Tag: heart attack

Don’t Die Too Young My Friend

Last week, a lifelong friend of mine had a heart attack at 56 years old. He went to the doctor for a stress test of his heart and did not pass. He had a heart attack while on the treadmill and was wheeled straight into emergency surgery where it was discovered he had a 99.9 percent blockage. Thankfully he was in a hospital already and the doctors were able to put in a place a stent to save his life. If he had been home or on the job, this could very well have been the sad end to a good man and a great tragedy to his family and friends who all love him dearly.

Take action now!

This concept is not rocket science; no matter what you might think, a healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. This concept is nowhere near as hard as you may believe it to be!  You do not have to die young and cause pain and anguish to your family and friends, you can make smart choices to change the overall pattern of your choices that will make improve your heart health. Make the simple steps below part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart:

Quit consuming excess, empty calories and lose some weight!

  • Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Nutrition and calorie information on food labels is typically based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. You can learn your daily caloric needs simply by going to our Calorie Counter Pro menu where you simply enter your age, gender, weight, and activity level to see how many calories per day you need for your goals whether they are weight loss, gain, or maintenance.
  • If you are trying not to gain weight, don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. This is a simple concept, eat more than you burn, and you gain weight. This is true for everyone. By eating only 500 calories per day in excess of your caloric needs, you will gain one pound of fat per week. Conversely, if you eat 500 calories less than you need, you will lose that one pound of fat.
  • Increase the amount and intensity of your doctor approved physical activity to burn more calories.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (or an equal combination of both) each week. What ever you do, do not over rate the intensity of your exercise in order to be able to eat more. We have seen it time and again where people will rate their physical activity as intense when it was moderate at best. To rate your intensity remember this:
    1. Intense exercise will have our heart pounding hard and you will not be able to breath or speak. The odds of you doing this for more than a minute or two if you are not a trained athlete are very slim.
    2. Moderate intensity is where your heart rate is elevated and your breathing is deep and hard, but you can still carry on a labored conversation. This is a great zone to be in as this where fat burning takes place. It takes the average person twenty minutes to burn through their glycogen stores before burning fat, so try to go at it for at least 30 minutes at a time.
    3. Low intensity means your heart rate is not elevated and you can breath and speak easy. While this is better than sitting on the couch, you should work yourself up to where you can enter the moderate intensity zone.

Make everything you eat count towards good health!

You may be eating plenty of food to satisfy your immediate hunger, but that is not enough. Being full does not equate your body getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have minerals, protein, whole grains and other nutrients but are lower in calories. They help you control your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.

Quit eating calorie dense, low nutrition foods!

The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you’re trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight. You could use your daily allotment of calories on a few high-calorie foods and beverages, but you are not likely to get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Do not waste your calories on sugar filled junk foods that will only serve to drive you crazy with cravings for more later in the day. Eliminate, or greatly reduce foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients in your diet. Also limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium you eat. Read nutrition labels on your food choices very carefully – the Nutrition Facts panel tells you the amount of healthy and unhealthy nutrients are in a food or beverage.

  • Eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
  • Choose poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways without added saturated and trans fat. If you choose to eat meat, look for the leanest cuts available and prepare them in healthy and delicious ways.
  • Eat a variety of fish at least twice a week, especially fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout and herring).
  • Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products.
  • Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans fat and replace them with the better fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. If you need to lower your blood cholesterol, reduce saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that’s about 13 grams of saturated fat.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further. If you can’t meet these goals right now, even reducing sodium intake by 1,000 mg per day can benefit blood pressure.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man.
  • Follow the American Heart Association recommendations when you eat out, and keep an eye on your portion sizes. (1)

Do yourself and your family a favor and get your health together today. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness, we freely provide all the information you need to live a healthy life. Subscription is free and easy, join us today and get each of our new articles straight to your email inbox. Please feel free to comment or ask questions in either our comments section or privately through our contact menu. We answer everyone and encourage conversation!

(1) American Heart Association

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Holiday Heart Attack Season

At this time of year as the weather cools down and the nights get longer, the holidays begin rapidly approaching until the next thing we know, they are right upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day are supposed to be filled with love and joy with our family and friends. These days are supposed to be full of good times and cheer. A time of fellowship, a time of gift giving, a time to eat, drink and be merry. And for most of us, the holidays are exactly that. But, for anyone with heart disease—or who is at an increased risk of heart disease, the holidays instead may be a time of special risk. A joyful day may easily turn into a day of great tragedy.

