Cycling Safety for Bike to Work Day

Cycling Safety for Bike to Work Day

If you’ve decided to change your routine and bike to work on May 15, 2020, be sure to consider safety before you head out the door and hop on your bike.

  1. Wear your helmet. Be sure that your helmet fits properly, and if it doesn’t, take a trip to a local sporting goods store and get a new one. A helmet that fits is essential when you are talking about cycling safety.
  2. Check your brakes, gears, and tire pressure. This is especially important if you aren’t a regular cyclist, and your bike might need a bit of a tune-up or some tender loving care. If you aren’t a biking expert, be sure to take it in to a bike shop to have them give it a once over before you bike to work.
  3. Ride with traffic. Run or walk against traffic, so that you can see it. Bike with traffic.
  4. Follow traffic laws. Not only are you required to cycle with traffic when you bike to work, but you need to follow all regular traffic laws, including, but not limited to, lights, turns, and signaling.
  5. Be twice as cautious-not all motorists are friendly or patient with cyclists. Be more cautious than you would if you were cycling on a bike trail. Roadside cycling requires a vigilant eye, especially because all drivers are not receptive to or understanding of cyclists and sharing the road.
  6. Wear reflective clothing. Don’t head to work on Bike to Work Day 2020 in your work attire. Be sure to wear reflective clothing, and change at work if necessary. Your clothing choices are especially important if you won’t be cycling in full daylight.
  7. Use a cycling lane where provided. If there is a cycling lane or path, stay on it. If not, use the road with caution, and be sure to follow traffic laws and be cautious of drivers.
  8. Keep a safe distance from pedestrians, vehicles, and other cyclists. Keep everyone else in your sight, and assume that you’ll be the one that needs to watch out for them, in case they don’t watch out for you.
  9. Be sure your bike has reflective lights or a headlight for biking at night. Be sure you have reflective rear lights for cars coming up behind you, and a headlight for seeing, especially at night.
  10. Wear proper shoes and clothing. As important as reflective clothing, wear the right kind of clothing. No loose articles, and proper running or cycling shoes are a must for Bike to Work Day 2020.



Planning for Clothing: Should You Stock up in Cotton Products?

Planning for Clothing: Should You Stock up in Cotton Products?

Word is out that cotton prices are rising dramatically because of increased consumption in China. But that is not the whole story.

Cotton is a soft, absorbant, natural material that is less likely than other fabrics to cause allergic reactions. It is used for baby diapers and many personal care items, such as cotton balls, Q-Tips® and baby wipes. There are several reasons why cotton is so popular.

  1. Cotton not only is soft, but it also breathes, allowing moisture to pass through it – keeping us cool and dry in the summer heat. Cotton is composed of many layers of fibers that allow for ventilation. The most popular fabric for towels and sheets, cotton is also the preferred material for T-shirts, tank tops, polo shirts and jeans.
  2. Cotton is very durable. It is the only fiber that is stronger when wet, so it can undergo multiple washings without wear. It is ideal for products like moist wipes.
  3. Cotton is “green.” Cotton diapers can be washed and re-used as opposed to disposables that end up in landfills. The same is true of cotton dishcloths when compared to the paper towel. The only carbon footprint left by cotton is that pesticides are used to grow cotton.

Quality of Cotton Apparel Drops in Spring 2011

An article by Loren Simonetti featured in Foxbusiness on September 8, 2010, predicted that higher cotton costs would affect spring fashions in 2011. Simonetti’s prediction was correct.

  • While the price of cotton clothing remained about the same in the spring of 2011, there was a noticeable drop in the quality of cotton garments. A change in cotton products could easily be detected in cotton garments at Walmart, America’s popular discount store, as well as at Talbots, which sells upscale women’s apparel.
  • Cotton shirts, tanks and T-shirts at both stores were much thinner this past spring. Blouses were semi-transparent, with the exception of a few high priced items at Talbots. An employee at a Talbots store in the Kansas City metropolitan area cited the rise in the price of cotton as the reason for thinner cotton fabrics.

Rising Cotton Prices – Is China Really the Cause?

According to a New York Times article dated November 2, 2010, the price of cotton rose 80% between July and November 2010. At the time, inventories of cotton worldwide were very low due to the recession. Suddenly, demand from China created a rise in price during a time of low supply.


