Friday, March 17, 2017

Lourdes Cardiologist Explains “Broken Heart Syndrome”


Friday, February 17, 2017

When actress Debbie Reynolds died suddenly, just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away, many people speculated she died more of a broken heart than from a stroke. Mother and daughter were reportedly close, and they are just one example of close relatives, including twins and long-time spouses, who have died shortly after one another.

But is it possible to die from grief?  Yes, says a Lourdes cardiologist, however, it doesn’t happen often.

“Broken Heart Syndrome,” or stress-induced cardiomyopathy, is a condition in which intense emotional or physical stress can cause rapid and severe muscle weakness, explains Lourdes cardiologist Vivek Sailam, MD.

“Stress cardiomyopathy symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and low blood pressure,” said Dr. Sailam. “Tests may show changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack, but the arteries are not blocked.”

Dr. Sailam says that with stress-induced cardiomyopathy (sometimes referred to as Takasubo’s cardiomyopathy), a portion of the heart temporarily enlarges and stops pumping effectively. “The rest of the heart continues to function normally or even with more forceful contractions.”

As the syndrome involves severe heart weakness and abnormal heart rhythms, it can be fatal for some individuals. However, the condition often improves very quickly, and patients under the care of an experienced cardiac team can make a full recovery.

Experts believe that with stress-induced cardiomyopathy, the heart is overwhelmed with a large amount of adrenaline. The exact way adrenaline affects the heart is not clear. It may cause a narrowing of the arteries, leading to a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart. Adrenaline also may bind to the heart cells, causing large amount of calcium to enter the cells and not function properly.

Unlike a heart attack, when heart cells die, the cells are only “stunned” by the adrenaline. This usually allows the heart to recover without permanent damage.

“Patients may experience arrhythmias, heart failure or cardiogenic shock—when a suddenly weakened heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs,” said Dr. Sailam. “All of these conditions can be fatal if not treated immediately.”

Debbie Reynolds suffered a massive stroke. Stress-induced cardiomyopathy can lead to a stroke as well, said Dr. Sailam.

“When the heart isn’t pumping effectively, blood inside of it can become stagnant and can clot,” said Dr. Sailam. “A clot that breaks loose can travel to a blood vessel in the brain and cause a stroke.”

Middle-aged and older women appear to be at greatest risk of stress-induced cardiomyopathy, though younger women and men can experience it as well.

Stress is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. To help manage your stress:

  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Accept you cannot control everything.
  • Exercise daily.
  • Take time out to relax, including practicing yoga, meditating, listening to music or doing something else you enjoy.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Talk to someone or seek help from a professional therapist.

While not everyone who has stress will experience stress-induced cardiomyopathy, Dr. Sailam says it’s important not to ignore its symptoms.

“If you’re experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, inability to speak or move one side of your body, or any other possible symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, call 911 right away for immediate medical attention,” he said.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The GOP’s ObamaCare replacement will boost jobs and cut taxes By Betsy McCaughey


The GOP’s ObamaCare replacement will boost jobs and cut taxes March 10, 2017

Ignore the grandstanding on Capitol Hill and the noise coming from town-hall protests around the nation. The Republican bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare will boost your chances of getting a job and cut your tax bill, not to mention your insurance costs.

The repeal bill — called the American Health Care Act — also will stave off a tidal wave of future Medicaid spending that threatens to drown the states and Uncle Sam in red ink. Here’s how.

No more penalties. If you’re among the 8 million people getting whacked with a tax penalty for not enrolling in an overpriced ObamaCare plan, the repeal bill is good news. The federal government will no longer compel you to buy insurance.

The repeal bill also cancels penalties on employers. ObamaCare forced all but the smallest employers to provide a benefits package far costlier than what they had been offering prior to the reform. Employers then passed these costs onto workers, raising deductibles by 50 percent on about 155 million people.

Other employers dropped coverage altogether for millions of workers. Only in Washington, DC, would an employer mandate result in fewer people getting on-the-job coverage.

Still others — like community colleges and fast-food outlets — demoted workers to part-time status (having them work less than 30 hours a week) to avoid the mandate. In New York, some service and manufacturing companies stopped hiring altogether, according to the New York Fed.

