Anyone Worried About Heart Disease, These Are Important and Seldom Talked About Facts.

HEART HEALTH

Mayo Clinic: Most heart disease can be prevented.

ROCHESTER, Minn., Jan. 31 (UPI) — Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of U.S. men and women even though almost 80 percent of it is preventable, a Mayo Clinic cardiologists says.

Cardiologist Dr. Martha Grogan, medical editor-in-chief of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Heart for Life! said there are several simple tips to reduce heart disease risk.

Grogan encouraged people to move 10 extra minutes each day because a sedentary lifestyle may increase the risk of heart attack almost as much as smoking does, recent studies showed.

Make an effort each day to get up from the desk to go talk to a colleague instead of sending an email, or walk around the house as you talk on the phone, Grogan recommended.

“Moving even 10 minutes a day for someone who’s been sedentary may reduce the risk for heart disease by 50 percent,” Grogan said in a statement.

Americans too often cheat themselves of sleep and their hearts can pay the price, said Dr. Virend Somers, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist and sleep expert.

“Sleep is a necessity, like food and water. It’s not a luxury,” Somers said.

Chronic sleep deprivation can increase the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.

Dr. Randal Thomas, a Mayo preventive cardiologist said a 53-year-old male smoker with high blood pressure has a 20 percent chance of having a heart attack over the next 10 years. If he stops smoking, his risk drops to 10 percent; if he takes high blood pressure medicine, it falls to 5 percent, Thomas said.

Article from Mayo Clinic found here.

Coronary Artery Disease: Prevention, Treatment and Research

Heart and Vascular

Coronary artery disease (also called coronary heart disease) is the number-one killer of both men and women in the United States, and it’s the most common type of heart disease. This often preventable disease causes the dangerous thickening and narrowing of the coronary arteries—the vessels that bring blood to the heart—which disrupts the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart, causing serious problems.

Without enough blood, coronary artery disease can lead to angina (chest pain). Over time, the heart has to work harder, possibly causing heart failure (when the heart cannot pump efficiently) or arrhythmia (when the heart beats irregularly or too quickly). The damaged arteries may become completely blocked, or become prone to clotting, causing a heart attack.

“Coronary artery disease develops slowly, usually over decades, so the good news is that we have a huge window of opportunity for prevention, through a good lifestyle and healthy habits,” says Seth Martin, M.D., M.H.S., of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. 

Prevention

Preventing coronary artery disease is largely about controlling the risk factors. “Ideally, prevention habits start early, but they remain important all through life,” Bill McEvoyMBBCh, of the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease says. It’s never too late to effect change, though the earlier in life you do so, the greater the advantage. Smart steps to take:

  • Quit smoking—or better yet, never start. Smoking is considered one of the key risk factors for heart attack. Also steer clear of secondhand smoke. If a household member is a smoker, help him or her find ways to quit, such as calling your state’s free 800-QUIT-NOW line, suggests Martin.
  • Eat less of the foods that add to heart problems, and more of the foods that protect the heart. Aim for an eating plan that’s low in saturated fats and trans fats, higher in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated the fats found in olive oil and fish, high in fiber (found in plant foods), and low in salt and sugar. Get practical ideas to eat for heart health in Eat Smart.
  • Become more active, and stay active, all through life. A good goal is at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate exercise each week, or 75 minutes (1.25 hours) of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. Or aim to be active for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. Check with your doctor before you launch a new workout program if you’ve never worked out before. Learn how implementing an exercise routine helps your heart in Move More.
  • Keep your weight within the normal range on a Body Mass Index (BMI) chart. If you’re overweight, losing just 5 percent to 10 percent of your current weight will lower your risk of developing coronary artery disease.
  • Find healthy outlets for your stress. Some stress is unavoidable in life. But it tends to push us toward not-so-great habits (overeating, drinking, sitting too much). You’ll be more heart-healthy if you can offload stress in ways you enjoy and that are good for you, such as exercise, meditation and relaxing with friends, says McEvoy. A stress-management program can help.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Because coronary artery disease develops over time, the symptoms depend on the stage of illness. Damage may be present without outward signs. It’s common to first notice shortness of breath or chest pains when you exert yourself physically. Some people have mild episodes of these symptoms. For others, the first experience is more severe chest pain, even heart attack.

To diagnose coronary artery disease, your doctor will look at markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol profile and blood glucose (from a blood test) as well as your health history and family history, says McEvoy. This information can help estimate your 10-year cardiovascular risk—your odds of a heart attack or stroke.