  • This rise in demand was unexpected and cotton producers were not prepared. An atmosphere of panic resulted, causing wild speculation in cotton futures, which drove the price up further. In actuality, it was a one time event, and people had over-reacted.
  • According to Cliff White, senior vice president of Olam/Queensland Cotton group, people were mislead by a temporary crisis. The rising demand in China, White said, is normally satisfied by rapidly increasing production of cotton within China.
  • Cotton is grown in China in a region in the northwest. While the land is similar to areas in the United States where cotton is grown, the altitude is close to that of Denver. In 2010 the area experienced two freezes early in the growing season, followed by a severe drought. White explained that the failed crop forced Chinese consumers to compete in the 2010 worldwide market for cotton.

Why Cotton Prices May Continue to Increase

  1. Because the price of soybeans and corn have risen, increased use of land for cotton production in the United States is not an option. The price of cotton will continue to rise when world demand is high and when crops fail in cotton producing countries, such as Australia, India and Pakistan.
  2. For approximately 10 years – U.S. retailers have been unwilling to pass the high cost of raw cotton on to consumers in an effort to increase sales. As profit margins decrease, it is posssible that smaller buyers will be pushed out of the market. After that, a few giant companies may control cotton prices.
  3. The demand for cotton in the U.S. remains high. Since the recession, the typical American consumer is no no longer the “teenager.” Older persons, demanding quality products, still buy cotton.

Drop in Cotton Prices in May 2011

In May 2011, cotton prices dropped. This was in part due to the recession, and also a reduction in the demand for biofuel (ethanol from corn). Under normal circumstances, lower prices might appear at stores by February 2012. However, because of the small profit margins retailers have sustained in recent years, and continued demand for cotton apparel, a decrease in prices at the store may not occur.

The Outlook for Cotton Prices

  1. Because of continued demand for cotton, competion to produce other crops and unpredictable weather, the National Cotton Council anticipates volatilty in the price of cotton.
  2. With no spare land for increased cotton production, cotton prices in the United States will depend on worldwide demand and weather conditions.
  3. According to farming and cotton industry sources, we should expect cotton prices to begin fluctuating, like coffee and other commodities that we import.

Should Americans Stockpile Cotton Goods?

If you are anxious about cotton prices, stock up on items with a long shelf life. Items that contain elastic bands, such as underwear, may deteriorate over time, as the rubber breaks down. Buy items such as towels, sheets and bedding when they are on sale.

While it’s not wise to stock up on cothing, it might be a good idea to take advantage of sales of cotton items in which sizes do not matter, such as sweatshirts and other loose fitting garments.

Watch to see if the retail price of cotton clothing drops in February 2012 and take advantage of bargains that may be the last low prices for cotton.

The Outlook for Cotton in America

If you must have cotton, you will buy cotton. However, you are now at the mercy of worldwide weather events and worldwide demand.

Air Dog 2 Lift Pump Fuel Preparator

Air Dog 2 Lift Pump Fuel PreparatorDuramax


Have you ever stepped into your Duramax powered Silverado truck and just wished all those power adders had more meaning? Are you a mechanic who knows if air gets trapped inside of diesel fuel for too long how many things can go wrong? Or are you the person who has read countless articles on “Duramax” and have come across a lift pump many times? Personally I am all of the above and I really wanted to see what all the hype was about to adding an Air Dog lift pump to my fuel system. I ordered the kit from a retailer to begin my journey down a road of better filtration and airless fuel.

With all the options to choose from I decided to go with an Air Dog 2 165. A price tag of 670 USD knocked the wind out of my sails, but the item arrived next day so I had until the weekend to recover. For those of you who do not know about the older Duramax setups they are driven by a pump on the front of the motor. The pump pulls fuel from the tank and dispenses it much faster and harder into the injectors. It is the in-between the two actions where things can go wrong. As the fuel is being moved there is no guarantee it will be a steady stream of pure fuel because there is no pressure; it is pure vacuum. Tiny little air bubbles inside a system of fluid being pushed to thousands of Psi can be fatally damaging to expensive components like fuel injectors in the Common Rail Fuel System. Along with the purging of air pockets the system also introduces a better filtering system which includes: A 2 micron fuel filter, and a larger more controlled water separator with a much easier release valve. The water separator benefits are self-explanatory, but as far as the filter is concerned; it is what the system should have been designed for all along. The factory fuel injectors were designed to flow fuel containing the minimum of the 2 microns, but instead the factory spec required to make a fuel filter for a Duramax is 10 microns! Now before we march on GM’s doorstep and demand blood I just want to say that a micron is very small. Too small to make such a large fuss about considering the miles it would take to accumulate any real damage. In a business point-of-view I can see the reasoning behind the decision to make the standard higher to reduce costs to make; especially if you are a struggling company. These reasons, in a nutshell, are the reasons I decided to make my purchase of a better fuel preparatory.

