Month: May 2018

You And Your Healthy Heart

Keeping your heart healthy is everything, and did you know that a full 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented? It’s true and with odds like that, wouldn’t you like to know what you can do to decrease your risk? While we all think that we know what to do to maintain a healthy heart, do we actually all do those things? Changing just a few of the things we do each day can have a great benefit to our heart, and keeping that healthy and happy goes a long way to our well being. Who’s in?

If you’ve ever been to an ER with chest pain, you know one of the first questions they ask you is if you smoke. Not only does it smell bad, cost a lot of money and make you sick, smoking is one of the top risk factors for both heart attack and stroke. Not surprisingly then, one of the top things to do to increase your heart health is to ditch the cigarettes!

Other things on that list are proper weight management, limiting calories, exercise, maintaining a healthy blood pressure, reducing stress, monitor your cholesterol levels and of course, know the risks.

Simply, the risk factors for having a stroke, in addition to smoking is high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, age, family history, taking birth control pills, a prior heart attack, heart failure and excessive drinking of alcohol.

Similarly, the risk factors for a heart attack are again, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, diabetes, hormone replacement therapy, smoking and not getting enough exercise.

Imagine how much ‘heart’ healthier we would be if we exercised more, watched what we ate, kept a close check on our blood pressure and cholesterol levels and tried to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Sometimes, even when we try really hard, heart attacks and strokes happen. If you experience sudden weakness or numbness in face or limbs, if you have a sudden severe headache, difficulty talking or understanding speech, sudden dimness in one eye or unexplained dizziness you may be having a stroke.

If you have chest discomfort, pressure, pain, squeezing or a discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw, stomach, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness or you break out into a cold sweat you may be having a heart attack. In both instances seek medical attention right away, it just may save your life!

What You Need to Know About Heart Diseases and Stroke

Introduction.

Heart disease is a name given to a variety of conditions that affect the performance of the heart. There are certain disturbances in the action of the heart without any disease in the organ. Most common of these is palpitation. This may be due to emotional states, such as fear, anger, joy, grief, or anxiety; or to certain drugs or poisons such as may be found in tea, coffee, tobacco, or alcoholic drinks.

As heart failure approaches, the real symptoms of the heart disease appear. Shortness of breath on slight exertion is one of the first symptoms. Distress and fullness after eating are very common. Other early symptoms are weakness and lack of endurance, in the legs particularly; palpitation of the heart with fullness in the chest and a dry cough; dull pain and soreness in the region of the liver and also over the heart. Swelling of the ankles may be one of the first symptoms noticed. It is usually worse in the evening and disappears during sleep. Weakness increases until the patient finds himself utterly exhausted on the slightest exertion. He is restless and sleepless.

Every person with acute heart disease of any variety should be under the daily care of a physician and everyone with chronic heart disease should be seen frequently by a physician. A common misconception about the heart is that once it is affected, there is the permanent difficulty, with chronic invalidism and early death. Nothing is further from the truth. The rugged heart often makes an excellent recovery in the course of time. Rest, both physical and mental, is a valuable remedy. The patient must choose food that will not cause gas and indigestion, and guard against emotional outbursts, especially anger.

1. Types of Heart Diseases.

Important examples of heart disease include:

i. Angina, in which there is poor blood circulation to the heart.

ii. Heart Attack, in which there is the death of part of the heart muscle.

iii. Arrhythmia, in which the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat is abnormal.

iv. Atherosclerosis, in which the arteries harden. It is a build-up of cholesterol and other fat substances within the walls of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a progressive disease and can develop in any artery in the body. It is a common disorder of the arteries.

v. Rheumatic, this was formerly one of the most serious forms of heart disease of childhood and adolescence. This disease involves damage to the entire heart and its membranes. It is a complication of rheumatic fever and usually occurs after attacks of rheumatic fever. The incidence of this condition has been greatly reduced by widespread use of antibiotics effective against the streptococcal bacterium that causes rheumatic fever.

vi. Myocarditis, it’s the inflammation or degeneration of the heart muscle. This can be due to a complication during or after various viral, bacterial or parasitic infectious diseases, such as polio, influenza, rubella, or rheumatic fever. This can be caused by several diseases such as syphilis, goitre, endocarditis, or hypertension. It may be associated with dilation (enlargement due to the weakness of the heart muscle) or with hypertrophy (overgrowth of the muscle tissue).

