Keeping Heart Attack at Bay

Confusions and ballyhoos are bound to happen in everyone's life, because of some unforeseen happenings; many a time these occurrences that surfaces out of the blue will make all individuals highly anguished and nervous, and that is quite natural also, because, in spite of everything, we are all puny mortals! Falling as a prey to heart attack is one of those specific state of affairs, when not only the suffering individual, but also all of his or her close relatives will be put to trial to a great extent. In fact, that kind of an ordeal will be really painful, and it is a fact that every person will wish to avoid such a dismal state. Connoisseurs on the subject matter are of the opinion that when lifestyle change can be effectively introduced into the overall behavioral patterns, one will be able to keep the threat of heart attack at bay.

Lifestyle change will also make a whole lot of upbeat physical and mental improvements to all heart attack sufferers, and for sure they will be able to carry on with life fairly comfortably, for quite long periods. For drafting an effectual and customized lifestyle change method, it is always advisable to consult your doctor. Some basic lifestyle change factors, which will be extremely effective for all heart attack patients, are as follows:

  • If you are a smoker, then immediately discontinue that habit. Smoking is, by all means, an unhealthy habit; you must put an end to it without more ado. Same is the case with alcohol habit, stop it altogether or control it to minimum; it should be added that stopping is the best bet.
  • Find out and stick on to a good diet system. You can consult your doctor or dietician for getting a perfect picture regarding the structure of your diet. Some of the foods you can try are various vegetables, fruits, fiber content foods, whole-grains, fish, low kinds of protein and fat-free dairy products.
  • Regularly check your blood cholesterol level and blood-pressure. If there are variations, consult your physician and abide by his or her advices. In the same way, conduct period check for making sure that you are not a diabetic patient.
  • Always try to maintain your bodyweight to advisable standards. Check with your physician for comprehending your desirable bodyweight, and put all efforts for maintaining it at those levels.
  • Control your anxieties and related stress. This is a very important issue. Modern medical theories point out that various kinds of tensions and pressures are the extremely detrimental.

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It Is Not Red Wine But the Resveratrol Within It That Is Healthy for the Heart

Medical practitioners believe that having a glass of red wine every day can keep an individual away from problems of the heart. This has led to the growing belief that red wine has medicinal properties, which contribute to the better condition of the heart. This is a belief which is wrong because it is not the wine that is healthy, but it is the antioxidant within which is known as resveratrol that contributes in keeping the heart healthy. This news could sound good for a number of people who may prefer to have a glass of wine every evening. However, people must be warned that in order to get the required dosage of resveratrol they will need to have at least 60 L of wine per day. This would be an impossible task because of the quantity to be had and the costs that will be involved. Moreover, medical practitioners too would not want to ask patients to consume any type of alcohol.

Researchers believe that resveratrol could have the key ingredient within red wine, which can help prevent damage to blood vessels and reduce LDL cholesterol, which creates clots in the arteries. Research on how this antioxidant can help improve heart conditions has been carried out on animals. Human testing has still not begun, and therefore, the information provided can not be deemed as conclusive. However, researchers not aware that the animals which were used during testing showed a reduced risk of inflammation and clotting of the blood, both of which are known to be causes of heart disease.

As mentioned earlier it would be impossible for an individual to consume large quantities of red wine because it would be totally cost prohibitive. However, after going through the information available people may still want to find the antioxidant in order to achieve the objective of having better health of the heart. In such cases, people can look forward to having health supplements, which are rich in resveratrol.

Today, there are various products available in the market which promotes resveratrol as the ultimate supplement which can leave an individual not just with better health conditions of the heart but also promote health of the eyes and may help the ability of the body to age slowly. Therefore, people who can not afford the quantity of wine required can definitely choose supplements that are available and make an attempt to stay away from heart diseases forever.

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Why Resveratrol Is Considered Good for the Heart

Resveratrol is an ingredient extracted from grape seeds and is normally found in good quantities in red wine, which is made from grapes. This is known as an antioxidant which provides better heart health to an individual. What is it that makes this component healthy for the heart? Let us look at what researchers have to say about this ingredient.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant which has been discovered poorly and is classified as a phytoalexin. This is a component which helps plants to defend themselves from weather, microbes and insects. New research conducted indications that resveratrol may have a protective effect on humans which is similar to the one spoken above. It can help boost the immune function of the body, improve cardiovascular health and minimize damages caused environmental stress. Humans that consume this ingredient allow several things to take place within their body, which proves beneficial. Perhaps the most important among all is the minimizing of problems that are related to oxidation, which is also known as a slowing down of the aging process because there is less damage to the cells of the body. The result is better functionality of the cells which in turn provide the body with many benefits.

It also has the ability to support the immune system. This is an antioxidant which has the capability of destroying free radicals within the body. These are known as chemical byproducts, which are produced at any time when there is an activity within a living organism.

It is a known fact that a few free radicals can improve the immunity of the body while too many will prove to be a deterrent, especially for the cardiovascular system. Information is now available that this component can neutralize the free radicals which can cause problems that are generally faced by humans.

In a report published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 it has been stated that resveratrol may be helpful for the health of the heart. The study revealed that consuming this component regularly could increase the number of endothelial progenitor cells which in turn promotes dilation of blood vessels. The research conducted only provided confirmation that resveratrol was indeed a requirement of the body which could no longer be ignored. It not only gives individuals an opportunity to lead a life without problems of the heart but also made them immune from certain other ailments, which required medical attention from time to time.

