High Blood Pressure! Should You Be Concerned?

Almost 67 million Americans have high blood pressure, and more than half of them do not have it under control.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, two of the leading causes of death in the United States. It also can lead to kidney failure and erectile dysfunction. You may suffer from headaches, sleep deprivation, loss of vision, ability to think clearly if you have high blood pressure. You are also more likely to have other components of metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body's metabolism – including increased waist circumference, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high insulin levels. The more components you have, the greater your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or stroke.

It is of utmost importance for you to learn what you can do to get your blood pressure under control.

High blood pressure often can be administered through healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise and a heart-healthy, lower sodium diet.

More than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed and restaurant foods. Limiting the amount of pre-packaged processed foods and our trips to fast food joints can drastically make a difference in our health and well-being.

Current diet guidelines for Americans recommend that adults in general should consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

However, if you are in the following population groups, you should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, and meet the potassium recommendation (4,700 mg / day) with food.

  • You are 51 years of age or older
  • You are African American
  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have diabetes
  • You have chronic kidney disease

The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the US population overall and the majority of adults. Nearly everyone benefits from reduced sodium consumption. Eating less sodium can help prevent, or control, high blood pressure. To learn more about sodium in your diet, visit http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/Sodium/index.html .

Tips for reducing sodium include

• Reading and comparing labels while shopping to find the lowest sodium options of your favorite foods that do come in a box, jar, or can

• a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed and packaged foods

The majority of sodium in our diet comes from packaged food and drinks. If you must buy something that comes in a can, jar or box be sure to compare brands by checking the label for:

a) the amount of sodium per serving

b) the amount of servings per container

It is also a good idea to compare the scheduled fat content and sugar content.

Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in our diet can help aid in lowering blood pressure. Adequate consumption of naturally low sodium foods such as fruits and vegetables

provide nutrients such as potassium and fiber. In addition to eating low-sodium foods, eating high-potassium foods such as potatoes, beans, bananas, and yogurt can help reduce blood pressure.

When buying fruits and vegetables choose fresh or frozen (no sauce) for maximum benefits.

Buy your meats fresh from the meat counter and avoid any packaged meats as these are often high in sodium and low in nutrients.

My general rule when I shop is to stick to the outside aisles of the store. It's produce, Meat, Dairy and Frozen. Limit the inside aisles where the packaged products are and you will buy less.

Taking the steps necessary to improve your eating and drinking habits and losing weight is not about staying alive. It is about quality of life. Living life with the least amount of pain and being able to continue to do the things we love as we age.

My aunt had a stroke just over 12 years ago now. It paralleled her and left her in a wheelchair. She remained at home for a couple years being cared for by her daughter and when it came to being too much she went into a nursing home.

Is that any way to live? I do not think so. Learning to Eat and Lose weight is so worth it. Not only for our health but our daily comfort.

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Finding a Local Cardiologist to Care for Your Child

You could have found out about your child's heart problem before birth or even at the age of twelve or older. Whenever it was discovered, most likely it was a frightening time. Perhaps your child even had to have surgery to correct a problem. If this is the case, it is important to have a local pediatric cardiologist that is willing to help.

There are several areas to consider as you seek a cardiologist for your child. You will want one that has a good demeanor with children as well as adults. Make sure that the doctor you choose has several years of study and experience helping children. Customer service is important to consider. It is also important to find a doctor who is willing to work with you financially.

For older children, more importance lies in the pediatrician being kid-friendly. It is also important he or she communicates well with you too. When your child is a baby, you will need someone who communicates well with you as the parents. Good child communication will not yet be essential. You might find that all doctors who claim to be pediatricians will not be overly kid-friendly, but they may be excellent doctors. In some cases, you may end up choosing the better doctor over the one who is truly a kid person.

Even though a fun personality that works well with children is not an absolute necessity. It is a necessity that the cardiologist has experience working on and with children. Their hearts are much smaller than that of an adult. It will be very helpful for a doctor to have studied the issues that can come up in the hearts of children specifically as well as their specific anatomy.

It is also important to consider customer service when choosing a heart doctor. It may be that the doctor is very nice and offers excellent service, but he or she may not have a secretary with the same attitude. Look for a doctor who cares about the impression that his or her staff can make.

Finances may also be a consideration for you as you choose a cardiologist. Sometimes children with major disabilities may be able to get extra help from the government. Some states will offer insurance to those who can not afford it. You might need your doctors to work with you on payments.

After considering these areas, you should be able to find a cardiologist to meet the needs of your child. It is important that your child with heart problems is well cared for.

