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

Top 10 Health Benefits of Bicycling

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1.  Builds muscle tone

2.  Reduce stress, anxiety, depression

3.  Strengthens rear, thighs, hips

4.  Gentle on joints, preserves cartilage

5.  Improves coordination

6.  Improves stamina

7.  Great for your cardiovascular system: 20 miles a week improves heart health

8.  Improves blood pressure

9.  Burns 300 calories an hour

10. Cycling for 30-minutes every day burns 11 pounds of fat a year

 

GO RED! Why? by Maria Dorfner

GO RED!  Today is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease in women. That’s a photo from last summer, but you get the idea with the red.  Please don’t make fun of my phone.  Or the shadow from the phone.  Pay attention.

Why Women Only?  What about Men and Heart Disease?

In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention.  See  how important it is to pay attention.  Your heart health matters way more than having a fancy phone.  Many women even dismiss cardiovascular disease as an “older man’s disease.”

To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

What’s with the Red Dress?

Ah, the dress.  I’m not standing in that photo because that dress is now a shirt thanks to a tailor.  Short Story! hahaha.   Back to hearts. In 2003, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the American Heart Association and other organizations committed to women’s health joined together to raise awareness of women and heart disease.  Unity.  Great.  Back to the red dress.

The NHLBI introduced the red dress as a national symbol for women and heart disease awareness and the American Heart Association adopted this symbol to create synergy among all organizations committed to fighting this cause.  Ah, synergy. It doesn’t really explain why the red dress, but ok.  That’s the explanation on their website.

I would have gone with Red is the color of heart and passion. Women have heart and passion, so we put them in a red dress to raise their passion about it.  That’s just me.

Back to these organizations, who do an excellent  job, by the way.  By working together to advance this important cause, the American Heart Association, NHLBI, and other women’s health groups will have a greater impact than any one group could have alone.

Where Do I Get Screened for Heart Disease?

Below is a link to get screened for heart disease. Here’s the catch. The tests costs around $200. but  frequently insurance providers do not cover the cost unless you are showing symptoms.  I think it may be too late by then.

So, now it’s ONLY if you’re at high risk which means you’re in the middle of having a stroke and they say, “Yes! High risk!” and toss you in a machine to get tested for heart disease.

They’re going to have to improve coverage if they really want to be about PREVENTION. I imagine the prevention they’re talking about is preventing doctors ordering unnecessary tests.  If people were ethical to begin with we wouldn’t have these problems.

Thank you, Saint Ephrems and to my family for teaching me about that.  Here’s the link to find out where you can get a screening:  www.lifelinescreening.com.  Below are answers to some other questions.

Why Should I Help Raise Awareness?

More women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. But 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking. Make it your mission to learn all you can about heart attacks and stroke — don’t become a statistic.

CALL 9-1-1

What Happens When You Have a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot. If this clot cuts off the blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die.

How Do I Know if I’m Having a Heart Attack:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1…Get to a hospital right away.

What is a Stroke?

Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in America. It’s also a major cause of severe, long-term disability. Stroke and TIA (transient ischemic attack) happen when a blood vessel feeding the brain gets clogged or bursts. The signs of a TIA are like a stroke, but usually last only a few minutes. If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help.

Call 9-1-1 to get help fast if you have any of these, but remember that not all of these warning signs occur in every stroke.

How Do I Know if I’m Having a Stroke?

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. It’s very important to take immediate action. Research from the American Heart Association has shown that if given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO IF I DONATE?

Donations to Go Red For Women help support efforts to educate women and to fund breakthrough research by the American Heart Association that helps ensure women are represented in clinical studies.  Since 2004, through its fundraising efforts, Go Red For Women has contributed almost $44 million to women-focused research and has provided additional funds to life-saving educational programs and tools for physicians.

 
Here’s a cute necklace if you’d like to get something in memory of your donation.  Also, when your friends compliment you on the cute necklace –you can help raise awareness by telling them all about heart disease.

If you’re a guy reading this –it makes for a heartfelt Valentine’s gift for a woman you love:

LINK TO PURCHASE NECKLACE:  https://shop.heart.org/AHAECOMM/en/ecommTemplate.jsp?pid=ahacomm.cat.product&categoryId=cat1000013&parentId=shcat1050001&id=prod900000

There are other items like a business card holder with a heart on it or related fitness wear or gear.

