Your guide to family events, stories and news in Western Wisconsin.

Can Stress Lead to a Heart Attack for Women?

Many people underestimate the impact that stress can have on the body, especially the heart. Risk factors for coronary artery disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity, affect both women and men. However, other factors have been identified as playing a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women, including:

• Mental stress and depression

• Smoking

• Alcohol consumption

• Menopause

• Pregnancy complications

• Diabetes or inflammatory diseases

Women are also more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain. Mental stress may often trigger these symptoms, which could include:

• Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort

• Shortness of breath

• Pain in one or both arms

• Nausea or vomiting

• Sweating

• Lightheadedness or dizziness

• Unusual fatigue

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Aim to find active ways to manage your stress. Inactive ways you may use to manage stress – such as watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing video games – may seem relaxing, but they may increase your stress over the long term. Curb stress and-heart related issues by making lifestyle changes now and incorporating more over time. Go to for more information about maintaining a healthier lifestyle.


Learn the Signs of Stroke to Save a Life

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or severely reduced. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is crucial, as early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications. The acronym F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke:

1. Face drooping 

Does one side of the face droop, or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the smile uneven?

2. Arm weakness

Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

3. Speech difficulty

Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

4. Time to call 911

If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 911 and get to the hospital immediately. Check the time, so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

Remember: Every minute counts. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential of brain damage and disability. Call 911 right away at the first signs of a stroke.

An Active Winter Outdoors: Tackle New Activities


When the daylight gets shorter and the temperature drops, it can be especially challenging to get inspired to exercise. Venturing outdoors is a good option, physically and mentally. It allows you to breathe fresh air, see different sites and move your body in various ways. Here are some reminders on how to stay comfortable outside:

Wear the proper winter attire. Dress in layers and wear warm boots or footwear that have grips to prevent from slipping on ice. Don’t forget your hat and gloves.

Don’t overlook your backyard. Make family memories while you’re out there. Make snow angels and snowmen, build forts, throw snowballs, play games, paint the snow, blow bubbles, or hang homemade bird feeders.

Try something new. A favorite summer spot can look totally different covered in snow. Connect with friends or family who enjoy an activity you’d like to try.

Get a good calorie burn. Try tackling cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or winter mountain biking. Don’t forget: shoveling also packs a big calorie burn.

And if being indoors is more your style, there are plenty of opportunities to help you stay active:

Try a new fitness center class.

Walk a local shopping center or mall.

Create a fitness space in your home. You can use your own body weight or get a fitness ball, yoga mat, and a few weights.

Whatever you choose to do this winter, remember--regular exercise is essential to a healthy and happy life. Finding activities you enjoy will help you be more successful.

Difficulty Becoming Pregnant? Don’t Lose Hope.

Image: David Leo Veksler
Image: David Leo Veksler

Many people dream of becoming parents, but for some, that dream is difficult because they have trouble getting pregnant on their own. It can take a healthy couple up to a year to conceive. Unfortunately, trying isn’t enough for some. Thankfully, couples can seek fertility assistance. After one year of unprotected, appropriately timed intercourse (every day to every other day around expected ovulation), couples may begin evaluation. They may begin evaluation, also, within six months of trying if the woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular, if they are over age 35, or if there is history to suggest there may have difficulty getting pregnant. History includes a tubal pregnancy for the woman or a pelvic injury for the man. Couples can learn the cause of infertility through various tests. For women, this may also involve monitoring ovulation. Treatment for fertility issues varies. As initial fertility methods, oral and injectable medications can trick the ovary into releasing at least one egg. Other options are available depending on the need. Monitoring continues after treatment to measure the body’s response. Don’t give up or lose hope when conception isn’t happening on its own or on your timing.

When Tragedy Happens grieving teens can find help

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, someone in the U.S. died of suicide every 12.8 minutes. There is much we do not know about suicide and much to learn. For teens, talking about suicide after losing someone they love may feel uncomfortable, and they may question why someone would take his or her own life. Some may feel a sense of guilt and loss because they feel as though they could have prevented the death.

Talking in a group setting can help teens feel they are not alone. “The rate of suicide continues to rise, and those left behind are impacted in many ways,” says Karlene Phillips, director of inpatient Behavioral Health at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Phillips adds that grief support groups for survivors of suicide are successful in helping decrease the sense of isolation and in normalizing the many feelings that occur after a death.

Mayo Clinic Health System offers a support group to teens that have lost a loved one to suicide. Teens up to age 19, if still in high school, are encouraged to attend. Attendance is free. Call (715) 838-3274 for more information.

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Mayo Clinic Health System »