Be A Beat Ahead of Heart Disease!

Most people are aware of symptoms of Heart Disease, shortness of breath and chest pain, pain in the left arm (more prominent in Men). However, symptoms and signs of Heart Disease are more subtle and varied.

Symptoms are indications that a person physically experiences while signs of the disease are something your Doctor can see or finds through tests. Knowing signs to look for are very important, especially if Heart Disease runs in your family.

So what should you look for and discuss with your Doctor in order for him/her to check by running appropriate lab work or possibly a stress test.

  1. Swelling of lower legs and feet, better known as Edema. Edema is an accumulation or retention of fluid in legs and feet. Fluid retention although not always indicative of Heart Disease, but it could be an important symptom.
  2. Male pattern baldness; Hold on “Guys” if you are bald it isn’t necessarily Heart Disease. However if a man is balding on the top or has a complete loss of hair he could be at increased risk. Men who have crown hair loss have a risk increase  of about 23% and for men that are completely bald that percentage is even higher at 36%. A combined history of hair loss, high cholesterol, excessive weight and high blood pressure can push the risk even higher still.
  3. Yellow bumps on the skin, otherwise known as Xanthomas. Xanthomas may develop on the buttocks, feet, hands, elbows or knees, appearing as small Yellow bumps or as flat wide plaques. These plaques are fat deposits which can indicate High levels of fats in the blood which contributes to Heart Disease.
  4. Gum Disease; Although fairly new connection to Heart Disease the link between the two can be a sign of poor circulation, or another theory is that the common bacteria present in gum disease is also causing plaque build up in the coronary arteries.
  5. Emotional Stress; also known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy (literally Broken Heart Syndrome) this condition indicates a weakening of heart muscle accompanied by extreme emotional stress and is more prevalent in Women, only affecting approximately 10% of people diagnosed. What is experienced during the occurrence of this condition can be a surge in stress hormones like adrenaline, one could experience feelings associated with a Heart attack, such as shortness of breath, flushing of the skin, heart palpitations and cardiac pain. If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, it isn’t a real Heart attack you’re experiencing because generally the Arteries are not blocked.

What signs should you discuss with your Doctor?

  • Weight gain- usually demonstrates when fluid builds up in your tissue and can indicate your heart may be failing.
  • To many Bathroom trips- Heart failure often causes a decreased blood flow to the Kidneys which can lead to fluid retention, thus you’re visiting the “Lu” more often.
  • Coughing at Night- With Heart Disease when you lay down flat at night a build up of fluid can occur in your chest and heart which can lead to coughing.
  • Lastly Cataracts- Though the exact relationship between Heart Disease and Cataracts isn’t certain some research studies hypothesise that people who have cataracts are at higher risk for Heart Disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Keep in mind that Experiencing these symptoms does not mean you have Heart Disease, they are simply items that you should talk with your healthcare provider about sooner rather than later.

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An Adulation to the Heart

Here are a few (Fun) Facts about this beautiful muscle, without which you’re dead (hahahaha).

Pumping around 2,000 gallons of blood 24/7, providing vital nutrients and oxygen to every part of our body without us ever consciously having it do so.

  1. Your heart is actually in the middle of your chest between your lungs. Alas for generations we’ve been doing it wrong when saying the Pledge of Allegiance with our hands on our left instead of the center.
  2. The Human heart beats approximately 70 times per minute. Statistically the Mayo Clinic indicated that the resting heart rate of a healthy adult is anywhere from 60-100 beats per minute. That activity over the course of an average lifetime, around 100,000 beats per day or 2.5 billion during your life…WOW!!
  3. A Cold Heart isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Therapeutic Hypothermia can be used as a means of Cardiac arrest treatment. Whereby Doctors lower your body temperature by 7 degrees, to 91 degrees Fahrenheit, to slow damage to the brain and other organs that begins when the heart stops and restarts.
  4. Dreading Mondays is REAL Y’all. Studies have shown that heart attacks occur on Mondays more than any other day of the week with an incidence rate of 20% higher for men and 15% higher for women. Okay so yet more reason to backup supporting three day weekends instead of only two.
  5. Your blood vessel system consists of your a) Arteries- carry oxygenated and nutrient loaded blood from the heart ot the other organs and limbs. b) Veins-carry the deoxygenated blood back to the heart and c) Capillaries-which are what connects everything. All of these vessels are Long enough to wrap around the Earth MORE THAN TWICE!!
  6. SIX beats faster. A female human heart beats around six beats per minute faster than that of a man. The male heart is nearly 25% larger than that of a woman’s, therefore a single beat of a man’s heart pumps more blood so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Funny how this fact mimics life isn’t it?
  7. The largest artery in the human body is the Aorta, it is from the Aorta that all other arteries are fed. The diameter of this artery is really weird to envision since it is comparable to a garden hose. Think about that for a minute. Ah well, as in most things in life SIZE isn’t everything. A very big deal associated to the Aorta is that aneurysms, or bulges in an artery wall, occur here most often.

