To boost heart health, work out harder, not longer

Posted on: October 23rd, 2012 by Chris No Comments

Want a healthier heart? Walk faster, run harder.

To ward off metabolic syndrome (MS), working out longer isn’t the necessarily the best. It’s the intensity of the workout the matters most. MS is a combination of risk factors which include obesity and high blood pressure that increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, a new research in the BMJ Open shows.

Researchers found after gathering people’s baseline fitness habits for ten years that those who reported jogging or walking briskly for 2 to 4 hours a week cut their risk of developing MS by 35 to 50 percent.

High-intensity exercise versus light/moderate exercise has been a longstanding debate. This new study lends credence to the fact that high-intensity exercise is more beneficial in numerous ways.

Cardiologist Eric Topol, M.D., director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and a Men’s Health expert advisor says, “Higher-intensity exercise does have a whole different impact on the body’s physiology. Everything is more pronounced: your heart rate is higher, your blood vessels are more dilated, and you’re revving up your cardiovascular system as you would a car”, Dr. Topol adds.

To see changes in your body, there is a threshold that you need to surpass. It’s likely that high-intensity exercise triggers those changes in lipid and glucose metabolism and blood pressure, lowering the risk factors that trigger MS, says David Maron, M.D., a cardiologist at Vanderbilt University’s medical center.

It is vital to your heart’s health to get your heartrate up to approximately 120 beats per minute (not heavy breathing but breathing heavier than normal) for the recommended 2.5 hours per week. This helps in reducing inflammation in the body which is thought to be a major contributing factor for developing heart disease. Don’t abandon your leisurely walk just yet, it, too, is beneficial!

Strokes – different kinds and how to recognize the signs

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.

There are two major types of stroke: ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This may happen in two ways:

•A clot may form in an artery that is already very narrow. This is called a thrombotic stroke.

•A clot may break off from another place in the blood vessels of the brain, or from some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain. This is called cerebral embolism, or an embolic stroke.

Ischemic strokes may be caused by clogged arteries. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances collect on the artery walls, forming a sticky substance called plaque.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain. Some people have defects in the blood vessels of the brain that make this more likely.

Recognizing a stroke is easier than you may think. Remember this acronym:

Face
Arms
Speech
Time to call 911


This is a British PSA, obviously in the United States you should dial 911.

Heart attack symptoms for women are different than those for men

Posted on: August 23rd, 2012 by Chris 2 Comments

Do you know the difference in heart attack symptoms in men vs. in women?

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Each woman will present with different symptoms of a heart attack. Some women experience several symptoms while others show all symptoms. There are women who show no symptoms before their heart attack. The sooner you can recognize your symptoms and take appropriate action, the better. The symptoms to be aware of:

Discomfort, tightness,uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes, or comes and goes
Crushing chest pain
Pressure or pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, upper back, jaw, or arms.
Dizziness or nausea
Clammy sweats, heart flutters, or paleness
Unexplained feelings of anxiety, fatigue or weakness – especially with exertion
Stomach or abdominal pain
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing

Some women mistakenly think only crushing chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack and, therefore, delay seeking medical care. Others have found that healthcare providers have failed to recognize their heart attack symptoms by attributing the cause of symptoms to other health problems, such as indigestion. This is why it is so important to insist that the doctor or nurse administer an EKG test or an enzyme blood test to see if you are having a heart attack. Don’t be shy -it’s your heart and your life.

More than one bystander is more effective in CPR help

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

The odds of survival are much higher when more than one bystander comes to the rescue when someone suffers cardiac arrest in a public place, a new study suggests. CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is a skill everyone should learn.

“Hands-only” CPR, just chest compressions and no mouth-to-mouth breathing, is sufficient for laypeople. When paramedics arrive they will take over with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth. The American Heart Association and other such groups have shown that hands-only CPR is just as effective as the traditional way of CPR when it comes to helping adult cardiac arrest victims. The recommendations for children are different from that of adults.

Researches in Japan have found that among more than five thousand adults who suffered a cardiac incident outside of a hospital setting were more than twice as likely to survive when more than one person tried to help.

Six percent of victims were alive one year later when three or more “rescuers” were there, versus 3 percent when only one person came to their aid. When two people responded, the survival rate was 4 percent. The researchers do not know if all of those good Samaritans performed, or even knew, CPR.

Some may have just tried to help in some way, note the researchers, led by Dr. Hideo Inaba of Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine.

Dr. Michael Sayre, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Ohio State University in Columbus and current spokesman for the American Heart Association has stated that the more bystanders that respond to a cardiac victim the better.

“This study confirms the importance of bystanders responding to cardiac arrest, and the importance of early CPR,” Sayre told Reuters Health.

According to the AHA, more than 380,000 Americans go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting each year. But most Americans have either not learned CPR at all, or their training has lapsed.

CPR classes are available, but the hands-only approach is easy enough to learn without formal training.

“You really don’t have to go to a class,” Sayre said.

