Long Hours on the Job Increases Risk of Heart Disease By 67%

These days, every penny counts. For this reason, many people work long and stressful hours every single day. While these extra hours do boost the paycheck and make you feel more financially secure, recent medical news has shown that those hours may greatly increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Risk Factors and Research

When you go to a doctor for the first time, he has you fill out sheet that asks you all sorts of questions. The answers that you put down help the doctor evaluate you, so that he knows what types of medical problems you are at risk for. When he is looking to see if you are at risk for heart disease, he may want to know if you smoke, what your weight is, and whether you have diabetes or are closely related to someone who does. He will check your vitals to see if your blood pressure is stable and will also check your cholesterol level.

According to medical news, during this type of evaluation, many researchers also believe that doctors should ask how many hours you work each day. In some studies that have been performed in England, it was shown that if doctors had this type of information available to them, they were able to more easily predict which patient was going to suffer from heart disease. These ten year research studies were able to show that longer work hours increase the risk of heart disease, especially when accompanied by other risk factors.

The Hours

While it does not seem like a lot of time, the research study showed that people could work up to ten hours every day without significantly increasing their risk of heart disease. Once the workers went over 11 hours of work, though, the risk of developing this type of disease in the future increased dramatically.

Framingham's risk score

To further test the study and to make sure that all of the risks factors for each person were taken into consideration, Framingham's risk score was used. With this type of evaluation, the people in the study are separated into three categories: low, moderate, and high risk. Each type of risk factor was taken into consideration, including weight, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and cholesterol levels. If the participant did not have many risk factors, he was put into the low category, but if he was a great risk, he was placed in the high category. Those in the moderate category were somewhat a risk for heart disease.

After a few years, some of the participants were moved to different categories. At times, those that were moved from the low category to the moderate category were moved simply because the number of hours that they had to work increased, making them more at risk for disease.

The reason for the increased risk

Doctors and researchers are not entirely sure the exact reason that an 11 hour day has such a big effect. According to some medical news, though, the negative effects of working such long hours may cause the increased risk of heart disease. When a person works for those many hours, he may not get enough sleep, may not exercise as much, may eat the wrong types of foods, and may become depressed. All of these factors can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and can possibly be caused by working longer hours.

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Preparing for Heart Surgery

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. This includes people with congenital diseases or defects such as pulmonary atresia as well as people who develop heart disease because of their lifestyle choices. Depending on the disease or disorder, treatment can consist of medication, nutrition and physical therapy, and surgery. If your health care provider has determined that surgical intervention is needed to correct or improve your heart condition, then you must make sure you are fully prepared when it is time to go under the knife. This includes asking plenty of questions about your condition, what heart surgery hopes to correct, and the risks involved.

Once you feel comfortable with having the surgery, it is usually scheduled out a few weeks in advanced so you can make the appropriate preparations. During this time it is a good idea to quit smoking as it can impair your ability to heal. Additionally, it puts you at a greater risk of developing pneumonia and heart related complications after heart surgery. It is recommended that you quick smoking a minimum of three weeks prior. Alcohol consumption should also be discontinued at least two days before your scheduled surgery. It is also a good idea to maintain a balanced heart healthy diet. However, you should not eat or drink anything past midnight the day of your surgery.

You should also stop taking blood thinners, like Coumadin or aspirin, about 4-5 days before your scheduled surgery. It is best to consult with your doctor about other medications you may be taking especially if you are diabetic. Be certain to get plenty of rest. If you develop a cold, fever, infection, or type of illness contact your physician as soon as possible to determine how this will affect your heart surgery. Avoid taking over the counter medications until your doctor instructs you to do so.

If your insurance company requires it get your heart surgery and hospital stay pre-certified. The last thing you want is to wake up to an intense hospital bill. Although most surgeries are connected with minimal problems it is still a good idea to make sure your will is up to date. You should also have a living will, or health care proxy, established and provide medical facility with a copy of the relevant paperwork. Additionally, be certain the hospital has the name and number of a reliable emergency contact they call if anything goes wrong.

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Heart Disease Prevention Tip Number 2 – The Sugar/Heart Connection

Does heart disease run in your family? Have you already been warned by your doctor to cut out fats and to get more exercise? Is your blood pressure high? How about your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels? If these indicators are high, you are probably at risk for heart disease. Imagine what it would be like to return your heart to the healthy condition it was in 20, 30, or 40 years ago. You can, but first you need to learn what sugar is, and then learn how sugar affects triglycerides, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and lastly, cholesterol.

Before connecting the dots between heart disease and sugar, it is helpful to understand how sugar is made. Sugar is a substance made by extracting ALL the food elements from either sugar cane or sugar beets, which includes all the vital vitamins, minerals, fats, amino acids, protein, enzymes, and fiber. What is left is a chemical compound known to scientists as C12H22O11-sugar. It is interesting to note that cocaine is made in a similar fashion. It is also an extracted substance, taken from the coca plant – its chemical formula is C17H21NO4. Heroine, the extracted salt of morphine, is likewise formed by taking the opium plant, isolating first the morphine, and then treating the morphine with chemicals and water. Its formula is C17H17NO. All three of these substitutes are taken from food sources, but technically they are not foods. They are pure chemical compounds.

