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Healthy Heart

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Introduction:
Why do you need to keep a healthy heart?

Heart disease is the number one  cause of death in men and women, greater than the next five causes of death combined!

According to the latest estimates by the American Heart Association, over 64 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Fortunately, there are ways to significantly lower your chances of developing heart disease and reverse the effects of a current heart condition you may or may not be aware of. Lower cholesterol, triglycerides, homocysteine and CRP levels are a start to promoting healthy hearts.

Healthy Heart Guide  educates people about the risk factors of heart disease, attempting to persuade them to adopt a healthier lifestyle .

Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, making lifestyle changes can help you live a longer, healthier and more enjoyable life.

Essential Blood Tests :
Find out the risk factors for developing heart conditions:

*Risk Factors Heart Disease :
*Cholesterol Levels :
*Homocysteine Levels :
*Triglyceride Levels :
*C-Reactive Protein :

Lowering Your Risks:
Specific Ways to Promote a Healthy Heart
:


*Cholesterol Ratio

*CRP Blood Test
*Diet For Lowering Cholesterol
*Homocysteine and Heart Disease
*LDL Cholesterol Heart Disease
*Lowering Triglycerides
*Natural Blood Thinners

Being active:
Being active Being active is absolutely essential for a healthy heart – for the simple reason that your heart is a muscle. Even if you haven’t been active for some time, your heart can become stronger, so that it’s able to pump more efficiently giving you more stamina and greater energy. Becoming more active will also improve the ability of your body’s tissues to extract oxygen from your blood, help you

maintain healthy levels of blood fats and speed your metabolism. Three types of exercise are needed in order to become fitter and healthier. These are aerobic, resistance training and flexibility. All three are vital for all-round fitness.

Aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise:
Particularly important to prevent coronary heart disease is aerobic or cardiovascular exercise. This is any kind of activity that increases your breathing rate and gets you breathing more deeply. These activities include: walking, running, swimming, dancing or any of the aerobic (cardiovascular) machines at the gym such as the rowing machine, treadmill, stepper or elliptical trainer.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.

These are designed to increase the strength of your heart muscle by improving your body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood and transport it to the rest of the body. Aerobic exercise also enhances your body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently and to burn (or metabolise) fats and carbohydrates for energy.
Stretching:
Stretching helps relax and lengthen your muscles, encourages improved blood flow, and helps keep you supple so you can move more easily. Experts say it’s good to stretch for 5-10 minutes every day. There are a number of simple stretches which you’ll find in virtually any book about exercise or can be taught by the instructor at the gym.

If you want more organised stretching, yoga and Pilates are safe and gentle for people with heart problems, as they help calm the mind and body and reduce stress. That said, there may still be some exercises or postures that are not recommended if you have heart disease, so check with your doctor first and tell your instructor if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.

Getting started:
There’s no need to join a gym or take part in organised sport, unless you want to, of course. Simply incorporating more activity into your daily life and doing activities like walking, gardening, cycling can be just as effective as a structured exercise programme.

Your aim should be to be moderately active for 30 minutes most days of the week. If you find it hard to fit this into your life, split it up into shorter periods. You should feel that your heart rate is increasing, you are breathing more deeply and frequently. You should be able to walk and talk at the same time – if you can’t then the activity is too strenuous.

Safety first:
If you experience any or all of the following, stop exercising and consult your doctor.

•Chest pain
•Dizziness, light-headedness or confusion
•Nausea or vomiting
•Cramp-like pains in the legs (intermittent claudication)
•Pale or bluish skin tone
•Breathlessness lasting for more than 10 minutes
•Palpitations (rapid or irregular heart beat).
•Continued fatigue (lasting for 24 hours or more)
•Fluid retention (swollen ankles, sudden weight gain)

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/in_depth/heart/prevention_activity.shtml

Your Guide to Heart Health & Lowering Your Risk of Heart Attack & Stroke

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News on Health & Science

Grape Seeds May Prevent Worst Health Disasters

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For years, scientists have given two thumbs up to grape seed extract as a powerful disease fighter. Now, findings by the American Association for Cancer Research show it may be powerful enough to blast away leukemia cells!
.click & see
As its name implies, grape seed extract is pressed from the seeds of grapes. Laboratory studies have shown that grape seeds contain helpful antioxidants that prevent cell damage caused by free radicals.

Grape seed extract has also been shown to strengthen the heart and blood vessels… reduce high blood pressure… improve symptoms of diabetes… lower high cholesterol… and may even help treat and prevent cancer!

