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Senior Correspondent

Staying Healthy: Mentally and Physically

Staying Healthy: Mentally and Physically

©iStock.com/Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Q. Are there different kinds of angina?

Yes, there is stable angina, unstable angina and variant angina.

Angina—the full name is angina pectoris—is the medical term for chest pain or discomfort usually caused by coronary artery disease. Angina (pronounced an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) hits when the heart doesn't get enough blood. This usually happens when there is a narrowing or blockage in one or more of the vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Angina can come from exertion. It may make you sweat or lose your breath. The pain can strike your arm or neck, too. 

Stable angina comes on with exertion and then goes away easily. You can have this kind of angina for a long time. When the pattern of angina changes a lot, it's called unstable angina. This is a danger sign. Unstable angina may be the first sign of a heart attack. 

Variant angina usually occurs spontaneously and almost always occurs when a person is at rest. Variant angina is caused by a transient coronary artery spasm. 

Q.  How can I tell if I’m seriously depressed or just blue?

The following are common signs of depression. If you have several of these, and they last for more than two weeks, get treatment: 

Anxiety, fatigue, loss of interest or pleasure, sleep problems, eating too much or too little, abnormal crying, aches that can’t be treated successfully, diminished concentration or memory, irritability, thoughts of death or suicide, feelings of despair, guilt and being worthless.
Depression is a serious illness. It can lead to suicide. Don’t waste time; find help.
Start with your family doctor. After a complete exam, your doctor may suggest you talk to a social worker, mental health counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist
Antidepressant drugs can help. These medications can improve your mood, sleep, appetite, and concentration. 

Q. What are antioxidants and how do they contribute to good health?

As you process food, you make substances called “free radicals,” which are believed to contribute to aging and certain diseases. To neutralize free radicals, your body uses antioxidants that come from your food. Proponents believe that antioxidants can prevent chronic diseases.

The following are some antioxidants: vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, vitamin C,
vitamin E,  beta carotene, folic acid and selenium.

The best way to give your body the antioxidants it needs is to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. There's no proof that antioxidants in pill form can improve your general health or extend your life. 

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement. Ingredients in supplements can cause harmful interactions with your medications and serious side effects. 
In addition to eating a varied diet, try the following for attaining good health:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise daily
  • Go to the doctor when you’re sick
  • Go to the doctor when you’re well to get screened for disease
  • Don’t smoke
  • Use sunscreen
  • Stay close to your friends and family

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