Because sugar has been stripped of all food elements, it is not recognized by the body as a food. Consequently, in order to be metabolized, it must steal vitamins and minerals from other parts of the body. Sugar is much worse than mere 'empty calories', because it depletes the body of essential nutrients, causing deficiencies. Calcium is taken from bones and teeth, and other vital minerals such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium are robbed also. Without insufficiently replenished, the body eventually becomes depleted of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to work effectually. The result is a depleted glandular system, sluggish organs, and weak blood.

One organ that is specifically affected by the intake of sugar is the liver. Sugar is stored in the liver in the form of glucose. When sugar is consumed in excess, the liver is strained, and expands like a balloon. When it is filled to capacity, it sends the excess glucose back to the bloodstream in the form of fatty acids or triglycerides. These fatty acids accumulate in the butt, thighs, and other noticeable places, and also find residence in organs such as the heart and kidneys. According to William Duffy in 'Sugar Blues', these then “the heart and kidneys” begin their slow down;

Blood sugar problems set in when the body can no longer metabolize sugar effectively. In a state of health, the amount of glucose released into the bloodstream by the liver is regulated by the pancreas. Insulin is secreted to balance the sugar levels if they get too high. The problem arises when sugar is consumed too much and too often, and the body can no longer regulate and balance the amount of glucose in the blood. These results in either diabetes or hypoglycemia, both caused by excessive sugar intake. In the case of the diabetic, the intake of sugar causes an overload of glucose in the blood, which is much taken into balance by insulin. The injection of insulin causes a reaction just as strong in the other direction by decreasing the levels of glucose in the blood. This constant barrage on the body is like being the object in the middle of a tug-of-war. First one way, and then the other, the object is rolled and draged back and forth until it is worn out. So too will your adrenal glands become worn out if they have to constantly work to maintain this balance. Without the diabetic and hypoglycemic restrict their intake of refined carbohydrates, especially sugar, their bodies will continue to wear down, and heart disease will only be a matter of time.

High cholesterol is another indicator of heart disease, and also seems to be affected by sugar intake. In studies done by the American Medical Association, results showed that good cholesterol levels (HDL cholesterol) in those who consume 25% of their daily intake from sugar are only 1/3 as high as those who only consume an intake of 5% sugar. Even though cholesterol is manufactured from fats and not from sugar (as triglycerides are), there still is an apparent correlation between sugar and cholesterol. The alarming statistic is that the average American adult now consumes 22 tsp. of sugar / day. Average consumption for teenage boys is 34 tsp. / day. This is up to seven times the amount recommended by the American Heart Association, and is equivalent to being 25% or more of their daily average caloric intake.

Sugar depletes and deteriorates the body because it is not a natural food the body recognizes. It is a toxin, or poison. Dr.Henry Beiler believed that heart damage results from a toxic condition; ie – from a chemical disturbance of the body. He also said that “where the heart is not too badly damaged, recovery always follows after the chemical disturbance is removed.” Lowering sugar intake is a major step in that direction. Continuing a diet high in refined sugar is like playing with a time bomb that's been set. Refined sugar is a NOT a food substance, and careless consumption will be costly.

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Omega 3 Fish Oil: The Weapon to Fight Heart Disease

The number one killer in America is heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, a full twenty- five percent of deaths in the United States each year can be attributed directly or indirectly to heart disease. The primary cause of this figure can be connected to life style. More people today use the hectic pace of life to forgo proper nutrition and the right amount of exercise. In addition to this, the increase in heart disease can be related to other ailments such as the rise of obesity and heart disease due to diabetes.

How can I tell if I have heart disease?

Today, there are numerous tests to indicate if you are suffering from heart disease. Simple blood tests can detect levels of cholesterol in your blood stream. If your levels of (LDL) known as low density lipoprotein are above 199mg / dl, your doctor may prescribe one of several statin drugs to combat this condition. In addition to drugs, your doctor may also prescribe a diet low in fat and high in Omega 3 fatty acids like the ones found in cold water fish.

Are there signs I should be looking for to indicate heart disease?

The most common symptom of heart disease or coronary artery disease is chest pain. This pressure or heaviness can also manifest itself in a burning sensation, or pain in your left arm. Other sensations commonly felt include shortness of breath especially while indulging in physical activity, as well as a faster heartbeat. Not to be confused with the rapid heartbeat associated with a good work out; these symptoms include more of an irregular heartbeat. What these symptoms are indicating is a possible clogging of the arteries leading to the heart.

What's happening and how do I combat this situation?

As mentioned, blocked arteries caused by high levels of (LDL), require action to clear the arms before the blockage reduces the blood circulating to the heat, resulting in a heart attack. Along with diet and prescription drugs, the properties contained in Omega 3 fish oil can be very helpful in reducing the amount of plaque buildup along the walls of the treaties. The fatty acids DHA and EPA found in cold water fish work to combat the fat in the blood stream. By acting as an all natural cleansing agent, Omega 3 fish oil removes the sticky waxy substance that makes up low density lipoprotein or LDL, and effectively helps to remove it from your cardio system.

