couple cooking

Is White Meat Just as Bad for Cholesterol as Red Meat?

Many of us avoid red meat to maintain our low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level. LDL is can increase your risk of heart disease risk. However, a newly published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that red and white meat have similar effects on LDL. Before you give up and order steak and cheeseburgers at every meal, let’s take a look at the facts. 

 

Details of the study 

 

Led by scientists at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute, the study examined whether cholesterol levels differed after consuming diets high in red meat compared with diets with similar protein levels from white meat or non-meat sources. Non-meat sources high in protein include foods such as nuts, legumes, grains, and soy products. The researchers also examined to see if the saturated fat in each diet affected each participant.

 

The study’s participants were one hundred and thirteen healthy men and women, ranging from ages 21 to 65. The group participated for four weeks by consuming either a randomly assigned high or low saturated fat diet. They also consumed either red meat, white meat, or non-meat food sources. 

 

To reduce the chances that other factors would affect cholesterol levels, participants maintained their typical activity level and abstained from alcohol. They also worked to maintain their weight during the study period and adjusted their calorie intake if their weight changed.

 

Red meat, white meat, or non-meat? 

 

After consuming both the red and white meat diets, LDL cholesterol was significantly higher compared with the non-meat diet, regardless of whether the diet was high or low in saturated fat. The high-saturated fat diets had a larger harmful effect on LDL cholesterol levels than the low-saturated fat diets, however. High-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol was unaffected by the protein source.

 

Conclusion of the study 

 

Further research will surely ensue as the study had a number of limitations. The number of participants and the duration of the study was small. The study also excluded processed meats such as cold cuts, sausage, or bacon. 

 

It is always best to consult with your physician about what diet is best for you. If you need a physician, please refer to our provider directory. When seeking protein sources yet maintaining a healthy LDL, there are a number of vegetables and legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, nuts and chickpeas to consider. Meat, as with all things, should be consumed in moderation. 

 

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.

Bypass Surgery Lunch & Learn - June 21, 2019

Bypass Surgery Luncheon

Bypass Surgery Luncheon

with Dr. Timothy Trotter, Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeon

Friday, June 21, 2019

11:30am – 1:00pm

CCMH Maple Conference Room 1 & 2

$10 per meal

 

Come to the Lunch & Learn featuring information on bypass surgery – when is surgery needed and what to expect. Comanche County Memorial Hospital is the only comprehensive heart program in southwest Oklahoma.

Heart bypass surgery is the most common type of heart surgery performed on adults. Doctors recommend heart bypass surgery when one or more of the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart muscles become partially blocked.

 

Please RSVP by Friday, June 14, by calling 580.585.5406

Doctor using stethoscope to measure heart with EKG line

CCMH EMS Receives Lifeline Bronze Plus Award

We’re proud that CCMH’s EMS was recognized by the American Heart Association for their achievement in AHA’s Mission: Lifeline Bronze Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. CCMH is committed to providing excellent heart and stroke care that aligns with the latest research-based treatment guidelines.

woman smoking cigarette while looking at phone

How Smoking Affects the Lungs

Each organ in your body plays an important role in keeping your body healthy. If you have healthy lungs, you probably don’t think much about them. Damage to your lungs, however; can quickly cause a noticeable difference in your ability to breathe easily.

 

The primary role of the lungs is delivering oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. You breathe in air and breathe out carbon dioxide as waste exhaling.  No tobacco product is safe. However, combustible products—those that you burn to smoke—are exceptionally harmful to the lungs.

 

How does smoking hurt your lungs?

 

When you smoke, the tissue of the lungs receive damage, impeding them from functioning properly. Smoking also increases your risk of serious health issues. Some examples include: lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

 

Upon your very first puff, immediate damage to the lungs begins. Every puff of cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals.1 When you inhale, the smoke hits your lungs almost instantly. The blood then carries these toxic chemicals throughout the body. Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that then displaces the oxygen in your blood. This deprives all your organs of needed oxygen.

 

What chemicals are found in cigarettes?

 

Cigarettes also include acrolein. This chemical causes lung damage and a sore throat. Cigarettes may also contain bronchodilators. These chemicals are meant to open up the airways of the lungs. They also can increase the amount of dangerous chemicals absorbed by the lungs.

 

What are the consequences of smoking?

 

Cigarette smoke has negative consequences for individuals of all ages. Babies born to mothers that smoked during pregnancy may have abnormal lung development. Teens who smoke may develop weaker lungs which never operate at full capacity or develop to their full, adult size.

 

Additionally, smoking can destroy the cilia. These tiny hairs in the airway keep dirt and mucus out of your lungs. This may then lead to the development of “smoker’s cough,” a chronic cough common for long-term smokers.

 

Smokers are also at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (or COPD). 80% of cases of COPD are due to smoking. 2  People with COPD have difficulty breathing and eventually die because of the lack of oxygen.

 

COPD has no cure. Moreover, nearly all lung cancer—the top cause of cancer death— is due to smoking. Smokers are 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. 3  Lung cancer may also lead to other respiratory cancers.

 

Are e-cigarettes also harmful?

 

Because e-cigarettes are still relatively new tobacco products, many do not realize the harm they cause. We discussed this in a recent article “Juuling Much More Dangerous than Teens Realize”.

 

Some e-cigarette aerosols contain some of the same chemicals as cigarettes. This includes the lung irritant acrolein, and formaldehyde. Some chemicals that create flavor could be harmful when inhaled too.  Furthermore, fruit flavored e-cigarettes often large amounts of acrylonitrile, a known respiratory irritant.

 

Can I reverse the damage of smoking to my lungs?

 

When you stop smoking, you have overall better health. Lung cancer risk drops drastically in the years after quitting. Furthermore, only 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. This, of course, allows more oxygen to circulate to your organs.

