BABIES

“For the first time, scientists have measured the stress levels of fathers of premature babies during the tense transition between the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and home and discovered fathers are more stressed than moms,” according to a recent study cited at sciencedaily.com.

The new Northwestern Medicine study found that fathers and mothers of low-birth-weight babies had high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in saliva before they were discharged.

“But the fathers experienced an increase in their stress levels as measured several times over the next 14 days at home while the mothers’ stress levels stayed constant,” said the study.

Lead author Dr. Craig Garfield of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said, “Babies thrive when parents thrive, and if parents are stressed out, that can impact their parenting of the child, the relationship between the mom and dad and can alter infant attachment.”

TIP OF THE WEEK

Improve your heart health

Follow these heart-healthy tips from Pilot Flying J.

1. Be careful of what you snack on. High-fat and high-sugar snacks are ultimately unhealthy.

2. Don’t just drink the drink. Your beverage choices could add unnecessary fats and sugar to your diet, so choose low-sugar and no-sugar alternatives, as well as low-fat milk or cream for your coffee.

3. Avoid ordering before-the-meal extras. Cocktails, appetizers, even bread and butter are all sources of extra fat, sodium and calories.

EYE HEALTH

Why online eye apps may do more harm than good

Vision test apps can be a great resource for health information, but if you rely on them to preserve your eye health and detect potential problems, you could be doing more harm than good, the American Optometric Association warns.

Many vision and eye health conditions don’t have obvious signs or symptoms in their earliest stages. Online tests like those from telehealth services could miss serious conditions that a comprehensive eye exam would catch. They may be designed to test for near-sightedness or far-sightedness, but they may provide inaccurate information and can’t adequately evaluate overall eye health.

For example, an online test might detect symptoms of near-sightedness, but not signs of glaucoma, a serious condition that can rob patients of their sight. What’s more, today’s technology isn’t capable of remotely examining eyes for overall health or properly fitting glasses, contact lenses and low-vision devices, the AOA says.

HEART HEALTH

Surprising heart facts you may not know

1. Every day your heart beats an estimated 100,000 times to move 2,000 gallons of blood through your body. That equates to more than 2.5 billion beats in your lifetime.

2. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the U.S. every year — that’s one in every four deaths.

3. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common, but underdiagnosed, inherited genetic disorder affecting approximately one in 250 people worldwide. Individuals with FH have a high amount of low density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol in their blood from birth, which can cause early onset heart disease.

4. About 47 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital, according to the CDC. This suggests that many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs such as chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea and cold sweats.

— Brandpoint