According to a statement from the association, a study revealed that after laboratory leukemia cells were exposed to grape seed extract, 76 percent of the cancer-laden cells were completely eliminated! Even more amazing was the fact that other cells were not harmed.

“What everyone seeks is an agent that has an effect on cancer cells but leaves normal cells alone, and this shows that grape seed extract fits into this category,” said Xianglin Shi, one of the researchers and a professor in the Graduate Center for Toxicology at the University of Kentucky.

“These results could have implications for the incorporation of agents such as grape seed extract into prevention or treatment of hematological malignancies and possibly other cancers,” Shi said.

However, the results of the study do not suggest that people should go overboard in eating grapes in hopes of staving off cancer. “This is very promising research, but it is too early to say this is chemo-protective,” Shi added.

Source: Better Health Research. Jan.29 ’09

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Cholesterol-Regulating Genes Could be ‘switched off’ to Reduce Heart Attacks

Cholesterol-Regulating Genes Could be ‘switched off’ to Reduce Heart  Attacks

……………..Heart_Attack
Scientists have uncovered 20 genes which increase people’s risk of having a heart attack – raising the prospect of ‘exciting’ new treatments in the coming years.

The genes regulate the amount of cholesterol – a chemical which increases the risk of heart disease – produced by the cells.

The finding could possibly lead to the production of medicines to ‘switch off’ the production of so-called bad cholesterol.

But experts warned that such a breakthrough was at least a decade off.

Knowledge of the new genes could also enable doctors to target health promotion advice at people with the ‘cholesterol control’ genes.

Study leader Dr Heiko Runz, from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, said: ‘High cholesterol in the blood is considered to be responsible for excess cardiovascular morbidity (illness) and mortality.

‘Blood cholesterol levels are controlled by cholesterol in cells. Therefore, some of the genes identified by us as regulators of cellular cholesterol in future studies might turn out to be disease genes that contribute to high cholesterol in some cases.

‘Moreover, the strategy we used could open a new avenue to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease.’

Mike Rich, executive director of the Blood Pressure Association, said: ‘Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the UK so we welcome research which might offer new ways to target its associated risk factors.

‘Being able to “switch off” the production of “bad cholesterol” is an exciting proposition and may have implications for other causes of cardiovascular disease.

‘However more research is needed to show how this could be translated from the laboratory to become a practical means of preventing or controlling high cholesterol.’

Professor Peter Weissberg of the British Heart Foundation warned that any drugs to switch off cholesterol production would be ‘a few years’ away.

‘There is no need to get too excited about this yet, and we are a long way from it leading to any treatments,’ he said.

The study is reported in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The researchers looked for genes with similar patterns of behaviour to those already known to be involved in cholesterol regulation.

They then tested the activity of the 100 most promising candidates with a scientific technique called RNA interference (RNAi).

The technique uses tiny bits of the genetic molecule RNA to block the protein-making ‘instructions’ issued by genes. In this way, the function of genes can be assessed by effectively switching them off.

The strategy identified 20 genes described as ‘immediately relevant’ for maintaining cellular levels of cholesterol.

Some them are thought to influence levels of low-density lipoprotein, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, in the blood, a major heart disease risk factor.

Of the 20 genes, 12 were previously unknown. The remainder were believed to be linked to lipid metabolism – the process by which the body breaks down fat.

Source:
Mail Online. July 8, ’09

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Statin Cuts Heart Attack Risk in Healthy Too

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Should all over-50s take anti-cholesterol drug?

Statins cut the risk of heart attacks by 30 per cent even in healthy people, researchers say.

The cholesterol-busting drugs also reduce the chances of death from all causes by 12 per cent.

The findings, from a review of studies involving people without heart disease, will renew the heated debate over whether everyone over the age of 50 should be prescribed the powerful drugs.

At present they are given only to those at significant risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Many experts say wider access to the cheap drug could save hundreds of thousands of lives while also saving the NHS billions every year.

More than six million adults already take statins, saving around 10,000 lives a year.

The Government’s heart disease czar Roger Boyle says all older people should ideally be taking statins or a polypill, new tablets being developed which contain the drugs.

And last month heart expert Professor Malcolm Law wrote in the British Medical Journal that everyone over 55 should be given statins in the same way that everyone would be offered a vaccine against swine flu if it became serious.

Although low dose statins can be bought over the counter, effective versions of the drugs cannot legally be purchased without a prescription.