Other benefits of Omega 3 that reduce the risk of heart disease

Another advantage of integrating Omega 3 fish oil into your diet is the benefit of helping to reduce blood pressure. Clinical evidence indicates that the fatty acids in Omega 3 increase good cholesterol in the system that is referred to as high density lipoprotein or HDL. This is the good cholesterol that helps flush out the (LDL) clumps in the blood that attach to the artery walls. High blood pressure is caused when the blood flow is restricted and the heart is working harder to pump blood through your coronary arteries. This situation can cause heart attack or stroke. By adding more Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet, you are in effect adding a lubricant to the super highway that makes up your coronary artery system.

Conclusion

Now that you know about preventive action that includes more Omega fish oil in your diet, in addition to any prescription drug regimen to fight high cholesterol, and keep the arteries clear, you can go a long way to prevent the development of heart disease. Take action today, and enjoy a healthy tomorrow.

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Pelvic Examination – The Procedure and the 3 Parts of the Examination

Pelvic Examination – The Procedure and the 3 Parts of the Examination Pelvic examination is a test perfumed on women to examine the pelvic and genital area of ​​the body. The areas that may be included are the vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, urinary bladder and rectum.

The exam can be diagnostic or therapeutic in nature.

A diagnostic test may be performed for various reasons like pain in the pelvic area, irregular menstrual cycle, excessive bleeding during menstruation and cramps in the lower body. Also, the routine check-ups that are performed by nurses or midwives are done so as to detect potential reproductive problems or cancer growths.

Although the vagina and pelvic regions are private parts and one might not be very comfortable getting the examination done, it might be reassuring to know that the procedure is simple, does not take much time and is seldom painful.

The procedure – Pelvic examination may be divided into three parts:

1. Outer examination

2. Speculum examination

3. Bimanual examination

In the first part of the test the examiner will view the external regions of the pelvic area. This will include the sexual organs – the clitoris, the major and minor labia and the vaginal opening. Additionally, the rectum will be inspected.

The second part of the inspection, the instrument called the speculum will be inserted into the vagina. The speculum is a thin metal or plastic instrument which is, slowly and gently, inserted into the vagina to open it so as to enable the examination of the cervix and interior regions. The cervix is ​​the connection between the vagina and the uterus. After this the Pap smear test is conducted. Some cells from the cervix are wiped away with a brush or tiny swab and studied in the laboratory.

The results of a routine check-up are often normal.

The third section will involve the manual insertion of fingers into the vaginal opening so that the examiner can feel the internals of your system. He / she will enter gloved fingers into the vagina to inspect the fallopian or ovarian tubes, the ovaries and the womb. The same procedure may be transported out through the anus to check the excretory system for signs of any ailment.

A simple way to 'get through' your test is to relax, breathe easy and be calm!

There are many online healthcare services , portals, forums, websites which have loads of information that can help you. So prepare for your test and take it confidently- there is no doubt that you will do well.

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Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is one of the most common major surgeries performed in the United States. This is a method of surgery that works to improve blood flow to the heart by creating alternate pathways around arteries that have become blocked or narrowed due to coronary artery disease. Without this surgery, oxygen and nutrients are generally not able to reach the heart in sufficient amounts which increases the patient's chances of experiencing a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 448,000 CABGs were performed in 2006. Three times as many men (323,000) as women (125,000) had this surgery.

Atherosclerosis is the primary reason for coronary artery bypass surgery. This is a condition where plaque builds up on the walls of the treaties. The passageways become narrow and the arteries themselves harden reducing flexibility. Accumulation of the plaque is usually due to high cholesterol levels and is aggravated by other conditions, such as high blood pressure, and unhealthy habits, like smoking. When a patient's arteries becomes sufficiently narrow enough to reduce the free flow of the blood supply to the heart (approximately 50% to 70%), the muscle becomes starved of oxygen which can lead to tissue damage.

Most patients experience chest pain when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. Typically, a doctor will recommend medication and lifestyle changes to bring the patient's atherosclerosis under control. However, if sufficient blockage occurs, the doctor may recommend coronary artery bypass surgery to improve blood flow and prevent further damage to the heart. The surgery takes approximately four hours and consist of the heart surgeon making an incision in the chest and sawing through the breastbone. Pulmonary bypass is established so that the heart can be stopped. The surgeon then drafts venous material, usually taken from the saphenous vein in the legs, around the blockage. One end is attached to the blocked vein and the other directly into the aorta.

The risks associated with coronary artery bypass surgery are fairly low. Approximately 4% die as a result of the surgery. The main cause of death is heart attack which occurs in 5% to 10% of patients during or after the bypass surgery. However, there are factors that increase your risk of experiencing complications. This includes age, diabetes, lung disease, chronic kidney failure, poor heart muscle function, and diseases that affect the left main coronary artery. It is best to consult with a knowledgeable medical professional to determine if this treatment option is best for you.

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How Lower Cholesterol Can Help the Heart – 3 Simple Steps For a Healthy Heart

Heart disease, often called cardiovascular disease, is generally talking about a condition that is caused by blocked blood vessels. When this happens it usually leads to chest pain, a stroke, or even a heart attack. Many people believe that if they know how to lower cholesterol it will keep their heart healthy, yet cholesterol is really needed by the body to function correctly.

Protecting our hearts means taking the time to eat the right foods and exercise. In fact this is important for our health in general, not just the heart. The heart, weighing around ten pounds, controls whether or not we even take our next breath. Nothing should be more important than making sure we are heart healthy.

