Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

7 Steps for Heart Health, Brain Function and Reduce Cancer

arrowheart

 

7 Steps for Heart Health, Brain Function and Reduce Cancer

 

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination,” said a man who had both — Nelson Mandela. Well, here’s the knowledge you need (a good head) to make sure your cardiovascular system (a good heart) stays healthy for decades more!

 

Unfortunately, ever more folks have high levels of lousy LDL cholesterol (more than 71 million North American adults), are overweight or obese (67 percent of adults), and have hypertension (33 percent of folks 20+). Almost 105 million have prediabetes or diabetes.

 

These are huge risk factors for heart disease. But you can defuse your potential heart problems. Here are our 7 Steps to Heart Health. They’ll also improve your love life and brain function and reduce cancer risks.

 

  1. Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke; people who do have 20 percent to 40 percent fewer heart events over two years.

 

  1. Do whatever it takes to get your blood pressure to 115/75.

 

  1. Keep your waist measurement to less than half your height.

 

  1. Manage stress with meditation.

 

  1. Adopt good heart/brain nutrition: Avoid saturated and trans fats, all added sugars and sugar syrups, and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole.

 

  1. Get active: Your heart will love 10,000 steps daily; 30 minutes of resistance exercise weekly; 20 minutes of cardio three times a week.

 

  1. Consider a supplement regimen: a statin and 200 mg CoQ10 daily, along with two baby aspirins with half a glass of warm water before and after (ask your doc); plus 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 and 420 mg of purified omega-7 a day.

 

 

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

K2 a MUST to Prevent Cardiac Problems

heart2

Without Vitamin K2, Vitamin D May Actually Encourage Heart Disease

 

Vitamin K2 is thought to reduce coronary calcification, thereby decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. However, studies have reported inconsistent results — possibly because of the different effects of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone or MK). Few studies have included both.

 

At least one study, however, has investigated the association of intake of phylloquinone and menaquinone with coronary calcification. The intake of both forms of the vitamin was estimated using a food-frequency questionnaire. It was found that K2 had an effect on coronary calcification, but K1 did not.

 

According to the study:

 

“This study shows that high dietary menaquinone [Ks] intake, but probably not phylloquinone [K1], is associated with reduced coronary calcification. Adequate menaquinone intakes could therefore be important to prevent cardiovascular disease.”

 

 

Vitamin K is an extremely important vitamin to have in your diet; it may very well be the next vitamin D in terms of the numerous health benefits it may provide. But, according to Dr. Cees Vermeer, one of the world’s top researchers in the field of vitamin K, nearly everyone is deficient in vitamin K — just like most are deficient in vitamin D.

 

Most people get enough vitamin K from their diets to maintain adequate blood clotting, but NOT enough to offer protection against health problems like arterial calcification and cardiovascular disease. Yet, as the study above showed, adequate amounts of the right type of vitamin K may offer immense benefits to your heart health, including reducing coronary calcification and thereby decreasing your risk of heart disease.

 

Which Type of Vitamin K May be Best for Your Heart?

Vitamin K comes in two forms — K1 or K2 — and it is important to understand the differences between them.

 

Vitamin K1 (phylloquinone): Found in green vegetables, K1 goes directly to your liver and helps you maintain a healthy blood clotting system. (This is the kind of vitamin K that infants are often given at birth to help prevent a serious bleeding disorder.) It is also vitamin K1 that keeps your own blood vessels from calcifying, and helps your bones retain calcium and develop the right crystalline structure.

Vitamin K2 (menaquinone, MK): Bacteria produce this type of vitamin K. It is present in high quantities in your gut, but unfortunately is not absorbed from there and passes out in your stool. K2 goes straight to vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than your liver. It is present in fermented foods, particularly cheese and the Japanese food natto, which is by far the richest source of K2.

Vitamin K3, or menadione, is a third form that is synthetic and manmade, which I do not recommend. Each type of vitamin K has different roles in your body, and emerging research is showing that vitamin K2, not K1, may be especially important. For instance, research published in Atherosclerosis found that high dietary intake of vitamin K2 is associated with reduced coronary calcification (hardening of the arteries), a result that should also lessen your risk of heart disease.

 

What made this study unique was that it compared dietary intakes of both vitamin K1 and K2, and only K2 showed a benefit. Vitamin K1 was NOT associated with reduced coronary calcification. This is consistent with separate research also showing superior health benefits from vitamin K2, including:

 

The Rotterdam Study, the first study demonstrating the beneficial effect of vitamin K2, showed that people who consume 45 mcg of K2 daily live seven years longer than people getting 12 mcg per day.

The Prospect Study, in which 16,000 people were followed for 10 years. Researchers found that each additional 10 mcg of K2 in the diet results in 9 percent fewer cardiac events, whereas vitamin K1 did not offer a significant heart benefit.

Why Might Vitamin K2 be so Beneficial for Your Heart?

