Archive for the 'Tips To Protect Your Heart' Category

Can Noise Increase Blood Pressure?

February 21, 2008

Go to fullsize imageA sudden noise or commotion can make your heart rate go up and can be felt as sudden chest beating or palpitation.  We all know that one reason for an increased BP is an increase in heart rate.

A new study published in the European Journal of Hypertension Februaury 12, 2008 looked at this relationship and examined the population living near the airport. The BP and heart rates were checked and evaluated during the noise caused by the airplanes and the results were interesting.

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Non-invasive ambulatory BP measurements at 15 min intervals were performed. Noise was measured during the night sleeping period and recorded digitally for the identification of the source of a noise event.

  • An increase in BP 6.2 mmHg for systolic and 7.4 mmHg for diastolic was observed over 15 min intervals in which an aircraft event occurred.
  • A non-significant increase in HR was also observed (by 5.4 b.p.m.).
  • When the actual maximum noise level of an event was assessed there were no systematic differences in the effects according to the noise source.

Conclusion: Effects of noise exposure on elevated subsequent BP measurements were clearly shown. The effect size of the noise level appears to be independent of the noise source.

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This study has clinical implications on the future risk of heart disease and stroke with elevated BP. It would be nice to know the future risk of these population compared to the general population in terms of heart disease in relation to their exposure to noice.

Environment plays an important role in how stress manifests in our body. Noise generated from any source will definitely have the same effect as the study population and in itself increases a patient’s risk for heart disease due to rises in BP.  What is important is that the study also found that any level of noise including traffic sounds and other bedtime noise like snoring can cause a BP to spike!

For me… relaxing in between stresses in life can make a difference.  Any noise generated while at work can be stressful in itself and taking time to relax and listen to music or the waves of the sea and enjoy can spell a huge Difference!

Take a Break From Noise…Why Not Enjoy a Spa?

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The Sun May Protect You Against Heart Disease

January 14, 2008

Recent findings of Vitamin D deficiency as another risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease made me realized that we always take for granted the beneficial effects of the sun.

The findings published in Circulation. January 2008 is the first to show prospectively the relationship between Vitamin D and the Heart:

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Hazard ratio for heart disease according to level of 25-OH D

Level of 25-OH D
Hazard ratio (95% CI)
1015 ng/mL
1.53 (1.00-2.36)
<10 ng/mL
1.80 (1.05-3.08)

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The above findings suggest the Vitamin D Deficiency may increase your risk by more than 50% to develop heart disease.  Likewise it may also be an important risk for factor for the development of Hypertension.

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of middle aged men and women are VitD deficient owing to lack of exposure to the sun.  The sun rays are important for the formation and activation of Vitamin D in the skin.  So hiding ourselves from the sun because of heat will increase our risk to develop Vitamin D Deficiency.

Vitamin D is also important for muskuloskeletal strength and in fact deficiency of Vitamin D may be responsible for a lot of muscle weakness noted in a population.

So how much sun exposure do I recommend?

Just like anything…do it in moderation…meaning not sunbathing but exposing your face, arms and legs to the morning sun at least 15 minutes per day should be sufficient. 

You can also check your Vitamin D level which can be done locally in your lab.

Enjoy the Health benefits of the SUN!

The Good and The Bad Cholesterol…

October 9, 2007

2840505959.jpgWe know the bad effects of cholesterol in our body.  Marketing strategies have incorporated cholesterol as part of the game plan: low fat,  low cholesterol, no cholestrol in their products.  As physicians, we also take note of patients lipid profile which gives us the whole picture on patients cholesterol profile.  It is therefore not sufficient to jut check a total cholesterol because ones total cholesterol may be high because of a high Good cholesterol or HDL.  Targeting the BAD cholesterol or LDL has been the mainstay in our practice especially among our patients with high blood pressure and diabetes.  Our goal is to reduce a patient’s risk to suffer from a stroke or heart attack! 

But is lowering LDL or the bad cholesterol enough to decrease a patients risk?  And how important is the Good cholesterol in the equation?

Recently a study published in the NEJM September issue  looked at this specific question and showed that Both should be addressed.  

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Background High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels are a strong inverse predictor of cardiovascular events. However, it is not clear whether this association is maintained at very low levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Methods : A post hoc analysis of the recently completed Treating to New Targets (TNT) study assessed the predictive value of HDL cholesterol levels in 9770 patients.

Results : The HDL cholesterol level in patients receiving statins was predictive of major cardiovascular events across the TNT study cohort, both when HDL cholesterol was considered as a continuous variable and when subjects were stratified according to quintiles of HDL cholesterol level.

