New Study: 4 Best Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

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Study shows clear benefits of a 1. healthy meals  2.  exercise  3.  maintaining normal weight,  and 4.  not smoking.  

In the study, 6200 men, age 44-88 were followed for almost 8 years.  Those 4 things reduced chance of death 80%. 

First time lifestyle is linked to preventing heart disease.

A large, multi-center study led by Johns Hopkins researchers has found a significant link between lifestyle factors and heart health, adding even more evidence in support of regular exercise, eating a Mediterranean-style meals, keeping a normal weight and, most importantly, not smoking.

The researchers found that adopting those four lifestyle behaviors protected against coronary heart disease as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries, and reduced the chance of death from all causes by 80 percent over an eight-year period. Results of the study, “Low-Risk Lifestyle, Coronary Calcium, Cardiovascular Events, and Mortality: Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis,” are described in an online article posted June 3, 2013 by the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to find a protective association between low-risk lifestyle factors and early signs of vascular disease, coronary heart disease and death, in a single longitudinal evaluation,” says Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., the lead author who is an internal medicine resident with the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins.

“We evaluated data on more than 6,200 men and women, age 44-84, from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds. All were followed for an average of 7.6 years. Those who adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors,” says Ahmed.

Study participants all took part in the ongoing Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a prospective examination of the risk factors, prevalence and prevention of cardiovascular disease. MESA participants were recruited from six academic medical centers and did not have a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease when they were enrolled.

All participants had coronary calcium screening using computed tomography (a CT scan) when they were first enrolled in the study to see if there were early signs of calcium deposits in their heart arteries that are known to contribute to heart attack risk. As the study progressed, the researchers also assessed whether the participants had a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, chest pain, angioplasty or died due to coronary heart disease or other causes.

The researchers developed a lifestyle score for each of the participants, ranging from 0 (least healthy) to 4 (healthiest), based on their diet, body mass index (BMI), amount of regular moderate-intensity physical activity and smoking status. Only 2 percent, or 129 participants, satisfied all four healthy lifestyle criteria.

“Of all the lifestyle factors, we found that smoking avoidance played the largest role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and mortality,” says Roger Blumenthal, M.D., a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, director of the Ciccarone Center and senior author of the study.

“In fact, smokers who adopted two or more of the healthy behaviors still had lower survival rates after 7.6 years than did nonsmokers who were sedentary and obese.”

Blumenthal, who is also the president of the American Heart Association‘s Maryland affiliate, says the findings “bolster recent recommendations by the American Heart Association, which call for maintaining a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and fish, keeping a BMI of less than 25, being physically active and not smoking.”

The researchers emphasize that their study shows the importance of healthy lifestyle habits not just for reducing the risk of heart disease, but also for preventing mortality from all causes.

“While there are risk factors that people can’t control, such as their family history and age,” says Ahmed, “these lifestyle measures are things that people can change and consequently make a big difference in their health. That’s why we think this is so important.”

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The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health (grant R01-HL071739 and contracts N01-HC-95159 through N01- 485 HC-95165 and N01-HC-95169).

The other co-investigators were: Michael J. Blaha, Khurram Nasir, Steven R. Jones, Pamela Ouyang and Juan J. Rivera from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Arthur Agatston from South Beach Preventive Cardiology in Miami; Ron Blankstein from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston; Nathan D. Wong from the University of California-Irvine School of Medicine; Susan Lakoski from the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington; Matthew J. Budoff from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles; Gregory L. Burke from the Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.; and Christopher T. Sibley from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

For more information on the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/clinical_services/centers_excellence/ciccarone_center.html

Media Contacts:
Ellen Beth Levitt, eblevitt@jhmi.edu, 410-955-5307
Helen Jones, hjones49@jhmi.edu, 410-502-9422

Click on any image to enlarge. 

