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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

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Dr P Carrothers

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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!

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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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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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.”

 

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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

heartandhealth

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

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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.

 

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Low Blood Pressure

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Low blood pressure facts

 

Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is blood pressure low enough that the flow of blood to the organs of the body is inadequate and symptoms and/or signs of low blood flow develop shock.

Low pressure alone, without symptoms or signs, usually is not unhealthy.

The symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent when individuals go from the lying or sitting position to the standing position (orthostatic hypotension).

Low blood pressure that causes an inadequate flow of blood to the body’s organs can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. It’s most severe form is shock.

Common causes of low blood pressure include a reduced volume of blood, heart disease, and medications. volume of blood, heart disease, and medications.

The cause of low blood pressure can be determined with blood tests, radiologic studies, and cardiac testing to look for heart failure and arrhythmias.

Treatment of low blood pressure is determined by the cause of the low pressure.

Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood on the walls of blood vessels. It constitutes one of the critically important signs of life or vital signs which include heart rate, breathing, and temperature. Blood pressure is generated by the heart pumping blood into the arteries modified by the response of the arteries to the flow of blood.

 

An individual’s blood pressure is expressed as systolic/diastolic blood pressure, for example, 120/80.

 

The systolic blood pressure (the top number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart contracts and pumps blood into them.

The diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) represents the pressure in the arteries as the muscle of the heart relaxes following its contraction.

Blood pressure always is higher when the heart is pumping (squeezing) than when it is relaxing.

The range of systolic blood pressure for most healthy adults falls between 90 and 120 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal diastolic blood pressure ranges between 60 and 80 mm Hg. Current guidelines define normal blood pressure range as lower than 120/80. Blood pressures over 130/80 are considered high. High blood pressure increases the risk of damaging the arteries which leads to the development of:

 

Heart disease

Kidney disease

Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis)

Eye damage

Stroke

Low blood pressure (hypotension) is pressure so low it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally and may be temporarily or permanently damaged.

 

Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific blood pressure number. Some individuals routinely may have blood pressure numbers of 90/50 with no symptoms and therefore do not have low blood pressure. However, others who normally have higher blood pressures may develop symptoms of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.

 

In pregnancy, blood pressure tends to decrease. Normal blood pressure during pregnancy may be lower than 100/60. Blood pressure should be monitored by the obstetrician during pregnancy.

How is blood pressure generated?

 

During relaxation of the heart (diastole) the left ventricle of the heart fills with blood returning from the lungs. The left ventricle then contracts and pumps blood into the arteries (systole). The blood pressure in the arteries during contraction of the ventricle (systolic pressure) is higher because blood is being actively ejected into the arteries. It is lower during relaxation of the ventricle (diastolic pressure) when no blood is being ejected into the arteries. The pulse we feel when we place our fingers over an artery is caused by the contraction of the left ventricle and the ejection of blood.

 

Blood pressure is determined by two factors: 1) The amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart into the arteries, and 2) the resistance to the flow of blood caused by the walls of the arterioles (smaller arteries).

 

Generally, blood pressure tends to be higher if more blood is pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are narrow and/or stiff. Narrow and/or stiff arterioles, by resisting the flow of blood, increase blood pressure. Arterioles may become narrower when the muscles surrounding them contract. Arterioles may become stiff and narrow when older patients develop atherosclerosis.

 

Blood pressure tends to be lower if less blood is being pumped into the arteries or if the arterioles are larger and more flexible and, therefore, have less resistance to the flow of blood. How does the body maintain normal blood pressure?

 

The body has mechanisms to alter or maintain blood pressure and blood flow. There are sensors that sense blood pressure in the walls of the arteries and send signals to the heart, the arterioles, the veins, and the kidneys that cause them to make changes that lower or increase blood pressure.

 

There are several ways in which blood pressure can be adjusted; by adjusting the amount of blood pumped by the heart into the arteries (cardiac output), the amount of blood contained in the veins, the arteriolar resistance, and the volume of blood.

