Have you recently had a heart attack?

05/31/2009

Have you recently had a heart attack?

About half of all people who experience a heart attack also suffer from diabetes. Some people are aware they have diabetes before the heart attack; others do not find out until or after the heart attack occurs.

I was contacted and requested to help spread the word about an anonymous survey for people who:
1. Have experienced a heart attack
2. Also have Type 2 diabetes

Your feedback can help!

MediciGlobal is currently exploring a clinical study involving a new medicine for people who have recently had a heart attack and also have diabetes.

As part of this process it is important for them to better understand the patient population and steps people take for diagnosis and treatment. They also need to better understand the needs of the patient’s family.

Your information is kept confidential. This survey is anonymous. At the end, you have the OPTION to leave your contact information to win a free $50 cash card!

The only way we can continue to improve outcomes in people suffering heart attacks is through research so I decided to put the link to this survey on our site.  If you meet the criteria please take a few minutes to take a look at this survey. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=ridkqbUHBi4_2feZ6MHtb1Sw_3d_3d


Don’t Be Intimidated by Yoga

05/30/2009

funny yoga            There are a lot of proven health benefits with Yoga.  Studies have shown that it can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower stress levels, and improve cholesterol levels.  Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years and incorporates the principles of the mind-body connection.  Yoga can be practiced in the morning to increase your energy level for the day or in the evening to prepare you for a more restful sleep.  When starting a yoga program you should always start slowly, do not force your muscles, gradually your muscles will loosen over time with practice and you will be able to stretch further.  Do some research into the different types of yoga available to find which style is best for you – hatha, anusara, bikram, ashtanga, hot, power, raja – are some of the more common yoga styles.

            There are many books, videos, TV shows, online resources and local classes that can assist you.  Below are some online resources to get you started:

http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/

http://www.yogajournal.com/

http://www.yoganurse.com/

http://heart-strong.com/exercise.html


Are NFL Linemen More Likely to Develop Heart Disease?

05/28/2009

fat-football-player            The average NFL player weighed 245 pounds in 2003, the average weight rose 10% in 2007.  Being obese/overweight is a well known risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  In 2005, San Francisco 49er Thomas Herrion collapsed and died of a heart attack during a game at the age of 23.  He weighed 320 pounds at the time of his death.  High school and college coaches are looking for young men and kids who are overweight to become linemen.  What message are we sending to these young men??

            A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (May 2009) reports that NFL players are not at a greater risk for heart disease compared to the general population.  The study found that even though NFL players weighed an average of 64 pounds more than a sample of healthy young men they had better blood sugar levels and comparable cholesterol levels.  The NFL players did however have a higher incidence of high blood pressure.  High blood pressure is a strong risk factor for stroke and heart attacks.  The researchers state that fitness and consistent exercise may be helping to protect these overweight men.  There are other studies that have stressed the importance of regular exercise for overweight and obese adults.  

            The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 1994 that retired offensive and defensive linemen had a 52% greater risk of dying from heart disease.  These players typically weigh over 300 pounds.  So what is the true risk?? Are overweight/obese men who exercise on a regular basis at an increased risk for heart problems? This clearly needs to be studied further, especially looking at the increased incidence of high blood pressure in these players even with routine exercise.  But also this study stresses the benefits of daily exercise to help protect overweight men from heart problems.


Adherence to Healthy Lifestyles Declining in the U.S.

05/26/2009

            The benefits of following a healthy lifestyle have been proven to decrease the incidence of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  For some reason less adults in the United States are adopting heart healthy lifestyles.  This data was reported in a recent article published in The American Journal of Medicine (June 2009).  Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina compared the results of two large studies of adults aged 40 to 74 years of age from 1988 to 1994 to adults from 2001 to 2006.  The number of adults adhering to five healthy habits (maintaining a healthy weight, regular physical activity, eating at least 5 fruits/vegetables every day, moderate alcohol consumption, and smoking cessation) decreased from 15% to 8% during the 18 year time frame studied.

             The percentage of adults who were overweight increased from 28% in 1994 to 36% in 2006.

            The percentage of adults eating 5 or more fruits/vegetables daily decreased from 42% in 1994 to 26% in 2006.

            The percentage of adults exercising on a regular basis decreased from 53% in 1994 to 43% in 2006.

            The percentage of adults consuming moderate amounts of alcohol increased from 40% in 1994 to 51% in 2006.

            Smoking cessation rates did not change.

             Adults with known heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol were no more likely to adhere to healthy lifestyle patterns.  So even though the research proves the benefits of developing heart healthy habits adults are not listening??? We need to spread the word – even small changes in diet, exercise and weight loss can improve our health.  

 “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses how to incorporate small heart healthy changes into our daily routine.  Visit www.heart-strong.com for more information.


Happy Birthday Florence Nightingale

05/23/2009

florence nightingale
We salute Florence Nightingale, a pioneer nurse. Nightingale would celebrate her 189th birthday this month.

Nightingale was an advocate for the improvement of care and conditions in the military and civilian hospitals in Britain. Florence Nightingale’s lasting contribution has been her role in founding the modern nursing profession. She set an example of compassion, commitment to patient care, and diligent and thoughtful hospital administration.

Nightingale wrote Notes on Nursing, which was published in 1860, which served as the cornerstone of the curriculum at the Nightingale School and other nursing schools. Nightingale would spend the rest of her life promoting the establishment and development of the nursing profession and organizing it into its modern form.


A Fresh Look at Organic Produce

05/22/2009

A Fresh Look at Organic Produce from the National Women’s Health Resource Center’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

 Which is better for you-an organic tomato or one that’s grown through conventional methods? The answer might not be as obvious as it seems.

