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Posts Tagged ‘heart attack’

How You Can Prevent a Heart Attack

October 23, 2014

New research from Sweden proves that almost four out of five heart attacks can be prevented simply by following a healthy lifestyle. After following 20,000 men for 11 years, they discovered that those who did not smoke, and maintained several healthy habits, reduced their heart attack rates by 86%.


Reducing Your Risk

The first step in preventive health is to know your personal risk for a particular disease or condition. Consulting with your primary care physician and participating in health screenings are recommended. Screenings for heart disease check for coronary artery disease, which is the leading cause of heart attacks.

Healthy habits can make all of the difference in preventing a heart attack. In the study, men who had the lowest risk did not smoke, walked or biked for at least 40 minutes per day, took part in exercise for at least one hour per week, limited alcohol intake to one or two glasses per day, and followed a diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy, whole grains and fish.

Some risk factors such as age, family history and gender also contribute to your risk of heart disease and a heart attack, but researchers from this study found that even modifying small habits can drastically decrease your risk.

  • Quitting smoking can reduce heart attack rate by up to 36%
  • Following a healthy diet with moderate alcohol consumption can lower heart attack risk by 35%


Heart Disease in the United States

Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States according to the CDC. If just half of the population followed a healthy lifestyle, up to 40% of heart attacks could be prevented.

While it’s not shocking or new news that a healthy lifestyle can prevent heart attacks, the numbers are starting to tell a powerful story. To start a plan for yourself, meet with your doctor to set up personal goals for diet and exercise. If you have other risk factors including high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes, medications can also play an important role in prevention.

Gene Linked to Heart Attack Risk

April 3, 2014


Researchers from the University of Michigan and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted a study  that used gene scanning processes to detect genes variations that are connected to certain diseases. The approach involved observing how variations influenced the way proteins act, and because of this method they were able to discover a gene that directly relates to heart attack risk.

The study used information from 5,600 Norwegians who had health information stored in a biobank. The focus of the researchers was on variations in genes that cause a change in protein function. The end result was cataloging 80,000 variants. From these variants, they narrowed the results down to 10 which had previously been related to blood lipid levels and cholesterol.

Honing in on a specific DNA strand that is controls blood lipid levels, they discovered gene TM6FS2. A percentage of study participants who carried a variation of the gene had healthier blood lipids and a lower overall risk for heart attack. If the gene is overexpressed or completely silent, heart attack risk increases.


Other Heart Attack Risks

Another recent study  conducted by researchers at Harvard showed that a heart attack risk is higher after an anger outburst for 2 hours after the episode. After an outburst the risk of a heart attack increases 5 times, risk of stroke raises by three times in addition to abnormal heartbeat or ventricular arrhythmia. (The risk per person also depends on how often anger outbursts occur, and their own personal risk factors.)

Other risk factors for heart attack and heart disease include family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes and elevated C-reactive protein levels.


 Reducing Your Risk

The first step to reducing your risk for heart attack and heart disease is to know where you currently stand. We offer five different heart disease screenings to assess specific risk factors. Look up screening events near you, or schedule an appointment online today.

Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle are also recommended to reduce risk factors. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, with some muscle strengthening exercises. Cut out saturated fats and foods that are high in sodium, as they negatively impact health.


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.

Why Winter is the Season of Heart Attacks

January 16, 2014

True or false: the number of cardiac deaths is higher on Christmas Day than any other day of the year. The second highest number of cardiac deaths occurs on Dec. 26, and the third highest occurs on Jan. 1.

The answer is true.

Most people recognize wintertime as cold and flu season, but according to Daily Local News, it’s also heart attack season. Specifically, risk for heart attack doubles in the wintertime compared to summertime.

A number of factors contribute to increased heart attack risk during the winter. Not all the reasons are because of the cold; even people in warmer climates are at greater risk. Below are the main reasons wintertime is the season of heart attacks:


Colder Temperatures

Constricted blood vessels are the body’s response to cold conditions. While this helps retain heat, it also raises blood pressure and forces the heart to work harder. The cold also increases certain proteins that thicken the blood slightly, increasing blood clot risk.