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Hearty Wellbeing – Life Supporting System

A healthy heart is not only the desire of just a few but of everyone. It is this organ that is the life supporting system in the body and without it all the other organs of the body will gradually slow down or their functions will be getting worse. Also very importantly, the metabolic rate of the body will decline as well and that by itself can lead to many different kinds of diseases such as obesity, thyroid and so on. As a result of such effects, each one wants to prevent organ failure and any such other related health problems.

However there are many ways that can be used in order to keep the cardiac system healthy and going. It does not take a huge amount of effort to do this, or in other words it is not something that is impossible. All one needs to do is just simply follow a few steps regularly, consistently and everyday so as to avoid any of such problems. Making a few changes in the pattern of lifestyle and food eating habits by itself will bring about visible changes in this regard.

The following can be some of these changes:

Exercise – This is very, very important. It assists in maintaining the desired heartbeat rate of the body along with allowing new blood to be pumped through your system more efficiently. A light jog and a few brisk walks through the day will do wonders. Similarly doing cardiovascular exercises such as cycling or step-ladders is also a good alternative. A good combination of these through the week will make your cardiovascular system work just alright.

Sleep well – It is also very important to have a good sleep at night. Mid day or afternoon naps are also advisable.

UN stress – Do not get stressed as that puts strain. This in turn reflects on it by bringing about many different hear ailments.

Water – Water is an important aspect of daily living and is needed not just to provide a strong cardiovascular background but also to help in keeping other diseases away. It helps to maintain the balance of the body in which 70% is nothing else but water.

Food or diet – It is extremely vital that along with physical activity, the body is provided with the right food items. If the wrong foodstuff is eaten, then in spite of exercise there will be no positive effect on the heart. Here, eat the right things and at the correct time. Too long a gap must not be kept in between two meals as the body then craves for excess food than what is actually not required. Also, ensure that too much of oil is avoided as that only increases the chances of attacks. Similarly, oily or outside food is best kept away.

No smoking / alcohol – Substances and toxicants like this cause a big impact on your system, that causing cardiac disease later.

Weight – keep your weight in check as that determines the strength of your heart.

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The High Cholesterol Myth – Are Statin Drugs Making You Sick?

A frightening number of the US population is plagued with high cholesterol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that approximately one in every six adults-17% of the US adult population-has high blood cholesterol. Anyone, including children, can develop this problem. It greatly increases the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

In the form of a disclaimer, I need to make it clear that I am not in any way affiliated with the medical community, have no medical training and am not a nutritionist. The tone of my writing should be proof of that! I chose this topic to write about because I was diagnosed with high cholesterol nearly 10 years ago and the cost for medication busts our budget every month.

Medical science defines cholesterol as a combination of lipoproteins that can be good or bad for your health.

· High-density lipoproteins (HDL) known as Good Cholesterol

· Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) known as Bad Cholesterol.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cholesterol

The discussion about cholesterol begins with why is it in our bodies in the first place? Neither medical nor paleontological science can tell us when Nature or our Higher Power determined that the human body needed a cleansing mechanism. The blood stream picks up impurities from the environment, so to provide a mechanism to flush away this stuff, cholesterol evolved as “domestic help” that does the housecleaning.

Our Cro-Magnon Ancestors

Our ancient ancestors, probably the cro-magnons, were subject to impurities in their diet that left alone would have certainly shortened their lifespan. Cro-magnon man is considered by paleontologists today “Anatomically Modern Human” (AMH) or “Early Modern Human” (EMH) as a way to identify Paleolithic humans who resembled us, but did not exhibit what we view as modern human behavior. Nor did they have ready access to fast food joints and pizza parlors.

The Caveman Diet

A lot of what they ate included meat they hunted and killed first or leftovers from some passing carnivore. Their diet was bereft of french fries, fried onion rings and cheesecake. They supplemented their meat diet with leaves, grasses and roots. Of course they had no need to wash what they ate because there were no insecticides or other similar pollutants to deal with. But chances are they ate some dirt along with these primeval house salads. And dirt is often full of microbes and other creepy-crawly things.

Cholesterol to the Rescue

Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver. The raw material for this concoction is mostly fat from your diet. You might say that cholesterol functions much like a drain cleaner. The liver mixes the lipoproteins with blood purified by the liver and it uses molecules of cholesterol as mini delivery vans. Cholesterol provides protection for every cell membrane in our body. Cholesterol carries away the gunk that has been bombarding our body cells, leaving them healthy, wealthy and wise.

As a healing mechanism, cholesterol also has the job of repairing injured injured blood vessels that may break or leak for any number of reasons, depending on how clumsy you are. This necessary function is related to “plaque,” which it creates and uses as a kind of superglue. Cholesterol also creates a bunch of hormones, it helps to convert sunlight into vitamin D and it churns out some other neat substances that help with your digestion.

