Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Top articles from our first 2 years. . .

IMG_8348rt5x7bwBW ARA labcoatAs we approach the two-year anniversary of our blog, we would like to thank all of our followers for supporting our efforts to promote heart disease prevention.  In 2 years, this site has been viewed over 7,000 times, and in over 70 countries!  We sincerely appreciate your support, as well as your feedback.

As we look back on nearly 50 posted articles, we wanted to share some of the most relevant and important posts. . . . and we look forward to continue promoting heart health in the future! (And remember as always. . . only your doctor can give you specific advice about your health issues).

Here are are our top 10 tips for a heart healthy diet, and also some great online resources about diet.

Is your heart as old (or older) as you? Find out how to calculate your Heart Age.

Here are some useful online resources about high blood pressure, along with a description of the optimal diet.eca284793cc89e389f347e0f41da895a

Here is some insight into the role of wine and heart health.

Here is an overview of CardioSmart, our favorite online resources for heart disease treatment and prevention.

Have you heard conflicting information on saturated fat? Here is some guidance as well as a discussion of low fat and low carb diets.

running shoesCan running be risky for your heart? Here is some information, as well as this article on the right “dose” of exercise heart heart – but maybe even just 5 minutes a day can help! And it even may help your spouse’s heart as well!

If you or a family member suffers from atrial fibrillation, here is a videotaped lecture that addresses the causes and treatment options for this common condition.

Finally, please check out our video blogging site, Vidoyen.com,  where we have posted several videos on heart prevention issues.

Thank you again for all of your support over the past 2 years, and for your interested in Heart Health awareness and prevention!

 

 

 

Heart Health News. . . You Can Use

IMG_8348rt5x7bwHere are some quick links to useful items in the news recently that reflect new findings on prevention and heart health:

Could drinking alcohol actually affect the way you exercise? Some new research described here suggests that could be the case – and in a positive way. 

The upshot? Because exercise and alcohol intake affect similar “pleasure” centers in our brain, you may actually be tempted to drink more in days you exercise – but people who drink moderate amounts of exercise also tend to exercise more regularly. . . and seem to be healthier. (see our earlier article about wine and heart health).

Is coffee good or bad for you? A new study described here looked at coffee intake and risk of death from various causes.

The upshot? Keep bringing on the java (and consider buying Starbucks stock!)

Can you be “too old” to exercise. . or get its benefits? Not according to new research. 

The upshot? Even in those over age 75, regular walking can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. So keep moving!

This article describes research into the link between weekend sleep and weekday sleep.

The upshot? Sleeping in late on weekends may feel good, but may have negative health consequences.

Remember. . only your doctor can give you specific health care advice. . so always check with your health provider if these articles (and the advice they contain) apply to you and your health situation. 

 

Is “Too Much” Exercise Harmful? Some New Information. . .

IMG_8348rt5x7bwWe have known for some time that physically active individuals have a longer life span and are overall healthier than those who are sedentary.  This certainly extends to heart disease, where exercise clearly has a beneficial effect for both prevention and therapy. But more recent research into “extreme” levels of exercise, especially endurance running, is raising questions about whether it is possible to exercise too much. This is becoming a controversial and heavily debated topic in the world of sports medicine.

Recently, a new study was released which adds important information to this debate. This was a veryrunning shoes detailed study in Europe of individuals over many years to try to link the degree of jogging with overall mortality and cardiovascular health.  Called the Copenhagen Heart Study, this particular analysis identified over 1000 active joggers and followed them for over 12 years. Not surprisingly, those who exercise either mild or moderate amounts were healthier and lived longer than their sedentary counterparts. What was most interesting however, is that those who ran the most vigorously (defined as 4 or more sessions weekly, or high intensity sessions) actually did not have improved survival compared to the sedentary non-runners.  This suggests that perhaps more extreme levels of running may actually be harmful. In fact, other studies have suggested a similar connection, such as a higher risk of irregular heart rhythms in those who participate in extreme sports.  The study did have some limitations as it did not address other types of exercise, the participants were not randomized,  and the limited number of participants prevented detailed analysis and comparisons.

So, for overall wellness and heart health, what level of exercise should we recommend? Here are some guidelines:

1. Remember, always check with your physician or other health provider to determine whether physical activity is appropriate for your specific medical condition.

2. This study adds to the evidence that light and moderate exercise is clearly beneficial.  The current recommendation by the American Heart Association is 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. That could include brisk walking, light or moderate jogging, or many other types of aerobic activity. However, as we previously reported, even very short sessions of exercise can be beneficial.

3. High-intensity exercise, defined as 4 or more sessions a week, or frequent sessions of very high intensity activity (for example, running > 7 MPH) , may not be optimal for long-term health and survival. There is still minimal evidence that this level of exercise is actually harmful, but the benefit may not be as high as for those that stick to moderate exercise.

