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Coronary heart disease

Improving your Lung Health

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Improving Your Lung Health

The lungs play the important role of feeding oxygen to your blood, the oxygen you need to burn glucose and produce energy. They’re also responsible for getting riding of the byproduct – carbon dioxide. This makes them a very vital facilitator of the life sustaining metabolic process.

Like most parts of the human body, your lungs are built for high performance scenarios that we rarely subject ourselves to. For instance, a great deal of the typical daily activities will rarely push your lungs above the 50 percent capacity mark.

A Normal Lifestyle Isn’t Good Enough for Your Lungs

If your normal daily schedule doesn’t push the lungs to the limit, it means that you aren’t exercising your lungs and putting each and every corner into good use. This could encourage the buildup of toxins, environmental pollutants and other alien bodies since the lungs aren’t self-cleaning.

Here are some basic tips to help your lungs workout and improve their health and the ability to perform when under pressure.

Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is what professional singers use to increase their lung capacity and stir up those impressive melodies for longer. Good news is you don’t really have to sing to practice this technique. It is as easy as paying attention to you diaphragm and actively using it as you breath. The result is deeper breaths that force your lungs to inhale and exhale to their maximum capacity.

Mind Your Posture

The lungs are soft squishy organs. They have no structural integrity to help them maintain their shape and size at all times. This means that the bad posture could easily compress your lungs and limit their efficiency. You can easily remedy this by occasionally leaning back in a chair with your back stretched up and breathing deeply by raising your diaphragm and the chest.

Apart from this, ensure that you maintain an upright posture when sitting or while walking. This will ensure that your lungs occupy their full volume and you don’t end up compressing some sections into inactivity.

Don’t Hold Back Your Laughter

Laughing is a great way to exercise your diaphragm and abdominal muscles that control the lungs. Every time you lough until your sides ache, you are expelling most of the stale air out of your lungs and letting more fresh air into all parts of your lungs. Laughing hard is actually good for your lungs.

Leading an active life is the best way to keep all parts of your body healthy. A brisk walk, a jog, a walk up the stairs time in the gym will definitely pump up your breathing rate. The harder you push yourself the harder your lungs work and flex to meet the air exchange demand. The heightened activity is not only good for your heart but also perfect your mood, overall productivity and well-being.

If you cannot set aside special time to work out, incorporate some moderate to intense activities into your schedule. Walk up a decent flight of stairs instead of taking the lift. Walk to the hotel for lunch instead of taking a cab or driving. The little extras you do will go a long way into making your lungs healthier.

Apart from just working out your lungs, you should also be keen on what goes into them. Keep off cigarettes and other smoking related drugs. Ensure that your air conditioning is clean and avoid dust and contaminated environments at all conditions.

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The Stunningly Made Heart

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If your heart skips beats, has an irregular beat, you have congestive heart failure, and many other issues, you can say that your heart is not healthy.

Other disease diagnoses can shorten your life, however, when this primary vital organ is not working well, your other vital organs suffer as well.

Never Figure, Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Do you take the opinion that if anything, including your heart, is out of your sight, you simply do not think about all the work your heart does in your lifetime? That is until you start showing symptoms of a malfunctioning heart.

So What Does Heart Health Mean?

Consider how many times your heart beats, well over 2 billion times on an average. It is for this reason that you need to keep your heart healthy. The heart is responsible for carrying oxygen, hormones, energy, nutrients, and vital cells to other vital organs every second of every day. The heart also is keen on getting rid of waste products from the metabolism.

If your heart should cease beating all other vital organs, fail quickly. So it is essential to keep your heart-healthy and to function at optimum levels. But, how do you keep your heart healthy?

You would have to agree that the heart is an amazing, vital organ given all the responsibilities of the heart.

Never Abuse Your Heart

The heart takes a lot of abuse from many people. Hopefully, you are not harming your heart with a poor diet, no exercise or lack of exercise, smoking, drug, alcohol abuse, and obesity.

Maybe you inherited some “bad” genes, and heart problems run in your family history. Never compound your likelihood of inheriting heart difficulties with a poor diet, lack of a good exercise program, smoking, drugs, or alcohol.

One critical issue is atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Plaque builds up in the arteries brought on by lack of exercise and a poor diet high in fats.

