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Reader'sVoice

ReaderTips:

A couple get's their exercise in with a brisk walk on the beach.How do you work exercise into your daily routine?

Some of our readers had some creative approaches to making exercise fun:

Eileen: “Sit on a large exercise ball while working on the computer or watching T.V. It takes some doing to keep one’s balance with one’s legs stretched out.”

Mike: “Perhaps we need a chair with pedals connected to a generator so we could be forced to exercise to run our computers?”

Gail: “I download an audiobook or a favorite podcast to listen to while I’m on the elliptical.”

Daniel: “I use an exercise bike four or five times a week and chase after a 6 year old.”

Others went the more traditional route:

Don: “I recently purchased a good midrange tread mill, and have been walking at least 30 minutes per day at a brisk rate. I have already seen positive results.”

Ed: “I do a lot of walking, go to the gym three days a week, and just try to keep busy.”

Dar: “I climb stairs every day in my home, and walk when there isn’t snow.”

Diane: “I’m lucky I cannot drive anymore, because I walk everywhere! School is one mile away, and I always walk. People offer me rides, but I want to walk!”

Cheryl: “We go to Planet Fitness here in Long Island at least four times a week after school and work.”

Joyce: “We have a workout room across the hall from my office, so I try to exercise two or three times a week.”

One reader took a different approach to exercise altogether:

LeAnne: “Exercise? Hmmm. Avoid it at all costs.”


Question for the next issue: What do you do to avoid or handle a low blood sugar episode?

To respond to our survey or send tips, email editor@nfb.org or call 1-888-581-4741 and select 3. Please let us know your first name as well!

The survey question is:
How often do you experience problems with low blood sugar (i.e. hypoglycemic episode):

Answers:
a. Never
b. Once a year or less
c. Two to three times a year
d. Four or more times a year

ReaderProfile:
Donna Goodman Speaks from the Heart

Donna Goodman has a message for all diabetic women: “Listen to your body. If it’s telling you something is wrong, then something is wrong.” Donna learned that lesson when she began experiencing alarming shortness of breath and fatigue in 2004. She felt no chest or left arm pain, though, and she did well on a stress test, so her doctors were not concerned that she might be having a heart attack. One nurse even told her she was having an anxiety attack. But as the symptoms continued for months, and then years, Donna knew “there was something real here.”

“I had a pulmonary workup, I did a sleep study, I was treated for anemia. I saw so many different doctors, and they stopped or changed every medicine I was on,” she recalled. Still she felt worse and worse.

A type 1 diabetic for more than forty years, Donna had experienced diabetic complications before. She lost all her vision at age 31, and has had kidney problems most of her life. She coped with each complication as it arose, getting a dog guide, watching her diet, and staying active. A self-described “phone addict,” Donna has many friends and stays in touch regularly. But her friends began to notice the fatigue in her voice. “I sounded lousy, and they could hear it. They said I just didn’t sound like myself.”

Finally Donna saw a cardiac surgeon, who determined that she needed bypass surgery. “It turned out one of my coronary arteries was more than 90 percent blocked,” she said. The surgeon also found that another coronary artery was blocked, but concluded that the artery was too narrow to bypass.

“Just a couple of days after the bypass [in 2006], I felt like a person again,” Donna said, chuckling.

In April 2007, she began experiencing the fatigue and shortness of breath again. This time, she knew it meant heart trouble. Donna did some research, and found the Women’s Cardiovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic. From the experts there, she learned that heart disease in women can look a lot different from heart disease in men. For one thing, most women do not have chest pain the way men do. In fact, most women who have heart attacks experience fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness and cold sweats, just like Donna did. As a result, many doctors miss the crucial signs of heart attack in women, and fail to treat them properly.

In November 2007, Donna went to the Cleveland Clinic for another surgery. This time, they found her coronary artery was 99 percent blocked, and doctors were able to stent the artery that her previous surgeon had determined too narrow to fix. “I was amazed at how much better I felt, and how quickly,” she said. “I’m me again!”

For more information about heart attacks in women, check out the Women’s Cardiovascular Center at the Cleveland Clinic, at www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/women/default.htm.