4. For those who elect to perform higher intensity exercise, it may be reasonable to cycle the periods of high activity with “down time”or cross-training with other less-intense types of exercise. There is still really no evidence that any particular type of aerobic exercise is best, so an active lifestyle that focuses on a mix of activities may be optimal.

Other than perhaps diet, an active lifestyle is still the single most effective way to prolong our lives and prevent disease. We hope you will join the HeartHealth Docs in participating in the upcoming Capital City Half Marathon and the New Albany Walking Classic.

Here is a reference to the study mentioned and this article.

Here is our overview of exercise, and an additional article on the benefits of exercise.

Exercise can make you feel younger. . . and function younger!

IMG_8348rt5x7bwMost of us are well aware of the benefits of regular exercise (certainly, regular readers of this blog should be!)  While there is plenty of evidence of the the benefits of exercise for our heart and circulatory health, an interesting new study has taken this concept a bit further – it showed that older adults who are regular exercisers were not only healthier, but essentially “younger” – in other words, their bodies had the physiologic and mental attributes of someone who was younger. And, this not only included their athletic endurance, but things like mental acuity and reflexes. This study was in an unusual group of elderly folks who were fairly vigorous cyclists, but there is a good chance these findings would apply to all active elderly adults.

So while some aspects of normal “aging” may be inevitable, studies such as this show that staying Runningactive may not only make our bodies and minds feel younger, but possibly function younger! Here is a link to a nice summary of the study in the New York Times:

For some of our tips about starting and maintaining an exercise program see our previous article. And always remember, you should always check with your doctor to make sure that an exercise program is safe and beneficial for your specific health conditions.

A great prescription

BW ARA labcoatWe have written and posted about the heart health benefits of exercise at HeartHealthDocs – including programs like Cardiac Rehabilitation (Rehab)

heart to start book. In the book Heart to Start, Dr. James Beckerman, a cardiologist who lives in Portland, Oregon, writes a detailed prescription for anyone to use to start living heart healthy. The gut-check forward “What’s your legacy?” written by David Watkins is followed by patient examples, vignettes, and Beckerman’s own personal reasons for the book. The Warm Up, Work Out, Cool Down sections echo a training session, and take the reader through the paces – the what, why, how, for fitness assessment and growth toward heart & circulation health.

The chapter Cardiac Reboot asks “Got Rehab?” and points out the current reality that if you (the patient) don’t bring up cardiac rehab, “it is possible no one else will.” This relates to the low numbers (20-30%) of eligible patients being referred to cardiac rehab, and of those only 40% actually completing this effective treatment regimen.

Beckerman goes on to provide readers a toolkit for being active, while showing how an active lifestyle can be habit forming – and be maintained for years (ie. how not to get injured). The book will get you to your 5K and its finish & beyond, and will teach how nutrition, training, and balance (ie. strength conditioning in addition to walking/running) work together.

Dr. Beckerman gives powerful examples of what motivates him – for the book, and for his practice which includes the PlaySmart heart screening program. The proceeds from the sale of his book will support free heart screenings for kids.  The book will help anyone learn about and apply practical, inspiring information for exercise and heart health. A great way to multitask.

#Heart Health for Women; Start here this Valentine’s Day #LoveYourHeart

IMG_2641 ara echoWhat better day to talk about the Heart than Valentine’s Day?

More science is showing the benefit of starting early with habits that promote heart health.  Treatments already available & scientifically proven are UNDERUTILIZED: would you think 20% was a good score?! No. But 80% of people eligible for cardiac rehab DON’T take part in this essential treatment / program.

This post covers TWO topics for Women’s Heart Health:

  • A recent study showing the impact of 20 years of healthy choices for young women 
  • A NEW program to promote the established, effective heart treatment Cardiac Rehab.

Heart month is a great time to bring attention to what we know about preventing heart disease as well as what opportunities are available for managing heart risk.

  • A recent study showing the impact of 20 years of healthy choices for young women 

In 2015 we have learned about healthy habits or behaviors that impact RISK for developing heart disease with PRIMARY prevention. A paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) in January reports the impact of 6 habits on the risk of heart disease for women. This study,

Healthy Lifestyle in the Primordial Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among Young Women

looked at a group of young women ages 27-44 years old and followed them over 20 years. Can you think of what the 6 healthy behaviors might be? We have covered them here on HeartHealthDoctors – like a lot of heart healthy changes they are available to us NOW. So pick one and START living a healthy lifestyle:

A healthy lifestyle was defined as not smoking, a normal body mass index, physical activity ≥ 2.5 h/week, television viewing ≤ 7 h/week, diet in the top 40% of the Alternative Healthy Eating Index–2010, and 0.1 to 14.9 g/day of alcohol.

