Heart Healthy Vitamins and Supplements (Part 2)



Women are Different – Heart Attack Symptoms in Women


Is Obesity Becoming an Epidemic?



Obese woman

 We keep seeing in the news that more American adults (and even kids) are becoming overweight.  Is this trend heading towards an obesity epidemic?  The Centers for Disease Control recently released new statistics.  Their latest survey reports that 26.1% of US adults in 2008 were obese compared to 25.6% in 2007.  In Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia 30% or more were obese.  NJ (our home state) is below the national average at 22.9%.  Colorado was the only state with an obesity rate <20%.  Now some really sad news: no state in the US showed a significant decrease in obesity between 2007 and 2008.  Obesity increases a person risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.  What does the future hold for the health of Americans?!?

Our new book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” discusses risk factors for heart disease and stroke and offers tips for women to decrease their risk and their family’s risk for future heart problems. Please visit www.heart-strong.com for more info.

Preventing Heart Disease in Women


Adherence to Healthy Lifestyles Declining in the U.S.


            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.

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


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

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Increases Heart Risk


prenant woman 

     Many women develop high blood pressure during pregnancy but after delivery their blood pressure normalizes.  Previous research has shown that these women are at a higher risk to develop high blood pressure when they get older (especially after menopause).  A new research study conducted by Chielan researchers published in the journal Hypertension (April 2009) reports that women who develop high blood pressure during pregnancy are also at a greater risk to develop significant coronary artery disease.  This study followed 217 women who underwent a heart catheterization approximately 30 years after their last pregnancy.  Women who had experienced high blood pressure during at least one of their pregnancies were more likely to have significant narrowings in their coronary arteries than women who had normal blood pressures during pregnancy.  Also women with high blood pressure during one of their pregnancies developed coronary artery disease about 3 years earlier.

     So any woman who experiences high blood pressure during pregnancy, even if their blood pressure normalizes after delivery should be closely monitored for future heart disease.  All heart disease risk factors should be evaluated in any woman who develops high blood pressure during pregnancy.

 “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” was published this year and discusses how women can identify their risk factors and control their likelihood of developing future heart disease.  For more info please visit www.heart-strong.com