There are many factors that affect good cholesterol in women: age, diet, lifestyle and menopause, to name a few. What is cholesterol? It’s a waxy substance found in two places: Your liver produces it, and cholesterol comes from animal products you eat (think meat, eggs and cheese). Like many other things in life, cholesterol is not good or bad until there’s too much of it. For women, high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
A cholesterol test (called a lipid panel or lipid profile) includes having some blood drawn in a lab. Then your provider examines the results that show your levels of high density lipoproteins (HDL), low density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides (fats), and total blood cholesterol.
“Think of it like this,” said Monalisa M. Tailor, M.D., internal medicine physician at Norton Community Medical Associates-Barret. “You want a high level of HDL and a low level of LDL. If you have a lot of that LDL, it can get stuck in your arteries. It’s like soap scum in the pipes of your home — a little bit gets flushed out, but too much of it starts to build up.”
And arteries, like plumbing, get clogged. Unlike with your bathroom sink, you might not know you have cholesterol build up until it becomes a very serious health issue.
What are good cholesterol numbers for women?
“A good cholesterol [level] for a woman is higher than 60 mg/dl. We want total cholesterol levels to be under about 200 mg/dl.”
Here’s where things get tricky: Women generally have higher HDL than men due to the presence of estrogen.
“The hormone estrogen reduces the overall amount of cholesterol in the body, but also increases the amount of HDL, or “good” cholesterol,” Dr. Tailor said.
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There is some evidence that estrogen also affects the immune system, which is responsible for inflammation caused by buildup of bad cholesterol in the arteries.
“Estrogen might protect women from heart disease, which is potentially good news,” Dr. Tailor said.
It is not thought that hormone replacement therapies (HRT) or any hormones taken via pill, cream, injection or infusion have any effect on cholesterol.
“It’s really just the estrogen made by the body that makes a difference,” Dr. Tailor said.
For women, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is a great way to keep your heart healthy. It can lower your chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke.
“We recommend adults have cholesterol checked when they start seeing a primary care provider,” Dr. Tailor said. Low-risk individuals will re-check every five years. Higher risk people may re-check every three years or more frequently, depending on risk factors.
“Talk to your doctor. They will. Help you determine the best schedule for cholesterol checks,” Dr. Tailor said.
COVID-19 infections rose sharply again last week throughout Tennessee and Davidson County, continuing an upward trend that has been ongoing for the last two months or so, according to state Department of Health data.
Notably, statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations are now starting to quickly rise again after remaining relatively flat for months. As of May 21, there were 270 such hospitalizations — a 44% increase from the previous week’s 187 cases.
The seven-day average for infections throughout the state was 1,288, up from the prior week’s 944 average. About six weeks ago, the average was 192.
In Davidson County, the seven-day average was 206.7 as of Saturday, up from 169.6 the week prior.
The statewide average test-positivity rate (the rate of people who get tested and are positive for COVID-19) last week also signaled an increased spread of the novel coronavirus.
As of May 21, the rate was 13.52%, up from the prior week’s 10.87%. In Davidson County, the rate was 20.1%, up from 17.1% the prior week.
Higher test-positivity rates in a given community suggest that COVID-19 is spreading widely, public health officials say. Generally speaking, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health considers rates above 5% as “too high.”
State public health agencies have counted more than 2.05 million cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 26,372 have died as a result of the novel coronavirus.
About 54.7% of Tennesseans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national average is 66.6%.
Frank Gluck is the health care reporter for The Tennessean. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @FrankGluck.
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Of the nine most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders on the Mind website, I’ve been diagnosed with seven. I realise this is a peculiar boast, but in case you’re wondering – hypochondria, a legitimate anxiety disorder in itself – isn’t among my diagnoses.
