General Health Tips
Alcohol Consumption and the Heart
Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with cardiovascular
diseases such as cardiomyopathy, hypertension, arrhythmias,
Aspirin After a Heart Attack
Studies show that heart attack patients who took aspirin when
their symptoms began, and then daily for one month,
significantly lowered their risk of dying and of having
another heart attack or stroke.
Aspirin During a Heart Attack
Up to 10,000 more people would survive heart attacks if they
would chew one 325 milligram aspirin tablet when they first
had chest pain or other sign of a heart attack. Patients
should be given aspirin during the first hour -- during
pre-hospital transport or in the Emergency Room -- if a heart
attack is suspected.
C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
The C-Reactive Protein test (CRP) is a blood test that may be
a better indicator of heart attack risk than tests for
Cardiovascular disease is a disease of the heart and blood
vessels and is the nation's leading killer, claiming 939,610
lives in 2000. The personal, social, and economic impacts of
cardiovascular disease are significant. In 2000, the economic
impact was estimated to be almost $290 billion. Knowing the
risk factors for heart disease and heart failure and adopting
life-long heart-healthy practices can improve heart health.
Cloning and Transplants
Researchers say they've taken a major step toward cloning pigs
whose hearts, lungs and kidneys could be safely transplanted
into humans. Such organs would save the lives of thousands of
critically ill people who cannot get transplants because of
the shortage of human organs. Scientists say they produced
four piglets without one of two genes that lead to the massive
rejections that have plagued efforts at xenotransplantation --
the process of replacing human organs with animal organs.
Dine at the Dinner Table Only
If you eat in front of the TV, then every time you nestle in
with the remote control, it's a cue to eat. Instead, designate
an eating spot for all meals and snacks.
Exercising When Obese
If you're obese, check with your physician before initiating
any exercise program. Search for a low impact aerobic program
as a starter.
Fat Free vs. Calorie Free
Just because a product is fat free, doesn't mean it is calorie
free. In fact, fat free or reduced fat products can have as
many, if not more, calories per serving than regular products.
So, yes, you do need to watch your fat intake. But remember
that calories count, too.
Food Labels to Reveal Artery-Clogging Trans Fat
Trans fat hasn't gotten the attention its infamous cousin,
saturated fat, earned through warnings and labels. That's
about to change: After 10 years of debate, the government is
requiring food labels to reveal exact levels of the artery
Tranís fat is in numerous products, from meats and dairy
products to pastries. The most common source is partially
hydrogenated vegetable oil, where liquid oil is turned into a
solid to protect against spoiling and maintain long-term
Garlic and Heart Disease
Garlic helps fight heart disease. It contains sulfur
compounds, which scientists suspect inhibit the formation of
artery-clogging blood clots. It may reduce both elevated blood
cholesterol and blood pressure. Roasting transforms garlic
into an almost buttery substance that makes a great fat-free
spread for bread or addition to dips. To roast, wrap a garlic
head in aluminum foil and bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees
C) for 40 minutes.
Heart Reshapes After Injury
Using the male chromosome as a marker, researchers studying
eight cross-gender heart transplants from New York Medical
College have discovered that the body can actively reshape the
heart after injury.
High Sodium Foods
High sodium foods include:
Canned soup, canned vegetables, canned tomato products, canned
tuna/salmon, ham, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, olives, pickles,
sauerkraut, instant mixes, garlic salt, onion salt, celery
salt, soy sauce, processed foods, lunch meat, cheese
Ibuprofen vs. Aspirin
The popular pain reliever ibuprofen blocks the
heart-protecting effects of aspirin when taken at the same
time. Regular aspirin can be taken two hours before or after
ibuprofen. Enteric-coated aspirin, which is released more
slowly into the blood, could be taken at bedtime without a
Inflammation May Cause Heart Attacks
In what doctors are calling a revolutionary departure from
long-held beliefs about the causes of heart attacks, there is
new emphasis on low-grade inflammation in various parts of the
body as triggering such events.
While medical experts have for years focused on cholesterol
and clogged arteries, research indicates that inflammation may
just as often be the cause of heart attacks, and in fact half
of all heart attack victims have normal or even low levels of
New research shows that people with high levels of C-reactive
protein - - an indicator of inflammation - - have twice the
risk of heart attack than those with elevated cholesterol.
In response to the findings, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) is drawing up new recommendations that
will likely urge doctors to test most middle-aged Americans
for inflammation, as well as cholesterol, as a prevention for
Inflammation Twice as Bad as Cholesterol
Despite their seemingly healthy cholesterol levels, new
research shows many people are at high risk of heart attacks
because of painless inflammation in the bloodstream.
The inflammation comes from many sources and triggers heart
attacks by weakening the walls of blood vessels, making fatty
buildups burst. A large study concludes it is twice as likely
as high cholesterol to trigger heart attacks.
Inflammation can be measured with a test that checks for
C-reactive protein, or CRP, a chemical necessary for fighting
injury and infection. The test typically costs between $25 and
Diet and exercise can lower CRP dramatically.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins also reduce CRP, as
do aspirin and some other medicines.