My kit came with almost everything I needed to install the Air Dog 2 onto my 2002 Silverado 2500HD. I say almost everything because of course they do not give you tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, and a very handy quick disconnect tool of which if you do not have you cannot complete your installation, period. The instructions are very detailed with pictures and even two ways to do just about everything. In my honest opinion the only problem I ran into (other than the quick disconnect tool!) was the fuel line coming out of the tank going into the Air Dog system. After I had used all of the blue hoses that were provided I was left with a double female connection that could not be completed. Supplied in the kit are three hose connector nipples that are designed to connect two bare hoses together in a low pressure system so that was my first clue as to the direction I intended to follow. Going by this I knew I could use a simple nipple and clamp approach to solve my problem; I just really wish I did not have to cut that pretty blue hose. The electrical aspect of the entire system is a big cake-walk as far as I am concerned. I’ll have to hand it to the team that put it together; well done. All connectors are provided and put into place including a relay for a pressure sensor that can be added later per your choice. The wire going into the fuse box is supplied with a setup to slip directly into the place where the fuse once was and has two fuse holders on the unit to replace the fuse you just removed and added a nice 2 amp fuse to boot. I decided to mount the ‘constant hot’ power wire to the alternator(as described in the instructions) because of the simple fact that it will not corrode and leave me stranded on the side of the road somewhere during a load. Before you know it you are done with your install; it really is that easy. I will say that I left all original lines hanging in their factory locations just in case something did happen while I was on the road with a heavy payload. If need be I can always use my trusty quick disconnect tool and re-run the fuel lines back to the stock setup and make it where I need to be.

Overall score: 9.5/10. It would have been a perfect 10 had it not been for that pesky connector problem I had. Granted I could have rerouted the entire setup straight to the fuel tank instead of the line I plugged into and it would have worked perfectly, but the instructions never pointed me in that direction. Not everyone is willing to pull their bed off to install this lift pump so the easier way will most usually be the preferred way. I can tell a huge difference in the sound of the truck and the way it starts up. I also notice LESS smoke if you can believe it, which tells me my engine is running extremely efficient and instead of losing power on an improper combustion; I am extracting everything out of what fuel I do use and should be saving on fuel.

Preparing Your Website for the Search Engines? Be Careful What You Read

SEO & website design: Everything you need to know

If you are trying to optimize your website for the search engines, then you know how hard it can be to get a top ranking. The rules change constantly and the engines are always updating how they rank websites.

Obtaining a high ranking under a popular keyword with a new website, can be a hard mission to undertake. This is why you need to be careful when you are starting out and trying to understand search engine optimization and what should be the SEO best price for your site. There are many so-called experts popping up out of no where these days. Not that some of these people don’t understand what they are doing, but some just are simply not in it full time and keeping up with the industry.

So, let’s say you are starting out and want to learn how to optimize your website, because you want to get a decent amount of search engine traffic. Where do you look so you can make sure the advice you are getting is up to date and right on?

The first piece of advice is to follow the industry leaders. Many good search engine optimization companies have good size websites with plenty of information. You want to look for a company that many people trust. One such company is They have a huge website with a lot of information about internet marketing and how to get listed in the search engines. Again your goal here is to find a trusted company, blog or website that seems to be keeping up with the times.

Next on the list is heading over to the search engines themselves. The big three engines all have help pages for webmasters. You will want to keep an eye on these pages. These are straight from the source.

A good example of changing search engine times is the debate over reciprocal linking. While the jury is still out on this, many people are starting to shy away from this type of marketing practice. The point of this article is to save you some aggravation by going straight to the source for your questions about search engines. You can waste a lot of time by not following good examples.