My first was agoraphobia with panic disorder, which came for me unexpectedly when I was 20, fresh out of university, and enjoying life as a guitar-wielding, purple-haired party girl (the home counties Courtney Love, only browner and more Sloaney). Suddenly, being in any enclosed public space – pubs, cinemas, train stations – would plunge me into visceral, suffocating episodes of vertigo. My stomach would spin, my vision turn dark at the edges, and I’d hurry for the safety of home. Soon I was experiencing these “episodes”, which I later learned were panic attacks, in even familiar locations. My local pub. My best friend’s living room.
By the time I was diagnosed, I was already helplessly housebound, couldn’t sleep, and had lost a third of my body weight.
Becoming a shut-in took a matter of weeks. My recovery, however, would take four years, one springer spaniel, a career change, some not-very-helpful analytical psychotherapy, and the gruelling but effective daily practice of pushing my boundaries with desensitisation therapy, in order to move around freely in the world again.
When I was able, I moved to London to restart my life. Though the agoraphobia subsided, anxiety remained an issue. Subsequent diagnoses included generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety, both perinatal and postnatal anxiety, plus two lots of PTSD as a result of two emergency C-sections.
Finally, I was coping with work, parenting and the creeping dread of 2020’s first lockdown until my mother died of Covid, triggering my agoraphobia to return after 20 years in remission, and I developed a compulsive skin-picking disorder to boot.
So what works for me? I have learned that the wrong therapy can harm you. I’ve never got on with therapist-ordained CBT or mindfulness exercises, which it transpires can actively harm people with ADHD and PTSD. Now I ask for proof that new therapists are informed about all my conditions. I can’t believe it took a pandemic to show me that accessing therapy from home via Zoom is more helpful for agoraphobics.
Chronic anxiety and agoraphobia recovery means I’ve been living at Defcon 1 for ever, but I know that it is essential to establish my baseline comfort level. Rest, reading, favourite bands – these are all foreign concepts. Instead, I’m starting with macro-level pleasures, noting down the smallest things that give me joy, and building on them. Marie Kondo is not among them.
Reasons to be Fearful by Robyn Wilder will be published by Ebury Books.
I’ve experienced all kinds of anxiety, from heart-pounding, nauseating panic attacks, to the incapacitating self-doubt of OCD, to low-level, background nervousness. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve me feeling nervous or frightened for no reason. My anxiety is a part of me, one that I’ve had to learn to deal with.
I found that medication helped with my OCD, while talking therapy and mindfulness have helped with panic attacks and generalised anxiety. I’d also recommend anxiety workbooks. The Panic Attacks Workbook by Dr David Carbonell is a great resource – it taught me breathing exercises, such as the “belly breathing” exercise, which I use to manage my anxiety.
I also try to ground myself by taking stock of my surroundings: I will look around and name three things I can see, then three things I can hear, and then three things I can feel. It’s useful for taking me out of my own head and bringing me back into the present moment.
I’m not sure who I’d be if I weren’t anxious – and it is important to remember that almost everyone deals with anxiety at some point in their life. There’s no shame in getting professional help, just as you wouldn’t feel ashamed about getting treatment for asthma or a broken arm. Different treatments work better for different people; so I would advise anyone struggling with anxiety not to be discouraged if one doesn’t take straight away.
Go easy on yourself: setting boundaries and providing structure are often important, but so is treating yourself with compassion, forgiveness and understanding.
Mara Wilson is an actor and mental health advocate.As told to Leah Harper.
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
I’m not claiming that lavender oil is by any means a cure, but when it felt that the world was conspiring in a thousand different ways to kill me and everyone I loved, grounding techniques really helped bring me back to reality. PTSD – which I developed after I was assaulted as a student and which returned in 2015 when I was in Paris during the Bataclan attack – is like a form of time travel. So a smell like lavender can help restore you to the present. As can sitting on the floor, which gets you some funny looks, though in the midst of a panic attack it’s the least of your worries.
The usual recommendations – sleep, yoga, meditation, CBT, affirmations – help, of course, but so does a cold martini, Bruce Springsteen played loud, costume dramas, an absorbing book. Getting a cat has been a gamechanger. She has been very magnanimous about allowing me to cry into her fur on occasion.
