Contents

Its that time of year again hence we all promise to make a change for the better. Heres a Los Angeles cardiologist whose wish list of six resolutions for a healthier heart will pay you dividends in 2008.

Six New Years Resolutions for a Healthy Heart

Six New Years Resolutions for a Healthy HeartIts that time of year again hence we all promise to make a change for the better. Heres a Los Angeles cardiologist whose wish list of six resolutions for a healthier heart will pay you dividends in 2008. Do you want to prevent heart attack? How about heart surgery recovery tips? Los Angeles Cardiology experts speak out.1. Reduce stress. Try to take some time for yourself each and every day. Dont lose sight of the big picture. Finally, listen to your body for when it says enough, it probably is.2. Stop smoking. Stop smoking. Stop smoking.3. Eat healthier. Drink low-fat milk. Take baby carrots or cherry tomatoes to work for lunch. Have fish for dinner twice a week. Have one green vegetable with each evening meal. Losing weight if overweight is obvious. Track your weight on paper each morning to chart your progress.4. Control blood pressure if elevated. Watch your salt intake. Take your blood pressure pills regularly. Monitor on paper your morning blood pressure and review them with your doctor at follow-up visits.5. Lower elevated cholesterol. Know your LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Follow a prudent low cholesterol diet. Take your medications if prescribed regularly. 6. Exercise regularly. Even small amounts of daily exercise can provide significant heart benefits. Try an activity that can fit into your daily routineit doesnt have to be a gym or a trainerwalking with a pedometer for 2 or 3 miles a day each morning would do just fine. Enjoy the Holidays and have a happy and healthier New Year !Mason Weiss, M.D., F.A.C.C., is a triple board certified physician with certification in internal medicine, general cardiology, and interventional cardiology. He has practiced medicine for 23 years and is a physician partner with the highly regarded APEX Cardiology team of physicians located at 501 East Hardy Street, Suite 200, Inglewood, California 90301 (310) 672-3900

Trans Fats are Another Cause of High Blood Pressure

Trans Fats are Another Cause of High Blood Pressure

When the demand for butter exceeded the ability of farmers to supply this desirable fat ... the search for a substitute started us on a road to trans fats, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Not until 20 years ago did we finally discover the dangers of "trans fats" .How Did Trans Fats Enter our Food Supply?In the 1860s butter was in great demand and there just wasn't enough to satisfy everybody. Emperor Louis Napoleon III offered a prize for a substitute ... and so, the first margarine was invented by a French chemist. It was created from clarified beef fat.It wasn't until 40 years later that the process of hydrogenation was developed ... and the door to deadly trans fats was opened. Butter rationing during two worlds wars and the lower cost of margarine ... had more and more people switching to this butter substitute -- made from cheap vegetable fats.When vegetable oils are hydrogenated ... their molecules are chemically re-arranged. This produces a fat -- trans fat -- that becomes semi-hard at room temperature. Basically, trans fats mimic the saturated fats that our taste buds love. We are naturally drawn to the taste and the consistency.The semi-solid trans fats are great for baking ... and not expensive like butter or lard. This is a big plus for food processors ... and the reason trans fats are found in most baked goods -- as well as fried foods. While this cheap alternative to butter is a boon for the food makers ... it is a dangerous bust for consumers. In the US alone, an estimated 100,000 people die prematurely every year ... due to the use of trans fats.So What's so Bad About Trans Fats?Trans fats have the worst effect on your cholesterol levels of all fats. They drive up your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol ... at the same time lowering your levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol. Trans fats' overall effect on your cholesterol levels is ... twice as bad as the effect of saturated fats.Recently, trans fats have also come under fire for damaging the lining of your arteries. It's this damage that leads to hardening of the arteries and higher "blood pressure" . The linings of your arteries play a very important role in controlling blood pressure. When these vital linings become damaged, their function is impaired -- resulting in high blood pressure.How Can You Avoid Trans Fats?Although trans fats were first used in margarine ... most margarines have eliminated this deadly fat. But, they're still found in many baked goods and fried foods. In fact, because of their low cost and convenience -- blood pressure keep foods from spoiling -- hydrogenated oils are being used even more.Keep clear of donuts, French fries, pastries, fast foods ... even the seemingly healthy granola bar often contains this dangerous fat. Check labels carefully ... avoid any food that contains hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.Finally, a Little Help from the FDAFortunately, it is starting to get easier to find these dangerous blood pressure -- and avoid them. As of January 2006, the FDA is requiring food makers to list the trans fat content ... on the Nutrition Facts label found on all products.Even a small amount of blood pressure in your diet is bad for your heart health. Switch over to healthier fats today. Not all fats are bad for you. In fact, some fats will even help you lower your blood pressure. Olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish will give your body a good dose of healthy fats.