The latest review analysed the results of ten large trials involving more than 70,000 patients who did not have established cardiovascular disease.

The trials compared statin therapy with placebo agents or no treatment and tracked patients for an average of four years.

Deaths from all causes were cut by 12 per cent among those taking statins, and the risk of major events such as a heart attack went down by 30 per cent. The risk of a stroke was cut by 19 per cent.

No significant treatment differences were found between men and women, young and old, and those with and without diabetes. There was no raised risk of cancer, feared as a possible side effect.

Dr Jasper Brugts of Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, which carried out the study, said the findings justify giving statins to those without established cardiovascular disease, but with risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Writing on the BMJ website, he aid: ‘People at increased risk for cardiovascular disease should not be denied the relative benefits of long-term statin use.’
mahood

He said men over 65 with risk factors, or older women with diabetes and risk factors, would probably benefit most.

At present, those with established risk factors including diabetes are eligible for statins because they are being prescribed for secondary prevention of heart and circulatory problems.

The big issue is whether taking statins would benefit ‘healthy’ people for primary prevention.

A drive is planned by GPs over the next five years where adults aged 40 to 74 will be invited for a health check to identify heart and stroke risk, as well as kidney disease. Anyone in this age group who is believed to have a 20 per cent risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke over the next ten years will be eligible for the drugs.

It is thought that 15million people will benefit from checks. The move could prevent a further 15,000 heart ‘events’ each year, such as heart attacks and strokes, in addition to the 7,000 heart attacks already being prevented.

But GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick, author of The Great Cholesterol Con, said the jury was still out on whether statins provide any overall health benefit for people without a history of heart disease.

Dr Kendrick, a long-standing sceptic about statins for those at low risk of heart problems, said: ‘The suggestion that people at low risk should be taking drugs for the rest of their lives is not supported by the trials.

In addition to the lack of benefit and expense, statins carry a substantial burden of side effects.’

The Department of Health said it would study the findings.

Source:Mail Online. 1st. July.’09

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Diagnonistic Test

Venous Ultrasound of the Legs (Lower Extremity Doppler)

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Definition:
This type of ultrasound shows if there is a blockage in a leg vein. Such blockages are usually caused by blood clots, which can be dangerous and even lifethreatening if they break loose and travel through the blood to the lungs. If you have pain or swelling in one leg, your doctor may order an ultrasound to determine whether your symptoms are caused by a blockage.

Click for the picture

The importance of the Venous Doppler examination of the lower extremities cannot be underestimated. Careful mapping of the lower extremity venous system prior to treatment is essential to a good clinical outcome. While many patients present with large, clinically obvious bulging varicose veins other individuals may have significant “silent” large vein disease (reflux), which can only be detected by Doppler vein mapping. Venous Doppler not only provides a detailed picture of your venous system, but can show abnormal direction blood flow (reflux) in diseased veins. Successful treatment of leg veins requires accurate diagnosis with treatment of abnormal large veins followed by touch-up treatment of smaller veins…………...click & see

An example of a Venous Doppler procedure is a scan which shows the vein with the blood flow direction indicated by the colored space inside the vein wall. The surrounding tissues look like images on weather radar. When the venous duplex test is performed, multiple pictures are taken to document the status of the vein and to select the optimal treatment plan for your veins. Venous Doppler is also performed at the time of Endovenous Laser Treatment as well as in follow up after EVLT

How to prepare for the test?
No preparation is necessary.

What happens when the test is performed?
After squirting some clear jelly onto the inside of one of your thighs to help the ultrasound sensor slide around easily, a technician or doctor places the sensor against your skin. Once it’s in place, an image appears on a video screen, and the technician or doctor moves the sensor up and down along your leg – from the groin to the calf – to view the veins from different angles. The examiner presses the sensor into your skin firmly every few inches to see if the veins change shape under pressure. He or she then checks your other leg in the same way. As the machine measures the blood flowing through a vein, it makes a swishing noise in time with the rhythm of your heartbeat. This test usually takes 15-30 minutes.Most people don’t feel any discomfort, but if your leg was swollen and sensitive to the touch before the test, the pressure of the sensor might cause some tenderness.

Risk Factors:
There are no risks.
Must you do anything special after the test is over?
Nothing.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
A radiologist reviews a videotape of your ultrasound and checks for signs of blockages in the veins.Your doctor should receive a report within a few hours to a day.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/diagnostics/venous-ultrasound-of-the-legs.shtml
http://www.amarillovein.com/AboutUltrasound.php