When things are really, really bad, I read lots of poetry. The Staying Alive anthologies have given me so much comfort over the years. I also love the work of Ada Limón, particularly the poem Instructions on Not Giving Up. It reminds me that spring is always just around the corner: “A return / to the strange idea of continuous living despite / the mess of us, the hurt, the empty.”
I try to switch off from the news and social media. Tricky but worth the effort. I am not brave enough for true cold water swimming, but a fair-weather dip on Hampstead Heath does work wonders. My mother’s philosophy of buying yourself a small present – a lipstick if you’re feeling flush, a chocolate bar if you’re not – has got me through some of the bluest of days.
Of course, all of these tricks mean nothing without the therapy and medication that has mostly cured me. Twice. NHS trauma-focused CBT provided me with tools that I still use now, as I embark upon parenthood and confront all the anxiety that that brings. It allows me to take a step back when my fears for the baby seem to be drowning me.
Owing to a postcode lottery I was seen quickly, by two brilliant psychologists, and I’m now receiving some postnatal support – despite my fears, I’m doing well. It saddens me that not everyone is so lucky. Lavender oil can only get you so far – access to treatment and medication is what matters most of all.
The Tyranny of Lost Things by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett is published by Sandstone Press (£8.99).
I manage my anxiety with a combination of drugs, therapy, and decades of bitter experience.
For 30 years I have suffered from OCD, which brings with it regular acute bouts of saturated terror. Not about whether my LPs are correctly filed in alphabetical order or if my jars of food are lined up neatly on their shelves, as some wildly wrong stereotypes of OCD would have it, but of ways that I may have contracted HIV. Blame the 1980s and the public information campaigns that harnessed fear as the best route to get people to change their behaviour to avoid what was then portrayed as a one-way street to a futile life and early death.
I wrote a book about the experience, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop, and get weekly emails from strangers around the world who are either amazed that someone else has the same irrational thoughts and fears about HIV as they do, or amazed that I managed to find and receive effective treatment.
The treatment is where the drugs and therapy come in. The standard NHS treatment for OCD is a high dose of an antidepressant and a course of CBT. I started to take 200mg a day of sertraline (similar to Prozac) almost a decade ago, and I have just picked up my latest prescription. It’s not clear how the drugs work, but I think they do. They seem to make the thoughts less sticky, easier to slip away to be replaced by something less worrying. How long will I take the pills for? I don’t know. What gets you well keeps you well, my psychiatrist says.
The CBT was almost a decade ago as well, but I still draw on its lessons every day. The problem with OCD is that we have our own way to deal with the anxiety prompted by the thoughts – we carry out compulsive behaviours, in my case to reassure and convince, which give us a short-term benefit, but only seeds future obsessions. Managing my anxiety means not taking that short-cut, resisting the pull of the compulsion and – paradoxically – letting the anxiety build and then decay naturally.
It works, but I’m not sure it’s got any easier over the years.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Women’s Health Month is the perfect time to raise awareness of health issues affecting women and to encourage healthy lifestyle changes.
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, a nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, promotes health and wellness for women of all ages year-round, but especially during Women’s Health Month held in May every year.
“Regular checkups and preventative screenings are the best start to living a healthier lifestyle, no matter your age,” said Janice Hixson, MD, OKCIC’s Chief Medical Officer. “Talking to your provider annually will help you stay on track for your vaccinations and important tests, like paps and cholesterol screenings.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Mammograms are an important regular screening for women ages 40 and up. Regular mammograms can help your provider find breast cancer early, when it is the easiest to treat. Symptoms to watch for include a new lump in the breast or underarm, thickening or swelling of the breast skin, irritation or dimpling of breast skin, breast pain and nipple discharge other than breast milk. These symptoms can occur with other conditions, but you should contact your provider if you experience them.
