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Archive for February, 2014

New Research from the Cleveland Clinic Shows that “Good” Cholesterol May Not Live Up to Its Name

February 27, 2014

What if we told you that what you think you know about HDL “good” cholesterol is wrong? A new study from researchers at the Cleveland Clinic has some shocking findings about cholesterol. HDL is known for preventing plaque buildup in arteries, but researchers are realizing that it can also turn and contribute to heart disease.

In its good form, HDL is meant to take molecules of cholesterol away from vessel walls and parts of the body to the liver to be removed. However, in the newly discovered dysfunctional or “bad” form of HDL, these molecules that are meant to be removed never make it to the liver. Due to this, it causes inflammation in vessel walls, and people who have a high level of the dysfunctional version are now at a higher risk for developing heart disease.

So, how are doctors able to differentiate between the two different forms of HDL? Researchers developed their own blood test through the Cleveland HeartLab, but may release it as soon as the end of this year. The blood test specifically tests for a protein found in HDL that when it is oxidized starts to cause problems for the heart and artery walls.

 

Connection Between Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol has long been linked to heart disease, and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol which carries 65% of cholesterol in the blood stream. LDL can help form plaque that builds up along artery walls that feed the heart and brain. When HDL works as it should, the “good” cholesterol carries LDL away to the liver and a high level helps to prevent heart disease.

High levels of LDL contribute to a condition called atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries, which raises risk for heart attack and stroke.

More than 60% of adults in the U.S. don’t know their cholesterol levels. Knowing these simple facts is an important step towards a healthy future, and at Life Line Screening we offer high cholesterol screenings with a lipid panel test. Learn more about our cholesterol screenings now.




Study: Certain Exercises Linked to Lower Women’s Diabetes Risk

February 20, 2014

As if we need another reason to get moving at home or at the gym, a new study shows a correlation between resistance and muscle-strengthening exercises with a lower risk for developing Type 2 diabetes for women.

The study published in the journal PLOS Medicine  followed 99,316 women with ages varying from 36 to 81. At the end of the eight year period for the study, 3,491 women developed Type 2 diabetes. However, women who participated the most in resistance training and lower intensity muscle conditioning had the lowest overall risk of developing diabetes.

Researchers explain that this is caused by an increase in lean body mass from these types of exercises that are associated with lowered diabetes risk, without changing body weight. So, the next time you visit the gym try to incorporate more resistance exercise, yoga, stretching, and toning activities to lower your risk of diabetes.

 

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Diabetes affects approximately 25.8 million people in the United States, with estimates that 79 million are pre-diabetic, making it one the fastest growing disease in the country. And while it may not be completely possible to prevent type 2 diabetes, controlling risk factors reduces your chances for developing the disease. Here are some helpful tips for lowering your risk:

  • Stop smoking
  • Lose weight (if you are overweight or obese)
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods
  • Eat whole grains in place of processed carbs
  • Decrease your intake of red meat
  • Avoid saturated and trans fats
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day

These activities will help to increase the effectiveness of insulin in your body. While genetic factors can affect the likelihood of being diagnosed with diabetes, lifestyle and behavioral factors are what largely attribute to the disease.

We offer screening services to check for type 2 diabetes, and screenings are recommended for anyone who has risk factors, is age 45 and over, or an adult with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels and should be taken every three years. If you suspect that you have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, take advantage of the power of prevention and schedule a health screening today.




Eat Your Heart Out the Healthy Way [Infographic]

February 15, 2014

Your heart works hard to keep your body working and in motion, so it’s only fair that you help it out along the way. In honor of Heart Month, we’ve put together an infographic guide to help you eat your way to a healthy heart. These heart-friendly foods and tips have plenty of health benefits that will go straight to your heart!

 

Looking for more ways to keep your heart healthy? Schedule a heart disease screening with us online today.




Don’t Let Sweets Get the Best of You on Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2014

You’ve probably heard it before, but we need to keep up with nutritious diets, regular physical activity, and necessary health screenings to have a healthy life. Holidays can make it tricky to stay on top of your healthy lifestyle, especially holidays that involve tons of sweets like Valentine’s Day. Chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate hearts, cookies, and cupcakes are plenty of ways to get off track with your health goals.

To give you and your sweetheart a heart-healthy gift this year, use some of these ideas:

 

Skip out on the traditional sweets

Instead of getting the traditional tempting sweets, try something different. Fruit baskets are a natural way to sweeten up the holiday while adding in some healthy nutrients. Try searching for foods at the grocery store that have a heart check mark on the package, meaning they have limited amounts of total, saturated, and trans fat.

 

Have a romantic dinner – the healthy way

Eating out at restaurants makes it difficult to know exactly what is in the foods you’re eating. Try cooking up a home cooked meal and spice it up with healthy seasonings. Rekindle an old flame with a favorite recipe, but substitute some ingredients for lower-fat or no-fat versions. If you are heading out to dinner, be sure to check online to see if the restaurant has nutritional information for the menu. Most chain restaurants have the information listed, so you can make a health conscious choice

 

Make your date an active one

It’s recommended that everyone get 30 minutes of exercise per day, so why not make it an activity for you and your loved one? Take a walk, do partner yoga, ice skating, or even take a ballroom dance class. Whatever you decide, just be sure to get moving!

Each of these tips can be combined with other healthy aging methods to ensure you’re staying on track this Valentine’s Day. In all things involving healthy aging, it’s all about moderation. Valentine’s Day doesn’t necessarily have to mean tossing your diet out the door. You can stay healthy, even on a holiday. All of us at Life Line Screening believe in you, and we wish a Happy Valentine’s Day!




New Blood Test May Detect Patients at Risk of Heart Attack

February 6, 2014

What if it was possible to know ahead of time if you were going to suffer a heart attack? A new “fluid biopsy” technique has been developed by researchers at Scripps Research Institute in California that can do just that. Using biomarkers in the bloodstream, the test helps to identify patients who are at a high risk for heart attack.

Published in Physical Biology, the procedure has been named High-Definition Circulation Endothelial Cell (HD-CEC) assay and tests patients for levels of endothelial cells in their blood. These cells line artery walls and are pushed into the bloodstream as plaque builds up and ruptures. Eventually these cells and others clump and block up the heart, causing a heart attack. Because endothelial cells are not found in the blood of healthy individuals, researchers believe that detecting them in the blood is an indicator of high heart attack risk.

The study was conducted on 79 patients who had recently suffered a heart attack along with 25 healthy patients. The HD-CAC test required a small blood sample and proved that only the patients who had experienced a heart attack had elevated levels of endothelial cells in their blood stream.

Due to its high success rate, researchers hope that the test will become highly predictive of heart attacks in the future, since in its original testing it correctly identified healthy patients from the heart attack patients 100% of the time.

 

Early Heart Attack Detection

Tests such as this are extremely helpful when it comes to early detection of heart attack risks. We believe that the power of prevention is essential to a long and healthy life. While we do not currently use this blood test as a part of our heart disease screening, here is a list of what our screening entails:

  • Complete Lipid Panel Screening (High Cholesterol)
  • C-reactive Protein Screening
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
  • Glucose Screening
  • High Blood Pressure Screening

If you have any warning signs or if you know that you have some of the risk factors associated with an increased risk of heart problems, you may want to consider heart disease screening.  If you are unaware of potential risk factors please read the list here.

Life Line Screening provides preventive health screenings for heart disease to help those at risk detect problems before they lead to life-threatening consequences. Learning where you stand with your heart health is the best way to work towards a healthier life.




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