Category Archives: American Heart Association

High protein diet may increase heart failure risk in middle-aged men – AHA

For middle-aged men, eating higher amounts of protein was associated with a slightly elevated risk for heart failure than those who ate less protein, according to new research in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Despite the popularity of high protein diets, there is little research about how diets high in protein might impact men’s heart failure risk.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“As many people seem to take the health benefits of high-protein diets for granted, it is important to make clear the possible risks and benefits of these diets,” said Jyrki Virtanen, Ph.D., study author and an adjunct professor of nutritional epidemiology at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio. “Earlier studies had linked diets high in protein – especially from animal sources — with increased risks of Type 2 diabetes and even death.” Continue reading

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Filed under American Heart Association, coronary heart disease, diabetes, heart, heart problems, plant protein, protein

April is ‘Move More Month’ – AHA

As much as I work on promoting movement – exercise – here, it seems only fair to point out that April is the American Heart Association’s Move More Month.

According to the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2018 Update, only 22 percent of American adults meet the federal physical activity recommendations for aerobic and muscle strengthening activity, and one in three adults report participating in no leisure time activity at all!

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This is an ‘oldie but goodie’ shot of my dog and me riding on Northerly Island in Chicago. Exercise is easy when you find something you like doing.

While most people know exercise should be part of their daily routine, many don’t realize just how easy it is to add physical activity to everyday activities. Not everyone has hours to spend in the gym, or even 30 minutes to take a walk every day. It’s time to help people feel good about what they’re already doing, while also providing some new and creative ways to sneak in even more daily movement. Continue reading

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Exercise may reverse heart effects of middle-aged couch potatoes – Study

Eat less; move more; live longer. The mantra persists just as we do if we follow it. An American Heart Association study reports that exercise (moving more) can rejuvenate us even if we have lived a sedentary life in middle age.

Highlights:

Two years of exercise training during middle age may reduce or reverse the cardiac consequences of a sedentary lifestyle.

Two years of exercise training may be an effective lifestyle modification for rejuvenating aging hearts and reducing the risk of heart failure.

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Middle-aged couch potatoes may reduce or reverse the risk of heart failure associated with years of sitting if they participate in two years of regular aerobic exercise training, according to a new study in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

Study participants who adhered to the aerobic exercise regimen had significant improvements in how their body used oxygen and had decreased cardiac stiffness after two years, both markers of a healthier heart. Aerobic exercises are sustained activities, such as walking, swimming, running, biking and others that strengthen the heart and other muscles and help the body use oxygen effectively.

“The key to a healthier heart in middle age is the right dose of exercise, at the right time in life,” said study author Benjamin D. Levine, M.D., lead author of the study and the founder and director of the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine, a joint program between Texas Health Resources and UT Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, Texas. Continue reading

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Brain activity may predict stress-related cardiovascular risk – AHA

I have written numerous posts on the brain, stress and relaxation. This study seems to be an amalgam of them all. If you want to read further on any of them, punch the word into the S E A R C H box at the right and have at it. There is a lot of information available.

  • A pattern of brain activity that occurs during psychological stress may predict bodily reactions, such as surges in our blood pressure, that increase risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • People who have exaggerated responses to stressors, like large rises in blood pressure or heart rate, are at greater risk of developing hypertension and premature death from cardiovascular disease, researchers say.

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The brain may have a distinctive activity pattern during stressful events that predicts bodily reactions, such as rises in blood pressure that increase risk for cardiovascular disease, according to new proof-of-concept research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Continue reading

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Healthy arteries may be possible with aging – AHA

As a 77 year old, I was heartened to learn that a lot of the damage expected by aging could be controlled by attention to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) seven steps in yesterday’s post.

Study Highlights

  • High blood pressure and increased blood vessel stiffness are often considered common parts of aging.
  • Having healthy arteries into one’s 70s and beyond is challenging and depends on modifiable lifestyle factors, not necessarily genetics.

Having the blood vessels of a healthy 20-year-old into one’s 70s is possible but difficult in Western culture, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

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“For the most part, it’s not genetic factors that stiffen the body’s network of blood vessels during aging. Modifiable lifestyle factors – like those identified in the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 –  are the leading culprits,” said study author Teemu J. Niiranen, M.D., research fellow at Boston University School of Medicine, Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts. Continue reading

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7 Simple suggestions to live longer – AHA

Living past 100 is no walk in the park, although including one can prove very helpful. The American Heart Association has created this list with the goal of improved health by educating the public on how best to live longer and healthier.

These measures have one unique thing in common: any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference. Start with one or two. This simple, seven step list has been developed to deliver on the hope we all have–to live a long, productive healthy life. 

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Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys which keeps you healthier longer.
Learn how to manage your blood pressure. Continue reading

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Good heart health in middle age improves/extends golden years – AHA

Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. Now, according to the American Heart Association, the sooner you start, the better.

People with no major heart disease risk factors in middle age live longer and stay healthy far longer than others, according to a 40-year study reported in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.