Regular screenings aren’t the only way to stay healthy. Getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, 30 minutes of physical activity every day, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and avoiding alcohol and drugs are all actions you can take to improve your health. If you currently smoke, make plans to quit.
“Improving your health starts with taking small steps in your daily life,” Hixson said. “Start with one simple change, then slowly add more to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Changing your lifestyle can seem
intimidating, but taking small steps makes your health goals more attainable.”
As more persons are exposed to and infected by SARS-CoV-2, reports of patients who experience persistent symptoms or organ dysfunction after acute COVID-19 and develop post-COVID conditions have increased.
What is added by this report?
COVID-19 survivors have twice the risk for developing pulmonary embolism or respiratory conditions; one in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18–64 years and one in four survivors aged ≥65 years experienced at least one incident condition that might be attributable to previous COVID-19.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Implementation of COVID-19 prevention strategies, as well as routine assessment for post-COVID conditions among persons who survive COVID-19, is critical to reducing the incidence and impact of post-COVID conditions, particularly among adults aged ≥65 years.
A growing number of persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have reported persistent symptoms, or the onset of long-term symptoms, ≥4 weeks after acute COVID-19; these symptoms are commonly referred to as post-COVID conditions, or long COVID (1). Electronic health record (EHR) data during March 2020–November 2021, for persons in the United States aged ≥18 years were used to assess the incidence of 26 conditions often attributable to post-COVID (hereafter also referred to as incident conditions) among patients who had received a previous COVID-19 diagnosis (case-patients) compared with the incidence among matched patients without evidence of COVID-19 in the EHR (control patients). The analysis was stratified by two age groups (persons aged 18–64 and ≥65 years). Patients were followed for 30–365 days after the index encounter until one or more incident conditions were observed or through October 31, 2021 (whichever occurred first). Among all patients aged ≥18 years, 38% of case-patients experienced an incident condition compared with 16% of controls; conditions affected multiple systems, and included cardiovascular, pulmonary, hematologic, renal, endocrine, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, neurologic, and psychiatric signs and symptoms. By age group, the highest risk ratios (RRs) were for acute pulmonary embolism (RR = 2.1 and 2.2 among persons aged 18–64 and ≥65 years, respectively) and respiratory signs and symptoms (RR = 2.1 in both age groups). Among those aged 18–64 years, 35.4% of case-patients experienced an incident condition compared with 14.6% of controls. Among those aged ≥65 years, 45.4% of case-patients experienced an incident condition compared with 18.5% of controls. These findings translate to one in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18–64 years, and one in four survivors aged ≥65 years experiencing an incident condition that might be attributable to previous COVID-19. Implementation of COVID-19 prevention strategies, as well as routine assessment for post-COVID conditions among persons who survive COVID-19, is critical to reducing the incidence and impact of post-COVID, particularly among adults aged ≥65 years (2).
A retrospective matched cohort design was used to analyze EHRs during March 2020–November 2021, from Cerner Real-World Data,* a national, deidentified data set of approximately 63.4 million unique adult records from 110 data contributors in the 50 states. Case-patients (353,164) were adults aged ≥18 years who received either a diagnosis of COVID-19 or a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result† (case-patient index encounter) in an inpatient, emergency department, or outpatient settings within a subset of health care facilities that use Cerner EHRs. Control patients (1,640,776) had a visit in the same month as the matched case-patient (control index encounter) and did not receive a COVID-19 diagnosis or a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result during the observation period. Controls were matched 5:1 with case-patients. All patients included in the analysis were required to have at least one encounter in their EHR during the year preceding and the year after the index encounter.