If you are unsure of whom you can trust, then ask or look for proof. In other words look for the results you yourself would like to see. I myself have had very good results in obtaining high rankings in search engines for clients in local and national markets. However, when I have questions, I start with the above sources to find the answers I am looking for.

Penny Pinching Parenting: Fun and Cheap Painting Projects for Your Preschooler

How to Draw a Rainbow Tree ll Cotton Swabs Painting Technique for Beginners  ll Easy Dot Painting - YouTube | Dot painting, Rainbow tree, Tree painting

Most preschoolers enjoy getting their hands dirty. They love to squish and squash in mud, finger paint, play dough, glue and any other available media. While parents want to encourage their budding artist’s talent and love of art, they also want to harness that enthusiasm into activities that won’t destroy the house. And with many parents cutting back on expenses, extra money for art supplies for their little Matisse may be in short supply. So here are some art projects you can do at home with your preschooler that won’t break the bank or trash your living room. As with all activities with preschoolers, I recommend covering the work area with newspaper and putting a smock or old shirt over the child.

First, you need a few supplies. When shopping for art supplies on a budget, the best bang for your buck is powder paint. It is extremely versatile. You can mix it to the consistency you want each time you use it – thicker for projects like finger painting or thin and runny for activities like custom paintings (which I’ll describe in more detail shortly). Unlike regular liquid paints, it won’t dry out if the lid is not screwed on tightly and it’s not a disaster if the child knocks over the container. Just sweep it back in with a small dust brush. Unlike liquid paint, the dry powder paint will last forever (until water is added to it). Adding a few teaspoons to inexpensive white school glue to make colored glue for projects is a snap and much cheaper than buying colored glue from the craft store.You can also make a rainbow of colors by combining the primary three which also saves money. One caveat; When buying this type of paint, read the label carefully, as some are washable and some are not. Once you have your paint, here are some projects to try with your child:

Sponge Painting

Cut a regular kitchen sponge into two-inch squares and attach a clothespin to one end to act as a “handle”. This helps cut down on the mess. Pour a bit of paint into a paper plate. For this project the paint should be a little thicker, two-to-one paint and water. Encourage your child to try various techniques with the sponge such as dabbing, rolling, smearing and so forth. Ask him to tell you how the different techniques have different results on the paper.

Marble Painting

Marble painting is another great technique that gives a definitive look to you child’s art projects. For this project you need a container with a tight-fitting lid, like a flat Tupperware box, some paint (mixed thinly) tag board or thick paper, a few marbles (small rubber balls like the ones obtained from a gumball machine or ping pong balls work as well) and an eye dropper. Have the child insert a piece of tag board into the bottom of the container, then ask him to drop the marbles into one corner of the box. (If the child is young enough to be at risk for choking on small objects, then clearly you do this part of the activity). Then show the child how to pick up a few drops of the paint on each marble. Using multiple colors will result in a more intricate picture. Instruct the child to snap the lid on tightly (double check in, since you’ll be responsible for clean up in the event of a catastrophe). Then simply have the child shake, sway, rattle, and flip the box over and over again. My preschool students really get into this part–jumping up and down with the box and swaying. They have a tendency to turn art into a large motor activity. When the child is finished, remove the lid and retrieve the paper and set it aside on newspaper to dry. You should see a beautiful pattern on the paper.

Blow Painting

I recommend this technique for children four and over. Many two and three-year-olds have not mastered the idea of blowing into a straw verses sucking out of a straw. Even with non-toxic paint, it’s just not worth the risk, mess or possible tears. If you’re sure that your child is ready, double check by giving them a straw and a glass of water. Tell them to blow out into the water with the straw (you should see bubbles). If their skills seem sketchy, disregard this one. But if you have a child who is ready for blow painting, it’s a fun and different way of making an art project. All the child needs is the drinking straw, some thinly mixed paint (very runny) an eye dropper and a sheet of paper. Have the child put some large drops of paint in various spots on the paper. Then he simply blows the paint across the paper with the straw. The result should be something like the design shown in this picture.