 

The heart can speed up and contract more frequently and it can eject more blood with each contraction (more forcefully). Both of these responses increase the flow of blood into the arteries and increase blood pressure.

The veins can expand and narrow. When veins expand, more blood can be stored in the veins and less blood returns to the heart for pumping into the arteries. As a result, the heart pumps less blood, and blood pressure is lower. On the other hand, when veins narrow, less blood is stored in the veins, more blood returns to the heart for pumping into the arteries, and blood pressure is higher.

The arterioles can expand and narrow. Expanded arterioles create less resistance to the flow of blood and decrease blood pressure, while narrowed arterioles create more resistance and raise blood pressure.

The kidney can respond to changes in blood pressure by increasing or decreasing the amount of urine that is produced. Urine is primarily water that is removed from the blood. When the kidney makes more urine, the amount (volume) of blood that fills the arteries and veins decreases, and this lowers blood pressure. If the kidneys make less urine, the amount of blood that fills the arteries and veins increases and this increases blood pressure. Compared with the other mechanisms for adjusting blood pressure, changes in the production of urine affect blood pressure slowly over hours and days. (The other mechanisms are effective in seconds.)

For example, low blood volume due to bleeding (such as a bleeding ulcer in the stomach or from a severe laceration from an injury) can cause low blood pressure. The body quickly responds to the low blood volume and pressure by the following adjustments which all increase blood pressure:

 

The heart rate increases and the forcefulness of the heart’s contractions increase, pumping more blood through the heart.

Veins narrow to return more blood to the heart for pumping.

Blood flow to the kidneys decreases to reduce the formation of urine and thereby increases the volume of blood in the arteries and veins.

Arterioles narrow to increase resistance to blood flow.

These adaptive responses will keep the blood pressure in the normal range unless blood loss becomes so severe that the responses are overwhelmed.

 

Is low blood pressure bad for your health?

 

People who have lower blood pressures have a lower risk of stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.

 

Athletes, people who exercise regularly, people who maintain ideal body weight, and nonsmokers tend to have lower blood pressures. Low blood pressure is desirable as long as it is not low enough to cause symptoms and damage to the organs in the body

What are low blood pressure symptoms and signs?

 

When blood pressure is not sufficient to deliver enough blood to the organs of the body, the organs do not work properly and can be temporarily or permanently damaged. Symptoms of low blood pressure caused by conditions or diseases depend upon the specific cause of the low blood pressure. For example, if insufficient blood flows to the brain, brain cells do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients, and a person can feel lightheaded, dizzy, or even faint.

 

The most common symptoms of low blood pressure include:

 

Lightheadedness

Dizziness

Fainting (syncope)

Symptoms of low blood pressure due to conditions or diseases include:

 

Orthostatic hypotension: Going from a sitting or lying position to a standing position often brings out symptoms of low blood pressure. This occurs because standing causes blood to “settle” in the veins of the lower body, and this can lower the blood pressure. If the blood pressure is already low, standing can make the low pressure worse, to the point of causing symptoms. The development of lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing caused by low blood pressure is called orthostatic hypotension. Normal individuals are able to compensate rapidly for the low pressure created by standing with the responses discussed previously and do not develop orthostatic hypotension.

Heart disease:Chest pain (a symptom of angina) or even a heart attack due to is insufficient blood pressure to deliver blood to the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply blood to the heart’s muscle), a person may develop.

Kidney disease: When insufficient blood is delivered to the kidneys, the kidneys fail to eliminate wastes from the body, for example, urea (BUN) and creatinine, and increases in their levels in the blood occur.

Shock is a life-threatening condition where persistently low blood pressure causes organs such as kidney, liver, heart, lung, and brain to fail rapidly.

 

Causes of low blood pressure: Dehydration, bleeding, and inflammation

Conditions that reduce the volume of blood, reduce cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped by the heart), and medications are frequent reasons for low blood pressure.

 

Dehydration is common among patients with prolonged nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive exercise which shunts blood away from the organs to the muscles. Large amounts of water are lost when vomiting and with diarrhea, especially if the person does not drink adequate amounts of fluid to replace the depleted water.

