What Exactly Is Cholesterol?

Those of you who are fighting against high cholesterol and working towards lowering your cholesterol generally have many questions about your cholesterol problems. First things first, you should find out exactly what cholesterol is. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced in the liver and other cells. It can be found in many food products that we consume on a daily basis such as dairy products, eggs, and meats. However, cholesterol is not always bad because our body needs a certain amount to be able to function properly. Our bodies cell walls, known as membranes, need this cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D, and other acids that help you to digest fat. When your cholesterol take level exceeds the amount of cholesterol needed that is when health concerns begin to develop.

As your cholesterol begins to increase, plaque begins to form in your arteries which narrows the passage way through which blood flows. Over time, plaque buildup will cause your arteries to harden which is one of the major causes of heart disease. If not enough blood and oxygen are able to reach your heart muscle then chest pains may occur. When your blood supply to the heart is completely blocked this will inevitably result in a heart attack.

Although cholesterol may seem completely negative, there is actually a “good” cholesterol among the three different types of cholesterol, also known as lipoproteins, which are present in your body. These types include high density, low density, and very low density. Each specific type depends on how much protein there is in relation to fat. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) is known as the “bad” cholesterol because it can cause plaque buildup along the walls of your arteries. As your LDL level increases so does your risk of heart disease. On the other hand, high density lipoproteins (HDL) is known as the “good” cholesterol and helps the body to dispose of LDL cholesterol. Maintaining an increased level of HDL cholesterol is a good thing because if your HDL levels are low, your risk of heart disease is increased. Lastly, very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) are very similar to LDL because they are made up of mostly fat and not much protein. VLDL carries triglycerides, another type of fat, which is more specifically the excess calories, alcohol, or sugar in your body that is then stored in fat cells in your body.

Generally speaking, there are a wide range of factors that can affect cholesterol levels. Diet is the main factor that contributions to high cholesterol levels. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the foods you eat leads to higher cholesterol levels and cutting back on saturated fats is key in reducing your cholesterol. Being overweight and not getting enough regular exercise is a risk factor for both heart disease and high cholesterol. By losing weight and exercising, most people will see a decrease in their LDL and an increase in their HDL cholesterol levels. Most doctors recommend trying to be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day. Age and gender is another factor in cholesterol levels because as you get older your cholesterol levels will begin to slowly rise. Prior to menopause, women tend to have lower cholesterol levels than men but during post menopause a women's LDL cholesterol tends to rise. Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes need to be able to understand, control, and manage their diabetes in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. In some cases high cholesterol can run in your family and your genes may determine how much cholesterol your body naturally makes.

Simply put, becoming informed about your cholesterol is a key step in starting your fight against high cholesterol. Now that you understand what cholesterol is and how it can be caused you have the knowledge to make the necessary changes in your life to start reducing your cholesterol levels.

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Positive Effects of Niacin on Cholesterol

Niacin is a B vitamin that has long been associated with keeping your body healthy. Many vitamin supplement companies use niacin in their daily multivitamin products to help keep your digestive system, nervous system, skin, hair, and eyes healthy. In addition to these benefits, niacin has long been used to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol which is the “good” cholesterol that assists in removing the “bad” cholesterol from your bloodstream.

Niacin has the ability to raise your HDL cholesterol by more than 30 percent. When your HDL cholesterol increases, it has the ability to remove more of your bad cholesterol by taking it to the liver for disposal. As a result, your LDL-cholesterol levels will decrease by about 10 to 20 percent and your triglycerides will be reduced by about 20 to 50 percent. Generally found in many food products, niacin is often found in higher doses when used in supplements in order to heighten the effects that it will have on your cholesterol levels. Often times, niacin is fairly inexpensive and is widely accessible to patients without a prescription. However, when taking these supplements you should always consult your doctor before taking niacin supplements to learn whether or not doing so would be helpful for improving your cholesterol.

Since niacin is found in many foods that we eat on a daily basis, we often times are able to fulfill our everyday recommended value of niacin. Many fish products contain high levels of niacin and, therefore, are one of the most popular food products for fighting against high cholesterol levels. For example, tuna is one of the world's richest foods in Vitamin B3 (niacin) and provides about 150% of the recommended daily value of niacin. By adding products that are rich in niacin you are taking an active role in lowering your cholesterol and you may not even need to take medication if your new diet begins to reduce your cholesterol to a more healthy level.