Painting with Shaving Cream

This is a variation on finger painting. All you need is a $1 can of white shaving cream (the foam shaving cream, not the gel) and some powder paint. You don’t add water for this project as the shaving cream is the media, not water. Have your child squirt two large puffs of shaving cream onto thick paper or tag board. Then have him sprinkle a teaspoon or so of powder paint onto each puff. Then he just mixes it with his hands. The result is a mixed, swirled pattern that is slightly raised from the paper due to the thickness of the shaving cream. If you use blue powder paint this is a wonderful, new way of adding clouds or water waves to your child’s pictures. You can also use multiple colors and provide brushes, Q-tips, sponges and so forth, all of which will give different effects.

Apple Printing

For this project you need two apples and some powder paint mixed in a one-to-one ratio. Add some paint to a paper plate. Cut one apple in half lengthwise and cut the other apple in half crosswise. To save some clean up, you can insert plastic forks into each apple half to serve as a handle for the child. Then just encourage the child to Stamp the apples on a sheet of paper so that their patterns become apparent. Most children love seeing the unexpected design on the paper. This is a great exercise in following directions, as you are asking the child to print or stamp and not rub or smear the paint. (This will take quite a bit of practice for a young child).

All of these projects should cost less than $2 to complete. They will give your child some ideas for new painting methods, encourage fine motor skills and hopefully foster a love of art. They are all great ways to peak your child’s interest in painting while keeping him occupied on a rainy afternoon. So next time your child wants to paint, don’t just break out the usual paint brushes or finger paints. Look around your home for inexpensive objects that will promote your child’s creativity while saving you money.

It’s Time to Clean House for the New York Jets

It's Time to Clean House for the New York JetsThe New York Jets are having a season to forget, and someone must be held accountable.Woody Johnson’s franchise is in shambles and he’s got to take action. The question is who gets the boot? and Who stays? I have a few suggestions for him in case he hasn’t made his mind up already.

I say we start right at the top. Mike Tannenbaum has been a complete failure as a General Manager. I keep hearing this term “numbers cruncher” used to describe him. Well if that’s what he’s so good at then why wasn’t he busy “crunching” instead of making the league’s worst personnel decisions. Four years ago in 2009, he had the best offensive line in football and lead the league in rushing. So what does Tannenbaum do? He lets Faneca walk, and the Jets drop to fourth . The following season he wouldn’t pony up for Damien Woody, the results? Jets drop to 22nd in rushing. Ground and pound turned into stumble and fumble. Without a strong running game, young Sanchez was quickly exposed. I could write an entire article about his personnel decisions. Although he has two more years on his contract, Woody should be kind to the team’s fans and end the suffering. Our Decision: Boot him

Next up is Rex Ryan. Through all this mess Rex has remained the good soldier. It is clearly evident that his team was decimated right before his eyes. He remained loyal to Sanchez to a fault, but what choice did he have? People wanted to see Tebow play but without a strong offensive line anyone who watches football knows that would have been a disaster. McElroy just didn’t have the goods or we would know it by now. So as sad as it seems, when Ryan repeatedly told us that Sanchez was the team’s best option at quarterback, it was true. In addition to all this, season ending injuries to Revis and Holmes crippled his team on both sides of the ball. Oh, and one more thing, any head coach who has Tony Sparano (Don’t you worry I’m getting to him next) for an offensive coordinator deserves a break. Our Decision: Keep him

Step in to our office Mr. Sparano, you’re next. Now the Jet’s pathetic offense isn’t totally Tony’s fault. He never was given a decent roster from the very start, and once Holmes went down……….well you saw what happened. But he’s not getting off that easy. “Mr. Wildcat” who was supposed to make use of Tebow’s special abilities, did absolutely nothing. After all the secret practices and claims of “Tebow packages” we were fed a steady diet of Tebow up the middle for 1 yard. Despite the motley crew he was handed, he was being paid to do something. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss you Brian Schottenheimer……Oh my god!…….wait…..did I say that? Our Decision: Boot him