 

Other causes of dehydration include exercise, sweating, fever, and heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. Individuals with mild dehydration may experience only thirst and dry mouth. Moderate to severe dehydration may cause orthostatic hypotension (manifested by lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting upon standing). Prolonged and severe dehydration can lead to shock, kidney failure, confusion, acidosis (too much acid in the blood), coma, and even death.

Moderate or severe bleeding can quickly deplete an individual’s body of blood, leading to low blood pressure or orthostatic hypotension. Bleeding can result from trauma, surgical complications, or from gastrointestinal abnormalities such as ulcers, tumors, or diverticulosis. Occasionally, the bleeding may be so severe and rapid (for example, bleeding from a ruptured aortic aneurysm) that it causes shock and death rapidly.

Severe inflammation of organs inside the body such as acute pancreatitis can cause low blood pressure. In acute pancreatitis, fluid leaves the blood vessels to enter the inflamed tissues around the pancreas as well as the abdominal cavity, concentrating blood and reducing its volume.

 

Causes of low blood pressure: Heart disease

 

Weakened heart muscle can cause the heart to fail and reduce the amount of blood it pumps. One common cause of weakened heart muscle is the death of a large portion of the heart’s muscle due to a single, large heart attack or repeated smaller heart attacks. Other examples of conditions that can weaken the ability of the heart to pump blood include medications that are toxic to the heart, infections of the muscle of the heart by viruses (myocarditis), and diseases of the heart’s valves such as aortic stenosis that reduce the flow of blood from the heart and into the arteries.

Pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart). Pericarditis can cause fluid to accumulate within the pericardium and compress the heart, restricting the ability of the heart to expand, fill, and pump blood.

Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which a blood clot in a vein (deep vein thrombosis) breaks off and travels to the heart and eventually the lung. A large blood clot can block the flow of blood into the left ventricle from the lungs and severely diminish the blood returning to the heart for pumping. Pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening emergency.

A slow heart rate (bradycardia) can decrease the amount of blood pumped by the heart. The resting heart rate for a healthy adult is between 60 and 100 beats/minute. Bradycardia (resting heart rates slower than 60 beats/minute) does not always cause low blood pressure. In fact, some highly trained athletes can have resting heart rates in the 40s and 50s (beats per minute) without any symptoms. The slow heart rates are offset by more forceful contractions of the heart that pump more blood than in non-athletes. But in many patients bradycardia can lead to low blood pressure, lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting.

Several common reasons for bradycardia include: 1) sick sinus syndrome, 2) heart block, and 3) drug toxicity. Many of these conditions occur in the elderly.

 

Sick sinus syndrome: Sick sinus syndrome occurs when the diseased electrical system of the heart cannot generate electrical signals fast enough to maintain a normal heart rate.

Heart block: Heart block occurs when the specialized tissues that transmit electrical current in the heart are damaged by heart attacks, degeneration from atherosclerosis, and medications. Heart block prevents some or all of the electrical signals from reaching parts of the heart, and this prevents the heart from contracting as well as it otherwise would.

Drug toxicity: Drugs such as digoxin (Lanoxin) or beta blockers for high blood pressure can slow the transmission of electricity in the heart chemically and can cause bradycardia and hypotension (see section “Medications that cause low blood pressure”).

An abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia) also can cause low blood pressure. The most common example of tachycardia causing low blood pressure is atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a disorder of the heart characterized by rapid and irregular electrical discharges from the muscle of the heart causing the ventricles to contract irregularly and (usually) rapidly. The rapidly contracting ventricles do not have enough time to fill maximally with blood before each contraction, and the amount of blood that is pumped decreases in spite of the faster heart rate. Other abnormally rapid heart rhythms such as ventricular tachycardia also can produce low blood pressure, sometimes even life-threatening shock.