After going through the information provided in this discussion, people may wonder as to how they will be able to get the resveratrol required to benefit from its medicinal properties. They can either think about having a glass of red wine every day understanding full well that it will not provide them the best of help or choose to have supplements of this component, which will definitely lead them towards better health.

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An Analysis – Lutein Zeaxanthin and Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AREDS 2 has been long-awaited. AREDS 1 demonstrated decreased progress of AMD with the administration of high dose antioxidants and minerals. There were problems with AREDS 1 though; beta carotene was used whereas lutein and zeaxanthin were not. High dose zinc appeared to increase hospitals for GI and GU disorders. The omega-3s DHA and EPA were omitted. In response to these shortcomings, AREDS 2 was established. Now the results are in. Unfortunately the trial raises more questions than it answers. Here are the issues.

• Although it is called a “placebo controlled” trial, there is no placebo arm. Everyone in the placebo group was offered the AREDS 1 formula as a base. Nearly everyone took it. This confounds results.

• The use of prior supplementation with omega-3s and carotenoids was not controlled for. As baseline blood levels for lutein, zeaxanthin, DHA, and EPA were higher than normal, the participants were likely a high use of prior supplementation. This confounds results.

• The omega-3s chosen were 350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA, yet DHA is known to be a necessary structural element in the macula whereas EPA is thought to be the precursor for signaling molecules that might be important for the eye. DHA is a known quantity; EPA has hypothetical value.

• The study was allegedly complex: Two tiers of randomization occurred in this 2×2 factorial trial. Patient groups included: (1). Placebo – actually on AREDS 1 formula. (2). AREDS 1 + EPA / DHA. (3). AREDS 1 + lutein / zeaxanthin. (4). AREDS 1 + EPA / DHA / lutein / zeaxanthin. (5). AREDS 1 + 25 mg Zn (not 80 mg). (6). AREDS 1 – beta carotene. (7). AREDS1 with 25 mg Zn and no beta carotene. Such a complex study design created a great deal of difficulty in understanding the findings. In the authors' own words, “complicated design involving a secondary randomization which may have affected our ability to evaluate the role of adding lutein + zeaxanthin and DHA + EPA to the AREDS formula”. This unfortunately is the crux of the trial.
Introducing doubt in the primary objective of the study is “study suicide” in my view.

• 30% of participants opted to not undergo the secondary randomization and among those who did decide to move forward, women and highly educated participants did so at a significantly higher rate. This confounds the results.

• 13% of participants stopped their supplies during the trial. As this was an Intention to Treat study, they remained in the trial even though they were “off drug”.

• 14% of participants admitted to taking lutein / zeaxanthin / DHA / EPA during the trial even though they were not supposed to do so. This confused the results.

• Only 84% of participants took greater than 75% of their pills.

• A small portion of patients had blood tests of studied supplements. There was a 200% increase in lutein / zeaxanthin and a 105% increase in EPA, but because of the low dose of DHA there was only a 35% increase in its level.

• Beta carotene lowered the effect of lutein, providing the negative interaction between these two carotenoids. This was unexpected by the authors. They stated, “In this analysis we assumed there would be little interaction between the various nutrients used.” To me, this statement is disturbing; this is a nutrient trial. Interactions between nutrients are inevitable and must be considered in such a trial design. This is one of the fatal flaws of the trial.

• Beta carotene increased lung cancer. This was previously understood but reconfirmed. In fact, 91% of lung cancer cases occurred in patients taking the standard AREDS formula. Although the patients were formerly smokers, they were not current smokers. In my view this negates the use of the standard AREDS formula in anyone with a history of smoking.

• Low dose zinc and the absence of beta carotene did not diminish efficacy of the formula. This demonstrates that low dose Zn and no beta carotene are preferred.

• Lutein / Zeaxanthin did demonstrate less AMD progress compared to the AREDS 1 formula.

In sum, AREDS 2 was a wonderful concept that was poorly implemented. The take-home message from the trial: Do not use beta carotene; use lutein and zeaxanthin; low dose zinc is optimal; efficiency of omega-s remains unanswered. Interestingly, the May, 2013 issue of JAMA Ophthalmology included the LUTEGA trial in which DHA and lutein / zeaxanthin were found to be beneficial in AMD. LUTEGA used DHA in a dose 3x that of EPA, the relationship that probably should have been used in AREDS 2. One final note, meso-zeaxanthin was not studied in either trial. Based upon our current understanding of pathophysiology and biology meso-zeaxanthin should be included in an AMD formulation. Please visit http://preventivecardiologyinc.com for more information.

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How Is a Heart Attack Diagnosed?

A heart attack may be caused by a sudden blockage of the coronary artery. A heart attack can be deadly, but prevented. Knowing the risk factors and detecting the early warning signs can greatly impact survival. Another name for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction.

Physical Examination

A cardiologist will assess the symptoms and conduct a thorough evaluation. The skin color will be examined, pulse and heart rate checked, heart rhythm and regularity assessed, and blood pressure monitored. Your doctor will collect all of the pertinent information and move forward with blood tests.