Depending on the symptoms you have, tests that may be given to provide additional information include:      

  • Coronary calcium testing: A simple CT scan provides images of the heart between beats, showing calcium and plaque buildup. “You can actually see the damage that’s known as hardening of the arteries,” says Martin. This test may be considered in persons without known coronary heart disease in whom the decision to treat with a statin and aspirin is unclear.
  • High Sensitivity C-reactive protein blood test: This indicates whether you have higher than average levels of inflammation.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): Measurement of the electrical activity of your heartbeat during rest.
  • Exercise stress test (“treadmill test”): A test done on a treadmill to measure your heart rate when the heart has to pump harder.
  • Echocardiogram: An ultrasound image of your heart.
  • Chest X-ray: An image of your heart, lungs and other chest organs.
  • Cardiac catheterization: A test in which a thin tube is inserted into an artery to check for blockages in heart arteries.
  • Coronary angioplasty: a procedure in which a expandable balloon is used to open up a narrowed artery. Nearly 90% of the time, a stent (metal scaffold) is placed at the site of the narrowing in the artery.

Treatment

“Treatments work better early on,” says Martin, which is why early identification and intervention are so important. Depending on your health status and goals, there are three key approaches to treating heart disease: 

Lifestyle changes. The same steps for preventing coronary artery disease are part of a treatment approach to forestalling further problems—that is, modify the many factors that are in your control, like diet, exercise, de-stressing and not smoking. 

Medication. You may be prescribed medications to manage the risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, prediabetes and diabetes. 

Procedures to help open blood vessels. Several different types of surgeries (usually outpatient) may be done to repair damage to arteries. These include: 

  • Coronary angioplasty. A “balloon” is inserted into the artery through a catheter (a long, narrow, flexible tube) and then inflated to enlarge the passage through the artery. Typically a stent—a wire mesh tube—is also inserted, which forms a scaffolding around the balloon to keep the artery open. 
  • Atherectomy. A rotating shaver is used to remove plaque from the artery. 
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery (or coronary artery bypass graft). In this more serious surgery, an artery or vein from another part of the body, such as the leg, is grafted onto the coronary artery to create a new route around a blocked section. More than one graft may be done at a time. 

Living With…

Living in the shadow of a potential heart attack or other heart problems can be unnerving—but it can also be motivating. Here’s what to focus on after a diagnosis.

  • Know your numbers. Heart health is in large part a numbers game. The key numbers to know include your HDL and LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides, your blood pressure, your glucose, your BMI and your waist circumference measurement, says McEvoy. Get your measurements and readings as often as recommended, make the recommended lifestyle changes and be sure to take medications as directed. This knowledge can be a powerful incentive. 
  • Be optimistic. Fear of future cardiac events is common and natural. You may feel anxious, or even depressed. But with good medical care and personal effort, you can still lead a long life of high quality. Small changes really do add up. 

Research

Johns Hopkins experts are on the leading edge of research to prevent and treat heart disease. Examples of recent findings include:

Higher levels of physical fitness lower the risk of heart attack. It also cut the risk of death during the time of the study by 75 percent in those who have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease. A Johns Hopkins study found this true whether or not the subjects had a procedure to open blocked arteries (like stenting or bypass surgery).

The traditional formula for assessing LDL cholesterol sometimes  underestimates risk. (LDL signals the buildup of plaque in arteries.) Johns Hopkins researchers discovered this risk discrepancy and have devised a more accurate calculation that uses the same basic blood test.

Article is from Johns Hopkins and can be found here.

How can water prevent a heart attack?

Almost every time you have a doctor visit, your doctor reminds you to drink the recommended 64 ounces of water each day. Drinking water keeps you hydrated, helps you maintain or lose weight, and keeps your body healthy from diseases. Did you also know that drinking water could prevent a heart attack? According to a cardiac specialist, drinking water at a certain time of the day can prevent a heart attack at night. Most heart attacks happen between 6 a.m. and noon, therefore, if you experience a heart attack during the nighttime, something could be wrong. Drinking one 8-ounce glass of water before going to bed can help avoid heart attack.

If you avoid drinking water before bed because of the urge to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, there is a solution! According to a cardiac specialist, when you are lying down, the lower body seeks level with the kidneys and it is easier for the kidneys to remove the water rather than standing upright. If this confuses you, the simple answer is drinking more water to prevent a heart attack. Drinking water before bed helps level out your blood throughout your body to prevent heart attacks throughout the night and the early hours of the morning. Along with drinking water to prevent heart attacks, drinking water provides you with the countless benefits for your body to living a strong and healthy life.

Article from Spievey Insurance Group click here.

Heart Disease, Water & What It Means For Your Health

Is water good for your health and heart? At nearly every doctor’s visit, your doctor should (and likely will) remind you to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Why? Because drinking clean water is one of the safest and most effective ways of lowering your risk for common diseases like heart disease.