Several studies have shown that during the winter holidays not only are heart problems more likely to occur but when they do, they are more likely to be fatal. The months of December and January are especially risky for people with heart disease. (1)

Imagine if you will, over the years you have been putting on weight and you have ignored your doctors admonition to lose weight simply because you feel like you are carrying it well for someone your size. You have not had any major health issues, so why worry about a little bulge at the belly, after all, you have more important things to worry about such as taking care of your family over your own needs.

It’s your life, who the hell is that doctor to tell you how to live when they are not the one paying your bills. All they need to do is shut up and give you your medicines to fix your ailments. All you wanted was medicine and not a judgmental opinion about your obesity. It’s your life, you will live it any way you see damn fit to. That is until you cannot…

Now imagine if you will, you have been working hard since sunrise, preparing  to give your family a wonderful Thanksgiving or Christmas Day meal. Your adult kids and the grandchildren have arrived a few hours ago to a warm home full of love and the aroma of a baking turkey in the oven. The smells that bring back happy memories of the past when you were a young child visiting your own grand parents. The kids are all catching up with each other in the living room while the grandchildren are running all around the house bringing joy to your heart despite the fat you are feeling a bit tired now and have a case of heartburn that you have not bee able to kill with antacids. And for some damn reason, your jaw aches too. But regardless of this, nothing is going to ruin your day.

You have worked hard all day in preparation of your family gathering. You awoke to a heavy, wet snow coming down, covering the ground in a thick, cold blanket. Once you got the turkey into the oven, you pulled on your snow boots, put on your heavy coat and shoveled the drive for your loved ones.  And the snow kept coming down, covering the drive about as fast as you could clear it. Once you finally removed the most of the snow and spread your ice melt, you return to the kitchen and finish the final meal preparation.

What a joyous day, surrounded by loved ones. The table has been set, the delicious and hearty food has all been put out and as you begin to carve the turkey with your youngest grand daughter at your side waiting in anticipation, as you slice into the turkey, you all of a sudden feel a crushing pain in your chest and everything goes black…

My friends, if this scenario ever happens to you, if you are lucky, you will be able to go home after from the hospital after a few days of tests and observations. If you are not so lucky, this may be the last day of your life.

Are your personal affairs in order?

Did you get a final chance to tell your family how much you loved them before you passed on?

Is your family going to ever live with guilt or regret that they signed a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order?

If you spend a few days in ICU, is your family going to go bankrupt trying to save your life? Even if you die, they could still go bankrupt…

Heart attack symptoms

  • Tightness, pressure, squeezing, stabbing, or dull pain, most often in the center of the chest
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Cold sweat or clammy skin
  • Lightheadedness, weakness, or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea, indigestion, and sometimes vomiting

Factors that contribute to heart attack.

  • Exposure to cold weather
  • Exposure to sudden and unusual levels of exertion, such as shoveling snow
  • Exposure to emotional stress, which is very common and is often fairly severe during the holidays
  • Obesity
  • Becoming sedentary over the winter months
  • Exposure to illness, especially influenza, which can produce inflammatory changes in the blood vessels
  • Over-indulging in food, alcohol and/or tobacco
  • Exposure to indoor pollution, such as cigarette smoke, or even a poorly-drafted log-burning fireplace
  • Reluctance to seek medical help during the holidays
  • Decreased exposure to light

What to expect if you have a heart attack.

For starters, always call 911 to be transported via ambulance rather than going by car. Contrary to what you might assume, speed isn’t the only rationale. “If you’re having a heart attack, there are two reasons why you want to be in an ambulance,” says Dr. Joshua Kosowsky, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. One is that in the unlikely event of cardiac arrest, the ambulance has the equipment and trained personnel to restart your heart. Cardiac arrest, which results from an electrical malfunction that stops the heart’s pumping ability, is fatal without prompt treatment. However, most heart attacks do not cause cardiac arrest, Dr. Kosowsky stresses. “It’s rare, but it’s certainly not a risk you want to take while you’re driving or riding in a car.” (2)

The other reason to travel via ambulance is that in many places in the United States, if a person calls 911 complaining of chest pain, the dispatcher will send paramedics who are trained to perform an electrocardiogram (ECG). This simple, painless test records your heart’s electrical activity through 12 small electrodes placed on your chest, arms, and legs. A six-second recording can then be transmitted to the receiving emergency department, which can help speed up the process of getting you the care you need.