2. Know the signs of a heart attack.

During a heart attack, men often have these symptoms:

i. Pain or discomfort in the Centre of the chest.

ii. Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.

iii. Other symptoms, such as shortness of breath breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness.

3. The basics of stroke.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death for men. The stroke occurs when part of the brain does not get the blood it needs. Then, brain cells die.

There are two types of stroke.

i. An ischemic (iss-kee-mik) stroke. This happens when blood is blocked from getting to the brain.

ii. A hemorrhagic (heh-muh-ra-jik) stroke. This happens when a blood vessel in the brain bursts and blood bleeds into the brain.

A person might also have a “mini-stroke.” This happens when, for a short time, less blood than normal gets to the brain. You may have some signs of a full stroke, or you may not notice any signs at all. But it only lasts a few minutes up to 24 hours. Then you’re back to normal. Many people don’t even know they’ve had it. However, a “mini-stroke” is a sign of a full stroke to come, so it’s important to know the signs of a stroke.

4. Know the signs of Stroke.

The signs of a stroke happen suddenly and are different from the signs of a heart attack. Look for these signs:

i. Weakness or numbness on one side of your body.
ii. Dizziness
iii. loss of balance
iv. Confusion
v. Trouble talking or understanding speech
vi. A headache
vii. Nausea
viii. Trouble walking or seeing.

Remember: Even if you have a “mini-stroke” you may have some of these signs.

5. 12 Steps to a healthy heart;

i. Do not smoke: It is no surprise that smoking hurts your heart. So if you smoke, try to quit.

ii. Get your cholesterol tested: If it is high (above 200), talk to your doctor or nurse about losing weight (if you are overweight) and getting more active. Ask if there is the medicine that may help.

iii. Know your blood pressure: Your heart moves blood through your body. If it is hard for your heart to do this, your heart works harder and your blood pressure will rise. Have it checked to make sure you’re on track! It is high (systolic above 139 and diastolic above 89), talk to your doctor or nurse about how to lower it.

iv. Get tested for diabetes: Diabetes can raise your chances of getting heart disease. If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar levels in check! This is the best way for you to take care of yourself and your heart.

v. Eat heart-healthy foods: Whole grain foods, vegetables, and fruits. Choose lean meats and low-fat cheese and dairy products. Limit foods that have lots of saturated fat, like butter, whole milk, baked goods, ice cream, fatty meats and cheese.

vi. Keep a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese raises your risk for heart disease.

vii. Eat less salt: Choose foods salt. Use spices, herbs, lemon, and lime instead of salt. This is really important if you have high blood pressure.

viii. Do not drink too much of alcohol: Too much alcohol raises blood pressure and can raise your risk of stroke and other problems.

ix. Get moving: Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, if not all days of the week.

x. Take your medicine: If your doctor has prescribed medicine to lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, take it exactly as you have been told to take it.

xi. Take steps to treat your sleep problems: If you snore loudly, have been told you stop breathing at times when you sleep and are very sleepy during the day, you may have sleep apnea. If you don’t treat it, it raises your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk with your doctor or nurse about treating this problem.

Prevention of Heart Disease and Stroke

Introduction.

Conventional and unorthodox doctors unanimously agree that foods such as seafood, fruits, vegetables, green tea, nuts, grains, legumes, onions, ginger, hot pepper, garlic, olive oil, alcohol in moderation, foods high in Vitamin C, E and beta-carotene preserve the arteries and prevent heart disease and stroke. Meats and dairy foods high in saturated fat, excessive alcohol and smoking, on the other hand, could damage arteries and the heart.

Indeed, simply eating meals that include all ingredients known to individually prevent heart disease could add years to life. According to an international group of experts’ calculations, if men aged 50 and older added almonds, garlic and other heart disease-fighting ingredients to their daily diets, they might increase their life expectancy by more than six years, and spend more time free of heart disease.

