A Wake-Up Call From The Heart

A new survey of more than 500 heart attack survivors found that survivors see their attack as a wake-up call that gave them a second chance at life.

Frank Rella was teaching a high school music class when he had a wake-up call that changed his life. Frank felt pain in his chest and left work early.

When the pain got worse at home, he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital. Frank’s greatest fear came true when the doctors said he had a heart attack.

“My heart attack was really a wake-up call,” said Rella, a 42-year-old New Jersey resident who became a paramedic after his life-altering heart attack, so he could be on the frontlines of medical care. “I went through a lot of emotions and was worried about having a second attack. So now I make sure to take the right medications and work with my doctor to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.”

Frank’s story is not uncommon. A new survey of more than 500 heart attack survivors found that survivors see their attack as a wake-up call that gave them a second chance at life. However, most survivors also said their heart attack left them with feelings of depression and hopelessness. In fact, survivors said they feared another heart attack more than death. Even though survivors had these feelings, 40 percent said they were not doing everything they could to prevent another attack. This fact is troubling since one in five men and one in three women will have another heart attack within six years.

“I see these survey results come to life in my practice every day. While many of my patients who have suffered a heart attack are very aware and afraid of their increased risk of having another one, they are not doing everything they can to live a heart-healthy life. The good news is that if they take certain steps, they can prevent another attack. I tell my patients to eat healthy, exercise and take their medications. Those medications may include a beta-blocker, ACE inhibitor, statin and aspirin,” said Dr. William Abraham, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at The Ohio State University Medical Center.

In the survey, 80 percent of heart attack survivors said they needed more information to learn about their heart health. As a result, Mended Hearts, a nationwide heart patient support group affiliated with the American Heart Association, started a program called “Heartfelt Wake-Up Call.” This program offers education and support to heart attack survivors and their families. For tips on “Heartfelt Living” and “Heartfelt Support,” such as information about local support groups, tip sheets, survivors’ stories and heart-healthy recipes, visit www.mendedhearts.org.

GlaxoSmithKline provided funding and assistance in the development of “Heartfelt Wake-Up Call.”

“I encourage patients to take their health to heart” said Abraham.

Lose Weight For A Healthier Heart

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese Americans continues to rise. One of the goals of the National Institutes of Health is to reduce obesity among adults by more than half by the year 2010.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese Americans continues to rise. In fact, 30 percent of adults over age 20-more than 60 million people-are obese, which means they are 30 pounds overweight and have a BMI, or body mass index (a mea-sure of body fat), of more than 30.

Obesity Is On The Rise

One of the goals of the National Institutes of Health is to reduce obesity among adults by more than half by the year 2010. However, current data suggests that the situation is getting worse. Due to rising rates of childhood obesity, life expectancy for the average American could decrease by two to five years over the next few decades unless major efforts are made to slow down the rising rates of obesity.

What’s more, obesity is a risk factor for heart disease and other serious health complications:

• Obesity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Having these disorders at the same time is a condition called the metabolic syndrome, which can lead to an increased risk for heart disease and kidney disease.

• High blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, is twice as common in obese adults than in those who are at a healthy weight.

• Obesity can also lead to arthritis, which is caused by stress on your joints.

A Likely Trigger For Heart Disease

Obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are a common grouping of risk factors for people with heart disease. Managing all these risk factors will help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

What You Can Do Today

Overweight and obesity together represent the number-two preventable cause of death in the U.S. after smoking. There are many things you can do to get your weight under control and to help manage your risk for heart disease:

• Develop a diet and exercise plan that you feel is realistic and that you can maintain.

• Talk to your doctor about medicines that may help control your risk factors for heart disease. If you are prescribed medicines, take them exactly as directed and for as long as your doctor recommends.

• Resolve to make this year a healthier one-set a weight-loss goal and stick with it.

Weight Loss Tip #5: Trim Down Your Waist to Avoid Heart Attack

Find out how your waistline directly affects how long you live, and what you can do to get a better chance at long-lasting life.

A recent global study has come to some pretty alarming conclusions about the link between your waist-to-hip ratio and the risk of suffering from a heart attack.

How does waist-to hip ratio (WHR) work? Well, if your waist and hips are exactly the same circumference, you have a ration of 1 to 1 (1:1).

If your waist is smaller than your hips, the ratio will go down. For example, if your waist is only half as big around as your hips, the it changes to 1 to 2, or 1:2.

If the opposite is true, and your waist is twice as big as your hip area, the ratio goes up to 2 to 1, or 2:1.