1) Not smoking

2) Get to GOAL weight which is a normal Body Mass Index (BMI)

3) Move your body through space; physical activity at least 2 1/2 hours per week

4) TV viewing < or equal to 7 hours per week

5) Follow a heart healthy diet 

6) If a woman chooses to drink alcohol, amount of 1 drink per day or 12 oz beer, 4 oz wine, or 1.5 oz liquor correlates to ~14gm

Marlene Busko writes for Medscape about the JACC paper that ” Adoption of six healthy lifestyle behaviors could avert about 73% of coronary heart disease (CHD) cases among women over 20 years, as well as 46% of diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, conclude researchers, based on their analysis of about 69 000 participants …”

Key to know with the Nurse’s Health Study findings is that Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) risk was lower for women without AND with heart disease risk factors BOTH groups showed decreased events with more healthy lifestyle habits/behaviors.

  • A NEW program to promote the established, effective heart treatment Cardiac Rehab.

At OhioHealth we have launched a cardiac rehab program for women to help give every opportunity to succeed at SECONDARY prevention and prevent or slow disease progression. To improve the ‘ low test score of 20%’ participation in Cardiac Rehab the OhioHealth Women’s Heart and Vascular Program launched a program for cardiac rehab designed for women. Education and exercise in the company of other women with heart disease offers a new way to help women who have had a heart event (Chest Pain, Heart Attack, Coronary artery Stent, Heart Valve surgery, Coronary artery bypass surgery) and are starting on their SECONDARY prevention journey.

Read more about Cardiac Rehab here; 10TV News did a great story / coverage of the Women’s Cardiac Rehab program (click text to view story and video).

 

 

Is Running Risky? Lets check the science. . . .

IMG_8348rt5x7bwIf you follow the medical and popular media, you know that there is an ongoing debate as to the benefit and/or possible risk of more extreme physician activities, specifically running. Some studies have suggested that running may actually be harmful, or does not protect against heart disease. Recently, a new study was published which looked in more detail at the relationship of running and longevity. This was a very detailed study of over 55,000 adults who were followed over 15 years.

A synopsis of the study is shown below, but here are some key take away points:Running

1. Adults who run regularly have about 30% less risk of dying from any cause compared to non-runners.

2. This benefit exists regardless of the duration, intensity, or specific type of running. It was the same for men and women.

3. Most importantly, even though surrounding for as little as 5 minutes a day had the same benefit compared to non-runners.

4. Also of note, the runners who did the most vigorous activity had a similar benefit, which suggests that there is no adverse effect of more intense running (but possibly no benefit either!)

So what is the take-home message? For most adults, even minimal amounts of running have a long-term benefit, and for those who do more intense running, there is little evidence of any significant harm. Although the study did not look and other types of exercise, other studies have shown that just moderate exercise such as brisk walking probably has a similar positive effect. So this is even more evidence to make sure we keep moving!

Here is more information on exercise and heart disease.

Also see: Does Running Really Help your Heart . . . . and Your Spouse’s Too?

 

Running five minutes daily can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease related death

JULY 28, 2014

WASHINGTON (July 28, 2014) — Running for only a few minutes a day or at slow speeds may significantly reduce a person’s risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared to someone who does not run, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers studied 55,137 adults between the ages of 18 and 100 over a 15-year period to determine whether there is a relationship between running and longevity. Data was drawn from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, where participants were asked to complete a questionnaire about their running habits. In the study period, 3,413 participants died, including 1,217 whose deaths were related to cardiovascular disease. In this population, 24 percent of the participants reported running as part of their leisure-time exercise.

Compared with non-runners, the runners had a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 45 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke. Runners on average lived three years longer compared to non-runners. Also, to reduce mortality risk at a population level from a public health perspective, the authors concluded that promoting running is as important as preventing smoking, obesity or hypertension. The benefits were the same no matter how long, far, frequently or fast participants reported running. Benefits were also the same regardless of sex, age, body mass index, health conditions, smoking status or alcohol use.

The study showed that participants who ran less than 51 minutes, fewer than 6 miles, slower than 6 miles per hour, or only one to two times per week had a lower risk of dying compared to those who did not run.
DC (Duck-chul) Lee, Ph.D., lead author of the study and an assistant professor in the Iowa State University Kinesiology Department in Ames, Iowa, said they found that runners who ran less than an hour per week have the same mortality benefits compared to runners who ran more than three hours per week. Thus, it is possible that the more may not be the better in relation to running and longevity.

Researchers also looked at running behavior patterns and found that those who persistently ran over a period of six years on average had the most significant benefits, with a 29 percent lower risk of death for any reason and 50 percent lower risk of death from heart disease or stroke.

“Since time is one of the strongest barriers to participate in physical activity, the study may motivate more people to start running and continue to run as an attainable health goal for mortality benefits,” Lee said. “Running may be a better exercise option than more moderate intensity exercises for healthy but sedentary people since it produces similar, if not greater, mortality benefits in five to 10 minutes compared to the 15 to 20 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity that many find too time consuming.”

CONTACT: Nicole Napoli, 202-375-6523