The occurrence of 26 clinical conditions previously attributed to post-COVID illness was assessed by review of the scientific literature§ (3–5) (Supplementary Table 1, https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/117411). Patients were followed for 30–365 days after the index encounter until the first occurrence of an incident condition or until October 31, 2021, whichever occurred first. Case-patients or control patients with a previous history of one of the included conditions in the year before the index encounter were excluded (478,072 patients). The analysis was stratified by age into two groups: adults aged 18–64 and adults aged ≥65 years. Incidence rates per 100 person-months, and RRs with 95% CIs, were calculated. The number of COVID-19 case-patients having experienced an incident condition was also estimated by age group.¶ Nonoverlapping CIs between age groups were considered statistically significant. Analyses were performed using RStudio Workbench (version 3.0; RStudio). This activity was reviewed by CDC and was conducted consistent with applicable federal law and CDC policy.**
Among all patients aged ≥18 years, 38.2% of case-patients and 16.0% of controls experienced at least one incident condition (Table). Among persons aged 18–64 years, 35.4% of case-patients and 14.6% of controls experienced at least one incident condition. Among persons aged ≥65 years, 45.4% of case-patients and 18.5% of controls experienced at least one incident condition. The absolute risk difference between the percentage of case-patients and controls who developed an incident condition was 20.8 percentage points for those aged 18–64 years and 26.9 percentage points for those aged ≥65 years. This finding translates to one in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18–64 years and one in four survivors aged ≥65 years experiencing an incident condition that might be attributable to previous COVID-19.
The most common incident conditions in both age groups were respiratory symptoms and musculoskeletal pain (Supplementary Table 2, https://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/117411). Among both age groups, the highest RRs were for incident conditions involving the pulmonary system, including acute pulmonary embolism (RR = 2.2 [patients aged ≥65 years] and 2.1 [patients aged 18–64 years]) and respiratory symptoms (RR = 2.1, both age groups) (Figure). Among patients aged ≥65 years, the risks were higher among case-patients than among controls for all 26 incident conditions, with RRs ranging from 1.2 (substance-related disorder) to 2.2 (acute pulmonary embolism). Among patients aged 18–64 years, the risks were higher among case-patients than among controls for 22 incident conditions, with RRs ranging from 1.1 (anxiety) to 2.1 (acute pulmonary embolism); no significant difference was observed for cerebrovascular disease, or mental health conditions, such as mood disorders, other mental conditions, and substance-related disorders.
Differences by age group were noted. The RR for cardiac dysrhythmia was significantly higher among patients aged 18–64 years (RR = 1.7) compared with those aged ≥65 years (1.5). Similarly, the RR for musculoskeletal pain was higher among patients aged 18–64 years (1.6) than among those aged ≥65 years (1.4). Among case-patients, the RRs for 10 incident conditions was significantly higher among those aged ≥65 years than among those aged 18–64 years; these conditions were renal failure, thromboembolic events, cerebrovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, muscle disorders, neurologic conditions, and mental health conditions (including mood disorders, anxiety, other mental conditions, and substance-related disorders).
The findings from this analysis of a large EHR-based database of U.S. adults indicated that COVID-19 survivors were significantly more likely than were control patients to have incident conditions that might be attributable to previous COVID-19. One in five COVID-19 survivors aged 18–64 years and one in four survivors aged ≥65 years experienced at least one incident condition that might be attributable to previous COVID-19. Independent of age group, the highest RRs were for acute pulmonary embolism and respiratory symptoms.
These findings are consistent with those from several large studies that indicated that post-COVID incident conditions occur in 20%–30% of patients (6,7), and that a proportion of patients require expanded follow-up care after the initial infection. COVID-19 severity and illness duration can affect patients’ health care needs and economic well-being (8). The occurrence of incident conditions following infection might also affect a patient’s ability to contribute to the workforce and might have economic consequences for survivors and their dependents, particularly among adults aged 18–64 years (5). In addition, care requirements might place a strain on health services after acute illness in communities that experience heavy COVID-19 case surges.
COVID-19 survivors aged ≥65 years in this study were at increased risk for neurologic conditions, as well as for four of five mental health conditions (mood disorders, other mental conditions, anxiety, and substance-related disorders). Neurocognitive symptoms have been reported to persist for up to 1 year after acute infection and might persist longer (9). Overall, 45.4% of survivors aged ≥65 years in this study had incident conditions. Among adults aged ≥65 years, who are already at higher risk for stroke and neurocognitive impairment, post-COVID conditions affecting the nervous system are of particular concern because these conditions can lead to early entry into supportive services or investment of additional resources into care (10).