Mark Sanchez may say all the right things behind the mike, but he does all the wrong things behind center. Mark has had it easier than most. For his first two years he was given a top five defense AND a top five running game. Had you put Andrew Luck or RG3 in that situation, they might have ended up the first rookie QB’s to win the Superbowl. Nevertheless, this was the perfect environment for Mark to develop. So by year three you’d think we could depend on him to win a few with his skills, but as soon as Rex asked him to carry the load, he fell flat on his face. So the Jets propped him back up, gave him an extension and Mark explained it to them a bit more clearly this season. If you could translate his play into words it would sound something like this. “I know you have great confidence in me sirs, but despite my physical gifts, I simply lack the mental fortitude to reach the next level.” Mr. Sanchez has become a walking turnover, and obviously dosen’t have the mettle to thrive under the intense scrutiny of the Big Apple. Please Woody, listen to us on this one!
Our Decision: Boot him

Tim Tebow: Poor Tim, I know he can’t play quarterback, but you at least wanted to see the guy get a shot. Even when Sanchez failed he was passed over. He was placed into a situation where he couldn’t win. He was simply used as a tool for creating controversy. This is the one thing the Jets did very well. They used Tebow to make themselves more relevant, and it worked. Think about it for a second. Who did you hear about more this season, Tim Tebow or Eli Manning? Don’t have to think very hard do you? He didn’t get a fair shake here and probably wouldn’t want one now if it were offered. Through no fault of his own, he’s got to go. Our Decision: Boot him (gently)

Restaurant Review: The Patio Grill and Bar in Dallas, Texas

Restaurant Review: The Patio Grill and Bar in Dallas, Texas

The Patio Grill and Bar in Dallas, Texas is one of the favorite outdoor spots for enjoying casual dining in a friendly unique atmosphere. Located at 3403 McKinney Avenue, the stylish restaurant is designed with an Italian piazza type flair with a wonderful view of the local area. Perfect for Dallas weather, which changes constantly, the Patio Grill and Bar is the perfect place to dine alfresco.

With over 1200 square feet of patio space, a modern and eclectic concrete floor, and cedar beams, the Patio Grill and bar has created a new and unusual space on the dining scene in Dallas. Surrounded by a black iron fence the design of the place is simple with a bit of minimalism with a bit of a pub type feel. The popular restaurant features the perfect environment for sports events with flat screen televisions available, an Internet juke box and more.

Then there is the cuisine served at the Patio Grill and bar which definitely has drawn a lot of followers. If you are planning to stop in for a drink try one of the starters which include personal favorites such as queso, chips and salsa, or the pork drum sticks. If you are looking for more of an entrée a few favorite from the menu include delicious wings with or without bones, a variety of burgers, gourmet pizzas, sandwiches, and burgers, chicken (referred to as yard bird) and more are served at the popular grill. The bar is also one of the best bars in the area with an excellent variety of beers, cocktails and wines. The Patio Grill and Bar also features an excellent happy hour between the hours of 4:00PM to 7:00PM Wednesday through Friday in addition to other specials during the various sports seasons.

The Patio Grill and Bar is an excellent place to spend casual time, pick up a drink and a snack and to enjoy friends. During the warmer seasons and the fall the place is one of the most popular in town. For more information on the Patio Grill and bar visit the official web site or call 214-720-3838.

Disney Ants-icipation

Disney Ants-icipationFor a eleven year old girl just out of elementary school, a family vacation to Walt Disney World down in Florida seemed like more than a dream. On the early morning of our first two day car ride, I was more excited than I had been in months. School was over, and we were on our way to a land of fantasy and wonder. Nearing our first destination for an overnight stay in South Carolina, the car began leaking anti-freeze. We pulled over to a rest stop and found a hotel in North Carolina instead. In the morning, we quickly continued our ride south, and we were surrounded by palm trees, the comforts of Florida’s eternal sunlight, and the anticipation of Disney World.

Needless to say, four days of theme park rides, parades of people dressed in familiar characters and fireworks shows lived up to and beyond expectations. One morning when we got into the car to head towards the attractions, we noticed quite a few ants lingering on the cushioned seats, but merely assumed we had parked in a bad spot. On our final day in this childhood heaven, we began our return journey, and noticed more and more ants marching throughout the car. We squished them by hand, one by one, until even that failed to fend them off. Luckily, as we approached the Carolina’s again, we got a break from these unwelcome riders, as the car began to leak yet again, and slowly stall. On the bright side, we sure got to know the Carolina’s pretty well!

