SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) Study Opportunity

11/02/2011

 Mayo Clinic is now recruiting patients for both a “virtual registry” with retrospective and prospective components and development of a DNA biobank of SCAD patients and first degree relatives. If you are a woman who survived a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) and are interested in applying to be accepted to a study being conducted at Mayo Clinic by Dr. Sharonne Hayes, access the preliminary information here.

 

 Protocol entails diagnosis confirmation and angiographic review to determine eligibility prior to enrollment in either of the studies. Women with SCAD can access the documents from this link or can request them to be emailed or mailed via the MayoSCAD@mayo.edu email address.
Advertisements

Another reason to quit smoking, exercise and eat a healthy diet

07/12/2011

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating.  Approximately 300,000 people die every year from sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the United States.  Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is defined as death occurring within 60 minutes after the onset of symptoms without any evidence of circulatory collapse.  People who have heart disease are at higher risk for SCD.  However, SCD can also occur in people who appear healthy and have no known heart disease. 

Most people who experience SCD die from it—often within minutes. Rapid treatment with a defibrillator can be lifesaving. 

A recent review of data from the Nurses Health Study states that following a healthy lifestyle may actually lower the risk of sudden cardiac death in women. This study appeared in the June 6, 2011 issue of JAMA.

Healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise, controlling obesity, healthy diet and no smoking. Women who followed all four of the good life style habits had a 92% lower SCD risk compared to those with none of the four good factors.

So what are you waiting for….


Childhood Obesity – Hispanics at Increased Risk

07/26/2010
1 in every 3 young children are overweight or obese.
 
Hispanic youths are more likely to be obese and are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease as they get older.  Hispanic kids of low-socioeconomic status consume too much total and saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugar and sodium.
 
White children and teens watch 2 hours and 45 minutes of TV per day while Hispanic children watch 3 hours and 23 minutes per day.
 
Hispanic children are less likely to exercise on a regular basis.
Take a couple of minutes to watch this well done, informative video about the childhood Hispanic obesity epidemic.
We are nurse practitioners who are also trying to educate hispanics to develop healthier lifestyles. We have an adult book ready to be published “TOME CONTROL DE SU SALUD Usted Puede Prevenir la Diabetes, un Ataque al Corazon  o un Derrame Cerebral”  which discusses (in Spanish) risk factors and prevention tips for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Hispanic/Latino parent can help themselves and their children prevent heart disease, stroke and diabetes by developing healthy habits and lifestyles – this book will show you how! Please visit our website www.heart-strong.com for more info.

Just Another Headache?

07/13/2010


from HealthyWomen’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

When the dull pressure of an occasional headache begins, you might chalk it up to work stress, lack of sleep or personal worries. If the ache is mild or moderate, you may consider it no big deal and simply reach for an over-the-counter drug—aspirin, acetaminophen , ibuprofen or naproxen sodium—instead of calling your health care professional.

Simple tension-type headaches are common, happening to 78 percent of adults, according to the National Headache Foundation. Such aches are dull (not stabbing or pulsating), may contract the muscles in the scalp or neck and generally occur on both sides of the head, without nausea or sensitivity to light and noise.

Yet occasional or episodic headaches may increase in frequency over time. Are you taking headache medication nearly every day, but feeling little relief? Does the aching often start when you wake up or in the evening? Are you having sleep problems?

If that describes you on 15 or more days a month, you have chronic tension-type headache. And you might also be suffering from unrecognized depression .

Although people with chronic tension-type headache often get through their daily activities, studies show they have significantly higher levels of depression , which affects overall functioning and quality of life. That depression might not be displayed as sadness or other classic signs of a depressive disorder, so the problem underlying the headaches may be missed by health care professionals and even patients themselves. What’s more, chronic pain itself can lead to depression .

If you suffer from chronic headaches, get help now to end the pain:

  • Anyone taking headache medication more than two days a week needs to be examined by a medical professional. See your primary care provider or a specialist at a headache clinic (often affiliated with hospitals).
  • Even if you are not depressed, antidepressants are often prescribed for chronic tension-type headache. These drugs provide more pain relief than standard over-the-counter medications.
  • Biofeedback has also been shown to be helpful in ending chronic headache.

For more information on chronic pain, visit: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/chronic-pain

For more information on mental health, visit: www.healthywomen.org/healthcenter/mental-health

For more information on managing stress, visit: www.healthywomen.org/ages-and-stages/healthy-living/managing-stress

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (toll-free). On the Web at: www.HealthyWomen.org.


Finding the Right Cardiologist for You

06/28/2010

            One of the most important parts of your journey to a healthier heart is deciding who will be your regular heart doctor. Heart doctors (cardiologists) can vary greatly. Even though most adhere to the standard of care, their interpretations can lead to a wide range of treatment styles. Some may be more conservative by suggesting very minimal medicines and follow-up. Others tend to be more aggressive in their treatment of heart disease by recommending more medicines and frequent follow-up. Both conservative and aggressive styles are perfectly fine but you need to find a cardiologist with the style you prefer. It should ideally be someone you trust undoubtedly. When it comes to your heart care, you do not have time to second-guess every move your doctor makes!

