Exercises for A Healthier Heart

June 10, 2014Comments Off on Exercises for A Healthier Heart

Regardless of your gender or your age, having a healthy heart is a must if you want to live a longer life. Unfortunately, for most of us, taking care of our heart can be particularly hard since there are a lot of things that we might have to change when it comes to our daily activities. For one, you have to make sure that you have your exercise regimen down pat if you want to strengthen your heart. Now, this is something that can be quite hard to do especially if you no longer have the time to hit the gym.

Not many people may know it but even a brisk walk can make a big difference when it comes to the health of your heart. That being the case, you can just imagine the advantages of having your own exercise routine. If you are not sure how to go about creating one, you only need to keep in mind three things – cardio, strength training, and stretching. Keep in mind that an exercise routine need not run for hours. If possible, it should only last for 30 minutes and should have rest periods to make sure that you do not overexert your muscles.

Some of the activities that can be considered as part of the cardio exercise routine are running, jogging, brisk walking, and biking. These activities enable you to increase your heart rate without necessarily tiring your heart out. If you have joint problems, you might want to consider instead such activities as swimming and hiking. This kind of exercise is something that you can do everyday. Make sure that you rest every once in a while. While you’re at it, you can do some stretching in order to loosen up your muscles. Make sure that you do this gently and should not hurt. Stretching can be done before you start your exercise routine, during rest periods, and after you have finished everything. This would enable your body to become more flexible.

On the other hand, you have to make sure that you set aside two to three days each week for strength training. You may not know it but engaging in yoga exercises is actually one form of strength training. If that is not something you are into, you can also make use of resistance bands as well as weights. Make sure that you have an alternating schedule for this kind of exercise.

As your body starts to get used to the kind of physical activities that you have, you can either lengthen or shorten your activities and make them more intense or more varied. Make sure that you do this gradually so that your body would be able to adapt properly. In case you experience dizziness or difficulty breathing as well as chest pains, make sure that you pause for a while and take a breather. When you start your exercise regimen, you would most likely feel sore for about a day or two. This is completely normal.

As an additional precaution, it would be best if you would also undergo CPR training. This way, you can provide assistance should someone close to you would ever need help resuscitation.

Preventing Cardiovascular Diseases

June 8, 2014Comments Off on Preventing Cardiovascular Diseases

In many parts of the world, cardiovascular diseases are considered to be one of the top reasons for high mortality rate. This is because, while it is easy to understand how the heart works, the various conditions and diseases that involve it can be quite unpredictable. Take for example the case of Sudden Cardiac Arrest as well as Heart Attack. Although, when it comes to the latter, a person could experience a number of signs and symptoms, the former is a different story. That being the case, one of the best things that anyone can do is to make sure that you prevent its onset.

As cliched as it may sound, one of the many things you can do in order to avoid being a statistic is to watch what you eat. Now, you might think that you need to litter your plate with only vegetables and fruits. Of course, if you are used to eating meat and such, this could mean a sudden change in how you eat. In truth, however, you can actually combine the food items that you like with the things that you should have on your plate in order to have a healthier heart. For example, you can make use of crushed nuts as garnishing for your meat or your grilled fish. Snacks, on the other hand, can come in the form of slices of your favorite fruit. If you have a sweet tooth, you can have instead whipped cream on top of your favorite fruit. Keep in mind that the keyword here is “balanced” meal. While you’re at it, you might also want to consider bringing down your salt intake. Too much salt in your diet has been proven to be one of the causes of hypertension. If you are used to having salt, slowly bring down the amount until your taste buds gets used to it.

Having a regular exercise regimen can also significantly lower the risk for a heart attack as well as the occurrence of a number of different heart conditions. If you are not the type who can regularly hit the gym, what you can do instead is increase your physical activities. For example, you can walk up the stairs when you report for work instead of using the elevator especially if you only need to go up one or two flights of stairs. Walking is also a good exercise for those who do not have the time to go to a gym. You can also do a 30-minute crunches each morning in order to strengthen up your muscles and convert whatever excess fats you might have into something useful for your body. Another way to do this would be to enroll in yoga classes. Yoga activities are considered to be strength training exercises and can help ensure that your heart is able to withstand undue stress.

Most medical professionals also recommend getting enough sun and making sure that you quit smoking. In the case of the former, certain studies have shown that a deficiency in Vitamin can actually lead one to have a higher risk of developing heart diseases.

Now, just to be on the safe side, it would also be wise to know how to administer CPR or to at least have an AED unit on standby. This can prove to be useful especially when something unexpected happens to anyone around you.