Is there a connection with how lower cholesterol could help protect a person from heart disease? Yes, there is a connection, however cholesterol does not play the lead role.

Fatty foods have a tendency to raise cholesterol levels which can cause some health issues. When the arteries become narrow, the blood flow is restricted or even clogged up altogether. If enough blood, which carries oxygen, does not get to your heart you will experience chest pain.

There are two types of cholesterol in your body.

LDL – low-density lipoprotein
2. HDL – High-density lipoprotein

You may have heard before that LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. This is because it has very little protein in it, and contains high levels of cholesterol. The reason that HDL is not a problem is that it delivers lots of protein through the blood with very little cholesterol.

If your LDL is too high and you need to know how lower cholesterol can help, start by studying up on your diet and exercise. It is not always necessary to take medication to lower cholesterol and have a healthy heart.

How To Have A Healthy Heart?

1. Eat a diet of low fat foods that includes plenty of fruits, nuts, and fish. The omega-3 fatty acids from fish will be of great benefit to you. Supplements of omega-3 can be purchased, however you will not get the rest of the benefits you get when actually eating fish.

2. Do some form of exercise on a daily basis. If you do not have time to follow a regular exercise regimen everyday then follow these steps.

Always park your car at the far end of the parking lot at work, or when shopping, to get more walking done. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator when in a multi-floor building. Even taking the dog for a walk is good exercise. These three things will get you some exercise on the days you can not fit in a real session.

3. Everyone has bad habits of some kind, but if you are a heavy drinker, or smoker, then you are running the risk of heart disease. Telling you this is not to pass judgment in any way. It is a known fact that smoking leads to atherosclerosis, a build up of fat in the arteries, and too much alcohol rises triglycerides.

The beginning of a healthy life means taking care of yourself. The heart is not just an organ, it is the one thing that keeps us alive. This small muscle is a pump that is responsible for circulating oxygen, nutrients, and the blood needed to stay alive.

Do not wait any longer to see how proper lifestyle changes can increase your time on this earth. Start thinking heart healthy today so you will have a better tomorrow.

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Keeping Your Blood Pressure Manageable

It seems so silly as the doctor wraps that silly little cuff around our arm and blows it up until it cuts off the circulation in our arm but this very primitive device can also be one that can significantly affect the income of someone's life. As the American diet has been on the decline for many years and with the increase in both sugar and salt in the diet as well as the additional health problem of obesity, keeping an eye on your has never been so important.

Early adult years can handle eating fast food every day and if extreme obesity is not a issue they never seem to adjust their eating habits as the enter the middle and older stages of adulthood. This coupled with daily stresses that are adult related tend to elevate the from time to time. The smart adults find the time to exercise and diet and in some cases use medications to keep everything running normally.

If you really do not understand the significance of the dangers of high blood pressure, you can not understand the devastation it can cause in ones quality of life. Strenuous activity or a threatening situation will naturally increase, but should return to normal when resting to be normal. It is continues to be in the elevated status when resting, there is much more wear and tear placed on the blood vessels and the heart that will increase the activity of the tissues and other organs of the body to try and compensate for the abnormal behavior of the blood pressure.

This greater stress is then being felt throughout the body and as a result needs to be addressed or over time it can lead to more serious problems such as stroke and heart attack both of which tend to come on without warning. These issues are preventable when they stem from something like high that can be monitored and controlled using medicines.

You will be amazed at how important something as simple as monitoring your blood pressure will play relating health issues over time. You can know when there is a slight elevation in your blood pressure as well as when it is beginning to get out of control and affect your quality of living. Seek the advise and treatment of a doctor if the blood pressure becomes a real health threat. If you really enjoy taking care of yourself and not having to depend on anyone else for simple tasks like checking your blood pressure, you may consider purchasing you own blood pressure tools for convenience in familiar surroundings.

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Chalazion – The Eye Bump

A Chalazion is a cyst in the eyelid, medically known as a meibomian gland lipogranuloma. They are painless nodules and can become acutely inflamed, taking months to heal fully with treatment or years to heal without any complication. In laymen terms, it is a small bump, mostly on the upper eyelid, caused by blockage of a tiny oil gland.

A chalazion develops in the glands producing the fluid that lubricates the eye, known as Meibomian glands present in the count of hundreds, in the eye, located near the eyelashes. The chalazion is caused by the blockage of the duct that drains these glands.

The symptoms of having chalazia are sensitivity of light, increased drinking, eyelid tenderness and painful swelling on the eyelid. The eyelid is examined to confirm the diagnosis and in rare cases, the gland ducts are blocked by skin cancer, which may then lead to a biopsy.

The removal of chalazion can have many treatments and sometimes, it may disappear on its own. Primarily, warm compresses may be applied thrice a day which may soften the hardened oils blocking the duct and promote healing and drainage. If the chalazion gets bigger, it may be surgically removed; from underneath the eyelid so that the skin is not scarred. Antibiotic eye drops are used after the removal of chalazion and t may also be alternatively treated with steroid injection.

Although the complications are minimal, it may happen that a large chalazion can cause astigmatism because of the pressure on the cornea but it may get healed with treatment. It may happen that the cyst gets bigger larger than treatment or eyelash loss may occur. In such cases, further medication should be called for. People pronounce to chalazia should clean the eyelid area and the eyelashes to reduce clogging of the ducts.