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“Aspirin can help prevent heart attacks in patients with coronary artery disease and in healthy men over 50 years of age. Only low doses, between 81 and 325 mg a day, are needed. But people who think they may be having an attack need an extra 325 mg of aspirin, and they need it as quickly as possible. For the best results, chew a single full-sized 325-mg tablet, but don’t use an enteric-coated tablet, which will act slowly even if chewed. And don’t forget to call 911, then your doctor. It’s a contemporary update on the old reminder to take two aspirin and call in the morning — and it’s good advice to chew over.” -Harvard Family Health

http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0505a.shtml

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MUST READ!  – DR. OZ  on WHAT YOU SHOULD HAVE IN YOUR BATHROOM TO STOP A HEART ATTACK 

http://blog.doctoroz.com/dr-oz-blog/what-should-you-have-in-the-bathroom-to-stop-a-heart-attack

IF YOU NEED HELP WITH ANY OF THE 4 LIFESTYLE CHANGES, CONTACT US.  REMEMBER:

1.  Eat nutritious meals (veggies, fruits, nuts, fish)

2.  Maintain a healthy normal weight for your height

3.  Exercise daily

4.  Do not smoke or get help quitting

Hottest Health Career of the Future by Maria Dorfner

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If your kids are graduating from college wondering what to do with the rest of their lives, and they’re interested in the health field, but avoid it to make more money elsewhere, keep reading.  If not, keep reading anyway!  Thank you.

Today, “kids” are encouraged to be entrepreneurs. Start a company at the age of 3!

All before they EVEN know what to do with money (reminds me of a blog Brian Cuban wrote about why sports figures or celebs  end up broke). I think the future is going to include founders. How many “founders” are there today and where will they be in 20 years?

I understand why it’s happening.  You get fired up every time you read about a dumb idea getting millions of dollars in funding. It’s frustrating because you think your ideas are FAR BETTER.

Those articles encourage kids to quit their jobs or not attend college at all.   The unhealthy message they get is just come up with the next great thing, get funded and you’ll be fine.

Really?

Let’s peak behind-the-scenes. Some crappy idea getting millions in investments may be one college buddy who is now a VC helping another college buddy. No intention to “save the world” which a lot use as their mission statement. That buddy VC attracts others, who have no idea they are going to lose money because it was just a gift to a friend, and not a real investment in anything real. The Nancy Drew in me can spot scams before they become public.   We need a delete/block in life for folks who try to take advantage or exploit others.  Lots of snake oil salesmen out there feeding off of hungry entrepreneurs.

There’s also other little factors you can’t control. So, your idea being better means nothing.

NADA.

Additionally, even if it’s legitimate, the majority of those companies will fail. Proven fact. Even if you get funding, expect to work your you know what off for one VERY expensive lesson.

I digress.  Back to HOTTEST HEALTH CAREER of the FUTURE.

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If you REALLY want to change the world and have an interest in health –take a look at the future and where there will be ACTUAL demand.

HERE’S A GLIMPSE through my eyes.  My parents always say, “Maria has a big heart.” So, if eyes are the windows of the soul…my green peeps would be shaped like this. 

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They’re not, but thanks to the San Diego Eye Institute my vision is 20/20 to see the future:

FUTURE IN HEALTH CAREERS:

20% of all U.S. physicians are 55 or older, including more than HALF of the 5,000 active board-certified thoracic surgeons. Approximately 70% are expected to retire in the next 13 years, dramatically shrinking the provider pool leading to a critical work shortage JUST when aging baby boomers are sick and tired of stomping on grapes.   

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Most of these sick baby boomers will suffer from heart disease creating quite a demand for well-trained heart surgeons, even if that surgeon is in another room or at home while doing this robotic or digital surgery.  In real estate they say, Location, Location, Location.   When it comes to a career in health, I say it’s

DEMAND. DEMAND. DEMAND.

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By 2025, some experts predict the number will be almost 2,000 short of what’s needed in the U.S. The demand for heart surgeons will explode. They battle both heart disease AND lung cancer –another baby boomer problemo. 

Average starting salary for a heart /lung surgeon? 350K

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That’s right. Your kid makes 350K right out of college.  CA-CHING!

How long do they need to study? Residency required is 5 years followed by 2 fellowship years. You may work 50 hours a week, but you’ll do that if you’re entrepreneur too. Only you’re creating crazy things in the HOPES of creating demand.