Vitamin K engages in a delicate dance with vitamin D; whereas vitamin D provides improved bone development by helping you absorb calcium, there is new evidence that vitamin K2 directs the calcium to your skeleton, while preventing it from being deposited where you don’t want it — i.e., your organs, joint spaces, and arteries. A large part of arterial plaque consists of calcium deposits (atherosclerosis), hence the term “hardening of the arteries.”

 

Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by osteoblasts, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into your arteries. In other words, without the help of vitamin K2, the calcium that your vitamin D so effectively lets in might be working AGAINST you — by building up your coronary arteries rather than your bones.

 

This is why if you take calcium and vitamin D but are deficient in vitamin K, you could be worse off than if you were not taking those supplements at all, as demonstrated by a recent meta-analysis linking calcium supplements to heart attacks.

 

This meta-analysis looked at studies involving people taking calcium in isolation, without complementary nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin K, which help keep your body in balance. In the absence of those other important cofactors, calcium CAN have adverse effects, such as building up in coronary arteries and causing heart attacks, which is really what this analysis detected. So if you are going to take calcium, you need to be sure you have balanced it out with vitamin D and vitamin K.

 

Vitamin K2 Helps Produce Heart-Protective Protein MGP

Another route by which vitamin K offers heart-protective benefits is through the Matrix GLA Protein (or MGP), the protein responsible for protecting your blood vessels from calcification. When your body’s soft tissues are damaged, they respond with an inflammatory process that can result in the deposition of calcium into the damaged tissue. When this occurs in your blood vessels, you have the underlying mechanism of coronary artery disease — the buildup of plaque — that can lead you down the path to a heart attack.

 

Vitamin K and vitamin D again work together to increase MGP, which, in healthy arteries, congregates around the elastic fibers of your tunica media (arterial lining), guarding them against calcium crystal formation.

 

According to Professor Cees Vermeer:

 

“The only mechanism for arteries to protect themselves from calcification is via the vitamin K-dependent protein MGP. MPG is the most powerful inhibitor of soft tissue calcification presently known, but non-supplemented healthy adults are insufficient in vitamin K to a level that 30 percent of their MGP is synthesized in an inactive form. So, protection against cardiovascular calcification is only 70 percent in the young, healthy population, and this figure decreases at increasing age.”

 

Four More Reasons to Make Sure Your Diet Includes Vitamin K2

Vitamin K not only helps to prevent hardening of your arteries, which is a common factor in coronary artery disease and heart failure, it also offers several other important benefits to your health.

 

Fight Cancer …

 

Vitamin K has been found beneficial in the fight against non-Hodgkin lymphoma, liver, colon, stomach, prostate, nasopharynx, and oral cancers, and some studies have even suggested vitamin K may be used therapeutically in the treatment of patients with lung cancer, liver cancer, and leukemia.     Improve Bone Density …

 

Vitamin K is one of the most important nutritional interventions for improving bone density. It serves as the biological “glue” that helps plug the calcium into your bone matrix.

 

Studies have shown vitamin K to be equivalent to Fosamax-type osteoporosis drugs, with far fewer side effects.

Stave off Varicose Veins …

 

Inadequate levels of vitamin K may reduce the activity of the matrix GLA protein (MGP), which in turn has been identified as a key player in the development of varicosis, or varicose veins.               Lower Your Risk of Diabetes …

 

People with the highest intakes of vitamin K from their diet had a 20 percent lower risk of diabetes compared with those with the lowest intakes, according to the latest research from University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. Past studies have also shown vitamin K to help reduce the progression of insulin resistance.

How Much Vitamin K2 do You Need?

How many people have adequate vitamin K2? Just about zero, according to Dr. Vermeer and other experts in the field. But at this time there is really no commercial test that can give you an accurate measure of your levels. Vitamin K measurements in blood plasma can be done accurately, but the results are really not helpful because they mainly reflect “what you ate yesterday,” according to Dr. Vermeer.

 

Dr. Vermeer and his team have developed and patented a very promising laboratory test to assess vitamin K levels indirectly by measuring circulating MGP. Their studies have indicated this to be a very reliable method to assess the risk for arterial calcification — hence cardiac risk. They are hoping to have this test available to the public within one to two years for a reasonable price, and several labs are already interested. They are also working on developing a home test that would be available at your neighborhood drug store.

 

In the meantime, since nearly 100 percent of people don’t get sufficient amounts of vitamin K2 from their diet to reap its health benefits, you can assume you need to bump up your vitamin K2 levels by modifying your diet or taking a high-quality supplement.

 

As for dietary sources, eating lots of green vegetables, especially kale, spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, will increase your vitamin K1 levels naturally. For vitamin K2, cheese and especially cheese curd is an excellent source. The starter ferment for both regular cheese and curd cheese contains bacteria — lactococci and proprionic acids bacteria — which both produce K2.