The Physiology of Heart Disease

The Physiology of Heart Disease

The American Heart Association has estimated that in 2006, 81,100,000 U.S. citizens had cardiovascular disease. Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that during that year, heart disease accounted for slightly over one out of every three deaths. Clearly, heart disease is having a disastrous impact on the health of Americans; however, understanding the physiological processes that underlie it can help people to be more knowledgeable about the course of, and even more importantly the prevention of, cardiovascular disease.

The Physiological Role of Saturated Fats and Cholesterol in Heart Disease

Cholesterols and saturated fats both play a role in heart disease. Saturated fats, which are found in animal-based products, such as meats, are saturated with hydrogen, which can lead to the production of LDL cholesterol. Once LDL cholesterol is produced, it can be used on the cell membranes in the body.

However, once the cells have enough LDL cholesterol, they down regulate, creating fewer LDL receptors. This process, referred to as hypercholesterolemia, leaves too much cholesterol in the vascular system, leading to blockage that can result in heart disease.

The Physiological Process of Heart Disease

Once the arteries are blocked, an individual will suffer from a condition called atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of yellow plaque in the arteries. As a result of the blockage from plaque, the heart receives less oxygen. This process, called ischemia, leads to a lack of oxygen.

When the heart does not receive adequate oxygen, an individual will feel a pain, called angina. Eventually, a myocardial infarction, commonly known as a heart attack, can occur. The consequence of a heart attack is necrosis, or the death of cells in the heart muscle.


Fixing the Problem of Heart Disease

Once heart disease has become an issue, patients have several options available to them. They may benefit from angioplasty, which is the insertion of a balloon in the femoral artery in the leg. The balloon is inflated at the blockage site to disperse plaque build-up.

While angioplasty is an option sometimes utilized, the insertion of a stent is a better long-term solution. A stent is a wire used to hold the lumen of the blood vessel opened, to prevent complete blockage.

Perhaps the best option, though, is for patients to undergo a coronary artery bypass graft, which serves to bypass the blockage. This invasive surgery takes the great saphenous vein from the leg and uses it in the bypass. Though painful, the process is typically successful, as the saphenous vein can last roughly ten years in a bypass.

Though these several remedies are available, prevention is indubitably the best method. Engaging in regular physical activity can prevent heart disease, as it is shown to raise levels of HDL cholesterol, which is considered healthy cholesterol. Avoiding the consumption of excess amounts of animal fats can lower levels of LDL cholesterol, also serving to prevent heart disease. Once LDL levels are lowered, the body is likely to increase numbers of LDL receptors on cell membranes, ensuring that LDL cholesterol is taken out of the vascular system, instead of remaining in the blood and causing blockage.

Make Your Garden POP with Red Hot Cattail Plants

Make Your Garden POP with Red Hot Cattail PlantsMarigolds are nice, but how about something really different this year? If you’ve always had the same plants, year after year, how about a little springtime magic in the garden, instead? The idea that a garden has to contain certain plants is too old fashioned for words. There are so many interesting, exciting and unique ways to make a garden special and different from all the rest. Why not have a show place that draws attention? Something as vibrant as the Red Hot Cattails is such an attention grabber that it also sparks curiosity.

Almost everyone is familiar with cattails. They are the plants that grow in moist locations such as: along the banks of swamps, ponds, drainage areas, etc. They resemble hotdogs on a stick. When these lengthy brownish parts mature they get fuzzy. So, in all, the plant itself is not very attractive. But this rare plant called the Red Hot Cattail is!

Acalypha hispida is the Latin name for this plant. From a distance you can see the bright red cattails as if it were an explosion of a firecracker. They do not look like the traditional cattail. In fact, the plants are smaller, the fuzzy “blooms” of the plant are long, and it can bloom all year. The plant can grow up to ten feet high and approximately four feet wide. It needs to have a lightly shaded area to thrive in.

The plant will not set seeds so you won’t have to worry about the blooms being fertile. With many flowers they set seeds and can dominate the area such as some marigolds which can make them invasive. It actually takes the leaves and stems to make more plants. One word of warning with this rare beauty, they are poisonous if eaten. It is perfect for people that do not have small children or babies that play unattended outside or animals that will eat anything and everything. Supervision is highly recommended if you do.

The bright red blooms of this cattail plant does not come in any other color, hence the name. But, Red is very pleasing to the eye and can provide that explosion of color to any garden or yard setting.