Taking Better Care of Your Heart

June 4, 2014Comments Off on Taking Better Care of Your Heart

Enjoying a plate of your favorite meal is the closest thing to heaven for most people. It is partly because of this that some people are having a hard time getting a go at healthier meals. Unfortunately, the lack of the right food groups in one’s plate can, later on, lead to bigger problems. So how does one turn a favorite meal into a healthier one?

First thing’s first. When it comes to the contents of your plate, you have to make sure that you include fruits and vegetables. While most fruits and vegetables are not exactly abundant in calories, they contain minerals that can help the body regulate well as well as lower the risk for a heart disease. At least two servings of fruits and vegetables each day would already suffice. Now, this might sound a lot but is actually really simple. For example, you can have strawberries on your cereal in the morning, a few sticks of asparagus and an orange with your lunch, and vegetable salad by the time you hit dinner.

It is also a good idea to make sure that you include whole grain in your meal. Wheat, barley, oats, and even popcorn are actually considered as whole grain and could be good for your body. If this is not possible, you can make use instead of legumes or potatoes; which brings us to another thing that you need to include in your meal – nuts. Nuts have naturally lower levels of saturated fat. It is also a good source for nitric oxide which helps the body in lowering blood pressure as well as relaxing the blood vessels. When it comes to nuts, what you can do is top your cereal with crushed nuts or make use of it in order to coat your baked fish. You can also have a snack of yogurt with crushed nuts as toppings.

While most people are of the opinion that sodium is not something that you need to worry about, medical professionals would tell you otherwise. Sodium, especially in excess, has been known to elevate blood pressure. Sodium is also known to cause fluid retention which, in turn, also causes an increase in blood volume. Of course, this would mean that your heart would need to exert extra effort. What you can do is to slowly limit your sodium intake to about 2,300 mg per day until you are able to train your taste buds to go after too much sodium. You can then lower the amount to about 1500 mg per day. Make sure that when you cook, you do not put any salt. You can then have a salt shaker on your table which you can use in order to add only a small amount. When it comes to buying vegetables, fruits, and meat, always go for raw. Sodium is typically used as a preservative which means that you can actually be ingesting more than you need.

Heart problems, most specifically heart attack and Sudden Cardiac Arrest can be quite unpredictable. That being the case, your best bet, aside from having the right diet and lifestyle, is to ready yourself for unexpected situations. This can be done by undergoing CPR training with Citywide CPR.

The Almond Magic

June 2, 2014Comments Off on The Almond Magic

As we know, the heart is considered to be one of the major muscles in the body. Although relatively the size of a fist, it is responsible for making sure that all the other organs are able to receive nutrients in order to efficiently perform their work. It is also only in the heart that one can find a group of self-starting cells. These cells are responsible for making sure that the beating pattern of the heart is kept to a regular rhythm. Because of the role that it plays in maintaining the other organs, it becomes even more important that we take care of our heart. While exercise and living a healthy lifestyle are some of the ways this can be done, nothing beats having the right kind of meal on your table. Not many people may know it but almonds is one of the food items that should not be without in your table.

If there is one kind of nut that you should be nuts (pun intended!) about, it should be the lowly Almonds. Almonds have been known to contain significant amount of anti-oxidants, fiber, and a number of vitamins and minerals. While the health benefits of Almonds have long been known among medical professionals as well as ordinary consumers, it is only recently that a research has been done about its various benefits to the heart.

Almonds belong to a species of trees that is considered to be native to the Middle Eastern region of Asia. It is considered to be a relative of the Peach and is valued for the edible seeds of the same name. With the recent study releases by the Aston University in the UK, it has been found out that almonds can actually help minimize the risk of heart problems by ensuring that one has healthy blood vessels. With the addition of almonds in one’s diet, researchers have observed lower blood pressure levels as well as lower risks for heart diseases, partly due to the presence of mono-unsaturated fats. This is credited to the fact that, with almonds one’s diet, the level of anti-oxidants is increased. Aside from providing enough anti-oxidants, almonds is also a good source of potassium which helps in maintaining the regular beating pattern of the heart. Having said that, the study also points to the fact that Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the most healthiest meal around.

Now, while the lowly almond is something that can really help lower the risk of heart diseases, it is still nothing if you do not make sure that you have a regular exercise regiment as well as cut out some of the vices that you might have. This would include smoking, having too little sleep, and stressing yourself out.

One of the many ways you can prepare for a cardiac arrest is to have an AED unit in place. To know how you can effectively make use of an AED, you can check out the services being offered by Citywide CPR.