Lab Tests

A blood analysis is needed to identify risk factors related to coronary artery disease. If there is a presence of particular proteins that affect clotting, precautionary measures are taken. Lipid blood tests and enzyme and protein tests are conducted in the lab. Your doctor will receive the result of your blood tests for review and diagnosis.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests may be required so that the doctor can get a clear view of the heart and electrical impulses affecting the heart rate. Echocardiograms reveal images of the heart valves and chambers to show the pumping activity. Electrocardiograms measure the electrical activity of the heart through the use of electrodes attached to various parts of the body. Blood flow is assessed as well as any heat abnormalities associated with a heart attack.

Other imaging tests may include a stress test or exercise stress test, radiographic tests of the heart and nuclear imaging as needed.

Invasive Exams

Cardiac catheterization can be used to capture images of the heart and blood stream activities when a material is injected into the circulatory system. The current situation of the heart can be assessed and future treatment determined.

In some cases an intravascular ultrasound may be required for assessment of the heart. High frequency sound waves are used to reveal a cross section of the artery walls, including the interior layers. A sound probe is used, as it is placed through the coronary arteries for assessment.

If you suspect a heart attack or are at risk of having a heart attack, you should see your heart doctor right away for assessment. A timely diagnosis can save your life. Your cardiologist can determine the most effective treatment based on the symptoms you report and the diagnosis of the problem. In some cases, a heart attack may be brought on by heart problems and conditions that can be prevented.

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Five Food Groups Not Normally Associated With Preparing Healthy Meals

Here is a different take on preparing healthy meals for you and your family.

Our bodies are complex organic machines which can more than comfortably handle fats, carbohydrates, protein and anything else you might once have thought to be “unhealthy”, as long as we do not continuously barrage our bodies with heavily processed foods containing ingredients which act as toxins in our bodies.

It is only in very recent times that doctors have started to learn this research and start to encourage their patients to more healthy meals containing much less of this one core ingredient, which is eaten by almost everyone, every day, without even realizing it.

So what is this critical ingredient?

Sugar – more specifically, Fructose which makes up approximately half of sugar as we know it.

Sugar is in basic terms 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose, and while Glucose is fine, the Fructose is now known to be a toxin in our systems.

So, while we have been diligently preparing what we have believed to be nutritionally balanced and healthy meals for our families, what we have been quite oblivious to is sugar is contained in just about every processed food and condiment we place in front of our families daily.

Take Tomato and BBQ sauce – Eaten almost daily. These sauces contain more sugar than a can of soft drink, and that is way more than we need or our bodies can handle.

The challenge of creating healthy meals which contain minimal sugar but still taste great.

As mentioned in the title of this article, there are five core food groups we can turn to as a great starting points for creating delicious healthy meals the whole family will love. There are some basic foods you will also need to avoid if you are to create meals which are really healthy, particularly for our kids.

Good foods which have no or low Fructose are:

  • Full fat dairy products:

Milk, cream, cheeses, yoghurt and butter all contain Lactose, a form of sugar which we have no trouble metabolizing and is not “bad” for us. Just do not add flavorings (eg; flavored milk or yoghurt) as the flavors contain fructose.

  • All meats :

Lamb, Pork, Beef, and all Game meats are fine as are Fish, Chicken Turkey, and Game birds. None contain fructose, and while lean is good, do not panic about removing all the fat, as our bodies are comfortable with “managing” these types of fats.

  • Vegetables:

Most vegetables are low in Fructose and are great natural sources of natural vitamins and minerals and go perfectly with the foods mentioned above. Vegetables are a great healthy snack when eaten raw as well, so start encouraging your kids to eat vegetable “snacks” instead of heading straight to the pantry.

  • Eggs:

Eggs are a great source of protein and since what we may have been told, are a healthy ingredient in any form.

  • Water:

No surprise here, but all too often our kids head straight for juices or sweet fizzy drinks which are loaded with sugar, so try changing to drinking water or milk with your meals.

So in a nutshell, the best and most healthy meals will contain some or all of the foods groups noted above. A good basic rule to work to is “if it tastes sweet, it most likely contains sugar, so avoid it if you can”.

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EKG Test – What Are Some of Your Other Options?

Are you curious what your options are when it comes to getting your heart checked? The EKG is just one tool used for heart healthiness. There are other devices and tests that may be used beyond the standard EKG in the event it does not provide sufficient analysis. These devices are small and may be transported by the patient during their normal daily activity. For example, two devices are the Holter Monitor and the Event Recorder.

Holter Monitor

A Holter monitor (also known as an ambulatory EKG) is a machine that continuously records a patient's heart rhythms, usually over a 24-48 hour period. Electrodes (small conductive patches) are applied to your chest and a small recording monitor. You then carry the monitor in a pocket or around your neck or waist during the test period.

During the test, you will keep track of activities performed and how they feel. At the end of the 24-48 hour period, you return the monitor to the doctor's office.

The Holter monitor is used to see how the heart responds to normal activity, not just during the EKG at the doctor's office. It is also used after major events such as a heart attack or to diagnose heart rhythm problems.

Event Recorder

If you have symptoms that do not occur very often, sometimes an event recorder would work for you in addition to the ekg test. The device is similar to a Holter monitor but it allows on-demand recording. So, when you realize the symptoms are occurring, you can push a button to record the event, and selectively send to the doctor for analysis.

Some event recorders are able to detect symptoms occurring and automatically starting recording. Event recorders are smaller than Holter monitors as they do not need to store as much data.