In order to determine your cholesterol levels, most doctors will order a blood test known as a lipid profile, which is used to screen for disorders related to high cholesterol. A lipoprotein profile screening provides you with your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides (fats carried in the blood) and converts those results into numbers to determine your cholesterol levels. Based upon the results, your doctor may recommend sticking with your current routine or he may opt to have you start taking a nutritional supplement to help increase your niacin intake.

In some cases, increasing your niacin intake may not be enough and your doctor may recommend additional methods to improve your HDL cholesterol. Most doctors advise that you start an exercise routine or begin eating a healthier and and more nutritious diet. Taking supplements that are produced with niacin may improve your cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, our supplement has the ability to improve your cholesterol and help you to live a healthy lifestyle.

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When 5 + 4 = 500,000 The Math of Heart Disease

Every 5 minutes, four women in America die of heart disease according to the NIH. That adds up to 500,000 women each year.

If that fact surprised you here are some others you might not know but should be aware of:

  • Women are more likely than men to die from a heart attack, and to die after a procedure such as a stent or a balloon angioplasty.
  • Women are more likely than men to have another heart attack within five years.
  • Women do not get the same screening, preventive treatment, or life-saving treatments or procedures in the ER when they are admitted for heart trouble
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • Only 8% of women believe heart disease is a greater risk than cancer.
  • 64% of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.

In 2/3 of women who suffer a heart attack the first sign of heart disease is the heart attack

When we feel good it's hard to imagine we might be filled by something like a silent heart attack. We think because we exercise some, eat pretty good, and can still get up the stairs without passing out that we are not likely to have heart disease.

That 1 in 3 statistic means more of us do or will have a heart issue-even if it's “only” hypertension or high blood pressure-than believe they might or that number would go down.

Heart disease does not happen overnight. It takes years to develop and symptoms may be nonexistent.

The good news is “Heart disease is, according to Mimi Guarneri founder of the Scripps Foundation for Integrative Medicine, the most easily preventable of all lifestyle diseases.”

Well, easy for some motivated, dedicated, health freaks right? Yes and the rest of us.

Prevention includes lifestyle choices and numbers.

To start you have to know two sets of numbers; your waist to height ratio and your blood pressure over a normal 24-hour period. “But you did not mention cholesterol Greg.” Correct and here's why study after study has proved this: According to Dr. Mark Hyman and others ” The majority of heart attack sufferers have normal cholesterol readings.”

Back to waist and height ratios. The ideal number for your waist will be half that of your height. If it's more than that, your risk goes up.

Blood pressure is important because high blood pressure damages the heart but also the kidneys, arms, vision, and leaves you open for a heart attack or stroke. Why you want to measure it over a 24 hour period, say every 4 – 6 hours is because life stresses, food, sleep or lack of it and other lifestyle factors can affect it. Are you pretty stable throughout the day? If not what precipitated the rise or fall? Adjust accordingly.

There is one component of your lipid profile-that's the test they take when they measure cholesterol-that is important, triglycerides.

A high number indicates a high risk of heart disease and stroke.

An even more telling number is the ratio of your HDL cholesterol number to your level of triglycerides. It is a better predictor of heart disease than your LDL number or total cholesterol alone.

If your triglycerides are 100 mg / dl and your HDL is 50, then you have a ratio of 2. Two or lower is good. Anything above that is a warning sign. Higher than 5 is a critical call to action.

There is one factor most medical agencies and docs will not talk to you about that I believe is critical to heart health and survival after a heart attack.

In his empowerment book, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy, Dr. Dean Ornish documents studies that conclude intimacy (emotional support and connection) is at least as important as physical factors (cholesterol levels, blood pressure, etc.) for the prevention of and recovery from heart disease.

According to Dr. Christine Northrup, “Although most of us wait until mid-life to take steps to prevent or treat it, heart disease actually begins in childhood-the minute we learn to start shutting down our hearts to avoid feeling disappointment and loss.”

An open heart, close friends or family ties, a community we share ourselves with knowing we are safe; each of these plays a big role in the care of the heart-the one muscle we can not live without.

Next week I'm going to write about specific prevention strategies but pretty much you could read any article I've written in the past few years and get some idea of ​​what's to come. Any healthy habit benefits every organ and cell in the body.