Why You Need to Learn Stress Management

May 29, 2014Comments Off on Why You Need to Learn Stress Management

Stress is an integral part of life. Although most people view stress as something that is bad for them, that is actually not true all of the time. In fact, there are times when stress can be good for you especially when it helps you deal with situations that call for fight-or-flight response. However, much of stress, especially when not processed properly, can be bad not just for your mental health but for your physical health as well, and the first part of your body that gets affected by stress is none other than your heart.

Stress is your body’s way of responding to situations that make you feel threatened or cause you to lose your focus and balance. While, at first, most stress can feel alien to you, there would come a time when it would start feeling as something that is normal. What you may not know is that it is already wreaking havoc to your body. Fortunately, there are ways to determine if you are already experiencing stress overload. Some of these sign and symptoms would include:

  • inability to focus and concentrate
  • memory problems
  • constant worrying
  • persistent negative thoughts
  • irritability and mood swings
  • depression
  • frequent colds and flu
  • chest pain and rapid heartbeat
  • loss of sex drive

In most cases, the chest pain and rapid heart beat could lead to either heart attack or a cardiac arrest. When that happens, there is a high risk of death especially if there is no one around to administer CPR or make use of an AED. This makes it all the more important for someone to make sure that he is able to manage his or her stress in a more productive manner.

Although it is impossible to lead a stress-free life, there are actually a number of things that you can do to keep it at a minimum. For one, you need to make sure that you keep a calm outlook in life. This, however, might require a lot of effort and practice so do not fret if it something that you are unable to master overnight. As much as possible, if you are faced with a stressful situation, take a deep breath and just let a big sigh while cleansing your mind of any worrisome thought.

Make sure that you start and end your day with positive thoughts. For most people, getting depressed typically leads to a cycle of negative thoughts. If you find yourself trapped in such, make every effort to get out of it. This can easily be done if you have a dependable support network made up of family and close friends. You also need to keep a firm belief that, sooner or later, everything would be all right. Keep in mind that there is nothing permanent in this world and whatever you are experiencing right now would, some day, go away.

Make yourself prepared to handle any type of situation by learning CPR. Citywide CPR can give you a hand in mastering this technique so that you can give much needed help when the situation calls for it.

The Impact of Your Diet to Your Heart

May 27, 2014Comments Off on The Impact of Your Diet to Your Heart

For quite some time, heart attack has been considered as the leading cause of death in the US as well as in most parts of the world. While Cancer might be the holder of the said “title” for now, heart attack as well as cardiac arrest is still a major problem for many Americans. Fortunately, there are a number of ways on how to prevent the onset of  a heart problem, and one of it entails changing the way you eat.

First thing’s first. Before we go to the topic of how diet can have a great impact on the health of your heart, you have to understand first that there is a big difference between a heart attack as well as a cardiac arrest. Although both could, if left untreated, lead to tissue necrosis and death of the patient, heart attack takes place when blood is unable to reach the heart. This could be due to build up of plaques along the blood vessels. On the other hand, a cardiac arrest takes place when something interrupts the regular beating pattern of the heart. This could be due to extreme blunt force to the chest, or due to congenital problems with the heart. In both caes, however, the proper diet can strengthen the heart muscle as well as prevent the development of plaques.

Now, while most people believe an excess of cholesterol intake is the leading culprit when it comes to heart problems, that is not always the case. In fact, what most people should avoid is the oxidation of the cholesterol that we ingest. One of the ways this can be done is by avoiding food cooked using vegetable oil. It is also a good idea to make sure that the oil you would be using when cooking your food is not rancid. Most medical professionals agree that if it can be helped, stay way from cooking oil.

It is also recommended that once you have set yourself to follow the right diet, you should make sure that you keep to your diet plan. Going on and off actually does not work well for you and could lead to undue stress on your heart. Aside from this, going on and off your diet can lead to a build up of the wrong kind of cholesterol which, in turn, might lead to heart attack. While you’re at it, you also have to make sure that you stay away from junk food. Instead of the said kind of food, go for those that are rich in protein especially during breakfast. That being the case, make sure that you have an egg on your plate each morning. Be sure, however, that you do not overdo this one as too much protein can cause hypertension. To ensure that you do not overeat, make use of smaller plates. It is also a good idea to minimize your caffeine intake.

If you need help in ensuring that you know how to administer CPR should the situation call for it, Citywide CPR can be of help.

When Fear Strikes

May 23, 2014Comments Off on When Fear Strikes

Technology might be able to offer us a number of conveniences but, at the end of the day, it also has its own limitation. For one, there are still a number of health conditions that continuously claim the lives of people each year. One of these is known as the Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, is considered to be one of the top reasons for high mortality rate in the US alone. Unfortunately, while it might be a holder of this infamous title, there are very few people who actually understand how SCA takes place.