Another option may be a laser eye surgery which consist of shaping the cornea but can lead to its deformation in the long run. Rucurring chalazia may be interpreted as a symptom of a cancer known as sebaceous cell carcinoma. The surgery is the last resort but it may cause blepharitis as surgeries are intrusive and known to damage healthy tissues. Here, it is always considered as the last resort.

With the advent of technology and internet revolution, there are new emerging ways for removal of chalazia and the developments that can be known with websites providing medical news. The new technologies also increasing focus on the safety of the procedure and minimize the complications.

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Reducing Cholesterol Is Not Enough

Never a day goes by nowadays without our being reminded of the need to reduce our cholesterol level. In the United Kingdom we are presented with this spread for our toast and that yoghurt to have with it each of which will lower our cholesterol as long as we have ourselves in our overall lifestyle. A new industry has sprung up based upon an obsession with cholesterol that is encouraged by orthodox medicine.

There is good reason to be concerned with cardiovascular health. It is estimated that 2.6 million people in the United Kingdom have coronary heart disease. Countless others are in the earlier stages but are not yet diagnosed. About a third of all deaths both in the United Kingdom and the United States are associated with cardiovascular disease mainly coronary heart disease and stroke. In the United States about a third of all adults over the age of 20 suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure). Although men are at greater risk than women we are told that in the United Kingdom slightly more women die of coronary heart disease than of cancer. That is not to belittle the scourge of cancer but the statistical demonstrates just how great is the threat of coronary heart disease in large parts of the Western world.

The body needs cholesterol

To read or listen to the advertisements emanating from the cholesterol lowering industry one could be forgiven for not realizing that our bodies naturally produce cholesterol because they need it to function properly. Doctors will tell you that there are two types of cholesterol commonly referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol. But that description of the two different types of cholesterol is also somewhat misleading because the body needs both.

There is unduly a benefit in lowering cholesterol levels especially in those who have other risk factors and establishing the optimum proportion of the so-called “good” cholesterol to the so-called “bad” cholesterol is even more significant for reasons that I summarize below . But all too often doctors will prescribe statins to reduce cholesterol levels and when they achieve that opportunity then in the absence of other problems such as diabetes or hypertension they will declare, “Job Done”. The problem is that the job has not been done as a new school of cardiology has begun to recognize despite unfortunately their thinking and approach is not yet mainstream.

To digress for a moment I would also criticize doctors who prescribe statins without also ensuring that their patients take CoenzymeQ10 daily. Usually referred to in its abbreviated form as CoQ10 this is a vitamin-like substance that reenergises heart cells. It is a naturally occurring component of the electron-transport chain that is essential to heart muscle function (as well as other organs with high energy needs such as the liver and kidney). Statins have a side-effect of depleting levels of CoQ10 and that can result in heart failure particularly in older patients. My clinic prescribes CoQ10 on a regular basis in such cases when doctors have neglected to do so. I will refer again to CoQ10 shortly but let me return to the subject of cholesterol.

The function of cholesterol

The liver produces the amount of cholesterol the body needs to carry out a number of functions including the construction of an essential membrane around our cells and the repair of damaged cells. The liver should regulate the production of cholesterol according to how much cholesterol we ingest from the foods that we eat. It used to be thought that eating too much cholesterol rich food, such as eggs, was bad for us. It is now understood that that is not so. Likewise, lean red meat is fine whilst fatty red meat is not.

Cholesterol is combined with protein to enable it to pass through our circulatory system. This combination is referred to as lipoprotein (from the Greek “lipos” for fat). The liver sends out low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol into our bloodstream in order to carry out essential functions including in clinical construction and repair. It is classified as LDL – low density – because it combines mainly fat and not much protein. It is LDL or so-called “bad” cholesterol that has to be kept in check but each of us would be in serious trouble if we did not have the amount of it that our body needs.

Excess LDL cholesterol in circulation including in excess of the needs of individual cells is or should be transported back to the liver by high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (to some extent oversimplify the process). HDL or so-called “good” cholesterol enterprises mainly protein and not much fat. The cholesterol transported back to the liver is converted into bile salt that serves in the breaking down of dietary fat in the small intestine as a final benefit before being excreted via the colon.

Where the true risk lies

What is of very real importance is the proportion of HDL to LDL cholesterol because if there is more LDL cholesterol than the HDL can transport there is a risk of excess LDL cholesterol remaining in the system and causing damage by becoming oxidized by free radicals. Although they sound as though they might be a political movement free radicals are in fact dangerous atoms within our metabolism that attack and damage enzymes and proteins inhibiting and distorting normal cellular function. They attack LDL particles causing them to become oxidised. When that occurs oxidized LDL attaches itself to arterial tissue that has already been damaged and become inflamed, and in turn joins blood clotting elements that together form plaque and worsen the inflammation of damaged artery walls. If the plaque becomes unstable it can break off and cause a heart attack or a stroke. The stability of the plaque is the most important factor and it is important to understand that it is the process of inflammation that causes the plaque to rupture. But relaxing and opening up blood vessels is also important in order to improve blood flow and reverse the effect of plaque. Here is the significance of L-Arginine to which I refer below.