Before I go though let me ask you, are you aware of your risk factors? If you know you have heart disease do you feel trapped, as if it's going to be a lifetime of meds and worry? Hit reply and let me know. Getting things off your chest, yes pun intended, is a heart healthy move.

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Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Cholesterol

High cholesterol is becoming a growing problem in America and it is putting people at an increased risk of heart attacks and heart disease. Recent studies from the Mayo Clinic have uncoformed five of the top proven lifestyle changes that you can make to reduce your cholesterol.

Losing weight is the most important step in lowering your cholesterol and even losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help to reduce cholesterol levels significantly. Assessing your daily eating and exercise routines and overcoming those bad habits is essential to starting your weight loss challenge. For example, if you eat when you are bored or frustrated you should look for an alternative method to relate those feelings such as talking a walk or jog. Also, try to avoid fast food, as well as snack foods, while sitting on the couch watching television. We recommend snacking on fruits or vegetables when you feel the urge to eat. Always try to find new ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine even if it is as simple as just taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You should be proactively looking for healthy alternatives to contribute to your weight loss challenge.

Making even just a few changes in your diet can help to lower cholesterol and improve heart health. The Mayo Clinic suggests that eating heart healthy foods is a core factor in decreasing your cholesterol. Avoiding saturated fats that are found in red meats and dairy products is important because it leads your LDL (Bad) cholesterol from rising. Choosing leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy as substitutes for saturated fats is an easy change that most of us can make to reduce our cholesterol. In addition, you should eliminate trans-fat from your diet and limit your cholesterol take to no more than 300 milligrams per day (Less than 200mg if you have heart disease or diabetes). Some healthier alternatives that we recommend include eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon or almonds.

Exercise is not only critical in reducing your cholesterol, but it can also contribute to raising your HDL (Good) cholesterol. Most doctors recommend exercising at least 30 minutes a day even if you have to do it in intervals. It is important to stay motivated and not break from your routine. Joining an exercise group or finding a friend to exercise with can make it much more enjoyable and something that you look forward to each and every day. Try to find every opportunity through your day to add in at least a little physical activity.

Smoking is a bad habit that not only leads to an increase in cholesterol but also contributes to many other pressing health problems. Quitting may improve your HDL cholesterol level and also decrease your blood pressure levels. In addition, it lowers your risk for heart attack and after only one year of quitting your risk of heart disease is half that of a regular smoker.

Lastly, drinking too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems such a high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke. If you do not drink in moderation alcohol you can have ill effects on your cholesterol levels as well. For healthy adults, it is recommended only to have one drink a day if you are 65 or older and only two drinks per day if you are below the age of 65.

Simply put, making these lifestyle changes can lead to a reduction in your cholesterol levels, and you may start to see results almost instantly. However, sometimes lifestyle changes are not enough and adding medications such as Lipipure may help to lower your cholesterol as you continue to make the appropriate changes to living a healthier lifestyle.

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The Top 5 Myths About Heart Disease

Knowing whether or not your heart is healthy is very important, especially since heart disease is the number one killer in North America today. But with so much information available, what should you believe and what should you just laugh at? Here's a list to help you chuckle (which, incidentally, is very good for your heart):

1. I would know if I had high blood pressure. Sorry Harry Potter, but there's no magic spell that you can cast over yourself for that test. You can be in good physical condition and still have high blood pressure, and the same goes for high cholesterol. So drop the wand and see your doctor for a proper test.

2. I have heart disease so I should take it easy. Not corresponding to Harvard Medical School, and they're SORT OF experts in this stuff. The best thing you can do, in fact, is get some physical activity at the level that's right for you. Your doctor can help you pinpoint that level. And when you know, try one-on-one yoga from one of our experts so that you can hit that sweet spot right away.

3. I'll know if I'm having a heart attack because I'll have chest pain. I would not count on it. Signs of a heart attack are sometimes subtle. Other than chest pain, you might experience:

  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • feeling light-headed
  • pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your jaw, neck or back.
  • Not sure if it's a heart attack? Call 9-1-1 anyway – you might only get one chance.

