Common But Overlooked Symptoms of Heart Problems

Not everyone with heart disease experiences chest pain. Other symptoms can instead be the warning signals that alert the sufferer to heart disease. In fact, any symptom that has the appearance of provocation by exertion, thereafter being relieved by rest, can be related to the heart. Other symptoms beyond chest pain can be the clue to a problem with the heart; this is especially true in people with such underlying risk factors as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and tobacco use.

Nausea, Indigestion, Stomach Pain, or Heartburn

There are those who experience these symptoms while having a heart attack; vomiting is even possible. These symptoms are more likely to be reported by women than by men. Of course, upset stomachs have a variety of potential causes. But with these feelings and risk of heart problems, a doctor should be informed of the circumstances.

Dizziness or Lightheadedness

Perhaps standing up too fast is the culprit or a lack of sufficient food or beverage. But a sudden feeling of unsteadiness along with shortness of breath or chest discomfort means that a doctor should be notified at once. The cause could be the blood pressure having dropped due to the heart being unable to pump properly…

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Why is it Important to Know Your Family Medical History?

Most people are aware that the risk of various diseases can be reduced by getting sufficient exercise, eating a diet that is healthy, and refraining from smoking. But fewer people are aware that one’s family history might be among the strongest of influences on the risk of one’s developing stroke, diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. While changing one’s genetic makeup is impossible, awareness of the family history can assist in the reduction of risk of the development of health problems.

Members of families share not only genes, but also lifestyles, environment, and often habits as well. Everyone recognizes shared traits as curly or straight hair, athletic ability or lack, vision, or dimples that run within families. Other traits that run in families are the risks for diseases such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Everyone has a different family history of disease.

The key facets of a family medical history that can increase risk are more than one close relative having the disease, a disease that generally does not affect a particular gender, diseases occurring at a younger age than they generally strike, and particular combinations of diseases inside a family, such as diabetes and heart disease. Anyone’s family that has a single of these features or more might find important clues about disease risk inside the family history…

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6 Fantastic Ways To Avoid Processed Foods

Most people know that eating less processed food is good for their health. However, it can sometimes be a bit confusing to avoid processed food and add more natural foods to your diet. The following tips will make the process a little easier.

Become A Label Reader
People who look at food labels are usually interested in things like calories, fat content, and the amount of sugar in the food. However, it is worth the extra time it will take to read the ingredients on the food label. If the food you are considering contains more than five ingredients and you are unable to pronounce some of them, you may want to look into alternative options.

Eat More Whole Foods
Eating more fruits and vegetables will help replace processed food in the diet. This approach also makes the food selection process simpler. There is no need to worry as much about calorie and carb counting when your diet consists mostly of whole food choices.

Choose Local Over Processed
Many people will be surprised to learn the whole-wheat bread they purchase in grocery stores is just as processed as the white bread in these stores. Buy your bread from a local baker to assure it contains no more ingredients than is necessary to make fresh bread. Locally grown and made fresh items are likely to go through much less of a process, and are generally healthier in the long run….

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Four Common Myths About Heart Disease

Heart disease is incredibly common in the United States. A third of Americans are currently living with this problem, and this number is only growing. Despite its prevalence, however, many people still have misconceptions about heart disease. Here are some of the major myths that surround this disorder.

Heart Disease is an Old Person’s Disease

Although the risk of heart disease does increase with age, it is becoming more prevalent in younger people than it has been in the past. The reasons for this increase include the epidemic of childhood obesity, type II diabetes occurring at younger ages, and the fact that more people in all age groups than ever are living sedentary lifestyles.

Heart Disease Affects Mostly Men

While it is true that the female hormone, estrogen, provides women some protection from heart disease, this benefit ends when a woman enters menopause. Heart disease is the top killer of women and men over the age of 65. After the age of 80, more women than men have heart disease — 80 percent for men and 87 percent for women.

Quitting Cigarette Smoking Will Not Affect Your Risk of Heart Disease

The lungs are incredibly elastic organs. The risks of heart disease and cancer begin diminishing very soon after a person decides to quit smoking. After just one year of not smoking, your risk for heart disease declines by half. This is true regardless of how long you have been smoking and how many packs you smoked per day…

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Four Unhealthy Habits That Damage Your Heart

Most of us understand that unhealthy habits are sometimes inevitable, it may be a surprise to some that a few of these habits are part of our everyday lives and go unnoticed. Here are four of those unhealthy habits along with ideas on how to promote heart health.

Regularly Skipping a Good Night’s Rest

Adults typically need seven to eight hours of sleep to feel rested and be productive. Getting enough sleep is also necessary for heart health. During the non-REM phase of sleep, blood pressure and heart rate go down, which helps to give the heart the rest it needs to maintain cardiovascular health. In addition, a chronic lack of sleep is associated with obesity, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and elevated levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The presence of those hormones is an indicator of inflammation, which is linked to cardiovascular disease.

Consuming Too Much Salt

Ninety percent of Americans consume more than the recommended daily intake of 1,500 milligrams of sodium. In fact, the average daily sodium intake is 3,400 milligrams, which is more than twice the recommended limit. The salt shaker is not the culprit since only 10 percent of sodium intake is from shaking salt on food. Most dietary sodium comes from restaurant, packaged, or prepared foods. Excessive sodium consumption raises the risk of hypertension, which may lead to heart disease. People interested in lowering their sodium intake should limit or avoid high sodium foods such as bacon, cold cuts, canned soup, jerky, chips, canned vegetables, and pretzels…

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Improving Your Emotional Health

While the benefits of physical activity have been lauded time and time again, mental health is just as vital for wellbeing both inside and out. Being healthy emotionally is linked to lower blood pressure, lower cortisol, better sleep, more resilience and a multitude of other benefits. Taking time to take care of oneself mentally shouldn’t be neglected. Here are a few tips for greater mental well-being.