Cold-climate dwellers should bundle up when they go outside. Good tips include wearing gloves, a hat, and a scarf over the mouth.


Snow Shoveling

One reason heart attack rates jump right after a major snowstorm is because of the exertion required to shovel the driveway and sidewalks. Snow shoveling raises blood pressure and can strain the heart. Those factors combined with cold weather can raise heart attack risk.

Older individuals are advised to ask for help with their snow shoveling needs. A snow blower is another useful tool to keep risk of heart attack lower in the winter.


Winter Weight Gain

The holidays usually filled with sugar-filled goodies, large family meals and other holiday treats. These extra calories can mean winter weight gain. If exercise isn’t included during the winter, excess weight can eventually strain the heart.

Everyone should keep tabs on their diet during the holidays. In moderation, it’s okay to enjoy a holiday treat now and then. Remember, though, that staying active even in colder temperatures is crucial to healthy aging.


New Year’s Resolutions

Come January, many people are ready to lose the holiday weight. However, overexertion at the gym can strain the heart and lead to increased risk of heart problems.

Seniors are advised to talk to their doctors about what type of exercise program is appropriate for them.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Less time in the sunlight during winter lowers vitamin D levels, which can lead to SAD, a wintertime depression. As with year-round depression, SAD can stress the heart and increase risk for serious heart conditions, such as heart attack.

People can avoid SAD and boost their vitamin D levels by taking supplements. Finding treatment for SAD is also important if you feel it might be affecting you.


Flu Season

Many people are unaware that flu brings with it dangerous inflammation in the body. This inflammation that accompanies the flu can increase clotting and lead to heart attacks in sensitive individuals. Flu shots are an effective heart disease prevention measure this time of year.

Stay proactive with your heart health and learn more about heart disease screenings from Life Line Screening today.

Did You Know? What You’ve Always Wondered about Yawning

September 25, 2013

Your boss catches you in a yawn and thinks you’re either tired or bored. You see your spouse yawning and it makes you yawn just seconds later. Have either of these situations ever happened to you?

Many people think that yawning is simply a sign of fatigue or boredom. This may be true, but what are the reasons behind yawning? Why do we do it, why does it seem to be contagious, and what does it signal about our health?


Why Do We Yawn?

There are many theories behind why we yawn, but there is little evidence to support them. One thing we do know, however, is that we don’t just yawn when we’re tired. Some scientists believe that yawning occurs to boost deep breathing, which our lungs need periodically to stay healthy.

The most recent research on yawning points to its role in cooling down the brain. An open-mouthed yawn makes the sinus walls expand and contract, pump air into the brain and lowering its temperature. Studies have shown that people tend to yawn more in the winter, when the air coming into the lungs is cooler, compared to summer when the air doesn’t have as much of a cooling effect on the brain.


Why is Yawning Contagious?

The belief that yawning is contagious is true. One study, highlighted in a Huffington Post article, found that when an audience was shown videos of yawning, about half of the audience also began yawning. Other studies have even shown yawns being contagious among animals.

Research has revealed, however, that yawning is more contagious among people who are close either genetically or emotionally. The closer you are to someone, the more likely you are to “catch” their yawn.

As far as the reasoning behind contagious yawns, researchers believe it’s a similar phenomenon to laughter. Rather than being a psychological occurrence, contagious yawning is more of a social occurrence.


Yawning and Health

Yawning is a perfectly natural and normal occurrence. However, excessive yawning can be a symptom of an underlying disorder or disease. Excessive yawning has been linked to the stimulation of the vagus nerve caused by a heart attack or aortic dissection. It can also be a sign of heart disease, epilepsy, stroke, a tumor, or even multiple sclerosis.

Always check with your doctor if you are experiencing strange symptoms like excessive yawning. We all yawn now and then, but excessive yawning could indicate a much bigger health issue.



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