Health and Fitness

Emotional Fitness and Your Heart

Several years ago a professional ballerina was the recipient of a heart transplant. As a dancer she had been extremely conscious of her diet and ate only healthy low fat foods. It was a mystery to her why she craved and absolutely had to have some chicken McNuggets when she was discharged from the hospital. Later, she learned that her donor was an 18 year old boy who was killed on his motorcycle. In his leather jacket pocket was his favorite food: chicken McNuggets. Many psychologists who work with organ transplant patients routinely hear this type of story. It has led to the growing body of evidence that our heart and body are receptacles for our life experiences and feelings. It makes one pause for a moment to wonder: What am I putting into my heart? Recent biomedical research demonstrates that the heart is more than a simple 11 oz. pump. With each heartbeat, the heart communicates with the brain by way of the nervous system, hormonal and electrical systems, and other pathways. The heart generates 40-60 times more electrical power and is 500 times more electromagnetically powerful than the brain!

Heart Disease? Here Are Five Tips That Can Help Lower the Risk

While breast cancer gets all the attention, it is heart disease that is the number one killer of women. Women do suffer fewer heart attacks than men, but they are less likely to survive them. This means that both women and men should be mindful of the risk of a heart attack and take those steps necessary to reduce the risk of suffering one. 1. Check your blood pressure. Higher blood pressure levels occur when the arteries are narrowed due to plaque buildup in the vessels. As this pressure increases, it can dislodge pieces of arterial plaque into the bloodstream which can then lead to a heart attack. If you do not know what your blood pressure is, you can either buy a blood pressure monitor at your neighborhood drugstore or see your doctor. The general rule of thumb is that the lower the blood pressure the better. 2. Are you carrying extra weight? If you are overweight, this seriously increases your risk of having a heart attack. So if this is the case, lose weight. And if you're carrying extra weight or on your midsection, it is very important that you lose it because this weight increases the strain on your heart, your back and your legs.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance the body uses to protect nerves, make tissues and produce certain hormones. Our liver makes most of the cholesterol in the body. Some cholesterol also comes from foods such as eggs, meats and dairy products. Cholesterol is an essential ingredient of many physiological body functions. For example, it helps produce bile, combines hormones and vitamin D, and metabolises fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). It is, therefore, important to keep cholesterol levels within an ideal range, not too low and not too high. Cholesterol problems can result when your digestive organs cannot properly digest the fats or proteins you consume. When your body cannot digest fats or proteins, your liver does not receive the nutrition it needs to process cholesterol correctly. This can cause your cholesterol levels to rise. The main cause of high blood cholesterol is eating too much fat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fats are found in animal products, such as meats, milk and other dairy products that are not fat free, butter, and eggs.

Technology in Heart Surgeries

If you are in need of cardiothoracic surgery there are places using the latest in technology that help speed up your recover and improve your chances of less trauma to your body. The name of this technology is the da Vinci robot and it is one of the latest developments in surgical technology. This robot does not operate on you like R2D2 could. It doesn't have any computing power with which to think on its own. It is more of an extension of the surgeon's arms and allows the surgeon to be very precise. Surgeons are very good at what they do and many have extremely fine motor skills but it is hard to be as precise as a robot can be. The robot doesn't move unless you move it. It doesn't shake unless there is an earthquake and it doesn't have any second doubts. With this precision comes a few benefits. One is the size of the incision. A smaller incision results in less blood loss and less trauma to the operation site on the body. This often results in a quicker recovery time and less scarring.

Heart Conditions May Be Helped With Rehab

If you've recently been diagnosed with congenital or acquired heart disease then you may be a candidate for a cardiac rehabilitation program. To be a likely candidate you don't have to fall in the category of those who have had a heart attack. You may also be a candidate without having had heart surgery or other heart procedures. The decision is for you and your doctor to discuss. If your physician thinks you are a likely candidate and has prescribed a cardiac rehab program it might be to help improve your hearts functional capacity, to reduce symptoms and to produce a greater sense of well-being for you. If you have any one of the following conditions, you may be in favor of discussing the possibility of being in a cardiac rehabilitation program with your doctor: Congestive heart failure, Angina pectoris, Myocardial infarction, Post-open heart surgery, Post-heart transplantation, Balloon angioplasty, Pacemaker, Congenital heart disease, Arrhythmias, or Rheumatic heart disease.