When this plaque builds up in the main arteries and breaks apart, as it often does, a piece of floating plaque or cholesterol can cause you a stroke or heart attack.

High cholesterol increases your blood pressure and a high blood pressure can pre-empty a stroke or heart attack.

Take Responsibility for Your Heart Health

No one including your doctor will be responsible for your heart’s health; only you can make the necessary changes for a healthier heart.

Devote yourself to a healthy lifestyle as early as possible in your life your ability to maintain heart health. It is never too late to change your way of living through a forever lifestyle change.

Your lifestyle change for the better increases your chances of preventing cardiovascular disease. Follow your doctor’s orders for prescribed medications to decrease your cholesterol levels. Speak with your doctor about a lifestyle change, including a healthy eating pattern and age appropriate exercise plan.

Ask your doctor if you can have, at least annually lab tests show cholesterol levels. Lab tests can pinpoint any health issues before they get out of hand.

If your doctor has told you that you have damage to your heart, you can still help your heart remain as healthy as possible by,

  • Following doctor’s orders
  • Healthy foods
  • Weight management within your ideal body weight
  • Medication
  • Frequent physical check-ups
  • Possible mechanical heart support

In Conclusion,

It is never too late to get on the right path towards heart health with,

  • Frequent doctor visits
  • Lab tests
  • Healthy eating for life
  • An age appropriate exercise plan
  • Medication as ordered
  • Losing weight
  • Maintaining an appropriate weight

 

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National Stroke Awareness Month

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Image is from National Stroke Association

The National Stroke Awareness Month is an event that occurs during the month of May every year in the United States. This annual event is observed to promote public awareness of stroke in the United States, help save lives of people experiencing a stroke, and reduce the incidence of the disease in America. Crucial resources for stroke survivors are mostly unveiled during this period by various concerned parties.

The National Stroke Awareness Month commenced in May 1989 under President George H. W. Bush. As mentioned earlier, it aims to promote public awareness by warning the masses on the signs and symptoms of stroke and how to prevent it. During this month, the public is well informed of the risk factors of stroke and how it impacts on caregivers, families, and survivors. It is also a timely reminder of survivors of stroke and how organizations like the National Stroke Association supports them throughout their lifetime journey of recovery.

Apart from the United States government, other key players that combine efforts to educate American citizens include; the American Heart Association, numerous non-profit organizations, and the National Stroke Association.

Warning signs and symptoms of stroke

This momentous program emphasizes on informing the masses about Acting FAST. The National Stroke Association suggests that 80% of strokes can be prevented if individuals can act FAST since the victims can get treated. FAST is an acronym for the following signs of stroke that can be witnessed in a suspected victim:

  • F – Face / Check if the face droops on one side when the suspected victim smiles
  • A – Arm / Confirm if one of the arms drifts downwards when you raise both arms of the suspected victim
  • S – Speech / Notice if the suspected victim’s speech sounds slurred after they repeat a simple phrase
  • T – Time / If you observe any of the above, call 9-1-1 (if in US or 999 in UK) and ask for medical assistance.

Other symptoms that may come along with FAST signs include:

  • Sudden dizziness
  • Sudden loss of coordination or balance
  • An ‘impromptu’ headache without a known cause
  • Rapid confusion and trouble understanding speech or talking
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden numbness on one side of the body

Types of Stroke

There are three main types of stroke namely; Ischemic, Hemorrhagic, and Transient Ischemic Attack.

  • Ischemic (clots)

This type of stroke accounts for around 87 percent of all cases of stroke. It’s brought about by a hindrance within a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain.

  • Hemorrhagic (bleeds)

This is a type of stroke that is brought about by a rapture of a weakened blood vessel. Aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are the two main types of weakened blood vessels that cause bleeds. However, high blood pressure (hypertension) is the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke.

  • TIA (transient ischemic attack)

TIA is mostly caused by a temporal clot. Although it’s mostly referred to as a “mini stroke”, it should be taken very seriously.

Prevention of Stroke

Strokes can be prevented since 80 percent of strokes occur due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Although few risk factors including race and age are uncontrollable, there are numerous steps individuals can undertake to significantly reduce their chances of falling victims of stroke.

Identifying the signs and symptoms of stroke is crucial since tPA (a clot-busting drug) can only be administered within the first three hours of the stroke’s onset. For this same reason, the National Stroke Awareness Month is observed to educate the public on how to recognize the symptoms of stroke.