Apparently, having a waist to hip ratio of 1:1 or more greatly increases your chances of suffering from a potentially fatal dysfunction of the heart.

A recent global study has come to some pretty alarming conclusions about the link between your waist-to-hip ratio and the risk of suffering from a heart attack.

How does waist-to hip ratio (WHR) work? Well, if your waist and hips are exactly the same circumference, you have a ration of 1 to 1 (1:1).

If your waist is smaller than your hips, the ratio will go down. For example, if your waist is only half as big around as your hips, the it changes to 1 to 2, or 1:2.

If the opposite is true, and your waist is twice as big as your hip area, the ratio goes up to 2 to 1, or 2:1.

Apparently, having a waist to hip ratio of 1:1 or more greatly increases your chances of suffering from a potentially fatal dysfunction of the heart.

Check your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)

Being in a state of obesity makes the threat many times worse. Currently there are more than 300 million obese people worldwide.

An obese person is generally regarded as somewhat with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more.

Find out your body mass index (BMI)

What makes this issue so tricky is that some people will have a natural advantage with their WHR based on their genetic body type and shape.

Women with small waists and curvy hips will have the easiest time managing this ratio, while both men and women who have large midsections will have the most difficult time managing it.

Regardless of sex or body type, what is important for you to know is that you must do everything you can to keep your waist size down, down, DOWN!

In addition to heart attack, the WHR has been linked to determining your general risk of developing chronic diseases. It represents one of the many reasons why weight loss has so much more to offer you than a just a sexy body (all though it does come with that!)

The Your Best Body NOW Weight Loss Program teaches you not just how to lose weight but how to improve your entire lifestyle to make weight control and WAIST control simple and easy.

You only get one chance at life. Take care of it by living healthy and fit.

To YourBestBody,

Lawrence Cole

Your Lifestyle and Fitness Coach
See this Weight Loss Article at YourBestBodyNOW.com

Putting Together Pieces Of The Heart Disease Puzzle

Despite many advances in heart disease, it continues to be a large public health threat in the United States. But, there is good news. The way doctors treat heart disease is starting to change.

Despite many advances in heart disease, it continues to be a large public health threat in the United States.

More than 70 million Americans have heart disease. One American dies from heart disease every 34 seconds. Nearly half of the population will suffer a heart attack or stroke in his or her lifetime. As the American population ages, the number of people with heart disease will likely increase.

But, there is good news in all of these numbers. The way doctors treat heart disease is starting to change. For example, we now know that heart disease most often occurs because of a number of risk factors. Doctors are starting to look at the cardiovascular system as a whole, in an effort to prevent heart disease, rather than treating one risk factor at a time.

And patients can play a big role, too. You have to ask the right questions, provide the correct information and work with your health care professional to make sure that you understand what the information means to you personally.

Think of risk factors as pieces of a puzzle. When put together, the pieces can help show you your chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke in the future. Each person’s risk factor puzzle fits together differently.

In addition to the factors related to family history and behavior, recent research suggests there may be other risk factors to consider, such as C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP, a protein made by the liver, is a marker of inflammation in the body. Though the role of CRP in heart disease is still unclear, recent data suggest levels of CRP may predict risk for heart attack. If you have several risk factors for heart disease, your doctor may recommend a test to check your CRP level.

It’s important to keep track of your risk factors and know what they might mean for you. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

Take control of your own unique health puzzle. Ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk, making lifestyle changes and taking medication if needed-particularly if you have one or more risk factors. You may be able to prevent heart disease before it strikes.

From Heart Issues to Heart Attacks

The article talks about how bad relationships can cause heart attacks. It cites a recent study that explains how pain and stress due to breakup can increase a person?s vulnerability to heart diseases. Also, the article provides readers a few tips on how to avoid heart attacks due to emotional stress.

Nothing beats the pain of having your heart broken by someone you truly, madly, deeply in love with. It is true that ending the relationship is probably the nastiest and the most hurtful scenario in a romantic relationship. Nobody wants their hearts to be broken, and no one can really tell what it feels like unless they are or have been in that situation already.

Yes, going through a bad relationship is tough, and lucky and brave are those who survive it. Unlucky, however, for those who suffer from heart attacks because of a broken heart.

According to a recent study in Europe, it has been observed among thousands of British civilians that it is possible for an individual to have a series of heart attacks due to a painful and traumatic breakup experience. Experts who conducted the study claimed that stress and anxiety brought by a painful and traumatic end of a relationship can significantly increase a person?s risk in having or developing heart diseases.

Results of the study showed that an individual?s heart condition is not just determined by means of physical condition. It can also be influenced by the emotional stability or condition of a person. Therefore, an individual who has a happy and fulfilling relationship is less likely to develop coronary heart disease compared to the ones who are unlucky in love.

