Heart Health Mistakes Made By Men
There can be a big gulf between wanting to keep your heart healthy andactually doing the right things to make it happen. Men tend to have astoic approach to risk, says cardiologist;Pamela Ouyang, M.B.B.S. And thats not always in their best interest.
Do any of these common heart health mistakes made by men apply to you?
Improving Heart Health Naturally8
Triglycerides are fats in the blood. Immediately after eating a fatty meal, most triglycerides are temporarily packaged in particles called chylomicrons. If fact, blood drawn shortly after a fatty meal will appear creamy, like a strawberry milkshake. It takes hours for these fat-rich particles to be cleared from the bloodstream.
Research has found that high levels of chylomicrons nearly triple the risk of heart problems.12 Scientists refer to chylomicrons as silent but deadly because by the time we have a fasting blood test, their dirty work is done and theyre gone, and therefore undetected by the standard fasting blood lipid test.
The Pritikin Program has been proven13 to dramatically lower triglyceride levels, on average 33%, which means Pritikin living likely lowers chylomicron levels as well.
High triglyceride levels are considered an additional risk for cardiovascular disease, especially when part of a cluster of conditions called the metabolic syndrome, which includes:
- High triglycerides
- Belly fat
- Low HDL
- High blood pressure , and
- Fasting blood glucose of 100 or higher.
If you have at least three of the above five criteria, you have the metabolic syndrome.
Key lifestyle actions to lower triglyceride levels are:
- Lose excess weight
- Eat less sugar and other highly refined and processed carbohydrates, like white breads
- Eat more fish high in omega-3 fats
- Drink very little alcohol
- Exercise regularly
How Much Do Heart Checkups Cost
You may be able to access heart health screening tests at low or no cost, depending on where you live and your insurance coverage.
If you dont have health insurance, federal health centers offer many essential health services regardless of ability to pay. You can see if theres a qualified health center near you using their search tool.
Some pharmacies also offer free heart health screenings in February, National Heart Health Month.
If you have health insurance, you may have no cost for basic heart checkup tests. Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans are required to cover the cost of certain preventive health screenings with no copayment, coinsurance, or deductible fee.
Depending on your health insurance coverage, age, and health history, you may be able to get blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar screenings for free.
If your doctor orders additional tests to evaluate your heart health, you may have charges for those tests. Some or all of the cost of the tests may be covered by your health insurance.
If you have health insurance, contact your insurance provider to learn if youre eligible for free heart health screenings. Ask them how much specific tests will cost.
Depending on your health history, your doctor might encourage you to monitor your own heart health and risk factors between checkups.
For example, they might advise you to monitor one or more of the following:
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Improving Heart Health Naturally4
Did you know that in the U.S. alone, tobacco kills the equivalent of three jumbo jets full of people crashing every day, with no survivors.
Here is a sampling of the serious, life-threatening conditions that are the direct result of smoking:
- Heart disease
- Kidney cancer
Moreover, the science is strong and consistent that when you smoke, the people around you, especially children, are at risk for developing serious health problems.
You Get Exhausted Easily
If you suddenly feel fatigued or winded after doing something you had no problem doing in the past — like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car — make an appointment with your doctor right away.
“These types of significant changes are more important to us than every little ache and pain you might be feeling,” Bufalino says.
Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.
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Random Bouts Of Cold Sweats
Do not think that just because you sweat it means that youre going to have a heart attack. Sweating is a natural, healthy function the body goes through to cool itself down. Sweating, especially cold sweats, may be a sign of a problem with your heart when youre not doing any sort of physical activity, particularly when theres chest pain associated with it. The sweat may come from your body trying to cool down the inflammation around the heart.
How Is The Lipid Panel Used
The lipid panel is used to help determine your risk of heart disease and to help make decisions about what treatment may be best if there is borderline or high risk. The results of the lipid panel are considered along with other known risk factors for heart disease to develop a plan for treatment and follow-up. Depending on the results and other risk factors, treatment options may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or lipid-lowering medications such as statins.
The lipid panel measures cholesterol, triglycerides, high density lipoprotein cholesterol as well as calculates low density lipoprotein cholesterol . Triglycerides are a form of fat and a major source of energy for the body.
According to 2002 guidelines from the NCEP Adult Treatment Panel III, the desirable ranges for the components of the lipid panel are:
- Cholesterol <200 mg/dL
- HDL-cholesterol > 40 mg/dL
- LDL-cholesterol <100 mg/dL â this is considered optimal; levels will depend on the number and type of risk factors present and reason for testing.
- Triglycerides <150 mg/dL
Some other information may be reported as part of the lipid panel. These parameters are calculated from the results of the tests identified above.