So cholesterol is a very important substance floating around in our blood stream. Without it our fragile body cells would shrivel up and die

Discovery of Cholesterol.

Some say that a French doctor named de la sale discovered cholesterol back in the 1700s. He apparently intended to keep the discovery to himself but it was leaked to the media by someone not authorized to make formal announcements.

Statin Drugs Appear

A little more than two centuries later a Japanese scientist isolated a natural substance that many believed would slow down liver production of cholesterol, but this stuff was a bit too strong for human use, but they did manage to kill a number of dogs during their research . It did not take long for one of the big drug companies to grab ahold of the idea and bring it to market. Billions of dollars later, as sales skyrocketed, “statins” became the drug of choice to regulate liver output.

Statin Side Effects

When my cardiologist prescribed a statin drug for my malady I asked about side effects. He named a few: headaches, trouble sleeping, muscle aches and pains, drowsiness, nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. All I can say is-why would anyone in his right mind subject himself to this kind of legalized torture? Well … because my doctor said it was necessary.

And yes, I have experienced most of these side effects and a few more not mentioned.

In my recent research I have been finding “second opinions” regarding the use of statins. Some thinking is that statins have become a cash cow for Big Pharma and some doctors are having second thoughts about the efficiency of statins. But the almighty Dollar rules in this situation so it may be a while before enough people learn that there are indeed, natural methods for keeping the cholesterol level down within reason.

  • Here are a few tips to get you started: Eat a balanced, heart-healthy diet that includes green, leafy veggies, limit meat of all kinds and colors, drink lots of water every day, and avoid processed foods that are jam-packed with salt and sugar.
  • Get regular physical activity like I do. I walk my dog ​​CindyLou several times a day and I take the stairs in lieu of the escalator or elevator. And on a few occasions I play golf.
  • Limit alcohol intake. I do not drink any alcohol because I'm allergic to it. It makes me break out into a rash-a rash of stupidity.
  • Stop smoking. OK, I am working on this one.

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How You Can Maintain Your Healthy Heart

A healthy heart is priceless. To have a healthy heart also means that an individual would be able to enjoy his life and have the opportunity to live it to the fullest. It is definitely something that no amount of money could match, and everyone must learn the true value of having a healthy heart before it is too late.

The heart is a very vital part of the body for many reasons. It is so much more than just an organ of your body that has many romantic connotations attached to it; no, it is way more than that and that makes it a really important part of our lives. It is the muscle that's responsible for pumping blood through our bodies and also allows us to do the different activities that we do in our daily lives. Those things certainly underline how important it is for our heart to stay as healthy as possible.

If you are wondering how you can maintain your own healthy heart, then you could take a look at the following steps and try your best to follow each one:

  • You need to avoid smoking cigarettes and other products that are made from tobacco. If you are already a smoker, then you need to totally eliminate it and not just try and cut down but totally erase it from your system. The risk of getting heart diseases is significantly increased when a person smokes tobacco products. Because of the nicotine that is contained in the cigarettes makes it much more difficult for the heart to pump blood to different parts of the body.
  • Watch what you are eating and make sure that you are only consuming food that is good for your heart. Intake of saturated fats should be limited and then at the same time, your consumption of unsaturated fats should be increased. Saturated fats are found in beef and pork, as well as animal products such as butter and milk. It clogs the arteries and makes it difficult for the heart to do its job of pumping blood all through the body.
  • Try exercising for at least five times a week if you can. The work outs should be done at least 30 minutes each day and the more active your heart is, the better it would be for it to get healthier. Doing regular work outs help in making the heart stronger and effectively reduces the risk of getting heart disease. Different cardiovascular exercises like cycling, running, jogging, and swimming are the work outs that should be done most often in order to help the heart.
  • Your weight is definitely an issue that you need to watch out for. There is no way that you can keep your heart healthy if you are actually overweight, so achieving your ideal weight is one of the things that you should put your focus on. Overweight people are more prone to heart diseases and so if you feel like they overweight or early to pack the pounds, you should try to reduce it as soon as possible.

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Top 10 Foods to Lower Cholesterol

Some foods are known to raise cholesterol. Some are known to lower cholesterol. Replace the bad foods with the good foods. It's like killing two birds with one stone. Most of us know unhealthy food when we see it. But it's not so obvious which foods are really good, especially when it comes to reducing cholesterol.

So here's the list of the top 10 foods to lower cholesterol. Most lists like these are very similar, which means they're probably accurate as well.

1. Dark Chocolate

This is a good choice because it tastes great and helps lower your cholesterol. How does dark chocolate do this? It contains flavonols which contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Use chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa.

