As a dog owner, I absolutely have a bias on this subject. Also, I want to credit Learning from Dogs, Paul Handover’s fine blog for first publishing this as a part of one of his posts.
Dog owners have better results after a major health event.
The studies found that, overall, dog owners tend to live longer than non-owners. And they often recover better from major health events such as heart attack or stroke, especially if they live alone.
This is my dog, Gabi, sitting in her basket on one of our rides.
As dog lovers have long suspected, owning a canine companion can be good for you. In fact, two recent studies and analyses published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association, suggest your four-legged friend may help you do better after a heart attack or stroke and may help you live a longer, healthier life. And that’s great news for dog parents!
Some exciting stats for dog owners: Continue reading
Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 cause of death, killing about 650,000 people every year. Life expectancy is cut short by the disease and the health problems that stem from it. But by how much – and what can people do to take those years back?
For heart attacks alone, more than 16 years of life are lost on average, according to American Heart Association statistics. Researchers estimate people with heart failure lose nearly 10 years of life compared to those without heart failure.
“In the past few years, there have been tremendous gains in reducing cardiovascular disease and increasing life expectancy, but we’ve hit a plateau,” said Paul Muntner, an epidemiologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Some people are at greater risk than others.
African Americans, for example, are more likely to have high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, and they live 3.4 years less than their white counterparts. Among the six largest Asian American subgroups, research shows Asian Indian, Filipino and Vietnamese populations lose the most years of life to heart disease – up to 18 years for some – compared with white people.
The risk of early death also is high for people with a history of diabetes, stroke and heart attack. Reporting in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015, researchers found people with all three conditions had their life expectancy cut by 15 years compared to those without any of the health problems. Even having just two of the conditions reduced life expectancy by 12 years.
But there is hope. Continue reading
People who worked long hours had a higher risk of stroke, especially if they worked those hours for 10 years or more, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
Researchers reviewed data from CONSTANCES, a French population-based study group started in 2012, for information on age (18-69), sex, smoking and work hours derived from questionnaires from 143,592 participants. Cardiovascular risk factors and previous stroke occurrences were noted from separate medical interviews. Continue reading
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
“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)
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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.”
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
• 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.
Researchers 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
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:
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <170 mg/dL
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.
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.”
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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