Thursday, June 30, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Should Outdoor Smoking Bans Be Supported?

While most of the smoking bans are meant for indoor public places, lately there is intention for legislators to extend smoking bans to outdoor. A recent review of public surveys pointed out that a growing number of people in the United States and Canada support smoke-free laws for outdoor places, especially where children congregate or at building entrances. Find out more at:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Is There A Link Between Sleep Apnea And Diabetes?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common disorder in which one has one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. The breathing pauses may occur 30 times or more an hour.

It can cause daytime fatigue, morning headaches, memory or learning problems, dry mouth or sore throat when one wakes up. People who have OSA cannot concentrate and may feel irritate, depressed or have mood swings or personality changes. In children, OSA can cause hyperactivity, poor school performance, and angry or hostile behavior. Children who have OSA also may breathe through their mouths instead of noise during the day.

Studies have shown that OSA is linked to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, and weight gain. A recent paper published July 1, 2015 in the ‘European Respiratory Journal’ found a link between OSA and increased blood sugar levels.

5,294 people without diabetes, who were part of the European Sleep Apnoea Cohort, were involved in the study. Severity of their sleep apnea was examined and their blood levels of glycosylated hemoglobin, or HbA1c were measured.

HbA1c is an indicator for the average blood sugar level over time. Diabetics are known to have higher levels of HbA1c than non-diabetics. Higher levels are also an indicator of poor blood sugar control and a higher risk for heart disease. The target levels for HbA1c are between 4.0 and 5.9 percent for non-diabetics and up to 6.5 percent for diabetics.

Their findings indicated that levels of glucose concentration were significantly linked to the severity of sleep apnea. The participants were divided into groups based on their level of sleep apnea severity and HbA1c levels rose from 5.24 percent in the group with lowest severity to 5.50 percent in the group with the highest severity. The results held true even after taking into account factors like obesity, sex and daytime sleepiness.

Results of the study highlighted the importance for doctors to be aware of the risk of diabetes when treating sleep apnea. At the ATS 2012 International Conference, a study also showed that moderate and severe OSA predicted Type-2 diabetes, and that sleep apnea was linked to HbA1c levels.

Nevertheless, researchers stressed that further studies are still required to understand the mechanisms behind these 2 conditions. They also emphasized the importance of weight management as a way to lower the risks associated with the condition.

Doctors can diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical examination, and sleep study results. The family doctor may evaluate the symptoms first, and then decide whether one should see a sleep specialist. Sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and surgery, depending on individual’s condition. Medicines are not used for treatment.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Will Supplements Help Keep Healthy Level Of Cholesterol?

A high level of LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in the arteries. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is called good cholesterol as it carries cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver, which removes the cholesterol from the body. Read more on whether supplements can help keep healthy level of cholesterol by clicking the following link:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Are Menopausal Women More Likely To Have Heart Disease?

There is a common belief that women are less likely than men to have heart disease because women are protected by estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone. Estrogen is believed to have a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall to help keep blood vessels flexible. That means they can relax and expand to accommodate blood flow. In reality, women are at risk too, even if they are pre-menopausal.

Menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases. Although a decline in the natural hormone estrogen may be a factor in heart disease increase among post-menopausal women, it is certainly not the only reason. The body of a menopausal woman goes through other changes. Blood pressure may start to go up. Bad cholesterol (LDL) may also go up with a decline in the good cholesterol (HDL). Meanwhile, triglycerides may rise during and after menopause. A high-fat diet, smoking or other unhealthy habits begun earlier in life can also contribute to the rise in heart disease risk.

Women who have menopause may experience a variety of symptoms, including anxiety, palpitations and panic attacks. These symptoms may be benign and part of the hormonal changes during menopause. But symptoms that show a real heart condition include a sudden increase in heart rate or dizziness, light-headedness and blackouts when palpitations occur should not be ignored. Missed or skipped heart beats is relatively common and usually not serious, unless accompanied by other symptoms mentioned earlier or if there is a history of heart disease.

It has been known that women may have different symptoms of heart disease compared with men and can sometimes be missed. For instance, chest tightness or discomfort on exertion may be felt in men with coronary artery disease, while women with similar disease may have symptoms like tightness at neck, shoulder or back pain, nausea or shortness of breath. Very often, heart disease may be silent in women until they experienced a heart attack or heart failure. Hence, it is insufficient to rely on symptoms alone.

As a matter of fact, if a woman has any unusual symptoms indicating heart disease, even if they are not classic, and risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol level, smoking and a family history of heart disease, then she should have further cardiac assessment.

Several ways can help women to stay healthy during and after menopause. According to The American Heart Association, women experiencing menopause should eat healthy, whole foods (4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables and 6 to 8 servings in whole grains per day) and exercise at least 150 minutes per week to stay heart healthy.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - Will Weight Loss Surgery Benefit Mildly Obese Diabetics?

Bariatric surgeries have been found to be effective for treating Type-2 diabetes, though most studies were done in people who are morbidly obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above. Recently, a group of researchers from Taiwan's Min-Sheng General Hospital reported that weight loss surgery can help mildly obese people with Type-2 diabetes as well and the benefits can last for at least 5 years. Find out more at:

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Why Is Heart Rate Important?

The number of times the heart beats per minute is called heart rate or pulse. It is an important gauge for heart health. Normal heart rate varies from person to person. It can change frequently throughout the day and vary based on each person’s fitness level and underlying medical conditions.

Normal resting heart rate for adults can range from 60 to 100 beats a minute. But recent guideline suggests about 50 to 70 beats per minute is ideal. This is because, as indicated by recent studies, a resting heart rate higher than 76 beats per minute may be linked to a higher risk of heart attack.

A heart rate lower than 60 does not, however, necessarily signal a medical problem. A lower heart rate just implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. A well-trained athlete, for instance, might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute. 

Many factors like physical activity, age and gender Heart rate can affect heart rate. Heart rate can be higher during physical activity. After a meal, the heart rate can also increase to help digestion. Having larger quantities of food can increase the heart rate for a longer period of time. Caffeine can raise the heart rate considerably, too.

If one has a resting heart rate consistently above 100 beats per minute, palpitations and an exaggerated heart rate response out of proportion to his physiological needs, he or she may have an unusual condition called inappropriate sinus tachycardia. This condition is usually considered only when other causes of fast heart rate have been excluded.

Symptoms from medical conditions, including fever, pain, dizziness, shortness of breath and chest discomfort, can lead to a fast heart rate. Interestingly, rapid heart rate may itself result in symptoms of chest pain and shortness of breath, especially in those with heart diseases.

Generally, people should consult their doctors if their resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats a minute or if they are not trained athlete but their resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute, especially if they have other signs or symptoms like fainting, dizziness or shortness of breath.

Heart rate can be measured by checking the pulse. The best places to find the pulse are the wrists, inside of the elbow, side of the neck or top of the foot. For example, if one wishes to measure the pulse at the neck, then he or she should place the index and third fingers on the neck to the side of the windpipe. To check the pulse at the wrist, he or she should place 2 fingers between the bone and the tendon over the radial artery that is located on the thumb side of the wrist. Once the pulse is felt, count the number of beats in 60 seconds.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Heart Disease Prevention - How To Reduce Smoking Rates?

Cigarette smoking can harm almost every organ of the body and reduce the health of smokers in general. Smokers can eventually develop many diseases, including lung cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). So nearly every nation in the world have been trying very hard to reduce the smoking rates.

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