Even among study subjects with LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg per deciliter, those in the highest quintile of HDL cholesterol level were at less risk for major cardiovascular events than those in the lowest quintile (P=0.03).

Conclusions: 

  •  In this post hoc analysis, HDL cholesterol levels were predictive of major cardiovascular events in patients treated with statins.
  • This relationship was also observed among patients with LDL cholesterol levels below 70 mg per deciliter.

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Lowering the LDL or bad cholesterol will remain the primary goal of therapy while not neglecting to make sure that the HDL should be made higher than 45 mg/dl.  Dietery intervention can only do so much in lowering LDL but we have ways to increase the HDL by dietary and behavioral means including exercise.Do check my post on How to Increase Your HDL for further tips in what to eat and do to improve your HDL!

In Health: Its The Balance Between the Good and The Bad!

The Best Way To Exercise….

September 21, 2007

imagese.jpgExercise as we all know has all the benefits to promote and maintain health.  Several guidelines have come up based solely on experience rather than observed studies.  Recently, a new study looked at and concluded thast there indeed is  a significant impact and benefit of both aerobics and resistance training among diabetic subjects as published in the Annals of Internal Mediicne , Sept issue.

However, when the general issue of exercise is discussed… the main question has been… what’s the best way to exercise? How long and how much activites are needed to protect oneself from illness.

Recently the American Heart Association published their guidleines  in association with the American Society of Sports Medicine. Through these guidelines, we can have a better understanding with regard to the question of how to exercise and how to do it best.

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  • all healthy adults aged 18 to 65 years need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes on five days each week or
  • vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes on three days each week.
  • Combining these exercises is also acceptable

What To Exercise:

  • walking briskly or
  • performing an activity that noticeably accelerates the heart rate for 30 minutes twice during the week
  • jogging for 20 minutes, or
  • performing any activity that causes rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate on two other days.
  • moderate- and vigorous-intensity exercises are complementary to daily living
  • Muscle-strengthening activities are advised 
  • Shorts bouts of activity — 10 minutes or more — can be combined to meet the 30-minute daily goal. 

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We know exercise works.  We know its almost always a doctor’s advise with regard to controlling weight, blood pressure, or cholesterol and blood sugar.  It is an important lifestyle change that each individual should pursue.  It is really easier said than done BUT the new guidelines have set up a compormise.  Short bouts of exercise is better than none and combining the total bouts of exercise as long as they accumulate to 30 minutes should do the trick in helping us build a healthy lifestyle.

There you go….  New Rules on an Old Issue.

Exericise Is Still The Best Prevention….

The Danger of Eating French Fries…or Why Trans Fat Is Bad!

September 15, 2007

I have been an advocate of avoiding fried foods.  However firm we are in avoiding frying foods, you sometimes cant help and avoid enjoying eating foods that are fried…not only are they crunchy but they also taste so good.  So resisting the temptation to enjoy great food is difficult. But at the expense of health and heart attacks!

I came across a recent article in the Harvard Medical School Health Publication: HealthBeat which I want to share especially to parents who allow their kids to enjoy french fries almost at every meal.

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 If you needed another reason to avoid trans fats, here it is. Researchers with the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study measured the amount of trans fat stored in red blood cells. Among the 32,000 middle-aged women participating in the study, 166 had heart attacks or died of heart disease during a six-year period. Their red blood cells had slightly higher loads of trans fat than did red blood cells of 327 women of the same ages and characteristics who remained free of heart disease.

Artificial trans fats are found in hard margarines, many commercially baked goods, and the fried foods in many restaurants, and research has consistently shown they aren’t good for the heart and blood vessels. Across the board, the more trans fat in red blood cells, the greater the chances of having a heart attack. Women with the highest trans fat load had triple the risk of women with the lowest. This study, published in the April 10, 2007, Circulation, strongly supports recommendations by the Institute of Medicine and the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans to cut back — or better yet, cut out — trans fats in the diet. Eliminating them from the food supply could avert as many as 264,000 heart attacks and heart-related deaths each year in the United States alone.

Trans Fats at Home and Abroad

A prime source of trans fat is partially hydrogenated oil, which many fast-food restaurants continue to use for deep frying. To see if this differed by country, three Danish doctors determined the trans fat content of French fries and chicken nuggets bought in 24 McDonald’s and KFC restaurants on four continents. As shown above, a large fries-and-nuggets combination delivered 10 grams of trans fat in New York City but less than a gram in Denmark, which limits the use of trans fats. A similar serving of fries and chicken nuggets in a KFC in Hungary delivered a whopping 25 grams of trans fat.