To spare your already bruised heart from added pain and trauma, the following are some ways on how to avoid developing heart diseases due to emotional heart issues:

1. Talk to someone about your feelings.

When a relationship ends, the women are usually the most emotional ones. They tend to relay the whole breakup episode to their girlfriends or relatives. The men, however, are less vocal about their emotions. With this, doctors often recommend male patients to find someone whom they can share their feelings with. Support from people who can understand what you?re going through can surely ease your emotions and heart pains.

2. Slowly acknowledge the fact that the relationship is over.

It is normal to feel hurt and betrayed once a relationship ends. However, the world will not stop and grieve at your lose. Move on. Accept the fact that the relationship is over and get on living your life. Although the process of moving on is hard, acceptance helps in keeping the mind and emotions calm after a hard and painful experience.

3. Go see a doctor when the pain progresses from emotional to physical instability.

Based on the recent study mentioned above, a person who is extremely heartbroken can die because of heart attack. So, if you feel that the emotional pain and stress are too much for you to bear any longer that it comes to the point when your health also suffers, go see your doctor to confirm your condition.

Although having an emotional breakdown is not just the only factor for developing heart diseases, it is better to let your doctor know and check your condition once heartaches turn to ?literal heart pains?.

Open Heart Surgery Recovery Is a Full-Time Job

Recovering from open heart surgery can be challenging. Maggie Lichtenberg, PCC, an open-heart surgery thriver and author of a book on heart surgery recovery offers tips on the recovery process and answers to your questions on staying healthy.

You are now home from the hospital, and while the healing process is well underway, or you would not have been discharged, there are miles to go. There seem to be so many instructions to remember. You simply will not be up to much in the first few weeks, and in some cases, for several more. I won?t understate this. Yes, an upbeat approach by the hospital medical staff may have sent you waltzing home and it?s thrilling to be leaving the hospital, where you haven?t been permitted to sleep through the night. Yet you are returning home greatly fatigued, with a medications schedule to manage, possibly a tank of oxygen, and perhaps recurrent irregular heartbeats or other complications that remain unresolved. Now is the time to dedicate yourself to the hard work of recovery. Alternating rest and exercise, and above all patience with the physical and emotional trials ahead, is your assignment for the next several weeks.

You and your caregiver will mostly be on your own unless your particular situation requires a treatment plan that includes post-op visits from a home health care nurse. Even if that?s the case, now is the time to review any guidelines your hospital medical team has given you about what to be aware of.

If you have purchased the paperback or downloaded the e-book version of The Open Heart Companion: Preparation and Guidance for Open-Heart Surgery Recovery, from my website http://www.openheartcoach.com, it?s time to reread Chapter 5, ?The Challenges You May Face.? This chapter provides detailed information not only on challenges that may arise in your recovery, but it also supplies solutions as well. For example, on the subject of feeling isolated: ?This is the time to find other open-heart surgery survivors and their caregivers to talk to. Swap stories, share information, hear what other families have gone through. Just knowing that you are not alone as you go through your rehabilitation can lift the veil of isolation. There can be a tendency to hold one?s surgery and recovery experiences too privately, but not reaching out to others will only deprive you of receiving compassionate support. If you are feeling isolated, do yourself a favor: reach out to friends and family, and look for a heart surgery support group locally or online.? However, whenever in doubt about what you may be experiencing specifically, contact your designated medical liaison for professional diagnosis or medical attention. No question or concern is too trivial.

For most of us, there is a difficult recovery challenge from the time we leave the hospital until we are healed and strong enough to enroll in a local rehab program. That?s one of the reasons for my book, to bridge this gap as so little medical attention is focused on the recuperation period that lasts anywhere from four to eight weeks. We thought getting through surgery was the biggest hurdle. However, the hurdle is greater when we are home on our own with not much progress to report fast enough — and without all those experts in the hospital to lean on.

Every recovery is different. If you?ve been told to expect improvement ?two days forward, one day back,? you might be disappointed to experience instead only one good day (a period of energetic spunk) followed by two, three, or even four days of just plain feeling lousy. Even to meet the assignment of increasing your walking time from five minutes to ten minutes a day may feel like an insurmountable task at first. You may also be swinging in and out of temporary depression. (In my case, I wished the discharge nursing staff had emphasized the psychological challenges of recovery, not just the physical stresses.) Or, you may feel ?off,? and think you might be coming down with a virus. That might be the case, but feeling off can be due to other things as well: you may have become anemic (as I did); you may be having an allergic reaction; sleep deprivation may have caught up with you?there are many possibilities. Know that everyone goes through discouragement, yet those who are informed to expect ups and downs will fare far better.