In the U.S., heart disease is the leading cause of death. More than 600,000 people die from heart disease, equating to roughly 1 in 4 deaths. It is now the leading cause of death amongst both men and women. Though are many way to prevent heart disease including lowering blood pressure and diet and exercise, a recent study by Loma Linda University Health suggests that “both men an women who drank five or more glasses of water per day had about half the risk of dying of coronary heart disease.”

Hypertension and High Cholesterol – How Water Links the Two

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious medical condition, that left untreated can lead to heart disease, heart failure, strokes, as well as many other serious health conditions. Around one-third of adults in the US actually suffer from hypertension, with many of them not aware that they have it and therefore living undiagnosed. A simple blood pressure test can determine whether or not you are living with hypertension or if you are in the early stages of developing it.

High Cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia, also drastically increases your chance for developing the above health issues like heart disease, heart failure or strokes. Like hypertension, many people live undiagnosed because they are not showing any of the common signs or symptoms. Evidence shows that for every decade an individual has elevated cholesterol before they are 55 years old, it increases the risk of heart-related illnesses by 40%. While the most common risk reduction or treatment for both hypertension and high cholesterol are changes to your diet and exercise, one very easy and often overlooked change is to drink more clean water.

Why does drinking water help with heart disease?

The human body is made up of more than 60% water. Your heart is even more than that, coming in at about 73% (same as the brain actually). With many studies proving the health benefits of water when it comes to overall health, but has there been a consensus on the affects fo drinking water and the heart specifically? 

Scientists are very aware of the effects of high sodium levels leading to an increased risk of heart disease. And with less liquids, or water, in your body, resulting in dehydration, the sodium levels in your blood would rise. Because of this there exists a direct relationship between healthy cholesterol levels and drinking water too. If we do not drink a sufficient amount of water on a daily basis, the kidneys and other organs are unable to properly function. If the blood is to flow properly around the body, sufficient water is required, particularly following meals when the nutrients from food need to flow to the body’s cells.

If there is not enough water, the body is unable to remove any excess cholesterol properly from the arteries, and this increases the chance of developing coronary heart disease or having a stroke.

What about a water filter?

The main purpose of a filter is to remove toxins out of the water you are looking to filter. Most tap water contains hundreds of toxins and chemicals that standard water filters are unable to remove (but you know this because you chose Clearly Filtered water filters!). When a filter doesn’t remove various contaminants, it turns your body into the filter. 

As you drink water, the water and various chemicals and toxins are absorbed into your body and into your blood stream where they eventually hit your kidneys (the body’s filters). Putting too much stress on these vital organs can lead to them not performing at optimal levels, leaving many toxins in your blood to travel throughout your body and into your other organs. 

This proves the need for an impressive and effective water filter. If studies show that drinking more water per day can significantly lower your chance for heart disease, why wouldn’t you take it upon yourself to drink the highest quality water? Drinking water that is riddled with chemicals and toxins, or using a inferior water filter will only solve one problem while creating others. 

If you’ve never realized that water and heart health were interlinked, you certainly aren’t alone. The good news, however, is that even for those who had no idea there was a connection, since most of us know the importance of staying well-hydrated it’s likely that many of us were getting enough water anyway. Still, now you’re aware of the association, you can make doubly sure to drink those 8 glasses of water each and every day to make sure that you really are getting your essential quota – not just for your overall well-being, but to protect your heart as well.

Article from Clearly Filtered click here.

Some facts and statistic you probably weren’t aware of but that are very important to anyone with a heart.

  • One in five heart attacks is silent.
  • With the coronavirus pandemic, people’s chances of dying from heart attacks have doubled.
  • The leading cause of death in 2020 in the US was heart disease.
  • Annually, 805,000 people in the US have a heart attack.
  • Coronary heart disease affects 1 in 13 White men.
  • High blood pressure causes 47% of coronary heart diseases.
  • To prevent heart attacks, women shouldn’t have more than one alcoholic drink a day.
  • 26% of women die within a year of a heart attack.
  • People who have suffered heart failure live ten years less than those who haven’t.
  • 7% of the hospital visits related to snow shoveling are due to heart problems, mainly heart attacks.

Conditions of the heart including structural and functional abnormalities.