 

You can also obtain all the K2 you’ll need (about 200 micrograms) by eating 15 grams of natto daily, which is half an ounce. It’s a small amount and very inexpensive, but many Westerners do not enjoy the taste and texture.

 

If you don’t care for the taste of natto, the next best thing is a high-quality K2 supplement. Remember you must always take your vitamin K supplement with fat since it is fat-soluble and won’t be absorbed without it.

 

Although the exact dosing is yet to be determined, Dr. Vermeer recommends between 45 mcg and 185 mcg daily for adults. You must use caution on the higher doses if you take anticoagulants, but if you are generally healthy and not on these types of medications, I suggest 150 mcg daily.

 

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Uncategorized

7 Ways to Stop Heart Attack and High Blood Pressure

heart

 

7 Ways to Stop Heart Attacks and High Blood Pressure

 

 

“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination,” said a man who had both — Nelson Mandela. Well, here’s the knowledge you need (a good head) to make sure your cardiovascular system (a good heart) stays healthy for decades more!

 

Unfortunately, ever more folks have high levels of lousy LDL cholesterol (more than 71 million North American adults), are overweight or obese (67 percent of adults), and have hypertension (33 percent of folks 20+). Almost 105 million have prediabetes or diabetes.

 

These are huge risk factors for heart disease. But you can defuse your potential heart problems. Here are our 7 Steps to Heart Health. They’ll also improve your love life and brain function and reduce cancer risks.

 

  1. Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke; people who do have 20 percent to 40 percent fewer heart events over two years.

 

  1. Do whatever it takes to get your blood pressure to 115/75.

 

  1. Keep your waist measurement to less than half your height.

 

  1. Manage stress with meditation.

 

  1. Adopt good heart/brain nutrition: Avoid saturated and trans fats, all added sugars and sugar syrups, and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole.

 

  1. Get active: Your heart will love 10,000 steps daily; 30 minutes of resistance exercise weekly; 20 minutes of cardio three times a week.

 

  1. Consider a supplement regimen: a statin and 200 mg CoQ10 daily, along with two baby aspirins with half a glass of warm water before and after (ask your doc); plus 1,000 IU of vitamin D-3 and 420 mg of purified omega-7 a day.

 

Please call us with your concerns about your personal healtcare.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr P Carrothers

312-972-9355 (WELL)

Healthandwellnessassociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Blood Pressure is Rising! What Should Your do?

heartfruits

You’re not alone if you have questions about your blood pressure.

 

Nearly 1 out of every 3 American adults need to be concerned… And, according to the American Heart Association, 28 percent don’t know it.

 

Many people go about their lives unaware that their blood pressure levels may be creeping higher, even as it is maintained within the normal range, as they age or add on extra pounds.

 

Things you take for granted – like remembering names or your ability to think or learn – can be affected.

 

I strongly advise you to know your numbers. Get your blood pressure tested right away if you haven’t in the last two years. The risk of not knowing – and not acting – is simply too great. You have many options available to take control.

A healthy blood pressure is one of the key measures of a healthy heart, so your blood pressure is vitally important!

 

What exactly is blood pressure?

 

Blood pressure is a measure of the force against the walls of your arteries in response to the pumping of your heart.

 

The amount of blood being pumped and the flexibility of your arteries both influence that force. Your blood pressure can rise when either or both of these things happen:

 

Your arteries contain a large amount of blood

Your arteries lose some of their flexibility

If your arteries become less flexible and can’t expand easily to handle the extra amount of blood flow, your blood pressure rises.

 

When your blood pressure rises, your heart has to work harder to keep blood flowing. Certain situations could cause this increased demand for a short time – like high-intensity training – but that’s not an issue if you’re healthy.

 

The problem is when it’s continuous. Forcing your heart to pump hard without a break can place it under a great deal of stress.

 

And here’s a fact you may not know about blood pressure… When your blood pressure is high within the normal range, your arteries can become stiffer, which makes your heart work harder – and your blood pressure go even higher within the normal range.

 

Should You Be Thinking More About Your Blood Pressure?

Two numbers are used to measure blood pressure. The systolic, or top number, measures the force when your heart contracts. The bottom number, or the diastolic, measures the force when your heart rests.

 

blood pressure detection

Blood pressure issues can go undetected for years. Do you know your numbers?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a “normal” reading is 120/80.

 

You are considered “at risk” if you’re:

 

Systolic is 117 to 139 mmHg

Diastolic is 80 to 89 mmHg

And once your levels reach these numbers, they’re considered “high”:

 

Systolic is 140 mmHg or higher

Diastolic is 90 mmHg or higher

If you are under 60 and have no other risk factors, your diastolic pressure may be most important. If you’re over 60, your systolic pressure is your most important cardiovascular risk factor.

 

Be aware that, depending on your overall health, your doctor may want to treat you with medication even if your pressure is as low as 130/80.

 

In addition to testing your blood pressure levels, be sure to check your fasting insulin level. As you’ll soon see, insulin resistance is very closely linked to blood pressure.