4. Diabetes will not affect my heart if I'm taking my medication. Well now, that's just silly. Diabetes medication can help control your blood sugar levels, but not so much when it comes to your larger blood vessels – like the ones related to your heart. You're better off taking the diabetes med's to prevent issues with your smaller blood vessels (like the ones in your kidneys), and focusing on lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, plus quitting smoking. See a naturopathic doctor for help with this area.

5. It's okay to have higher blood pressure when you're older. Not if you want to live a long life it's not! While blood pressure does tend to rise with age, that does not mean that it's 'okay'. Stiffer arterial walls make your heart pump harder, which further weakens the arms near your heart and allows fat to deposit itself. This is how high blood pressure leads to heart attacks. Acupuncture works great for levelling out blood pressure, so consider getting a little 'needling' today.

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What Is a Stroke, What Causes It and First Aid

I lost already one person due to a stroke, and considering that only in the US one person dies of stroke every 4 minutes, by the time I will finish writing this post unfortunately several more people will have died. The reason why I decided to write this post is to help other people recognize the early symptoms of strokes and giving them a chance to call for help in a timely manner. Even a few minutes can greatly increase the chances of survival, so if you know someone with high risk for a stroke please read carefully.

Let's start by answering to the question: what is a stroke?

It is defined as an interruption or reduction of the blood supply to the brain. This, deprives the brain cells with nutrients and oxygen. Considering that brain cells are high oxygen and nutrients consumers, they can not withstand long deprivation of blood supply with consequent cell death. This is a horrible way to die because as we will discuss later it can be very painful and even when people survive to a stroke they can be disabled for the rest of their life.

What are the causes of a stroke?

Strokes can originate as a consequence of 3 different classes of events:

• A blocked artery (ischemic stroke)
• A leaking blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke)
• A temporary disruption of the blood flow (transient ischemic stroke)

Ischemic Stroke

When treaties become narrowed or blocked, the amount of blood that reach the brain can diminish drastically causing an ischemic stroke which accounts for 85% of all strokes. Usually with aging there is a build up of fatty deposits in the arteries, causing them to narrow and consequently increasing the chances for blood clot formation, when this happens we have a thrombotic stroke. However, ischemic strokes can also be caused by cardiovascular problems. In this case, the blood clot forms away from the brain, commonly in the heart. How is that possible? As you know the heart is composed of 4 chambers that gets filled with blood coming from the veins and pump it in arms. Sometimes the heart contraction is not complete and this can result with the formation of pockets in the chambers in which some blood is stagnating. If not appreciated most likely the formation of small blood clots will occur. Those will grow in size until will be swept through the bloodstream. The chance of this small blood clot to lodge in narrowed brain arteries is quite high, and can give origin to an embolus (Embolic Stroke).

Hemorrhagic Stroke:

But, not all strokes originate from an embolus or an occlusion of the brain arteries. In fact, some strokes originate from haemorrhages (Hemorrhagic Stroke). There are several conditions that can cause a haemorrhage and these are:

• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• Weak spots in your blood vessels walls (Aneurysms)
• Rupture of thin walled blood vessels (this is less common)

However, it must be said that not all strokes are permanent. There are also cases in which there is a temporary reduction of blood supply to the brain. This event is known as a Transient Ischemic Attack (or Ministroke) which results with similar symptoms to stroke but the blockage is only temporary.

What are the risks factors for a stroke?

Most risk factors for a stroke encompass our lifestyle. From one point of view this is good news, because it's something that with a bit of discipline we can control. These factors are:

• Obesity
• Physical activity
• Excessive drinking
• Use of drugs

So living with a bit of common sense should help prolonging our life. I know it's easy to fall in the temptation of laziness and it's hard to find time for some physical activity during our “busy life” but I think the main issue is that often our health is not seen as a priority. We tend to give importance to it only when we have a problem (which is often too late). The truth is, to stay healthy we need to put a bit of effort, eat less fries and burgers and cycle to work instead of taking a car. Another important aspect is to monitor as often as we can the status of our health. To help you understand what I mean here there is another list of treatable stroke-risk factors (what we need to monitor carefully):

• High blood pressure (higher than 120/80 mmHg)
• Cigarette smoking or second hand smoking
• High cholesterol
• Diabetes
• Obstructive sleep apnea (the oxygen level intermittently drops during the night)
• Cardiovascular disease

However, as for many other diseases, there is also genetic predisposition to strokes, for this reason if someone in our family had a stroke, we needed to do a health check more frequently and be aware of the early symptoms (discussed below) of a stroke to be able to act quickly. Our race is also a predisposing factor (African-American have higher risks) as well as our gender (males have higher risks of strokes than females). But as common sense also suggests that our age is strongly correlated with the possibility of a stroke, from 55 years old and above, there is a dramatic increase in the likelihood of having a stroke.