The findings in this study are subject to at least five limitations. First, patient data were limited to those seen at facilities serviced by Cerner EHR network during January 2020–November 2021; therefore, the findings might not be representative of the entire U.S. adult population or of COVID-19 case patients infected with recent variants. Second, the incidence of new conditions after an acute COVID-19 infection might be biased toward a population that is seeking care, either as a follow-up to a previous complaint (including COVID-19) or for another medical complaint, which might result in a “sicker” control group leading to underestimation of observed risk. Third, COVID-19 vaccination status was not considered in this analysis, nor were potentially confounding factors (e.g., SARS-CoV-2 variant, sex, race, ethnicity, health care entity, or geographic region), because data were not available, were inconsistent, or included a high proportion of missing or unknown values; for example, data were not matched by data contributors, so controls were not necessarily from the same health care entity or region of the country. Differences between the groups might influence the risks associated with survival from COVID-19 and incident conditions, which require further study. Fourth, International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) codes were used to identify COVID-19 case-patients, and misclassification of controls is possible. However, the inclusion of laboratory data to identify case-patients and exclude controls helped to limit the potential for such misclassification. Finally, the study only assessed conditions thought to be attributable to COVID-19 or post-COVID illness, which might have biased RRs away from the null. For example, clinicians might have been more likely to document possible post-COVID conditions among case-patients. In addition, because several conditions examined are also risk factors for moderate to severe COVID-19, it is possible that case-patients were more likely to have had an existing condition that was not documented in their EHR during the year preceding their COVID-19 diagnosis, resulting in overestimated risk for this group.
As the cumulative number of persons ever having been infected with SARS-CoV-2 increases, the number of survivors suffering post-COVID conditions is also likely to increase. Therefore, implementation of COVID-19 prevention strategies, as well as routine assessment for post-COVID conditions among persons who survive COVID-19, is critical to reducing the incidence and impact of post-COVID conditions, particularly among adults aged ≥65 years (2). These findings can increase awareness for post-COVID conditions and improve post-acute care and management of patients after illness. Further investigation is warranted to understand the pathophysiologic mechanisms associated with increased risk for post-COVID conditions, including by age and type of condition.
TFI said with the donation from CFSEK, it was able to purchase and assemble 40 calm kits for children in foster care. It said the kits will help relieve stress and anxiety for kids who enter foster care or for those who transition to a new home.
Due to the generous donation, TFI said it was able to provide kits to children in Bourbon, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, and Wilson counties.
The organization noted that the kits were composed of a variety of items meant to help minimize stress and anxiety. They included weighted blankets, coloring books, fidget toys, and sound machines.
“Giving them these calm kits allows them to have items available to them that help relieve stress, anxiety, and things of that nature. These children are removed for reasons, for their safety, but we want to make sure that they’re happy and comfortable as possible,” said TFI Director of Marketing Taylor Forrest.
“The kids I’ve given these to love them! Especially the sound machines. One child told me it’s the only way he can sleep at night,” said a TFI employee.
TFI said it is grateful for the support from CFSEK and its dedication to helping local children in care. It said the donation has helped to change the lives of Kansas children.
“Organizations like the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas make our work possible,” said TFI President & CEO Michael Patrick. “We are so appreciative of their generosity and their willingness to serve Kansas children by giving to local nonprofits.”
Those interested in donating to help local children in foster care can make online donations HERE.
On Friday, May 20th, 2022, IFBB Pro League bodybuilder Joe Mackey took to the powerlifting platform at C.T. Fletcher’s Iron Wars VI. Mackey thrilled the crowd watching by deadlifting 385.6 kilograms (850 pounds). The lift occurred at Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Gym in Signal Hill, CA.