National Wear Red Day 2011
National Wear Red Day 2011 (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Montevideo)
 
Here’s One Woman’s Personal Story.  Link at end to share yours.
 
Don’t be afraid to call 911….and don’t drive yourself to the hospital!!!

March 2008 I turned sixty years old and I felt completely fine with no health problems at all. But then six months later, I had the shock of my life because I had a unexpected, sudden heart attack.  It happened at 11 pm and I was just walking around my house, getting ready to go upstair to go to bed and from out of the blue, it hit me.

Like an elephant had just sat on my chest right between my two breasts. Like my chest was caving in and my lungs could not fill up with air.  At first I did not consider that this might be a heart attack.  I don’t know why that was…. I guess because the idea of having a unexpected, sudden heart attack just seem too unreal to me.

Something you might see in the movies, but not in real life. Anyway, after resting on the sofa for ten or so minutes and the heavy pressure in my chest still there, my mind finally began to consider the idea that this could be a heart attack.

I remember slowly walking up the stairs and waking up my husband saying, “I think I might be having a heart attack”.  He jumps up out of bed and says, “What should we do, call 911?”

I foolishly say, “No, get dressed and drive me to the hospital”.  PLEASE anyone reading this DO NOT do what I did and do not drive yourself to the hospital.

I live only two miles from a hospital.  I thought I could get there faster than waiting for an ambulance to get to my house. I did not consider, however, that when I walked myself into the ER at 12 am midnight that there would be no one in sight to help me.  No nurse sitting at the front desk, no people in the waiting room, and no way to yell for help because I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs to scream…. and there was also a glass partition separating the waiting room from the empty nurse’s desk.

As unbelievable as this sounds, I had to just sit in a chair in the empty waiting room, while I was looking at the empty desk, waiting for the nurse to return. It also passed through my mind that I might die right here where I sat in the waiting room, just yards away from doctors who could be saving my life if they knew I was here in the hospital.

I was alone because my husband was parking the car and when he got into the ER and saw me sitting there, he started banging on the glass partition wall, yelling through the glass for someone to help. A nurse finally came into view, saw my husband, and I was rushed to a bed, given an EKG, and was told I was having a heart attack.

A doctor quickly took my bed and started rolling it, running down the hall.  I remember feeling the wind on my face and said, “you are going so fast.”  He said, “I just walk fast”.  But truth is, everything was happening so fast because too much time had been wasted already….. because I did not call 911.

The end of the story is- I was given an angiogram and two stents were placed in my heart, and one hour later, I was in the cardiac intensive care unit breathing normally without any chest pains.

And now I know why it is best to call 911.  It’s because you get immediate help as soon as the ambulance arrives at your home and you get VIP treatment the minute you arrive at the hospital without having to wait to be checked into the emergency room before you can see a doctor.

I feel very fortunate to be alive and very happy I did not die sitting in a chair in the ER waiting room.  Don’t make the same mistake I did… Call 911.

SHARE YOUR STORY AT:  www.goredforwomen.org

 

GO RED! (me & my sister)

Sugary Soda Ups Risky Fat Deposits

Sugary soda ups risky fat deposits

Published January 12, 2012
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Drinking a liter of regular cola every day increases the amount of fat in the liver and in the muscles and surrounding the organs in the belly, according to a new Danish study.

That kind of fat buildup has been linked in other studies to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

“This study suggests that the adverse effects of sugary beverages go beyond just weight gain or fat gain. It’s the gaining of the wrong fat in the wrong places,” said Dr. Frank Hu, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who was not involved in this study.

The researchers, led by Dr. Bj�rn Richelsen at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark asked people to drink either a liter of water, milk, diet cola or regular cola each day for six months.

The 47 people who participated in the study were all overweight or obese.

Richelsen said his team chose to study this group because they anticipated overweight or obese people would be more sensitive to dietary changes than people of normal weight.

At the end of the study the regular cola drinkers ended up with 25 percent more fat surrounding their organs, and just about doubled the amount of fat in the liver and muscle.

Such increases “are in most studies associated with an enhanced risk for developing the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes…cardiovascular diseases, and non-alcoholic liver diseases,” Richelsen told Reuters Health by email.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of health factors that is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The type of fat Richelsen’s group studied — called ectopic fat — is thought to be more dangerous to people’s metabolic health than “subcutaneous” fat, the kind that collects under the skin.

“It is well-established that ectopic fat is ‘unhealthy’ and induces dysfunction of the organs involved,” Richelsen said.

