Saturday, January 30, 2010

Up Front and Personal...When the Rubber Meets the Road

The other day a patient came to the Cardio Wellness Clinic for an individualized health plan to optimize his health. When I asked how he had heard about the clinic he coldly responded, “I really don’t know why I am here. My physician insisted I come; but, my cholesterol isn’t high and I don’t believe I have any high risks for heart disease-besides I’ve heard all of this before.”

I immediately scanned his chart and looked at the many health risks this young man carried with him. I was quite alarmed that he seemed to have no knowledge of how serious his risks were. He was a male over the age of forty-five, had a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, his bad(LDL) cholesterol was over 150 mg/dL (his goal is less than 100 mg/dL), his good(HDL) cholesterol was too low and his triglycerides (another form of bad cholesterol) were nearly double his targeted goal. His sugar level placed him in the pre-diabetic state and his weight in relation to his height placed him in the obese category with a high and unhealthy waist circumference. As science has proven, one risk factor plus another doesn’t equal a 2 fold increase risk for heart disease; but, can be over a 4 fold increase risk. You see risk factors for heart disease have a multiplicative effect and multiple risks can lead to significant health risks. This patient, whenever I began to speak would immediately stop me to let me know I need not waste my breath as “I’ve heard this all before.”

Each patient is unique with unique risks and unique health plans; but, among them all lies a common thread that in many ways connects them. In this particular case, it wasn’t that he didn’t believe he had risks for heart disease. After all, he drove himself over a hour to come to the appointment. He was fearful of having to change his life and facing the inevitable fact that his current lifestyle was slowly ruining his health. You see as long as no one says it-he doesn’t have to face it. That’s why he was stopping me every time I spoke, yet he drove over 60 miles for the appointment-he knew he needed to hear it-he wanted someone to hold him accountable.

For all of you who have untreated risks or who have let yourself go over the years-don’t be fearful and don’t be hard on yourself. It’s not about where you have been-it’s about where you are going. Most of heart disease can be prevented. For this young man, I informed him of all his risks (quite the list) and told him he was quite fortunate. He hadn’t had any damage to his heart and all the risks I acknowledged with the exception of his age were all modifiable-something he could change. I told him he still had control of his health he just needed to start making changes. He didn’t speak- tears rolled down his face, he understood. The rubber met the road.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease includes a number of problems affecting the heart and blood vessels in the heart. Types of heart disease include coronary artery disease (blockages in the heart arteries), heart failure (problems with the heart not pumping efficiently), or a heart arrhythmia

(changes in the beat of your heart). Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of heart disease. It is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary (heart) arteries. It is the major reason why people have heart attacks.

Check out the video to see how plaque in your heart arteries can lead to a heart attack or sudden death. Many people think it is because it grows slowly over time and eventually it becomes big enough to block enough blood flow to the heart to cause a heart attack or sudden death. We know today plaque will burst to cause that heart attack or sudden death. (See Video)

Heart disease remains the number one killer in both men and women today. But, this doesn’t have to be your fate. Much of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices. That is why it is so important to take action, become aware of risks, minimize them and continually manage them. If you have risks, or have heart disease we encourage you to follow up with your health care provider or through your Cardio Wellness clinic to make sure you have minimized all your risks, stablized your plaque and are on your way to optimal health.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Six Motivational Tips for Exercise

1) Don’t Count the Calories Burned

One of the ways to keep exercising is not counting the calories burned or weight lost. There are more important things transforming in your workout. Such as new found self esteem, stress reduction, increase endorphin levels (Happy Hormone), improving memory and cognition and adding longevity to your life to name a few.

2) Accountability

Hold yourself accountable. Mark an “X” on your calendar every time you exercise. Seeing your motivation (or lack thereof) in black and white helps to keep you focused on your goal.

3) Join a club, exercise class, or exercise with a buddy

Statistics inform us that we are more consistent with exercise when we do it with a buddy. Just knowing someone is waiting for you to exercise; helps you to show up and get it done.

4) Challenge Yourself

Sign up for a local 5K walk/run or bike trip. It will help you stay focused on your exercise goal while accomplishing a new activity. Not only will you benefit from the exercise; but, from your community involvement too.

5) Reward

Put a dollar or two in the jar every time you complete a workout. When you have enough money, treat yourself to a massage, new CD, workout outfit, session with a personal trainer, or new piece of sport/exercise equipment.

6) Mood Motivation

Often people will say it’s my mood that either motivates me to exercise or not. Regardless of your mood prior to exercise—exercise has been known to improve your mood. Work out your aggressions in the gym instead of at home or work.

Let’s ring in the New Year being active and moving our bodies. Cheers to our Health!

Friday, January 1, 2010

CardioTabs Omega 3 Fish Oils: Blue Ocean to the Green Economy

CardioTabs continues to update it’s products based upon the latest scientific evidence and what’s best for our environment. The use of marine-derived Omega 3 fatty acids as therapeutic agents have been well established for a wide-range of medical conditions. (Omega 3 fatty acids, are highly concentrated in the brain, eyes, nervous system and other vital organs.) Over the past several years there have been confusion as to which omega 3 fatty acid is most crucial for our health- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Recent studies point to DHA as the number one Omega 3 fatty acid for cardiovascular health. In general, research has demonstrated EPA did not show significant effects on blood pressure reduction and heart rate. However, DHA demonstrated significant effects on enhancing dilation mechanisms through forearm circulation, lowering blood pressure, reduction of heart rate and further triglyceride (type of cholesterol) reduction. Not only is DHA showing superior benefits in the heart health arena but also for overall human health. Recent literature suggests DHA’s health benefits extends past our heart health to other areas such as growth and development, brain function and eye function-particularly in the elderly.

Typically fish oils and fish oil concentrates unfortunately contain much less DHA than EPA. CardioTabs has always offered a higher DHA to EPA ratio in their fish oils. In fact the CardioTabs standard Omega 3, burp free, fish oil has a 2.6 to 1 – DHA to EPA ratio. But, what’s more exciting is CardioTabs is now offering us a new product to choose from. It is an Ocean Safe Omega 3 fish oil that has a 10 to 1 – DHA to EPA ratio. This Ocean Safe fish oil not only offers more DHA but it contains 400 iu of Vitamin D3- the vitamin we all seem to be deficient in -and it comes in a citrus berry flavor. If you have heart disease I would recommend 2 of these capsules daily. If you do not have heart disease one capsule should suffice. (You may even chew these fish oils if you like- citrus berry taste.)

So what makes this new product a “green” product? This oil is obtained using safe and sustainable fishing techniques that do not destroy the ocean habitat or deplete the fish stocks. The marine oil is produced from food grade calamari. Calamari has a short life span so they are in plentiful supply and they are naturally high in DHA. CardioTabs fish oil from the Blue Ocean to the Green Economy-protecting our health and the natural habitats of the ocean.