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Anothr reason to be alarmed over what we preceived a s a way of showing affection and reward to our kids… Crunchy fried chicken and french fries.  If we indulge in these kinds of foods once in a while or only during children’s parties .. its acceptable BUT if our kids eat only fried foods because that’s the only food they will eat then it will do no good to their future!

Start training them young.  My friend Maxim is one nice guy to dine with because he’s health conscious and therefore you tend to follow what he eats or be conscious of what you order.  And I guess there is so much truth to the study that showed…if your friends are obese, the more likely you will too….

A Feast with French Fries is A Feast with Trans Fat!

Jogging and The Risk of Heart Disease…

September 14, 2007

imagesqwa.jpgPrevious studies have linked city pollution to ishcemic heart disease.  The mechanism of which was not really studied well until recently.  It has been shown that ambient air pollution is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Jogging as an exercise is perfect.  It promotes well being and health.  But the place where one jogs should be considered especially with the findings below published in New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, regarding the risk of cardiovascular disease and air pollution:

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Brief exposure to dilute diesel exhaust promotes myocardial ischemia and inhibits endogenous fibrinolytic capacity in men with stable coronary heart disease. Our findings point to ischemic and thrombotic mechanisms that may explain in part the observation that exposure to combustion-derived air pollution is associated with adverse cardiovascular events.”  

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The most likely mechanism of the above maybe genetics as explained in one study published also almost at the same time in Genome Biology, 2007.

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Diesel exhaust particles and oxidized phospholipids synergistically affect the expression profile of several gene modules that correspond to pathways relevant to vascular inflammatory processes such as atherosclerosis.

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I promote wellness through proper choices of food and physical activity.  These studies point out that patients with pre existing risk factors for heart disease should avoid being in areas where exposure to air pollution is present.  Exercising therefore in an area within the city where combustion particles are part of what you’ll inhale should be avoided.

I guess running a marathon in Boston area or any city for that matter can therefore have an impact on one’s risk and therefore should be reconsidered.

So running is good for the heart but for now avoid the city!

 

The Many Benefits of Walking…

August 17, 2007

imagesedg.jpgIs walking good? Is it enough as an exercise? Or Do we need to do more intense exercise to achieve benefit?  I love to walk…it’s my form of physical activity every afternoon after work.  I have fun doing it walking around the house or around our subdivision.  You can enjoy the view while walking… you can do it anytime and anywhere and the most important of all is that…It is FREE!

Dr James Levine who is a colleague of mine at the Mayo Clinic wrote a nice editorial at the

Mayo Clinic Proceedings based on this news report from the Mayo Clinic newsroom:

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“Getting out there and taking a walk is what it’s all about,” says James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., and a Mayo Clinic expert on obesity. “You don’t have to join a gym, you don’t have to check your pulse. You just have to switch off the TV, get off the sofa and go for a walk.”

The health benefit associated with walking is the subject of Dr. Levine’s editorial in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Dr. Levine’s piece is entitled, “Exercise: A Walk in the Park?” and accompanies a Proceedings article that showcases the merits of walking as beneficial exercise.

The study, undertaken by physicians from the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, determined that high-intensity interval walking may protect against high blood pressure and decreased muscle strength among older people.

Over five months, the Japanese researchers studied 246 adults who engaged in either no walking or moderate to high-intensity walking. The group who engaged in high-intensity walking experienced the most significant improvement in their health, the researchers found. In his editorial, Dr. Levine says the study lends credence to the notion that walking is a legitimate, worthy mode of exercise for all people. Dr. Levine says it’s a welcome message for his patients, who fight obesity and appreciate that a walk is one way to improve their health.

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It is therefore a package deal…you walk…you exercise as well as keep your health in control. There is no way I will accept any patient of mine telling me he has no time to exercise because walking can be done anywhere and anytime!

Do it now and this very minute… after reading this article…turn off your computer or TV for a while and take a stroll.  In simple terms…Just move.  It is much better than staying put and be sedentary.

Life is too short…enjoy your surroundings and walk because once you get the dreaded complication of obesity and diabetes which is a stroke or heart failure…you will end up in bed for the rest of life anyway…by then…you will miss walking!

Take A Step Forward Now For Health!

The Protective Effect of Mediterranian Diet

August 3, 2007

imagesafg.jpgA diet that’s high-fat… because of the large amounts of monounsaturated fatty-acid-rich olive oil used in Mediterranean cultures—may be a useful tool against blocking of the arteries, particularly in individuals at high risk of developing heart disease.

