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All Entries For heart disease

Are You Consuming Too Much Sugar?


Sugar provides such sweet memories for me. As a child growing up, my mother would often sing the Mary Poppins song A Spoonful of Sugar as she was encouraging us to do tasks and chores we did not want to do. When we had hiccups, she would offer a spoonful of the sweet white granules to suck on to help them go away.

As we seek to make healthier lifestyle choices, it is important to understand the role nutrients like sugar play in our life. Earlier this year I introduced readers to the Life's Simple 7 assessment tool by the American Heart Association designed to help people evaluate their cardiovascular health. Part of the goals of that assessment included maintaining a diet low in sugar.

A study released last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association validated the idea that high sugar consumption plays just as much of a role in heart disease risks as dietary fats. The study found a strong correlation between sugar consumption and lipid profiles. Study individuals with higher sugar consumption appeared to have lower HDL and higher triglyceride levels. These are opposite of what has been found to be protective against heart disease. Average added sugar consumption in the study was over 21 teaspoons per day, which provides over 320 additional calories to daily calorie intake. In comparison, The American Heart Association recommends women limit added sugars to less than six and a half teaspoons (25 grams) per day while men are advised to include less than nine teaspoons (37.5 grams) of added sugars. The World Health Organization suggests diets include no more than 10 percent of caloric intake from added sugars and sweeteners. If we are going to reduce our added sugar intake, perhaps we need to take a closer look to understand what they are and where they come from.

Posted 4/29/2010  5:00:00 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 170 comments   81,404 views
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Hands-Only CPR: Saving a Life Becomes Easier


When I received my CPR recertification last June my instructor recounted an incident she had heard about from a former student regarding the reality of those who may be too frightened to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (AKA CPR). We may know what to do, but what happens when it is time to implement the measures should someone collapse in our presence. The story has a tragic ending, however, it is a lesson we all can learn from.

A few years ago a gentleman at a local road race collapsed and suffered a heart attack while on the course and even though people stopped to help, no one administered CPR. The bystanders called 911 and made sure the man was comfortable, but sadly that was as far as the help went. By the time the first responders arrived at the scene the gentleman was deceased.

Unfortunately this isn't an isolated story. People are often too fearful of implementing a technique they only practiced on mannequins. And when it comes time to put this to the test, fear of doing further harm can stand in the way of helping another human being.

Posted 4/28/2010  3:40:51 PM By: Nancy Howard : 126 comments   16,153 views
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Broken Hearts Can Be Mended


How many of you have watched a movie or TV show where one of the characters, who has experienced a stressful situation in her life, suffers from what appears to be a classic heart attack but isn't? While this may sound a little farfetched, doctors are beginning to recognize a condition that mimics a heart attack, but after further testing there is little or no sign of cardiovascular disease. Doctors refer to this condition as stress cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome. In all my years in nursing and reading up on health matters I have never heard of this syndrome before, until I came across an article in the Spring 2010 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Heart-Healthy Living Magazine.

After doing my own research, I discovered that broken heart syndrome can mimic a true heart attack but does not cause death or irreversible damage to the heart like a classic heart attack can. However, the two conditions can be difficult to differentiate when a patient presents to the emergency room with chest pains, shortness of breath, nausea and in some cases even heart stoppage.

Posted 4/7/2010  2:56:28 PM By: Nancy Howard : 102 comments   16,002 views
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Are You Spending Too Much for Omega-3's?


In 2008, over-the-counter fish oil supplement sales in the United States nearly topped $740 million. Add to that the additional $1.8 billion spent on other omega-3 fortified foods like margarine and peanut butter and you can see that omega-3 is big business. Is this money well spent or nothing more than an oil spill.

The many omega-3 benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, improving cholesterol profiles by decreasing triglycerides and increasing protective HDL's or supporting mental health are all wonderful reasons to include omega-3 rich foods in our diet. Since these essential fatty acids are not made by the body and have been found to be so beneficial, they have become a new supplement marketing focus. According to a recent Forbes article, they are not always the best use of our money.

Here are some important things to keep in mind as you select at the supermarket or supplement aisle to be sure you are making nutrient and money wise omega-3 choices.

Posted 3/18/2010  6:39:11 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 53 comments   21,263 views
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Which Strategy to Reduce Salt Would Work for You?


Each time I review a new restaurant for our ongoing Food on the Run or Diet Friendly Dining series, there are always comments wondering why there is so much sodium in restaurant food.

A new Annals of Internal Medicine article looking at information from a cost-effectiveness analysis of sodium reduction strategies suggests that change may be right around the corner.

Posted 3/11/2010  12:41:20 PM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 167 comments   10,455 views
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Go Red for Women on Friday, February 5th


I've never really thought of myself as having heart disease until early last year when I wrote a blog about the Go Red for Women campaign. A few months earlier my doctor mentioned how proud she was of me that I had been able to keep my heart disease in check. What--me, Nancy Howard have heart disease even with all the changes I have made?

Wait a minute, in the course of 5 years I have dropped 80 pounds and kept it off. My diet is the healthiest it's ever been in my entire life. I am a faithful runner/gym goer pounding the pavement at least 5 days every week and I still fall in the heart disease category?

I should not be too surprised as there is a strong family history on both my maternal and paternal side, but the stigma remains with me. I know my health is what it is, but it still makes me wonder if I will ever be able to accept this fate.