Recovery after surgery takes time. There?s often a feeling of ?being all alone.? Because I, and dozens of patients and caregivers who were interviewed for The Open Heart Companion, have gone through open-heart surgery recovery ourselves, I offer the help you need via a free monthly phone support group, a newsletter specifically on recovery, a highly informational paperback (also available as an e-book), and general practical tips. Stop by my site at http://www.openheartcoach.com to see how we can help you recover faster.

New Technology Brings Improved Diagnosis of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans. According to the American Heart Association, more than 13 million Americans are affected and, when diagnosing heart disease, using the best …

Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans. According to the American Heart Association, more than 13 million Americans are affected and, when diagnosing heart disease, using the best medical imaging technology available is crucial.

Until recently, diagnosing heart disease was difficult without a costly and invasive surgical procedure, especially for patients with little or no history of a heart condition.

But now, new medical imaging technology has vastly improved the area of computed tomography or CT scanning, which renders 3-D images of internal parts of the body, including the heart, brain and other organs, to make noninvasive diagnoses of heart disease and even stroke faster and more accurate.

As with most medical imaging procedures, image quality is key. If the scanned image does not clearly represent all the minute details, the diagnosis may not be as accurate. And today’s latest CT technology allows doctors to not only see things they’ve never seen before, meaning patients are getting the most accurate diagnosis possible, but also conduct faster exams on critically ill patients who might find it difficult to remain still for long periods of time.

For instance, the new Toshiba Aquilion 32 CFX multislice CT system is currently the industry’s finest resolution scanner available for cardiovascular imaging, producing 32 slices of detailed images as thin as .5 millimeters.

Using this new equipment, a detailed three-dimensional image is produced to allow doctors to see the heart from virtually any angle, which results in greater confidence in diagnosing heart diseases and abnormalities.

Inevitably, better diagnosis leads to better treatment. As we become more aware of the dangers of heart disease, we should also be aware of the medical technology available to our doctors. If you have the option of seeing a doctor with access to the latest medical imaging technology versus another doctor with access to dated technology, which one would you prefer?

You can be a better-informed patient. Ask your doctor about the quality of the imaging equipment on which you will be scanned.

Drink To Your Heart’s (and Lung’s) Content

People are becoming more and more aware of the benefits drinking red wine has for the heart. Apparently, alcohol also has a few positive side effects for the lungs, as recently concluded research and analysis has shown. Interestingly, the effects do not seem diminished by smoking.

Some people are aware that a glass or two of red wine per day can help keep the heart healthy. Among the many positive side effects of red wine is its ability to promote a good heart condition, provided that a person doesn’t consume too much of it. This has been scientifically verified and is often said to be a good way to avoid heartburn, even though that may not be entirely accurate. As if people needed even more reason to indulge in a good glass of Merlrot, recent research shows that red wine is also good for the respiratory system. Interestingly, the positive impact of red wine consumption has been recorded even among people who engage in smoking.

According to the study, two glasses or less of any alcoholic substance, including wine or beer, actually helped clear up airways in the body. They also had an appreciable effect in helping prevent conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. The research noted that while there were positive effects for increased daily amounts of alcohol, they were reduced in comparison to the data from the two-glass tests. At some point, the data also showed that the positive side effects actually ceased and more negative effects on the air passageways and lungs began to to appear. It is currently still unknown what exactly causes this effect to occur, but there are some that believe the alcohol somehow aids in breaking down substances that can potentially block the airways.

Another facet of the study involved statistical analysis. The test involves analyzing the statistics between people who were considered ?light drinkers,? and the chances those same people would develop a pulmonary illness or would need respiratory treatment. Naturally, measures were taken to eliminate other possible factors, such as second-hand smoke exposure and genetics. The final data results from the research showed that ?light drinkers? were less likely to develop any serious respiratory problems on their own, barring other factors. In this case, ?light drinkers? were defined by the study as being the type that does not regularly engage in drinking, probably only doing so during social occasions. Moderate drinkers, defined by the study as having a more regular intake of alcohol, also showed a decreased risk in comparison to others. No data for heavy drinkers was released by the study.

However, there are some inconsistencies in the data that seem to indicate that nicotine and smoking play no part in the effects of alcohol on the lungs. Indeed, according to the data gathered from the survey, a good percentage of test subjects were long-time smokers, or had respiratory diseases in the past. Yet, when their survey data was compared with the research data, there was very little difference from those that were non-smokers. There is still much analysis to be done, but is is becoming apparent that the 20% reduction in the likelihood of developing a respiratory illness with light drinking was not affected by how much nicotine was being pumped into the lungs. At least, not directly, anyway.