2. Almonds and Walnuts and Pistachios

These nuts contain unsaturated fat which is the good kind of fat. Unsaturated fat helps lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and raise good (HDL) cholesterol. It also makes LDL less likely to oxidize which is a process that arms the arteries. Numerous studies report a reduction in cholesterol with the consumption of these nuts.

3. Olive Oil

Another food that contains unsaturated fat which, as mentioned above, helps reduce bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. You can use olive oil as a replacement for butter when frying foods. It tastes good too!

4. Oatmeal

Another great tasting food especially if you add some blueberries or other favorite fruit. I have a small bowl of oatmeal almost every morning, topped with blueberries, brown sugar, and skim milk. Oatmeal is a fantastic source of soluble fiber which helps prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream.

5. Blueberries

I've already mentioned blueberries. Why are blueberries so nutritious? They are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. They also contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Blueberries contain pterostilbene which is believed to lower cholesterol. Another super healthy food that tastes great!

6. Avocado

Avocado's are high in unsaturated fat. But, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dec. 14, 2010 the monounsaturated fats in avocados help lower serum lipids, including LDL cholesterol. I have heard people say that they dramatically lowered their cholesterol level by eating an avocado every week, over a period of less than one year. I'm talking like 20 to 30 percent lower. This must be a vigorously nutritious food.

We've used avocado in recipes such as lasagna and soup. And of course Guacamole is made up mostly of Avocado.

7. Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain lycopene which may help lower cholesterol. Lycopene inhibits the bad cholesterol (LDL) and breaks it down making it less harmful. Tomato sauce or fresh tomatoes will provide the Lycopene benefit!

8. Flaxseed or flaxseed oil

You can buy flax seed ground or as whole seeds. It can be used in baking or for sprinkling on top of salads and other foods. We've used it to make banana bread and it tastes great!

9. Garlic

Another food that tastes good and is very healthy. Use it with salads, soups, and sandwiches. It's most healthy in it's raw form.

10. Spinach

Spinach is full of fiber and lutein which can reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. Lutein may also help prevent heart disease because it contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Every one of these foods is nutritious and may help lower cholesterol. Now that you know what these foods are you have to take action and consume these foods in place of bad foods. Make it your routine to use these foods and you'll very likely see the benefit from it.

I'm in the process of changing my diet to include all of the foods listed above. I'm happy to say that the change has been pretty easy. I've discovered that healthy foods taste just as good, or better, than unhealthy foods.

Read more about what I'm doing to lower my cholesterol on my blog at: Cholesterol Story

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What Is The Difference Between HDL And LDL?

Good Cholesterol (HDL) VS Bad Cholesterol (LDL)

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein are the two kinds of lipoprotein that move cholesterol through the body and having the appropriate levels of HDL and LDL is critical for our health.

The bad cholesterol, LDL is known to build-up in the arteries and finally reduces the flow of blood from your heart to every cell of the body.

On the other hand, the good cholesterol, HDL transversers cholesterol from every other part of the body returning to the liver for processing. The liver will then remove the cholesterol while purifying the blood.

High Blood Cholesterol

According to the World Health Organization, one third of American are suffering from high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, but many of those people do not aware of having cholesterol problems since the condition in the early stage has no symptoms or signs.

Those who suffer with high level of LDL cholesterol are usually at risk for cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease). Likewise individuals with a family history of high cholesterol levels will typically have higher levels of LDL inside bloodstream.

Higher levels of LDL cholesterol can drastically raise the likelihood of suffering from heart problems. On the other hand, the higher level of HDL, the lower the ratio of risk.

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is developed when plaque begins to build-up inside the heart's arteries which could lead to atherosclerosis. The plaque is developed by calcium, fat, cholesterol, and a number of other substances within the blood.

While the individual ages, this cholester-produced plaque has a tendency to harden, narrowing the arteries of the heart. As a result, this may restrict the circulation of blood and restrict oxygen to every cell in the body. Gradually, the plaque can rupture and form a blood clot which will completely block the circulation of blood.

With that said, we should be caution of the potential risk of high level of LDL as it could cause considering deterioration of our health and in some cases death when left unchecked. On the other hand, studies show lifestyle change, such as quit smoking, eating a heart-healthy diet, and engaging in routine workouts, will tremendously enhance healthy HDL cholesterol level, which will in turn lower the risk of coronary heart disease.

Although the cause of high cholesterol levels for most people are due to unhealthy eating habit, but high cholesterol levels can also be genetic so people with family background of having abnormal levels of cholesterol should take extra precautions and it is recommended to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly to make sure to stay in the healthy levels.

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Best Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Understanding what high blood pressure does helps gives incentive to lower it

When you go to the doctor, he usually has a tight schedule and does not have a lot of time to explain what high blood pressure is and what it does to the body. You probably even see the number of people in the office and do not want to bother him too much!