I’m happy to see that 850 pounds still feels very smooth!!
Mackey used a double overhand grip and wore lifting straps and a weightlifting belt. After a couple of aggressive tugs of the bar to get himself psyched up, Mackey stood tall with the barbell locked out without any struggle throughout the rep. It can be seen in the video below, courtesy of Mackey’s Instagram page:
Mackey’s 850-pound pull isn’t the heaviest weight Mackey has successfully hit recently. On April 16, 2022, Mackey pulled 900 pounds in training — his all-time best. While his competition deadlift was 50 pounds lighter, Mackey revealed in the caption of the video that he is lighter as well. He is preparing to compete in a bodybuilding contest later this season, and his body weight has decreased accordingly.
I’m in prep for my next bodybuilding show and I’ve lost 15 pounds since I’ve pulled 900 pounds a month ago.
At the time of this article’s publication, Mackey hasn’t revealed which show he intends to appear in, but his goal is a victory to secure a qualification for the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest, scheduled to take place on the weekend of Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
Mackey also thanked his coach, Josh Bryant, for helping him prepare for this lift. Mackey is also working with bodybuilding coach Chad Nicholls in preparation for his next pro bodybuilding appearance.
Mackey has been competing in the IFBB Pro League since 2017. His best placing is eighth at the 2020 Tampa Pro, which Hunter Labrada won. Mackey’s lone contest in 2021 was at the Chicago Pro, where he placed 12th. Labrada also won that contest. Mackey has yet to compete on a bodybuilding stage in 2022.
Mackey may not have a pro bodybuilding contest win yet, but he’s clearly feeling good about his deadlifting prowess — his Instagram bio reads “[world’s] strongest deadlifter in ifbb.” We’ll see if he can translate the heavy weights on the barbell to high marks on the judge’s scorecards.
Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Wash., identified the United States’ first known COVID-19 patient on January 20, 2020, marking the onset of a health care crisis whose proportions would have been difficult to imagine at the time. Soon afterward, the health system also took on a pioneering role in treating COVID-19 patients with the antiviral drug remdesivir.
As of April 2022, the US has counted 81 million cases of coronavirus infection and almost 1 million deaths – nearly a sixth of the world’s total lives lost to date – and the pandemic has done no less than permanently alter the way health care organizations operate and practice medicine.
In a conversation with SmartBrief, Darren Redick, chief executive of the Providence Swedish North Puget Sound health system, offered some constructive hindsight on challenges the crisis has presented and solutions his organization found to address them.
SB: Looking back on the last two years, what has Providence learned about handling the high-stress and high-volume patient care demands of a pandemic? What processes and precautions did you already have in place before the COVID-19 crisis?
DR: As the hospital that admitted the first known COVID-19 patient in the United States, Providence Everett has been on the frontlines of the pandemic from the very beginning. We were uniquely prepared, however, and our Biocontainment, Evaluation, and Specialty Treatment (BEST) team had just run through a full drill two weeks prior to the first patient arriving, in which they practiced receiving and caring for an infectious disease patient. We have a special unit we can set up for infectious disease patients, and that unit was used for the first COVID patient. For years, we have done regular drills for that unit – going back to when we were preparing for the possibility of an Ebola patient. Our drills include our community partners, such as the Health District, EMS, the Northwest Healthcare Response Network, and more. One reason the process for the initial patient went well is the drill we had a couple of weeks prior included our community partners.
We also have a medical tower that was designed with a pandemic in mind, so an entire floor has reverse air flow capabilities. These “pandemic HVAC systems” are available for 64 beds across two units. In addition, as part of the Providence health system, we had a relatively good supply of PPE available. These factors have been extremely helpful throughout the pandemic to help limit exposures in the hospital. The high-stress and high-volume demands of the pandemic have been extremely difficult, but our caregivers have endured with compassion and strength, and I am so proud of them and humbled to work with them. Our Providence mission calls for us to be steadfast in serving all, and our caregivers have indeed provided excellent care throughout the pandemic.