Posted 2/3/2010  4:35:47 PM By: Nancy Howard : 183 comments   13,801 views
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Have You Tried the Skinny Nut?


A recent report highlighted what we nutrition minded people have known for a while, which is nuts provide good nutrition in a tasty package. Tree nuts in particular provide heart healthy benefits due to their healthy fat source and also provide a good quality protein from a non-animal source. Many times walnuts and almonds are talked about the most. Recently, more and more commercials have popped up in my region of the country for a small tasty alternative tree nut that may be even more healthy.

Posted 11/30/2009  6:31:10 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 200 comments   18,915 views
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The VITAL Study is Coming!


The VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) research study will officially begin recruitment for participants in January 2010. The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether taking omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil or vitamin D supplements helps reduce the development of cancer, heart disease and stoke in healthy people.

Think you might be interested in participating?
Posted 7/9/2009  10:46:45 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 44 comments   12,224 views
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Is Moderate Drinking Really Good for Your Health?


Numerous studies have suggested that alcohol can be part of a healthy diet. In fact, many suggest that moderate amounts of alcohol can reduce your risk for heart disease and even diabetes. But not all researchers are convinced that alcohol- even in moderation- is good for you.

Critics say that no study has ever proved a causal relationship between moderate drinking and lower disease rates- only that the two tend to go together. Does moderate drinking make you healthier, or is it just that healthy people tend to drink moderately? If you're a moderate drinker, it's assumed that you probably take care of yourself (eating healthy, exercising regularly). So are those the lifestyle habits that most significantly contribute to good health, instead of how much you drink?
Posted 6/30/2009  5:24:40 PM By: Jen Mueller : 87 comments   11,420 views
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Could You Have Metabolic Syndrome?



Since the 1940's a relationship between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been recognized. In the 1980's this association began being known as syndrome X or metabolic syndrome.

Last week, a new study revealed that "women who breastfeed may be less likely to develop metabolic syndrome."

What is metabolic syndrome and how do you know if you might have it?
Posted 6/15/2009  6:17:06 AM By: Tanya Jolliffe : 50 comments   9,121 views
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Another Reason to Drink Water: Prevent a Heart Attack


We all know that water is good for you. It can help you feel fuller, it's a good replacement for sugary drinks like soda or juice, improves the look of your skin- the list is long. But did you know that drinking water might also help reduce your risk of a heart attack?
Posted 6/9/2009  9:12:08 AM By: Jen Mueller : 132 comments   28,338 views
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Poll: Do You Suffer from Heart Disease?


Yesterday was the 6th Annual National Wear Red Day and I do hope that most, if not all of you participated in this great cause. Bringing awareness regarding women and heart disease to the forefront is one way we can change the path in which our country and we, as women, are headed.

I was amazed that so many people were unaware of the impact heart disease plays in many of our lives. Heart disease was a manís disease or so I thought. It didnít even occur to me that I, too, suffer from heart disease, until I started doing research. I know this sounds strange, but I never equated my history of high blood pressure to my having heart disease. Talk about an Aha! moment! But that doesnít mean that I have resigned myself to a death sentence, either.
Posted 2/7/2009  5:49:59 AM By: Nancy Howard : 118 comments   6,177 views
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Celebrate National Wear Red Day


This Friday, February 6, marks the National Wear Red Day, when everyone across the country is asked to wear red in support of raising awareness of the number one killer of American women: heart disease. Held the first Friday in February since 2002, the Wear Red Day campaign has been gaining momentum and helping educate women on cardiovascular disease awareness.

Each year, more than 500,000, or roughly 1 in 4 women, or one woman every minute, will succumb to heart disease. And of that number, more than half will die from heart attacks. While heart disease afflicts six times the number of women diagnosed every year with breast cancer, surveys have shown that women fear breast cancer far more so than heart disease. This is one reason why the National Wear Red Day is paramount if we want to change the path on which we, as women, are headed. Sadly, many times a womanís first experience with heart disease is often her last as many women tend to ignore the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and/or heart disease until it is too late.
Posted 2/4/2009  5:05:09 PM By: Nancy Howard : 140 comments   7,162 views
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Are You Willing to Take the Pledge to Be Healthy Today?


I am a health fanatic. I read everything I can get my hands on when it comes to healthy living--everything from nutrition to exercise to the role sleep plays in our lifestyle and on and on. If it has healthy and living in the title I read it.

Recently I came across three very staggering and disturbing statistics about the health and well-being of Americans, especially our children. If you feel as passionate as I did when I read the research, I think one by one we can slowly turn this trend of obesity and unhealthy living around. It isnít going to be easy, but it must be done, if we want to live healthy and productive lives and more importantly if we want the next generation to do the same.
Posted 1/10/2009  6:01:04 AM By: Nancy Howard : 265 comments   12,264 views
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5 Winter Weather Risks to Avoid


Now that winter is officially here, so are the risks of winter injuries. While I live in a climate where snow and ice are rare, many areas of the country are experiencing snow, ice, and cold temperatures like never before.

Below are a few of the most common winter weather injuries that may be avoided if proper caution is taken prior to venturing outside.
Posted 1/3/2009  6:00:04 AM By: Nancy Howard : 70 comments   4,799 views
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