

We’ve all heard that exercising has benefits such as increasing our energy, strength, mood and helping our hearts function more efficiently. Most of us feel we should probably get to the gym a few more times a year…all right maybe a few more times a week! I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of stuff to do on a daily basis. I have a house to clean, laundry to do, a 40+ hour a week job, dinner to prepare…shoot that reminds me I have to run to the grocery store! You see, I really do want to exercise more I just don’t have time; my life is just too busy.

young rachel

Young Rachel (far right) with her two younger sisters

So you may be wondering why I recently decided to go back to become a certified personal trainer? I learned at a very young age that life is fragile. When I was five years old I attended my first funeral for my 56-year-old grandmother who passed away from a heart condition. Ten years later I found myself back in the same church for my grandfather’s funeral. Shortly thereafter my 43-year-old uncle passed away from a heart attack while moving furniture. At an early age, I saw firsthand how everyday lifestyle choices played a factor into my dear family member’s early passings. I was scared this same pattern would be passed on to me.

Rachel & her family

Rachel & her family

You can’t outsmart hereditary and I knew exercising needed to become a priority even if that meant I’d have an extra load of laundry to do on the weekend. I realized that we are all given the same 24 hours in a day; the only difference is how we decide to use those hours. Time management was something I was going to have to get better at because fitting exercise in my day to me meant another day. I found that exercising became a relief for me from worry, anxiety and sadness. Exercise made me feel good, happy and strong! In turn that made me feel beautiful no matter how many breakouts I had on my face or my pant size. My hope is that people would realize that exercise not only benefits your heart, increases your blood circulation, boosts your mood, helps you focus, gives you energy, makes you stronger and reduces your risk of chronic health conditions, but it also can be a time of self-reflection and meditation.

We owe it to ourselves to look after our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I made exercise a priority in my life because I want to live a long, full life. I owe that to myself and the memory of my late family members.

So what I want to leave you with is this…what’s your why?

Ironman finisher

Rachel completed an Ironman in 2014!

About the Author: Rachel Amiot is the Wellness Coordinator and Certified Personal Trainer for the Bertha Area Wellness Center in Bertha, MN. Her passion is to lead by example and teach people how to lead a healthier lifestyle. She is a member of the Wellness Committee at Tri-County Health Care and leads the Couch to 5k running group for the Sunnybrook Stomp on June 19th. In her free time she bikes with her dad, runs with her dog and trains for triathlons.