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Lent and Ash Wednesday

For the billions of Christians around the world, today marks the beginning of the Lenten Season.

Lent begins a 40 day spiritual preparation of prayer, fasting and almsgiving before Easter.  It is a time for reflection and connection for people of the Christian faith.

Christianity remains the world’s largest religious group.  

In 2019 the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimated the total number of Christians to be at 2.5 billion worldwide.  In 2023, the estimate is between 2.38 and 2.5 billion.

If you identify as a Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical or Orthodox Anglican then you are a Christian.

In 2010 the Pew Research Center listed the top three countries with the largest number of Christians to be:

  • United States
  • Brazil
  • Mexico

Today in 2023 based on data from the World Population Review this information has not changed.

Christians around the world attend Ash Wednesday services today.  Ashes are made from the previous year’s palms. 

The services act as a solemn reminder of our human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God.   As a Christian you may choose to fast with only one full meal and abstaining from meat.  

Private Home Health Care wishes a prayerful and faith-filled Lenten season for all of our fellow Christians in the world. 

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Health Benefits & Fun: Golfing

In February of 1888, John Reid, “Father of American Golf”, demonstrates the game of golf in Yonkers, NY. That is documented as the first-time golf was played in the United States. The sport has come a very long way in the last 135 years to become the game we know now. Since the emergence of Tiger Woods in the early 1990’s the game of golf has been growing exponentially. Besides being fun to play and watch, golf brings many health benefits as well. Enjoying a beautiful morning on a golf course will impact your health in more ways than you may think.

The Game of Golf

While the modern game of golf originated in 15th century Scotland, the game’s ancient origins are unclear and much debated. Nevertheless, John Reid brought the game to the United States, and the rest is history. Moreover, the United States is home to over 40% of the worlds golf courses. Recently, the emergence of the LIV tour has increased the money that golfers are making and bringing in a new audience to the game. With the growing audience, more sponsorships have made professional golf a much more lucrative sport, with top golfers earning up to $30,000,000 in winnings a year. For example, when Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open, one of golf’s four major tournaments, he won $800,000. In Contrast, last year’s winner, Matthew Fitzpatrick took home $3,150,000. The golfer to earn the most prize money last year, was Dustin Johnson, winning $36 million. The increased popularity of the game has brought in major sponsors, who are investing a lot of money in the game.

Private Home Care employees & friends enjoying the game and health benefits of being on the golf course

Health Benefits of golf

The most obvious health benefit of playing golf is the exercise. Furthermore, golf can have a positive impact on your health in many other ways. In terms of your physical health, walking around the golf course helps keep you improve muscle tone and endurance. Obviously, that burns body fat. Equally important, there are mental health benefits as well. Playing a round helps reduce stress, both from the workout and pleasure of being outdoors. Golf can help individuals improve their confidence, self-esteem and anxiety levels. Lastly, those who routinely play golf will spend more time with friends while playing, meet new people and have an increased sense of community. Golf Digest wrote a story about the mental health benefits associated with golfing that can be seen here, 5 mental health benefits you get from golf | Instruction | Golf Digest.

Mary Demakes, owner of Private Home Health Care, at the hole the company sponsored.

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Heart Valve Disease Awareness

February is American Heart Month in the United States.  February 22 marks National Heart Valve Disease (HVD) Awareness Day. Wednesday is one of the many days dedicated to heart health amid American Heart Month. This day aims to raise symptom awareness, minimize adverse results, improve detection, increase treatment rates, and improve overall health. Ultimately, the recognition of these days, throughout February, helps in saving lives. Through education and outreach, we can lower the number of people who suffer due to heart diseases.

Heart Valve Disease Awareness

Heart Valve Disease

The purpose of celebrating the heart this month, and specifically HVD is to help educate the public. Heart valve disease is a fatal ailment that claims the lives of 25,000 Americans each year. HVD is a disorder in which one or both heart valves do not operate.


When signs and symptoms occur, it is best to see your doctor. Subsequently, some people with heart valve disease may not display symptoms for years. The symptoms might include:

  • Whooshing sound (heart murmur) when a doctor is listening to the heart with a stethoscope
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal swelling (more common with advanced tricuspid regurgitation)
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath, particularly when active or lying down
  • Swelling of your ankles and feet
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat

Taking care of your heart

The American Heart Association (AHA) is organization that has been combating heart disease for nearly a century.  AHA continues to be the longest running and largest voluntary organization committed to preventing and treating heart disease. American Heart Association | To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. Additionally, this link will help educate you on important things to be aware of. Heart Disease & Heart Problems: Symptoms And Signs to Know – Entirely Health

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Closing Out National Heart Month

What a fast month this has been!  National Heart Month is coming to a close but there have been lots of discussions.  Good information has been available from multiple places.

