Thursday, February 18, 2016

Safeguard Your Heart

You would know if you were experiencing high blood pressure, right? Wrong. High blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, is actually a largely symptomless condition. If the force of your blood flow is too high, and the heart is being forced to pump harder than it should, the tissue that makes up the walls of the arteries is stretched beyond its healthy limit, causing damage. The strain on the body can lead to a stroke, heart attack or chronic kidney disease.

High cholesterol can be another burden on your heart. When excess cholesterol, which is a waxy substance, starts to form between layers of artery walls, it is more difficult for your heart to circulate blood. The plaque-like build up can break open and cause clots, which may block an artery to the brain, causing a stroke, or one to the heart, causing a heart attack.

Luckily, controlling and preventing high blood pressure and high cholesterol involves easy-to-make lifestyle modifications that are beneficial for your heart and overall health:
  • Eat nutrient-rich foods. Load up on fruits and veggies! Look for breads and cereals that are 100% whole-grain and high in fiber (at least four grams per serving). Select skinless poultry, lean meats, and fish that contains omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon, trout and herring.
  • Limit sodium, saturated and trans fats, and added sugars. Avoid sprinkling your meals with extra salt. Seek out good fats from avocado, eggs, seeds and nuts. Read nutrition labels to identify added hidden sugars with names like dextrose, sucrose and fructose.
  • Be active. Not only does physical activity help control your blood pressure, it helps manage your weight, which will strengthen your heart. Try to aim for moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, for 30 minutes a day at least five times a week.
  • Do not smoke. Each cigarette you smoke temporarily increases your blood pressure for many minutes, even after you finish. Smoking has numerous negative effects on your cardiovascular and overall health. Research smoking cessation support groups, classes and hotlines for help.

Your primary care physician can help you learn how to better manage your blood pressure and cholesterol, ensuring a healthy heart. If you do not have a primary care physician, visit to find one who is right for you.

Walk a Mile to Support SAFE and Domestic Violence Programs

On April 16, GBMC will host Walk a Mile in Her Shoes: The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault, & Gender Violence, with proceeds benefitting GBMC's SAFE and Domestic Violence programs.

The Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program provides cost-free services to sexual assault victims ages 13 and above. In a confidential, non-judgmental atmosphere, Forensic Nurse Examiners conduct complete medical-forensic evaluations, including collection of forensic evidence, documentation of findings, emergency contraception and antibiotic treatment to prevent sexually transmitted infections. The SAFE program and its complement, the Domestic Violence program, are located in a secure, private suite away from the hustle and bustle of the Emergency Department. They provide quality personal care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. "It is important for people to know that we are always here for them," says SAFE Clinical Program Manager Laura Clary, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN, CPEN. "Our doors never close and we always have a SAFE nurse and Victim Advocate ready to respond when a patient arrives."

In addition to receiving the necessary medical treatments they require, patients of the SAFE program can expect crisis counseling, as well as new clothes and toiletries before leaving, if needed. The personal touch SAFE offers is vital. "Sometimes when patients come to us, they are so down, depressed, blaming themselves," Clary says. "They need someone to listen and to believe them. SAFE nurses care for the patient and do not place judgment; they give patients back the control that was so violently taken from them."

Similarly, Colleen Moore, Domestic Violence Program Coordinator at GBMC, also emphasizes the importance of empowering victims who come to the program. Her staff aims to promote a survivor's sense of personal agency in a non-directive way, which involves listening and responding, but not forcing someone to take steps they aren't ready for. The danger of violence can increase when someone attempts to leave an abusive relationship. "Many survivors are faced with significant barriers to leaving: finances, housing and concern for children are prominent obstacles," Moore says. "Some are trapped in a cycle of violence that rotates through a 'honeymoon phase' when they hope things will change."

People who visit SAFE and the Domestic Violence program can meet with an advocate who will assist them with a tailored safety plan and danger assessment. Patients can take advantage of referrals for counseling, shelter and legal resources, but most importantly, they can expect to be treated with compassion and respect. "It is a great feeling when a patient hugs you and says 'Thanks for listening, for being here when I needed you,' " Clary says. "We actually had a patient say in court, 'I truly feel like my SAFE nurse saved my life.'"

You can support the SAFE and Domestic Violence programs by attending and/or participating in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, whether male or female, heels or not! In addition to the one-mile walk on GBMC's beautiful Towson campus, there will be a post-walk party with food and prizes. Visit to register and for more information.

Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon


1¼ pounds salmon fillet
Pinch of salt and pepper

For the marinade:
¼ cup all-natural maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon ginger (optional)

2 tablespoons thinly-sliced scallions


Mix all marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Pat salmon dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon skin-side down in a shallow dish. Drizzle most of the marinade over the fish, reserving about two tablespoons. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Remove fish from the marinade and place in a glass baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, basting occasionally with extra marinade. Cook until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Garnish with scallions.

Nutrition Information

Servings: 4
Calories: 249
Fat: 5g
Saturated fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 74 mg
Sodium: 396 mg
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 29g
Carbohydrates: 20g
Potassium: 627 mg