Exercise Regularly

Physical and mental health go hand in hand for overall wellness. Exercising helps to release endorphins, a natural chemical created in the body that can promote feelings of happiness, and even increase cognitive sharpness. Exercise is also shown to help with mild depression and ease anxiety. Aim for three or more days of physical activity a week.

Spend Time in Meditation

Spending as little as fifteen minutes sitting in stillness, or while focusing on the good things in life has been shown to cause a dip in anxiety and stress, while improving cognitive abilities.

Have a Strong Support System

Having a steadfast group of friends, or family members that will listen during times of joy and duress is a pillar to a healthy, meaningful life. Support systems can be small or big, as long as they are positive influences. If one is looking for new friends, they should look at the things they enjoy doing to meet like-minded individuals.

Find Positive Ways to Cope With Stress

Some days stress is unavoidable, but going for a walk, or practicing deep breathing can bring relief. If a specific situation is causing stress daily, it might be time for a change. One should view this change as a positive new experience…

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Heart Disease and Obesity

When discussing heart health, there is an inevitable correlation between obesity and heart disease. To emphasize how serious obesity is, it’s second only to smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 34.9 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children were obese in 2011-2012.

To better understand obesity, let’s first define it. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 30 kg/m2. Obesity increases the risk of multiple chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, stroke, among other health conditions. According to the World Health Organization, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the number one contributing factor leading to death globally; obesity increases the risk of CVD.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), between 2007-2010 there were approximately 5.1 million Americans 20 years or older who suffered from heart failure. A higher BMI will increase the risk of heart failure. For every one unit of increase in BMI, the risk of heart failure rises by 5-7 percent in both men and women…

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4 Natural Foods That Will Boost Your Energy

Many adults are faced with heavily packed schedules and tasks that require them to be on the go from morning to night. From work or school to running a household and taking care of a family; your “job” likely doesn’t end with a regular 9-5. With the large number of tasks you’re taking on every day, it can be difficult to keep your energy up, and not feel as if you’re ready to crash by the time you hit the pillow. So, what are some of the ways you’re keeping yourself up and moving throughout the day? Coffee and energy drinks? For many adults, this is the solution to trying to get a quick energy boost; unfortunately, the boost is short-lived and can do more harm than good, over time.

A great way to avoid the quick-fixes to a lack of energy is to take a look at your diet and the foods you’re consuming daily. The foods you eat can play a major role in your energy level, and incorporating the right ones can give you the natural boost you need every day. Here are a few foods that not only boost your energy but improve your overall health.

Apples

Apples are a quick snack that can provide you with a sufficient energy boost throughout your day. A food that’s high in fiber and carbohydrates, apples can provide you with a sustainable energy release after consumption. Due to their high level of carbs, fibers, and natural sugars, they tend to take more time to process and digest; thus providing you with a slower and more sustained energy release, rather than a quick boost.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another great form of sustainable energy that when consumed in the morning, can likely last you for the remainder of your day. It’s known as a complex carbohydrate that’s packed with fiber and other major nutrients. According to Healthline, “It contains beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that forms a thick gel when combined with water. The presence of this gel in the digestive system delays stomach emptying and the absorption of glucose into the blood.”..

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How to Boost Your Immune System and Stay Healthy

Cold and Flu season is still underway, and you may be wondering how you can keep yourself healthy, and avoid getting sick. For many, the winter and spring months bring on at least one dreaded head cold, or worse, the flu. However, it’s important to remember that your immune system is your body’s natural form of defense from sickness, and making sure it’s functioning properly is the first step to avoiding feeling under the weather. This season, here are a few great ways to give your immune system the boost it needs.

Don’t Miss Out on Sleep

Sleep deprivation is one of the main things that can contribute to a lowered immune system.  Think about when you’re not feeling well and your body’s decreased energy level. When you’re sick, your body desires sleep due to an automatic response and immune defense.  In other words, when you sleep while being sick, your body essentially kicks into overdrive and increases its healing process.  With that said, sleep is also a preventative measure you should always take to avoid getting sick.  It provides your body with downtime and gives it the opportunity to restore and repair itself.

Have a Well-Rounded Diet

Eating the right foods provides your body with tons of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that directly contribute to keeping your immune system functioning properly.  You’ll want to focus on natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains and avoid processed foods that hold little to no nutritional value…

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Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

We’ve previously discussed the significant impact that sleep deprivation can have on your heart and your health in general.  One of the main links to sleep deprivation is a sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is linked to a general lack of sleep, chronic daytime sleepiness, and many cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart arrhythmia.  

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing during sleep to pause due to blocked airways, or issues with muscle control.  Generally, a person will fall asleep and have a significant pause in breathing that will ultimately cause them to wake up multiple times throughout the night.  In severe sleep apnea cases, this can happen for an individual hundreds of times throughout the night, causing a very unsteady sleep pattern. According to Harvard Health, sleep apnea is found in 47-83% of individuals with cardiovascular disease; and research estimates that those with untreated sleep apnea have an increased risk of death due to heart disease.

The most common form of sleep apnea, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused due to the upper airway collapsing, thus becoming blocked during sleep.  When the airway becomes blocked, breathing is paused, and oxygen levels decrease. As an emergency response, your body then releases a stress hormone known as epinephrine.  Depending on the severity of OSA and how many times your body is releasing the hormone, your epinephrine levels can remain consistently high, thus leading to high blood pressure…

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