Health Buzz: Heart Attacks Can Trigger PTSD

How to lose weight with your pet; 10 best foods for your hair

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PTSD a Risk Among Heart Attack Patients

Heart attacks can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder, new research suggests. As many as 1 in 8 people who survive a heart attack develop symptoms of PTSD, such as frequent nightmares or flashbacks; intrusive thoughts; and elevated blood pressure or heart rate. These symptoms also appear to increase the risk of having a second heart attack, according to findings published in the journal PLoS One. PTSD, an anxiety disorder that develops after a traumatic event involving the threat of injury or death, often affects soldiers returning home from war. A heart attack is a terrifying experience in its own right, the study authors say. "About 1.4 million people [in the United States] have heart attacks every year; that's as many people as are in our entire active military," study author Donald Edmondson, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, told Time. "That feeling that your life is in danger — the loss of control when your body turns on you — is something that these people have a hard time forgetting."

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  • How to Lose Weight With Your Pet

    Fat cats. Pudgy pooches. No doubt they're cute, but obesity is as weighty an issue for our four-legged friends as it is for us. Recent research suggests that 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. 

    Portly pets face a host of health issues, including osteoarthritis and joint problems; insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes; high blood pressure; and heart and respiratory diseases. Pet obesity has been shown to take at least two years off an animal's life. "It's a big problem," says veterinarian Marty Becker, author of more than 20 books, including Your Cat: The Owner's Manual and Your Dog: The Owner's Manual. "While they make cute cartoons, they're little tubby time bombs."

    Plenty of factors are fueling the pet obesity epidemic. Pet foods today are more calorically dense than in years past, and owners are likely overfeeding their animals. Fido is giving you puppy dog eyes? The kitten is purring? Reward the cuteness with an extra scoop of food, or even some scraps off the table. That adds up—especially when coupled with too little exercise and, in general, a lack of knowledge about how much your pet should be eating and what he should weigh. (Dogs and cats 10 to 20 percent over their ideal body weight are considered overweight, and once they surpass the 20 percent mark, they become obese.)

    That's why there's a growing movement to educate pet owners and encourage them to slim down with their furry friends. In January, Nestle Purina and Jenny Craig teamed up to help people and their pets get in shape with Project: Pet Slim Down. The free online program offers tips on feeding, weight loss tracking tools, and advice on exercising together. [Read more: How to Lose Weight With Your Pet]

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    • 10 Best Foods for Your Hair

      Move that shampoo and conditioner aside. The pursuit of luscious, shiny locks starts with fish, beans, bananas, and lentils. Indeed, a healthy diet is as good for the 150,000 hair follicles on your head as it is for your body. "Having a balanced diet, while putting a little extra emphasis on things like protein and iron, gives your hair a boost," says Neil Sadick, a clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the Weill Cornell Medical College. 

      Protein, for example, is the building block of hair. If you don't get enough, your mane will grow more slowly, and strands will be weaker. "Pump up the protein," says registered dietician Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of The Flexitarian Diet. "Include a small dose at each meal and with each snack, and you'll keep your hair follicles strong." Safe bets include poultry, lean beef, fish, beans, and nuts.

      If you start a hair-healthy diet today, you'll likely see improvements within six months to a year, depending on how fast your hair grows.