Do Calcium Supplements Really Increase Your Risk for a Heart Attack?

08/11/2010

On July 29, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis on the effects of calcium supplements on the risk of heart disease. The results were reported in the general media. The study’s conclusion suggested that calcium supplements may increase the risk of a heart attack.

 In response to the story, Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., vice president of Global Government and Scientific Affairs for the Natural Products Association notes the following:

“There are thousands of studies on calcium, but the authors selected only eight to do this meta-analysis. None of the selected studies had cardiovascular outcomes as the primary end-points, and data on cardiovascular events were not gathered in a standardized manner, so it would appear much more of a predetermined outcome versus one of great scientific rigor.”

Unfortunately this happens all to often a new study comes out and the media headlines saturate the public with only half the story. You never hear all the facts of the study. Surprisingly many studies I hear quoted on the news are inaccurate or incomplete. In order to find out the truth you should either read the study yourself or ask your healthcare provider for all the facts.

 Bottom Line: Do NOT stop taking your calcium supplements without first discussing your risk with your healthcare provider.


Do you or someone you know snore? That snoring could be Sleep Apnea – and it could kill you!

07/23/2010

 Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have pauses in breathing (actually stop breathing) or shallow breaths while you sleep.  Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep.

When I lecture about sleep apnea and heart disease I often ask people to take a deep breath and hold it for about 20 to 30 seconds (why not try it now)…

Okay after the 30 seconds let the breath out.  That is how long many people with sleep apnea stop breathing while they sleep, often several times every hour.

Take a look at this short PSA on Sleep Apnea:

Untreated sleep apnea can:

  • Increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes!
  • Increase the risk for or worsen heart failure
  • Lead to irregular heartbeats  
  • Increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

 Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness/fatigue
  • Loud snoring
  • Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
  • Abrupt awakenings at night sometimes accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

Sleep apnea can be treated once it is diagnosed. By treating your sleep apnea you can actually also protect your heart from future problems.

For more info on sleep apnea visit www.sleepapnea.org

For more info about risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes visit www.heart-strong.com

We are nurses practitioners who have spent years taking care of people with heart disease and our mission now is to help people PREVENT heart attacks and strokes.  We have written two books that may help you learn about your individual risk factors and what you can do to prevent heart problems, strokes and diabetes.  “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” and “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthy Heart – So simple you will not even have to stop and ask for directions” – our books offer realistic steps to help you develop a healthier lifestyle, all of the information in the books comes from the latest medical guidelines available and is written in an easy to follow and understand format.


Women & Heart Disease Across the Lifespan (Part 3): Older Women

07/16/2010

During this final installment of our 3 part series about women and heart disease we will be focusing on heart problems older women are more likely to experience. Some of the things we will discuss are heart failure, diastolic dysfunction, atrial fibrillation, aortic valve disease and sudden cardiac death.

Listen to internet radio with Heartstrong on Blog Talk Radio

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


Women and Heart Disease Across the Lifespan (Part 2 – Baby Boomers)

06/08/2010
During this show we will discuss heart problems women may start to experience around menopause. “The Menopause Triple Threat” – weight gain, high blood pressure & cholesterol problems. Heart attack & stroke risk factors, “Broken Heart Syndrome”
Listen to internet radio with Heartstrong on Blog Talk Radio

“Good morning, it’s your healthy wake-up call!”

06/06/2010

Why not join us for a cup of java or cup of tea (both are healthy drinks which we will discuss) and listen to a free health seminar.

“Good morning, it’s your healthy wake-up call!”

Board Certified Nurse Practioners and authors Margie Latrella and Carolyn Strimike will discuss simple steps you can take to improve your general health and lower your risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetes.  One person dies every minute of every day from heart disease!!  Don’t be the next one!

About 80% of heart attacks and strokes are PREVENTABLE by making simple lifestyle changes.  Come and learn what they are!

The discussion will be held at the Fine Grind at 101 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, Little Falls on June 23, 2010 at 9:30am

Our two books will also be on sale at the event.  Hope to see you there!


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.