A new study looking at High Mononunsaturated Fat( MUFA) diet has finally proven the proponents of this diet to be protective was recently published in the June 11, 2007 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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Interventions: Participants were assigned to a low-fat diet (n = 257) or to 1 of 2 Mediterranean diets. Those allocated to Mediterranean diets received nutritional education and either free virgin olive oil, 1 liter per week (n = 257), or free nuts, 30 g/d (n = 258). The authors evaluated outcome changes at 3 months.

Results:  Compared with the low-fat diet, the 2 Mediterranean diets produced beneficial changes in most outcomes. Compared with the low-fat diet, the mean changes in the Mediterranean diet with olive oil group and the Mediterranean diet with nuts group were –0.39 mmol/L (95% CI, –0.70 to – 0.07 mmol/L) and – 0.30 mmol/L (CI, –0.58 to – 0.01 mmol/L), respectively, for plasma glucose levels; –5.9 mm Hg (CI, –8.7 to –3.1 mm Hg) and – 7.1 mm Hg (CI, –10.0 to –4.1 mm Hg), respectively, for systolic blood pressure; and –0.38 (CI, –0.55 to – 0.22) and – 0.26 (CI, –0.42 to –0.10), respectively, for the cholesterol–high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio. The Mediterranean diet with olive oil reduced C-reactive protein levels by 0.54 mg/L (CI, 1.04 to 0.03 mg/L) compared with the low-fat diet.

 Conclusion: Compared with a low-fat diet, Mediterranean diets supplemented with olive oil or nuts have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk factors.

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In short… participants in the two Mediterranean-diet groups had significantly lower mean plasma glucose levels, lower systolic blood pressure, and lower total-cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol ratios than those in the low-fat-diet group… which may explain the protective effects of this diet to develop heart disease.  

So what diet Do I recommend to my Patients? 

Ive been proponent of a 40% of total calorie diet to be from fat with 20% of total calories from MUFA.  Ive been pretty successful with this diet in terms of regulating my patients Blood sugar and lipids while maintaining their weight!  This study really proves me right. 

You will not go wrong having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and supplemented with virgin olive oil and nuts…it’s a diet proven to  improve cholesterol ratios and the effects on blood pressure and inflammation.   One option to Olive oil that we can use daily in our cooking is Canola Oil which is also rich in MUFA and PUFA.  Likewise taking walnuts or cashew nuts for snacks as healthy alternatives to burgers and fries!

As The Saying Goes…GO NUTS!

How Much Salt Can We Take?

July 28, 2007

imagessd.jpgThe new recommendations from the American Medical Association should be a wake up call to all of us.   We know that salt is important for the taste of our foods but taking too much can be harmful.  As physicians weve been harping on lowering salt intake to our patients when they prepare their foods not recognizing that the culprit may actually be food in the restaurant and the processed foods we buy in the groceries!

We know from studies that populations with an average sodium ingestion of less than 1400 mg/day have virtually no hypertension BUT the average intake of salt in the world is around 4000 mg per day while Filipinos usually take in more.  This is way above the recommended daily allowance of 2000 to 2300 mg per day.   

The recently published advisory in the Archives of Internal Medicine, July issue urged the Food and Drug Administration to take a look at the standards set for salt and to limit sodium in processed and restaurant foods. It is recommneded that a minimum 50% reduction in sodium in processed foods, fast-food products, and restaurant meals should be sought in the next decade it we have to decrease the risks associated with high blood pressure. More so to address the labelling of products known to contain High Salt levels.

The AMA paper has this to say: 

“Across populations, the level of blood pressure, the incremental rise in blood pressure with age, and the prevalence of hypertension are directly related to sodium intake. Observational studies and randomized controlled trials document a consistent effect of sodium consumption on blood pressure. The majority of sodium consumption in the United States is derived from amounts added during food processing and preparation. Leading scientific organizations and governmental agencies advise limiting sodium intake to 2400 mg or less daily (approximately 6000 mg of salt). Substantial public health benefits accrue from small reductions in the population blood pressure distribution. A 1.3-g/d lower lifetime sodium intake translates into an approximately 5-mm Hg smaller rise in systolic blood pressure as individuals advance from 25 to 55 years of age, a reduction estimated to save 150 000 lives annually.

With an appropriate food industry response, combined with consumer education and knowledgeable use of food labels, the average consumer should be able to choose a lower-sodium diet without inconvenience or loss of food enjoyment. In the continued absence of voluntary measures adopted by the food industry, new regulations will be required to achieve lower sodium concentrations in processed and prepared foods.”

A Pinch Of Salt For A Healthy You!