Psychological Benefits of Exercise

Psychological Benefits of Exercise

But, what IS aerobic exercise??According to the definition from the Global Healing Centers website, Aerobic exercise is a type of movement such as running or cycling that gets your heart pumping faster and increases your oxygen intake. Fine examples of aerobic exercise are; running, dynamic yoga, cycling, fast walking, circuit training, skiing and rollerblading.Ok, so we are all told we need to partake in aerobic exercise to obtain many benefits, such as, weight loss, better skin and muscle tone. But thats not all! There are psychological benefits of aerobic exercise too! So, what are the psychological benefits of aerobic exercise?In short, the benefits are; improved mood, reduces anxiety, reduces depression and acts as a buffer against stress.But lets go into a little more detailThe Psychological PayoffsMood EnhancerWhen we exercise aerobically, our bodies produces little chemical called endorphins, which, scientifically speaking, are polypeptides, which are able to bind to the neuron-receptors in the brain to give relief from pain. Endorphins are not just produced from exercise; they are also triggered by deep-breathing, meditation, eating spicy food and deep laughter. Just dont do all five at onceEndorphins are believed to produce four key effects on the body; they relieve pain, they reduce stress, they enhance the immune system and they postpone the aging process. It may be worth your while to stock up on some fitness equipment, they might make things easier for you. I prefer to exercise outside but I do have an indoor stationary bike, that way, if its raining, I have no excuse not to exercise. Reduces Anxiety and DepressionDepression and Anxiety can lead to a feeling of isolation. Partaking in aerobic sports, one can choose to join a running club, swimming club, gym or any other sports club. Its an excellent way to gain the psychological benefits of aerobic activity, because it gets you out an about and can put you in positions where you HAVE to speak to people. Aerobic exercise offers a distraction. For an hour or so each day, you can put yourself in a position where you are too busy worrying about the prospect of having to run another two miles before you can stop.Burning excess fat and toning up can boost anyones confidence. Clothes fit better, and you receive compliments from friends. Which often is enough to begin to lift the heavy cloud of a mild depression.Stress ReductionDo you feel like the whole world is collapsing on top of you? I think everyone does at one stage or another. If you keep positive, it will pass. Aerobic exercise is a great way to keep positive. When you are stressed, it is important to get enough sleep. Exercisers actually go to sleep faster, are more refreshed and have sharper memories. Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain, bringing extra sugar and oxygen, which can help when concentrating. And once again, the little endorphins can make you happier, making you feel like maybe it will all be ok after all.So, in conclusion, exercise! There are too many benefits that you will be missing out on if you dont.

What Is Low Blood Pressure?

What Is Low Blood Pressure?