 

What You Can Do Right NOW to Help Maintain Your Healthy Blood Pressure

The U.S. Joint National Committee (JNC) on blood pressure recently stated:

 

“The potential benefits of a healthy diet, weight control, and regular exercise cannot be overemphasized. These lifestyle treatments have the potential to improve blood pressure control and even reduce medication needs.”

If you have questions about your blood pressure – and for that matter, rising blood sugar or insulin levels or an expanding waistline – know there’s much you can do to help maintain normal healthy levels. Here are 6 of my top tips:

 

ideal outdoor exercise

Get plenty of exercise, ideally barefoot and outdoors in the sun

Get active and walk more steps.

Exercise is one of your most powerful strategies for managing your blood pressure and your insulin level.

 

Try tracking your steps with a fitness tracker or your smart phone and shoot for 7,000-10,000 steps a day. And if you work at a desk all day, make sure you stand up, or better yet, switch to a stand up desk like I did.

 

Ideally, exercise outdoors with bare feet. Studies show that walking barefoot outside – called Earthing or grounding – improves both your blood viscosity and flow, which regulate blood pressure.

 

 

Breathe deeply and slowly and let go of stress.

The way you breathe can affect your blood pressure. One method of breathing, the Buteyko Method, was discovered by a 26-year old Russian physician while trying to manage his own blood pressure.

 

Slow, deep breathing and practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong help decrease stress hormones, and in turn, lower an enzyme that raises blood pressure. Also, inhale slowly and exhale deeply for 5 minutes twice a day.

 

There’s a strong link between stress and blood pressure. If you have unaddressed negative emotions like fear, anger, and sadness, you’re less able to cope with normal, everyday stressors.

 

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are outstanding ways to transform your suppressed, negative emotions and relieve the stress in your life.

 

Many grocery store food choices today don’t even resemble real food

Get the processed foods out of your cart – and out of your home.

Many processed foods contain high levels of sugar and fructose, processed salt, unhealthy trans fats, and damaged omega-6 vegetable oils – all things that can affect your blood pressure and health.

 

In fact, I believe one of the primary causes of blood pressure issues is related to your tissues becoming insulin- and leptin-resistant in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed food diet!

 

As your tissues become more resistant to their actions and your insulin and leptin levels rise, so does your blood pressure. In a group of study subjects who were insulin-resistant, nearly two-thirds also had blood pressure above optimal levels.

 

A good rule to remember: buy food that still looks like the original food. In other words, brilliantly colored, sweetened fruit rollups are NOT the same as fresh, organic berries or apples!

 

Shop the outer isles of your grocery store. This is where you’ll find the fresher, unprocessed foods like produce, meat, and eggs. Even better, visit your local farmer’s market. Look for grass fed and pasture-finished meats.

 

 

probiotics on blood pressure management

Balance your gut flora with probiotics for blood pressure management

Eat more fermented foods and consider a probiotic supplement.

While many doctors still cling to the idea that limiting sodium is the “cure-all” for blood pressure issues, I’m not convinced.

 

Sure, it’s wise to cut out processed salt (the kind found in processed foods and most salt shakers).

 

But here’s something I think might help your blood pressure equally as much: balance your gut flora.

 

Rather than relying on commercial yogurt and milk products for your probiotics, I recommend eating fermented foods each day. The Dairy products in the USA are highly dangerous to everyone.  In 1980 the American Pediatric Association said that the milk in the USA was harmful to new borns and children.  Yet, I don’t see a lot of doctors telling their patients this, unless they are at a teaching hospital.

 

 

Optimize your vitamin D levels.

I talked earlier about how a lack of flexibility of your arteries can affect your blood pressure.

 

Researchers have discovered that both trans fats and a lack of vitamin D can contribute to stiff arteries. And too little vitamin D is related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, too.

 

Sunlight exposure – my preferred way for you to get vitamin D – increases the level of nitric oxide in your skin, which helps dilate your blood vessels.

Vegetables and fruits benefit your heart and arteries

There are several types of Vitamin D out there.  Do you know which one is the best for you?  Do you know that you MUST take another supplement with that in order for it to work?

Call us, or ask your healthcare provider, and if they say “anyone will work” , then you know they do not know what they are talking about.

 

Eat more Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral, but also an electrolyte, and plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

 

Many people believe salt to be one culprit behind high blood pressure. Studies now reveal it is an imbalance between the intake of sodium and potassium that may be causing the problem.

 

Eating food rich in potassium such as avocado, cremini mushrooms and green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and Brussel sprouts can help to correct this imbalance.

 

 

Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.

The latest research suggests that the biggest benefit of eating lots of vegetables and fruits may be for your heart and blood pressure.

 

Certain fruits and vegetables contain a type of phytonutrient called polyphenols that have been shown to support healthy normal blood pressure and cardiovascular health.