 

The Low Cholesterol and Cancer Link…

July 27, 2007

Lowering the cholesterol level of any patient with risk for heart disease is very important.  It is a MUST for any patient with Diabetes or Hypertension. It is sometimes difficult to convince patients to take anticholesterol meds because many are so afraid of the link to liver disease rather than be afraid of the heart disease if cholesterol is not regulated.  Likewise, patient remains asymptomatic even with elevated cholestrol so the urgency to seek treatment is not there.

Now comes another story linking low cholesterol to cancer!!!!

The increase in cancer incidence among statin users was small — about one extra case per 1,000 people, according to the study in the July 31 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Apparently the slight increase in cancer incidence was found in 13 trials among statin users who achieved the lowest LDL cholesterol levels.

Is This A Cause For Alarm?

Most likely NOT! Again this is only an observation among the 23 trials studied and NOT a Cause and Effect Situation.  This calls for more attention and further study but again just like any drug or intervention we do…If there’s an effect…there almost always a Side Effect!  If you take a drug based on a premise that it is so safe without side effects then you are in for the worst!  Most likely you were sold by the marketing strategy of the sales agent!

Remember… the economic burden of suffering from heart disease is more than the risk of getting cancer in this case.  Likewise the effect of lowering cholesterol and lowering ones risk for heart disease is PROVEN .  It is also possible that by postponing disability and death due to heart disease, we make people live longer and in population studies, the longer we live the more likely we will get other diseases and cancer is one of them!.

My Recommendation is for my patients NOT TO WORRY!

The benefits of lowering cholesterol continue to outweigh the risks! Continue taking the drugs and I will continue to implement the same strategy of aggressiive lowering of cholesterol to prevent the target organ of high cholesterol levels…The HEART!

Low Cholesterol Unlinks The Burden Of Heart Attack!

How To Live Longer Without Exercising!

July 20, 2007

3904728485.jpgBeing busy or too busy to exercise may not be bad after all….

A recent report from the Mayo Clinic may prove to be worth considering if we talk about the need to be more active to live long.  We all know the fact that increasing exercise not only prevents one from developing chronic illnesses associated with inactivity and obesity but also can make us feel better and live longer.

According to the March issue of Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource: marathon training or going to a gym is not required but by staying busy and active all day can do the trick.  Such activities that can help people live longer by expending more energy include household chores such as vacuuming, mopping the floor, washing windows, lawn work, caring for children or adults, walking or volunteering.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, tracked 302 adults between the ages of 70 and 84 for six years.  The study showed that:

” Participants who had shown the highest energy expenditures due to more physical activities had about half the chances of dying of those with the lowest energy expenditures. Participants most likely to be in the high-energy group reported climbing stairs or working for pay as a daily part of their lives.”

There you go… being busy can mean healthier lives as long as people who are “too busy” for exercise,  can stay “too busy” around the house and at work, or in the community doing what they have to do and in return live healthier lives.

Great news to those busy bees…. just dont be geeks and be sedentary and “too busy” sitting in your chair facing your computers with only your fingers and mouths exercising.  Those activities dont count!

No More Excuses..Start Moving!

One Hour of Exercise Weekly Can Lower Your Blood Pressure…

July 6, 2007

Just One Hour of Exercise A Week Controls Hypertension!!

4150893541.jpg….says one headline that caught my attention.  Apparently this amount of aerobic exercise can be spread out over a week and has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure ( the upper number) by an average of 12 points and the diastolic reading ( the lower number) by 8 points.

The study which was published in the American Journal of Hypertension, proves that one does not need to really spend a lot of time working out to get a benefit!  But the study also showed that the more you exercise the more the benefit in terms of lowering ones BP suggesting that we should do more than just an hour a week.

It is very important to remember that several medical guidelines recommend 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week because physical activity has been shown to reduce ones risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

My Advise?

  1. Make sure you make exercise FUN… in so doing… you can sustain the idea of doing it daily!  
  2. Make it part of your daily routine just like driving a car of eating your meals! Once exercise has made its way into your daily schedule, then it becomes part of your daily routine!

We should have only ONE goal in mind when we think about Exercise…simply….

Keep Fit  To Be Healthy!

Are Eggs Healthy To Eat?

May 2, 2007

4069335754.jpgI just received a comment from Nick regarding my post on ” Can I Eat Eggs Everyday” (My most popular post!) and I guess based on the many comments I received, we continue to have mixed beliefs on whether to eat eggs daily or its unsafe to do so because of the risk of heart disease.

So far, I agree with Nick that not a lot of prospective studies have been done to look at eggs per se and heart disease but rather its the relationship between the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol and heart disease that we all know exists.