Hu said the results from Richelsen’s experiment complement those that have surveyed people about their soda drinking habits.

“This study provides another piece of evidence to support the recommendations for the reduction of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption,” Hu told Reuters Health.

DO SODA TAXES WORK?

The American Heart Association recommends drinking no more than about three cans of soda a week, while young men far exceed that, with about two cans a day on average (see Reuters Health report of August 31, 2011).

Some cities and states in the United States have batted around the idea of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks to curb people’s consumption.

Denmark has instituted a tax on sugary items, but Richelsen said it’s not clear how it has impacted consumers.

One study at a hospital cafeteria found that raising the price of soda by 35 cents reduced sales by 26 percent (see Reuters Health report of June 18, 2010).

The current study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, did not find that the cola drinkers gained more weight than the other groups.

Richelsen said it’s possible that the people reduced the amount of calories they ate or drank to compensate for the extra calories in the pop.

The researchers point out in their study that the sugar in soda from Denmark is different from most sodas in the United States.

In Europe, the sweetener is sucrose, as opposed to the high fructose corn syrup used in the U.S.

“It is quite convincing from the scientific literature that it is the fructose part of the sugar molecule…that is the primary culprit in inducing fat synthesis in the liver,” Richelsen said.

Given that there is extra fructose in high fructose corn syrup, Richelsen said, soda from the U.S. could lead to more pronounced problems with fat gain.

SOURCEhttp://bit.ly/x5kwKU American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online December 28, 2011.

Daily Aspirin: To Take or Not to Take, That is the Question by Maria Dorfner

aspirin2

 According to the Archives of Internal Medicine (www.archinternmed.com) a new study urges against routine use of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular problems in otherwise healthy adults.

Yet, in June, 2011, Dr. Keith Souter published a book called, “An Aspirin a Day: The Wonder Drug That Could Save Your Life.”
Dr. Souter referred to a December 2010 study, which proved that taking a small daily dose of aspirin cut overall cancer deaths by at least a fifth. In “An Aspirin A Day”, he examined the results of this and countless other studies which proved that aspirin is indeed a wonder drug which can protect against some of our worst known diseases, setting out how you too can benefit from taking even a small dose daily. He’s not the only one. You’ll hear other physicians touting the benefits of taking a baby aspirin a day.

So, which is it?  It’s confusing to people because they then say the benefits may outweigh the risks. That basically cancels out the urgency against it.

UrgentRx Aspirin to Go
Image via Wikipedia

Details of Latest Study:  In a six year span, researchers analyzed data from almost 102,000 adults with an average age of 57 in nine studies,who had been randomly assigned to take aspirin.  They took 100 milligrams or less, or a placebo daily. None of the people had cardiovascular problems when the studies started.

Results showed 2,169 cases of coronary heart disease and 40,712 incidents of bleeding.

In that time, deaths related to cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, occurred at essentially the same rate for people who did and did not take aspirin.

Overall, aspirin-takers had a 10 percent lower chance of having a cardiovascular problem (primarily a heart attack or stroke), a number fueled mainly by a 20 percent lower risk for a fatal heart attack.

No differences were found between men and women; older people seemed to benefit more than younger ones.

However, those taking aspirin had a 70 percent higher risk for bleeding problems; the chance of more-serious bleeding was 30 percent greater, especially among younger people.

Bottom Line:    Basically, anyone considering changing or beginning treatment of any kind should consult with a physician.

Related links:

 www.ahrq.gov (search for “aspirin”) andwww.mayoclinic.com (search for “daily aspirin”).

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073

Broken Heart Syndrome Real


“Broken Heart Syndrome.  BHS.  Grief from the death of a loved one can trigger it, as well as other stressful events. Symptoms of BHS can mimic a heart attack.  Severe, but reversible.  Your heart may take up to two weeks to recover from BHS.  A reminder that your heart is precious and linked to your overall health and well-being.”  ~Maria Dorfner

BROKEN HEART” SYNDROME: REAL, POTENTIALLY DEADLY BUT RECOVERY QUICK

— Hopkins scientists discover that emotional shock can trigger sudden, reversible heart failure that is not a classic heart attack

Shocking news, such as learning of the unexpected death of a loved one, has been known to cause catastrophic events, such as a heart attack.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered that sudden emotional stress can also result in severe but reversible heart muscle weakness that mimics a classic heart attack.  Patients with this condition, called stress cardiomyopathy but known colloquially as “broken heart” syndrome, are often misdiagnosed with a massive heart attack when, indeed, they have suffered from a days-long surge in adrenalin (epinephrine) and other stress hormones that temporarily “stun” the heart.

