Serving the Community Since 1956

Serving the Community Since 1956

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Heart Disease and Women

Article Reprinted from the American Heart Association
It’s true: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in women. Yet, only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
Take Amy Heinl, for example, an avid marathon runner and fitness devotee. Heart disease was the furthest thing from her mind – until she collapsed during an early-morning workout. A diagnosis of heart disease followed, and it took her completely by surprise.
“I really couldn’t believe this happened to me,” Amy says. “I thought of myself as a healthy person, and I was exercising when it happened. I truly believed I had pulled a muscle.” Which is why her friend called 9-1-1, not Amy.
The truth is, women are less likely to call 9-1-1 when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack themselves. It simply doesn’t occur to them to do so. And why would it? The bulk of media attention on the disease is focused on men.
Here are more unsettling facts:
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
It’s time to focus on finding, and becoming the solution. Here’s what you need to know about the causes of heart disease and ways you can prevent it.

What causes heart disease?

Heart disease affects the blood vessels and cardiovascular system. Numerous problems can result from this, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis, a condition that develops when plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke.
But it doesn’t end there. Heart disease can take many other forms as well:
  • Heart failure or congestive heart failure, which means that the heart is still working, but it isn’t pumping blood as well as it should, or getting enough oxygen.
  • Arrhythmia or an abnormal rhythm of the heart, which means the heart is either beating too fast, too slow or irregularly. This can affect how well the heart is functioning and whether or not the heart is able to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
  • Heart valve problems can lead to the heart not opening enough to allow proper blood flow. Sometimes the heart valves don’t close and blood leaks through, or the valve leaflets bulge or prolapse into the upper chamber, causing blood to flow backward through them.

How can I prevent it?

Many things can put you at risk for these problems – one’s you can control, and others that you can’t. But the key takeaway is that with the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended.
Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day. Here are a few lifestyle changes you should make:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cholesterol and Heart Disease

One of the biggest risk factors of heart disease is high cholesterol. Taking steps to lower your blood cholesterol level can help you avoid that risk.

When there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up in the walls of your arteries. This causes arteries to narrow and the blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked.

There are two forms of cholesterol, HDL(good) and LDL(bad). LDL is the main source of artery clogging plaque. HDL actually works to clear cholesterol from the blood.

There are no real symptoms of high cholesterol, therefore a blood test is needed to determine if you are at risk. If you do have high cholesterol, taking steps to lower it will reduce your risk of heart disease.

There are some recommendations that say once you are 20 years old, you should have your cholesterol checked every 5 years.

There are many factors that affect your cholesterol level:
  • Diet
  • Weight
  • Exercise
  • Age and Gender
  • Heredity
  • Medical Conditions
  • Medications
Controlling your cholesterol includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes your physician will prescribe a medication to help with your cholesterol.

Some of the top cholesterol lowering foods are:
  • Oats
  • Barley and other whole grains
  • Eggplant and Okra
  • Nut
  • Canola, Sunflower and Safflower oils
  • Apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Fiber Supplements
Foods to avoid are ones that include saturated and trans fats.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Be Educated and Know the Facts

California Department of Public Health has issued this Health Advisory about the Zika Virus. 

MMHD encourages you to be educated and informed about these important health issues.