Stress Test

Sometimes you need to break a little sweat before you start to experience symptoms. For these situations you could have a Stress Test. During the stress test, electrodes are attached to your chest and are monitored as you perform some level of exercise, usually on a treadmill. If your are unable to perform the exercise, there is also medication that may be administered to mimic the effect of exercise.

The stress test is used to detect problems such as abnormal changes in your heart rate or blood pressure, shortness of breath or chest pain, and abnormal heart rhythm or electrical activity.

There you have it. Multiple tests and devices that may be used to check how healthy your heart may be. Always check with your physician when looking at options to explore your heart's health.

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How to Control Your Heart Rate for a Performance

A fast heartbeat is defined as a heart rate that is faster than normal. The heart normally beats fewer than 100 times per minute in adults. In children, the heart can beat slightly faster than 100 times per minute and still be considered normal. At rest, a person's heart rate usually stays within a standard range. This range is usually 50 to 100 times per minute in adults and slightly faster in children. With increased physical activity, stress, or other conditions, however, the rate may increase above the normal level.

Sometimes a high rate is due to excessive physical activity, while other times it can be due to panic, stress or anxiety. To truly measure your heart rate, one must analyze his or her results while at a relaxed, resting state. Anything over 100 beats per minute consistently is considered as having a high heart rate (tachycardia).

Although moderately harmless sometimes, tachycardia can cause the heart rate in the upper or lower chambers to increase. When this happens, your heart is not able to efficiently pump blood to your body. Lack of oxygen to your body can cause dizziness, light headedness, chest pain or false. A person with a rapid heartbeat may have no symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur, they may include palpitations, or an unusual awareness of the heartbeat, excessive sweating, fatigue or weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, lightheadedness or dizziness, and fainting.

Tachycardia can be caused by several factors:

• Heart conditions – heart related conditions such as high blood pressure and poor blood supply to the heart muscle due to coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, heart failure, heart muscle disease, tumors or infections.

• Health conditions – Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and emphysema and other lung diseases.

• Stimulants – drinking large amounts of alcoholic or caffeine beverages, smoking cigarettes, and abuse of recreational drugs.

• Other – abnormal electrical pathways caused by a genetic defect at birth, electrolyte imbalances in the body (too little potassium, calcium, sodium and other minerals), and side effects of heart medications.

Prevention is related to the cause. Many cases can not be prevented. In most people, regular exercise is advised even though it causes a rapid heartbeat. In this case, prevention is not an issue. Avoidance of cocaine or alcohol can prevent cases from these drugs. Getting enough fluids can prevent many cases due to dehydration. If you see a consistent high heart rate, it may be time to look into a professional analysis. Contact your doctor about your heart rate to find the best solution that works for you. The speed of the heartbeat usually can be measured by checking the pulse or listening to the heartbeat with a stethoscope. A test that measures the electrical activity of the heart, called an electrocardiogram or ECG, can also be used to measure the heart rate.

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H Pylori Infections Cause Heart Disease – Part Two

Welcome back to this article series on how H. pylori infection is believed to cause, or at least contribute to, heart disease in some people.

This is the second article in the series – if you have not yet read article one, I highly recommend you do so.

Traditional Heart Disease Risk Factors

In the previous article we briefly touched on traditional or classic cardiovascular disease risk factors. These are the risk factors considered by mainstream medicine to be most important in the development of heart disease and stroke.

They include family history, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, eating saturated fat, lack of exercise and type II diabetes.

Smoking
There's no question smoking is a major problem, not only in heart disease but also lung cancer and other serious conditions.

Genetics
Family history plays a role, but not to the degree it's promoted (there's more on this in my book, but it's too complex to discuss here).

Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Type II Diabetes, etc.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes and obesity are consequences. They all happen for a reason. As such, while they are definitely risk factors, they are not the root cause of heart disease, per se.

Whilst heart disease is more common in people with high blood pressure, type II diabetes and obesity, these conditions are themselves the end result of processes in the body that are triggered by other things.

In order to prevent heart disease we bought to be looking at the reasons why people have high blood pressure, type II diabetes and high cholesterol in the first place.

Saturated Fat
Eating more saturated fat does not cause elevations in cholesterol and it does not cause heart disease. The notion that consuming more saturated fat and cholesterol is a complete myth and will be discussed later in the article series. I'll show you the research that blows the theory out of the water.

It's actually the golden vegetable oils and margarines that cause heart disease. The work of Dr. Ray Peat will interest you if you want to learn more about this controversial topic.

Modern Risk Factors They Do not Tell You About

Again, in article one, you learned that around half of all people with heart disease do not have any of the above traditional risk factors. This being the case, what actually causes their heart disease?

The answer is not clear-cut.

On the one hand, we have all the traditional risk factors that are said to contribute to heart disease – family history, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, etc.

On the other hand hand, we have some of the less well-known, non-traditional risk factors – homocysteine, fibrinogen, c-reactive protein, chronic inflammation, oxidative stress. These are of particular interest.

Enter our friend H. pylori.

Research clearly shows that H. pylori infections influence a large number of risk factors. In fact, H. pylori has a direct or indirect impact on at least 12 of the 21 risk factors listed in a risk factor diagram I found at a leading medical website.