“Our study should help physicians distinguish between stress cardiomyopathy and heart attacks,” says study lead author and cardiologist Ilan Wittstein, M.D., an assistant professor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute.  “And it should also reassure patients that they have not had permanent heart damage.”

In the Hopkins study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, the research team found that some people may respond to sudden, overwhelming emotional stress by releasing large amounts of catecholamines (notably adrenalin and noradrenalin, also called epinephrine and norepinephrine) into the blood stream, along with their breakdown products and small proteins produced by an excited nervous system.  These chemicals can be temporarily toxic to the heart, effectively stunning the muscle and producing symptoms similar to a typical heart attack, including chest pain, fluid in the lungs, shortness of breath and heart failure.

Upon closer examination, though, the researchers determined that cases of stress cardiomyopathy were clinically very different from a typical heart attack.

“After observing several cases of ‘broken heart’ syndrome at Hopkins hospitals – most of them in middle-aged or elderly women – we realized that these patients had clinical features quite different from typical cases of heart attack, and that something very different was happening,” says Wittstein.  “These cases were, initially, difficult to explain because most of the patients were previously healthy and had few risk factors for heart disease.”

For example, examination by angiogram showed no blockages in the arteries supplying the heart.  Blood tests also failed to reveal some typical signs of a heart attack, such as highly elevated levels of cardiac enzymes that are released into the blood stream from damaged heart muscle.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans confirmed that none of the stressed patients had suffered irreversible muscle damage.  Of greatest surprise, the team says, was that recovery rates were much faster than typically seen after a heart attack.  Stressed patients showed dramatic improvement in their hearts’ ability to pump within a few days and had complete recovery within two weeks.  In contrast, partial recovery after a heart attack can take weeks or months and, frequently, the heart muscle damage is permanent.

The researchers collected detailed histories and conducted several tests, including blood work, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, coronary angiograms, MRI scans and heart biopsies, on a total of 19 patients who came to Hopkins between November 1999 and September 2003.  All had signs of an apparent heart attack immediately after some kind of sudden emotional stress, including news of a death, shock from a surprise party, fear of public speaking, armed robbery, a court appearance and a car accident.  Eighteen of the stressed patients were female, between the age of 27 and 87, with a median age of 63.  The results were then compared to seven other patients, all of whom had suffered classic, severe cases of heart attack, called a Killip class III myocardial infarction.

When results from both groups were compared, the researchers found that initial levels of catecholamines in the stress cardiomyopathy patients were two to three times the levels among patients with classic heart attack, and seven to 34 times normal levels.

  • Catecholamine metabolites, such as metanephrine and normetanephrine, were also massively elevated, as were other stress-related proteins, such as neuropeptide Y, brain natriuretic peptide and serotonin.  These results provided added confirmation that the syndrome was stress induced.  Heart biopsies also showed an injury pattern consistent with a high catecholamine state and not heart attack.

A hallmark feature of the syndrome was the heart’s unique contraction pattern as viewed by echocardiogram, or ultrasound.  While the base of the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, contracted normally, there was weakened contraction in the middle and upper portions of the muscle.  Other characteristics included a distinctive pattern on electrocardiogram, or EKG.

“How stress hormones act to stun the heart remains unknown, but there are several possible explanations that will be the subject of additional studies,” says study co-investigator and cardiologist Hunter Champion, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor at Hopkins and its Heart Institute.  “The chemicals may cause spasm in the coronary arteries, or have a direct toxic effect on the heart muscle, or cause calcium overload that results in temporary dysfunction.”

The researchers also plan to study whether certain patients have a specific genetic vulnerability for developing stress cardiomyopathy, and why it predominantly strikes older women.

While the folklore of “broken heart” syndrome has been around for decades, the prevalence of the condition remains unknown.  According to Wittstein, some reports exist, mainly from Japan, and describe similar syndromes, but no biochemical analyses have previously been performed that link the condition to elevated catecholamine levels.  The researchers contend that while stress cardiomyopathy is not as common as a typical heart attack, it likely occurs more frequently than doctors realize.  They expect its numbers to increase as more physicians learn to recognize the syndrome’s unique clinical features.

