Life under pressure


Last Monday, November 13th, the authorities of cardiovascular health in the United States unveiled the 2017 American College of Cardiology (ACC)/American Heart Association (AHA) Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure at the American Heart Association meeting in Anaheim, CA.

The copy of the new guideline was only available to the media seven hours before the meeting, and with reason. Based on the new parameters, the number of Americans who have high blood pressure–130 systolic over 80 diastolic–surpasses 100 million and many of them don’t even know it.


Currently, the World Health Organization defines hypertension as 140 systolic over 90 diastolic. However, in light of this new directive from the United States, it won’t be a surprise that the rest of the world will follow suit.

Although the American Heart Association and other health organizations dedicate their efforts and research toward finding ways to extend life expectancy, drastic changes such as the new high blood pressure level generate skepticism due to the massive effects on public health policy.

The new high blood pressure level reresents more than four million potential new users for the pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. The same situation happened in 2004. The ACC and AHA reduced the cholesterol normal level from 130 to 100, which caused an increase of eight million new “clients” for the statin manufactures.

Another factor that raises questions is the origin of the initiatives and the studies used to argue and support these changes. Most of the time, these are commissioned and financed by the same beneficiaries of their results: the pharmaceuticals.

Everything related to this issue matters to me greatly. My maternal Grandmother has endured the constant threat of hypertension since she was 35, and my husband survived a massive heart attack–ironically not caused by high blood pressure–in December of 2010 when I was five months pregnant.

The day cardiovascular disease walks through the door of one’s home, your life changes forever. Therefore, my husband and I try to follow a healthy life-style to set an example for our six-year-old son. Nonetheless, keeping up with the rhythm of the trendy diets of our time is not only difficult but expensive.

Every so often there is a new “super-food” which is advertised as the cure for everything, but a month later, a new study reveals that all previous promises are not true or can actually cause adverse reactions in people if ingested in high quantities.

In my opinion, everything in excess is harmful. A beautiful body and a healthy life require more than anything balance, not just eating habits, but living habits in general.

Extreme dieting tends to eliminate from the grocery list vital nutrients, such as natural sugars and fats, labeling them as unhealthy. At the same time, diets rich in sweet or salty “snacks,” filled with added-sugar processed food and beverages, are the perfect recipe to become a member of the pharma dependent list.

I will continue to follow my home country, Colombia, saying, “Full belly, happy heart”, but I’ll try to make sure to fill it with good stuff!

Thank you for reading and sharing.

Xiomara Spadafora

This column was sponsored by Zellner Insurance Agency. Many things in life don’t have insurance. For everything else call Zellner (888) 208-8119


Mocking Prayers Now?

La oración es un pecado

Last Sunday several families’ lives changed forever in Sutherland Springs, TX. The “Psycho of the Month” opened fire indiscriminately inside the First Baptist Church of the town, sentencing to death to almost 50 service attendees. 26 people died and over 20 were injured.

The details that have surfaced since Monday about the murderer, have put the Air Force and Defense Department under the microscope due to the alleged negligence with the handing of his violent record while on service. Continue reading “Mocking Prayers Now?”

Candidates of Horror

Semana de Horror

So far, my week looks out of a horror movie. Besides Halloween, last Tuesday, one of my dogs got possessed by a rogue spirit, went crazy inside his crate and cut his lip while chewing on the plastic of the door. How could I not get spooked after a $400 bill from the vet?

However, the scariest thing was watching CNN en Español last Wednesday. The spokes-person of FARC–now known as Farc: Fuerza Alternativa Revolucionaria del Común–announce Rodrigo Londoño, AKA Timochenko, as their presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. Continue reading “Candidates of Horror”

The Devil’s Advocate

El Abogado del Diablo

The sexual harassment scandal that has shaken Hollywood to its core during the past two weeks, made me remember the last scene of Devil’s Advocate, in which Al Pacino–performing The Devil masterfully–confesses that his favorite sin is vanity.

Known as the mother of all vice, vanity is the true star of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the normalized practice known in the entertainment industry as “Casting Couch.” Continue reading “The Devil’s Advocate”

The Little Corner

El Rinconcito, Moniquira, Boyaca, Colombia
The Little Corner. Moniquirá, Colombia. This picture was taken by one of my aunts last October, 2017

For my Grandmother, Alejandrina.

On April 12, over a hundred years ago, a relative of Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra—the William Shakespeare in the Spanish language–was born in the sweetest town of Colombia, Moniquirá.

Pacific Saavedra, better known as The Duck Saavedra in town, was an entrepreneur and storyteller, who loved playing the treble guitar and singing. Continue reading “The Little Corner”

The Religion of Soccer

Soccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifiers - Peru v Colombia - Nacional Stadium, Lima
Soccer Football – 2018 World Cup Qualifiers – Peru v Colombia – Nacional Stadium, Lima, Peru – October 10, 2017. Peru’s Miguel Trauco and Colombia’s James Rodriguez in action. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

The last day of the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 kept the fans of four South American countries—Colombia, Argentina, Peru, and Chile—close to a heart attack. With a calculator in one hand and a Jesus stamp in the other, we Colombians saw the qualifying matches so complicated that we would rather organize 100 monkeys for a picture a lot easier.

The passion soccer generates to its fans in South America is hard to explain. As many American and European media outlets characterized it, Conmebol is one of the most competitive federations in the world, because all of its teams are evenly trained. This fact guarantees that, every four years, the drama will last until the last match. Continue reading “The Religion of Soccer”

The Second Amendment: a Moving Target

Un derecho en la mira

One of the aspects of American life that surprises immigrants–especially those who come from countries with civil war like my home country Colombia–is the easy access to fire arms and the constitutional right of its citizens to keep and bear them.

When I met my husband, his oldest son was 13, and he already knew how to shoot, unload, and show clear a revolver. I couldn’t believe it. However, my husband explained that he took his son to a shooting range more as a survival mechanism than a hobby. Continue reading “The Second Amendment: a Moving Target”