Tag Archives: American Heart Association

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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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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Not so sweet facts about sugars – AHA

Two days ago I published a super infographic on How to beat your sugar addiction. You can check it out by clicking the link.

Sugars in your diet can be naturally occurring or added. Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars are sugars and syrups put in foods during preparation or processing, or added at the table.

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Foods Containing Added Sugars

The major sources of added sugars are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies, pies and fruit drinks (fruitades and fruit punch); dairy desserts and milk products (ice cream, sweetened yogurt and sweetened milk); and other grains (cinnamon toast and honey-nut waffles).

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Poor sleep may raise risk for irregular heart rhythms – AHA

Regular readers know that I feel strongly that sleep is one of the cornerstones of good health. You can check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep? for more details.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA):
• Poor sleep – even if you don’t have sleep apnea – may be linked to higher risks of developing an irregular heartbeat.
• In addition, getting less rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep may also be linked to higher atrial fibrillation risks.

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Disruptions in sleep may be raising your risks of an irregular heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (AF), according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. 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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Want to cut your doctor bills? – Move – AHA

Everybody alive knows that medical bills go up every year. But, what to do about it?  The American Heart Association has a healthy suggestion – exercise.

Getting recommended levels of exercise weekly may help keep down annual medical costs both for people with and without cardiovascular disease, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Nitric oxide reduces blood pressure.

Although it’s well known that regular moderate exercise reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, “our findings also emphasize the favorable impact on how much you pay for healthcare,” said Khurram Nasir, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study and director of the Center for Healthcare Advancement & Outcomes and the High Risk Cardiovascular Disease Clinic at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables. Continue reading

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Sitting too long may raise heart disease risk – AHA

In December 2013 I posted for the first time on the dangers of sitting too long. “I must confess I was amazed to learn that simply sitting for long periods could be as the headline says, “Hazardous to Your Health and Longevity.” So, it’s not enough to exercise regularly, you also need to make sure that you don’t sit immobile for long periods….” That was the first sentence in the post Too much sitting can be hazardous to your health and longevity.

Now comes the American Heart Association saying, “Being sedentary is not just a lack of exercise, it is a potentially independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

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“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena and chair of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

“According to the statement, sedentary behavior may be associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, impaired insulin sensitivity (linked to diabetes) and an overall higher risk of death from any cause. (my emphasis)
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AHA warns on drugs possibly causing heart failure

Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen who exercises daily and eats intelligent amounts and kinds of food to remain healthy. I take only a single drug for my prostate. Most of the seniors I know take a number of drugs, prescription and over the counter, to keep them going.

•    For the first time, the American Heart Association has issued a statement cautioning that drugs used to treat a variety of conditions can cause or worsen heart failure.
    •    Patients should show each of their healthcare providers a complete list of their medications, including over-the-counter drugs and natural supplements.
    •    Patients with heart failure should consult with a health professional before starting or stopping any medication.

Commonly used medications and nutritional supplements may cause or worsen heart failure, according to the first scientific statement from the American Heart Association to provide guidance on avoiding drug-drug or drug-condition interactions for people with heart failure.

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The statement provides comprehensive information about specific drugs and “natural” remedies that may have serious unintended consequences for heart failure patients.

Heart failure patients have, on average five or more separate medical conditions and take seven or more prescription medications daily, often prescribed by different healthcare providers.

“Since many of the drugs heart failure patients are taking are prescribed for conditions such as cancer, neurological conditions, or infections, it is crucial but difficult for healthcare providers to reconcile whether a medication is interacting with heart failure drugs or making heart failure worse,” said Robert L. Page II, Pharm.D., M.S.P.H., chair of the writing committee for the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. (my emphasis)
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Study flawed on salt consumption dangers – AHA

The American Heart Association strongly refutes the findings of a May 20, 2016 article in The Lancet by Mente, et al, that suggest low sodium intake is related to a higher risk of heart disease and death.  On the contrary, the link between excessive sodium and high blood pressure – as well as higher risks of heart disease, stroke, heart failure and kidney disease – is indisputable. Lowering sodium is more important than ever.

Consider the following:
•    One-third of Americans have high blood pressure
•    90% of all American adults will develop hypertension over their lifetime
•    Heart disease and stroke are the world’s two leading causes of death (my emphasis)

“The findings in this study are not valid, and you shouldn’t use it to inform yourself about how you’re going to eat,” said Mark A. Creager, M.D., president of the American Heart Association and director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.  “The large body of science clearly shows how excessive amounts of sodium in the American diet can cause high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, and even death.” 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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Chinese Exercises May Help Heart Health

I have written about Tai Chi previously. I always considered it a healthy form of physical exercise, good for the muscles, bones and mind. So, I was not totally surprised to learn that there are other benefits, too, new research shows.

Traditional Chinese exercises such as Tai Chi may improve the health and well-being of those living with heart disease, high blood pressure or stroke, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

“Traditional Chinese exercises are a low-risk, promising intervention that could be helpful in improving quality of life in patients with cardiovascular diseases  — the leading cause of disability and death in the world,” said Yu Liu, Ph.D., study co-author, and dean of the School of Kinesiology, at Shanghai University of Sport in China. “But the physical and psychological benefits to these patients of this increasingly popular form of exercise must be determined based on scientific evidence.”

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Chen Pei-Jie, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and president of Shanghai University of Sport in China and his team reviewed 35 studies, including 2,249 participants from 10 countries. 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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Do I Have to go on Statin Drugs for the Rest of my Life to Fight High Cholesterol?

I am reblogging this analysis I wrote two years ago. At the time I thought it was good useful information for the general public. Now, It seems my doctor says that it applies to me.

