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Let’s be honest. The journey of caregiving can be stressful for everyone involved. Caring for family members or friends can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, and psychosocially. And similarly, being cared for by family members and friends can be stressful. Stress is an inherent part of the journey of caregiving. So, we are wise to understand the concept of stress, potential sources of stress, and the consequences of unmitigated stress. By so doing, perhaps we’ll be motivated to recognize and to better manage the various sources of our stress.
As February, American Heart Month, draws to a close, it’s a good time to take stock of our heart health.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, making them four times more likely to suffer a stroke, and three times more likely to die of a heart attack.  There are many drivers of high blood pressure including hormones, stress, diet, and lack of exercise, but the bottom line is high blood pressure can have dangerous consequences, resulting in a buildup of plaque, inflammation, and a weakening of the heart over time.
So far this spring, the weather has been rough here in Colorado with tornados, thunderstorms, hail and lightning.  As we write this, yet another hailstorm is in progress.  All of this is stressful for us to endure, but it can also be hard on our canine companions.  Fear of thunderstorms is a common problem for dogs.  It’s clear many dogs are afraid of the sound of thunder, but others seem to be distressed by other elements such as wind, rain, and even cloudy skies.
If you are a pet owner, how good do you think you are at spotting distress in your dog or cat?  Do you think you are fairly good at it – and better than anyone else, because you are more familiar with your pet’s behavior than anyone?
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