The American Heart Association is a great site with so much good information.  You can find it at

Your heart is a major organ and so important to us physically and emotionally.  We’ve talked about ways to keep your heart healthy including:

Maintaining a healthy diet, low in saturated fat and cholesterol

Regular physical exercise, walking is a good and free option

No or reduced smoking, many options are available to help you stop

Limit alcohol consumption

Visit doctors regularly for checkups

You can stay physically well but emotionally well is important too.  Your happiness is a key contributor to a happy and healthy life.  

When you are young and as you age, keeping in touch with family and friends allows you to stay well.  The more social interactions and activities to keep your mind and body active is one way to a healthy and happy life.

Private Home Health Care would like to share this poem as we close out this month of the heart.

Be happy.

You will get

What you like most.

You will be

What you like best.

  • Sri Chinmoy

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Heart Conditions

Today Private Home Health Care is going to highlight a few heart conditions.  These are fairly common and treatable but it’s good to be aware of them.

Heart Murmurs

These are called “innocent” and “non-innocent”  and they are generally both treatable.

Heart murmurs are when you have a whooshing or swishing sound when your blood circulates through chambers and valves.  Innocent heart murmurs are often heard in children and can be common and in general, harmless.

Non-Innocent heart murmurs can be caused by defective heart valves. You should follow up with your healthcare provider to see if you need additional testing or treatments.


Cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to become enlarged, thick or rigid.  It makes it harder to pump blood to the rest of the body.

You can have a family history of cardiomyopathy so it’s important to make sure your healthcare professional is aware of this connection.

Signs of the disease include:  fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of feet, ankles, abdomen and veins in the feet or neck.  Also, dizziness and lightheadedness.

There are treatments available but if you don’t have any signs or symptoms they might not be necessary.   

Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)

AFib is a quivering or irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).  It puts you at increased risk for stroke or heart failure.  You need to be monitored if you are diagnosed with AFibs.

Your healthcare provider will likely prescribe medication. There are many different medications available so find what is best for you.  You can live with AFibs when properly treated.


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Celebrating Caregivers

While most caregivers tend to one individual, 18% tend to multiple.

National Caregivers Day is observed on the third Friday in February. The day for celebrating caregivers falls on February 17 this year. This day honors individuals who selflessly administer personal care. Equally important, they provide companionship, physical and emotional support to those in need. There are many different types of caregivers. Many of whom are not just limited to the health sector. Caregivers share a vision of a society that values, supports and empowers their clients to thrive. Whether that be at home, work and through their daily lives. 

Our Caregivers

Most caregivers tend to one individual. Meanwhile, around 18% work with multiple people. The Institute on Aging reports that over ¾ of caregivers are female.  These caregivers take on a lot with this profession. Caregiving can be stressful While caregivers need to be diligent looking after someone. Equally Important is making it as comfortable as can be possible for the person they are in care of. Additionally, these workers have some less than desirable responsibilities. Helping folks who are incontinent, need help bathing, and help dressing. All the while, they work diligently to make sure their patients can keep their dignity in these situations.

Celebrating Caregivers on National Caregivers Day, February 17, 2023

Celebrating Caregivers

The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) are great resources for caregiving.   You can visit the NAC website at Home | The National Alliance for Caregiving . Likewise, the AARP website, for Americans 50 or older is AARP Resources for Caregivers and their Families. They report that an estimated 53 million caregivers in the U.S. are caring for someone without getting paid for it. Therefore, it is extremely important to take the time and thank the caregivers in your lives.

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Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Week is celebrated from February 14 to February 20 annually. Moreover, Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17. It is a celebration of the ways we can positively influence each other’s lives. The world can be a selfish and cruel place at times. In such a world, it is important for us to be kind to one another. Additionally, kindness gives others hope, reminds them of the good in the world and invite them practice acts of kindness. One small act of kindness can mean a great deal a person. A small and random gesture of kindness can go a long way during our interactions with other people.

Random Acts of Kindness help bring communities together.

Keeping the Kindness

I’ve always been one to try to be always polite to everyone. It is the way I have been raised. As I have grown older, and the world around me has become faster paced, simple manners have seemed to disappear. Walking through the city, everyone has their ear pods on, as they are looking at their phones. People no longer exchange a wave and greeting. We have become a more individualistic society, where people are focusing on themselves. I grew up watching my parents take family members and friends into their home when they needed a place to stay. My parents became certified to foster children to be able to take anyone in need into their home.  Not every act of kindness has to be a grand gesture, but growing up I had a front row seat to all sorts of acts of kindness.

Cool to be Kind

I do not hold the door, say hello or offer someone assistance to get a thank you. Yet, when you try and be helpful, and someone acts as though you don’t exist. I always try to give someone the benefit of the doubt. They could be having a bad day, receiving bad news or be in a hurry. However, I believe more often than not, it is the continuing disappearance of common courtesy. I will forever continue to hold a door if I see someone approaching, will always let pedestrians go first in poor weather and offer assistance if someone seems to need it.  Seeing the appreciation or smile on someone’s face after being kind towards them makes it worth it. Sadly, people seemed more surprised when someone acts kindly towards them, than ignore them. Growing up, I thought holding a door for someone was just what you did. Now I see it few and far between, while someone letting a door slam on the person behind them is almost an everyday scene for me.