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Lipid Subfractionation By Ion Mobility
This test separates, counts, and measures the particles that make up LDL-C and HDL-C. A high number of small and medium LDL particles indicates an increased risk of heart disease. A low number of large HDL particles indicates an increased risk of heart disease.
These numbers can potentially be improved by lifestyle changes, in conjunction with certain medications such as statins, niacin, or fibrates.
Improving Heart Health Naturally6
Preventing or controlling diabetes could save your heart and life. Heart attacks occur two to four times more often in people with diabetes compared to non-diabetics. Strokes occur two to four times more often.
Other conditions, many life-crippling, caused by diabetes include blindness, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease , erectile dysfunction, diabetic neuropathy , poor wound healing, gangrene, and amputations.
The sad news is that many countries worldwide are now suffering epidemic rates of type 2 diabetes because many people live in food toxic and sedentary environments.
The hopeful news is that since diabetes is largely a lifestyle-related disease, there is much we can do in the way of lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of this horrible, life-robbing disease.
Daily exercise and healthy eating, as our guests learn at Pritikin, can greatly improve blood glucose levels as well as help shed excess body fat, a major risk factor for diabetes.
Research published on people with type 2 diabetes who came to Pritikin illustrate how profoundly beneficial lifestyle changes can be. One study6 followed 243 people in the early stages of diabetes . Within three weeks, their fasting glucose fell on average from 160 to 124.
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Checking Your Heart Rate And Pulse
Know what your normal pulse rate is. Your provider will tell you what yours should be.
You can take your pulse in the wrist area below the base of your thumb. Use your index and third fingers of your other hand to find your pulse. Use a second hand and count the number of beats for 30 seconds. Then double that number. That is your pulse.
Your provider may give you special equipment to check your heart rate.
There Are Plenty Of Ways To Monitor Your Heart At Home And Keep It Healthy But They Are No Replacement For Visits With Your Doctor
You can keep your heart healthy at home with some simple steps that anyone can take.
First, theres self-monitoring of your blood pressure, which is not a substitute for a professional reading but can help you keep track, especially if you have hypertension.
Its helpful to bring your machine with you to your doctors office so he can make sure the readings are accurate.
Normal blood pressure is considered less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic (the lower number.
Prehypertension;would be 120 to 139 or 80 to 89. High blood pressure would be considered 140 to 159 or 90 to 99. You should see your doctor right away if youre concerned your blood pressure is consistently high.
Another way to take stock of your heart health is to do self heart rate, or pulse, readings. You can find your pulse any place the artery passes close to your skin, such as your wrist or neck.
Most adults have a resting heart rate of between 60 and 100 beats per minute. The fitter you are, the lower your heart rate is likely to be.
Its an easy procedure in which you hold out one of your hands with the palm facing upward with the wrist slightly bent. Put the first finger and middle finger of your other hand on the inside of your extended wrist at the base of your thumb.
Two simple physical tests can also help you test your heart health. Both involve how you heart deals with vigorous exercise.
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When To Call The Doctor
- You are tired or weak.
- You feel short of breath when you are active or when you are at rest.
- You have shortness of breath when you lie down, or an hour or two after falling asleep.
- You are wheezing and having trouble breathing.
- You have a cough that does not go away. It may be dry and hacking, or it may sound wet and bring up pink, foamy spit.
- You have swelling in your feet, ankles, or legs.
- You have to urinate a lot, particularly at night.
- You have gained or lost weight.
- You have pain and tenderness in your belly.
- You have symptoms you think might be from your medicines.
- Your pulse or heartbeat gets very slow or very fast, or it is not regular.
- Your blood pressure is lower or higher than is normal for you.
Lifestyle Choices Can Minimize The Risk Of A Potential Heart Attack Or Stroke
If you are overweight the pressure on your heart increases; therefore, make it a priority to lose weight, by eating high fiber foods, fresh fruits, and plenty of leafy green vegetables. ;When you decrease pounds from your waistline your chances of having a happy and healthy heart increases.
Exercise, even a brisk walk 30 minutes a day, can reduce heart disease as it will keep the muscle active and strong and also help you maintain a healthy weight. ;Tobacco intake is known to have a negative impact on your heart and your lungs, so take steps to quit smoking. Excessive alcohol is also very harmful to your heart. ;Additionally, the heart muscle does not respond favorably to excessive stress, so take time to relax and enjoy life.
The quickest and easiest way to self-check your heart is to take your pulse, as this will check your heart rate as well as the rhythm. ;Basically, your heart rate indicates the strength of blood flow throughout your body.