Your heart matters, do what you can to take care of it and it will beat for you autonomously for your entire life.

P.S. Tell me something you do for your heart in the comments.

“What the Health?”

This is the title to a film that logically explains what is one of the largest consumer covers ups ever, and is largely unknown by the majority of people.

It is driven and supported by the corporate owners of such entities as Subway, Hormel, Oscar Myer, The Meat and Dairy Association and of course the U.S.D.A. just to name a few. The organizations that are direct beneficiaries of this cover up are just as varied they are for example Susan G. Komen, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association all of whom most of us are aware of or familiar with in some way. All of whom we believe to be working to improve our lives and to aid those who may be affected by Heart Disease, Diabetes, Cancer. These are the organizations that we as consumers are encouraged to utilize in order to understand, and base wise health decisions utilizing the information we are lead to believe is to our benefit.

I am asking everyone to take 92 minutes out of your busy day to watch this film. Then it is up to you as to what to do afterwards.

Let me know what you think I would love to discuss.

 

How to Treat Metabolic Syndrome and High Cholesterol

People with metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol — two major risk factors for heart disease — will probably need aggressive treatment to lower their high cholesterol, in addition to caring for their other risk factors. Treatment for high cholesterol may mean a diet change, taking statins or other drugs, and exercising to work off belly fat, lower LDL cholesterol, and raise HDL cholesterol.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends talking to your doctor about what amount of exercise is best for you before you start a new routine, and beginning slowly, increasing your activity gradually as your heart gets stronger.

Change your diet to cut out foods that are high in saturated fats (such as lard, butter, and other animal products) and trans fats (found in many processed foods), replacing them with plant-based, healthy fats like olive oil. This will help manage both metabolic syndrome and high cholesterol, countering obesity, helping you lose weight, and reducing your risk of both heart disease and diabetes.

Obesity weighs heavily on your heart and your overall health. If extra weight gives you an “apple shape” — thicker through the middle — then be particularly aware of your other risk factors for heart disease.

If your doctor doesn’t measure your waist circumference, ask her about it, or pull out a tape measure and do it yourself. If the number is too high, consider a weight-loss plan now to protect your heart health in the future. Weight loss helps reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent diabetes.

Luckily, the same plan of action — diet, exercise, and medication if needed — can cut nearly all heart disease risk factors of metabolic syndrome. So start treating your body and your heart right with healthy changes today.

New Stroke Guidelines Will Provide Critical Emergency Treatment to More Patients (excerpt)

A committee convened by the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association created and recently released new guidelines for treating acute ischemic stroke. Find out what these guidelines mean for those who experience a stroke, and why timely response to stroke warning signs is still essential.

Now, thanks to new stroke treatment guidelines released by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA), more people may have the chance for a positive outcome.

The guidelines focus on acute ischemic stroke — the most common type — which occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked by a clot, or blood flow to the brain is reduced or stopped. New evidence-based research prompted the update of the 2013 guidelines, though the AHA/ASA’s scientific statement affirms the “urgent need for continued research on treatment of acute ischemic stroke.”

Released on January 24, 2018 the guidelines include a number of recommendations for clinicians addressing prehospital care, urgent and emergency evaluation and treatments, and secondary prevention measures typically delivered during a hospitalization.

But the two major takeaways in this 2018 edition? According to William J. Powers, MD, the chair of the guideline-writing group and a professor of neurology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the new guidelines expand the window on when thrombectomies can be performed, and increase access to alteplase — the only FDA-approved clot-dissolving ischemic stroke IV treatment, also referred to as IV tPA — following acute ischemic stroke.

What was once a six-hour window for administering a mechanical thrombectomy to remove the clot has now been expanded to 24 hours for select patients (advanced testing is required to determine if the patient may benefit from a thrombectomy past the six-hour window).

Eligibility for the clot-dissolving drug alteplase (IV tPA) has been expanded too: New research suggests that patients experiencing a mild stroke may also benefit from receiving alteplase, if it’s given promptly and appropriately.

“We now have the ability to provide treatments that will help prevent disability [related to a stroke],” says Dr. Powers. “But you have to come to the hospital, and the sooner the better,” he adds.