Even if there IS a demand, you HAVE to convince friends, family or PWM (People. With. Money) you haven’t lost your marbles.  Does the product or service create the demand or vice versa?  I say when people need something it’s subconscious. When it shows up, they recognize it because the need (demand) was already there. It does NOT exist first.  I aced marketing in college with one other person. That tells me 2 out 10 people in a room understand.  The other 8 wait to “see” something first.   They lack vision.

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Now, let’s look at a man with all his marbles AND vision in tact. He is one of the best cardiothoracic surgeons in the world.   I say THE best.  His name is Delos “Toby” M. Cosgrove. I am honored to call Mr. and Mrs. Cosgrove friends. When I first met them in 2001, Toby was Chief Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic.

Today, he is Chairman. Under his leadership, the Cleveland Clinic’s heart program is consistently ranked NUMERO UNO. He presides over the $6B healthcare system that is The Cleveland Clinic. Calling him an innovator is also an understatement. He holds 30 patents and is absolutely brilliant.

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I spoke with Toby about what it takes to be a resident at the #1 heart program and will share that later.

I followed him and went behind-the-scenes as he interviewed the best and brightest students to be selected for a residency at The Cleveland Clinic. Since it’s ranked #1, it attracts the smartest students from around the world. Interestingly enough, there was only one woman in the group. In general, 66% of physicians are male. Only 29% are female. Another shortage and demand for the future.

Tie this with the current obesity epidemic, a leading cause of heart disease.

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Most recently, Cosgrove warned people about the link between heart disease connected to the foods you eat. You know when a man who would profit from your heart disease issues a warning –it’s time to listen.

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May 2, 2013 How Our Guts – and What We Eat – Contribute to Heart Disease, Stroke and the National Debt

by Delos M. Cosgrove

We’re gorging ourselves into an epidemic of chronic disease, the costs of which will soon overwhelm our ability to pay and continue to be a contributing factor to the ever-increasing national debt. More proof of this has emerged with two studies that have uncovered new links between common foods and heart disease, stroke and death.

The culprit is a little-known substance called TMAO, or trimethylamine-N-oxide. It’s created when bacteria in the gut interact with two specific dietary nutrients – carnitine (found in red meat and dairy products) and lecithin (found in egg yolks, liver, beef, pork and wheat germ).

We now know that TMAO helps fatty substances in the blood to accumulate in the walls of the coronary arteries. These accumulations, called plaques, are the frequent cause of chest pains and heart attacks.

These findings were made in two recent studies by researchers in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and Nature Medicine. It’s interesting to note the usual bad guy in heart disease, dietary fat, is not the person of interest here. Carnitine, the substance that gut bacteria convert into TMAO, is not in the fatty part of the meat. It’s in the red, meaty part. So it doesn’t matter if you cut the fat off your steak, or if you buy lean cuts.

So there’s no getting away from it. We have to be more careful about what we put in our mouths. We need to be aware of the foods that contain high amounts of carnitine and lecithin. But the real message of this research is broader – each person’s unique gut flora has a tremendous impact in how our bodies react to these nutrients. Those with TMAO levels among the top 25 percent had 2.5 times the risk of a heart attack or stroke compared to people in the bottom 25 percent.

Such a finding could change the way we prevent and treat heart disease, by using TMAO blood levels as a marker of cardiovascular risk and possibly a treatment target.

No one is suggesting the complete elimination of red meat and egg yolk from your diet. Like so much in life, moderation is key. You can continue to enjoy a good steak, but you may want to limit it to about 4 to 6 ounces every other week.

We’re facing an avalanche of chronic disease in the coming years. Anything we can do to mitigate this avalanche of heart disease — and other chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes — will not only give us longer and happier lives, it will improve the economic outlook for our children and grandchildren who will ultimately have to pay for our poor lifestyle choices.

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Here is another interesting finding:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010, there were over 850K licensed physicians in the United States. In the United States, there are approximately 24,000 physicians for every 10,000 people.

I wanted to find out how many physicians per people there were in the healthiest countries. Turns out, the average is 34.9 physicians for every 10,000 people.