Here’s a timely article from the Harvard Medical Letter  on the Myths and Facts of Egg Nutrition and Health:

Fact: Eggs are a good source of nutrients. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and some healthful unsaturated fats. Eggs are also a good source of choline, which has been linked with preserving memory, and lutein and zeaxanthin, which may protect against vision loss.

Fact: Eggs have a lot of cholesterol. The average large egg contains 212 milligrams of cholesterol. As foods go, that’s quite a bit, rivaled only by single servings of liver, shrimp, and duck meat.

Myth: All that cholesterol goes straight to your bloodstream and then into your arteries. Not so. For most people, only a small amount of the cholesterol in food passes into the blood. Saturated and trans fats have much bigger effects on blood cholesterol levels.

Myth: Eating eggs is bad for your heart. The only large study to look at the impact of egg consumption on heart disease—not on cholesterol levels or other intermediaries—found no connection between the two.

In people with diabetes, though, egg-a-day eaters were a bit more likely to have developed heart disease than those who rarely ate eggs.If you like eggs, eating one a day should be okay, especially if you cut back on saturated and trans fats. Other ways to enjoy eggs without worrying about cholesterol include not eating the yolk, which contains all the cholesterol, or using pourable egg whites or yolk-free egg substitutes.

There you go: if you want to eat eggs daily: cut back on other sources of fat. It’s the yolk that’s rich in cholestrol so use it sparingly and instead enjoy the egg whites!

The Controversy Continues…..

Read My Other Related Posts:

How Safe is A FRIED Chicken: Check if Its Cooked with Trans FAT!

March 22, 2007

1937790063.jpgTrans Fat is actually a partially Hydrogenated Vegetable oil- described by some as a man made toxin. It was actually developed as a “healthy” alternative to animal fat!  It became so popular for sometime because this is the kind of fat that can give your chicken the Crunchy feeling and great taste and the pastries a longer half life. Perfect combination of a good tasting meal and longer shelf life…definitely good for business!  But Wealth Is NOT HEALTH!

SO what’s wrong with Trans Fat?

  • Just 2.6 grams a day of trans fat raises your risk of heart disease.  That’s about half as much as you get in a typical serving of french fries.  Thus it is considered as one if not the unhelathiest Fat!
  • We are presently battling the epidemic of obesity and this trans fat may actually be one culprit because it is super fattening. It has been shown that Trans fats build up belly fat themselves resulting in the “beer belly” appearance.  Likewise trans fat also cause fat from other parts of your body to move to the belly.  Whew…. really a Bad Fat! 

Remember… accumulation of fat in the abdomen is particularly dangerous because it contributes to heart disease and insulin resistance state which can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and the so called Metabolic Syndrome.

The good news is:

  • A lot of the junky foods that we love to eat that used to have lots of trans fat like the famous Oreo cookies — are now trans-fat free. Yahoooo!
  • Fast-food restaurants are now adopting measures to reduce or eliminate trans fats.

So the next time you order crunchy chicken…. please be aware if the food is being cooked trans fat free or if it is in fact cooked with one!  As a consumer … you have to right to know because it’s your health and the health of your kids that are at stake here!

Make sure to be careful with oredering fried chicken in areas where no labels are posted especially on sidewalks.  The cook themselves may not even know what kind of oil they are using.  The Blind making the Ugly….

The Ugly and The Fried!

The Benefit of Taking A Nap!

March 8, 2007

2635562638.jpgI actually want to work early… I can do more things without the distractions and my focus is great since it’s early in the morning. Once am in my clinic… it’s an uphill battle till 12N then my feeling starts to go downhill by around 2 PM.  Remember as physicians, we listen then think then diagnose then treat every person that seeks our help.  And mind you… this is non stop from 7 till 3 PM.  So I look forward to going home, have my own time and take my daily nap for around 20 minutes.  This mid day or mid afternoon nap really rejuvenates your feeling.  It relieves you of the stress that you have accumulated throughout the day!

But did you know that now there is a study that proved me right.  It has been shown in one study recently published in the February 12 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine that….

 “taking siestas of any frequency or duration is associated with about a one-third reduction in mortality from coronary heart disease, particularly in working men“.

The magnitude of the reduction varied depending on whether the napping was occasional or regular.  So the more frequent you do it… means the better you handle the stress… than the less chance for the stress hormones to harm your heart!  Remember stress hormones like steroid and cathecholamines are not friendly to our bodies especially if we get the surge of these hormones everytime we get too busy at work, get angry, depressed, anxious or pressured at work.