Among women, following the same recipe after age 50 could add almost five extra years of life, the authors’ report in the British Medical Journal.

They call their recommendation diet the ‘Poly-meal,’ playing off the ‘Polypill’ idea, which received substantial attention, on the idea of giving everyone a combination pill to prevent heart disease. The ‘Poly-meal’ contains those ingredients that research has consistently shown can decrease the risk of heart disease.

The menu includes wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits, vegetables, garlic and almonds. All ingredients must be consumed daily in the recommended amounts, except for fish, which research suggests should be eaten four times per week.

Also, eating beans, including soya beans, kidney bean and chickpeas, has been shown to actually help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

1. What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat (lipid) in one’s blood. More so, one’s cell, as well as one’s body, makes all it needs. Cholesterol also can get from the food we eat.

If there are too much of cholesterol in the body. It starts to build up in one’s arteries (Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart). This is called atherosclerosis or arteries hardening. This is where some heart and blood flow problems started.

The arteries can be narrowed through this buildup and make it harder for blood to flow through them. The buildup can also lead to dangerous blood clots and inflammation that can cause heart attacks and strokes.

Many things can affect cholesterol levels, including:

i. The food one does eat. Eating too much-saturated fat, Trans fat and cholesterol can raise one’s cholesterol.

ii. Being overweight. This may lower HDL (“Good”) cholesterol.

iii. Being inactive. Not exercising may lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

iv. Age. Cholesterol starts to rise after age 20.

v. Family history. If family members have or had high cholesterol, you may also have it.

There are different types of cholesterol:

i. Low-Density Lipo-Protein Cholesterol. is the “bad” cholesterol. It’s the type that can raise the risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

ii. High-Density Lipo-Protein Cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol. It’s the type that is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

2. High-Density Lipo-Protein Cholesterol and Low-Density Lipo-Protein Cholesterol.

The University of Western Ontario in London, Researchers found that flavonoids and limonoids present in orange juice increases the body’s HDL cholesterol (so-called ‘good’ cholesterol) level, which helps wash out the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (‘the bad’ cholesterol) from the system. Other citrus juices, such as grapefruit, also contain this bio-chemical. Orange juice is also a good source of Vitamin C.

Researchers also suggest that drinking three glasses of orange juice a day increases the ‘good’ High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lowers the chance of getting heart disease.

In this study, patients with high cholesterol began by drinking one glass of orange juice daily for four weeks, eventually consuming three glasses daily for four weeks. The patients that did not drink any juice for five weeks and had their cholesterol tested again.

The results showed that while LDL cholesterol did not go down, the average HDL cholesterol level rose by 21 percent and the ratio of HDL to total cholesterol decreased by 16 percent. The combination of raising HDL cholesterol and lowering the ratio is known to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre say beans increase blood levels of phytoestrogens or plant estrogens in women. According to Dr Bairey Merz. “A very significant relationship between increased phytoestrogen levels and lower cholesterol, this is the results of this study.”

There also may be “positive associations” with phytoestrogens and hormone replacement therapy for women during and after menopause.

3. Changes in diet and lifestyle have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

The next challenge is whether the same benefits can be obtained by taking supplement capsules instead of eating beans themselves. Other studies show that artificial forms produce less positive results. This probably means people should be eating beans as opposed taking supplements in capsule form.

Even modest changes in diet and lifestyle have been shown to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

In general, eating foods low in cholesterol, saturated fat and salt and taking vitamins and supplements or eating foods containing the essential vitamins and minerals is recommended.

Nutritionists also recommend eating oily fishes for better heart health. Fatty acids in fish contain Omega 3 that was shown to be effective in preventing heart diseases. Fish oil has been discovered some years ago by scientists to contain a kind of polyunsaturated oil that may be especially protective against heart attacks.

Indeed, scientists studying the health of different world population noticed an especially low incidence of coronary heart disease among the Eskimos of Greenland and Japanese people living in fishing villages on the sea. Though widely separated geographically, these two populations had at least one thing in common. Both groups consume the tremendous amount of fatty fish, fish oil, whale blubber and other marine life that fed on fish.

