Discover More About Your Family Health History with these Genetics Resources

Knowing our family health history is often the key to our own personal health. Many chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure, are often inherited. But we can also inherit genes from our family that can increase our chances of developing certain serious diseases such as cancer. Understanding genetics can be confusing for anyone. Luckily there are many resources available to help you make sense of this important topic.

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Habits for Healthier Sleep

Raise your hand if you’re tired right now. OK, now raise your hand if you’ve been tired at least a few afternoons this week. Unfortunately, I bet every single one of you lovely readers raised your hand for at least one of those – according to the CDC, one third of Americans are chronically sleep deprived, regularly clocking in at fewer than 7 hours a night. The number of people who experience occasional and/or recurrent sleep deprivation is even higher – studies show that nearly everyone experiences occasional sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can lead to a slew of problems: from reduced concentration, lowered immunity, irritability, and low productivity in the short term to the increased risk of heart disease, anxiety, depression, chronic inflammation, dementia, and much more over the long term.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to help you sleep more and sleep better! Next week is Sleep Awareness Week, so we want to encourage you to try these tips next week to see how you feel! If you find yourself more rested, you can work them into your regular routine.

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Get Moving! Best Exercises for Heart Health (That Aren’t Running)

We all know that in order to develop strong muscles in our body, we need to exercise. But did you ever consider that your heart is also a muscle? Arguably the most important muscle in your body, the heart also needs to be worked out to stay in tip top shape and keep ticking. If the thought of lacing up and heading out the door for a heart-thumping run gives you panic attacks, no need to stress. Running isn’t for everyone, and there are lots of ways to make your heart strong that don’t involve running—although, that’s also a pretty great way to strengthen your ticker, too!


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Health Benefits of Art and Creativity

It’s no accident that our Health Sciences library is brimming with artwork created students, faculty, and staff at the UCF College of Medicine. Creating and viewing art is not only fun and fulfilling, it also has amazing health benefits: from improved focus and concentration to reduced stress and anxiety. So whether you paint, draw, write, sing, dance, play an instrument, create pottery, color-by-numbers, or even just enjoy strolling around in a museum, you’re potentially having a big impact on your overall health and well-being.

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Organ Donation 101

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 2/9/17.

A very special day is just around the corner: the one day a year when you can give your heart to someone new… or your liver, or a kidney. That’s right – February 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day, it’s also National Organ Donor Day! Today on the blog, we’re celebrating by exploring how organ donation works, so that you can make an informed decision about your preference to donate!

There are currently 119,000 men, women, and children on the national transplant waiting list, and 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant. The good news is that more that 130 million people in the U.S. are registered as organ donors, and one donor can save up to 8 lives. However, only 3 in 1,000 people die in such a way that allows for organ donation.

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

Image copyright Catherine Lane 2015

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Heart Healthy Tips for Dining Out

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means plenty of people are going to be heading out to their favorite eateries for a meal. It’s a good excuse to order something indulgent and extravagant, but can you order good food from the menu that is also good for your heart? The answer is yes! There are plenty of ways to make heart-healthy menu choices no matter what type of restaurant you end up at. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

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Cupid’s Chemicals: The Biology of Falling in Love

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 2/11/16.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you may be asking yourself the age-old question, “What is love?” Although this question has plagued great minds like Shakespeare and Haddaway through the centuries, modern science is getting closer to being able to find the elusive answer. It turns out that love may have less to do with the heart, and more to do with an intoxicating cocktail of neurotransmitters that flood the brain and cause “that lovin’ feeling.”


So what are these chemicals associated with falling in love?

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Tech Talk Thursday: Love your heart – Wearable technology for heart monitoring

It’s time to have a real heart to heart about health…specifically cardiovascular health. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, and February is a great time to start some serious conversation about that since it’s National Heart Month. Today, we’d like to center the discussion around some of the technology that’s out there to help combat that statistic.

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Resource Roundup for Thyroid Awareness Month

Although January is quickly coming to a close, we want to highlight the fact that this is Thyroid Awareness Month. According to the American Thyroid Association, about 20 million Americans have some type of thyroid disease and over 12% of people in the US will develop some kind of thyroid condition in their life. Having an undiagnosed thyroid condition can also put you at risk for other issues, including osteoporosis, infertility, and even cardiovascular disease. There are some excellent resources available to read up on thyroid health, so you can have an informed conversation with your healthcare provider about whether you need to be concerned about thyroid issues. Read on to learn more.

The paisley ribbon signifies thyroid awareness.

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Donating blood? Know before you go!

January is National Blood Donor Month, so there’s no better time to get to your nearest donation center and do what you can to help! If you’ve never donated blood before, there are a few things you should know – the experience is a little different than having blood drawn for a few routine lab tests. Be prepared by knowing some do’s and don’ts  of what to expect, before, during, and after you go.

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