So, the shortage isn’t just in the field of cardiovascular surgery. I am a HUGE fan of preventing disease instead of treating it. Will we no longer need physicians or surgeons if we are able to prevent disease?

Too late. Even if you are healthy today, you still exposed an inordinate amount of toxins in the environment AND stress caused by factors you can’t control. Staying healthy involves continually being educated on what toxins to avoid AND learning and relearning healthy strategies and HOW to remain calm in the face of adversity.

There is A LOT of adversity in the world.   Enough to make you sick.

So, any disease that exists now or in the future has already been created and needs to either be REVERSED or TREATED. It will take as long as it did to create this disease to rid it from the existing population in the world. The only people who can completely benefit from PREVENTION are those who are A) already healthy or B) newborns.

And these two groups still need to be consistently educated on prevention from people like Delos M. Cosgrove.

So, if you’re smart and want to help change the world, it’s a field that will have an opening for you when you graduate with a good starting salary.

Of course, I know everyone isn’t “cut” out to be a heart surgeon or can be.  All I’m saying is if you CAN, do it.  The only question is do you have the academic grades for it? If yes, you can find financial resources.  If you don’t have the grades for it or it’s too late to select this field –then encourage a smart kid to explore it as a career.

I know recent college grads who make between $7 to $15 an hour or $20K, which was the starting salary THIRTY years ago AND the economy was thriving then. So, if you or your kid is smart –think longterm.

You need patience to be an entrepreneur OR a heart surgeon.  The latter guarantees success & innovation as dexterity is now a criterion as robotics and computers enter operating rooms. Think of it as fun playing video games while saving lives.

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More importantly, it’s a career with HEART that won’t have you screaming, “I can’t take it anymore!” at the end.

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p.s.  I was a founder before it was cool or part of a herd mentality.

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Speaking of leaders, be sure to FOLLOW DELOS M. COSGROVE as a THOUGHT LEADER on Linked In.

Cleveland Clinic: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/default.aspx

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Click FOLLOW button on upper-right-hand corner of this blog to be alerted by email when there’s a new post, thanks.

7 Top Health Risks for Men Over 40

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By Guest Author, , Caring.com senior editor

During midlife and beyond, men’s leading causes of death include familiar standbys: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, suicide, and Alzheimer’s disease.  To lessen your odds of dying from these killers, curb the critical habits that lead to them:

1.  Risk: Being single

Numerous surveys have shown that married men, especially men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, are healthier and have lower death rates than those who never married or who are divorced or widowed.

Never-married men are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, for example. After 50, divorced men’s health deteriorates rapidly compared to married men’s, found a RAND Center for the Study of Aging report.

What’s the magic in the ring? The social connectedness of marriage may lower stress levels and depression, which lead to chronic illness. (Women tend to have more social ties outside of marriage.)

Oops: Unmarried men generally have poorer health habits, too — they drink more, eat worse, get less medical care, and engage in more risky behaviors (think drugs and promiscuous sex).  Exception: It’s better to be single than in a strained relationship, probably because of the stress toll, say researchers in Student BMJ.

Silver lining: It’s never too late. Men who marry after 25 tend to live longer than those who wed young. And the longer a fellow stays married, the greater the boost to his well-being.

2.  Risk: Electronic overload

Psychologists are debating whether “Internet addiction disorder” is a legitimate diagnosis, and how much is too much, given how ubiquitous screens are in our lives. But one thing’s certain: The more time that’s spent looking at wide-screen TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, laptops, and other electronics, the less time that’s spent on more healthful pursuits, like moving your body, communing with nature, and interacting with human beings.

Social isolation raises the risk of depression and dementia. And a sedentary lifestyle — a.k.a. “sitting disease” — has been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and premature death. A 2012 Australian study of more than 220,000 adults ages 45 and up linked sitting for 11 or more hours a day with a 40 percent increased risk of death over the next three years.

Oops: Americans spend five hours in front of the TV every day, according to a 2011 JAMA study that didn’t even take all those other screens into account. More than just three hours a day ups your odds of dying of any chronic disease.

Silver lining: The Australian researchers say that getting up and moving even five minutes per hour is a “feasible goal . . . and offers many health benefits.”

