Are Exercise Recommendations Really Enough to Protect the Heart?

When it comes to preventing heart failure, even the recommended amounts may not be enough, finds a new study

Being inactive is solidly linked to heart problems like heart attack and stroke, and exercise can help lower risk factors—such as high blood pressure and narrowed blood vessels—that are connected to those heart events.

But when it comes to another type of heart condition, heart failure, the effect of physical activity isn’t as clear. If coronary heart disease can be traced to more physical issues, such as blocked arteries or excessive pressure from blood pumping around the body, heart failure is more of a body-wide problem affecting not just the heart but almost every tissue.

In heart failure, the heart gradually loses its ability to effectively pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body, and it can’t keep up with supplying muscles and cells with what they need to function properly. 5.1 million people in U.S. have heart failure.

Source: Are Exercise Recommendations Really Enough to Protect the Heart? | TIME

Don’t Ignore These Early Signs Of Heart Disease In Men | Michael Lazar

Early Signs Of Heart Disease In Men

While many men may be unaware that they suffer from heart disease until a major incident, like a heart attack, occurs, there are several red flags that you should be aware of to better detect problems with the heart during the earliest and most treatable phases, explains WebMD.

The early stages of heart disease may have come-and-go symptoms that include:

Out of breath after moderate exercise, like climbing stairs.

A feeling of achiness or squeezing in the chest that can last 30 minutes or longer.

Pain in the upper extremities that can’t be explained.

Sometimes heart disease is caused by blood vessels. Key early signs include:

Chest pain

Shortened breath

Pain or tingling in the upper extremities

These symptoms could mean that your blood vessels have narrowed and are constricted. This can sometimes be caused by the build-up of plaque, which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood.

via Don’t Ignore These Early Signs Of Heart Disease In Men | Michael Lazar.

Snow shoveling: How to avoid a heart attack – WTOP

“Shoveling snow can, in fact, precipitate a heart attack, and it does for thousands of Americans every year,” says Dr. Warren Levy, chief medical officer of Virginia Heart, one of the largest cardiology practices in the region.

He says shoveling snow involves a level of exertion that most of us just are not used to and don’t do on a daily basis.

“It is the same sort of trouble people get into [when they] have never exercised and decide to suddenly train for a marathon,” Levy explained.

People most likely to have problems while shoveling snow are those already diagnosed with heart disease, or who have significant risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cigarette smoking, a strong family history or a sedentary lifestyle.

Read more at Snow shoveling: How to avoid a heart attack – WTOP.

Why 6 Seconds of Exercise Can Be as Worthwhile as 90 Minutes – ABC News

HOW MUCH EXERCISE YOU REALLY NEED

6 Seconds

For seniors, every second of exercise counts.

In a new Scottish study, retirement-age subjects were asked to do six six-second sprints on a stationary bicycle with one minute of rest in between. After six weeks, their blood pressure dropped by a respectable 9 percent.

It’s possible these results might translate to younger folks, said Michele Olson, an exercise science professor and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama.

“Even a little activity can increase the efficiency of your heart and lead to more energy overall, no matter what your age,” she said.

Read the entire article at  Why 6 Seconds of Exercise Can Be as Worthwhile as 90 Minutes – ABC News.

 

maryO butterfly script

A Good Night’s Sleep Increases the Cardiovascular Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle

sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

A good night’s sleep can increase the benefit of exercise, healthy diet, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking in their protection against cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to results of a large population follow-up study.(1) Results showed that the combination of the four traditional healthy lifestyle habits was associated with a 57% lower risk of cardiovascular disease (fatal and non-fatal) and a 67% lower risk of fatal events.(2) But, when “sufficient sleep” (defined as seven or more hours a night) was added to the other four lifestyle factors, the overall protective benefit was even further increased — and resulted in a 65% lower risk of composite CVD and a 83% lower risk of fatal events.

“If all participants adhered to all five healthy lifestyle factors, 36% of composite CVD and 57% of fatal CVD could theoretically be prevented or postponed,” the authors report. “The public health impact of sufficient sleep duration, in addition to the traditional healthy lifestyle factors, could be substantial.”

The study is published today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, and is the first to investigate whether the addition of sleep duration to the four traditional healthy lifestyle factors contributes to an association with CVD.

The Monitoring Project on Risk Factors for Chronic Diseases (MORGEN) is a prospective cohort study in the Netherlands from which 6672 men and 7967 women aged 20-65 years and free of CVD at baseline were followed up for a mean time of 12 years. Details of physical activity, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and sleep duration were recorded between 1993 and 1997, and the subjects followed-up through a cross-link to national hospital and mortality registers.

As expected, results showed that adherence to each of the four traditional lifestyle factors alone reduced the risk of CVD. Those at baseline who recorded sufficient physical activity, a healthy diet and moderate alcohol consumption reduced their risk of composite CVD from 12% for a healthy diet to 43% for not smoking; and risk reduction in fatal CVD ranged from 26% for being physically active to 43% for not smoking.

However, sufficient sleep duration alone also reduced the risk of composite CVD by about 22% (HR 0.78) and of fatal CVD by about 43% (HR 0.57) when compared with those having insufficient sleep. Thus, non-smoking and sufficient sleep duration were both strongly and similarly inversely associated with fatal CVD.

