hands making heart shape

Heart Murmurs

As we remember American Heart Month every February, it is important to us that we discuss heart issues that affect many of our patients.

A heart murmur is a common medical condition. Although the numbers vary from various medical authorities, as many as 30-50% of children may be diagnosed with a heart murmur at some time during early childhood.

Although no parent ever wants to hear that their child has a medical problem, the majority of heart murmurs are not serious and do not affect a child’s health.

In contrast, only around 10% of adults are ever diagnosed with a heart murmur.

 

What is a heart murmur?

 

When your doctor listens to your heart through a stethoscope, it is usually a steady sound. However, in some individuals, a “whoosh” sound is heard as the blood flows through the heart. We refer to this sound as a murmur. Sometimes this extra sound is due to normal blood flow moving through the heart. Other times, a murmur may be a sign of a more concerning heart problem.

Some heart murmurs may be soft and difficult to hear. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for a murmur to be noticed during a routine checkup when a doctor did not notice it before.


What is the difference between serious and non-serious heart murmurs?


The most common type of heart murmur is known as a functional or innocent heart murmur. An innocent heart murmur is the sound of blood traveling through a healthy heart in a normal way. This type of heart murmur may come and go throughout childhood. Children with innocent heart murmurs do not require any special restrictions or diet. Most innocent murmurs will also go away as a child ages.

If a doctor suspects that a heart murmur indicates a more serious problem, he or she may have a child see a pediatric cardiologist. The cardiologist may then order tests such as an EKG, and a chest X-ray.

About 1% of babies are born with a congenital heart defect which is a structural heart problem. Some children will show no signs at all of their heart defect while others will show symptoms soon after birth. Such symptoms may include difficulty feeding, cyanosis (blueness in the lips) or rapid breathing.

Older children with heart defects may tire easily, have trouble exercising or doing physical activity or have chest pain. Call your child’s doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

 

What are common heart defects?


Several kinds of heart problems can cause heart murmurs, including heart muscle disorders, septal defects and valve abnormalities.

Heart muscle disorders (cardiomyopathy) make the heart muscle abnormally thick or weak. Furthermore, this weakening hurts the heart’s ability to pump blood to the body as it should.

Septal defects involve the septum (walls) between the upper or lower heart chambers. A hole in the septum allows blood to flow into the heart’s other chambers. The heart may also work too hard and become enlarged.


When heart valves are too small, too thick or too narrow, a heart murmur may occur. Sometimes a valve abnormality causes a backflow of blood into the heart.

 

 

If you have questions about heart murmurs or you would like to learn more about heart and vascular services offered at CCMH, please visit http://www.ccmhhealth.com/heart-and-vascular/.

 

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

RBC Care Team Awards

Care Team Awards Banquet

The RBC Care Team celebrated the accomplishments of our leaders with their first Awards Banquet. The highlight of the evening was recognizing the RBC Rising Star of the Year and the RBC Lifetime award.

The winner of the RBC Rising Star of the Year: Amber James.

The winner of the RBC Lifetime Award: Yvonne Hall.

The nominees were: Jayne Gallimore (CCSWOK), VeEtta Wandick (2 South), Chandra Lucksted (Education), Scott Odebrecht (Engineering), Jennifer Walters (Cath Lab), Erica Ochsner (Outpatient Rehab), Hollie Holbrook (Surgery), Susan Milam (Surgery), Craig Andrus (Pharmacy), Blanca Gonzalez (Respiratory), Sara Ann Grover (Nutrition Services), Toshia Fanning (GI Lab), George Alvillar (Nursing Admin), George Obinero (Hospitalist), Amber James (Nursing Float).

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

2nd Heart Healthy Luncheon

2nd Heart Healthy Luncheon – February 22, 2019

2nd Heart Healthy Luncheon

February 22, 2019 • 11:30am

Oakwood Conference Room

A delightful lunch and informative discussion regarding “Coronary Artery Disease” featuring Vijaya Velury, MD.

$10 per meal

RSVP by February 18, 2019, call 580-585-5406

 

First Heart Healthy Lunch SOLD OUT! Back by popular demand! Coronary artery disease develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients (coronary arteries) become damaged or diseased. Cholesterol-containing deposits (plaque) in your arteries and inflammation are usually to blame for coronary artery disease. When plaque builds up, it narrows your coronary arteries, decreasing blood flow to your heart. This year’s 2nd Heart Healthly Lunch will feature Cardiologist Vijaya Velury, M.D. of the Heart & Vascular Center. Dr. Velury will discuss Coronary Artery Disease, the unique signs and symptoms, and how to modify risk factors for a longer, healthier life.

woman holding decorative heart

Improve Heart Health in Unique Ways

One of the leading causes of death is cardiovascular disease. Although we cannot change certain risk factors such as age and family history, we can help prevent cardiovascular disease and hope to live a long, healthy life. You probably know that  exercise and a healthy diet can help keep our hearts strong, but there are other means to improve heart health that you may not know. Here are six unique ways you can keep your heart healthy.