Mini-Meals for Weight Loss
Having smaller, more frequent meals can prevent you from
getting ravenously hungry and overeating. On average, weight
loss winners eat five times a day.
New MRI Technique for CAD
A new type of imaging technique using an MRI device can detect
most diseased coronary arteries, potentially sparing many
heart patients a more invasive, expensive and uncomfortable
test, the angiogram.
Nuts Cut Sudden Death Risk in Men
Men who eat nuts regularly have roughly half the risk of
sudden cardiac death as those who don't consume the food.
Nuts contain unsaturated fats that aren't as hard on the
arteries as their saturated siblings. Some nuts have other
cardiac benefits. Walnuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, a
form of omega-3 fatty acid that has been shown to boost
cardiovascular health and which may prevent heart rhythm
anomalies. They can also be a good source of nutrients such as
vitamin E and magnesium.
Nuts for Nuts
Have you stopped snacking on nuts because you've heard they're
too fatty, caloric, and salty? Well, take heart. Recent
studies have shown that nuts can help prevent coronary
disease. They're rich in unsaturated fats, vitamin E, fiber,
folic acid, and other B vitamins. And walnuts are especially
rich in heart-healthy oil. So dig in, but choose the unsalted
variety and, as with any food, enjoy them in moderation.
OTCs and Sodium
Some OTC drugs have large amounts of sodium in them. Always
read the labels for over-the-counter drugs. When in doubt, ask
a pharmacist, or your health care provider, if the drug is one
you can use.
The beds might not get made, but you still must make time for
exercise. That's how you keep weight off, you make exercise
part of your daily schedule.
Reducing Dietary Sodium - Breads and Cereals
Breads, Cereals, Rice and Pasta Group:
* Read the Nutrition Facts Panel to compare the sodium content
* Snack foods are typically high in sodium.
* There are lots of reduced sodium or no-salt-added snacks
Reducing Dietary Sodium - Fats and Sweets
Fats, Oils and Sweets:
* As a general rule salad dressings and condiments are high in
Reducing Dietary Sodium - Fruits and Vegetables
Fruit and Vegetable Groups:
* To keep the sodium content down try seasoning vegetables
* Herbs and spices can provide a tasteful alternative.
* Canned vegetables are higher in sodium than fresh or frozen.
* Try the low-sodium or "no-salt added" versions.
* Plain frozen vegetables contain less salt than those frozen
* Canned vegetable juices are high in sodium, select reduced
Reducing Dietary Sodium - Meats
* Processed luncheon meats are high in sodium. Select lower
sodium luncheon meats.
* Choose unsalted nuts.
* Most canned soups are very high in sodium.
* Reduced-sodium soups are available; however, they still
contain substantial sodium.
* Many frozen dinners, convenience foods, combination dishes,
and packaged mixes are also high in sodium. Check the
Nutrition Facts Panel to compare the sodium content of these
Reducing Dietary Sodium - Milk
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group:
* Cheeses vary in sodium content, but tend to be higher in
sodium than milk or yogurt.
* Processed cheeses, cheese foods, and cheese spreads contain
more sodium than natural cheese.
* Reduced sodium cheeses are available.
People with kidney problems, or who are taking medicines,
should check with their health care provider before using
"salt substitutes." Potassium chloride is found in many salt
substitutes. Too much potassium can be harmful to some people.
Sodium = Na
Read the labels when you buy packaged foods. Look for
different sodium compounds that are added to foods. Watch for
the words on labels that identify sodium ingredients. These
include "sodium" and sodium's symbol, "Na" which is a capital
"N" with a small "a."
Tea Reduces Heart Disease
Studies show tea can help prevent cancer, osteoporosis, and
heart disease. Tea antioxidants, called polyphenols, may be
100 times as effective as vitamin C and 25 times as effective
as vitamin E.
Treatment May Help Body Grow Bypasses
Medication that prompts the growth of new blood vessels
(angiogenesis) may one day help the body produce its own
bypasses around clogged heart or leg arteries.
Whole Grains, Older Women and Heart Health
Older women who eat the right amount of whole grains cut their
risk of a fatal heart attack significantly. At ages 55 - 69,
women who eat whole grains for at least three of their daily
carbohydrate servings were found to be in better heart health
during the next 10 years. Whole grain breads, crackers and
cereals -- made from grains that have not been stripped of
their bran and germ -- protect against heart disease and
diabetes. Its unclear which part of the whole grain -- the
fiber, the vitamin E, the folate, the magnesium or some of the
health-protective phytochemicals -- provides the health
benefits. Read labels carefully. Look for "whole-grain" or
"whole-wheat flour" as the first or second ingredient.
Women and Heart Disease
By increasing the intake of folate and Vitamin B6, you may
also prevent heart disease. Women with the highest intake of
folate (545 micrograms or more per day) and Vitamin B6 (4.6 mg
or more per day) were 45% less likely to develop coronary
artery disease than women with the lowest intake of folate
(less than 190 mg per day) and Vitamin B6 (less than 1.1 mg
per day). The main source of both vitamins is a multivitamin
supplement and many cold breakfast cereals that are fortified
with both nutrients.