Funding for this study, conducted solely at Johns Hopkins, was provided by the Bernard A. and Rebecca S. Bernard Foundation.  Other researchers who took part in this study were Trinity Bivalacqua, M.D., Ph.D.; Jeffrey Rade, M.D.; Katherine Wu, M.D.; Gary Gerstenblith, M.D.; Steven Schulman, M.D.; Kenneth Baughman, M.D.; João Lima, M.D.; and David Thiemann, M.D.

GRIEF AND THE BROKEN HEART:

http://www.freep.com/article/20120110/FEATURES01/201100309/Broken-heart-isn-t-just-fiction

More on Broken Heart Syndrome from MAYO CLINIC

By Mayo Clinic staff


Original Article:  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/broken-heart-syndrome/DS01135


Definition

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition brought on by stressful situations, such as the death of a loved one. People with broken heart syndrome may have sudden chest pain or think they’re having a heart attack. These broken heart syndrome symptoms may be brought on by the heart’s reaction to a surge of stress hormones. In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the remainder of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.

The condition was originally called takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Today, it’s also referred to as stress cardiomyopathy, stress-induced cardiomyopathy or apical ballooning syndrome.

The symptoms of broken heart syndrome are treatable, and the condition usually reverses itself in about a week.

Symptoms

Broken heart syndrome symptoms can mimic a heart attack. Common symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • A generalized weakness

Any long-lasting or persistent chest pain could be a sign of a heart attack, so it’s important to take it seriously and call 911 if you experience chest pain.

When to see a doctor
If you’re having any chest pain, a very rapid or irregular heartbeat, or shortness of breath after a stressful event, call 911 or emergency medical assistance immediately.

Causes

The exact cause of broken heart syndrome is unclear. It’s thought that a surge of stress hormones, such as adrenaline, might temporarily damage the hearts of some people. How these hormones might hurt the heart or whether something else is responsible isn’t completely clear. A temporary constriction of the large or small arteries of the heart may play a role.

Broken heart syndrome is often preceded by an intense physical or emotional event. Some potential triggers of broken heart syndrome are:

  • News of an unexpected death of a loved one
  • A frightening medical diagnosis
  • Domestic abuse
  • Losing a lot of money
  • A surprise party
  • Having to perform publicly
  • Physical stressors, such as an asthma attack, infection, a car accident or major surgery

How is broken heart syndrome different from a heart attack?
Most heart attacks are caused by a complete or near complete blockage of a heart artery. This blockage is due to a blood clot forming at the site of narrowing from fatty buildup (atherosclerosis) in the wall of the artery. In broken heart syndrome, the heart arteries are not blocked, although blood flow in the arteries of the heart may be reduced.

Risk factors

Broken heart syndrome affects women far more often than men. It appears that most people who have broken heart syndrome are women 50 or older.

Complications

In rare cases, broken heart syndrome is fatal. However, most who experience broken heart syndrome quickly recover and don’t have long-lasting effects.

Other complications of broken heart syndrome include:

  • Disruptions in your heartbeat
  • A fast or slow heartbeat
  • Backup of fluid into your lungs (pulmonary edema)

It’s also possible that you may have broken heart syndrome again if you have another stressful event.

Preparing for your appointment

Broken heart syndrome is almost always diagnosed in an emergency or hospital setting, since most people with the condition have symptoms identical to a heart attack.

Call 911 or emergency medical help or have someone drive you to an emergency room if you experience new or unexplained chest pain or pressure that lasts for more than a few moments. Don’t waste any time for fear of embarrassment if it’s not a heart attack. Even if there’s another cause for your chest pain, you need to be seen right away.

Have a family member or friend come with you, if possible. Someone who accompanies you can help soak up all the information provided during your evaluation.

Share this information on the way to the hospital:

  • Any symptoms you’re experiencing, and how long you’ve had them.
  • Your key personal information, including any major stresses, such as the death of a loved one, or recent life changes, such as the loss of a job.
  • Your personal and family medical history, including other health problems that you or your close relatives have had, such as diabetes, high cholesterol or heart disease. It’s also helpful for your doctor to know about any prescription and over-the-counter medications you’re taking.
  • Any recent trauma to your chest that may have caused an internal injury, such as a broken rib or pinched nerve.