To check your own pulse, get a watch with a second hand, put your index and middle finger on the inner wrist of the opposite arm and you should feel a pulsing sensation below your fingers. ;Count the number of pulses you feel in 10 seconds and multiply that number by 6. If this number is consistently lower than 60 or higher than 100, it is an indication of an irregular heartbeat and should be checked out by a healthcare professional.
Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness Test
How It Works:;This “ultrasound;of the neck” takes a picture of the left and right carotid arteries, which supply blood to your head and brain. After putting a gel on your neck, a technician glides an;ultrasound;transducer over your carotids to measure the thickness of the arteries’ lining.
Cost: $150 to $500
Duration: 15 minutes
Why It’s Heart Smart:;Studies show a link between an abnormal thickness of the carotid lining and;coronary artery disease. “This test can detect even the earliest stages before blood flow is blocked,” says Dr. Agatston. Because it’s not an x-ray, it’s also helpful for women who are or may be pregnant.
Get It If:;You’re 40 or olderor you’re under 40 and a close relative had a heart attack or stroke before age 55.
What the Results Mean:;You’ll get two numbers: the thickness of your carotid lining and your “arterial age,” an estimate of how that thickness compares to that of healthy women your age. If your arteries are more than 8 years “older” than you are, your doctor can tailor treatment to reduce your risk.
Next Steps:;A diet and exercise plan, stress reduction, and, if necessary, drugs to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar and reduce your intimal medial thickness.
What Is A Cardiac Risk Assessment
This is a group of tests and health factors that have been proven to indicate your chance of having a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke. They have been refined to indicate the degree of risk: borderline, intermediate, or high risk.
Perhaps the most important indicators for cardiac risk are your personal health history. These include:
There are some imaging tests that may be used in cardiac risk assessment. Non-invasive tests may include, for example, an electrocardiogram or a stress test, also called ECG stress test or metabolic stress test. Invasive tests may also be used to evaluate for the presence of cardiovascular disease , but they are usually used for diagnostic purposes in people with signs and symptoms and not for risk assessment. Examples include an angiography/arteriography and cardiac catheterization.
The lipid panel is the most important blood test for cardiac risk assessment.
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Develop Good Sleep Hygiene
Serious health conditions aside, getting quality sleep is a must for good overall health. When you have heart failure, getting good rest is even more critical. According to research published in September 2015 in the;New England Journal of Medicine, patients with heart failure are more likely than the general population to experience sleep-disordered breathing, with reported rates of 50 to 75 percent. As heart failure worsens, so does the prevalence of sleep apnea;and vice versa, so its important to control both conditions. To;improve your sleep, adopt a bedtime routine:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
- Keep your room dark and cool.
- Look into special pillows designed to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms.
- Dont nap close to bedtime.
Is This A Heart Test
The Everlywell Heart Health Test is not a heart scan or some other kind of heart test; instead, this at-home test can help identify or monitor certain risk factors associated with heart disease, such as elevated LDL cholesterol levels.
If youâre wondering how to test for heart disease risk or how to check heart health at home, the Everlywell Heart Health Test can be a great place to startâbut be sure you share your results with your healthcare provider to better understand your specific risk for developing heart disease.
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Checking Your Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it around your body. There are two ways it’s measured:
Systolic blood pressure. This is the pressure in your arteries when your heart squeezes.
Diastolic blood pressure. It’s the pressure in your when your heart is relaxed, between heartbeats.
Normal blood pressure for an adult, when you’re at rest, is less than 120 over less than 80. The 120 is the systolic pressure. The diastolic pressure is 79.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a blood pressure reading of 130/80 or higher.
Your blood pressure may go up or down depending on your age, heart condition, emotions, activity, and the medications you take. One high reading doesn’t mean you have high blood pressure. You need to measure it at different times while you’re resting to find out your typical numbers.
Sore Gums And Jaw Mouth Problems
You may be wondering, how could sore gums possibly mean theres a problem with my heart? Its not accurate to say that if you have a gum disease like gingivitis, then you definitely have a heart problem. But doctors have found gum diseases and heart issues are related.
Your gums are very vascular, meaning theyre full of blood vessels, and, your mouth is full of bacteria, Dr. Thomas Boyden, Jr. said. If you disrupt the gum layer even a little bit, youre going to get bacteria in your bloodstream, which can go anywhere and trigger inflammation throughout the body. Having open wounds and infected parts of your mouth allows things bad for your heart to flow directly to it, affecting the hearts overall health.
Pain running from the heart up to around the jaw area is a common sign of a heart attack, especially in women. Jaw pain alone isnt a strong symptom for a heart attack but rather an issue with your temporomandibular joint . When jaw pain is paired with chest pain or other symptoms on the list, thats when it becomes a concern.
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