Tag: heart

Your Second Heart

The Heart Needs Help

Our heart is an amazing organ that pumps blood throughout our entire body with a single squeezing action. It sends oxygen to the farthest reaches of our body in a moment. There is one problem, to get the blood back to the heart it takes more than that single pump. To get it back to the heart, the calf and ankle muscles assist the heart in circulating blood throughout your body.

The Problem

Our blood is returned to our hearts by venous return. The foot pump initiates the action and this occurs with each step. When the heel touches down the blood pools and as the toe touches, the blood is shot upwards. The blood then enters the soleus muscle that extends from the ankle to the back of the knee. Every time this muscle contracts, it applies pressure to the veins and helps return blood to the heart. Then the blood moves into the veins in the groin and travels through the largest vein in the body, the vena cava, to the heart. (1)

This network of veins work together but none of them can do their job without a strong calf muscle.

There are one-way valves in the veins that prevent blood from flowing back to the feet when the muscles aren’t active. This is how the body fights the biggest challenge to the calf muscle pump, inactivity. When you stop moving your legs and blood pools, your heart will apply some pressure to the veins, but blood flow is drastically reduced. This predisposes you to blood clots in the deep veins. Swelling, pain, cramping and ulcers can occur. Clots can travel throughout the body. Infections in the ulcers can become systemic and present grave health risks.

You’re at a greater risk of these complications if you are sedentary, stand for long periods or are overweight.

One study found that people with chronic heart failure have smaller calf muscles than people with fully functional hearts. This leads to overexertion during exercise. Small calf muscles are the result of muscle atrophy. David wrote an article entitled, “Looking Good As We Age”.

Looking Good As We Age

that discusses age related muscle wasting, or sarcopenia. (2) It’s an important article that thoroughly discusses the importance of keeping your muscles strong.

Intervention

Muscle atrophy is affected by diet and exercise, as discussed in David’s article. Good nutrition is mandatory but the best thing you can do for them is to lace up your sneakers and get moving. Walking is one of the best things that you can do tho keep them strong. Get up and move for at least five minutes out of every hour. Calf raises, lunges, walking on your toes and foot pumps, simply pointing and flexing your feet will all help keep these vital muscles in good health. You can wrap a towel around the bottom of your foot, hold the ends gently and pull towards your body. This will increase blood flow in the moment. If we do nothing to prevent loss of this vital muscle, atrophy will occur with age.

Get up and get moving today, with your doctor’s permission. Taking care of your legs will improve your overall health. I encourage the people that I work with to be proactive in caring for their legs due to the extensive health problems that can arise otherwise.

You will also rock those summer shorts, get moving. 🙂

(1)https://healthtide.com/calf-muscle-considered-second-heart/

(2)

Looking Good As We Age

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Signs of Cardiac Arrest

Neither myself or my co-author Brenda Sue are physicians, therefore we cannot in any way shape or form make any type of medical diagnosis, nor can we prescribe any treatments or therapies for what ails you. We are however, American Fitness Professionals and Associates certified Nutrition and Wellness consultants. Our professional mission as such is to provide you, the reader, with comprehensive healthy nutrition practices, along with strategies to improve your nutrition for healthy weight loss and improvement of your health and well being. We are here to give you the essential tools that are necessary in order to hopefully avoid many of today’s nutrition related ailments that so many suffer such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, heart disease, cancer and more. Once you are down with any of these ailments, you need to always consult with your physician for your individual best course of treatment. We can answer your nutritional questions, however, for us to best serve you, you cannot omit important information such as sickness, medications, surgeries and other medical procedures you may have recently received.

We feel it is not only important for you to understand good nutrition and fitness practices, but also that you know and understand risk factors of many nutrition related ailments. Poor dietary habits lead obviously to obesity, but they also lead to an elevated risk of heart disease, congestive heart failure, heart attack and cardiac arrest.

Sadly, too many people not only do not know the warning signs of heart attack and cardiac arrest, they also do not know there is a difference. Spotting the signs early is imperative to saving your life. And with so many of our readers being new to healthy dietary habits and physical fitness, I want to take the time to inform you. You never know when heart attack or cardiac arrest will strike, and your odds of suffering either are much higher when you are obese.

  • Heart attack happens when a problem occurs with our circulation. It happens when blood flow is stopped by a blocked artery.
  • Cardiac arrest is essentially an electrical problem that occurs when our heartbeats are thrown off and our hearts are failing to pump efficiently. This can lead to immediate death if not treated.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA) when a person is in cardiac arrest, they will be either gasping for air or they will have stopped breathing. If you have never seen this, I assure you it is not pretty. I strongly encourage folks to get trained in CPR as there may be little time to spare for your loved one who is laying there on the floor quite possibly near death’s door.

If you are paying attention to your health and well being, there are often symptoms of cardiac arrest you might notice up to a few months before it happens to you. By having a little knowledge of these symptoms you could easily save your own life or that of a loved one.

  1. Chest pain. Chest pain, tightness or discomfort are the most common warning signs of cardiac arrest. You might feel as if you have an elephant standing on your chest. This pain is a result of not having sufficient oxygen circulating in your blood and not reaching your heart. This pain is likely to begin in your left arm and last anywhere from a few moments, hours or even days.
  2. Radiating pain. You may also suffer pain in other areas of your body that you may not associate with being a heart issue. These would include your back, shoulders, neck, throat, stomach, even your teeth and jaw. These symptoms are usually suffered by women more so than men.
  3. Shortness of breath. If you are normally able to easily climb stairs, jog or run, perform highly physical activities and then find yourself unable to catch your breath, this is not a good indication in any way, shape or form. Research has shown that people who experience this symptom have a higher risk of dying from heart disease than people who do not experience any of these symptoms, especially those who suffer chest pain.
  4. Excessive sweating. If you do not normally sweat very much and then find yourself drenched in it, you could very well have a heart issue. When your heart cannot pump blood through clogged arteries, your body responds by sweating. Women, if you are going through menopause and are experiencing excessive sweating, get checked out by your doctor if you have not already done so. This could be a heart issue instead of hot flashes.
  5. Flu like symptoms. Nausea, fatigue, weakness, vomiting, lightheadedness, stomach pain and dizziness are all signs of heart issues, especially in women. Harvard Health studied 500 women with a history of heart issues, and found that 71% experienced extreme tiredness the month before their heart attack. Heart diseases are the main cause of death for women yet many still view it as more of a mans issue and ignore the warning signs and symptoms.
  6. Sense of impending doom. A lot of the time when people begin suffering the symptoms of cardiac arrest, they will go into denial. Hell, who has time to go to the doctor for a nagging pain, right? A lot will even ignore their chest pain too. They might assume their discomfort is only from a bad case of gas. Yet, despite their open denial, your loved one could actually be terrified of what is happening in their body.

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, get yourself into your doctor’s office right away. Think of this, if you are terrified of what could happen, you had damn well be terrified of what will happen if you do not get yourself checked out. If you avoid going to your doctor because of the cost, think how much it will cost if you suffer cadiac arrest and survive, This will be quite possibly much more expensive than preventative measures. If expense is an issue to you, then think what your funeral is going to cost your family along with any possible emergency hospital care you incurred when doctors were attempting to save your life.