“Good cardiovascular health in middle age delays the onset of many types of disease so that people live longer and spend a much smaller proportion of their lives with chronic illness,” said Norrina Allen, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

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In the first study to analyze the impact of cardiovascular health in middle age on the duration of illness later in life, researchers examined data from the Chicago Health Association study, which did initial health assessments in the late 1960s/early 1970s and has followed participants on an ongoing basis using Medicare health records. Researchers determined how many participants had favorable factors: non-smokers, free of diabetes and normal weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels; versus those with elevated risk factors or high risk factors. Continue reading

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Physical activity provides big boost to seniors with heart disease – AHA

So often the answer to any health question comes back to exercise – physical activity. Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. From the following, the American Heart Association (AHA) seems to agree.

  • Improving physical function among older adults with heart disease helps heart health and even the oldest have a better quality of life and greater independence.
  • Healthcare providers should emphasize cardiac rehabilitation when appropriate and provide individualized guidance on increasing daily physical activities for older patients with heart disease.

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Improving physical activity among older adults with heart disease benefits their heart health, independence and quality of life, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Physical activity helps reduce heart disease symptoms for patients with heart failure, heart attacks and stroke, and it also helps to improve the age-related erosions of strength, balance, and reduces frailty that particularly affect older heart patients. It is important part of care for the growing population of older adults with heart disease.

“Many healthcare providers are focused only on the medical management of diseases, such as heart failure, heart attacks, valvular heart disease and strokes, without directly focusing on helping patients maximize their physical function,” said Daniel E. Forman, M.D., the geriatric cardiologist who chaired the American Heart Association panel that drafted the new statement. Continue reading

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Recreational, commuter biking lower cardiovascular disease risk – AHA

As an enthusiastic bicycle rider and supporter of the exercise, I was really pleased to see the results of the American Heart Association studies. Here is a summary:

    •    People who bike regularly, either recreationally or as a way to commute, appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular illness, according to studies conducted in Denmark and Sweden.
    •    Middle-aged and older Danes who took up biking and stuck with it had a 26 percent lower risk of developing coronary artery disease, compared with non-bikers.
    •    In Sweden, those who regularly biked to work were less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and obesity — key risk factors for cardiovascular illness.

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Here I am riding on Chicago’s Northerly Island in my retirement.

People who bike regularly, either for pleasure or as a way to commute, appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to two separate studies published simultaneously in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation and Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA/ASA’s Open Access Journal. Continue reading

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A Healthy Heart = A Healthy Brain

I remember the old cliche when it rains, it pours referring to bad news, but, in fact, the past few days, it seems to have been raining stories on brain development. I think that is great news. This latest one is from the American Heart Association.

A healthy heart may have major benefits for preventing the decline in brain function that sometimes accompanies aging, according to new research in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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Researchers studied a racially diverse group of older adults and found that having more ideal cardiovascular health factors was associated with better brain processing speed at the study’s start and less cognitive decline approximately six years later. Continue reading

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More Fruits, Veggies in Youth Linked to Healthy Heart Decades Later – AHA

•    Young adults who ate more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables were less likely to have developed plaque deposits in their coronary arteries 20 years later.
    •    This study’s findings reinforce the importance of increasing fruit and vegetable intake as part of a healthy eating pattern in early adult life.

Eating more fruits and vegetables as a young adult may keep your arteries free of heart disease 20 years later, according to research in the American Heart Association (AHA) journal Circulation.

Healthy-Heart-For-Kidsvs2_1024x1024Researchers found that eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults was associated with less calcified coronary artery plaque 20 years later. Coronary artery calcium can be measured by a CT scan to detect the presence and amount of atherosclerosis, a disease that hardens arteries and underlies many types of heart disease.

The researchers divided data from 2,506 study participants into three groups, based on their daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. Women in the top third ate an average of nearly nine servings of daily fruits and vegetables and men averaged more than seven daily servings. In the bottom third, women consumed an average 3.3 daily servings and men 2.6 daily servings. All servings were based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
Researchers found that people who ate the most fruit and vegetables at the study’s start had 26 percent lower odds of developing calcified plaque 20 years later, compared to those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables.

Previous studies have shown a strong association between eating more fruits and vegetables and reduction in heart disease risk among middle-age adults. However, this is the first study to examine whether eating more fruits and vegetables as young adults could produce a measurable improvement in the health of their heart and blood vessels years later.
“People shouldn’t assume that they can wait until they’re older to eat healthy—our study suggests that what you eat as a young adult may be as important as what you eat as an older adult, ” said lead author Michael D. Miedema, M.D., senior consulting cardiologist and clinical investigator at the Minneapolis Heart Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Continue reading

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7 Myths on Sodium Consumption Busted – American Heart Association

The American Heart Association recommends we limit our sodium consumption to 1500 mg per day, but that doesn’t mean we have to eliminate salt from our diet. We just need to pay attention to how much we are consuming.