 There’s certainly a benefit to eating foods that don’t contain pesticides, especially if you’re pregnant or nursing or feeding the foods to young children. Yet data from about 87,000 tests analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, a food watchdog organization, discovered that more than half of conventionally grown tomatoes had no detectable pesticide residue on them.

 The same was true for broccoli, eggplant, cabbage and sweet peas. More than 90 percent of the samples of conventionally grown asparagus, sweet corn and onions also had no detectable pesticides.

 In addition, a 2008 Italian study found that organically grown tomatoes contained less vitamin C and lycopene-important nutritional components-than did conventional tomatoes. The organic tomatoes did have more salicylic acid, another beneficial nutrient. Yet, other studies have shown more nutritional benefits in some organically grown produce, such as blueberries.

 So how do you choose what to buy? Organic produce contains little or no pesticide residue and organic growing methods tend to support land and water ecology. If you buy conventionally grown vegetables and fruits, some of them contain high levels of residue. Be especially cautious about buying the “dirty dozen” (see list below), which includes peaches, apples, bell peppers and celery.

 Rinsing conventionally grown produce will help remove some pesticide residue, but not all of it. You can peel fruits and vegetables to avoid a lot of the residue, but that also results in losing nutrients.

 On the practical side, organic produce is often more expensive and harder to find, with fewer items available. You may get fresher, less expensive produce from local growers (even nonorganic ones), who use less gasoline getting their fruits and vegetables to your market than do organic farmers located at greater distances.

 To help find your way through the confusion in the produce aisle, the Environmental Working Group created a list of which conventionally grown vegetables and fruits retain the most pesticide residue and which have the lowest levels. You can use these lists to guide your decision making when wondering whether to buy organic or not:

 Highest levels of pesticide residue (highest first)
Peach
Apple
Bell pepper
Celery
Nectarine
Strawberries
Cherries
Kale
Lettuce
Grapes (imported)
Carrot
Pear

 Lowest levels of pesticide residue (lowest first)
Onion
Avocado
Sweet corn
Pineapple
Mango
Asparagus
Sweet peas
Kiwi
Cabbage
Eggplant
Papaya
Watermelon
Broccoli
Tomato
Sweet potato

 Whichever type of produce you decide to buy, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and veggies (fresh or frozen) every day. For women who get less than 30 minutes of physical activity daily, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

 Vegetables: Women under 50, 2-1/2 cups per day; women 50 and over, 2 cups per day

  • Fruits: Women under 30, 2 cups per day; women 30 and over, 1-1/2 cups per day

 More active women may increase their consumption from those daily levels.

 References

Environmental Working Group. “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.” http://www.foodnews.org/methodology.php. Accessed April 14, 2009.

 Rossi F, Godani F, Bertuzzi T, et al. “Health-Promoting Substances and Heavy Metal Content in Tomatoes Grown With Different Farming Techniques.” European Journal of Nutrition. 2008;47(5):266-272.

Environmental Working Group. “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.” http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php. Accessed April 14, 2009.

 Wang SY, Chen CT, Sciarappa W, et al. “Fruit Quality, Antioxidant Capacity, and Flavanoid Content of Organically and Conventionally Grown Blueberries.” Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 2008;56(14):5788-5794.

 For information on recommended daily food consumption, go to http://www.mypyramid.gov.

 © 2009 National Women’s Health Resource Center, Inc. (NWHRC) All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from the NWHRC. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free).


The Metabolic Syndrome is an Important Stroke Risk Factor that is Often Under-Recognized in Women

05/20/2009

The metabolic syndrome is a group of interrelated risk factors that when present can predispose women to stroke, heart disease and diabetes.  The metabolic syndrome is often referred to as “pre-diabetes”.  Approximately 23% of men and women in the United States have the metabolic syndrome.  Minority women are more prone to develop the metabolic syndrome and therefore may be at a greater risk for stroke, diabetes, and heart disease.  The metabolic syndrome has received a tremendous amount of attention from the health care research communities over the past several years but this information may not be reaching the appropriate people.

We decided to study the metabolic syndrome risk factors in women to determine their risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes. In this study we evaluated 535 women for the presence of risk factors.  (This data was presented at the American Stroke Association Conference in San Diego, February 2009)  The metabolic syndrome risk factors evaluated were: fasting blood sugar level, waist circumference, fasting triglyceride level, high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) level, and blood pressure.  Diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome was based on the modified National Cholesterol Education Adult Treatment Panel III criteria.  Of the 535 women we evaluated, 25% (135 women) met the criteria for the metabolic syndrome.  Criteria for the metabolic syndrome occurred in the following percentages of patients: 48% had an elevated fasting blood sugar level, 92% had a waist circumference greater than 35 inches, 60% had an elevated Triglyceride level, 75% had an elevated blood pressure, 67% had a low HDL.  Eighty nine percent (120 women) of the women diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome had a primary care physician.  Less than 10% of the 120 women with a primary care physician had been previously diagnosed with the metabolic syndrome by their physician, if they had not attended our screening this diagnosis would have been missed. Our study concluded that – One of the key prevention strategies of stroke, diabetes and heart disease is the early diagnosis and treatment of the metabolic syndrome risk factors.  If waist circumferences were not measured in our patients the diagnosis of the Metabolic Syndrome would have been missed in 46% of these women.  In order to prevent the development of stroke, diabetes and heart disease waist circumference should be measured during regular physical exams. 

Do you know your waist measurement??? When was the last time you checked your waist measurement???

Women should have a waist circumference less than 35 inches, and men a waist circumference less than 40 inches.

If you do not know your risk for the metabolic syndrome please ask your healthcare provider during your next office visit.

For more information about heart disease, risk factors, and our new book about Women and Heart Disease visit www.heart-strong.com