I've read multiple studies showing that H. pylori infections play a role in:

Diabetes (type II)
Hypertension / high blood pressure
Dyslipidemia (a fancy term for blood cholesterol and fat levels / metabolism)
Lipoprotein-a
Chronic inflammation
CRP
Oxidative stress
Antioxidant status
Metabolic syndrome
Homocysteine
Microproteinuria

I'll present a few of these studies as we move through other installations of this article series.

To understand what causes heart disease, we have to work backwards.

If heart disease is caused – or influenced by – the 21 risk factors shown in the medical diagram I found, and H. pylori influences at least 12 of these factors, we can certainly conclude with a high level of confidence that H. pylori itself is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

If you're like me, you'll quickly realize this is not rocket science.

Studies show us that H. pylori infections alter cholesterol levels, causes chronic inflammation, alter blood cholesterol profiles, increases levels of c-reactive protein, increases homocysteine ​​levels, increases oxidative stress and reduces antioxidant capacity, increases blood pressure, increases insulin resistance and type II diabetes, and more.

How can H. pylori possibly be ignored when it exerts this level of influence in cardiovascular physiology?

The scene is now set for me to explain the true reasons why heart disease develops and I look forward to seeing you in the next article.

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Top 7 Things in Picking a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

If you have had some form of heart event it becomes important to start a cardiac rehabilitation program. A heart event could have arrhythmia, angina (ie chest pain), heart attack, or heart failure. The most common is if you have had heart bypass surgery or heart stent surgery. You do not need to have had surgery. You could have angina, some form of heart arrhythmia, valvular disease, congenital disease or a form of heart failure.

Cardiac rehabilitation programs are not rocket science, the idea is to provide you with sound advice to help you with your heart health. We know that participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program will save your life. Many cardiac rehabilitation programs lasts only weeks. It is what you do after that becomes very important. It is about receiving vital information so you can live longer and a better quality of life after a heart event. Cardiac education will lead you to ensure that you are exercising safely and effectively, eating well, keeping stress under control and also have an understanding of heart anatomy, medications, tests and procedures.

1. Is it convenient for you? You do not want to drive long times or be in traffic to get your program, especially if you have been told not to drive. Every city should have some type of cardiac rehabilitation program. Do they have flexible scheduling options?

a. It is OK to receive the education and start at home. Cardiac rehabilitation is not open heart surgery, the idea is to ensure you get the correct information and have someone from your cardiac rehabilitation program to provide you with sound advice as you progress with your heart health.

2. Do they have qualified staff? Staff should be certified to deal with patients with cardiac rehabilitation. This should be nurses, exercise physiologists, counselors or dietitians. All cardiac rehabilitation professionals should be certified by a reputable organization to do what they do.

You do not need to have a doctor on staff, but it is important that your family doctor stays well-informed of your progress.

a. During the exercise program do they have the ability to monitor you? This will be important starting your program.

i. Blood pressure

ii. Heart rate

iii. Heart rhythm (ECG)

iv. Oxygen Saturation

v. Blood sugar

3. Is your card rehabilitation staff keeping up to date?

a. Staff should attend regular meetings or obtain continuing education.

b. With social media look at them online and see how interactive they are with YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook.

4. Make sure staff patient ratio is acceptable? Ideally when doing the supervised exercise program it would be best to be one-on-one, especially early to get your specific concerns addressed, but the larger the group the harder it is to focus on your requirements. Especially if there is an emergency, so look and ask what the staff to patient ratios is and make sure that you are comfortable with it. Going to a group format once you are comfortable (after receiving a personalized approach) may work for you.

5. Make sure the cardiac rehabilitation program focuses on all aspects of your heart health. Your program should include a comprehensive education on your heart health which includes exercise, nutrition, and stress management (depression, anxiety or anger). You should be able to understand your risk factors and medicines.

6. Do they have a long-term program? Most cardiac rehabilitation programs have the option or guidance to provide you after you finish their program. Only one in three people continue with their program after they have completed it. The idea is to have a good plan to continue with your heart health.

7. Do they make you happy? This may sound funny but going to a cardiac rehabilitation program should make you feel happy. Happiness is a key factor to thriving with heart disease. Do you feel respected? Do you feel trusted? Do you feel important? Our self-esteem and / or self-confidence may be pretty low after a heart event so it is important that you feel confident and improve your self-esteem and it starts with a good vibe.

Most cardiac rehabilitation programs cost money to attend as they will have a supervised exercise program to it. If you really want to excel it is important to invest in your heart health. Because you are investing in your heart health it does not hurt to get various educations to help you. Reading and educating yourself is important so that you can become an expert at your heart health. Remember that you are responsible for your heart you can become an expert at your heart health. Remember that you are responsible for your heart health, not your doctors, not your healthcare workers, just you.

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How I Lowered My Cholesterol 44 Points Without Medication

6 months ago I opened the letter from my clinic and saw the results of my blood test. My cholesterol was 243. That's high. Medication is often recommended for a cholesterol level above 240. So now I knew I had to do something.

I had just been in for a routine physical exam. I knew my cholesterol could be a little high. 2 years ago it was 203 which is borderline high.

With my level now at 243 my doctor recommended I try to lower my cholesterol naturally with diet and exercise. Then, after trying that, if my cholesterol was still high I would be advised to go on cholesterol lowering medication. I did not want that. So I started researching about how to lower my cholesterol without medication.

Lowering My Cholesterol – Getting Started
The most common advice is to eat less fatty foods and less junk food. Eat more fruits and vegetables. And of course get more exercise.