I thought there were some particularly useful ideas in this, particularly that 75 percent of the sodium we consume comes from processed foods.

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Tony

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5 Tips to Loving Exercise … or at Least Not Hating it – AHA

Over 50 per cent of Americans do not get the recommended 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Can it be any wonder that health care costs grow every year when there are so many of us who fail to do the minimum to keep ourselves healthy?

Ask yourself – “Am I making an effort or making excuses?” Some 14 per cent of visitors to a recent American Heart Association (AHA) survey said that they did not like exercising.

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The AHA offers the following tips for those folks:

I thought I would pass them on. They quote Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine as the source.

1. Find exercise that suits you
If you are social, do something that engages you, a group exercise class, kickball team or walk with a group of friends. If solo is more your style, walking or jogging might be a better fit. Regular readers know I have found bike riding as my answer.

One last example that springs to my mind is dancing. Because I love music, I always think of dancing as a super way to get a body moving. You can take a class, or just put on some music and do it at home. You will still get the same benefit from moving.

2. Make it a habit
“Exercise can become addictive in a positive way,” said Dr. Carnethon, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing something.”

This is a great idea. I look forward to my rides and consider them a priority in my day.

3. Build exercise into your lifestyle
“The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive,” Dr. Carnethon said. If you aren’t near a gym, it may be harder to become a habit for you. There are lots of ways to fit exercise into your life without a large financial commitment. Borrow exercise videos from the library, or record an exercise program off TV. I know that YouTube has an amazing amount of videos available right on your computer on every subject imaginable, including any kind of exercise you could want. She suggests walking as a great option. All you need is a good pair of shoes. I second that in spades. Check out my Page – Why You Should Walk More for more info on the many benefits of walking. Don’t forget, walking is weight bearing exercise, so it is good for your bones, too.

4. Do bouts of exercise
It is all right to break up physical activity into smaller segments. The AHA recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise most days, but if that sounds overwhelming, try three 10-minute workout sessions.

Walk to work, or walk a block or two to the train/bus to work. Climb a few flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator all the way up. Going shopping, park farther from the store and walk to and from it. There are lots of ways you can build in walking into your life.

5. Keep going
If you miss a day or a workout, don’t sweat it. Everybody struggles at some point. Just get back on the exercise horse the next day. “It doesn’t take too long to get back on track,” Dr. Carnethon said. “It’s easy to make something a habit again. You will see same benefits before. Any little bit you can fit in will show benefits.”

A good example of this is my recent trip when I couldn’t ride my bike for five days. I wrote Good Eating Habits Die Hard in Las Vegas.

It’s a cliche to say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” but it’s true, your good health is up to you.

Tony

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What Are My Risks for Getting Heart Disease? – Infographic

I must confess I was blown away by the information in this infographic from the American Heart Association.

The three parts are the whole story: What are my risks? What are the 7 Simple Keys to Prevention? Am I making progress or excuses? That says it all. Take your time on this, your heart health could depend on it.

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Every Body Walk!

I recently put together a page (which you can access from the titles at the top) on Why you should walk more. The page contains links to the 10 blog posts I have made over the past nearly four years on the benefits of walking.

Now comes the government with a powerful documentary – Every Body Walk! that you can watch by clicking the link.

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This film is is an online educational campaign aimed at getting Americans up and moving. The campaign’s goal – to spread the message that walking really can improve health and prevent disease. The campaign is led by Kaiser Permanente along with a number of other organizations, including the Office of the Surgeon General.

This 30 minute documentary was released to highlight the importance of walking in our lives. It explores the significant health and environmental benefits that can result from simply walking. The film’s primary message is to encourage Americans to walk on a regular basis for their own health and well being. Topics covered in the documentary include:

• The impact of inactivity
• Eliminating walking from our culture
• The evolution of man and walking
• Walking to better health
• Building walkable communities

“For too many people, much of the day is spent sitting in the car, at the desk or on the couch, which has serious health implications,” said Raymond J. Baxter, PhD, Kaiser Permanente senior vice president, Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. “The film is sure to encourage people to get back on their feet, walking whenever and wherever they can – at work, at school, and in the community, all while getting involved in making their communities more walkable overall.”

I recommend that you check out the documentary at your leisure and get a look at the links on my page. Hopefully, these will get you thinking about the benefits of walking, the ugly stepsister of the exercise world. It is certainly a step in the right direction.

Tony

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How Much is Too Much Salt?

A recent study by the Institute of Medicine questioned the current guidellnes on salt intake saying they were too high.

The guidelines issued by the government say that adults should reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2300 mg. For those over age 51, or with a medical condition like diabetes or hypertension, salt intake should fall below 1500 mg.
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The American Heart Association puts the limit at 1500 mg per day for the entire population.

Dr. Marc Seigel, associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, said on Fox News today that he doesn’t know anyone who consumes less than 3000 mg per day and they all consume too much salt. In addition, most people get the majority of their salt from processed and restaurant food. Continue reading

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