I can always work till 7 PM but I need to reclaim the calm after the day! What will my money do if I get a heart disease? Less money!  Priority counts in making sure you know when to stop and relax…when is enough really enough!  This is what I call: Health as Wealth!

A Mid day Nap is actually only asking too little form your time. 

I guess the study just emphasizes one thing:

Take Time To Relax To Live Long and Be Healthy!

The Importance of Flossing

March 3, 2007

2955575324.jpgPeriodontal disease is a very common condition among my diabetic patients.  It has been shown that severe periodontitis can affect 0.5% to 1.0% of the adult population, with as many as 80% of adult population having some form of periodontal disease.   It is therefore a must that care of our teeth and gums should start from the young especially with the recent finding of an association between teeth problem and the heart!

Several cohort and case-control studies have already shown that periodontitis is associated with endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.  Suggesting that inflammation of the gums can actually be a factor that can lead to long term damage to the heart as well.  As a result… now we know why Flossing is important as part of our daily oral hygiene.  By preventing gum and teeth problem, we can therefore reduce our risk for heart disease. 

In a recent study published in March 1, 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, this important showed that  “At six months, those subjects who had intensive treatment of the periodontitis, which included flossing…  was associated with reduced indexes of periodontal disease severity and significantly better endothelial function.”  The improvement was associated with lower levels of infllammatory markers which are markers also known to be associated with higher risk of heart disease. It is important to note that endothelial function is a marker of how healthy one’s heart and vessels are.  Any improvement in endothelial function means a good effect on the heart and the vessels.

As more information and studies have proven that heart disease is due to low grade inflammation… simple disease affecting the mouth which is easily preventable should therefore be addressed because low grade inflammation involving the gums and teeth can have a major impact in our risk for heart disease.

When was your last visit to your dentist?

So for Better Breath and Healthier Heart…

Make Sure You Floss… and Visit Your Dentist!

Read My Other Related Posts:

  1. How To Prevent Bad Breath

  2. The Harm of Being Obese, Having Bad Breath and Gum Disease

 

Foods To Eat If You Have High Cholesterol

February 16, 2007

cholesterol.jpgMy previous post reviewed some principles regarding the kinds of fat we eat in the food.  Now to simplify further and for us to easily remember… let me enumerate the foods we allow our patients to eat if we see a high cholesterol level in the blood test.

Foods That Are Allowed:

  1. lean cuts of meat, chicken and fish
  2. skim, low fat milk, low fat yogourt
  3. for those who like eggs: the egg whites are okay
  4. olive, canola, sesame, soybean and safflower oils: 5-8 teaspoons /day only
  5. most breads, wheat bread, cereals, noodles
  6. fresh fruits
  7. plain popcorn, pretzels, tea and coffee.

Foods That You Can Eat Once In A While:

  1.  shellfish like tahong
  2. 2% fat milk, lite cream cheese
  3. 2 x /week of egg yolk
  4. nuts, avocados, seeds
  5. muffins, cornbread, biscuits
  6. homemade cakes and pies prepared with unsaturated fat

Definitely AVOID: Steaks, whole milk, whipped cream in your coffee, COCONUT OIL, coconut, vegetables that are prepared in BUTTER, ice cream, potato chips, buttered popcorn, frappes and floats, croissants, doughnuts, noodles prepared with cream ( yummy but sinful).

The choice of food is realy without limits.  But the option to eat the choices we are offered is up to us.  The need to discipline ourselves and know what is right and healthy depends on our determintation and willingness to know the difference .

 

My advise is:  You can still enjoy your steak BUT get the less fat cut!  Enjoy your popcorn while watching th movie but not the buttered one.  Enjoy your brewed coffee in the mall rather than the frapuccino with whipped cream!

Remember…

The Choice To Be Healthy Is Up To You!

Is There Such A Thing As A Healthy Fat? Protect Your Heart This Valentines Day!

February 14, 2007

4000946914.jpgCholesterol is the fat we all know… its reputation as the culprit for causing heart attack has been known for decades.  But we are still learning more about fats that a lot of consumers are still confused of what foods contain the bad fat and whether there are really foods that contain the so called: Good Fat!

I was invited to talk about cholesterol and heart disease this morning in Mom’s Radio and was intrigued by the questions asked prompting me to write about the topic on FAT!