Most people already know these things. But there were a few new things I learned.

I did not really know what trans fat was. Sure I'd hear of it. You see the labels on all kinds of grocery store items claiming “0 grams trans fat”. Trans fat is probably the worst thing you can consume. It's pretty well accepted by everyone that it's not good. It raises cholesterol levels. Actually it raises the level of bad cholesterol and lowers the level of good cholesterol. Trans fat is unsaturated fat that has been partially hydrogenated. A lot of products contained trans fat in the past. It has been taken out of many products. But it's still around. French fries from many restaurants may be cooked in oils that contain trans fat. It's also found in commercially sold baked goods like cookies, cakes, chips, and donuts.

I had no idea that sugar could cause heart disease. I thought it was just fatty foods and lack of exercise. More about this in a minute.

I had not really thought about processed food being bad. The more I learned the more I discovered it to be true.

I could not remember which was the bad cholesterol and which was the good. I know, I was pretty out of touch with this! HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad cholesterol. This is a simplification though. It's more complicated than that.

Education
I started looking for the best information I could find about lowering my cholesterol. I found many good sources on the Internet including WebMD, Wikipedia, the Mayo Clinic website, and the American Heart Association website. There's more information about heart disease than you need.

I also stumbled upon some new ideas. I found a book by Dr Dwight Lundell, a heart surgeon of 25 years. And another book by Dr Stephen Sinatra and Dr Jonny Bowden, another heart surgeon and a nutritionist. They all claim that sugar is more harmful than fat and cholesterol. This topic is a little controversial and new studies are revealing new ways of thinking about preventing heart disease. The basic theme is that cholesterol is not as bad as everyone says. In fact it's very important to have enough of it.

Foods To Avoid
Sugar. Deserts. Ice cream. Cookies. Candy. Anything with sugar I try to avoid. This is not as difficult as you might think. Dark chocolate is actually a healthy choice that is recommended. As long as it's at least 70% cocoa. There are many fruits that are sweet tasting too.

White bread should be avoided. I'm even getting to the point of avoiding wheat bread because there is apparently evidence that wheat is bad for you.

Red meat is often blamed for causing bad health. But I do not totally avoid it. I try to eat the leaner meats like 93% fat free hamburger. I still enjoy a steak once in a while. A hamburger is fine too. I'm more resistant to eating the bun than the meat.

Foods You Should Eat
Blueberries are high on the recommended list. They contain antioxidants and can be very beneficial for heart health.

Oat meal. This is probably the largest change I made in my diet. I eat a bowl of old fashioned oat meal every morning. The flattened kind. My wife likes the steel cut oatmeal which is not flattered and even more healthy because it's retains more of it's nutrients. Add blueberries to the oatmeal and you have a very healthy breakfast. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber too. Studies have indicated that it can reduce cholesterol.

Fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I've eaten more apples and bananas during the past 6 months. I've also eaten more almonds, walnuts, and other kinds of nuts. Almonds and walnuts are two of the more nutritious nuts. You'll find almonds on most lists of heart healthy foods. Avocados and olive oil are also on most heart healthy food lists. I try to use them as often as I can.

Supplements
Fish Oil. This is one of the most beneficial supplements for heart health. Fish, especially salmon, is high in omega 3 fatty acids. Most Americans do not consume enough omega 3. We get too much omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 6 is commonly found in vegetable oils which has been promoted as a healthy alternative to animal fats. Some research now suggests that replacing animal fats with omega 6 vegetable fats may increase the risk of heart disease. So, omega 3 from salmon and sardines, or from fish oil supplements, is good for your heart.

Vitamins and minerals
I hit a dead end when trying to find the best quality multivitamin. I searched the internet and found several websites that claimed to review them. But the reviews were also sponsored and did not appear to be honest and objective. Making sure the content of a multivitamin matches the label on the bottle is important. But the quality and amount of each ingredient is also important. I think that finding a quality multivitamin is a good idea. But I do not have any recommendations on which brand is best.

Exercise
This is the one I've been most resistant to. I do not really enjoy exercising. But I found a solution that works for me. I run up the stairs in my house about 30 times. It's only about a 15 minute workout. I do not have to leave home. I do not have to even change clothes. I just do it and I'm done. It's good enough to get me winded and get my heart beating fast.

The Cholesterol Test 6 Months Later
I really did not know what to expect when I got my cholesterol checked again. I figured I made some improvement but it was only a guess on what the numbers would be. I opened the letter with the lipid panel results and found that my total cholesterol was 199. Wow, I was glad to see that. From 243 to 199. From high to acceptable. Borderline high is considered 200-240. Above 240 is high.

But I had to look closer at the specific types. LDL was now at 132. It had been 161 six months ago. HDL went from 54 to 44. Triglycerides went from 141 to 116. Everything was improved except HDL. HDL is the good kind of cholesterol so a high number is better.

Total Cholesterol to HDL Ratio
Some say this is a more accurate indicator than the simple total cholesterol number. According to an article on the WebMD website a ratio of 3.5 to 1 is good. A ratio of 5 to 1 is bad. Higher is worse. My ratio went from 4.5 to 4.53. So it's actually a bit worse than it was before even though my total cholesterol is much lower.