 

Many Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables – the CDC reported in 2013 that the average adult eats less than 3 servings a day.

 

Do your heart and blood pressure a favor and eat plenty of fresh, organic produce each day!

Especially grapes, with the seeds!

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Banning the Salt Shaker Has Little Effect on Your Heart Health

saltshaker

Banning the Salt Shaker Has Little Effect on Heart Health

 

If you think tossing out the salt shaker can help you cut down on sodium and boost your heart health, think again. Most of the salt that Americans consume comes from processed foods and restaurant meals — and is not added at the table or in home-cooked dishes, a new study finds.

The findings, published online in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, indicate only 10 percent of salt in the diets of 450 Americans came from food prepared at home. About half of that was added at the table.

 

But restaurant meals and processed foods — such as crackers, breads, and soups — accounted for nearly three-quarters of the participants’ salt intake

 

“Telling patients to lay off the salt shaker isn’t enough,” says Dr. Lisa J. Harnack, lead author of the study and a professor at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

 

“Rather, commercially processed and restaurant foods should be the primary focus when educating patients on strategies for lowering sodium in the diet. Food manufacturers and restaurants should be encouraged to lower the sodium content in their food products to support Americans in consuming a diet consistent with sodium intake recommendations.”

 

The average American adult consumes far more sodium each day than the recommended maximum of 2,300 milligrams, researchers say. Sodium is an important contributor to high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart attack and stroke.

 

To get a clear picture of Americans’ swooning love affair with salt, Harnack’s team recruited 150 participants ages 18-74 in each of these three cities:

 

Birmingham, Ala.

Minneapolis, Minn.

Palo Alto, Calif.

Half the participants were male, and half were female. Equal percentages of the participants were:

 

Non-Hispanic white

Hispanic

African-American

Asian

Participants visited a clinic once at the beginning of the study and then kept records of daily food intake for four days, which they reported to researchers in four telephone interviews. They also provided samples of salt to replicate the amount they added to food at home.

 

 

Across age groups, the researchers found similar intakes of dietary sodium: an average of 3,501 mg per day (higher than recommended daily maximum of 2,300 mg — about a teaspoonful — for healthy adults). This average even more dramatically exceeds the 1,500 mg daily limit recommended for 70 percent of American adults based on their age, race or ethnicity, or existing high blood pressure.

 

In addition to restaurants and processed foods found in stores, the researchers found that the most common sources of dietary sodium were:

 

Sodium naturally found in food (14.2 percent)

Sodium added in home food preparation 5.6 percent)

Sodium added to food at the table (4.9 percent)

Sodium in home tap water, dietary supplements, and antacids accounted for less than 0.5 percent of total intake

Sodium can be difficult to avoid, especially when people eat a lot of processed food from grocery stores or restaurants. To address this serious health threat, the Institute of Medicine recommends gradually decreasing sodium levels in commercially processed foods.

According to the American Heart Association, restaurant and prepackaged food companies must be a part of the solution to reduce sodium and give Americans the healthy options they need and deserve. The AHA encourages packaged food companies and restaurants to reduce the sodium in their products to help make meaningful impact on the health of all Americans. The association has developed a sodium reduction campaign to help.

 

But there’s much consumers can do for themselves, Harnack says.

 

“If you’re aiming to limit your sodium intake to the recommended level of less than 2,300 milligrams per day, you’ll need to choose foods wisely when grocery shopping and dining out,” she notes.

 

“For packaged foods, the nutrition fact panel may be useful in identifying lower sodium products, and for menu items diners can request sodium content information. Also, if you frequently add salt to food at the table or in home food preparation, consider using less.”

 

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that more than 89 percent of adults and 90 percent of children exceed the recommended limits for sodium, not including salt added to food at the table.

 

This includes more than 75 percent of these at-risk populations:

 

Adults over age 50

African-Americans

People diagnosed with either hypertension or pre-hypertension

The authors observed excessive sodium intake in all demographic groups. But they found that such intake was more common in men than in women (98 percent versus 80 percent), and in white adults than in black adults (90 percent versus 85 percent).

 

They also found that Americans ages 19-50 had the highest sodium consumption as well as the highest calorie consumption.

 

For More information on salt intake, sodium levels, and supplements needed to reduce salt, call us and make an appointment for your personal health care plan.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr J Jaranson

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Seniors Do Not Need Statins

statins

Seniors Don’t Need Statins: Study

 

Senior citizens with no history of heart problems appear to gain no health benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a new study suggests.

 

People 65 and older treated with pravastatin (Pravachol) as part of a major clinical trial had about the same risk of death as people in a placebo group, according to the results. They also appeared to suffer strokes and heart attacks at about the same rate.

 

“Our study shows there may not be any benefit for taking a statin therapy for primary prevention for people who are over the age of 65,” said Dr. Benjamin Han.

 

Statins might even pose a risk to people 75 and older, added Han, an assistant professor of medicine and population health at New York University School of Medicine.

