Friday, July 31, 2015

Is There A Link Between Wildfire And Heart Disease?

A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation occurring in the countryside area. Sometime, it is also called forest fire, bush fire or brush fire. It differs from other kinds of fire by its extensive size, the speed at which it can spread out from its original source, and its potential to alter the direction unexpectedly. 

Wildfires in Australia are a common occurrence because of the generally hot and dry climate. They can happen during all times of the year though mostly throughout the hotter months of summer and spring. In the United States, there are typically between 60,000 and 80,000 wildfires that occur each year, burning 3 million to 10 million acres (12,000 to 40,000 square kilometers) of land depending on the year.

Inhalation of smoke from a wildfire could pose some health risks. As reported by Australian researchers, air pollution from wildfire might trigger heart attack, cardiac arrest or other types of heart disease. The finer particulate matter, which is presented in extremely high concentration in wildfire, is small and easily inhaled making it harmful for the human body.

Smoke wildfires has long been linked to respiratory problems such as asthma. While some previous studies had already associated PM 2.5 (particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or smaller) with inflammation and heart disease, the evidence of the relationship between wildfire smoke exposure and heart disease has been inconsistent. 

Due to the climate, vegetation and protracted droughts, Victoria is particularly vulnerable to wildfires. In December 2006 and January 2007, Victoria experienced a long-running series of wildfires that burned about one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of land with smoke reaching cities situated far away from the source fires.

Using the health data obtained during the period of December 2006 to January 2007, researchers from Monash University and associates examined the relationship between out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrests, ischemic heart disease, heart attack, and angina (hospital admissions and emergency department attendance) and PM2.5 concentrations.

The findings, which were published July 15, 2015 in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, reported that there were 457 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, 2,106 emergency department visits and 3,274 hospital admissions for coronary artery disease during the fire period.

After taking into account of temperature and relative humidity, the researchers also found that as the concentration of fine particulates in the air increased over about a two-day period, the risk for cardiac arrest among men and people over age of 65 raised. The risk for emergency department visits due to coronary artery disease also rose, particularly among women.

During wildfire events, general pollution is advised to stay indoors, maintain medication, and if they are worried at any stage due to a health condition, they should seek help immediately. Taking note that elderly or people with preexisting conditions are at the highest risk.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Do Married People Have Lower Heart Disease Risk?

Married people are at a lower risk of getting a heart disease and stroke. A large study that was released on March 28, 2014 and presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 63rd Annual Scientific Session on March 29, 2014, found that married people are less likely than singles, divorced or widowed people to suffer from any kind of heart or blood vessel problem. Check it out at:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Can Walking Keep One Fit?

It is generally thought that spending an hour of running or working out in the gym is the only way to fitness, yet some fitness experts think otherwise. They argued that walking is just as good.

Modern people spend plenty of time sitting. In fact, there is a new category of people, known as “actively sedentary” who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day. Obviously, exercising for just an hour or so can never be able to offset the long hours of stillness.

Emerging evidence has suggested that combined physical activity and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than physical activity alone. In a study conducted in 2013 by researchers from the University of Texas School of Public Health, 218 marathoners and half marathoners were asked to report their training and sitting times. It was found that median training time was 6.5 hours per week, and median total sitting time was between 8 and 10.75 hours per day. This suggested that these runners were simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active.

Sedentary lifestyle has been blamed for years to cause obesity epidemic, which ultimately lead to many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. So getting active is the key to one’s overall long-term health. 

A paper published in the journal ‘Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise’ by scientists at Indiana University found that three 5-minute walks done throughout 3 hours of prolonged sitting did reverse the harmful effects of prolonged sitting on arteries in the legs.

Physical activity is undoubtedly essential to health, and walking is the most basic foundation of movement. It is easier to get movement than it is to get exercise. There is a growing number of people calling walking a “superfood”, though this is somehow controversial.

While walking can benefit one’s health, it is definitely not a magical cure because walking would not help muscle or improve cardiovascular system. In order to help prevent disease and lose weight, weights and more intense cardio such as jogging are necessary, according to some fitness experts. Nevertheless, walking might be the only choice of physical activity for some people, especially for those who are not fit for jogging and those who are elderly. 

One might consider setting a target on number of steps to finish everyday. If fitness-walking guidelines of 10, 000 steps per day is too much, maybe one can begin at about 7,500 steps per day and at least 150 minutes of activity each week. Some habits change can help achieve the target. For instance, one might start with walking to friend’s house or the grocery store if they are within walking distance. If one takes public transport, get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. If possible, one can fit a walk every evening. Walking, when combined with healthy diet, would certainly benefit one’s health in one way or another.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Are Sugary Drinks Really So Bad For The Heart?