 

 

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Tests to Determine Heart Disease

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Image is from Harvard Health Publications-Harvard University

All of your body’s vital organs are essential to your living a quality life. However, it is your heart that you must consider as your body’s engine. You must take care of your heart if you desire to live a long life full of quality and vitality.

If you have any signs and symptoms that something may be amiss with your heart, you are wise to get to your doctor as soon as possible, so the physician checks your heart. Your doctor may order some tests, specifically geared to the health of this vital organ.

Your doctor puts his knowledge and skill at work to determine what he or she thinks is the problem with your heart, or if there is any problem by ordering tests for you can take according to his best possible diagnosis.

There are many different tests the doctor can order for you such as blood tests and a variety of X-rays depending on his findings. The following are some tests done to determine heart disease.

Thanks to the advancements in medical technology in testing for heart disease, many heart problems are recognized before they cause irreversible problems. These heart tests enable the doctor to begin treatment that can reverse or manage your heart condition for years to come, allowing you to live your life as normally and comfortable as possible.

Holter Monitoring

The technician gives you what looks like a small box with straps that is attached to you and taken home. You wear the long strap across your body, and the box hangs loose. This monitor records any irregularities in your heart pattern that are otherwise not recorded in other tests like an Electrocardiogram. You wear this monitor for one to three days.

Electrocardiogram at Rest
Electrocardiogram During Activity

This test records your heart’s electrical pattern, thus recording any irregularities in the pattern of your heart.

Chemical Stress Test

The technician attaches electrodes to various parts of your arms, legs, and chest. The technician performs an IV and injects a chemical that causes your heart to pump gradually faster until your heart reaches a pulse rate of 150-170 beats per minute. This test is useful for people who cannot tolerate running on a treadmill.

Stress Test on a Treadmill

Electrodes are attached to your chest, arms, and legs, and you walk, gradually run on a treadmill until your heart rate reaches the required rate of 150-170 beats per minute.

Echocardiogram

While in a laying position the technician gently runs a smooth device over the area of your heart to record images of great detail of the structure and function of your heart.

Catheterization of the Heart

Under local anesthesia, the doctor runs a thin hair tube into the main artery located in the groin. The tube is inserted into a sheath and threaded through the artery until it reaches your heart. This tube examines all the chambers of your heart and measures the pressure in your heart. The doctor frequently injects a dye through the tube that lights up all your blood vessels, valves, chambers and heart to visualize any abnormal areas.

Cardiac Computerized Tomography or CAT scan

The technician has you lay on a table that slides inside of an open circle. The beams from this scanner rotate around your body, taking images of your heart and chest.

MRI or Cardiac Magnetic Resonance

You lie on a table inside of a long enclosed machine. The machine has magnets that take pictures of your heart. As you lie in this machine, you find it very noisy as due to the clicking of the magnets.

 

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Heart Disease Prevention

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Cardiac disease in on the rise and many medical professionals believes that it is the way you live in today’s busy world.

While our digital technologies of today are supposed to make life easier at work and home, in many aspects is only making life more challenging.

You may complain that you do not have the time to prepare well-balanced meals offering your body the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

You may, like many may have a sedentary job at a computer that provides no worthwhile exercise.

You must take time for yourself. You must pay attention to what you feed your body and fit in some attractive exercise options for yourself to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

Recognize that if heart disease runs in your family history, this puts you at risk for heart problems. There is nothing you can do about your genes, but you can change your lifestyle to help prevent this family history from becoming a more serious heart problem.

Smoking

Smoking adds to heart problems in addition to other risks like cancer. If you smoke, cut this out of your life. If you are devoted to living your life to the fullest, you can and will quit smoking. Smoking shortens your life because of the chemicals in tobacco, no matter what form you use, narrows the heart’s vital arteries. When artery walls narrow this leads to a heart attack you may not survive.

Obesity

Did you know that close to 60% of all Americans are overweight?

. 30 pounds over your ideal body weight equals overweight

. 30 pounds over your ideal body weight equals obesity. Get in your perfect body weight for you, for a healthier heart. Stops making excuses of why you overweight, such as,

  • It is in your genes
  • The medicine you take
  • Your mental health
  • Stress

It is time to avoid excuses and get on a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Never say diet, and never consider going on a diet. Diets cannot last the rest of your life, and while they may initially work, when you stop your diet the weight comes back two fold at least.