Triglycerides to HDL Ratio
According to Dr Jonny Bowden this is a better indicator than the total cholesterol number. My ratio went from 2.6111 to 2.636. A good number is 2. A bad number is 5. The closer to 2 you can be the better. So my ratio is not bad but it worsened a bit since 6 months ago.

C Reactive Protein
According to Dr Dwight Lundell this test is as good an indicator for coronary artery disease as LDL or possibly better. My result was.3 which is good. Anything below 1.0 is low risk for heart disease. Anything above 3.0 is high risk. I did not have this test done 6 months ago so I do not know if it changed for me. I feel pretty good about my number being.3.

LDL Particle Size Test
This test had to be done at another lab because my local clinic does not perform this one. There's a lot of information here and it gets beyond the scope of my knowledge. Basically the test measures the amount of large LDL particles and small LDL particles. It also measures HDL and VLDL (very low density lipoproteins). The large particles are harmless and the small particles are harmful. I do not know what affects the particle size or how you go about making improvements here. I've read that this is genetic and may be difficult to change naturally.

Summary
Going forward I'll continue exercising as much as I can stand it. I know you have to keep it fun or it will not continue. Exercising is important though and it helps improve HDL.

Avoid the bad foods, eat the healthy foods, and take some quality supplements. Avoiding fast food and processed food may be one of the main things that helped improve my cholesterol level. Avoid white bread and most wheat products. Avoid or cut back on pasta. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Cook with extra virgin olive oil. Take omega 3 fish oil supplements with DHA and EPA. Take a quality multivitamin pill and baby aspirin daily (if it's OK with your doctor).

For more information about how to lower cholesterol read some of my other articles.

We'll see where this takes me. The next cholesterol test will tell. In 6 months I'll have that answer.

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Sugar and Cholesterol

Sugar Versus Cholesterol; What Is The Cause Of Heart Disease?

There has been lots of research in the last few years talking about how increased sugar is the cause of diabetes and heart disease. As a society the media really clouds our judgment, and we think that cholesterol is our enemy.

Dietary Cholesterol is NOT your enemy.

Cholesterol is a vital component and is used for building blocks for cell membranes, maintaining healthy cells, an aid to digestion, and in the manufacture of sexual hormones. So is dietary cholesterol the cause of cardiovascular disease? Well, I will let you formulate this answer.

Over 50% of heart attacks occur with people with normal cholesterol. So is cholesterol the cause of cardiovascular disease? The answer is no. It is inflammation. We have known this for years and sugar and cholesterol have been going head to head for years.

Our focus has been all wrong and I think we are just in the infant stages of changing this. Sugar causes inflammation, cholesterol does not cause inflammation. Let's explain. When you have an inflammatory response (cut) inside your arms, cholesterol comes to the rescue and fixes the problem. How does the inflammatory response get worse? Cholesterol gets broken down (oxidized) and gets used up in a negative way that contributes to the build up of plaque.

So Sugar and Cholesterol go head to head.

What is the cause of heart disease? When you eat sugar which comes in many forms it can cause inflammation. When you eat cholesterol it does not cause inflammation. We are bombarded with advertising and marketing and you really have to take a step back and decide, what is the purpose? Simple economics!

Statin drugs make Billions of dollars!

Food companies make Millions focusing on LOWER CHOLESTEROL.

Statin drugs are great because they lower inflammation though can come with some side effects. You can also lower inflation with exercise and nutrition. So what should we do? What is your enemy sugar or cholesterol? If anything has to advertise to you about the benefits of the food then my opinion is stay away. Nutrition is one of the best ways to lower inflammation in your body and I never see the “natural products” advertise “lower cholesterol”.

Always take nutritious foods and exercise to prevent inflammation in your body. Sugar causes inflammation that can lead to heart disease and diet cholesterol is not enemy.

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How Is Sugar and Heart Disease Linked?

Soda has been in the media quite a bit in the last few months. Even to go as far to ban the sales of larger soft drinks in convenience stores in New York.

The fact is there are going to be people who neglect their health and more so if their economic status is lower. It is more expensive to invest in your health than to not and there are reasons that there is a link to sugar and heart disease . Fast food chains and simple carbohydrates are cheaper to consume versus healthy fruits and vegetables. And when it comes to drinking soda soft drinks, it is cheaper to consume sugar soda drinks that it is for a bottle of water.

What is the link Between Sugar and Heart Disease?

Sugar is an addictive element that can lead to diabetes which can lead to cardiovascular illness.

New research out of the Europe shown that just one 12-oz daily increment in sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened soft-drink consumption was associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.

The soda and heart disease link should be more like sugar and heart disease link. Sugar is responsible for the beginning of the inflammatory response which causes our cholesterol in our body to be used up in a negative way.

So even going deer into link, it should really be poor carbohydrates and cardiovascular disease. Carbohydrates when processed in our body turn to sugar and once again simple carbohydrates are cheaper and easier to come by versus healthy nutrition. So it does become an awareness understanding to the average person that sugar is not good. Soda is nothing but sugar which causes a surge of hormones that can ever lead to heart disease.

As I always say it all starts off with the right mindset to attack the problems of sugar and heart disease. Many people know that things are not good for us but we do them anyway. We also have to look at the addictive properties of sugar. Just like smoking is addictive, so is sugar. And just like so many people ever giving up smoking, so the addictive properties of sugar can be given up too.