 

Crank up the music


Several studies have shown that music can have several positive effects on our bodies including lowering stress and even blood pressure. A study at Massachusetts General Hospital also found that heart patients who were confined to bed had slower heart rates, lower blood pressure, and less distress when they listened to music for 30 minutes each day. 1 So, pull out your favorite tunes, sit back and enjoy the improved heart health! 

 

Have a laugh


We have all heard the Old Testament proverb that “laughter is the best medicine” and have experienced positive emotional effects of having a laugh. Science is proving that there are more than just emotional benefits to laughter, however. Consequently, laughter can also helps our hearts pump stronger!  As we laugh, our blood vessels enlarge in diameter. This in return increases the blood flow like when we participate in aerobic exercise.

 

The University of Maryland also conducted a study and discovered that when people laugh at a funny movie scene, they experience improved blood flow. 2 So, head to the movies, turn on your favorite comedian or sitcom, and enjoy some laughs! 

 

Be kind


We know that high stress levels are not good for our hearts. When we are upset, cortisol, our stress hormone, increases and our blood pressure and inflammation rises. When we experience positive emotions though, our oxytocin levels rise, helping to improve heart health, and our cortisol levels drop. Being kind to others makes us feel better emotionally and just might improve heart health.


Consider the Mediterranean Diet


Many studies have had positive heart health conclusions when studying the Mediterranean diet. According to a 2013 study from Spain, a Mediterranean style of eating can reduce heart disease risk by as much as 30%. 3

The Mediterranean diet consists of green vegetables, nuts, avocados, fruits, beans, high-fiber grains, olives and olive oil,  and an occasional side of small, wild fish such as salmon. In this diet, individuals seldom consume red meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs, sugary foods and drinks, and refined flours.


Love a Pet


Could your favorite canine or feline improve heart health? According to the American Heart Association (AHA), they can!  Studies show that having a pet can relieve stress, help increase fitness levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and increase happiness and wellbeing. 4

Studies on dog owners show that they tend to live longer, have lower risks for heart disease, better cholesterol profiles, less hypertension and are less vulnerable to stress. The reason for these positive results is not entirely clear, but it could be due to the fact that dog owners are generally more active than non-owners.  Either way, owning a pet who loves you unconditionally has plentiful emotional benefits.

If you’re not in a position to own a dog, local shelters often need volunteers to play with dogs. Consider playing with a friends dog or taking up dog walking and earn some extra cash too!

 

Offer a Hug


Oxytocin levels rise and cortisol level drop when we give and receive hugs. In a study by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, participants who hugged their partners had a slower heart rate up to 10 beats per minute than those who did not hug their partners.5

So, grab someone around you who needs a hug, and enjoy the improved heart health!

 

Good health is often about incorporating small changes in our routine. We hope this article encourages you to add some of these activities to your routine and  improve your heart health today!

Learn about Heart and Vascular Services at CCMH by visiting CCMHHealth.com/Heart-And-Vascular/.

 

Sources

1 Harvard Health Letter. Harvard Health Publishing. Nov. 2009. Using music to tune the heart.

2 Stein, Rob. Los Angeles Times. Apr. 2005.  Laughter helps blood go with the flow.

3 John Hopkins Medicine. Take Your Diet to the Mediterranean.

4 The American Heart Association. Apr. 2018. Can Your Pet Help You Be Healthier?

5 McColm, Jan. Endeavors. Jan. 2004. A Hug a Day  

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

CCMH Wear Red Day 2019

CCMH Goes Red for Heart Health Awareness

February is the month we dedicate as American Heart Month!  On Friday, February 1st, CCMH went red for heart health awareness. Every year, we join with individuals across the nation to bring awareness to heart disease on the first Friday of February. CCMH is dedicated to the common goal which Wear Red Day represents: the eradication of heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is responsible for 25% of deaths in the United States.

runner on mountain path

Activities To Improve Heart Health

February is the month we dedicate as American Heart Month. Throughout February, we would like to encourage you to participate in activities to improve the health of your heart.

The heart is so important because it contains some of the body’s most valuable muscles. These muscles and the valves of the heart keep our blood moving and sustains our lives 24/7. As with all other muscles, we can improve the functionality of the heart with exercise.