Low blood pressure causes: Medications

 

Medications that cause low blood pressure

 

Medications such as calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and digoxin (Lanoxin) can slow the rate at which the heart contracts. Some elderly people are extremely sensitive to these medications since they are more likely to have diseased hearts and electrical conduction tissues. In some individuals, the heart rate can become dangerously slow even with small doses of these medications.

Medications used in treating high blood pressure (such as angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and alpha blockers) can excessively lower blood pressure and result in symptomatic low blood pressure especially among the elderly.

Water pills (diuretics) such as hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL) and furosemide (Lasix) can decrease blood volume by causing excessive urination.

Medications used for treating depression, such as amitriptyline (Elavil); Parkinson’s disease, such as levodopa-carbidopa (Sinemet); and erectile dysfunction (impotence), such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis) when used in combination with nitroglycerin, can cause low blood pressure.

Alcohol and narcotics also can cause low blood pressure.

 

Other conditions that cause low blood pressure

 

Vasovagal reaction is a common condition in which a healthy person temporarily develops low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and sometimes fainting. A vasovagal reaction typically is brought on by emotions of fear or pain such as having blood drawn, starting an intravenous infusion, or by gastrointestinal upset. Vasovagal reactions are caused by activity of the involuntary (autonomic) nervous system, especially the vagus nerve, which releases hormones that slow the heart and widen the blood vessels. The vagus nerve also controls digestive tract function and senses activity in the digestive system. Thus, some people can have a vasovagal reaction from straining at a bowel movement or vomiting.

Postural (orthostatic) hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when an individual stands up from a sitting, squatting, or supine (lying) position. When a person stands up, gravity causes blood to settle in the veins in the legs so that less blood returns to the heart for pumping, and, as a result, the blood pressure drops. The body normally responds automatically to the drop in blood pressure by increasing the rate and narrowing the veins to return more blood to the heart. In patients with postural hypotension, this compensating reflex fails to occur, resulting low blood pressure and its symptoms. Postural hypotension can occur in persons of all ages but is much more common among the elderly, especially in those on medications for high blood pressure and/or diuretics. Other causes of postural hypotension include dehydration, adrenal insufficiency (discussed later), prolonged bed rest, diabetes, and certain rare neurological syndromes (for example, Shy-Drager syndrome) that damage the autonomic nerves.

Another form of postural hypotension occurs typically in young healthy individuals. After prolonged standing, the individual’s heart rate and blood pressure drop, causing dizziness, nausea, and often fainting. In these individuals, the autonomic nervous system wrongly responds to prolonged standing by directing the heart to slow down and the veins to dilate thereby removing blood from circulating in the arteries.

Micturition syncope is a temporary drop in blood pressure and loss of consciousness brought about by urinating. This condition typically occurs in elderly patients and may be due to the release of hormones that lower blood pressure.

Adrenal insufficiency, for example, due to Addison’s disease, can cause low blood pressure. Addison’s disease is a disorder in which the adrenal glands (small glands next to the kidneys) are destroyed. The destroyed adrenal glands can no longer produce sufficient adrenal hormones (specifically cortisol) necessary to maintain normal bodily functions. Cortisol has many functions, one of which is to maintain blood pressure and the function of the heart. Addison’s disease is characterized by weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and, sometimes, darkening of the skin.

Septicemia is a severe infection in which bacteria (or other infectious organisms such as fungi) enter the blood. The infection typically originates in the lungs (as pneumonia), bladder, or in the abdomen due to diverticulitis or gallstones. The bacteria then enter the blood where they release toxins and cause life-threatening and profound low blood pressure (septic shock), often with damage to several organs.

Anaphylaxis (anaphylactic shock) is a potentially fatal allergic reaction to medications such as penicillin, intravenous iodine used in some X-ray studies, foods such as peanuts, or bee stings (insect stings). In addition to a severe drop in blood pressure, individuals may also experience hives and wheezing due to constriction of the airways, and a swollen throat which cause difficulty breathing. The shock is caused by enlargement of blood-containing blood vessels and escape of water from the blood into the tissues.

 

What is the treatment for low blood pressure?