Apart from the technical interpretation, low blood pressure is a sort of disease that saps energy from all parts of your body and mind. Your spirits are down and your body starts shivering. You get a feeling of sinking and you need a rescue mission immediately!!Blood pressure is the pressure of blood within the arteries of the body. Blood pressure is the driving force that causes blood to flow through the body from the arteries (where the pressure is high), through organs, and into the veins (where the pressure is low). Blood pressure is generated by the pumping of blood by the heart into the arteries as well as by the resistance to the flow of blood by the arteries. The systolic blood pressure (the top number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into the arteries. And the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes after it contracts.Systolic blood pressure for most healthy adults falls between 90 and 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal diastolic blood pressure falls between 60 and 80 mm Hg. (By convention, an individuals blood pressure is written as systolic/diastolic blood pressure, e.g., 120/80). Current guidelines define normal blood pressure as lower than 120/80. Blood pressures between 120/80 and 140/90, which used to be considered pre-hypertension, are now considered too high. High blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis), eye damage, and stroke.When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, it is referred to as Low Blood Pressure. When this happens, the organs are unable to function normally and can be permanently damaged. It should be noted that unlike high blood pressure, which is defined on the basis of blood pressure alone, "low blood pressure" is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow. In fact, some individuals may have a blood pressure of 90/50 and have no signs or symptoms of low blood pressure, and, therefore, not have low blood pressure while others who normally have a blood pressure of 130/80 may develop symptoms and signs of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.There are certain traditional medicines that can help to cure low blood pressure. Butter milk is good for both high and low blood pressure. Using asafetida in various articles of food regularly, also helps to cure low blood pressure.

Open Heart Surgery Recovery Is a Full-Time Job

You are now home from the hospital, and while the healing process is well underway, or you would not have been discharged, there are miles to go. There seem to be so many instructions to remember. You simply will not be up to much in the first few weeks, and in some cases, for several more. I wont understate this. Yes, an upbeat approach by the hospital medical staff may have sent you waltzing home and its thrilling to be leaving the hospital, where you havent been permitted to sleep through the night. Yet you are returning home greatly fatigued, with a medications schedule to manage, possibly a tank of oxygen, and perhaps recurrent irregular heartbeats or other complications that remain unresolved. Now is the time to dedicate yourself to the hard work of recovery. Alternating rest and exercise, and above all patience with the physical and emotional trials ahead, is your assignment for the next several weeks. You and your caregiver will mostly be on your own unless your particular situation requires a treatment plan that includes post-op visits from a home health care nurse. Even if thats the case, now is the time to review any guidelines your hospital medical team has given you about what to be aware of.If you have purchased the paperback or downloaded the e-book version of The Open Heart Companion: Preparation and Guidance for Open-Heart Surgery Recovery, from my website http://www.openheartcoach.com, its time to reread Chapter 5, The Challenges You May Face. This chapter provides detailed information not only on challenges that may arise in your recovery, but it also supplies solutions as well. For example, on the subject of feeling isolated: This is the time to find other open-heart surgery survivors and their caregivers to talk to. Swap stories, share information, hear what other families have gone through. Just knowing that you are not alone as you go through your rehabilitation can lift the veil of isolation. There can be a tendency to hold ones surgery and recovery experiences too privately, but not reaching out to others will only deprive you of receiving compassionate support. If you are feeling isolated, do yourself a favor: reach out to friends and family, and look for a "heart surgery" support group locally or online. However, whenever in doubt about what you may be experiencing specifically, contact your designated medical liaison for professional diagnosis or medical attention. No question or concern is too trivial. For most of us, there is a difficult recovery challenge from the time we leave the hospital until we are healed and strong enough to enroll in a local rehab program. Thats one of the reasons for my book, to bridge this gap as so little medical attention is focused on the recuperation period that lasts anywhere from four to eight weeks. We thought getting through surgery was the biggest hurdle. However, the hurdle is greater when we are home on our own with not much progress to report fast enough -- and without all those experts in the hospital to lean on.Every recovery is different. If youve been told to expect improvement two days forward, one day back, you might be disappointed to experience instead only one good day (a period of energetic spunk) followed by two, three, or even four days of just plain feeling lousy. Even to meet the assignment of increasing your walking time from five minutes to ten minutes a day may feel like an insurmountable task at first. You may also be swinging in and out of temporary depression. (In my case, I wished the discharge nursing staff had emphasized the psychological challenges of recovery, not just the physical stresses.) Or, you may feel off, and think you might be coming down with a virus. That might be the case, but feeling off can be due to other things as well: you may have become anemic (as I did); you may be having an allergic reaction; sleep deprivation may have caught up with youthere are many possibilities. Know that everyone goes through discouragement, yet those who are informed to expect ups and downs will fare far better. Recovery after surgery takes time. Theres often a feeling of being all alone. Because I, and dozens of patients and caregivers who were interviewed for The Open Heart Companion, have gone through open-heart surgery recovery ourselves, I offer the help you need via a free monthly phone support group, a newsletter specifically on recovery, a highly informational paperback (also available as an e-book), and general practical tips. Stop by my site at http://www.openheartcoach.com to see how we can help you recover faster.