 

“There was some suggestion the statin group had a little bit higher mortality than the placebo group” at that age, Han said. But, this result was not statistically significant, he noted.

 

Experts from the American Heart Association and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City urged doctors and patients to take these findings with a grain of salt.

 

“The only merit to the study is that it raises questions that haven’t been adequately answered,” said Dr. Robert Eckel, an AHA spokesman. “This is not the kind of evidence that should influence guidelines about statin therapy in adults 65 and older,” said Eckel, chair of atherosclerosis at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

 

For the study, Han and his colleagues analyzed data from a clinical trial conducted from 1994 to 2002, called the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT-LLT).

 

Most statin studies have focused on middle-aged people, so there’s little known about the effect of these medications on seniors, Han said.

 

 

With an aging population, the question keeps coming up, “Should you be on a statin medication even if you don’t have a history of cardiovascular disease?” Han said. “Will this help you in the long run?”

 

From the antihypertensive trial data, the researchers drew a sample that included almost 3,000 adults 65 and older with high blood pressure, but no plaque buildup in the arteries that would occur due to high cholesterol.

 

About half of those adults took pravastatin while half received usual care.

 

The researchers found no health benefit from pravastatin in these older patients. In fact, more deaths occurred in the pravastatin group than in the usual care group — 141 versus 130 among adults 65 to 74, and 92 versus 65 among adults 75 and older.

 

The side effects of statins, which include muscle pains and fatigue, might weigh more heavily on older people, Han said.

 

“Anything that can affect their physical function, anything that can affect their ability to do activities on a daily basis, puts them at a higher risk for further decline and a higher risk for mortality,” Han said.

 

Dr. Robert Rosenson is director of cardiometabolic disorders at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He said the new study is flawed because its conclusions rely on data from a very small number of patients. For example, the analysis of people 75 and older included only 375 people taking pravastatin and 351 in the control group.

 

“That’s such a small number to detect difference in events, let alone mortality when you’re dealing with a low-potency statin,” Rosenson said.

 

Because of this, the effects noted in the study often aren’t backed up by the statistics, he said.

 

“From a fundamental statistical standpoint, I think they’re far overstating their conclusion,” Rosenson said.

 

Rosenson also criticized the research team for choosing the ALLHAT-LLT clinical trial as source of their data.

 

That trial has been controversial because “it was one of the few cholesterol studies that failed to show a reduction” in heart attacks and strokes, Rosenson said.

 

“If you wanted to make the point that statins don’t help older people and may harm them, then that would be the study you would pick to show that the hypothesis is going to fail,” Rosenson said.

 

Eckel said he is “somewhat underwhelmed” by the study.

 

“There are so many limitations to this paper, and the authors, to their credit, list most if not all of them,” Eckel said.

 

The U.S. National Institutes of Health funded the study. The results were published May 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

 

If you need help with alternatives for statins, and getting your cholesterol down, then give us a call and we will set up an appointment for you.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How One Drink A Day Can Affect Your Heart

bottlesofbooze

How Drinking Alcohol Every Day Affects Your Health

 

Having one drink each day could put your heart at risk for abnormalities for the rest of your life.

 

 

Having an occasional happy hour drink or celebratory toast doesn’t typically increase your risk of disease. In fact, having a glass of wine throughout the week has been found to improve your heart health. But if having a drink turn into an everyday habit, a team of researchers at the American Heart Association warn it could drastically increase your risk of irregular heartbeats and blood flow.

For the study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers recruited 5,220 American participants of the average age of 56. For six years, each participant underwent electrocardiograms (EKG), which is a way to measure the electrical activity of the heart in order to reveal any abnormalities. In addition, researchers surveyed participants to find out how much alcohol they consumed on a regular basis. Those who drank habitually every day – even if it was just one drink – were at the highest risk for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes irregular beats and failure to pump blood properly.

 

“Our study provides the first human evidence of why daily, long-term alcohol consumption may lead to the development of this very common heart rhythm disturbance,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, in a statement. “We were somewhat surprised that a relatively small amount of alcohol was associated with a larger left atrium and subsequent atrial fibrillation.”

 

For every one drink a person had each day, not only did it increase their risk of developing atrial fibrillation by 5 percent, it also meant they were up to 75 percent more likely to have a larger heart chamber (left atrium). Living with these heart abnormalities greatly increases the risk of other conditions, such as high blood pressure, stroke, and abnormal heartbeats. Ultimately, this doubles a person’s risk of succumbing to a heart-related death. While alcohol’s effect on the heart is still not completely clear, researchers plan to continue exploring the link in order to reduce the risk of heart abnormalities.

 

“It’s not one size fits all when it comes to the effects of alcohol and heart health,” Marcus said. “Our hope is that by understanding the mechanistic relationship between alcohol and atrial fibrillation we might learn something inherent to atrial fibrillation in general that could help identify new ways of understanding and treating the disease.”