Cholesterol alone is there not the problem. There are other factors at work and despite the most significant of these are:

  • Inflammation of the arterial tissue.
  • Oxidisation of LDL by free radicals.
  • Poor blood flow through constricted vessels.

Addressing the true risk factors

Without inflammation damage to the inner layer of the arterial walls even high levels of LDL would not pose a risk. Indeed, there are many patients with high levels of LDL cholesterol who live to a ripe old age. The process by which such damage occurs may not be fully understood but is associated with one or more of genetics, lifestyle (including smoking, lack of exercise, stress, poor diet, processed and micro-washed food, chemicals and preservatives in our food) , high blood pressure, elevated insulin and toxins in the environment in which we live.

Aloe Vera with its well know anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties is ideally suited over the longer term to defend against both the process by which arterial walls are damaged by inflammation and the oxidation of LDL cholesterol that is also liable for the formation of plaque as I have described above. Aloe Vera Gel drunk on a daily basis will provide a level of long term protection against such damage provided the Gel is processed to reserve the Aloe Vera in the purest form.

CoQ10 and L-Arginine

CoQ10 also has a protective influence. It circulates within the LDL preventing the oxidation by free radicals. It has the added benefit of increasing blood flow. Its importance for cardiovascular health can not be underestimated. For some it is literally a life saver.

Equally important is L-Arginine, sometimes referred to as the “Miracle Molecule”. L-Arginine is an amino acid that the body needs to produce adequate amounts of nitric oxide which in turn is vital to cardiovascular health. The nitric oxide produced from L-Arginine relaxes and dilates the body's blood vessels which facilitates greater blood flow. In terms of cardiovascular health there can be nothing that is more important than that. Further, L-Arginine is credited by the new school of cardiologists with an ability to block LDL oxidation by supplying an antioxidant effect. That is crucial for the reasons I have described above. Although this amino acid is available in nuts, meat, poultry, dairy products and fish, supplementation with L-Arginine is often required for a number of reasons. The first is the unfortunate deficiency of nutritional value in so much of the food consumed in Western society. Secondly, we make less nitric oxide as we get older. Thirdly, it is thought that those who suffer from type 2 diabetes which is on the rise have a lower conversion of L-Arginine to nitric oxide. They therefore need more L-Arginine than can be gained from food sources as do those already suffering from hardening of the arteries or to give the condition its technical name, atherosclerosis.

The American cardiologists, Drs Stephen Sinatra and James Roberts, in their groundbreaking book ” Reverse Heart Disease Now” have this important message for all of us who are concerned about cardiovascular health:

L-Arginine has value for the whole gamut of atherosclerosis-from early signs such as high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction to advanced cardiac events. We feel it offers promise for plaque stabilization and reversal. It is inexpensive and nontoxic.

There is an exciting new product on the market that takes this recommendation to a new level by adding to an appropriate daily dose of L-Arginine a variety of key vitamins plus pomegranate, well known for its strong antioxidant properties (I have already explained why that is so important), red wine extract to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and grape skin for cardiovascular and immune system health and berries that help neutralize free radicals (again I have already explained the significance of that).

Please feel free to contact me for further information.

Your heart will thank you for taking L-Arginine and CoQ10 on a daily basis.

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Improved Heart Health – One Of The Benefits of Apples

There's a new study that supports an age-old saying … eating an apple a day is good for you, helping to lower heart disease risk factors. The benefits of apples seem to be a reduction of cholesterol levels and a pair of other key marks that are linked with the formation of plaque and inflammation of artery walls.

While we've all heard that apples are good for us … researchers can not rest until they know precisely why this is. What particular substances might be locked inside that perfect package? Might we find it in other foods as well?

The latest study on apples registered 160 female subjects (45-65 years old) andave them either serving (75g) of discharged apples or dried prunes each day. The participants underwent blood tests to check for indicators of heart health at the 3-month, 6-month and 1 year point in the study.

At the end, the apple eating women saw total cholesterol fall by 14% on average, with LDL cholesterol going down by an average 23%. What's more, levels of a chemical that's part of the formation of plaques that clog the heart along with C-reactive protein, a well-known marker for inflammation both dropped by almost a third. The subjects eating apples even lost weight, about 3.3 pounds during the study period.

For our prune lovers out there … these women also saw some reduction in the heart health marks, but not nearly as much as the apple eaters did.

The apple's effect on bad (LDL) cholesterol was a particular surprise. By six months the apple-eating subjects were seeing a benefit. Apples, along with apple juice, have both shown us incredible benefits from the active components apples come by naturally.

A meta-analysis has also been done on 80 studies published after 2005 that make some pretty impressive claims on the benefits that an apple a day can bring. There's evidence that the tasty, crunchy fruit helps regulate blood sugar, control your appetite, safeguard the lungs and even protect the body from cancer.

So what's behind the apple's amazing benefits?

Apples are full of a soluble fiber called pectin, that blocks cholesterol absorption during digestion and pushes the body to metabolize (and not store) the waxy substance. The peels are also full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that works to prevent damage to cells from free radicals.

The benefits of apples can be achieved by eating any color or variety, so long as you eat the whole fruit, skin and all. Natural sources of nutrients are always better than supplements or components, such as dried fruit in prepared packages. The whole has been proven, time and again, to be better. So no peeling. Seems like high time more of us recognized the truth behind the apple a day expression and made the healthy crunch part of our next snack.