He noted that the AHA website has video instructions on how to do hands-only CPR here: Click here for video.

“Learning CPR is something people often feel that they can put off,” Sayre said. “But you never know when you’ll be called on to act.”

Continuous Chest Compressions

Posted on: May 7th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

Would you know what to do if someone in front of you collapsed? Could you provide aid until EMS arrived? This video has great information and is worth the 5 minutes to watch. Hands-only CPR, or Continuous Chest Compressions, which meets the guidelines for AHA HeartSaver CPR and First Aid Training. Continuous CPR ensures constant blood flow to the brain and heart which greatly increases the chances for survival. *Health care providers are still encouraged to do compressions with ventilations.

Do you have your blood pressure checked in both arms? If not, you should

Posted on: April 25th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

A new review shows that measuring your blood pressure in both arms may be the most effective way of detecting and catching a silent but really serious disease of the blood vessels. PAD, or peripheral artery disease, is a condition that involves narrowing of the arteries in the body’s extremities. The findings in the new study show that a difference in systolic blood pressure between the arms was linked to an increased risk of PAD.

Those patients who had a difference in their systolic blood pressure readings between their right or left arms of 15 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or more were more than two and a half times more likely to have PAD than those patients who had a smaller difference between their arms.

Early detection of PAD is important — while the majority of cases are silent, if the condition is detected, measures can be taken to reduce mortality from related cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Christopher Clark, of Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, the study researcher, claim that the findings support the need for it to be standard procedure to take blood pressure readings in both arms. Patients at a higher risk of PAD could be detected and further tests and/or treatment could be determined to help them.

The researchers reviewed 28 studies that measured blood pressure in both arms of participants. The studies typically included patients at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the researchers noted.

In addition to an increased risk of PAD, a 15mm Hg blood pressure difference between arms was also associated with a 70 percent increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 60 percent increased risk of dying from any cause.

Which arm has the higher pressure can vary between individuals, but it is the size of the difference that counts, not which arm is higher and which is lower, the researchers said.

More work is needed to determine whether a substantial difference in blood pressure between arms should prompt aggressive management of cardiovascular risk factors, Richard McManus, of the University of Oxford, and Jonathan Mant, of the University of Cambridge, both in the United Kingdom, wrote in an editorial accompanying the study.

“Ascertainment of differences should become part of routine care, as opposed to a guideline recommendation that is mostly ignored,” McManus and Mant wrote.

Original artcile by: MyHealthNewsDaily Staff

CPR and First Aid app

Posted on: March 15th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

Whether you’ve recently taken a CPR class and/or first aid training or you haven’t had a recertification class in years, the new app that iTunes offers is a must-have for smart phone users.

The app outlines the 2010 ECC guidlines for PALS, ACLS, BLS for health care providers, HeartSaver CPR classes and first aid.

This American Heart Association app incorporates instructional videos and HD graphics that clearly illustrate the most current techniques in CPR and first aid which have been proven to improve the chances of survival after a cardiac arrest, stroke, or major trauma.

To download the Pocket First Aid & CPR from the American Heart Association, you can click here.

Basic Stroke Information

Posted on: February 21st, 2012 by Chris No Comments

Strokes are very serious. They are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States and they are the leading cause of adult disability. More than 75% of strokes can be prevented which is an extremely high percentage. If people know more about strokes and how to prevent them, these statistics will decrease dramatically. Do you know exactly what a stroke is? Do you know what the signs of a stroke are?

Thankfully Loretta Smith of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio knew the signs and symptoms and made a phone call – all be it an unintended one – that likely saved her life. Ms. Smith, age 70, felt her right side go numb and with her left hand she picked up the phone and intended on dialing her son but instead was one digit off and reached a young man in Denver, Colorado. She said, “I think I’m having a stroke.” He was able to get some basic information from her and he called 911. She was taken in and it was determined that in fact she had had a mini-stroke. Ms. Smith praises him for saving her life. He said, “I do not feel like I’ve done anything special. I didn’t save her. She found me.” You can read the full article by clicking here.

 A stroke occurs when a blood vessel breaks or an artery is blocked by a blood clot, interrupting blood flow to a particular area of the brain. When either of these things occur, brain cells die which causes brain damage. Depending on which part of the brain is effected (where the blood clot or artery blockage occurs) depends on which abilities controlled by that area of the brain are lost. Usually the abilities that are affected include speech, movement, and memory. Some people recover completely from a stroke, but more than 2/3 of stroke survivors will have some kind of lingering disability.

 Stroke signs and symptoms

These are the most simple and common ways to detect a stroke. Remember the acronym F.A.S.T. to help you in your assessment. And as always, with any health issue – if in doubt, dial 911.

There are several risk factors that can be controlled in preventing a stroke. The list of controllable risk factors are: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, obesity, and alcohol use. Click on the link to learn more about how to prevent a stroke.