Getting back to being Kind

To perform a random act of kindness does not take much effort. It could be as simple as offering someone kind words, holding a door or offering a helping hand. There are so many ways to enrich someone else’s life. This week is a great time to really focus on helping others when you can. When I see someone do something nice, it makes me want to do so as well. Ideally, the more people who make an effort to help others, the more people it will influence to do so as well. You never really know what is going on in most people’s lives, so even a small gesture could make a large impact on them. Furthermore, performing a kind act makes you feel better as well. The more kindness we can spread in this world the better. Being kind is an essential personality trait that can help you build strong and healthy relationships. It also makes our lives more hopeful and meaningful. You can visit the Random Acts of Kindness website at, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. This site is dedicated to making kindness the norm in our society.

Peace, Love & Happiness.

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High Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure is very important to your overall health.  The blood pressure is responsible for pushing the blood against the walls of your arteries.  

Because arteries carry your blood to many parts of the body if that pressure is off or high it can cause problems.

Doctors look for your blood pressure to be less than 120 and less than 80 (or 120/80).  If you are 130-139 over 80-89 it’s considered elevated blood pressure or hypertension.  The higher it gets, the higher your risk.

High blood pressure can damage your arteries, narrowing them from the increased pressure.

Smaller or damaged arteries can lead to issues with your heart.  This includes angina, arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) and heart attacks.

Your brain can be damaged by lack of blood flow and that can lead to TIAs (mini strokes), a stroke and even dementia.

Kidneys can also be affected by high blood pressure.  Your kidneys filter excess fluid and waste from your blood.  You need healthy blood vessels for this. 

Finally, your eyes can be at risk since blood is supplied through delicate and tiny blood vessels.

Consequently, you and I need to be vigilant about having our blood pressure checked, especially as we age.

What can you do to help keep your blood pressure in the normal range?

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Keep yourself at a healthy weight
  • Be physically active, including weight bearing exercises
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Get enough sleep

There are also medications available to help with highly elevated blood pressure.  

Private Home Health Care wants you to be sure to get in touch with your health care provider on what is best for you.  Stay well.

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Fascinating Facts About Your Heart

  • Your heart is about the size of your two hands clasped together.
  • Every day, your heart beats about 100,000 times.
  • Each minute, your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood.
  • The heart pumps blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels.
  • Your normal heart pumps about 4 tablespoons of blood with each beat.
  • A woman’s average heart beat is faster than a man’s by close to 8 beats a minute.
  • A fetal heart beats faster than an adult at about 150 beats per minute.
  • The heart begins beating at four weeks after conception and does not stop until death.
  • The “thump-thump” of a heartbeat is the sound of the four valves of the heart closing.
  • During an average lifetime, your heart will pump nearly 1.5 million barrels of blood.
  • Grab a tennis ball and squeeze it: that’s how hard the beating heart works to pump blood.
  • The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500 year old Egyptian mummy.

And just for fun . . .

Guess what mammal has the largest heart?  If you guessed the Blue Whale you’d be right!  A blue whale’s heart weighs 1,500 pounds!!

The smallest heart of any living creature is in a kind of wasp called the fairy fly.

Private Home Health Care hopes that you’ve enjoyed the interesting facts about our amazing hearts!

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National Pizza Week

National Pizza Week is celebrated the second week of February. It just so happens the NFL’s Superbowl is the second week of February as well. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most popular days in the U.S. for pizza consumption. It is one of the numerous, delicious food holidays in the U.S. Obviously, Pizza Day is a day for celebrating pizza, one of the most popular foods Americans enjoy. Historians claim that pizza-like dishes have been a common staple in the ancient Middle East. Though, it is the Italians who perfected and popularized the recipe. Pizza was originally a considered a food for peasants.

Celebrate National Pizza Week

  • Make your own pie at home.
  • Throw a pizza party with your friends.
  • Visit your local pizzeria.
Try a new topping, or new style of pizza to celebrate National Pizza Week

Pizza Fun Facts

  • Yearly, there are 5 billion pizzas sold around the world, over 3 billion of those are sold in the US.
  • In the U.S. there are more than 61,000 pizzerias, making about 17% of all U.S. restaurants, pizzerias.
  • Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and Thanksgiving Eve are the most popular days in the U.S. for pizza consumption.
  • Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba, the first Pizzeria in the world, opened in Naples, Italy, in 1830.
  • Gennaro Lombardi opened the first U.S. Pizzeria in New York City in 1905.
  • 36% of Americans eat pizza as a breakfast meal. Additionally, 30% of Americans eat pizza once a week.
  • Barstool sports has a link on their website ranking pizzas from around the world. (One Bite Pizza Reviews – YouTube)

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