 

Health and Wellness Associates

  1. Dillon

312-972-WELL

 

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half!

juicedrinking

Cut Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke in Half

 

This is heart healthy month!

 

Research reveals you can cut your risk of heart attacks and strokes in half within one week, just by lowering your risk of blood clots!  If you have already had one heart attack or stroke, then you know that you are 75% greater chance of having another.

A few simple steps will give you almost immediate protection!

 

Ginger Helps Thin Your Blood

Adding ½ tsp of this flavorful spice to your daily diet can lower your risk of forming an unnecessary clot in as little as seven days.   To make iced lemon ginger tea, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat.  Add 3 tbs, lemon juice and ¼ cup grated ginger root.  Steep 20 minutes, strain into a pitcher.  Add honey or other sweetener (not white sugar) to taste.

 

Smiling stamps out harmful stress

The more often you smile, the less likely you are to ever develop clots. In fact, simply putting on a more upbeat expression on a regular basis helped many people cut their clots risk by 27%. Smiling calms your central nervous system, reducing your output of cortisol, a stress hormone that makes blood cells more likely to clump.  Do you have more weight and inches around the middle of your abdomen than other places, then you have a lot of cortisol in your body?

 

Oatmeal offers hours of protection

Having one cup and only one cup of steel oats for breakfast could lower your risk of a blood clot for up to four hours.  Oatmeal is rich in compounds that stop blood cells from clumping together and sticking to artery walls.   One cup of steel oats, one or two eggs, and a bowl of berries works well together.

 

Beet Juice Lowers Blood Pressure

Keeping your blood pressure under control helps protect artery walls from the damage that can lead to clots.  Drinking 4 ounces of beet juice daily can lower your blood pressure 10 points for 24 hours. Find beet juice in most health food stores, and not powder form.  If the taste is too strong, mix it with another juice or a can or diet Canada Dry Ginger Ale.   It is the only drink that contains citrate that cleans out your liver.  Has to be their diet, and has to be Canada Dry.

 

Citrus zest keeps blood vessels young.

Zest, the colorful outer skin of citrus fruits.  It is natures number on source of hesperidin, a plant compound that could cut your risk of a stroke, or heart attack triggering clot as much as 29%.  Similar to L-arginine, but after 90 days L-arginine will actually hurt your blood vessels then help them.

 

Contact us for your Personalized Health Care Plan

Everyone is different!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Your Heart and Your Health: A Two-way Conversation

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Your Heart and Your Head: A Two-Way Conversation

New Brain Health Science

 

Would it surprise you to learn that your memory and other brain functions are tied to your heart health?

 

Your body is an intricate system of parts that perform their own jobs but depend on each other to thrive. It makes sense for a lot of body parts to depend on a healthy heart but your cognitive activity might be a less obvious connection.

 

Studies show that when your heart is healthy, your cognitive abilities can flourish but when your heart is weaker, so too is your mind.

 

Further investigation is needed for us to understand the whole picture but this insight alone should be further motivation to take action and protect your heart.

 

What do the studies show so far?

 

Alzheimer’s Disease and Your Heart

Blood circulation affects your ability to think. Poor circulation can cause symptoms that look like Alzheimer’s. According to Harvard Health Publications, as many as ⅓rd of initially diagnosed dementia and Alzheimer’s cases are actually the result of vascular problems and poor blood flow.

 

As we know, your heart is responsible for pumping your blood and issues like high cholesterol and clogged arteries can create blood flow problems for your whole cardiovascular system. Turns out, not only could you be at risk for heart disease and stroke, but these issues can also lead to cognitive decline.

 

While there are certainly other factors at play when it comes to memory loss and the onset of conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, Ornish.com attests that “several conditions known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease—such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol—also increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Autopsy studies show that as many as 80 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular disease, but still most scientists agree that the exact cause of Alzheimer’s is unclear.”

 

Not only do we not know exactly how or why Alzheimer’s develops, we also don’t have a cure for it. Researchers are confident that it is a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that causes Alzheimer’s.

 

We might not be able to do anything about our genetic predisposition, but we can do something about our lifestyle choices and environment. It stands to reason that if heart conditions can contribute to cognitive decline, maintaining good heart health should be part of that strategy.

 

 

Your Memories, Your Heart

Alzheimer’s isn’t the only cognitive issue that could arise due to heart health concerns. The Women’s Brain Health Initiative referenced a recent study where, “participants with decreased heart function, i.e., a low cardiac index, were two to three times more likely to develop significant memory loss. Given that one out of three participants in the study met the medical definition for low cardiac index, these findings are of great concern. This study marks the first time that cardiac index has been recognized as a risk factor for significant memory loss or dementia.”

 

As more of these studies are conducted and we understand this connection more intimately, there may be hope for treatment. Once scientists and doctors can map out the cause precisely, it’s much more likely that they will figure out how to prevent or reverse cognitive decline. However, these discoveries could be years, even decades away.