  For information about local classes for all your CPR, BLS, ACLS, PALS, and First Aid needs, contact us at: www.lifesavercpr.net LifeSaver CPR

Protecting the Brain After Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Posted on: January 30th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

Posted January 9th, 2012 by SCAFoundation SCA News

An analysis of multiple studies has shown hypothermia therapy (HT) provides critical benefits for people who suffer cardiac arrest, though it remains under-utilized by hospitals and emergency medical service crews, according to researchers.
Not only did the analysis indicate HT may increase survival among cardiac arrest patients, the therapy also may have protective effects on the brain.
In one study, for example, the survival rate at six months following cardiac arrest was 59 percent for patients who had undergone HT compared to 45 percent among patients who had not.
Meanwhile, 55 percent of patients who had undergone HT showed favorable neurological outcomes – such as the brain returning to complete or at least partial function – compared to 39 percent of non-HT patients.
When a person goes into cardiac arrest, the heart stops pumping, which causes blood to stop circulating to the brain and can lead to neurological damage. However, HT appears to slow the rate of damage and protect the brain from further negative effects when blood begins recirculating.
The results of the analysis fall in line with current medical guidelines: HT has been included in the American Heart Association’s guidelines for cardiac arrest care for nearly a decade.
“Every cardiac arrest patient or cardiac patient who has suffered a neurological event should be cooled absolutely,” said study researcher Dr. Ron Waksman, associate chair of cardiology at the Washington Hospital Center in the nation’s capitol. Ideal application of HT involves cooling the body to 32 to 34 degrees Celsius for 12 to 24 hours.
However, Waksman, who is also professor of medicine and cardiology at Georgetown University, said despite scientific support, the therapy is still not used by enough doctors and emergency medical service crews.
“I think it’s the minority of ambulances that apply HT and have the equipment for it,” Waksman said, adding that there’s no national registry to track HT application. “We have to increase awareness because it can save people in terms of neurological events. It’s in the guidelines, but it’s just not being used.”
Typically, patients who suffer cardiac arrest and undergo CPR have two minutes of no blood supply to the brain, according to Waksman. Even if their heart is restored to normal function, they may suffer from brain damage or memory loss.
“Once you suffer cardiac arrest, there is ongoing damage in the brain,” Waksman said. “The reason for brain damage is lack of oxygen because there is no circulation to the brain.”
After four to five minutes, the brain suffers damage, and even if you reintroduce oxygen to the cells, it can continue to create damage because you’re pumping oxygen onto tissue that has already suffered, he added. HT minimizes the metabolic processes that can potentially induce more damage.
While HT can slow the rate of and minimize damage, it does not heal damage that has already occurred. Therefore, the treatment works best when applied early.
“Time is really important – first, you have to intubate the patient and restore circulation, but once you do that, the next step is to do cold infusion,” Waksman said. “It’s a very non-expensive methodology, which can be done out of the hospital by putting the patient in ice cubes. A medical team can even start with cold infusion.”
But only medical professionals should apply HT, he added. “Laymen should not be pouring ice on cardiac arrest patients in the street.”
The risks of HT include bleeding, infection or shivering during treatment, but are far outweighed by the potential benefits, according to Waksman.
“Those [risks] are relatively mitigated by being able to restore full brain functionality versus being incapacitated or on disability for the rest of your life due to neurological damage,” he said.

SOURCE: Fox News

Chocolate is good for your heart

Posted on: January 12th, 2012 by Chris No Comments

Chocolate may be good for the heart but cardiologists are not giving you a license to indulge.

New research presented at Europe’s biggest medical meeting Monday suggested chocolate consumption might be associated with a one third reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.

Just why there should be such a link was unclear, the European Society of Cardiology congress was told.

There has been a string of scientific studies in recent years showing a potential health benefit from eating chocolate. Dark chocolate, in particular, contains compounds called flavanols thought to be good for the blood system.

In an attempt to paint a clearer picture, Oscar Franco and colleagues from the University of Cambridge pooled results from seven studies involving 100,000 people.

Five of the studies showed a beneficial link between eating chocolate and cardiovascular health, while two did not.

Overall, the findings showed the highest levels of chocolate consumption were associated with a 37 percent reduction in cardiovascular disease and a 29 percent reduction in stroke compared with the lowest levels.

Franco said there were limitations with the pooled analysis, which did not differentiate between dark and milk chocolate, and more research was needed to test whether chocolate actually caused better health outcomes or if it was due to some other confounding factor.

“Evidence does suggest chocolate might have some heart health benefits but we need to find out why that might be,” said Victoria Taylor, of the British Heart Foundation, who was not involved in the research.

“If you want to reduce your heart disease risk, there are much better places to start than at the bottom of a box of chocolates.”

Franco, whose findings were also published online in the British Medical Journal, said while it seemed chocolate had heart benefits, these could easily be outweighed by the unhealthy nature of much confectionery.

“The high sugar and fat content of commercially available chocolate should be considered, and initiatives to reduce it might permit an improved exposure to the beneficial effect of chocolate,” the research team wrote.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters.

Original article can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44312861/ns/health-heart_health/