Without repealing ObamaCare, there would be 2 million fewer people with full-time jobs by 2025, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The repeal bill is a jobs program.

Lower taxes. It’s also a massive $600 billion tax cut. It eliminates taxes that pushed up the costs of insurance and devices like artificial hips. It also allows people to put aside more earnings tax-free in a health-savings account for out-of-pocket health expenses.

And it eliminates the taxes that targeted people earning more than $200,000 a year, including the ObamaCare payroll tax hike (2.35 percent) and the 3.8 percent ObamaCare tax on unearned income.

Medicaid fix. Repeal rescues the nation from a looming financial calamity.

Medicaid, the public program for low-income people, has grown explosively under ObamaCare. Medicaid now covers 74 million. The ACA encouraged states to expand enrollment by promising the federal government would pay between 90 percent and 100 percent of the cost. That’s like handing your teenager your credit card.

State politicians eager to rake in federal funds spent with abandon. More than half of all federal dollars now going to the states are for Medicaid.

And Medicaid spending per recipient is growing twice as fast as Medicare for seniors. But without improving health outcomes, like controlling blood pressure.

You pay for Medicaid costs twice: first as a taxpayer and again as a consumer. Because Medicaid reimburses hospitals and doctors only 90 cents for every dollar of care, the shortfall gets shifted onto patients with private insurance, adding about $1,800 a year to your premium. Ouch.

Disregard shrill complaints from ObamaCare partisans like Zeke Emanuel that reforming Medicaid is “cruel.” The repeal bill protects Americans who need Medicaid, grandfathering in everyone enrolled through 2019. No one will lose coverage. But states are put on an allowance after 2019. Medicaid reform is long overdue, and this repeal bill launches it.

Individual insurance buyers
. Finally, if you’re one of the 19 million people who buy insurance in the individual market, you’ll find all the protections of ObamaCare are preserved, including banning lifetime and annual-payment caps and penalties for pre-existing conditions. True, subsidies for lower-income buyers are smaller.

But the most newsworthy innovation is a multibillion-dollar fund that states can use to reduce premiums. States will pay the costs of the sickest insurance customers, so that premiums paid by healthy customers can stay reasonable. That feature has been ignored by the media and repeal critics, but it’s a keeper. With adequate funding, it has the potential to deliver what ObamaCare never did: affordability.

Betsy McCaughey is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research.

Obituary - Shaffer

Emily Shaffer of Edgewater Park passed away into God's loving and eternal care on Sunday, March 12, 2017 at Lourdes Medical Center in Willingboro. She was 84.

Born and raised in Williamsport, Pa., she lived in Edgewater Park for many years. Emily retired in 1985 as a music class teacher for the Delran Middle School after 28 years of service.

She was a member of Beverly United Methodist Church, the Methodist Women and the Bible study group. Mrs. Shaffer was formerly the organist at Delanco United Methodist as well as at Beverly United Methodist Church.

She also was a member of the Edgewater Park Women's Club, loved playing the piano, and enjoyed engaging in conversation with whomever she met. She was very fond of dogs, especially Pit Bulls and Boxers.

Preceded in death by her husband of 28 years, William Shaffer, and her daughter, Susanne Stokes, she is survived by her daughters, Yvonne Shaffer and Margaret 'Peg' Trost (Michael Sr.), five grandchildren, Duane Shaffer, Lisa Wood, Michael Trost Jr., Brett Trost and Billy Stokes, and her great grandchild, Madison Wood.

Her funeral will be held at 11:30 a.m. Friday, March 17 (today), at Beverly United Methodist Church, 133 Warren St., Beverly, NJ 08010, where relatives and friends may call from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Officiating will be her pastor, Rev. Heidi Bak. Interment will be in Odd Fellows Cemetery, Burlington.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to Justice Rescue, P.O. Box 112, Woodlyn, PA 19094.

To offer condolences to the family, visit the funeral home's Web site listed below.Dennison-McGee Funeral Home,

Dennison-McGee Funeral Home,

869 Beverly Road


Published in Burlington County Times - March 16-17, 2017 Source: