Dr. JoAnn Yanez on KCAA 02/13/19

Dr. JoAnn Yanez, AANMC executive director, joins KCAA’s NBC LA affiliate On the Brink to discuss the relationship between depression and heart disease.
 

 

Full Transcript of Interview Below.

Topics Include:

  • Gender impacts on health
  • Stress and its relationship with heart health
  • Adaption to stress
  • Positivity and gratitude
  • And More…

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: As I was preparing for this morning and thinking about it, something kept popping up in my head and maybe it’s because I’m getting sentimental with my old age and Valentine’s Day, but I was thinking about the role of our minds and our thoughts on the heart and figured, hey everybody talks about heart disease and how you should eat well and you should exercise and some of the things that are better for managing heart disease and preventing heart disease like the Mediterranean diet. I know we’ve talked about that before. How do we do something different today? I thought maybe we would connect the relationship with depression and heart disease.

Erin Brinker: Oh, I think that’s wonderful.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Is that okay?

Erin Brinker: Yes, I think that’s wonderful. Absolutely.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I was looking at the statistics and heart disease still remains the number one killer of folks in the United States, one out of every four deaths. It is very important to understand but one of the lesser talked about issues in heart disease is that folks with heart disease, heart patients, are three times as likely to be depressed at any given time than the general population. I found that really interesting and depression is also twice as common in women than men.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: One of the things that kept coming into my mind and I always look at illness and all patient issues with a naturopathic lens, is how does our role with stress, how does our role with how we handle things, why is depression twice as likely in women than men? Is our existence that much more depressing than the male experience? What is that about?

Erin Brinker: I wonder if women are more likely to recognize their depression and ask for assistance than men are.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: That definitely is part of it. There’s a lot of stigma around men feeling weak or showing “weakness” and anything mental can be considered weakness. You know, “tough it up, be a man,”  that whole culture of having to try and stiff upper lip everything and hold it in actually impacts so many different components of our health. I’ve talked before about the role of cortisol and stress in our talks here in the morning, but stress impacts our release of cortisol which is a hormone and that has so many different ripples in the body, some of which can worsen heart disease if it’s already present or exacerbate incidents of heart disease. Cortisol, that’s your stress hormone, that’s ‘run from the bear in the woods’ kind of thing and what does it do? It increases your heart rate, it increases blood sugar levels, which subsequently can have increased damage on your vascular system. There’s a lot of ripples and a connection between stress and heart disease that isn’t often talked about or addressed.

Erin Brinker: I know that people who deal with chronic pain can become depressed because the presence of pain that’s with you all the time is depressing. I mean, I’ve known enough people who have had like back pain and they really fight depression. Is this a chicken and the egg thing? Does the depression come first and then the heart disease or the heart disease and then the depression, or does that really matter?

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: I think it depends on the patient, Erin. There are so many different factors and I don’t think that we can say there’s just a one size fits all reason why folks have cardiovascular disease and it’s the number one killer. I would say that diet is definitely, at least in the United States, a major component, but what happens when folks are depressed? Depression in and of itself lends you to not want to exercise, not want to get out and talk to friends, and self-isolate, maybe grab more carb heavy foods, and things that will increase your weight and increase your blood pressure. It becomes this vicious cycle that just continues to feed itself. I don’t know that we can pinpoint any one thing but being depressed will … How motivated are you if you’re feeling down to go out and exercise? Funny thing is that’s exactly what you should do when you’re feeling down, like get out, get out of the house, don’t sit and mope and wallow in it. Go take a walk, go call a friend. I think there are many better adaptive coping mechanisms that we can do to our stressors but some of that just is around how do we adapt to stress. If you’re stressed do you instantly go to like anger or anxiety? Research has shown that the folks that when they’re stressed, they go to anger and anxiety, they have higher levels of heart disease.

Erin Brinker: Interesting.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: How we manage our stress is also important. Recognizing the things that get you stressed out … I can tell you mornings stress me out. Getting a six-year-old up and out the door …

Erin Brinker: Ah, yes.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Getting ready for school stresses me out and so what I’ve tried to do, what we’ve tried to do in the house, is do as many things ahead of time so get the clothes out, make breakfast the night before or have things that are quick and easy to grab for breakfast and get a routine set so that we can head off at the path at least some of the things that will lead to more stress. Some things are going to be in our control and then there are going to be things that are not in our control and we still have to manage how do we respond to that; do we find the silver lining or do we mope and wallow in it. Yesterday, I was having a morning yesterday like it sounds like you guys are having today and I ended up … I had just gotten back into town after a week away, breakfast wasn’t made, and so I found myself running out the door to try and go grab breakfast at a store for my son, leave the house without my purse.

Erin Brinker: I have had … That has happened to me and you just want to cry. Oh, my goodness, I am so sorry that happened to you.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Well, but like in that moment of like okay, I’ve got a hungry kid, he has to eat, I’ve got no purse, like what do we do? Okay, what do we have in the car? Then I realized that I had some emergency cash stowed away in a pocket, like ah, okay. But like you could, you could just sit and just give up and cry or you can just go into alright, how do we make the best out of it?

Erin Brinker: Right.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Go ahead.

Erin Brinker: One of the things about depression is that you do isolate yourself and the people around you may not know how to say … How to pull you out, to help you work through that stress. I had a pretty stressful day yesterday and Tobin makes me laugh when I’m stressed, even if it irritates me a little bit when he starts, by the time he’s done I’m really happy that he did it and so I think we need to be cognizant of what those around us are feeling and going through and we can help.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Absolutely. You know, there’s so much, and we’ve talked about this before, check in on your friends. Recently, I’ve had several friends lose parents and loved ones and you make check on them initially, but check on them in a week or two or a month later. Keep checking on your friends, keep making sure that they’re okay. Stop in, make them laugh, take them to a funny movie. Do those types of things that will help elevate and just be a good human being, I think at the end of the day.

Erin Brinker: Just start there.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Start there, be a good human. You wish you didn’t have to tell that to people but you know.

Erin Brinker: You know, we get … I know when I get busy, I get tunnel vision and it’s a good reminder to say hey, have you checked in on your friends lately? Have you sent a note and said I’m thinking about you? It’s so easy to do with a text or social media post or whatever, it’s so easy to reach out to people now.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It really is. I think, again, it’s just we all get tunnel vision, we all get caught up in our day to day and making a choice to stop and check in on your friends and also stop and check in on yourself. That’s one of the things that I think when people get really busy and caught up, it’s easy to ignore feelings and how you’re doing and your attitude, really impact your emotional state. We can sit and focus and dwell on the things that are missing in our life until the cows come home. We can think about all the things we don’t have, all of the stuff that we wish we had, all the things we would want to have, or we can focus on the blessings we do have right here and right now. That practice of positivity and of gratitude … Yesterday I was having kind of one of those days and I forced myself before I went to bed, I’m like okay, focus on the things that you’re thankful for. What are the good things in your life and leave those as the last thoughts you have before you go to sleep.

Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. An attitude of gratitude is a game changer, it really is.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: It really is and it has been for me. I always joke, I come from a long line of worriers and anxious people, so it’s long bred in my family to be anxious and so I consciously have to say okay, you’re going a little too far on one side on this Jo, come on back, remember the things that you do have, remember the blessings, and be thankful for those because you’ve got it pretty good compared to a whole lot. Not to brag, but we have a house, we have a roof over our head, we’ve got food in the fridge, you know I’ve got family that loves me. That’s a really good place to start.

Erin Brinker: Indeed, and that will be our last word for today. Let people know how they can find you and follow you and learn more about the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: You bet. We’re all over the interweb, AANMC.org, on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Please reach out to us. We host monthly webinars on varying topics and we’ve got one coming up on PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, so hope you guys can tune in.

Erin Brinker: Oh, that’s great. Well, Dr. JoAnn Yanez, it’s always, always a treat to have you on the air. Thank you so much for joining us.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Thank you. Hope you guys have a better day.

Erin Brinker: Thank you. It’s already getting better, it’s already better.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Awesome.

Erin Brinker: Thank you so much.

Dr. JoAnn Yanez: Bye.

Erin Brinker: Bye. It’s time for a break. I’m Erin Brinker.

Tobin Brinker: I’m Tobin Brinker.

Erin Brinker: We’ll be right back.

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Stressed? Learn How It Impacts Your Health and How to Cope

Join the AANMC and Brad Lichtenstein, ND, BCB-HRV for a webinar focused on how stress impacts the body and natural ways to cope.

Stressed? Learn How It Impacts Your Health and How to Cope

The impacts of stress can ripple through our health by influencing all aspects of our mind and body. NDs help patients identify stressors, teaching them simple techniques to manage stress, and how to avoid situations that may lead to negative impacts on health and well-being.

Join the AANMC and Dr. Brad Lichtenstein to:

-Learn about the body’s natural response to stress
-Identify ways to minimize your stress
-Hear about a patient case managed with naturopathic medicine

Become the Doctor You'd Like to Have

Learn more about becoming a naturopathic doctor. Receive information from one of our 8 accredited schools across the U.S. & Canada.

Stressed? Learn How It Impacts Your Health and How to Cope

Naturopathic physicians aim to treat the cause of disease. Stress is an easy target as an underlying cause, yet every stress and stress response is different.  The impacts can ripple through our health by influencing all aspects of our mind and body. NDs help patients by teaching simple techniques to manage stress and how to identify it and avoid situations that will have negative impacts on our health and well-being. ND students find many of these useful for helping during school as well.
During this webinar you will:
-Learn about the body’s natural response to stress
-Identify ways to minimize school stress
-Hear about a patient case that was successfully managed with naturopathic medicine

*Webinar does not qualify for CE

Register Now!

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About the Presenter

As a licensed naturopathic physician in private practice and a professor at Bastyr University for over two decades, Dr. Brad Lichtenstein has helped people embody the lives they want to live. His approach integrates naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine and biofeedback, depth and somatic psychology, Eastern contemplative practices, yoga and movement, and end-of-life care. He serves as an Attending Physician for the Mind-Body Medicine and Chronic Pain Clinics at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health and has a strong clinical and teaching focus on developing psycho-emotional-spiritual health while dealing with chronic, life-challenging illnesses. His approach to care was profoundly shaped by his participation in a joint research study between the University of Washington and Bastyr University where he provided over 500 guided meditations to hospice patients.

Dr. Lichtenstein has written many publications, including articles in Unified Energetics, STEP Perspective, Caregiver Quarterly, Naturopathic Doctors News and Review (NDNR), and the Huffington Post, and has contributed a chapter on Mind-Body Medicine and Men’s Health in Integrative Men’s Health. He continues to present nationally on a wide array of topics including mindfulness and meditation as a healing modality, determining the appropriate mind-body technique for healing, and the use of breathwork, HRV and biofeedback to increase resiliency. He hosts monthly Death Cafes around the greater Seattle area, and has led countless Advanced Directives parties, encouraging people to become more comfortable with the inevitable reality that faces us all, and to discuss preparation for the future, should one no longer be able to make decisions for oneself.

Register Now!

*The information you submit in this registration will be used to inform you of updates to this event and will enroll you in the AANMC newsletter. The AANMC values your privacy. Please see how we protect your data in our privacy policy .

Do You Have the Mind of an ND?

Naturopathic medicine is gaining attention in the media as people seek out alternative routes to solving their health problems. But it is also getting more attention because of the opportunities that it provides people for career paths. Regulated naturopathic healthcare is attracting more and more potential students to the field because of the flexible schedules and opportunities to make a difference in the community that come with this area of medicine. Could naturopathic medicine be the right path for you? If you are considering this exciting area, here are a few things you need to know about what makes for a great naturopathic doctor.

Do you have the heart and mind of an ND?

Do you want to shape the future of healthcare?
Do you want to spend time getting to know your patients in order to treat their whole self?
Do you believe nutrition and exercise are important for a healthy lifestyle?
Do you recognize the importance of treating both the mind and body?
Do you recognize the role stress plays into a patient's healthcare?

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A Holistic Approach

One of the main tenets of an ND’s practice is taking a holistic approach to treating patients. NDs treat the whole person, looking at how different systems and ailments are interconnected. In addition, NDs are more likely to take a team approach to treatment, looking at a variety of causes for health problems with help from many specialties.

Nutrition and Exercise

An important feature of an ND’s work is the reliance on nutrition and exercise to promote a healthy lifestyle. Naturopathic doctors are often called upon to act as educators, teaching their patients how to take care of themselves by showing them what they should and should not eat and how they can best exercise.

Mind-Body Connection

NDs look to treat both the mind and the body. Many naturopathic medical clinics feature ways of treating not only physical ailments, but mental and spiritual problems as well. These can include treatments for PTSD at veteran’s clinics or domestic abuse centers as well as providing safe spaces for migrants and the LGBTQ community.

Stress Management

Naturopathic medicine takes a proactive approach to health care, noting the importance to prevent ailments before they occur. Recognition of the role of stress in illness and teaching patients lifelong skills in stress management is core to naturopathic treatment plans. Mind-body medicine approaches are tailored to the individual patient in order to mitigate tension before it impacts our health.

Natural Approaches and Herbal Medicine

If you are thinking about becoming a naturopathic physician, you will need to become knowledgeable in natural approaches to treatment. NDs make it a point to seek out the gentlest treatments for their patients, reserving more invasive methods as a means of last resort. Herbal medicine is a key tool in the naturopathic tool belt. NDs honor cultural botanical medicine practices with modern advances in botanical research.

We’ve talked about the various areas licensed naturopathic physicians need to know in order to be a great ND and there are a few common characteristics of successful naturopathic medical students :

• Strong academic background
• Excellent communicators
• Socially conscious
• Passionate for disease prevention
• Inquisitive and excited to find the root cause of illness
• Recognizes the power of a holistic approach to patient care

All of these characteristics will help lead you into a rewarding career in the exciting field of naturopathic medicine. Find out exactly what the path to a career in naturopathic medicine looks like for you by visiting https://aanmc.org/request.

Why Your Heart Health Matters

Doctor drawing ecg heartbeat chart with marker on whiteboard

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women worldwide. For women in particular, heart disease kills more every year than all forms of cancer combined!  Cardiovascular disease in one form or another affects nearly half of all US adults. In addition, over 1/3 of American adults have high blood pressure, which puts them at higher risk for developing heart disease. What steps can you take to help ensure that you do not become a statistic and wind up the victim of a heart attack or stroke?

Healthy Eating

Focused nutrition is the best place to start getting your heart health under control. Naturopathic medical schools and clinics have long used patient education as a means of encouraging people to eat healthier. Several accredited naturopathic medical schools feature healthy-foods cafeterias and high-tech teaching kitchens on campus to assist in educating people on healthy eating habits and food preparation techniques. Similarly, schools are also beginning to offer intensive seminars and one-of-a-kind conferences that focus on nutrition trends and current nutrition related biomedical research.healthy eating, diet and weight loss, detox . dumbbells, kiwi and a bottle of water

A cornerstone of naturopathic education revolves around nutrition. Naturopathic doctors receive advanced training in nutrition to better help their patients. Some NDs even choose to specialize in this area. When it comes to eating healthy, here’s a few tips to get you started:

Fruits and Vegetables

The most important dietary change for improving and supporting cardiovascular health is to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that heart disease risk decreases with more produce consumption.

Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and antioxidants which help protect the heart in multiple ways. Fiber helps with detoxification, lowers cholesterol, and decreases glycemic load by slowing the absorption of sugars. In general, the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the more antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power it is going to have. The same pigments that give plants color, act as antioxidants. Eating a rainbow – having some red, orange, yellow, green, and blue fruits and vegetables in your diet every day is a great place to start.

Trans Fats

In the early 1900s manufacturers found they could process vegetable oil in a way that made it solid. This increased its shelf life and let it be marketed as a ‘healthy’ replacement for butter. In the 1950s it was discovered that this solidified vegetable oil, often marketed as margarine, contained a substance called trans fat that was formed during processing. By the 1980s and 90s it was becoming clear that these fats had serious negative health effects and increased the risk for heart disease. Food labels are required to list the amount of trans fat in the food or product and some grocery stores, cities, and even countries have decided to ban trans fats entirely. In 2018, partially hydrogenated oils, a main source of trans fats, were officially banned as an allowable food ingredient by the FDA. The key to avoiding trans fats is to avoid highly processed pre-packaged foods and always read labels carefully. By law the amount of trans fat has to be listed.

Salt

The standard American diet generally leads to the consumption of around double the daily amount of recommended salt. This increases the risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. If you are looking to add flavor to your foods, spices and herbs like garlic, cayenne and ginger are great additions and provide health benefits too. Garlic can lower blood pressure and ginger has been shown to decrease inflammation. By using spices, not only do you cut down on your salt intake, but you gain heart and cardiovascular benefits, and better tasting food!

Meal planning

One of the best tips to keep your meals on track is to plan them out:

Step 1. Clear your pantry of everything that does not move your health in a positive direction.

Step 2. Sit down and plan what meals you will cook at home.

Step 3. Restock your cupboard and refrigerator with better food and staple choices to start if you need a source for recipes.

A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra olive oil or nuts has been shown to reduce risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes by around 30% even in those at high risk for cardiovascular disease. By improving the quality of foods available, eating out less and planning meals to cook at home, you can better control not only what’s in your meals but the portion size as well. Restaurant meals can contain 200 or more calories per meal, which over time can lead to significant weight gain.

Exercise

Besides eating well, staying active is an important part of cardiovascular and mental health.  The following are a few simple ways to add movement into your day.

Monitor Your Movement

Using a FitBit, pedometer, or other activity tracking device can help you record your steps during the day. This will help keep tabs on how active you are. Try walking in place at your desk, parking at the end of the lot so you have to walk farther, and taking the stairs whenever possible. All of these things will help you move and exercise throughout the day. Set goals and challenge yourself to reach them daily.

Be Reasonable

Many people create a plan to work out every day for an hour. This can be unrealistic and discourage you if you don’t hit your goal, particularly in the early stages. Instead, start with manageable ideas like 20-30 minutes per day, three times a week. Or fitting in simple body weight exercises like push-ups and squats during work breaks.

Get Your Heart Pumping

Exercise is great, but if you really want to get your heart healthy, you have to make it work. It is a muscle after all. This means taking part in aerobic exercise designed to raise your heart rate such as running/jogging, swimming, and riding a bike. Talk to your healthcare provider about what your heart rate goal should be to help improve your heart health.

Stress

Stress is a part of everyday life, but it can also be very detrimental to health, particularly heart health. Stress can increase blood pressure and inflammation, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. Naturopathic medicine looks at health holistically, integrating stress management techniques like meditation and acupuncture. There are even herbs that can help the body have a more productive stress response. Traditional naturopathic therapies such as hydrotherapy can help boost the immune system and promote relaxation. Here are a few techniques that you can start today to help with stress.

Journal

Consider keeping a journal to help you cope with stress. Writing about the things that are causing emotional upset and how you are feeling has been shown to reduce stress and improve health outcomes for a number of conditions. The general recommendation is to give yourself 15 minutes to write your innermost thoughts and feelings down on paper. The only caveat is that if you’ve just gotten over a traumatic event then immediately writing about it can make things worse. If you’ve experienced a major trauma, make sure you talk to a healthcare provider if you’re going to start journaling.

Practice Gratitude

At first, practicing gratitude can sound really cheesy. You mean I should be thankful for my chair, my shoes, and my dinner plate? Yes! We usually focus on what we lack. Gratitude short circuits that process and helps us be thankful for what we have. Clinical trials support how effective it can be to reduce stress and help with conditions like anxiety and depression. Practicing gratitude can be as easy as writing down three things that you are grateful for before bed. It might be the worst day ever, but you probably have a bed to sleep in, a pillow, four walls and a roof over your head. Try it for a week and you’ll start to notice your stress level decrease and more joy come into your life.

Get Rest

Many people are irritable and stressed out due to simple things like lack of sleep. Eating well and exercising will help provide a deeper and more restful sleep. Giving yourself at least an hour before bed without looking at a screen and minimizing light in your room at night (this includes light from things like a digital clock) can also improve sleep quality. The blue light from electronic devices alters the way melatonin, the main hormone of sleep, is produced. Finding a way to naturally get the sleep you need every night is a good way to help reduce your stress levels.

Leading a healthy and active lifestyle by eating well, exercising, and using regular stress management exercises will help you keep your heart healthy. In naturopathic medical school, students become experts in helping their future patients meet these goals. If you need more guidance on heart health tips seek out care from the clinic at one of the accredited naturopathic medical schools or contact your local naturopathic provider.

Thank you to https://zerocater.com for this graphic.

 

Keep Your Heart Healthy at the Office

 

Learn More About Becoming a Naturopathic Doctor

Click below to receive information from the seven accredited naturopathic medical schools across eight North American campuses!