But what are the symptoms of a stroke?

The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for damage. For this reason I think it's very important to pay attention to this list:

• Trouble with walking – sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination
• Trouble with speaking and understanding – experience confusion
• Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg – try to raise both arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Or if one side of your mouth is dropping while you smile.

• Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes – blurred or blackened vision or see double
• Headache – sudden severe headache accompanied by vomiting, dizziness and altered consciousness.

To better remember what to check in case of an attack remember the acronym FAST:

F. Face
A. Arms
S. Speech
T. Time to call help

I hope none of you will ever find himself in this situation. And even if you are healthy it should not be an excuse to overlook your lifestyle. What is sure is that some prevention and a few health checks can not do any harm.

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Diet Tips for High Cholesterol

It is possible to have high cholesterol even if you do not eat meat or dairy products. Our bodies produce it naturally, and there are hidden places that it lurks. The doctor can help with the natural cholesterol but we have to do the diet part.

Ingredients List : If you buy any packaged and / or processed foods you need to read the nutrition label and the ingredients list. In those two charts are the clues about whether or not the food is safe to eat.

The nutrition label will tell you how much cholesterol is in the product, but it really is not the most important number. The amount of saturated fat is the most important. Some packed foods are low in cholesterol but the fats will still clog the arteries.

The ingredients tell you where the fats come from. Phrases like “trans fat” and “hydrogenated vegetable oil” are signs that you do not want to eat that product.

Recipes : There are sites all over the internet that give recipes for any condition known to mankind. If you are new to cooking these will be very helpful in getting you started, but you should choose with care. If it looks like something you would not like, do not make it. That's the fastest way to skip a heart healthy diet. I know this from experience.

Experiment : This has been by far the most successful at our house. I look at regular recipes, those we know we like, and tweak them. So it calls for butter. Instead, use olive oil or split it fifty fifty with olive oil. Same with bacon.

It is possible to change almost any recipe from bad for your heart to heart healthy, whether you are an experienced cook or not. It takes a little time, imagination and the occasional flop, but it's worth it.

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Angiogram Experience

He was a weekend hiker and he took his health seriously. He'd had every noninvasive test to make sure his heart was fine. After all, his father did die of a heart attack at a reliably young age.

He came back from a hike with a strange look on his face. It had been blistering hot day and he thought the pain he felt in the center of his chest was irritation from rapid breathing in such weather.

It did not go away. In fact, it got worse. It got so he had to pause on his way way up the stairs to catch his breath. He also had to pause more than once just to get from his car to his office. It was time to see the doctor.

The doctor could not find anything wrong, but just to be safe he was referred to a cardiologist. The cardiologist did not see anything, either. To be safe he was instructed to have an angiogram.

Appropriately this did not scare him. It scared the rest of the family, especially those with enough medical knowledge to know exactly what was to be done. He just wanted to get it over with, especially since everyone was walking on eggshells … eggshells he did not think were necessary.

The family was right to be afraid. Three treaties were blocked almost completely. 76, 93 and 98%. The pain came from the one artery doing all the work for the other three. He had angioplasty and three stents inserted into his coronary arteries.

A lot of changes happened after this. What the entire family ate changed. Exercise during the week days started. Ways to relieve stress were thought.

It was not enough.

At his next checkup he was ordered to have another angiogram and it resolved in another angioplasty. The third checkup requires another stent besides the angioplasty.

Here is the scary part. The doctor was very firm when he visited the patient. The next time there would not be any angioplasty and stents. The next time it would be open heart.

We have not gotten there yet. We hope we will not have to. However at some point we are going to be more scared than we were with the first angiogram.

Just because you eat right, exercise and have all the tests does not mean you will not have heart problems. If you feel the symptoms of heart problems, get to the doctor. It could save your life.