 

In the meantime, these discoveries are helping us to comprehend how our bodies work so we can take steps to keep our minds sharp.

 

A two-way conversation

Your brain and your heart are talking. No, not small talk, gossip or debates. It’s more like communicating through signals.

 

You’re probably aware that your brain sends signals all over your body “telling” your various parts what to do. Research from scientists at HeartMath now suggests that the heart is also able to send signals back to the brain and affect brain function.

 

One example of this communication at work is your stress response.

 

HeartMath.org explains: “HeartMath research has demonstrated that different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function. During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive functions. This limits our ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions. (This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress.) The heart’s input to the brain during stressful or negative emotions also has a profound effect on the brain’s emotional processes—actually serving to reinforce the emotional experience of stress.”

 

This is, again, new research. Further studies are required to understand the intricacies of this relationship.

 

In this example, you can see that your heart’s response to a stress stimulus shuts down your brain. Your heart inhibits your ability to focus, recall information or make new memories. If you’re under a lot of stress, this may be happening on a daily basis. It’s a major indicator of how key the heart/brain connection is to our daily lives.

 

 

HOW to protect your heart, to protect your brain

There are many measures you can take to ensure better heart health.

 

One specific approach encouraged for participants in some of the studies mentioned is outlined by CognitiveTherapeutics.com. This is a 7 step program that promotes a healthy overall lifestyle. They recommend:

 

“Avoiding Tobacco

Managing Weight Level

Engaging in Physical Activity

Eating a Healthy Diet

Monitoring Blood Pressure Levels

Controlling Cholesterol Levels

Reducing Glucose Levels”

Other sources recommend more specific dietary choices, like reducing meat and dairy consumption and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

 

When choosing foods for your heart, go for berries, dark-colored vegetables and nuts. These are great sources of antioxidants and other heart-healthy nutrients.  Also, consider eating more fish, because it’s high in the omega–3 fatty acids that your heart and brain need.

 

Other healthy sources of fat to consider supplementing with are seed oils like sunflower or flax.

 

A lot of the foods that support your heart are also great for your brain and for preventing memory loss, which I’m sure will no longer surprise you. To learn more about these foods, check out my recent post on the subject.

 

What kinds of additional studies are needed?

More studies need to be done to look at heart health and cognitive function in a wider range of age groups, as well as across racial and socio-economic lines. In addition, longer-term studies involving larger numbers of participants are needed.

 

What we know for sure

A healthy heart is vital for a long and healthy life. Now we know that you can help to make sure that your mind keeps pace with your body by treating your heart well, too.

 

Focus on maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Make healthy food choices, stay hydrated and stay active. Also, avoid toxins, like cigarette smoke and other synthetic chemicals.

 

Other heart-healthy activities are also recommended. Keep your stress levels low by getting plenty of rest — even practice meditation. Surround yourself with love and support by fostering healthy relationships with friends and family. Even having a pet has been shown to benefit heart health.

 

If you can manage all that, you’ll be on a steady path for preventing illness and encouraging longevity, as well as intellectual and emotional quality of life throughout your later years.

If you need help, call us for a Personalized Health Care Plan that fits your body, your lifestyle and you health.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

  1. Dillon

312-972-WELL

Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Your Heartbeat can Warn us of a Stroke

heartarythmia

Many With Common Irregular Heartbeat Unaware of Stroke Risk

 

Nearly one-third of Americans newly diagnosed with the common heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation (AF) don’t realize the condition puts them at increased risk for stroke, a new study finds.

 

The irregular heartbeat in AF patients can cause blood to pool, which can cause blood clots that can lead to stroke, researchers explained.

 

The study revealed misconceptions some patients had about atrial fibrillation.

 

“This helps us see gaps in knowledge and understanding,” said lead author Emily O’Brien, from the Clinical Research Institute at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

 

O’Brien and her team surveyed 1,000 people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in the past six months. Their median age was 69. About 63 percent strongly agreed that stroke is a major risk factor of atrial fibrillation. However, around 32 percent believed that heart attack is a major risk factor of AF, which is incorrect, the researchers reported.

 

Sixty percent of the patients said they understood the role of blood thinners to manage their disorder. Yet only a minority said they understood their options for blood thinners (30 percent), drugs that control heart rhythm (16 percent) and ablation, a procedure to destroy tissue in the heart causing abnormal rhythm (12 percent).

 

Just 13 percent of patients said their main source of information about atrial fibrillation was the internet, while nearly 73 percent said it was their doctor, the study revealed.

 

“We thought in this day and age, we would see a higher proportion relying on the internet or family and friends for information,” O’Brien said in a university news release. “But an encouragingly high proportion are relying on their provider.

 

“We really want to make sure we avoid any misconceptions about the condition and how it’s treated. This provides a good starting point for future interventions and education for patients in this group,” she said.

 

The study was scheduled to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, in New Orleans. Findings released at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

312-972-WELL