The most common fat that we are guilty of is the fat that we derive from the food we eat!  This is reflected as Triglyceride in our Lipid Panel test.  This kind of fat comes in several forms:

  1. Saturated Fat: usually is the fat derived from animal sources and the major culprit here is beef. The streaks of fat we see when we eat steak is saturated fat.  Other common sources of this include: BUTTER, BACON and CREAM.  So before we eat our dinner in a restaurant for Valentines day… forgo the bread and butter…go straight to your salad or soup.
  2. Unsaturated Fat: Mainly from Vegetable sources like Canola or Olive oil.  This fat comes in two forms:
  • Monounsaturated Fat: is the kind of fat that does not raise your cholesterol.  The oil in canola and nuts like peanuts and almonds are good sources.  It is for this reason that I allow my Diabetics to eat nuts for snacks.  The good thing with this fat is it can raise the good cholesterol! 
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: it likewise does not increase your cholesterol BUT in contrast to monounsaturated fat , it can lower your good cholesterol.  If you use corn oil to fry food, mayonnaise for your sandwich  and margarine for your cooking…these are the fats that can lower your HDL or good Cholesterol.  Remember a high Good Cholesterol cleans your blood vessels and therefore protective of your heart.  And therefore avoid foods that can do the opposite.     

It’s Valentines Day… you’ll definitely enjoy your night out with your love ones…but just be sure to be critical of what you’ll eat.  Make sure be more consistent in choosing the foods you eat because what you eat can make or break your heart!  Choose a food that contains less saturated and more of the Monounsaturated fat!  Go FISH! You’ll never go wrong in making your heart safe by choosing the fat that’s healthy for you. 

Happy Valentines Day To Everyone!

Read My Other Related Posts:

The Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life!

September 7, 2006

34767223.jpgThe latest issue of Circulation, a Journal of the American Heart Association had this interesting article on symptoms which should not be taken for granted.  These symptoms actually occur among patients prior to their Sudden Cardiac Death!  This study interests me because a close friend of the family apparently died of sudden cardiac death… but this new study refutes the notion that Sudden Cardiac death is actually not sudden after all!

The study involved analyzing data surrounding the circumstances among 400 patients who suffered sudden cardiac arrest. They looked at what were the symptoms preceeding the apparent death.

These are the symptoms that should warrant immediate attention…meaning if you have them, seek medical help!

  1. 22 percent of patients had experienced angina (chest pain) for 120 minutes.
  2. Dyspnea (difficulty breathing) was present in 15 percent of patients for 30 minutes
  3. Nausea or vomiting in 7 percent for 120 minutes
  4. Dizziness or fainting in 5 percent for 10 minutes

There are however 25 percent of the patients with no warning symptoms at all. The investigators likewise noted that in 90 percent of cases, symptoms lasted for at least 5 minutes and longer before the patient collapsed.

Apparently the authors concluded that “These symptoms are misinterpreted, suppressed, or denied despite the presence of a preexisting cardiac disease or cardiac risk factors”.

It is very important that the above symptoms should be addressed immediately especially if you have a history of heart disease and other risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, and chronic lung disease.  These are the associated conditions in more than half of the patients studied.

A mere chest pain may already be a red flag for a worst scenario.  Likewise if you have risk factors… persistent nausea and vomiting may herald the onset of an impending heart attack!

It’s Better To Be Cautious Than Be Sorry!

Hyperacidity or Heart Attack?

August 22, 2006

imagesasdfgh.jpgAlmost always when a patient presents in the ER with massive heart attack, a history of heartburn symptoms were noted days or months prior to the ER visit.  The patient has been complaining of on and off ” heartburn” apparently due to bad food or missed meal symptoms of hyperacidity.  Neglected for days, the patient then presents himself in the ER in an emergency situation.

Practical Tips to know whether you have plain hyperacidity or a serious heart attack:

1. Heartburn tends to occur after meals when you have the most acid being produced, while most chest pains from heart attack occur during times of heavy exertion like exercising, running or doing strenuous activities that require the heart to beat fast.

2. Hyperacidity is burning like sensation in the chest relieved by plain antacid or H2 blocker medications like Ranitidine ( Zantac).  Chest Pain from a heart ailment is more like pressure sensation, squeezing or deep pressure sensation that is often associated with shortness of breath. However if ones burning like sensation is persistent or not relieved by antacid and associated with dizziness, shortness of breath or discomfort… seek medical help immediately as this may mean a more serious heart ailment.

3. If the pain starts to go somewhere else, radiating to the back or down to the left side of the arm… this may signal a heart attack.

4. If you have chest pain of any type and you have risk factors for heart disease especially, Diabetes, or a family history of sudden death in the family, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a smoker… then have yourself evaluated for heart disease.

My Recommendation:

A simple exercise treadmill stress testing can help determine if your chest pain is due to heart disease or some other ailment. A cardiologist can do this anytime and the results are out within the same outpatient visit.

Don’t Take Your Chest Pain For Granted… Better Early Than Late!