Even when the nurse is taking your vital numbers at the beginning of the office visit, she usually does not tell you what they are without you specifically ask her.

Being able to picture in your mind what is going on in your body when your blood pressure is high and what it is causing makes it more likely that you will actually want to make the changes that will lower your blood pressure.

Finding new ways to less stress can lower blood pressure

If you are like most people, you probably have tons of things to get done every day, which can make your life very stressful. In addition to things you have to do, people you know might need you to help them out as well, and it's hard to say no to them, so your to-do list piles up.

Have you ever felt like screaming, “No more!” Finding a new way to help organize your day can be quite a relief and can help to lower your stress.

It's easier to learn at home how much sodium is in packaged foods

Knowing how much sodium is in what we eat is important, but checking each package for sodium amounts while we're standing in the grocery store aisle would take a long time.

Even though it means planning ahead, it's much easier and faster to take a couple minutes to check a sodium chart at home on the computer. That way, you feel much more confident that what you are cooking is healthy and will not raise your hypertension levels.

How to find the best ways to lower your blood pressure

If you agree that you'd like to know a lot more about what is going on with your high blood pressure and want the best ways to get it under control, here's how to find out.

There are quite a few books in bookstores and online about hypertension. A lot of them talk about diet and exercise changes, which are both important changes to make in order to see lower numbers.

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Angina and MI (Heart Attack) – Two Common Causes of Chest Pain

Two Causes of Chest Pain

There are many causes of chest pain, but angina is the most common one, MI (or heart attack) the most serious. Normally the coronary arteries (blood vessels to the heart) carry oxygen and remove waste products. They may become narrowed from fatty deposits in the blood vessel walls or hardened – often both. The combination is called atherosclerosis and it causes several heart problems.

Most commonly is Angina (Pectoris): The chest pain of angina is caused by temporary loss of oxygen to the heart muscle from reduced blood flow. Lack of blood flow also causes a build up of carbon dioxide and lactic acid. This combined with the reduced oxygen results in chest pain, which is like 'cramp' in the heart muscle.

Angina episodes are often caused by exercise – but that may simply mean running for the bus, not unnecessarily a marathon. Similarly, the chest pain goes away again when the person rests. The work which the heart has to do (and so the amount of chest pain) can be reduced by the drug Nitroglycerin. As a First Aider, you can help the person to administrator this (hint, read the label – it goes under their tongue) but do not simply decide to give something you happen to find in their pocket!

Angina Pectoris may be stable or unstable

Stable Angina is the commonest form. It follows a typical, predictable pattern. Worsened by exercise, emotion or other triggers and usually relieved by rest in 2-5 minutes.

Unstable angina is more serious. It may be caused by increasing blockage in the blood vessels to the heart. Pain may change in intensity or 'come and go'. Unstable angina may come on at rest and not be relieved by rest. It may be a warning of an MI or heart attack in the near future. Treat it seriously!

More serious yet is the MI (Myocardial Infarction) or heart attack . This is the process of damage or death of heart muscle due to a complete stoppage in blood flow. It can be due to blood clot, embolism, spasm, tumor, etc. Whatever the course, the area of ​​muscle not getting blood flow will start to die. Heart failure and death of the person may follow, depending on the area affected and how much of the heart has been affected. Acute MI is a common cause of death and effective CPR, Defibrillation and ACLS are needed to reduce the chances of this happening.

The first step in managing either of these conditions is to recognize them!

Signs & Symptoms

Common to both:

  • Pain in the chest, often spreading
  • Often the person says their chest feels 'heavy' or 'crushed'
  • Pale skin, can be sweaty
  • Pain in the throat / jaw / teeth
  • May have increased pulse rate, irregular pulse
  • May be short of breath.

Extras for MI

  • Probably nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or confusion

Of course, the symptoms can vary, and can be identical for both conditions. If you are not sure, call an ambulance and be safe.

First Aid Treatment for Angina

  • Get them to rest (ie: sit down, stop doing whatever caused the angina)
  • Help with any medication
  • Free flow of air (open windows, loosen ties / collars)
  • Wait

First Aid Treatment for MI (Heart attack)

  • All of the above, plus
  • Get an ambulance!
  • If they are not seriously allergic to it, give ASA / Aspirin to suck or chew
  • Give oxygen if trained to do so
  • Take & record pulse & resp rate while waiting for the ambulance
  • Ask about any history of heart conditions.

When to get help

Always – for a Heart Attack!