Many of us are not fond of exercise, but it is very good for our bodies. Not only does regular exercise just help you live healthier and feel better, but it also helps protect you from the #1 killer in America, heart disease, and it can even add years to your life!

 

How should you exercise to help the heart?

 

If you are someone with a medical condition including a heart condition or diabetes, make an appointment to discuss what exercise routine is best in your situation.

If you are new to exercising regularly, start slow. We stick better to routines that are not too vigorous and overwhelmingly challenging. Aim for participating in 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Remember, any movement is good for you. You may be exercising and not even really realize it. As you participate in exercise, the large muscles of your body cause your heart to beat faster which strengthens them.

Don’t participate in an aerobic activity that you do not enjoy. This increases the chances of you abandoning the routine. To impact your heart, find time for moderate aerobic activity most days of the week for a total of around 2.5 hours. If you have a busy schedule, try breaking it into a few 10 to 15 minute sessions.

How does the heart benefit from exercise?


Exercise often leads to weight loss. If you’re overweight, losing even just a few pounds may significantly impact heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Exercise also reduces stress. Stress can contribute to other conditions which are factors in heart disease.

Lower blood pressure is also a positive result of exercise. 30-60 minutes of aerobic activity is recommended to help bring high blood pressure into healthy range.

Lower cholesterol is also a positive benefit of exercise.


What are some heart friendly forms of moderate exercise?


Dancing

Skiing

Yard work

Hiking

Softball

Tennis (doubles)

Swimming

Golfing without a golf cart

Bicycling

Moderate walking (around 3.5 mph)


What are some more vigorous forms of heart healthy exercise?


If you participate in all vigorous activities, aim for 75 minutes of exercise each week to benefit your heart.

Vigorous activities include:


Soccer

Basketball

Tennis (singles)

Cross-country skiing

Brisk walking (about 4.5 mph)

Jogging

Heavy yard work

Stair climbing

Hiking uphill

Bicycling over 10 mph

Jumping rope

 


How Do I Know If I’m Helping My Heart?


To ensure you are benefitting from aerobic activity  and increasing your heart health, track your heart rate. First, determine your resting heart rate. You can do so by counting your heart beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six.

Normal resting heart rate for adults is from 60 to 100 beats per minute. A lower resting heart rate is usually the result of more efficient heart function and cardiovascular fitness. A well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats per minute for example.

Many factors influence heart rate, and there is a wide range of normal. Nevertheless, an unusually high or low heart rate can indicate a problem. Consult your doctor if your resting heart rate is above 100 beats a minute consistently or if your resting heart rate is below 60 beats a minute and you’re not a trained athlete.

During exercise, your heart rate should increase to about 50 to 85% of your maximum heart rate based on your age. For moderate intensity exercise, your target heart rate should increase to 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. For vigorous exercise, your target heart rate should be 70 to 85% of your maximum heart rate.

You can determine what your maximum heart rate should be for your age by viewing this article by the American Heart Association.

When you first start exercising, aim for the lower number for your age range. As your fitness improves, you can gradually aim for the higher number. No matter your age, it’s never too late to make heart health a goal.

If you would like to learn about heart and vascular services offered at CCMH, please visit http://www.ccmhhealth.com/heart-and-vascular/.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Healthy Heart Luncheon

Heart Healthy Luncheon – February 15, 2019

Heart Healthy Luncheon

February 15, 2019 • 11:30am

Oakwood Conference Room

A delightful lunch and informative discussion regarding “Peripheral Artery Disease” featuring Eugen Ivan, MD.

$10 per meal

RSVP by February 11, 2019, call 580-585-5406

 


 

Quick facts about Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

The most common symptoms of PAD involving the lower extremities are cramping, pain or tiredness in the leg or hip muscles while walking or climbing stairs. Typically, this pain goes away with rest and returns when you walk again.

Be aware that:

  • Many people mistake the symptoms of PAD for something else.
  • PAD often goes undiagnosed by healthcare professionals.
  • People with peripheral arterial disease have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.
  • Left untreated, PAD can lead to gangrene and amputation.

Added risks for PAD

Other factors can increase your chances for peripheral artery disease, including:

  • Your risk for peripheral artery disease increases with age.
  • High blood pressure or high cholesterol puts you at risk for PAD.
  • If you smoke, you have an especially high risk for PAD.
  • If you have diabetes, you have an especially high risk for PAD.