3. Risk: Sloppy sunscreen use

Men over age 40 have the highest exposure to damaging UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Men are twice as likely as women to develop skin cancer and die from it. And 6 in 10 cases of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, affect white men over age 50.

More men tend to work and play sports outdoors; having shorter hair and not wearing makeup adds to the gender’s exposure. Nor are their malignancies noticed and treated early: Middle-aged and older men are the least likely group to perform self-exams or see a dermatologist, according to a 2001 American Academy of Dermatology study.

Oops: Fewer than half of adult men report using sun protection methods (sunscreen, protective clothing, shade), in contrast to 65 percent of adult women.

Silver lining: Doctors tend to detect more early melanomas in men over 65, perhaps because the older you get, the more often you see a doctor for other (nondermatological) reasons.

4. Risk: Crummy diet

Poor nutrition is linked with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer — leading causes of death in men over 40. Younger midlife men often over-rely on red meat, junk food, and fast food to fuel a busy lifestyle, which leads to excess weight, high cholesterol, hypertension, and other risk factors. Older men living alone and alcoholics are vulnerable to malnutrition, because they tend not to prepare healthy food for themselves.

Oops: Until around 2000, more women were obese than men — but guys are catching up. In 2010, 35.5 percent of men were obese, up from 27.5 percent in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Women’s fat rates have held steady at around 37 percent.)

Silver lining: The American Dietetic Association recommends a reasonable 2,000 calories a day for men over 50 who are sedentary, up to 2,400 for those who are active. What comprises those calories is up to you.

5. Risk: Careless driving

Men generally have more car accidents than women, and men in their 50s and 60s are twice as likely as women to die in car wrecks. Unintentional injuries (of all kinds) are the top cause of death among men ages 40 to 44, the third main cause in men ages 45 to 64, and cause #8 in men 65-plus.

Oops: Among middle-aged men, fatalities are more likely to result from falling asleep at the wheel, exceeding the speed limit, getting into an accident at an intersection or on weekends after midnight — all factors that don’t have a significant effect on the injury levels of middle-aged women, according to a 2007 Purdue University study on how age and gender affect driving. Men over age 45 have more accidents on snow and ice, too.

Silver lining: Older men fare better than men under age 45 on dry roads, where younger drivers crash more (perhaps due to overconfidence, the Purdue researchers say).

6. Risk: Untreated depression

Although women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are more successful at it, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In 2009, 79 percent of all suicides were men. Suicide rates for men spike after age 65; seven times more men over 65 commit suicide than their female peers.

More than 60 percent of all those who die by suicide have major depression. If you include alcoholics, that number rises to 75 percent. In older adults, social isolation is another key contributing factor — which is why older suicides are often widowers.

Oops: Men often equate depression with “sadness” or other emotions — and fail to realize that common warning signs of depression include fatigue or excessive sleep, agitation and restlessness, trouble concentrating, irritability, and changes in appetite or sleep.

Silver lining: Depression is treatable at any age, and most cases are responsive to treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

7.  Risk: Smoking

Sure, you’ve heard about the horrific effects of smoking before. But the older you get, the worse they become. Older smokers have sustained greater lung damage over time because they tend to have been smoking longer; they also tend to be heavier smokers.

Men over 65 who smoke are twice as likely to die of stroke. Smoking causes more than 90 percent of all cases of COPD — the fourth leading cause of death among men — and 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancer. The risks of all kinds of lung disease rise with age. Smokers develop Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death, far more than nonsmokers.

Oops: Older smokers are less likely than younger smokers to believe there’s a real health risk attached to cigarettes, says the American Lung Association. That means they’re less likely to try to quit.

Silver lining: No matter at what age you quit, your risk of added heart damage is halved after one year. The risks of stroke, lung disease, and cancer also drop immediately.

For More Information, please visit: www.caring.com

RECAP:  7 TOP HEALTH RISKS FOR MEN OVER 40:

1.  BEING SINGLE

2.  ELECTRONIC OVERLOAD

3. SLOPPY SUNSCREEN

4. CRUMMY DIET

5. CARELESS DRIVING

6. UNTREATED DEPRESSION

7.  SMOKING