 

Low blood pressure readings in healthy subjects without symptoms or organ damage need no treatment. All patients with symptoms possibly due to low blood pressure should be evaluated by a doctor. Patients who have had a major drop in blood pressure from their usual levels even without the development of symptoms also should be evaluated. The doctor needs to identify the cause of the low blood pressure; remedies will depend on the cause. For example, if a medication is causing the low blood pressure, the dose of medication may have to be reduced or the medication stopped. Do not adjust medication dose on your own, and do not stop taking any medication without first consulting your doctor.

 

Dehydration is treated with fluids and minerals (electrolytes). Mild dehydration without nausea and vomiting can be treated with oral fluids and electrolytes. Moderate to severe dehydration usually is treated in a hospital or emergency room with intravenous fluids and electrolytes.

Blood loss can be treated by treating the cause of the bleeding, and with intravenous fluids and blood transfusions. Continuous and severe bleeding needs to be treated immediately.

Septic shock is a medical emergency and is treated with intravenous fluids and antibiotics.

Blood pressure medications or diuretics are adjusted, changed, or stopped by the doctor if they are causing low blood pressure symptoms.

Bradycardia may be due to a medication. The doctor may reduce, change, or stop the medication. Bradycardia due to sick sinus syndrome or heart block is treated with an implantable pacemaker.

Tachycardia is treated depending on the nature of the tachycardia. Atrial fibrillation can be treated with oral medications, electrical cardioversion, or a catheterization procedure called pulmonary vein isolation. Ventricular tachycardia can be controlled with medications or with an implantable defibrillator.

Pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis is treated with blood thinners, initially with types of heparin. Later, oral warfarin (Coumadin) or other oral medications are substituted for heparin.

Pericardial fluid from pericarditis can be removed by a procedure called pericardiocentesis.

Postural hypotension can be treated with changes in diet such as increasing water and salt intake,* increasing intake of caffeinated beverages (because caffeine constricts blood vessels), using compression stockings to compress the leg veins and reduce the pooling of blood in the leg veins, and in some patients, the use of a medication called midodrine (ProAmatine). The problem with midodrine is that while it increases blood pressure in the upright position, the supine blood pressure may become too high, thus increasing the risk of strokes. Mayo Clinic researchers found that a medication used to treat muscle weakness in myasthenia gravis called pyridostigmine (Mestinon) increases upright blood pressure but not supine blood pressure. Pyridostigmine, an anticholinesterase medication, works on the autonomic nervous system, especially when a person is standing up. Side effects include minor abdominal cramping or increased frequency of bowel movements.

Postprandial hypotension refers to low blood pressure occurring after meals. Ibuprofen (Motrin) or indomethacin (Indocin) may be beneficial.

Vasovagal syncope can be treated with several types of drugs such as beta blockers, for example, propanolol (Inderal, Inderal LA) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine (Prozac), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), and fluvoxamine (Luvox). Fludrocortisone (Florinef) (a drug that prevents dehydration by causing the kidney(s) to retain water) also may be used. A pacemaker can also be helpful when a patient fails drug therapy.

Natural remedies have not been proven. Some herbs reported to raise blood pressure include ginger, rosemary, aniseed, cinnamon, and pepper. Do not take any herbs without first consulting your doctor.

*Note: Increasing salt intake can lead to heart failure in patients with existing heart disease and should not be undertaken without consulting a doctor.

 

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Rx to Wellness

CPR

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CPR

In an emergency, performing CPR for 38 minutes or longer improves someone’s chance of surviving a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association. Don’t stop pumping! Continuing CPR improves the chances that the survivor can make it through with normal brain function. Fewer than 10% of cardiac arrests survive. Pumping the heart helps the return of the body pumping blood on its own while delivering critical oxygen to the brain. Don’t take time to blow into the lungs without a team effort as the few seconds it takes to do so drops the circulation to the brain and can result in brain damage. The action of pumping the chest will often bring enough air into the lungs to keep oxygen levels up. I recommend that everyone take a CPR class – chances are that you will use it…

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