Category: The Heart

The Worst Habits for Your Heart


Day in Health
by Lisa Collier Cool

Lifestyle factors you can easily change account for more than 90 percent of heart attack risk, a landmark study of about 30,000 people in 52 countries suggests. And making small, positive changes in your everyday habits can have a surprisingly big impact on your heart health—or even save your life.

Here’s a look at six of the worst habits for your heart, and how to turn them around.
Being Glued to the Tube

Spending too much time parked in front of the TV can actually be fatal, according to a 2011 study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers found that people who devoted four or more hours a day to screen-based entertainment—mainly watching the tube–had double the risk of a major cardiac event resulting in hospitalization, death or both, compared to those who watched spent less than two hours daily to these activities.

Another compelling reason to limit TV time: Those who spent the most time on leisure-time screen-based entertainment had a 48 percent higher risk of dying prematurely, even if they also exercised. Recent research also shows that too much sitting can be just as bad for your heart as smoking.

The Warning Signs of Heart Attack
Having a Negative Attitude

While stress and depression have long been linked to higher heart disease risk, a new Harvard review of more than 200 earlier studies, published this month in Psychological Bulletin, highlights the benefits of turning that frown upside-down: An optimistic outlook may cut heart disease and stroke danger by 50 percent.

And while you may think that happy people are just healthier, the researchers found that the association between an upbeat attitude and reduced cardiovascular risk held true even when they took the person’s age, weight, smoking status, and other risk factors into account.

Research also shows that laughter literally does the heart good, by expanding the linings of blood vessels and boosting blood flow. A fun way to add more joy to your life—and defuse stress–is laughter yoga, an exercise program that combines self-triggered mirth with deep yogic breathing to draw oxygen deeper into the body.

Top 10 Simple Ways to Leave Stress Behind
Ignoring Snoring

Frequent loud snoring can trumpet obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a dangerous disorder that magnifies heart attack and stroke risk, if untreated. OSA (bouts of interrupted breathing during sleep) frequently goes undiagnosed because people don’t recognize the symptoms, which include waking at night for no apparent reason and unexplained daytime drowsiness.

If you fit this profile, ask your doctor to order a sleep study. Because OSA, which affects 18 million Americans, is most common in people who are heavy, treatment typically involves weight loss and in some cases, continuously positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device that blows moist, heated air in your nose and mouth as you sleep.

Can an Oral Device Treat Sleep Apnea?
Forgoing Fiber

Not only does a high-fiber diet boost your heart health, but it could add years to your life, according to a recent study of nearly 400,000 people, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and American Association of Retired People.

The researchers found that men ages 50 and older who ate the most fiber were up to 56 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and respiratory ailments, compare to those who ate the least. For women ages 50 and up, a high-fiber diet lowered risk of death from these causes by nearly 60 percent.

Another study involving more than 300,000 men and women found that eating eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day trims the risk of a fatal heart attack by 22 percent, compared to eating less than three. Researchers from the World Cancer Research Fund also report that if we ate more fiber, and less red meat, more than 64,000 cancer deaths would be prevented annually.
Failing to Floss

People with periodontal (gum) disease are nearly twice as likely to have heart disease as those with healthy gums. While the reasons for the link aren’t yet clear, one theory is that the same bacteria that trigger gum disease may also spark inflammation inside the body, damaging arteries. Gum disease affects nearly 50 percent of Americans, many of whom don’t know they have it, because in the early stages, it’s painless.

A new study published in Journal of Aging Research adds to mounting evidence that one of the simplest—and cheapest—secrets of long life is taking care of your teeth, with daily brushing and flossing. Conversely, neglecting your chompers—and skipping dental visits—can be lethal, the researchers report. During the 17-year study, those who never flossed were 30 percent more likely to die than were those who flossed daily.
Smoking Even a Little

Smoking even one cigarette a day increases the threat of heart attack by 63 percent and smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day more than quadruples it.

Need more motivation to quit? Tobacco use also boosts risk for diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and many types of cancer. A 2010 study reports that using a nicotine patch for six months makes it easier for smokers to kick the habit. Munching on low-calorie foods, such as carrot or celery sticks, or chewing sugarless gum, can also help curb nicotine cravings.


Get the information you need to improve your health and wellness on

How a heart attack happens

I found this searching Google this morning, a good visual of why we need to take care of ourselves!

content provided by Healthwise

If a plaque inside a blood vessel ruptures, the body tries to repair the tear by forming a blood clot. A heart attack occurs when a clot blocks an artery that supplies oxygen-rich blood to the heart (coronary artery). This damages the heart.

Picture of plaque rupture and clot formation in a coronary artery

Picture of damage to the heart from a heart attack

Heart Disease Awareness And The Four Hottest Controversies In Cardiology

Great Article, from a great webiste too! I heard about this from my Google news today and wanted to share.

Heart Disease Awareness And The Four Hottest Controversies In Cardiology

heartFebruary is National Heart Disease Awareness Month, and so I invited Dr. Bill Kussmaul to make me aware of some of the hottest controversies in cardiology.  His tips and insights are invaluable to busy primary care physicians looking for the bottom line on thorny issues. Dr. Kussmaul is the Associate Director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Hahneman Hospital in Philadelphia and an Associate Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine. You can listen to our conversation or read my transcript below:



The Heart-Resources Page

The Heart
      Anatomy of the Human Heart
            The Heartbeat
            The Coronary Arteries
            The Conduction System
            Anatomy of the Heart and Cardiovascular System
      Heart Disease Risk Factors
      Your Heart Valves
      Amazing View of Beating Heart
      The Journal of Heart Valve Disease
      Heart Attack, Stroke & Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs
      Heart Valve Disease
      Children’s Hearts
            Congenital Heart Defects in Children Fact Sheet
            Congenital Heart Information Network
      Congenital Heart Disease News
            Congenital Heart Disease
      What is a Heart Attack?
      Survival Guide-Worse Case Scenario
      Types of Congenital Aortic Stenosis
      How the Heart Works: Blood Flow Diagram
      How the Heart Works
      Atrial Fibrillation
      The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation
      Minneapolis Heart Institute
      Heart Failure OnLine
      American Heart Association
      American Stroke Association
      Intro to Blood Vessels



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