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Children’s Heart Surgery – Symptoms and Available Treatments

For some children who are born with heart defects, also known as congenital defects, heart surgery immediately after birth or after a few months depending on the severity may be required. Some defects are minor and some are major. The ailment may be directly to the heart or a blood vessel that is outside the heart. In most cases a single surgery can rectify the condition, but depending on the ailment, the specialist at the Children's Heart Hospital may suggest a series of procedures. Early detection and treatments aided by advance technology has significant improved the life of new born.

Symptoms that you should be looking for:

  • Blue or gray skin – This indicates that the oxygen flow in the blood is not adequate.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Arrhythmias – Heart rate or heart rhythm is not normal.
  • Lack of growth and development in a child or poor feeding and sleeping.

Open Heart Surgery

Among the various Children's Heart Treatments, open heart surgery is very common. Open heart surgery is when the surgeon uses a heart – lung bypass machine. The child is given general anesthesia which means that he is completely unconscious and does not feel the pain. The surgeon makes an incision through the breast bone. The blood is rerated using tubes through a special machine called heart – lung bypass machine. This machine also adds oxygen to the blood in order to keep it warm. It also helps the blood to be circulating through the body while the surgeon performs the operation. With the machine on, the heart can actually be stopped making the repair of the valves, heart muscles or the arms outside the heart easy. After it is repaired, the machine is removed and the heart can function as normal.

Heart defects can also be repaired by making an incision on the side of the chest in between the ribs called a tracheotomy also known as closed heart surgery. Special instruments are used together with a camera to perform this kind of surgery.

The third type of treatment is to insert thin tubes into an artery in the leg and pass them up to the heart. But a limited number of defects can be repaired in this way.

Children's heart hospitals generally have specialists, surgeons, nurses and technicians that are trained for this purpose.

After a surgery, 2 – 3 days of hospital stay may be required for your child's post surgery care.

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Dealing With Heart Surgery

This article will lead you through some of the struggles that a family goes through when there is heart disease that has become an immediate need. There are unique stories out there that will help to enrich your life. You do have to get back up again someday, why not now?

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Heart Disease and Young Women – How to Protect Yourself

For years, heart attacks and other forms of heart disease have been considered a man’s health issue. More recently, however, heart disease has been recognized as the number one killer of women. What many women may not realize is that tens of thousands of younger women under the age of 55 are having heart attacks every year. What are the risk factors for younger women? What kind of precautions should younger women take to fight heart disease?

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Why ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction Demands Immediate Medical Attention

Every one of us is familiar with the word “heart attack,” right? Sometimes it occurs at exercise or sometimes at rest which exhibits one of its risky features – unpredictability. Read the article to find more about heart attacks.

Myocardial infarction or MI (heart attack) occurs due to the irreversible necrosis of the heart tissues which demands immediate attention. An obstruction in the coronary artery followed by the block in blood supply to the heart is the main reason for the death of myocardial tissues. Coronary Heart Disease is one of the root causes of a heart attack and it has been affecting millions of lives across the world.

Atherosclerosis, being the prime reason for creating life-threatening plaque in the coronary arteries shows no symptoms until middle or old age, in the majority of cases.

Treatment of MI is determined based on physical examinations, Electrocardiography (ECG) results and assessment of cardiovascular history. There are two subtypes of heart attacks, diagnosed on the basis of ECG results – ST- Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) and Non-ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (NSTEMI). STEMI is the severe kind and demands prompt life saving measures. STEMI develops when the blood supply is completely blocked whereas NSTEMI develops because of a partial block in coronary arteries. ECG findings of STEMI will show an elevated ST-segment and Q-wave formation indicating the transmural infarction of myocardium. Salvage of the jeopardized myocardium by means of reperfusion techniques is the emergency method of treating ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, which can be performed through medical or revascularization procedures such as Thrombolysis, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting (CABG).

Thrombolytic agents are often preferred for treating STEMI to avoid the risk of complications. However, in some cases, this medical therapy is also performed before the CABG procedure. PCI is another effective and useful reperfusion strategy applied for STEMI patients who have contraventions to thrombolytic therapy. However, stent thrombosis or distal thromboembolism has been raising concerns about the safety and caring of coronary stenting because it leads to a further reduction of myocardial blood flow followed by major adverse cardiovascular events. Advances in drug-eluting stent technology and interventional procedures promise to offer optimal solutions to eradicate the risk of distal thromboembolism and its adverse effects. To sum it up, we can say that the key to survive from the severe coronary heart disease and distal thromboembolism are early diagnosis and timely interventions.