Heart Attack Prevention Tips

While some have to fight the battle of the bulge for mere shallow reasons, there are those who do all the dieting and exercising to reduce their cholesterol levels just to stay alive. And while cholesterol is an important component of the membranes of cells, playing an important part in maintaining brain synapses as well as in the immune system, it is also the largest cause of heart attack and stroke.

While some have to fight the battle of the bulge for mere shallow reasons, there are those who do all the dieting and exercising to reduce their cholesterol levels just to stay alive. And while cholesterol is an important component of the membranes of cells, playing an important part in maintaining brain synapses as well as in the immune system, it is also the largest cause of heart attack and stroke.

While it is great that most people who are suffering from high levels of cholesterol go to their dieticians to have their daily eating habits tweaked by following a strict meal plan in order to help them lower their cholesterol levels (hopefully back to normal levels), some people have really gone overboard, but if you feel compelled to lower your cholestorol, consult with your doctor, most doctors are fine with prescribing cholesterol reducing drugs.

When coupled with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the drugs can make quite a difference in your cholesterol levels, at least enough that your levels can be considered safe.

There are four kinds of cholesterol reducing drugs:

1. Bile acid

Sequesterants are cholesterol reducing drugs that aim to bind with the bile that is being produced by one?s liver. The bile helps out in our digestion as well as in the absorption of fats from the intestine. This cholesterol reducing drug blocks out the digestion of fats from the bile to help prevent the formation of cholesterol. Various cholesterol reducing drugs in this category are the following:

– Colestipol
– Colestid
– Coleseyalam
– Welchol
– Cholestyramine
– Questran

2. Statins

Popularly known as statins, the HMG-CoA inhibitors are cholesterol reducing drugs that prevent the enzyme called 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-conenzyme, a reductase, from converting fat into cholesterol. This cholesterol reducing drug is seen as the most effective one in the market today and does some added good to one?s body as 2003 reports claim that people with heart failure but no coronary artery diseases receive great benefits from this in as early as 14 weeks.

Popular drugs from this cholesterol reducing drug group include:

– Simvastatin
– Zocor
– Cerivastatin
– Baycol
– Fluvastatin
– Lescol
– Lovastatin
– Mevacor
– Prevastatin
– Pravachol
– Atorvastatin
– Lipitor

3. Fibric Acid

The cholesterol reducing drug called fibric acid and its derivaties are less effective than the statins when in comes to lowering one?s cholesterol level.

Popular drugs under this kind of cholesterol reducing drugs are:

– Clofibrate
– Atormid-S
– Gemfibrozil
– Lopid
– Fenofribrate
– Tricor

4. Niacin

Niacin, or vitamin B-3, also is effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Although the normal vitamin dose of niacin is only set at 20 mg for each day, the dose required to reduce cholesterol levels is at least 500 mg each day. Niacin helps reduce cholesterol by inhibiting very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) secretion in the bloodstream.

Heart Rate Training

It is essential to be able to monitor your exercise load for the best results. Heart rate monitors are great for this, learn about heart rate zones in this article.

Heart rate monitors are a great way to monitor the intensity of an exercise session. Generally the higher your heart rate is, the harder you are working. This makes sense. If you are exercising hard, your muscles are producing a lot of energy and have a high energy demand. In order to get oxygen to the working muscles to help in the production of energy, the heart must pump harder and faster. More blood circulates, transporting more oxygen to cells.

Heart rate is a good indicator of intensity.
Calculating Max Heart Rate

The general guideline given for calculating your max heart rate is 220-your age. So if you are 20 years old, (220-20), your max heart rate should be around 200 beats per minute. This is a general guideline and this is some variation in this, so don’t be concerned if you are exercising with a heart rate monitor and notice your max heart rate varies slightly to the calculation. The calculation is a guideline and not a hard and fast rule.
Heart Rate Zones

Now that you know your max heart rate you can calculate at what intensity you would like to work at. Using the 20 year old example again, with a max heart rate of 200bpm. You may want to exercise at 50-70 of 200, and 70 of your max heart rate may be the way to go. This zone can be set on your heart rate monitor. This does not burn the most kilojoules, and may not be the most effect method for weight loss, but that is a different debate.

Exercise over 85 cannot be sustained for very long.

So if you want to go for a long steady state run, your best bet is to program your heart rate for a zone lower than 85 is a good aerobic training zone.