Although most people use heart attack and cardiac arrest interchangeably, the two are not the same. Simply put, in a heart attack situation, there is something that blocks the blood from flowing through the blood vessels. On the other hand, in a cardiac arrest, something causes the heart to stop beating. In the case of the latter, the culprits largely include blunt force trauma to the chest, diabetes, and certain heart conditions like arrhythmia. The former, however, is a result of unhealthy lifestyle that causes a buildup of cholesterol deposits along the blood vessels.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest tends to be have higher risks of happening with people who have scarring in their heart tissue due to a prior heart attack. At risk are also individuals who have cardiomyopathy whether it occurred due to hypertension or valvular heart disease. Those who have problems with their blood vessels as well as those who are considered as recreational drug users are also prone to suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest. There are also certain heart medications that can actually give rise to Sudden Cardiac Arrest even when taken in regulation. That being the case, it is always best to check with your doctor if you have other options especially if you are already considered at risk for SCA.

A person suffering from a cardiac arrest typically loses consciousness without any notice. Tapping the shoulders of the person would elicit no response although you can still feel signs of weak breathing and weak pulse. In cases like these, a responder would need to act fast as time is of the essence. Why is this so? For every minute that oxygen-rich blood is unable to circulate and reach major organs, they become more and more likely to suffer from tissue necrosis. When the latter happens, it could lead to the person’s death.

What most medical professionals recommend when it comes to dealing with SCA is to, at least, provide chest compressions to the unconscious victim. This allows the blood to somehow circulate, and, this, should be continued until paramedics arrive or until the patient is revived. You have to keep in mind, however, that each compression should be at least an inch deep and should be repeated about 100 times per minute.

Now, giving chest compressions might be especially foreign for those who have not had any experience with CPR. Fortunately, one can always make use of an AED device in order to attend to an unconscious patient. With an AED, the responder would no longer have to worry what to do next as the device would already prompt him or her about what the next step would be.

Understanding Heart Arrhythmia

May 21, 2014Comments Off on Understanding Heart Arrhythmia

Being a major powerhouse for the human body, it comes as no surprise that the heart is also a victim of wear and tear. This is the reason why, in today’s world of a million different stressors, the heart can succumb to a number of different medical conditions as well as diseases. One of what is considered to be the most life threatening conditions of the heart is known as arrhythmia.

From the name itself, one can surmise that arrhythmia is a heart condition that has something to do with the heart’s rhythm or beating pattern. Now, before you can understand what arrhythmia is about, you first have to realize that the heart is the only organ in the body that has a cluster of self-starting cells. It is these cells that allow the heart to beat as well as to follow a certain pattern. What these cells do is sent electric impulses in order to cause the heart to pump blood. In an arrhythmia, the beating pattern is not regular with some patients having slower beats while others have weak ones.

There are a number of things that could lead to arrhythmia. Some of these would include a scar in the heart tissue caused by a prior heart attack, drinking too much alcohol, regular consumption of too much caffeine, diabetes, stress, and even certain medications. Electric shock, pollution, and an overactive thyroid gland can also lead to arrhythmia.

A person suffering from arrhythmia typically experiences such symptoms as fluttering chest, a racing or a slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and fainting. Those who have had previous heart surgery as well as an existing heart condition are at a higher risk for arrhythmia. The same is also true for those who have hypertension, thyroid problems, sleep apnea, and electrolyte imbalance.

Because much rely on the heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to the different organs, one simple skip can lead to a number of problems. Two of the most life-threatening effect of arrhythmia is stroke, and heart failure. A patient who suffers from stroke usually has a clot along the brain surface. This happens when blood pools in a certain area and starts to harden. If the plaque is not remove on time, it would lead to a stroke. While it can be life-threatening, early detection and proper medical attention can help the patient to recover from it.

Heart failure, on the other hand, can come in two forms – heart attack, and cardiac arrest. In a heart attack a clot forms along the blood vessels which causes the blood flow to slow down. This, in turn, can lead to oxygen deprivation which, in turn, could lead to the organ’s death. Although the end-result is similar to a cardiac arrest, the two are not the same. In a cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops. This can be due to a blunt force trauma to the chest or an irregularity in the beating pattern that causes the heart to starve of oxygen. Cardiac arrest typically does not show any sign or symptom which makes it more dangerous between the two. Your best hope to make it through a cardiac arrest is to have an AED unit on hand that can assist anyone in reviving you.