The scientists report that at first, their healthy hearts seemed incongruous since very high levels of fat in the diet-regardless of the source of that fat are considered a risk factor for heart disease.

Further studies revealed that both the maritime Japanese and Eskimos had the low level of triglycerides (a kind of blood fat), high levels of HDL cholesterol and reduced tendency for their blood to clot. All these things are classic signs suggesting a sound, healthy cardiovascular system.

Digging deeper the researchers found that the fish-loving people also had high levels of a class of fatty acid called Omega-3 fatty acids also known as Docosa Hexaenoic Acid (DHA), which comes from fish.

Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring are reportedly the richest sources of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, but most other fish and seafood contain some as well. Dutch researchers found that those who eat fish regularly have a lower rate of heart disease and stroke than those who do not.

4. Garlic, Ginger prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and heart attack.

Many studies indicate that garlic prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, may prevent the liver from producing excess fat and cholesterol.

Based on one study, by adding to a fatty as little as two ounces of garlic juice, the cholesterol-laden meal was found to actually lower the cholesterol by up to seven percent. Another study found that a day 600-mg of garlic powder could push the total cholesterol down by some 10 percent. According to other research that corroborated these findings reporting that LDL cholesterol while raising the HDL (“good”) cholesterol can be lowered by garlic

Eating three cloves of garlic a day keeps the cholesterol down for extended periods. It is reported that because garlic contains ajoene and other substances, it also helps to keep the blood “thin” and free of potentially deadly blood clots.

Ayurvedic physicians suggest that eating a little bit of ginger every day will help to prevent the heart attack. It reduces cholesterol. It prevents blood clots and reduces blood pressure. Therefore for a healthy heart, ginger is an important herb

Ginger’s heart-helping attributes are reportedly similar to that of garlic. Ginger has been shown to interfere with the long sequence of events necessary for blood clots to form. This reportedly helps to prevent clots that can lodge in narrowed coronary arteries and set off a heart attack.

5. An increase in intake in the number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day decrease in stroke risk and heart attack.

Onions have been shown to contain adenosine and other ‘blood thinners’ that help to prevent the formation of blood clots. To thin the blood, onions reportedly help keep the coronary arteries open and clear by increasing the HDL. Eating half a raw onion every day has been shown to increase HDL by 20 to 30 percent.

In a study of 87,000 nurses conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University, compared with those who ate one serving a month or less, subjects who ate five or more servings of carrots every week had a 68-percent lower risk of suffering stroke. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, all members of the vitamin A family. Eating a lot of fruits and veggies that are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C and E, can reduce the risk of having the stroke by as much as 54 percent if they enjoy carrots often.

Cayenne pepper improves circulation and heart function without raising blood pressure according to recent studies. It also enhances the power of other herbs taken at the same time.

The bromelain the enzyme that present in Pineapple is best known for its ability to break down proteins. It is a key ingredient in meat tenderizers. The bromelain action of anti-clotting might help prevent ischemic stroke and heart attack.

A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that fruits and vegetables are beneficial in combating stroke. It was conducted at Harvard’s School of Public Health where investigators studied the relationship between fruit intake and the rate of stroke in over 75,000 women.

There is a decrease in stroke risk in those who had an increase in intake in the number of servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

More so, the same Journal of the America Medical Association revealed that eating whole grain bread can drop stroke risk by 43 percent. Dr Simin Liu of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The USA conducted a study that followed the health and stroke frequency of nurses over a multi-year period. The dietary concern has been paid attention to and intake of whole grain bread. Liu said, “replacing refined grains with whole grains by even one serving a day may have significant benefits in reducing the risk of ischemic stroke’. The study concludes, “With a lower risk of ischemic stroke among women higher intake of whole grain foods was associated with this.”

Conclusion.