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The Hole in My Heart

I will not kid you, my health crisis almost scared me to death. My wife got me through with the following advice. “Do what you have always done and try to find some humor in the situation.” I was petrified and it was not easy, but I gave it a shot. It's funny how much you learn about yourself and the things that are important when your life is on the line. Indulge me, while I tackle the hilarious subject of open heart surgery, in the only way I know how, with humor.

JAN 1 1996, Life is good. Great wife, 3 wonderful boys, new house, great job, waiting until 4:00 to watch my beloved Michigan Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. Suddenly my heart starts racing uncontrollably. I'm rushed to emergency. Doctor orders an EKG, studies results, and says my heart is beating too fast. I flunked biology in high school, but already made that diagnosis at home. I ask the doctor if he knows the Rose Bowl score. He questions my priorities, he obviously did not know I had $ 200.00 on the game! I'm sent home after being told to see a Cardiologist in the morning. After a sleepless night I keep my appointment. The Cardiologist listens closely. He shows some concern and says my heart is beating too fast., “He must have gone to same medical school as the emergency room doctor.” The next step is a 24 hour heart monitor. Looking at the results, the Cardiologist gives me his diagnosis: Atrial Septic Defect. (A hole in my heart). “You need open heart surgery,” he said, with all the emotion of an ironing board.

“What if I do not have surgery doc?” “Certain death,” he replied. I left, but not before thanking him for “cushioning the blow.” Panic sets in. I can not sleep, my wife is very supportive, but is acting strange.

I catch her looking at her high school yearbook, and circling the cute boy's pictures. My neighbor comes over, and offers to take care of the caulking jobs that need to be done around the house while I'm gone.I never trusted this guy., I always thought he liked my wife. The insurance man calls trying to sell me a million dollar policy to cover my family. When I complain about the premiums he says “do not worry I looked your condition up on line, you probably will not have to make to many payments.” Funny guy! I tell my wife if anything happens she should remarry. My heart is touched as she emphatically states that she would never get married again, “I'll just live with the guy,” she continued.

The big day is here March 19, 1996. I have to tell my kids. It's going to be hard because I'm their whole life. I tell them no matter what happens I love them. My oldest son says, “I love you,” my middle son says, “good luck,” and the youngest son requests for pizza money! He's too young to understand, I think.

Finally I'm at the hospital, I'm being prepped for surgery. I look around the room and notice the technician who operates the heart lung machine. I feeling terrified because he looks exactly like the mechanic who screwed up my Caravan last week. I figure I'll find out for sure, if he gives me any parts back after surgery!

Three hours later surgery's over. I'm alive and feeling no pain. They take me to ICU, I forget pre-op marital promise and start flirting with the nurse. She seems interested, until I throw up all the anesthesia in her hair!

The Medicine wears off and I'm in severe pain. Something goes wrong! My heart is beating 240 beats a minute. I feel faint.

Five doctors working feverishly to bring rate down. “Am I in danger Doc,” I screamed, “Am I in danger?” “No, we always treat a patient 5 doctors at a time.” The others laughed. I'm half dead and these clowns are auditioning for Scrubs.

I pray for my heart rate to stabilize. When it finally does, the doctors congratulate themselves, God and I let them believe what they want! The next day, it's time to go home.

My Surgeon comes in with instructions, and gives me a teddy bear to squeeze for pain.

I'm thinking without this bear is stuffed with Darvon, this is not going to work.

Doc gives me eating instructions to stay healthy. No meat, no cheese, no regular milk, no butter, no ice cream, and eat a lot of soy. Any questions? “Yes, by any chance is the assisted suicide doctor on call.”

Oh, and no sex for 6 weeks he continues. I figure, “hey that's better then the 6 month schedule my wife has me on now.” And finally, do not lift anything over 5 pounds. ”

My wife takes me home. I hug the kids, pet the dog, and thank God I made it. The doorbell rings, you guessed it; it's the neighbor, caulk gun in hand. He says “Steve, glad you're home,” He seemed disappointed that I survived. Trying to hide his true motives he asked if we need any more caulking done while I recover, “If there is any caulking to do, my man is back home to do it” my wife said proudly. I felt so loved so macho; it killed me to have to remind her that the caulking gun was over the five pound limit Hey, doctors orders, what's a guy to do.