Taking Better Care of Your Heart

May 19, 2014Comments Off on Taking Better Care of Your Heart

Your heart is one of those responsible for ensuring that your other organs are able to function smoothly. That being the case, it is only right that you really take time to get to know what are the things you need to do in order to better take care of it.

When it comes to your heart, nothing beats having the right diet. Foods that are low in “bad cholesterol” is good for the heart. While you’re at it, you might also want to consider if there is any on your plate that causes your middle to go out of shape. This is because studies suggest that having a waistline that’s out of shape actually puts pressure on the heart and is known to lead to hypertension. That means, aside from making sure that you eat right, you also have to find a way to make sure that you shed off those excess calories that you have taken in. Some of the food items that you might want to consider, however, include salsa, fish, lots of greens, and of course, fruits. A moderate quantity of alcohol, particularly red wine has also been known to increase HDL, also known as the good cholesterol, which, as the name implies, is good for the heart.

While it might sound funny, having sex is actually one of the best ways to keep your heart in shape. Aside from lowering blood pressure, studies also suggest that having regular bedtime romp can actually lessen your risk of developing certain heart diseases. Sex has also been known to act as a stress reliever further allowing your heart much needed energy.

No matter what kind of dance you are into, moving your feet and swaying your hips can actually do wonders for your heart. This is a good alternative for those who abhor working out. As long as you are moving to a certain tune, you are actually raising your heart rate as well as burning some calories. A dance routine lasting at least 30 minutes should do the trick. If you are the type who happens to have two left feet, then your best bet would be to enroll yourself in some yoga classes. Yoga classes not only help keep you limber, it also allows you to deal with stress in a more productive manner.

As clichéd as it may sound being positive and really laughing out loud can give your heart more mileage. It is important to note that stress, which is the opposite of being able to laugh out loud, actually causes your endothelium to be damaged. This, in turn, can cause a number of problems concerning your blood flow.

Of course, it is also a good idea to be aware of your numbers. This would include your blood sugar as well as your blood pressure. This can help you monitor your pattern and know when you need to slow down a bit or when you can have the time of your life. Now, while you’re at it, you might also want to consider having an AED unit around just in case something happens to you. An AED unit can prove to be helpful even when there’s no one around who knows CPR.

Understanding Heart Diseases

May 15, 2014Comments Off on Understanding Heart Diseases

Just like any other organ in the body, the heart is also in much need of oxygen in order to function smoothly. It is able to get the said “nutrition” with a little help from the coronary arteries that are spread all throughout the walls of the heart. Unfortunately, because of the amount of blood that they carry as well as their nearness to the heart, they are also the one of the first places where plaques caused by cholesterol deposits start to form. These blockages causes a slowing down of the blood supply to the heart which, if left untreated, could, later on, lead to a myocardial infarction.

Fortunately, myocardial infarction is not the type of heart disease that sneaks up on you. At the very least, a patient suffering from it would be able to experience a number of signs and symptoms that would alert him to the presence of the said heart disease. Some of these symptoms would include chest pain in relation to shortness of breath, heaviness behind the breastbone that spreads out to the jaw area as well as to the limbs. In some cases, the patient may also feel a tingling sensation in his or her hands, fingers, and toes. Nausea, indigestion, and abdominal pain might also occur.

While some patient might not suffer from cholesterol deposits in their blood vessels, they might have problems with how their valves were formed. Some valves can be too narrow which could lead to the heart having to pump harder. Of course, this stresses the heart and could lead to a slower blood flow in the future. On the other hand, there are also those that have valves that do not close properly. When this happens, blood that should already be travelling to another chamber, flows back and causes the heart to have problems pumping. This also leads to reduced blood flow to other parts of the heart as well as the body. Although the valve might not be seen as a major part of the heart, any problem with it can actually be life – threatening.

There are also instances when the heart is unable to follow a regular pattern when it comes to how it beats. Now, you have to understand that the heart is the only organ that has its own self-starter. This clump of cells are responsible for making sure that the heart keeps to a certain beating pattern. A number of factors, however, can cause the pattern to go haywire. This is typically known as arrhythmia and is generally caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, electric shock, stress, and certain medications, among others. Although it might seem like a relatively simple condition, arrhythmia can actually be life threatening and could even lead to sudden cardiac arrest. It should be noted, though, that Sudden Cardiac Arrest, or SCA, is quite different from a heart attack. In an SCA, the patient falls unconscious without much of a warning. Because the signs and symptoms of the two, however, are very much similar, most medical professionals recommend treating an unconscious patient for SCA first. The guess work, however, can be minimized if the person happens to have an AED unit around. An AED unit can help assess an unconscious person and guide the responder on what should be done next.

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