Some people don’t experience the typical symptom of crushing chest pain during a heart attack, however, so they may hesitate to call 911. People with pain that waxes and wanes or who have subtler symptoms (such as jaw pain or shortness of breath) may show up at the emergency room on their own. Even if you do this, you’re still likely to get rapid care. The person who greets you might be a receptionist rather than a doctor or nurse, but most emergency departments follow a specific protocol for a suspected heart attack. “If you mention any symptom that sounds like it might be a heart attack, the first thing they’ll do is to get you an ECG, ideally within 10 minutes of your arrival,” says Dr. Kosowsky.

A doctor then interprets the ECG, which will reveal if you’re having a major heart attack, in which an artery feeding your heart is blocked, choking off the blood supply to part of your heart muscle. This usually creates a distinct signature on the ECG and means you’ll quickly receive treatment to open the blocked artery. (2)

But not all heart attacks show up on the first ECG. So even if it looks normal, you’re still not out of the woods, says Dr. Kosowsky. The next step is an evaluation by a doctor or other clinician, who will ask about your medical history and details about the location, duration, and intensity of your symptoms. You’ll also have a blood test to measure troponin, a protein that rises in response to heart muscle damage. This blood test is very sensitive. But keep in mind that elevated levels don’t always show up right away. That’s why doctors sometimes have people stay for several hours to get a follow-up troponin measurement.

Other possible tests include a chest x-ray to look for alternative causes of chest discomfort, such as pneumonia or heart failure. A doctor also might give you a trial of medication to see whether it relieves your symptoms, and additional ECGs may be performed over time.

Often, if several troponin tests come back normal, the doctor may want to check your risk of a future heart attack with an exercise stress test. This test can reveal how your heart responds to the demands of increased blood flow needed during exercise. During a standard exercise test, you walk on a treadmill at progressively faster speeds, while trained staff monitors your heart’s electrical activity, your heart rate, and your blood pressure.

An imaging test may also be performed to quantify the degree of blood flow to the heart. One option is an echocardiogram, a noninvasive test that involves placing an ultrasound probe on your chest to create a moving image of your beating heart. Restricted blood flow in the heart’s arteries changes the movement of the heart, which an experienced echocardiographer can detect.

Another option is a nuclear perfusion test, which entails injecting a radioactive substance called a tracer into a vein. The tracer then travels through your blood to your heart. A special camera that records the radioactive particles emitted from the tracer circles around the heart, taking images from multiple angles. A computer then combines these images to create a detailed picture of the blood flow to the heart.

In certain situations, if the source of your symptoms remains unclear, a physician might order a computed tomography angiography (CTA) scan. For this test, you receive an injection of a contrast dye into your arm or hand. The dye “lights up” in an image to reveal a three-dimensional view of your heart’s arteries, courtesy of multiple rapid-fire x-rays taken during the scan.

Sometimes, even after all the testing, doctors don’t know for certain what’s causing your chest pain. “If that’s the case, it’s still worth asking the doctor what his or her best guess is, because that will help you determine what next steps to take,” says Dr. Kosowsky. (2)

Common treatment procedures for heart attack.

  • Angioplasty: Special tubing with an attached deflated balloon is threaded up to the coronary arteries.
  • Angioplasty, Laser: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a laser tip that opens the blocked artery.
  • Artificial heart valve surgery: Replaces an abnormal or diseased heart valve with a healthy one.
  • Atherectomy: Similar to angioplasty except that the catheter has a rotating shaver on its tip to cut away plaque from the artery.
  • Bypass surgery: Treats blocked heart arteries by creating new passages for blood to flow to your heart muscle.
  • Cardiomyoplasty: An experimental procedure in which skeletal muscles are taken from a patient’s back or abdomen.
  • Heart transplant: Removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donated healthy human heart.
  • Minimally invasive heart surgery: An alternative to standard bypass surgery.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: A catheter with an electrode at its tip is guided through the veins to the heart muscle to destroy carefully selected heart muscle cells in a very small area.
  • Stent procedure: A stent is a wire mesh tube used to prop open an artery during angioplasty.
  • Transmyocardial revascularization (TMR): A laser is used to drill a series of holes from the outside of the heart into the heart’s pumping chamber.

Reduce your risk of heart attack through healthy nutritional practices coupled with exercise that is approved by your doctor. Do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones. You might believe that your life is yours to live as you see fit. However, never forget that someone is going to have to pick up the broken pieces behind you when your health fails or when you pass on. Taking care of your health is only the right thing to do. Doing otherwise is a selfish act that only serves to cause pain and hurt in your loved ones at a later time and place. Be well, embrace your loved ones and love them like there is no tomorrow. You never know, there may be no tomorrow for you.

(1) verywellhealth.com

(2) health.harvard,edu