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Lowering Cholesterol Naturally: Top 5 Secrets

Many studies show that there is a definite connection between heart disease and cholesterol. Some doctors suggest the intake of statins, a cholesterol-lowering drug for patients with high cholesterol since it one point of cholesterol level drop reduces the risk of heart attack by 2 percent. However, taking statins can cause several side effects like liver damage, muscle pain, fatigue and other. So we listed the 5 natural ways of lowering your cholesterol naturally.

Improve / Increase good cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol or “Good Cholesterol” is much less likely to clog your arteries and lead to stoke or heart attack as compared to LDL or “Bad Cholesterol”. Getting regular exercise and keeping fats and animal proteins to a minimum helps improve your bad and good cholesterol ratio. One important measure of your overall health is the amount of HDL cholesterol found in your bloodstream. These letters stand for “High Density Lipoprotein,” which is considered a good substance. HDLs are much less likely to clog your arteries and lead to stoke or heart attack as compared to Low Density Lipoproteins. Doctors usually want to know your cholesterol HDL – LDL ratio as one of the factors in deciding whether you are at risk for cholesterol's damaging effects.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids which we can get from consumption of fish several times a week can help. Cold-water fish, such as salmon and others, are particularly important for lower cholesterol. Alternately, you can use fish oil supplements. Fish oil supplements containing EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have been demonstrated in several large studies to decrease low density LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Increase Fiber intake

Fiber lessens the reabsorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream, lowering our cholesterol level naturally. You can increase your dietary fiber by eating green leafy vegetable and other foods high in fiber.

Niacin

Niacin (vitamin B3) lowers LDL cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). Niacin has unique ability to improve lipid profiles for ApoB, LDL, small density LDL, HDL, HDL2b – an extremely good cholesterol, Lp (a), fibrinogen and trigycerides. Flush-free niacin may lower cholesterol while boosting the beneficial HDL fraction. In a report on the antiatherogenic role of HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol, flush-free niacin (inositol hexanicotinate) “appears to have the greatest potential to increase HDL cholesterol [by] 30%.” This study was made over a 5-year period and focused on the effect of high LDL numbers exhibited before a patient's first coronary event (s).

Reduce cholesterol oxidation using antioxidants.

Antioxidants are very vital for disarming free radicals and preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Antioxidants found in vitamins C and E including beta-carotene and lycopene, help protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals.

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Natural Remedies for Heart Disease

Using natural remedies to resolve ailments and disease has been used for centuries. At first it was the only way to treat people. With the introduction of modern medicine many natural solutions fell by the way side. However, now it is becoming apparent that there is a need to look back at these natural ideals as more people are looking into homeopathic solutions. One of the largest issues to look into is natural remedies for heart disease.

Heart disease is a common issue that many people of all ages suffer from. As it stands it is one of the leading causes of deaths worldwide. Which is why it is necessary to look at other solutions that can aid in helping the sufferers. There are a number of modern medicine solutions that people use to keep the disease at bay, but one of the most popular natural remedies is Crataegus or better known as Hawthorn. Several species of hawthorn have been used in traditional medicine. It was recently used in 2010 in a study to discover whether or not its healing properties were able to assist in heart disease. At the end of the study it was concluded that it held a significant amount of potential as a useful remedy in the treatment of heart disease. However, it also revealed that there was a need to do further studies to discover the exact dosages. Some studies have revealed that the hawthorn was able to reduce symptoms such as fatigue and heart palpitations while it was taken, which is a fantastic improvement. For people suffering from heart disease the idea of ​​a natural approach could be refreshing. However, it is always best to consult the professional advice of your doctor before ingesting any form of medication, natural or not.

Natural solutions and dieting

There are a number of natural solutions for a whole array of problems humans can suffer from. All you need to do is take the time to discover what works for you. In most cases natural solutions will stem from what you are putting into your body. What most people do not understand is that suffering from an occurring ailment can very much be determined by our diets. There has been a number of studies done to show the effects of “bad” eating and how it affects not only our insides but also the outside of us. People who suffer from IBS have often found that the solution to fixing it came straight back to their diet. Same with acne sufferers and so much more. In fact it has also been proved that issues with the gut in general can affect our entire body's health.

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