These benefits were even greater when all five lifestyle factors were observed, resulting in a in a 65% lower risk of composite CVD and an 83% lower risk of fatal CVD.

As background to the study, the investigators note that poor sleep duration has been proposed as an independent risk factor for CVD in two other (non-European) studies, but without adding the effect of sleep to other healthy lifestyle benefits. This study — in a large population — now suggests that sufficient sleep and adherence to all four traditional healthy lifestyle factors are associated with a lower CVD risk. When sufficient sleep duration is added to the traditional lifestyle factors, the risk of CVD is even further reduced.

As an explanation for the results, the investigators note that short sleep duration has been associated with a higher incidence of overweight, obesity and hypertension and with higher levels of blood pressure, total cholesterol, haemoglobin A, and triglycerides, effects which are “consistent with the hypothesis that short sleep duration is directly associated with CVD risk.”

The study’s principal investigator, Dr Monique Verschuren from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, said that the importance of sufficient sleep “should now be mentioned as an additional way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.” “It is always important to confirm results,” she added, “but the evidence is certainly growing that sleep should be added to our list of CVD risk factors.”

Dr Verschuren noted that seven hours is the average sleeping time that “is likely to be sufficient for most people.” An earlier study from her group in the Netherlands, which included information on sleep quality, found that those who slept less than seven hours and got up each morning not fully rested had a 63% higher risk of CVD than those sleeping sufficiently — although those who woke rested, even from less than seven hours’ sleep, did not have the increased risk.(3)

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided byEuropean Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hoevenaar-Blom M, Spijkerman AMW, Kromhout D, Verschuren WMM. Sufficient sleep duration contributes to lower cardiovascular disease risk in addition to four traditional lifestyle factors: the MORGEN studyEur J Prevent Cardiol, 2013 DOI: 10.1177/2047487313493057

Cardiac Rehabilitation Starts Today!

cardiac-rehab

DH finally starts his cardiac rehab today, just over 8 weeks after his triple bypass.

Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) teaches you how to be more active and make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health. Cardiac rehab can help you feel better and reduce your risk of future heart problems.

In cardiac rehab, you work with a team of health professionals. Often the team includes a doctor, a nurse specialist, a dietitian, an exercise therapist, and a physical therapist. The team designs a program just for you, based on your health and goals. Then they give you support to help you succeed.

If you have had a heart attack, you may be afraid to exercise. Or if you have never exercised, you may not know how to get started. Your cardiac rehab team will help you start slowly and work up to a level that is good for your heart.

Many hospitals and rehab centers offer cardiac rehab programs. You may be part of a cardiac rehab group, but each person will follow his or her own plan.

Who should take part in cardiac rehab?

Doctors often prescribe cardiac rehab for people who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery. But people with many types of heart or blood vessel disease can benefit from cardiac rehab. Rehab might help you if you have:

  • Heart failure.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD).
  • Had or plan to have a heart transplant.
  • Had angioplasty to open a coronary artery.
  • Had another type of heart surgery, such as valve replacement.

Often people are not given the chance to try cardiac rehab. Or they may start a program but drop out. This is especially true of women and older adults. And that’s not good news, because they can get the same benefits as younger people. If your doctor suggests cardiac rehab, stay with it so you can get the best results.

Medicare will pay for cardiac rehab for people with certain heart problems. Many insurance companies also provide coverage. Check with your insurance company or your hospital to see if you will be covered.

What happens in cardiac rehab?

In cardiac rehab, you will learn how to:

  • Manage your heart disease and problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Exercise safely.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce stress and depression.
  • Get back to work sooner and safely.

Exercise is a big part of cardiac rehab. So before you get started, you will have a full checkup, which may include tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) and a “stress test” (exercise electrocardiogram). These tests show how well your heart is working. They will help your team design an exercise program that is safe for you.

At first your rehab team will keep a close watch on how exercise affects your heart. As you get stronger, you will learn how to check your own heart rate when you exercise. By the end of rehab, you will be ready to continue an exercise program on your own.

What are the benefits of cardiac rehab?

Starting cardiac rehab after a heart attack can lower your chance of dying from heart disease and can help you stay out of the hospital. It may reduce your need for medicine.

Cardiac rehab may also help you to:

  • Have better overall health.
  • Lose weight or keep weight off.
  • Feel less depressed and more hopeful.
  • Have more energy and feel better about yourself.

Changing old habits is hard. But in cardiac rehab, you get the support of experts who can help you make new healthy habits. And meeting other people who are in cardiac rehab can help you know that you’re not alone.

Adapted from CardioSmart.org

It’s Pretty But…

snowstorm

 

 

No shoveling here!  We’ll tough it out somehow.

From Shoveling snow can be hard on the heart

Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks. Emergency rooms in the snowbelt gear up for extra cases when enough of the white stuff has fallen to force folks out of their homes armed with shovels or snow blowers.

What’s the connection? Many people who shovel snow rarely exercise. Picking up a shovel and moving hundreds of pounds of snow, particularly after doing nothing physical for several months, can put a big strain on the heart. Pushing a heavy snow blower can do the same thing. Cold weather is another contributor because it can boost blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to part of the heart, and make blood more likely to form clots.