Also, for years we have had in place a Service Operations and Transfer Center to manage operations, and that has proven invaluable throughout the pandemic.
SB: When the next pandemic arrives, how will your staff and facilities be better prepared for it? Have you added equipment, permanent training programs, more treatment space, technology, other tools that can help?
DR: Health care has been fundamentally altered by the pandemic in many ways. For example, we quickly pivoted to provide many telehealth and virtual care options for our patients during the pandemic, and many of those programs will continue. This is a great option for many patients and also allows resources to be deployed to more critical patients. Specifically, at Providence Everett, we have developed many new training programs and protocols around infection prevention, care and treatment of infectious disease patients, and more. We also have the ability to quickly flex and adjust our operations based on the situation. All of these experiences, and many more, will be important as we face future COVID-19 surges, another pandemic, or other challenges.
From a building system standpoint, I think we have also been well prepared. We understand that health care is a larger, connected system and that impacts to any portion of the system (primary care, specialty care, ambulatory care, post-acute services, long term care services) all affect one another. As a community of health care services and organizations, it is clear we need to plan and work together to best manage the effects of pandemics and other critical community health issues.
SB: What is it like handling the psychological uncertainty and stress of a pandemic – especially when you know more infectious diseases will appear, but you don’t know how much differently they will present, or how severe they will be?
DR: The uncertainty and stress for all frontline health care workers has been intense, and Providence has implemented a multitude of programs and resources to help with mental health concerns, child care challenges, work-life balance, and much more. As a specific example, we have trained and deployed Critical Incident Stress Management teams to help caregivers after they have been through a difficult situation. These teams allow caregivers to debrief after an incident, share how they’re feeling, be connected to resources, and more. Our caregivers are here because they are passionate about caring for others. Health care is a calling, and that has never been more apparent than during the last two years.
SB: Were there any pandemic protocols or technologies that you thought would be effective in managing patient care, but that turned out to be less helpful? What did you learn from those situations?
DR: Throughout the pandemic we have followed guidance from the CDC and the Department of Health, which is based on evidence-based best practices. The entire world has seen science play out in real time throughout the pandemic, and we’ve all learned that the process is not always linear. However, by following proven treatments and established protocols, we have provided excellent care to our patients.
SB: What kinds of organizations have you partnered with to educate and prepare staff and the hospital for future outbreaks?
DR: Beginning with the very first COVID patient – and even before that, during drills – we worked closely with our local health department, EMS, fire department, and more. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve partnered with other hospitals in the state to level patient load so that no single hospital got overwhelmed during a surge. This helped keep Washington state from declaring crisis standards of care. This coordination of care among hospitals and health organizations throughout our state is extremely important and has positioned us well for future challenges.
SB: Have other hospitals approached you to advise them on establishing better pandemic protocols? If so, how do you handle those requests?
DR: Since we successfully treated the first COVID-19 patient in the US, we’ve been getting calls from other hospitals around the country for two years. Health care is all about sharing information and best practices to help advance patient outcomes. For example, in March 2020, our team published a case report of the first patient in the New England Journal of Medicine to help share our experience and how the patient was successfully treated with remdesivir. Throughout the pandemic, we have also worked closely with the Washington State Hospital Association to share information, and WSHA has done a tremendous job helping hospitals coordinate and respond.
SB: What have been the most rewarding and encouraging outcomes from your preparedness efforts? Can you share any data or study results on efficiencies, cost savings, patient health impact?
DR: The most rewarding and encouraging part is the stories of the patients who recover. For example, USA Today featured this story of a Providence Everett patient who spent 25 days on a ventilator, but made a full recovery and was reunited with her family. Knowing that the drills and the training, the protocols and procedures, the foresight to have a floor with reverse air flow, and most of all, the dedication, care, bravery and expertise of our caregivers, all played a role in saving so many lives is extremely powerful. Throughout the pandemic, we have also been at the forefront of research and new therapies.