  • If this is a first attack of angina, but passes quickly (less than 5 minutes) tell them to see their doctor
  • If this is a first attack of angina lasting more than 5 minutes, get an ambulance
  • If the angina attack does not settle with meds / rest call an ambulance
  • If they say the angina is different from their 'normal' – call an ambulance

Red Cross Courses

Angina and Chest Pain are covered in CPR & AED, OFA1, Emergency First Aid and Standard First Aid.

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Get a Heart Friendly Diet

To have a healthy heart should be one of our primary goals whenever our health is concerned. That is the ideal situation to have, as far as our heart is concerned. Although it is certainly ideal, doing the steps that are necessary in ensuring that our heart remains healthy or gets back to its ideal healthy state can sometimes prove to be difficult to do.

One of the best things that a person can do to make his heart healthy is by changing his diet. He needs to change it for the better, by going for a heart-friendly diet that is sure to make the heart healthier and stronger. Of course it is not going to be easy at the start, but it has to be done so that the person's health would be where it should be.

There are the kinds of diets that can really prove detrimental to one's health, and to one's heart in particular. In order to correct that, the individual needs to shift to a more heart-friendly diet. But what one really needs is the information about which types of food to eat, and the following tips could be of help.

  • Watch out for the size of your portions. You should not just watch what you are eating, but also how much of it you are actually consuming. Just be careful not to eat too much and overload on unneeded calories, as well as too much cholesterol and fat. Also be sure that you are not eating one serving too many and that its size is just right for what you actually need.
  • More fruits and vegetables are definitely going to help. No question about it, eating more fruits and more vegetables than what you have been used to in the past is going to help you achieve a more heart-friendly diet. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals plus is also great sources of dietary fiber. Once you get to increase your consumption of vegetables and fruits, you will also notice that your craving for meat would be lessened. Eating it is also going to help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. With so many benefits, it is a wonder that not everyone is consuming fruits and vegetables more.
  • Cutting down on unhealthy food is a no-brainer or it should be at least. There's just no way that the consumption of more unhealthy food is going to be good for your heart at all. And that certainly includes food that contains plenty of cholesterol. The reduction of cholesterol in the blood as well as significantly reducing any risk of getting coronary artery disease are just some of the benefits of considering reducing the consumption of food that's considered as unhealthy. That means limiting or totally cutting down on food that has a lot of saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Just eat more food that has a lot of fiber in it and choosing whole grains would be a great place to start. And then you also get some added bonus because whole grains are not only excellent sources of fiber, but also have plenty of other nutrients in it.

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Heart Disease Prevention: Diet Tips for a Healthy Heart

Years of eating all that fried goodness and cheesy bliss may have left your waistline in a rather unattractive state, but have you also considered what could to your heart? Although you are no stranger to the fact that an unhealthy diet can put you at risk for heart disease, it is not easy to change your excess eating ways.

You do not have to do a complete 180 to save your heart; you only have to follow these few heart-healthy diet tips in order to kick-start your path to a healthy heart.

Portion Size

You may be used to stuffing yourself with all the good stuff, but any doctor or dietitian would tell you that the amount of food you eat is as important as what you eat. Overloading in a buffet or finishing the large serving in the restaurant will only fill you up with undesired and unnecessary fat, calories and worst of all, cholesterol.

The key is simply to eat more of nutritious food, filling up on vegetables and fruits and lessening your intake of fast food packed with calories and sodium. Keeping an eye on your portion size will not only help your heart, but trim your waistline as well.

Fill Up on Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetable and fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals and is also a great source of dietary fiber. Greens are low in calories and are rich in substance that can fight cardiovascular disease.

It's always a great idea to have a stash of washed and cut fruits and vegetables stored up if your fridge in case you get hungry. Eating more of these when craving for a snack will lower your intake of high-fat food. Opt for salads or meals with more vegetables as main ingredients.

Not all recipes with vegetables are healthy though. You should avoid vegetables with creamy sauces or coconut, fried or canned vegetables and canned or frozen fruit rich in syrup.

Whole grains

Whole grains are a great source of fiber. Increase the amount of whole grains in your diet by substituting your refined grain products at home. Making this switch will regulate blood sugar and heart health.

Adding flax seeds in your cereal, yogurt or oatmeal is a significant way of increasing your intake in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Grounding them makes it easier to mix in your meal.

Cut down on Fat and Cholesterol

Lowering your cholesterol, which means limiting intake of saturated and trans fat is essential in heart health. High cholesterol can lead to plaque in your arms, putting you at risk for stroke or heart attack.

The American Heart Association suggests that for a diet of 2000 calories a day, only less than 14g should be planned fat and only 2g should be trans fat. That means only less than 7% and 1%, respectively. Cholesterol in your diet should only be less than 300 mg a day for a healthy adult and less than 200 mg a day for someone taking cholesterol-lowering medication.