Once you’re at the hospital, it’s likely that your medical evaluation will move ahead rapidly. Based on results from an electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood tests, your doctor may be able to quickly determine if you are having a heart attack — or give you another explanation for your symptoms. You’ll probably have a number of questions at this point. If you haven’t received the following information, you may want to ask:

  • What do you think is causing my symptoms?
  • Could my symptoms be due to the sudden unexpected death of my partner, as I’ve never had any symptoms like this before?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • What treatments do I need right now?
  • What are the risks associated with these treatments?
  • What are the next steps in my diagnosis and treatment?
  • Do I need to follow any restrictions in my diet or exercise routine after returning home?
  • Should I see a specialist after returning home?

Don’t hesitate to ask any additional questions that occur to you during your medical evaluation.

What to expect from the doctor
A doctor who sees you for chest pain may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms gotten worse over time?
  • Where does your pain seem to start?
  • Does your pain radiate to any other parts of your body?
  • Does your pain momentarily increase with each heartbeat?
  • What words would you use to describe your pain?
  • Are you having any trouble breathing?
  • Do your symptoms include nausea or vomiting?
  • Do your symptoms include dizziness or lightheadedness?
  • Does exercise or physical exertion make your symptoms worse?
  • Does anything else seem to make your pain worse?
  • Does anything seem to make your pain better?
  • Are you aware of any history of heart problems in your family?
  • Are you being treated or have you recently been treated for any other health conditions?
  • Have you ever been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)?
  • What medications are you currently taking, including vitamins and supplements?
  • Do you or did you smoke? How much?
  • Do you use alcohol or caffeine? How much?

Tests and diagnosis

If your doctor suspects you have broken heart syndrome, he or she will use these exams and tests to make a diagnosis:

  • Personal history and physical exam. In addition to a standard physical exam, your doctor will want to know about your medical history, especially whether you’ve ever had heart disease symptoms. People who have broken heart syndrome typically don’t have any heart disease symptoms before they’re diagnosed with broken heart syndrome. Also, your doctor will want to know if you’ve experienced any major stresses recently, such as the death of a loved one.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). In this noninvasive test, a technician will place wires on your chest that record the electrical impulses that make your heart beat. An ECG records these electrical signals and can help your doctor detect irregularities in your heart’s rhythm and structure.
  • Chest X-ray. Your doctor will likely order a chest X-ray of your chest to see if your heart is enlarged or has the shape that’s typical of broken heart syndrome, or to see if there are any problems in your lungs that could be causing your symptoms.
  • Echocardiogram. Your doctor may also order an echocardiogram to see if your heart is enlarged or has an abnormal shape, a sign of broken heart syndrome. This noninvasive exam, which includes an ultrasound of your chest, shows detailed images of your heart’s structure and function. Ultrasound waves are transmitted, and their echoes are recorded with a device called a transducer that’s held outside your body. A computer uses the information from the transducer to create moving images on a video monitor.
  • Blood tests. Most people who have broken heart syndrome have an increased amount of certain enzymes in their blood. Your doctor may order blood tests to check for these enzymes to help diagnose broken heart syndrome.

Treatments and drugs

There are no standard treatment guidelines for treating broken heart syndrome. Treatment is similar to treatment for a heart attack until the diagnosis is clear. Most people stay in the hospital while they recover.

Once it’s clear that broken heart syndrome is the cause of your symptoms, your doctor will likely prescribe heart medications for you to take while you’re in the hospital, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta blockers or diuretics. These medications help reduce the workload on your heart while you recover and may help prevent further attacks. Many patients make a full recovery within one to two months. Ask your doctor how long you will need to continue taking these medications once you recover.

Procedures that are often used to treat a heart attack, such as balloon angioplasty and stent placement, or even surgery, are not helpful in treating broken heart syndrome. These procedures treat blocked arteries, which are not the cause of broken heart syndrome. However, coronary angiography is often used to diagnose exactly what’s the cause of the chest pain.

Prevention

There’s a chance that broken heart syndrome can happen again after a first episode. There’s no proven therapy to prevent additional episodes; however, many doctors recommend long-term treatment with beta blockers or similar medications that block the potentially damaging effects of stress hormones on the heart. Managing stress in your life is also important.

DS01135Feb. 10, 2011

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NEW YORK TIMES LINK:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/really-the-claim-grief-can-cause-a-heart-attack/?partner=rss&emc=rss

PATRIOT LEDGER:

http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x2079020136/Broken-heart-syndrome-after-loss-of-loved-one