Exercise

No weight loss plan works without constant exercise. If all you can do is walking for 30 minutes a day, devote yourself to doing an exercise you enjoy. It is only 15 to 30 minutes out of your day, and it helps you,

  • Lose Weight
  • Strengthens your heart muscles
  • Decreases Blood Pressure
  • Decreases Cholesterol Levels
  • Decreases Diabetes

Eat Well-Balanced Meals and Snacks

Three meals a day with three fruits, vegetable, or protein snacks per day. Refer to the original food pyramid for guidance on what to eat and what proportions every day. Your food pyramid includes just the right amounts, the body requires daily to provide the right amount of essential nutrients.

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetable
  • Fats
  • Proteins (Greatly decrease red meat and eat more chicken, turkey, fish)
  • Dairy

Think about removing from your kitchen every white food such as salt, sugar, and white flour. White is not healthy or good for your heart. Decrease or avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sodas.

Preparation of Foods

Learn how to prepare meals healthy. Avoid,

  • Deep fried foods
  • Using a lot of oil (use extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • Canned goods, use fresh or fresh frozen
  • Use a vegetable steamer. Steaming does not destroy essential vitamins and minerals
  • Bake, broil, or grill

Visit your doctor as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor about your ideas for a lifestyle change and weight loss to prevent or decrease your risks for heart disease before initiating any changes.

 

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Causes and Risks of Heart Disease

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Image is from Fox News

Heart disease (also called Coronary heart disease) is the leading cause of death among adults in the USA. Learning about its causes and risk factors may help you prevent heart problems.

What Causes Heart Disease?

Heart disease typically occurs when plaque (a waxy substance made up of fatty molecules, minerals, and cholesterol) develops in the blood vessels and arteries leading to the heart. The plaque ends up blocking oxygen and vital nutrients from reaching your heart. Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure usually destroy the inner lining of an artery thereby providing room for plaque to accumulate.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Several risk factors play a significant role in determining your chances of developing a heart disease. Out of the many factors, few stand out since they are beyond your control. These are age, gender, post –menopausal, and heredity. Men are more likely to get heart disease than women. The risk of Coronary Heart Disease intensifies when men are around 45 years, and women are around 55 years of age. The latter implies that the risk of women increases after they reach menopause. If you are related to close family members with a history of the disease, your risk may be greater. Other common risk factors for heart disease include the following;

  • eating unhealthy diets
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • Age
  • being physically inactive
  • clinical depression
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • diabetes or insulin resistance

Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices

Living an unhealthy lifestyle can also play a huge role in increasing your risk of developing a heart disease. Some of these unhealthy lifestyle choices that can contribute to heart disease are:

  • excessive drinking
  • smoking
  • Lack of proper stress management techniques while living in a stressful environment
  • lack of enough physical exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle
  • eating an unhealthy diet that contains high sugary foods, fat proteins, sodium, and trans fats
  • not managing or controlling your diabetes

Depression

Several studies have shown that people suffering from depression are at higher risk of developing heart disease than the general population. Depression can result in some changes in your body that can increase your chances of developing heart disease. Consistently feeling sad or too much stress can elevate your blood pressure and your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is typically a marker for inflammation in the body. CRP levels that are higher than normal have shown to predict Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Type two diabetes

Doctors estimate that individuals with type 2 diabetes (especially those at middle age) are twice likely to experience a stroke or get a heart disease as individuals who don’t have diabetes. Diabetic adults tend to have multiple heart attacks if they have high blood glucose levels or insulin resistance

How to avoid heart disease

Though heart disease is catastrophic, it can be prevented in most cases. By maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, everyone would benefit. However, it would be more advantageous to those with increased risk. The following strategies can help you avoid heart disease:

  • drink in moderation
  • stop smoking
  • take supplements, as recommended by your doctor
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • reduce stress in your life
  • exercise on a regular basis
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • Learn the warning signs of strokes, heart disease, and heart attacks
  • get annual physicals from your doctor to assess risk factors and detect abnormalities

One of the most effective ways of preventing stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease is by living a healthy lifestyle as mentioned above. Preventing heart disease should be a priority regardless of your age.

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