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Reduce Triglycerides With Simple Changes

If you take real steps to change your lifestyle and eat a healthy diet, research has shown that you really can reduce triglycerides. Triglycerides are a form of blood fat associated with blood vessel and heart problems, as well as other diseases. You can lower them by …

1. Swapping saturated fats for unhealthy unsaturated dietary fats.

2. Choosing veggies and fruits that have less fructose; like cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas, peaches and grapefruit.

3. Exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes of moderate level activity most days, for a total of two and half hours a week. This alone can bring down triglycerides by 20-30%.

4. Losing weight, cutting the calories day in, day out and burning more than you take in will help you drop those pounds.

These changes can cut triglycerides by between 20% and 50%. That's good news, showing us all that making the hard, lifestyle changes can have a real impact. Research has demonstrated that triglycerides are very responsive to what we eat, how much weight we drop and regular exercise.

The experts suggest that for those above the normal (150) triglyceride levels, you should make regular efforts to …

– Limit added sugar to no more than 5-10% of your daily calories. This can be tricky, as added sugars are not listed in the Nutrition Facts of packaged foods. Watch out for sugar sweetened drinks too.

– Limit fructose from processed and natural sources to under 50-100 grams a day.

– Limit saturated fat to below 7% of total daily calories, trans fats to under 1% of total daily calories.

– Limit alcohol, especially if your triglyceride number is over 500 mg per deciliter.

Triglycerides act as a barometer of overall metabolic health. If you have numbers between 100 to 199 you need to think seriously about your risk factors and the very real need to be eating less, eating more healthy and getting active regularly.

Triglycerides are different from other high cholesterol indicators, where lifestyle can help but might not be enough of a solution.

Your doctor can test your triglycerides very easily. You'll supply a blood sample after fasting for 12 hours. This is a good initial screen according to researchers. A reading between 100 to 150 is ideal, anything higher represent the elevated triglyceride levels that are so common in the US – almost 31% of us have levels over 150 mg per deciliter.

Just as diabetes and obesity are happening earlier, the researchers find it troublesome that triglycerides are also on the rise in adults between the ages of 20 and 49. Something to think about should concern you need to reduce triglycerides.

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Omega 3 Fish Oil and HDL Cholesterol: The Answers to Better Heart Health

Not all cholesterol is created equal. The term cholesterol is synonymous with bad health. When the term is discussed, it's always in a negative connotation, usually describing someone who has just suffered a debilitating stroke or heart attack. Most folks leave it right there, and do not want to know any more about the subject. However, knowing that there are indeed different types of cholesterol is important in order to monitor and maintain one's health.

How do I maintain good heart health?

The standard answers may sound warn, but they do bear repeating for anyone who finds themselves in the situation of deteriorating heart health. If you know a person who has heart issues, chances are that part of the problem can be traced to (LDL) or low density lipoprotein in the blood. The higher the number, generally above 200 on a blood panel, the more pronone the person is to heart damage or stroke. (LDL) or the bad cholesterol is the waxy sticky substance that is formed by the digestive system. This sticky by-product primarily results from what we eat. In addition, other causes of high (LDL) can come from your own liver. Stress has also been identified as a cause for excess (LDL) in the blood. The best way to control this problem is a diet low in saturated fat. In addition, quitting smoking and exercise is also important for raising your good cholesterol.

Does Omega 3 fish oil boost good cholesterol?

The good cholesterol that the body produces is known as (HDL) or high density Lipoprotein. What most people miss in the overall cholesterol discussion is that there are two types of cholesterol for a reason. Raising your good cholesterol through the intake of fatty acids like DHA and EPA, which are found in cold water fish, serves to counter act the effects of bad cholesterol. Fish oil has been clinically proven to raise your (HDL) levels up to eight percent according to studies conducted at the University of Milano.
So, what does HDL actually do?

High density lipoprotein acts as the cleaning crew in the arteries that run through the human body. As the particles of (HDL) travel through the arteries, they attach to the sticky particles of (LDL) and remove them from the artery walls. For those who have low levels of (HDL), there is an increased chance of stroke or heart attack. Omega 3 fish oil boosts the levels of (HDL) in the body resulting in less chance for coronary damage. According to the American Heart Association, adults with a level of (HDL) below 40 mg / dl are at risk of developing coronary heart disease. Keeping a (HDL) level above 40, and closer to 60 mg / dl is considered optimal.

Other types of Omega 3 that help raise HDL Levels

In addition to Omega 3 fish oil, other types of foods contain Omega 3 fats known as alpha linolenic-acid. Flax seeds contain this fatty acid and have been proven to work at elevating (HDL) levels as well. Flax seeds however, do not contain the fatty acids DHA or EPA, which are found in cold water fish like tuna or mackerel. For those who do not care for fish as a part of their diet, but want to take advantage of the benefits provided by Omega 3 fish oil, there are fish oil supplements available on the market. When making a purchase of fish oil, make sure to check the contents to be sure that there are high levels of the fatty acids, EPA, and DHA.

Take away

Now that you know the difference between bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL), you can be proactive in taking care of your heart by boosting your good cholesterol using Omega 3 fatty acids. To your good health!