Taking a few steps on the healthy path is not as difficult as it looks. Gradually incorporating these steps into your diet routine will significantly improve your health. For certain, your heart and even your waistline will thank you later.

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What Is Hawthorne Berry Extract Good For?

In herbal medicine, Hawthorne berry extract is used to strengthen heart function. A number of different studies have been related concern this benefit.

Some of the studies showed positive results especially those that focused on exercise tolerance. In one study, 78 volunteers with a known heart problem called cardiac insufficiency were given 600 milligrams per day for eight weeks.

Over the course of that time, there was a significant improvement in the volunteers' ability to tolerate exercise. Their blood pressure and heart rate were slower during exercise. In another study with different volunteers, there was a noted reduction of breathlessness and fatigue. Similar results were seen in another study in which palpitations were also reduced and the heart's pumping ability improved.

Not all studies have shown such positive results. In one very large study, the researchers deemed that no benefit was associated with the use of Hawthorne berry extract for card insufficiency. The difference seen in the studies could have been due to a number of reasons.

For one thing, there are many different plants that are referred to as “hawthorn”. It may be spelled with or without the “e”. They are similar in that they are reliably small flowering shrubs but it is likely that the berries of some species contain different nutrients than those of another.

There could also be a difference in the way the extracts were created. Some companies, especially pharmaceutical companies, use toxic solvents in the extraction process. The purpose is to break down the berries more quickly, but it is safe to say that some of the solvents remain in the final extracts.

Even the ripeness of the berries and the soil in which they grow can have an effect on the nutrient content. The benefits of Hawthorne berry extract and other plant-based medicines have to do with the nutrient content. A lower nutrient content would mean fewer benefits.

Basically, there is nothing standardized about botanical and herbal remedies. Some supplement companies do make an effort to ensure that they are getting the right species and that the extracts contain the “active” nutrient.

In this case, the active nutrient is believed to be a flavonoid called Vitexin-2 “-O-rhamnoside.

The better heart supplements provide 100 milligrams of Hawthorne berry extract and have been tested to ensure that this dose provides 1.8 milligrams of Vitexin-2 “-O-rhamnoside, the active component.

Although most supplements are derived from the berries, the highest concentration of Vitexin-2 “-O-rhamnoside is found in the leaves and the flowers. variety was a springtime ritual involving the blooming branches of the shrub.

There are a number of nutrients and herbs that can support and improve heart health including green tea, grape seed, gingko and resveratrol. The best supplements for cleansing the arteries and improving heart function contains a combination of more than 50 herbal extracts and nutrients. Hawthorne berry extract is just one of them.

Please click the Hawthorne Berry Extract link below in the resource author box.

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Cats Can Reduce Your Risk Of A Heart Attack

Having a cat may provide you enjoyment, companionship, and other significant benefits. But did you know that owning one can also reduce your risk of a heart attack? A ten year study on a selected number of pet owners proves that having a cat at home can lower your risk of getting a heart attack by approximately 30%.

For quite some time now, it's been known that anxiety and stress are related to incidences of heart attacks and other forms of cardiovascular diseases. A cat can help you relax and manage stress, in turn making you a less likely candidate for an infarction. Researchers say dogs probably have the same soothing effect, however there was not a total amount of evidence to make a conclusion.

Not to leave the canines out of the picture, another American based study conducted in 2005 shows that patients diagnosed with heart failure were noted to have some significant improvement in heart and lung function. It's safe to absorb those animals in general, specifically the domesticated ones, to provide a wide array of positive impact and health benefits.

Although these studies provide a new kind of intervention that is basically risk free like surgery or medications, there are still a few skeptics who believe there is no definite evidence of these findings. For instance, it's possible that cat owners in general are most likely to lead an already stress-free lifestyle or just are not easily affected by anxiety. There was no particular study on the practices of the cat owners alone so the study could not shed any light on the speculation.

Another cause for skepticism is a published journal stating that cat owners have a more likely chance to have heart attacks than dog owners. Although surprising, it also makes a lot of sense as many people are more allergic to felines than canines.

Veterinarians however, provide a more understandable reason as to why cats are more stress-relieving than their canine counterparts. Because cats are small animals, they like to be petted. Petting animals is said to not only relieve stress but also lower blood pressure.

On the other hand, since dogs are highly active and possibly larger, they need more attention and thus, leading to a more likely elevated stress level. Cats can practically take care of themselves, whereas dogs need regular exercise through daily walks and active play. It is good to note however, that a dog's active lifestyle promotes much needed exercise to their humans as well, facilitating a means for a healthy heart.