I have just had my annual flu shot and pneumonia booster. In the course of my annual check up, I also had my blood work done.

As regular readers know I am 75  years old and in the best health of my entire life. I weigh around 155 pounds and have a resting heart rate below 50 beats per minute.

Here are my Cholesterol numbers:
CHOLESTEROL 182
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <170 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 41
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >499 mg/dL

HDL CHOLESTEROL 77
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): >50 mg/dL
LDL CHOL (CALC)  97
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): < 100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >189 mg/dL

Non-HDL Cholesterol 105
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <120 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >219 mg/dL

Despite my excellent physical condition and these good test results, my doctor recommended that I go on a statin drug, atorvastatin, to reduce my risk of heart attack or stroke.

POSTED OCT 9, 2015 To clarify:

My Doctor sent me the following:

… although your cholesterol numbers are quite good your overall risk for stroke and heart attacks is still quite high. I calculated your risk of having a stroke or heart attack in the next 10 years and it is 21.6%. I did this with the new American Heart Association Guidelines (AHA) and it is based on your age,sex, race, blood pressure, smoking status and hypertension as well as diabetes. We recommend starting cholesterol medications if the risk is above 7.5%. Even though you are doing everything right your overall risk is still high, as is the risk for most 75 year old males. Many physicians would recommend that your begin a cholesterol medication so I would have your consider taking atorvastatin.

For the record, I declined the recommendation saying that I felt more comfortable relying on my positive lifestyle.

Here is what I wrote back: Thanks very much for your prompt turnaround of my blood work. I also appreciate your considered recommendation regarding taking a statin prescription. At this time I am not comfortable with that. I understand the statistics, but I think those statistics include a lot of men who are not as healthy or health-conscious as I am. I think I would like to continue on with my current lifestyle of daily exercise and healthy eating and avoid the drugs. If I find a deterioration in my condition in the future, I will revisit this decision.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

“Millions more Americans could end up taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs under new recommendations released Tuesday that advocate a dramatic shift in the way doctors assess and treat cardiovascular risk,” according to the Washington Post.

“Roughly a quarter of Americans age 45 and older already take statins, which include familiar brands such as Lipitor and Zocor, to treat high cholesterol. But that number could grow sharply under far-reaching guidelines detailed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.”

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The leading cause of death for Americans is heart disease. About one in every four deaths in the United States, or about 600,000 annually, are attributed to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cholesterol helps your body build new cells, insulate nerves, and produce hormones. Normally, the liver makes all the cholesterol the body needs. But cholesterol also enters your body from food. Too…

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Some People with High Blood Pressure May Have Early Brain Damage – AHA

A new imaging technique found that some people with high blood pressure also have damage to nerve tracts connecting different parts of the brain, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2015 High Blood Pressure Conference.

The area of brain damage detected is linked to difficulties in certain cognitive skills, decision-making, and the ability to regulate emotions.

IMG_7718“We already have clear ways to explore the damage high blood pressure can cause to the kidneys, eyes, and heart. We wanted to find a way to assess brain damage that could predict the development of dementia associated with vascular diseases,” said Daniela Carnevale, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and assistant professor at Sapienza University of Rome, based in Neuromed Institute.

While there has been a lot of research on hypertension-related brain changes in the grey matter, Carnevale proposed that a look into the brain’s white matter could tell if high blood pressure was having an effect even earlier than what is known.

Researchers used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an enhancement of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to evaluate and compare the structural and functional properties of the main connections between different brain regions. Fifteen participants were on medication for moderate to severe high blood pressure and 15 participants had normal blood pressure. Participants were also given a cognitive assessment.

The brain imaging found that, while none of the participants showed abnormalities on a standard MRI, the more advanced DTI revealed that participants with high blood pressure had damage to:
•    brain fibers that affect non-verbal functions;
•    nerve fibers that affect executive functioning and emotional regulation; and
•    limbic system fibers, which are involved in attention tasks.

In addition, imaging and laboratory tests indicated damage to the heart and kidneys from high blood pressure.

Researchers also found those with high blood pressure performed significantly worse on two different assessments of cognitive function and memory. However, there were no differences in tests evaluating verbal function or ability to perform daily activities.

“DTI provides a way to evaluate pre-symptomatic brain damage in people with high blood pressure in order to identify possible therapies to help control brain damage and reduce the eventual development of dementia. It is generally accepted that not all available medications have the same impact on different kinds of organ damage,” Carnevale said.

DTI, also called tractography, is not performed in routine medical practice, but the researchers suggest that physicians should start to consider potential brain damage as they treat patients with high blood pressure.

To read further on high blood pressure check out my posts:

What is High Blood Pressure?

What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure

Leisure Time Activity Could Lower Your Risk of High Blood Pressure

Tony

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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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What You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure – Infographics

I went to a talk at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on high blood pressure late in 2011. I wrote the post What is High Blood Pressure then.

Some of the points made in the post included: “Normal (blood pressure) BP is 120/80, systolic/diastolic. Prehypertensive is 120-139 over 80-89. Stage one hypertension is 140-159 over 90 – 99. Stage two hypertension reads 160 -179 over 100 – 109.

“Modifiable causes of high BP or hypertension include smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, dietary salt, alcohol consumption and stress.

“Causes of high BP over which we have no control include older age, genetics, family history of high BP, chronic kidney disease and adrenal and thyroid disorders.

“The Mayo Clinic said that most people with high BP have no signs or symptoms, even if BP readings reach dangerously high levels.”

I hope this has piqued your curiosity about high blood pressure because I have found two dynamite infographics on it that will fill in a lot of details. The first is from the American Heart Association and is very personal and the second from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and covers a broad spectrum of high blood pressure in the U.S.
BPConsequencesmh_bp_infographicTony

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