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Healthy Diet and Weight Loss Tips – Why Eating Less Red Meat Is Better For a Healthy Heart!

We all know how important diet is for our heart, or at least we should know. We get bombarded with enough information about it. However, how much attention do we pay to it? And do we take it seriously? More than probably not. But it is important that we understand there are some simple things that we can do to help improve the diet we are on to help keep our hearts healthy. Once really easy way is to simply cut down on the red meat we eat. Do not cringe at that, this is not to say you have to put down that knife and fork and banish that delicious steak completely from your life. All you have to do is just cut back on it and do not eat it as often as you may do right now.

When fixing a meal try to remember that the meat should not be the star of your meal. Simply change the way that you use your red meat. You should consider it more of a complement to your veggies and fruits and not the other way around. When you decide to eat red meat simply make it only fill about of of your plate and then fill the rest of your plate with other things.

Add color to your meals. The rest of your plate when you are eating red meat should be filled with color cooked to you by lots of fresh or steamed vegetables. Try to combine a variety of different attractive colors to the dinner plate. This is going to make your meal more attractive to the eye and it also will ensure that you are getting all of the right nutrients that you need. Make sure that you try to include veggies and fruits on your plate at both lunch and dinner.

Do not forget to add some whole grains to your plate as well and that does not mean a slice of whole wheat bread with butter. No, it's more like adding something like couscous, whole wheat pasta, or some brown rice. Although bread can be added you do not want to go overboard on it either.

Do not forget that you do need protein for your body to function well, but try using other high quality proteins more often over the red meats. So consider picking things like pork, chicken, fish, beans and even veggie burgers. Today's veggie burgers are far better than they were when they first came out.

You should also learn to cook your vegetables and other meats in different ways instead of always cooking them the same way each time. Consider investing a few dollars in some new cookbooks that are focused on heart healthy cooking. You'll find there are tons of cookbooks out there to help make your meal planning fun and a lot easier.

Final Note: Whatever you do, do not cut out red meat all at once, in other words do not go cold turkey, especially if you are planning on cutting it out forever. Cut back slowly and gradually add more vegetables and fruits at the same time. Much easier on you and your body.

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Dieting and Weight Loss Tips – Setting Up A Diet Plan for Those With Heart Disease

If you have heart disease you probably already know that you should be on what's called a heart healthy diet and that it focuses on heart healthy foods. But, you do not have to wait till you have heart disease to be on this kind of a diet. In fact if you get one right now, you should be able to avoid developing heart disease. Below is an example of what a heart healthy diet should look like.

When you have breakfast you should try to eat cereal that is high in fiber. If you have 1 c cups of oatmeal, you will receive 6 g of the soluble fiber that your body needs to help remove the harmful cholesterol from your body that otherwise might collect on the walls of your arms. If you add some sliced ​​banana to it you'll be getting another three to four grams of fiber. It's recommended that you get at least 10 g of soluble fiber in your diet on a daily basis.

You should include in your diet a mid-morning snack and that should consist of eating fresh fruits or veggies. These are both high in fiber that you need as well as antioxidants and these will give your body the nutrients you need that those foods from the vending machines are generally lacing. So if you are working you should take a bag that has fresh fruits and vegetables in it for your snacks at work or have a supply of them at home if you do not leave the home for work.

You can also have whole grain crackers with some slices of low fat cheese of your choice. You can also consider getting some almond butter and use it as a spread for celery sticks. Hummus is also something else that is good and can be spread on some whole grain pita bread if you want. Adding some peanut butter or almond butter on some apple slices is also a good mid-morning snack.

At lunch time you might want to eat two cups of a homemade soup that is made with beans or lentils, both of these will provide some extra fiber in your diet and they are also a good source of low fat protein. Minestrone is a good soup as well and it gives you some extra oxidants as well as fiber and is low in calories. Eat with some whole grain pita bread, or even some cornbread.

If you do not like soup than take some albacore tuna and add some low fat mayo along with some Italian seasoning and then use it as a spread for some whole grain bread. This will give you the omega3 fatty acids your body needs.

You should also include a mid-afternoon snack in your diet. You need to avoid those late afternoon blues by avoiding the high sugar or high caffeine wines to give you a boost and go for some sort of snack that is high in protein. This could be a handful of nuts like pistachios, almonds or some walnuts. You could also include with that snack some fruit like a pear or nectarine. You can also again add an apple with some peanut butter or almond butter spread on the slices. A fruit smoothie made with fresh fruit and low fat yogurt is another good mid-afternoon snack.

You should try to have your main dish for your dinner to be high in omega3 fatty acids. You do not have to do this every day but at least three times a day and a good one for that would salmon because it lowers the bad cholesterol in your body. Other fish that is good for doing this would be mackerel, trout, sardines, tuna and herring. Foods with soy are also good for a heart healthy diet.

You should try and steam your vegetables and have them often as your side dishes. A good mixture would have broccoli, cauliflower, carrots along with some onions. You can sprinkle them with some Italian seasoning just before serving them and mix well. You can also have an occasional baked potato and try using the non-fat yogurt as a topping instead of sour cream.

This is just a sample of what a heart healthy diet plan might look like. There are plenty of resources out there that can give you hundreds of different recipes and ideas on how to make this kind of diet plan not only healthy but versatile and fun to eat.

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