If you want to change, things will change and we know that there is an important link to sugar and heart disease. We have known this for years and I believe that the direction taken focusing on just cholesterol is wrong. You can always read our post on sugar and cholesterol and understand the real cause of heart disease.

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Eating the Right Kind of Food for a Healthy Heart

Having a healthy heart is very cruel to your overall health. The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. As a matter of fact, it is considered as the most important organ in the body as it carries all the vital materials which help the body to function well. Unfortunately, it was found out that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

As we grow old, the heart will try to adjust to age as a way of compensation. Because blood vessels are now narrower, the heart will have to work double to get the blood through the veins. Unfortunately, this extra work can cause serious health problems. However, there are certain foods that can help promote a healthy heart. In order for the heart to function properly, we have to make sure that we eat the right kind of foods.

If you wish to protect your heart, make sure you include only healthy foods in your daily diet. If possible, avoid eating processed foods for them do not contain the nutrients your body needs. When grocery shopping, makes sure you include meat, fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables. Try to curb your canned and processed food consumption because they will not do any good to your overall health.

Berries are good for your heart. Dark colored fruits such as blueberries contain antioxidants that can be very healthy for you cardiovascular system. In addition, they also contain fiber and vitamin C which are good for your overall health.

If you wish to start your breakfast right, do not forget to include your oatmeal. You may not know it but oats are high in fiber and also contain omega-3 fatty acids which are essential in alleviating inflammation through the body. In addition, oats can help clear heart arteries and lower bad cholesterol levels. With a bowl of oatmeal and blueberries on the side, you can surely protect your heart from serious problems.

Another type of food that is good for your heart is spinach. Spinach is rich in minerals such as nitrate, potassium, folate and calcium. More importantly, this green vegetable contains coenzyme Q10 which is known to support the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.

Ensuring a healthy heart is extremely important. When it comes to maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, you have a wide range of options. By choosing the right kind of foods to eat, you can actually help reduce your risk of heart problem.

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Cardiovascular Disease Prevention With Nutrition and Herbs

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in this country. It has become an epidemic attributed to our lifestyles and diets. The typical American diet is high in saturated fats and cholesterol which creates inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is the main disease process of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease includes atherosclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, carotid artery disease, peripheral artery disease and heart disease. The major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are: cigarette smoking, high cholesterol values ​​and high blood pressure. Secondary factors include: obesity, being overweight, genetics, stress, sedentary lifestyle, diabetes an alcohol abuse. Many of these factors have become quite prevalent in our society, which is why cardiovascular disease has become the number one cause of death.

A complete medical work-up will help to determine presence or risk of CVD. This should include cholesterol testing, an EKG and thorough medical history. Prevention is the best approach to cardiovascular disease, but it's never too late to reduce risk and improve your health even if you have been diagnosed.

The inflammatory process that leads to atherosclerosis is due to a toxic lifestyle. Acidic body chemistry creates inflammation, so consuming a primarily alkaline diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables will reduce inflammation dramatically. The number one thing a person can do to decrease risk of CVD is stop smoking cigarettes. Avoiding cigarette smoke and other inhaled chemicals will also decrease inflammation. Developing methods to handle and cope with stress will help with lower blood pressure. These may include exercise and mediation. High blood pressure or hypertension left untreated, may also contribute to increased risk of stroke.

Secondly, consuming a diet low in saturated and hydrogenated fats, cholesterol, salt and processed, refined sugars and fats will dramatically reduce the risk of CVD and improve existing conditions. Other important steps include: consuming high fiber foods (20-30 grams daily), plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, regular exercise or physical activity and maintaing low body fat percentage. Cholesterol should be reduced to less than 300mg per day. Red meats should be very limited and cured meats should avoid completely. Avoid whole milk and dairy products as they contain mostly processed fats and cholesterol. Flaxseed oil is also a good source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, which have been linked to heart health. Limit salt and sugar intake.

Regular vigorous exercise strengthens the heart and circulation. Drinking spring water is best due to its beneficial mineral content that can help reduce chemical exposure appsorption. Abstaining from caffeine and alcohol are is wise, caffeine increases heart rate and blood pressure and alcohol is an irritant.

Not smoking, aggressive control of obesity, hypertension and / or diabetes and a strict low-fat diet (20-25% of total calories) are mandatory for CVD prevention.

Herbs like garlic and cayenne help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and foods like onions and soybeans or tofu may have a benefit cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Ginger, hawthorn berry and ginkgo are also beneficial for circulation and as heart tonics.

A daily Vitamin E and selenium supplement will help reduce platelet stickiness protect cells and tissue linings. 800-1000 IU of Vitamin E and 250 to 300 mcg of selenium is recommended. A daily B vitamin complex supplement can help in lipid metabolism, metabolism and reduction of homocysteine ​​levels. Likewise, foods rich in B vitamins should be consumed, spinach and mushrooms are rich sources of most B vitamins. Magnesium is essential in CVD protection and is found in nutrient hex foods like spinach, swiss chard and sprouted navy beans. Magnesium levels should be 400-750 mg daily.

In the event of pharmaceutical use to prevent cardiovascular disease, CoQ10 may be depleted. This essential nutrient should be supplemented, 50-200 mg per day and is beneficial even if you are not taking prescription medicines.

These tips will help reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and also can improve your condition if you have already been diagnosed. Please continue to seek the consult of a medical physician.

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