Sugary drinks could actually make people feel not as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food. A recent study reported that sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year, and insisted that such drinks should be eliminated from people’s diets. Visit the following link for more details:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Is Trans Fat Considered Safe?

Trans fat has been a hot topic lately. Why are so many people talking about it? According to a recent announcement made on June 16, 2015 by the FDA (Food And Drug Administration), trans fat will have to disappear from the American diet because it is not “generally recognized as safe” for use in the human food. So FDA orders food manufacturers to stop using trans fat within 3 years.

While trans fat occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, it is mainly formed by making liquid oil goes through a process called hydrogenation that makes the oil solid or semi-solid. That is why trans fat is also known as hydrogenated fat. It is often used for frying or as an ingredient in processed foods because it can help give products a longer shelf life, and it makes foods smooth and taste better, too.

Unfortunately, trans fat raises levels of bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein, LDL) and reduce levels of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL). In other words, it put people at a higher risk of getting heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Fried and baked goods, from doughnuts and biscuits to frozen pizza and stick margarine, often contain trans fat. Microwave popcorn and fast food might also contain trans-fats. Often foods that stated “trans fat free” do contain trans fat. This is because food manufacturers are allowed by FDA to indicate “trans fat free” in the labels so long the foods do not have more than 0.5 grams of trans fat.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), people should consume good fats like olive oil, canola oil, and sunflower or safflower oil. Soft margarine should be used as a substitute for butter. When choosing foods, people should look for “0 gram trans fat” on the nutrition facts label and “no hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list. People are also advised to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and less of the fried and processed foods that most likely to contain trans fat.

Once trans fat is determined by the FDA as not generally recognized as safe, companies will have to seek explicit FDA approval if they intend to use it in foods. However, it is expected that the new ruling should not have great impact on the food industry since food manufacturers have already been using less trans fat. The Grocery Manufacturer's Association of America indicates that food makers have lowered the amount of trans fat in processed foods by 86 percent since 2003. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - How Should Diabetes Be Managed?

One way to manage diabetes is to avoid certain foods like refined carbohydrates, and added sugars and sweeteners that could eventually lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes. In fact, besides diabetes, many of the health disorders are actually linked to overconsumption of carbohydrates. A critical review provided major evidence proving that low-carbohydrate diets should be the first approach for Type-2 diabetes and the most effective adjunct to medications for Type-1 diabetes. Read more at:

Saturday, July 04, 2015

How Much Exercise Do Women Need To Prevent Heart Disease?

Exercise plays an important role in keeping one healthy. But how much exercise does one need without wasting time or risking injury? Current physician guidelines suggest that adults should have at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, at least 5 days a week.

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford, middle-age women may not need as much exercise as previously recommended in order to stay healthy and prevent heart disease. The study, known as Million Women Study, involved 1.1 million women aged between 50 and 64 who had no prior vascular disease.

Participants reported their frequency of physical activity and many other personal characteristics in 1998. 3 years later, they were asked about hours spent walking, cycling, gardening, and housework each week. During an average of 9 years follow-up, about 7.5 percent of the participants had suffered a heart attack, stroke or a dangerous clot called venous thromboembolism. Their findings were published online February 16, 2015 in the American Heart Association journal ‘Circulation’.

Researchers found that women engaging in regular, moderate physical activity had the lowest cardiovascular risk among women in the study, after comparing outcomes with self-reported physical activity. Those who reported moderate amounts of activity just 2 or 3 times a week had a 20 percent lower rate of heart attack, stroke and blood clots, comparing to inactive women. 

While women engaging in strenuous physical activity like running also had a lower risk for heart disease, but only when doing such activities 2 to 3 times a week. Surprisingly, those participating in daily vigorous exercise actually had a higher cardiovascular risk than those exercising a few times a week.

It is not necessary to perform vigorous exercise every single day to prevent heart disease, as suggested by the study. People just need to exercise a few times a week. In fact, certain levels of activity will help keep the heart in shape, lowering cholesterol and inflammation in blood vessels, and essentially preventing the formation of plaque that blocks blood flow.

Health experts cautioned the data regarding physical activity was self-reported and women’s physical activity levels might have changed over the course of study. Moreover, women engaging in vigorous exercise only made up 3 percent of the entire study population that obviously put the study up to potential error. Nevertheless, the findings might just offer hope and possibly motivation to the estimated one-third of adults who do not exercise. These individuals just need to raise their physical activity, even in small amounts.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Heart Failure Be Cured?

Recently, scientists might discover a way to repair heart failure. A study found that paroxetine that is an antidepressant also known as Paxil could improve heart function in laboratory mice and even reverse heart damage more effectively than beta-blockers, the current standard of care for heart failure.