Polypill to prevent heart disease??

03/31/2009

Many people with risk factors for heart disease need to take several pills – one (many times several pills needed to get blood pressure controlled) to control their blood pressure, one to control their cholesterol, and an aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Results of an initial study of an experimental polypill were presented at the American College of Cardiology conference this week (results will be published online in the journal Lancet).  The polypill actually contains low doses of 3 different blood pressure medications (atenolol, ramipril,  and a “water pill” thiazide), plus the generic form of the cholesterol lowering medication Zocor, and low dose aspirin.  This would allow patients to take only one pill instead of five pills every day.  This study was performed in India and involved over 2,000 patients with at least one risk factor for heart disease.  Patients taking the polypill had lowering of their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and effective anti-clotting effects.  No increase in side effects was seen, side effects were similar to patients taking the five individual medications.  Taking this single polypill could potentially cut a person’s risk of heart attack and stroke in half.

Of course further larger scale studies are warranted and FDA approval (which could take years) needs to be obtained before this combination medication would be available in the U.S.  But these are promising initial results and could possibly improve medication compliance.


Tips for Women – Coping with Stress

03/30/2009

Tips for Coping With Stress
from the 2008 Women T.A.L.K. Survey

The National Women’s Health Resource Center’s 2008 Women T.A.L.K. survey found that 42% of women say their health has gotten worse in the past five years and stress was the most commonly cited reason (53%). Not all stress is bad, but when it flames out of control, it can take a terrible toll on your physical and emotional health, as well as on relationships. Following are some tips and practices that can help keep you from becoming overwhelmed or overanxious:

  • Eat a balanced, nutritious diet. Eating well, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and junk food can help strengthen your immune system and your stress resistance.
  • Exercise regularly because exercise promotes emotional well-being as well as physical fitness.
  • Schedule your time more effectively using a calendar and to-do lists, prioritizing activities and realizing you can’t do everything. And, schedule a few minutes for yourself each day.
  • Learn how to say no to requests that add extra burdens and can wreak havoc on your day.
  • Insist on help with regular chores.
  • Balance work and play by planning time for hobbies and recreation—activities that relax your mind and take you away from stressors temporarily.
  • Practice relaxation exercises—like deep breathing or meditation—for just a few minutes each day.
  • Rehearse for stressful events. Imagine yourself feeling calm and confident when anticipating a stressful situation. You will be able to relax more easily when the situation arises.
  • Let yourself laugh and cry. Laughter makes your muscles go limp and releases tension, so try to keep a sense of humor. Tears can help cleanse the body of substances that accumulate under stress.
  • Talk out troubles. It sometimes helps to talk with a friend, relative or member of the clergy. Another person can help you see a problem from a different point of view.
  • Help others. Because we concentrate on ourselves when we’re distressed, sometimes helping others is the perfect remedy for letting go of whatever is troubling us.
  • Learn to accept a difficult problem that is out of your control, which is better than endlessly worrying about it without results.
  • Develop and maintain a positive attitude. View changes as positive challenges, opportunities or blessings.

Not every women needs to do all of these things. Some approaches may work for some people and others for other people. The key is to use the ones that work for you, and keep in mind that some of these become more effective with practice. Also, if stress starts making you feel especially overwhelmed and unable to cope, seek help from a professional trained to help.

© 2008 National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the NWHRC. 1-877-986-9472 (tollfree). On the Web at: www.healthywomen.org.


More bad news for overweight men

03/29/2009

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Data from the Physician’s Health Study published in the journal Circulation (2009) found that obese and overweight men are at an increased risk for heart failure.  (Heart failure is a weakening of the heart muscle)

Overweight men had a 49% higher risk of developing heart failure versus normal weight men

Obese men had a 180% higher risk of developing heart failure versus normal weight men

Exercise can help:

Men who did vigorous physical activity 5 to 7 times per week had a 36% lower risk of heart failure

While men who did vigorous physical activity 1 to 3 times per month had an 18% lower risk of heart failure

The combined effects of weight and physical activity were tremendous:

Normal weight men had a 19% risk of heart failure

Overweight but active men had a 49% risk

Overweight and inactive men had a 78% risk

Obese but active men had a 168% risk

Obese and inactive men had a 293% risk

Exercise helped decrease risk of heart failure in ALL men. So men Keep Lean and Exercise to protect your heart!!

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com


10,000 Steps may not be the magic number

03/27/2009

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Several years ago the U.S. Surgeon General came out with the 10,000 steps program, encouraging every adult to walk 10,000 steps every day.  This was considered the minimum amount of daily heart healthy activity.  Now new recommendations are being evaulated by the Centers for Disease Control based on research that will be published in the May 2009 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  The new guideline recommends walking 3,000 steps over 30 minutes or 1,000 steps for 10 minutes five days a week.  This gets your heart pumping to achieve a moderate level of physical activity.  Walking is a very heart healthy activity, so get that pedometer out and start walking (your heart will thank you)….

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Migraines during pregnancy increase heart attack and stroke risk

03/26/2009

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Migraine headaches have previously been shown to be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke in women, especially migraines with an aura or visual changes.  A study published in the British Medical Journal (March 2009) found that migraines during pregnancy can be lethal.  Over 33,000 pregnant women diagnosed with migraines were studied.  Women over 35 years of age were more likely to experience migraines during pregnancy.  Women who had migraines during pregnancy were 15 times more likely to have a stroke and twice as likely to develop heart disease.  All women need to know their risk factors in order to prevent a heart attack and stroke.

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses risk factors for heart disease and stroke in women and provides tips on how to decrease your risk and live a healthier life. This book is available at www.heart-strong.com for only $10


Exercise Benefits After a Heart Attack

03/25/2009

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According to new research published in the journal Circulation (March 2009) any exercise regime after a heart attack is beneficial but, the exercise program needs to become a regular routine. Over 200 heart attack survivors were enrolled in a one month exercise program, either aerobic exercise or resistance training.  The effects of exercise were studied by measuring endothelial function (blood vessel relaxation).  All of the patients who performed regular exercise were found to have a beneficial widening of their blood vessels and improvement in blood flow.  No change in blood flow was observed in heart attack survivors who did not adhere to an exercise routine.  However, in patients who stopped exercising the beneficial blood flow effects were lost within 4 weeks.

Make exercise a part of your weekly routine! If these benefits were observed in people after a heart attack imagine the advantages you can experience to prevent heart disease.

The American Heart Association recommends all adults perform at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity several times a week.

 

For heart healthy exercise tips visit www.heart-strong.com

 

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Being Overweight Shortens Your Lifespan!

03/24/2009

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Not only does being overweight or obese increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke – now new research from the British Heart Foundation reports that it can actually shorten your lifespan!

A recent analysis of over 57 studies published in the journal Lancet found that:

People who were overweight lost about 3 years off their life

People who were obese lost about 10 years off their expected lifespan

These shortened lifespans are similar to people who were lifelong smokers.

 

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov 2008) found that belly fat doubled the risk of premature death in both men and women.  For each 2 inch increase in waist circumference a 17% increase in mortality was seen in men and a 13% increase in women.  A man’s waist circumference should be less than 40 inches, a woman’s waist circumference should be less than 35 inches.

 

For more heart healthy info visit www.heart-strong.com

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