  1. Heart Failure A progressive heart disease that affects pumping action of the heart muscles. This causes fatigue, shortness of breath.
  2. Cardiomyopathy. An acquired or inherited disease of the heart muscle which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to other parts of the body.
  3. Angina. Chest discomfort or shortness of breath caused when heart muscles receive insufficient oxygen-rich blood.
  4. Coronary Artery Disease A condition where the major blood vessels supplying the heart are narrowed. The reduced blood flow can cause chest pain and shortness of breath.
  5. Tachycardia A heart rhythm disorder with heartbeats faster than usual, greater than 100 beats per minute.
  6. Ventricular Tachycardia Fast heart beat rhythm of the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart. This may cause dizziness or chest pain.
  7. Atrial Fibrillation A disease of the heart characterized by irregular and often faster heartbeat.
  8. Ventricular Fibrillation A serious heart rhythm problem in which the heart beats faster and out of rhythm.
  9. Cardiogenic Shock A condition where the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body organs. It causes chest pain, pain or discomfort in left arm, trouble breathing, sweating, and fast or irregular heart beat.
  10. Congenital Heart Disease Abnormality in the heart that presents at birth. The defect could be in the heart walls, valves or the blood vessels.

Data from Focus Medica.

6 Surprising Facts About Heart Disease

Written by Veerappan Subramaniyam, MD, FACC (Dr. Ramesh)

Cardiovascular (heart) disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States—accounting for 40 percent of all deaths.

While you may be familiar with these statistics, there are some lesser-known facts about heart disease that you can use to reduce your risk of heart disease and cardiac events and to promote overall heart health. Below are six important facts about heart disease you should know.

1. A yearly flu shot can benefit your heart.

Did you know that for people with heart disease, getting a flu shot is particularly important? Heart disease can lower your body’s ability to fight the flu and increase your likelihood of developing serious complications such as heart attack, pneumonia and respiratory failure. Getting a yearly flu shot can help prevent complications from the infection and prevent your heart disease symptoms from worsening.

If you have heart disease, be sure to opt for the flu shot instead of the nasal spray vaccine. The nasal spray is not recommended for individuals with heart disease, as the spray contains a live version of the flu virus and has not been assessed for safety in people with heart conditions.

2. Spending time with friends and family can lower your heart attack risk.

Studies have found that people who live by themselves are two times more likely to have a heart attack than people who live with a roommate or partner.

Research has long suggested that regular social interaction and social connectedness play an important role in overall health, as well as heart health. One hypothesis explaining this effect is that spending time with friends and family can mitigate stress and fend off depression—both of which are risk factors for heart disease.

Another study found that laughing can protect heart health, as it causes blood vessels to relax and expand—again, pointing to the health benefits of spending time with close friends.

3. Many heart attacks occur on Monday mornings.

Researchers have noticed that heart attacks are particularly common during the fall and winter, and on Monday mornings. This is believed to be the case because the body has to work harder to pump blood, which is thicker in the morning. At the same time, in the morning, the body’s stress hormones such as cortisol spike.

Some studies have found that the morning may be the most dangerous time to experience a heart attack, as these heart attacks tend to be more severe.

4. Chewing an aspirin as soon as heart attack symptoms appear can limit heart damage.

After calling 911, the first thing you should do if you start experiencing heart attack symptoms is chew—rather than swallow whole— a 325-milligram aspirin pill. Aspirin helps break up clots in the bloodstream that may be blocking blood flow to the heart and causing heart muscle cells to die. Breaking up these clots can prevent more heart muscle cells from dying.

Chewing the pill is recommended as it causes quicker results than swallowing it.

5. Playing racket sports such as tennis and squash may protect against cardiac death.

A 2016 study found that among research participants, people who played racket sports had the lowest risk of dying from any cause within the nine-year window during which the participants were tracked.

The study, which aimed to investigate whether certain forms of physical activity had greater health and longevity benefits than others, found that after racket sports, swimming, aerobics and cycling had the next-greatest reductions in nine-year risk from death from any cause. The researchers believe this reduction may be attributed to these sports’ engagement of both the upper and lower body, which pushes the heart to work harder.

Regardless of which physical activity you choose, the more time you spend exercising, the more your risk of cardiac death goes down.

6. Women under age 50 are two times more likely than men of the same age to die from a heart attack.

Once thought to be an issue affecting mostly men, heart disease is now recognized as a leading cause of death for women. In fact, while men are more likely than women to experience a heart attack—and at younger ages— women who do have heart attacks are more likely to die from them.

One reason women have lower survival rates may be that many women may not recognize lesser-known heart attack symptoms such as fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Researchers have also found that women may tend to downplay or ignore heart attack symptoms and delay seeking treatment as a result.

If you are a woman, it is important to know your risk and the status of your heart health, even if you have never experienced any symptoms of heart disease. Two out of three women who die from heart attacks, for example, never experienced chest pain prior to that heart attack. Coronary calcium scoring is a heart scan that can detect coronary artery disease in patients who do not have symptoms.

It is also important to know the heart attack symptoms that are more typical in women than in men—and to not ignore any symptoms when they arise. 

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