The Relationship Between Smoking and Heart Disease

There are many risk factors for heart disease. The two main high risk factors are a diet that is high in fatty food and smoking. Indulging in fatty food will result in the build up of fat in your blood stream. This will then manifests itself in two ways, as high blood pressure or high cholesterol level. Both will means that your heart is working harder to pump the blood, increasing the risk of heart attack. Smoking is a high risk factor for heart disease because the carcinogens in the cigarettes contribute to various heart problems. Together these two risk factors are the most serious because they are hard to kick habits. Smoking and Coronary Heart Disease There are still a few who chose to deny the connection between smoking and coronary heart disease. Often, this denial comes from those who profit from the sale of cigarettes. Today, smoking remains legal and is a personal choice although many countries have moved to ban smoking in public areas. Most people who chose to ignore the danger of smoking are merely hiding their weakness for the habit.

Heart Disease - The Leading Cause of Fatalities in Women

Although women are less prone to heart disease as compared with men, it must be known that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women today. The risk is in fact higher for women for certain profile of the population. For example, women smokers are several times more prone to heart disease than male smokers. Heart diseases are caused by many different factors. For example old age, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetic and a sedentary lifestyle can cause heart disease to develop. In addition, menopause in women can also causes heart disease. Understanding the causes of heart disease is the important first step toward prevention of the disease. Prevention of the disease after all is much better than cure. In this regard, people at risk of heart disease should have regular check-ups and also stick to the instructions by their doctors. Knowing the causes of heart disease will help you in taking preventive measures such as reducing the level of cholesterol, keeping to a healthy body weight, eating healthy foods and exercise regularly.

Tips on How to Live With Heart Disease

Heart disease is not a just single condition or disorder. It has many forms and conditions. Hence, the term 'heart disease' refers to any disorder pertaining to the heart and the supporting blood circulatory system. The Causes of Heart Disease Some heart diseases are unpreventable. Typical examples are congenital and hereditary heart disease, which are due to defects existing at birth and due to genes respectively. There are other heart diseases, which are acquired due to lifestyle. For the acquired types, it is possible to prevent them by living healthily, including doing physical exercise regularly, eating a balanced diet, not smoking and drink excessively. There is a connection between heart diseases and diabetes. In fact, diabetic are up to 4 times more likely to suffer from a heart attack. Prevention of Heart Disease As mentioned, living healthily is the best prevention. Other preventive measures are maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your cholesterol levels within healthy ranges, controlling your blood sugar if you have diabetes, controlling your blood pressure, and make sure that you eat a balance diet that is rich in both fruits and vegetables as well as whole grain and nuts.

Fish Oil and Cholesterol

While it may strike some people as surprising, one of the most powerful ways to combat cholesterol levels in the blood is by eating a food high in oil: fish oil. Countless studies, including some backed by the American Heart Association have linked the consumption of fish oil to the decline in high levels of cholesterol. In addition, a regular supplementation of fish oil, coupled with a healthy diet and exercise, can help keep the levels low. Here is why. Fish oil is naturally high in omega 3 fatty acids. These super foods work to aid nearly any bodily process imaginable. Among their array of physical and mental health benefits, the omega 3 compounds in fish oil play an integral role in helping maintain a healthy blood pressure. The helpful acids in the fish oil carry out a three pronged attack against cholesterol. First, they prevent the buildup of triglycerides. Second, they encourage the development of high density lipoproteins, or "good" cholesterol. Finally, they help to prevent harmful blood clotting and actually thin the blood.

How to Get Rid of High Cholesterol

Contrary to what most people think, cholesterol itself is not bad; in fact, cholesterol is a very important part of the human body's functions. It helps in the maintenance and building of cell membranes and hormones. Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream by two types of proteins: the low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and the high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Among the two, it is the LDL that leaves the fat on the walls of the arteries and deposits it in the body tissues. The HDL, on the other hand, transports the cholesterol to the liver, where it is excreted. Because of this, LDL is also called "bad cholesterol" and HDL, "good cholesterol." To be considered not at risk, your total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and your total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio should be below 4.0. Too often, there are no obvious symptoms of high cholesterol levels until it becomes serious, like when you start showing symptoms of atherosclerosis or some other coronary heart problem.

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