Nearly all legumes contain genistein, a cancer-preventive nutrient. I addition to guarding against cancer, genistein is also reported to have a significant anti-clotting effect. So, it is believed that it may also help prevent ischemic stroke and heart attack. Genistein according to reports can also be obtained from tofu and soy products. English peas or other beans and legumes.

Green tea has been shown to help keep blood pressure under control. It also may help keep cholesterol from clogging arteries. The herb tea reportedly contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) and other substances that help in the body protection against the dangers of oxidation, while helping to keep the harmful LDL cholesterol down and the helpful HDL cholesterol up. According to reports, they also assist in keeping blood pressure under control.

Your Child’s Healthy Heart

As your child grows, he or she is developing the habits that will last a lifetime. What you do now to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity will affect your child’s health forever. It’s important for you to examine your lifestyle right now and find ways that you can help your heart to stay healthy.

It’s crucial that you lead by example. Children learn much more by what they see you do than by what you tell them. So it doesn’t do any good for you to tell your child about the dangers of smoking while you have a cigarette hanging out of your mouth.

Start by looking at what kind of example you’re setting for your child. Do you need to stop smoking? Do you need to eat more fruits and vegetables? Look around your home to see if you’re providing a positive, healthy environment that will set your child up for a healthy heart.

For example, your child should never be exposed to second-hand smoke. You should also provide a large variety of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and lean protein for your child’s diet. In addition, physical activity should be a part of every day life.

Encourage your child to turn off the television or video games and play outside. Riding a bike, skateboarding, and simply throwing a ball with friends is a great way to get physical activity. You don’t have to tell your child to “exercise”. If you encourage him to play, he’ll automatically get what he needs.

You can also help your child by having family time that’s devoted to physical activity and good nutrition. You don’t have to make a lesson out of it; you simply have to do it. For example, your family may want to plant a vegetable garden in the backyard.

You’ll use physical activity to tend the garden and you’ll have fresh produce that’s heart healthy. You may also want to take a stroll around the neighborhood as a family. As often as you can, walk to run your errands instead of driving.

Childhood is the perfect time to set up healthy habits for your child. If your child enjoys eating a variety of foods and gets a lot of physical activity, she’ll be more likely to continue those practices as an adult.

When you’re at work, you tend to be focused on the task at hand. That can put your health on the back burner. But if you’re serious about keeping your heart healthy, you can use work time to an advantage. There are plenty of simple things you can do to make work a healthy place.

Whenever possible, you should take the stairs instead of the elevator. This allows your body to get some extra physical activity built in. Now, if you work on the 25th floor, you may not want to walk up all those stairs.

Instead, you can try taking the elevator to the 23rd floor and walking up two floors. Once that becomes easier, you can add a floor at a time. Eventually you may find that you can challenge yourself to walking the whole thing – you just can’t be in a hurry.

Many workplaces offer gym facilities for employees. You can use your lunch break or come to work early to exercise. You can also hit the gym at the end of the day before you go home. If you’re job doesn’t offer this amenity, but you’d still like to work out at a gym find one that’s between your home and work so that it’s convenient to stop on your way home.

Brown bagging it can also save your heart and your money. Bringing your lunch every day is likely to be healthier than eating out. It’s also far less expensive than eating out. You may even want to keep some standard snacks in your desk or the work refrigerator so you don’t have to pack something every day. Packing your lunch the night before will help you to get out the door quickly in the morning.

Enlisting your coworkers in an exercise group can also be a great way to add physical activity to your day. Get together a group of people who want to walk on their lunch break or after work. You can help motivate one another on tough days.

Taking public transportation, where possible, is another great way to stay heart healthy. You’ll get more activity walking to and from the bus or train stop than you would by taking your car. You’ll also be doing something good for the environment.

Finally, when you’re at work stay away from tobacco use. If you don’t smoke, you want to stay away from second-hand smoke. And if you’re trying to quit smoking, you may find that smoking is difficult to stop when you’re around coworkers who smoke. You might want to find somewhere else to go during breaks where you won’t be tempted to try it.

In very serious cases of blockage, heart bypass surgery may need to be performed. This creates a bypass around the blockage in the heart and can prevent heart attacks from occurring.