Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How is Dennis Sneyers healthy?

There are several ways I stay healthy. The first is knowing my family health history, secondly is regular exercise and thirdly reducing the amount of stress I experience at work.

Knowing my family health history and sharing it with my physician is key. All of my grandparents and both parents had heart attacks or required by-pass surgery by their mid-50's. Knowing and sharing this with my doctor provided us with the knowledge to have the proper tests administered including cholesterol levels. Another advantage to knowing my family health history was learning that two of my five sisters experienced blood clotting during pregnancy. This suggested to my doctor that we should determine my blood factor. Not only does each of us have a blood type, but they're also different levels of clotting of the blood. After a series of blood tests it was determined that I have a blood factor called Factorr Five Leiden which means my blood clots easily. When I travel by air for long trips I need injections of medication to prevent blood clots from forming during a long sit. This condition, I learned, is especially common among people who have northern European ancestor.

It is common knowledge that exercise helps to control blood pressure and build strong bones. As we get older our bones tend to lose density and can more easily lead to fracturing. I tend to hit the gym at least 5 - 6 times a week. I insure that I get in at least 20 minutes of cardio with each work out to help control my cholesterol level and keep my weight gain to a minimum. I was also heavily involved in bringing the 2006 Gay Games to Chicago where I competed in rowing, which I continue to do. Certainly one doesn't have to belong to a gym to gain the benefits of exercise.

Stress can also be a factor in people who may be susceptible to heart health issues. Every day I make a point of getting away from my desk for a brief walk, maybe only five minutes. I also make a habit of not letting problems at work build up. Bad news doesn't get better with time so I alert my manager to any problems as soon as they are known.

Finally, my dog provides me with a lot of joy. Many studies have shown that individuals can lower blood pressure levels by having the companionship of a pet...certainly a well-worth trade off for the 6AM mid-winter walks!

-- Dennis Sneyers

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