Heart Rate Monitors Your Essential Guide

What is a heart-rate monitor?Monitoring your heart rate is easy: If you're living, you've got one. A heart rate monitor allows you to effectively train at your target heart rate for optimal results during competition. First youve got to understand how monitors work. Most look like wristwatches and combine timekeeping functions with heart monitoring. For constant heart rate readout, purchase one with a chest strap transmitter that sends heart data to the wrist unit. Devices without a chest strap provide heart rate data but only when you are touching the unit with your hand. If you decide on buying one, lower you can find a few examples of whats available, plus some characteristics.One of the leading manufacturers is Polar (www.polar.fi), which offers, amongst many other, these products:Polar FS1Heart rate monitor target zone with audible high/low heart rate monitor alarm. It displays heart rate and exercise duration during exercise. Has the option to recall total exercise duration and average heart rate after exercise. Its clock has selectable 12/24 hour display. It includes T31 chest heart rate monitor transmitter and elastic strap. It is available in dark blue or yellow colors. This is just the thing for beginners and basic exercises.Polar AXN 700This heart rate monitors offer a complete set of features for hiking, climbing, mountaineering, skiing or other outdoor activities. It has a titanium case and the following additional features: resting heart rate test, slope counter, 3 sets of heart rate limits and bearing setting. Amongst the usual specs of an heart rate monitor, you can also find:HeartTouch, button-free operation of wrist unit - lap information can be momentarily displayed by touching the Polar wrist unit to the chest transmitter belt.Polar OwnCode prevents cross-talk from other heart rate monitors. As more and more people use heart rate monitors today, preventing cross talk from other devices in-group situations at the gym or when jogging with a friend becomes essential. The unique coded technology blocks unwanted signals from other heart rate monitors, ensuring disturbance-free transmission of your heart rate data.Another manufacturer is Reebok (www.reebok.com), where I found a few designs of heart rate monitor, presented below:Reebok Personal Trainer Heart Monitor It measures your heart rate to ECG accuracy. Displays time of day, calendar, and has a daily alarm function. Scan Sequence Just press a button, unit will display average heart rate, highest & lowest heart rate and total exercise time. Contour Lite Transmitter included.Reebok Precision Trainer MonitorIt has a heart rate zone high / low limit in 1 beat steps for exact heart zone, an out of zone alarm audible warning when out of zone. It displays heart rate and percentage of maximum heart rate. You don't have to calculate what the percentages should be, since it does that for you. For example: 99 Hour stopwatch with 50 lap memory plus an accumulated time in target zone. The triple display is its main feature, which makes it special, an can be swapped trough: Time of Day, Heart rate and percentage of maximum heart rate or, Stop Watch, Heart rate and percentage of maximum heart rate or, Time in Zone, Heart rate and percentage of maximum heart rate.For more information on heart-rate monitors, you should visit the following sites:www.heartratemonitor.co.uk/www.heartmonitors.com/www.consumersearch.com/www/health_and_fitness/heart-rate-monitors/www.epinions.com/well-Supplies-Home_Diagnostics-Heart_Rate-All

Summary

Its that time of year again hence we all promise to make a change for the better. Heres a Los Angeles cardiologist whose wish list of six resolutions for a healthier heart will pay you dividends in 2008.