            If you prefer a cardiologist who is proactive when it comes to national guidelines and standard of care, I would recommend you search several websites. First, go to http://www.ncqa.org which is the website for The National Committee for Quality Assurance. NCQA is a not-for-profit organization that promotes quality care for patients. You can search their physician database to obtain a list of doctors who have passed the Heart/Stroke Recognition Program requirements. The list contains both primary care physicians and cardiologists. 

If you cannot find a cardiologist in the NCQA list for your area, then look up cardiologists through a search engine on the internet (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc). You will have to type in key words like “cardiologist” and the name of your city. You can also use your local phone directory or ask a friend.

            Once you have a list of possible cardiologists for your area, I recommend you check out their credentials. By internet, you can view all types of information about any licensed provider through your state’s medical board website. To find your specific medical board website you can visit the American Medical Association’s webpage (link http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/education-careers/becoming-physician/medical-licensure/state-medical-boards.shtml) and click on your state in their list. Physicians who have passed the cardiology board exam will generally have this listed on the Medical Board website under Specialty Board Certifications. The Medical Board website can also tell you if the doctor has had any lawsuits settled against them. If you prefer not to use the internet, you can call the American Board of Medical Specialties (1-866-ASK-ABMS) with questions about a doctor’s certification.

After checking out their credentials, the next step would be to call the cardiologist’s office for an appointment. You will have to ask if they accept your insurance and if they are taking new patients. Many offices have more than one doctor in their group. If you really want to find the perfect match, consider asking a nurse, physician assistant or nurse practitioner about the doctors. You might say to them, “I’m looking for a doctor who will see me often and treat my heart disease aggressively.” Or you could say, “I’d like to see a doctor who is personable and open to alternative treatments.” Chances are they can guide you to the right person! 

Submitted by: Sharon Masinelli, PA-C

Author of What To Do When You Have Heart Disease

www.TheHeartDiseaseGuide.com

http://keepyourhearthealthy.wordpress.com


Too many adults and children unaware of their blood pressure

05/27/2010

 Just got back from a community blood pressure screening and was surprised how many people were unaware that their blood pressure was elevated. When asked if they wanted their blood pressure checked numerous people said “I don’t have any blood pressure problems” but admitted they had not had their blood pressure checked for several years.   

They were surprised with the elevated readings and said they thought their blood pressure was okay because they felt fine.  We even found numerous teenagers with higher than normal blood pressures.  The kids especially were shocked when we told them their blood pressure was high and wanted to know what they could do to help control their blood pressure.

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because most people do not have any symptoms when their blood pressure is elevated. Remember the only way to know if your blood pressure is elevated is to get it checked on a regular basis.

Salt or sodium has been receiving a lot of attention lately in the media – excess salt or sodium in the diet has been proven to elevate blood pressure readings.  Salt is in everything especially processed foods.  Salt intake recommendations are less than 2,400 mg per day of sodium for people with normal blood pressures and less than 2,000 mg per day of sodium for people with elevated blood pressure readings.  Cutting back on salt intake can have a dramatic impact on lowering blood pressure especially in African Americans and postmenopausal women.

 Other things that can help control blood pressure include:

  • Weight loss, if overweight
  • Routine exercise (remember walking counts and is one of the best exercises)
  • Increasing fruit and vegetable intake (current recommendations are 5 to 7 servings of fruits/vegetables every day)
  • Increasing fiber in your diet

 Home blood pressure machines are a good way to help you keep track of your blood pressure readings – do not just rely on getting your blood pressure checked when you go to your doctor/healthcare provider.  If you are going to purchase a home blood pressure machine select one for the upper arm.  Blood pressure readings from the wrist and finger are not as accurate, the further the blood pressure cuff is from the heart level the less accurate it is.  Also take your home blood pressure machine to your doctor/healthcare provider at least once a year to make sure it is giving you accurate readings.

Goal blood pressure readings are less than 120/80 – that is for men, women and children.  If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked recently – what are you waiting for??  What about your family members and friends – remind them how important it is to get regular blood pressure monitoring.

Heartstrong wants to try and help you control your blood pressure and other risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.  Visit our website www.heart-strong.com for more information and to find out how to obtain our books “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” and “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthy Heart”.


Women and Heart Disease Across the Lifespan Part 1 (Young Women)

05/26/2010
This is the first of a three part series titled “Women and Heart Disease across the Lifespan.”  On this show we will concentrate on heart conditions that are more likely to affect young women. We will discuss the following conditions: palpitations, tachycardia, pericarditis, conditions that may occur during pregnancy, and premature heart disease.