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Ten Ways To Lower Your Risk For Heart Disease

One in every four deaths in America is caused by heart disease. That's an alarming 600,000 annually in the United States alone with the more common coronary heart disease claiming the lives of 385,000 Americans. Financially, coronary heart disease takes a toll on American pockets, costing an astounding $ 108.9 billion each year on medicines, health care and loss of working population.

All this statistics add up making these disease the number one cause of death in America. A number of risk factors also add up resulting in the fatal result that is heart disease. These factors include unhealthy lifestyle and habits, genetics, weight and cholesterol, to name a few. Lowering your risk for these disease by following these simple ways, can save you from a lot of stress, expense and above all, may save your life.

1. Do not smoke. – Results from the narrowing of blood vessels which leads to the lack of oxygen supply to the heart. Smoking is a major culprit in this blood vessel narrowing and considered the major avoidable cause of cardiovascular disease. Within a few months of cessation, risks for heart disease were observed to have dramatically lowered.

2. Maintain a healthy weight. – Sedentary lifestyles and obesity has increased prevalence over the past decade. About 33% of adult women are obese while 60% of both women and men have no physical activity.

3. Lower your cholesterol. – Build-up of cholesterol rich fat causes narrowing or blockage in your artery walls, making you a candidate for these. Aim for an overall cholesterol level below 200 mg / dL.

4. No to trans fat. – This means cutting down on margarine and butter. There is still an ongoing explanation on the purpose of fatty acids such as mono- and polyunsaturated acids, including marine omega 3 acids.

5. No to planned fat. Yes to fiber and produce. – A diet low on fat and rich in fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins and fiber reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and even have a protective effect against coronary heart disease.

6. Exercise – Studies show that even moderate intensity exercise, done regularly, is related to a significant decrease in heart disease risk. Exercise along with a healthy weight-maintaining diet, also reduces insulin resistance in diabetic people.

7. Alcohol only in moderation. Although a glass of wine is said to be good for the heart, moderate intake in alcohol all together results in a lower risk for heart problems.

8. Extra dose of vitamins. Vitamin E, B6 and iron have significant roles in cardiovascular disease prevention. Aside from the vitamins you get from a healthy diet, loading up on vitamins in capsule form can be beneficial.

9. Herbs and Supplements. Herbs like ginkgo, bilberry, turmeric and even kitchen staples like garlic and onions are said to fight these disease.

10. Stress management – Poorly managed stress may have adverse effects on your ticker. Relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and even a good book can prevent heart disease.

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Recognizing The Risk Factors For Coronary Heart Disease

There are a number of things that contribute towards the likelihood of your contracting coronary heart disease (CHD), and among them are hereditary factors and lifestyle factors. Hereditary factors are something that nobody can do anything about, but lifestyle factors are perfectly within your power to change. One important thing that you should do if you have not already done so is conduct a risk assessment for heart disease. This means evaluating your lifestyle, diet and most of all, hereditary risk. If, for example, a number of your relatives have had heart problems at some point in their lives, then the likelihood that you will develop such problems is higher than for someone whose relatives have had no such problems.

Pre-existing medical conditions can also put you at higher risk for coronary artery disease, which is another name for CHD. Some of the medical risk factors include high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Many of the medical conditions that are risk factors for CHD share the same lifestyle risk factors. So by altering your living habits, you can reduce your risk of contracting a number of different medical conditions at a single stroke.

Lifestyle Changes

One of the most destructive living habits that not only puts you at higher risk for CHD but any number of other medical conditions as well is smoking. Medical studies have shown that the correlation between smoking and increase in risk for heart disease is extremely strong, and smoking more than a pack a day can lead to a 200% to 300% increase in the likelihood of a person developing heart problems. Even exposure to second-hand smoke can increase risk, so if you are a smoker, you might be putting your family and other people around you at higher risk of developing complications as well. If you smoke, then stopping smoking is the single most important preventive measure that you can take.

Weight is another well-documented contributor to CHD as well as high blood pressure, and obesity has been conclusively linked to these medical conditions by numerous studies. This is related to a lifestyle that lacks sufficient physical activity, as well as an unhealthy diet. Physical activity in the form of regular exercise has countless benefits for health, and these benefits can often be positively felt on a day-to-day basis. Patients who began regular exercise regimens often reported feeling more energized and happier than when their daily habits lacked physical of any sort.

Addressing Medical Conditions

Patients who are suffering from high blood pressure should obtain medical treatment for the condition. There are a number of drugs that have been proven to be effective in lowering blood pressure, and this reduces the pressure exerted on the coronary blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of coronary complications.

A Combined Approach

The best way to prevent and lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease is to make use of a combination of the different preventive measures available. By making the appropriate changes to your lifestyle and diet, and seeking timely medical treatment for other pre-existing medical conditions, you can significantly lower your chances of developing heart problems.

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