The good news

If you’re at risk for peripheral artery disease or have been diagnosed with PAD, it’s worth knowing that:

  • PAD is easily diagnosed in a simple, painless way.
  • You can take control: Follow your doctor’s recommendations and strive to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Some cases of PAD can be managed with lifestyle changes and medication.
woman holding head in pain

Sleeping Well with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is suspected to affect between 11% and 40% of American adults. The most common types of chronic pain include back pain, nerve pain, joint pain and chronic headaches, and it is one of the top reasons adults seek medical care. 1 A variety of additional problems are linked to chronic pain including depression and anxiety, restrictions in daily activities and mobility, dependence on opioids, and reduced quality of life.

No matter the extent which the chronic pain sufferer experiences these symptoms, most all sufferers complain of inability to receive a good night of rest. Sleep is important for the physical health of all. However, it is even more important for those dealing with chronic problems. For example, sleep helps to repair the blood vessels and heart. Furthermore, sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of a variety of conditions including kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 2

For the sufferer of chronic pain, sometimes the only time he or she receives reprieve from pain is while sleeping. Although, many develop problems while sleeping due to the inability to get comfortable. A vicious cycle then begins of feeling exhausted which increases symptoms and pain.

Although difficult, sleeping with chronic pain is not impossible. Here are seven methods which may help improve your sleep quality despite the pain.

 

Avoid napping

When you suffer from chronic pain, you tend to try to get sleep anytime and any way you can. Sleep is however, how the pain is avoided. Sometimes a nap is unavoidable after a fitful night of sleep, but don’t nap routinely. Napping too much during the day may increase your chances of not being able to sleep at night.

If you do feel especially tired, try to nap in the morning and set an alarm so you don’t sleep the day away. A morning nap allows more time to pass before bedtime than an afternoon nap, ensuring you are sufficiently sleepy for bedtime.

 

Develop a routine

Although it is difficult to avoid hitting the snooze button, rising and laying down at the same time everyday is important. Your internal clock will adjust and your body will prepare to relax and sleep at the right time.

During the day, open up the house and let in as much light as possible. Exposing yourself to light helps your internal clock become more aware of when it is time to go to sleep.

Also, go through the same steps of your sleep routine each night. Spend half an hour or so going through your hygiene routine and complete a relaxing activity before turning off the light such as reading. Avoid screens from computers, smartphones and TVs which can be overstimulating and keep your mind from winding down. Some relaxation exercises may also help you go to sleep more quickly.

 

Limit caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in sodas, teas, energy drinks, coffee and chocolate. Limit your consumption as much as possible and consume caffeine by early afternoon. This will allow sufficient time for the effects to wear off before bedtime.

 

Review your medications

Discuss your medications with your doctor to ensure none of them are causing you to lose sleep. Also, ask your doctor about sleep aids. Although not usually recommended long term, your doctor may approve for you to take a sleep aid short term to help get your sleep on track or as needed for particularly bad days.

 

Exercise

Exercising four to eight hours before bedtime may help reduce anxiety, a common factor that interrupts sleep. However, be sure to allow enough of time between exercise and bedtime. Working out too late in the day can keep you awake.

 

Create a good environment for sleep

Many factors can influence your sleep including mattress and pillow firmness, sleep position, temperature and darkness level. Consider using white noise to block out noise if your bedroom is near a high traffic area. Blackout shades may also help. Discuss with your doctor to learn if he or she recommends specific types of mattresses, pillows and sleep positions for your type of pain.

 

Get your pain under control

Although easier said than done, getting your pain under control is the best method to improving sleep. Relaxation techniques, acupuncture, medications and surgery are all used to help treat various forms of chronic pain. Discuss with your doctor which methods may be best.

If pain is part of your daily experience, we want to help you achieve the optimum level of comfort and an increased quality of life. Please seek medical attention from one of our CCMH providers. To learn more about problems affecting sleep and how we can help visit CCMHealth.com/Center-For-Sleep-Medicine/.

 

Sources

1 Dahlhamer J, Lucas J, Zelaya, C, et al. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1001–1006.

2 National Heart Blood & Lung Institute. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.
Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.
While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Kimberly Brunty Receives Rising Star Award

Kimberly Brunty Receives Rising Star Award

Kimberly Brunty (LCHC Case Mgr) recently received the RBC Rising Star Award for her outstanding work in patient care and supporting team values. On multiple occasions, Kimberly has helped staff from other departments with patient issues like denture replacement, rides to OKC for vision appointments, and financial assistance. These are all things that case managers do, but Kimberly does them for everyone and always with a smile. She doesn’t just do her job, she goes above and beyond to make our families feel cared for. Several families have stated that she makes a difference in their care and that they would not know what to do without her.

Kimberly’s actions not only show the character of the staff that work for us but they show that she is willing to always take the extra time to get to know our patients and provide that individualized care that makes such a difference.

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