 

If you’re struggling to stop smoking, reach out to a CCMH Provider by visiting CCMHHealth.com/Directory. We would love to help!

 

Sources

 

1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What It Means to You (Consumer Booklet). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2010.

 

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General (Fact Sheet). Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2014.

 

3 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents in Tobacco Products and Tobacco Smoke.

 

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.

hand holding bottle pouring soft drink

Sugar Substitutes and Stroke Risk

To decrease the amount of sugar in your diet, you may be tempted to reach for diet soft drinks or juices sweetened with sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes are a confusing topic for many. For years it seemed that they received nothing but negative publicity. Recently, research reported they may not be as bad as we once thought. This leaves research relatively inconclusive at best. However, concern is once again growing.

 

Latest research demonstrates concern regarding  artificial sweetener consumption

 

Although they may seem like a good alternative to sugar-filled drinks, recent studies have discovered that there may be a link between artificial sweeteners and health risks including stroke.

 

Over 81,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79 participated in the study. The conclusion drawn by researchers was that  artificially sweetened drinks are associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and even death.

 

Those who drank two or more diet drinks a day had a 23% increase of stroke risk compared to those who consumed less than one diet drink per week. 1

 

Sugar consumption alters taste

 

No matter if you choose real sugar, or an artificial or plant based substitute, the brain wants more sweet substances the more you consume.

 

Artificial sweeteners even alter our gut bacteria. Sugar, in general, also increases blood sugar and insulin levels.

 

All of these factors combined lead to excessive weight gain, including fat, and also inflammation.

 

The danger of consuming artificial sweeteners for many lies in the increase of sweet cravings it causes. Artificial sweeteners are designed to taste sweeter than real sugar. This causes your taste buds to crave and expect more sweet foods.

 

Decreasing sugar in diet

 

To determine whether or not you are consuming too much sugar, try eating some fruits such as strawberries and apples. If you notice that these fruits do not taste sweet to you, this could be an indication that you should decrease the amount of sugar in your diet.

 

With some small changes, you can greatly reduce sugar intake. Begin by removing any added table sugar, honey, syrup or molasses. Natural sugar substitutes such as unsweetened applesauce or spices like cinnamon and allspice are great baking substitutes. Also, cut back on your serving size when you do indulge in sugary treats and check food labels for treats with less added sugar when possible.

 

Making dietary changes always seems overwhelming at first. However, with practice, anything can become a natural part of your lifestyle. If you have questions about ways to consume a healthier diet, make an appointment with a CCMH provider. Visit our online directory to discover how to reach them by visiting http://ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Source 

 

Yasmin Mossavar-Rahmani , Victor Kamensky , JoAnn E. Manson , Brian Silver , Stephen R. Rapp ,et al. American Stroke Association. Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, and All-Cause Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative. 1 Mar. 2019.

 

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.

images of brain

7 Ways to Prevent Stroke

May is Stroke Awareness Month! Stroke is often thought of as a disease that affects only the elderly. Three-quarters of all strokes occur in people over the age of 65, 1 however; strokes can affect anyone of any age.

 

What causes a stroke?

 

A stroke occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to part of the brain is blocked. Without oxygen, brain cells will begin to die in minutes. Sudden brain bleeding can also cause a stroke if brain cells receive damage.

 

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

 

Examples of stroke symptoms include

 

paralysis or numbness of the legs, arms or face

difficulty speaking or understanding speech

difficulty seeing

sudden weakness

 

How can stroke be prevented?

 

Certain risk factors are unavoidable such as age and having a close relative who has had a stroke. However, here are 7 healthy habits you can adopt to prevent this deadly disease today.

 

Lose weight

 

If you are overweight, losing weight is the most important place to start in reducing your risk of stroke. Make activity a regular part of your life and keep it fun. Finding an activity you really enjoy like participating in 5Ks or golfing will remove some of the pressure of having a weight loss plan.

 

Tracking your calories can help you determine where you’re consuming too much. Many apps will help you get an idea of what you should eat and track.

 

Work with your doctor to create a weight loss plan that meets your nutritional needs. A healthy, sustainable weight loss is typically 1-2 pounds per week, but may be more or less depending on your body’s needs and your doctor’s recommendations.

 

Lower blood pressure

 

High blood pressure is a very dangerous risk factor for stroke. It can double or even quadruple your risk level! Adopting to following strategies into your lifestyle can greatly improve blood pressure:

 

If you smoke, quit.

Reduce salt in your diet to 1,500 milligrams a day or less (around a half teaspoon).

Eat 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, one to three servings of fish each week, and several servings of whole grains and low-fat dairy each day.

Avoid high-cholesterol foods like cheese, ice cream and burgers

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

 

Become more active 

 

Exercise is a contributor to other ways of reducing your risk, but exercise alone is also a stroke risk reducer. Make it a goal to  exercise at moderate intensity five days per week.

 

Ways to exercise more:

 

Walk whenever possible including to work or by parking farther away from entrances.

Find accountability with friends.

Take the stairs instead of an elevator.

Even if you don’t have 30 consecutive minutes to exercise, that’s ok! 10- to 15-minute sessions a few times each day are just as effective.

 

Manage diabetes

 

Having high blood sugar damages blood vessels and makes clots more likely to occur. If you have diabetes, keep your doctor’s appointments and follow his recommendations. Monitor your sugar regularly and use exercise, diet and medication (if prescribed) to keep your sugar at the recommended range.

 

Treat atrial fibrillation (afib)

 

Atrial fibrillation is a form of irregular heartbeat that can cause clots to form in the heart. Those clots then travel to the brain and produce a stroke.

 

Symptoms such as heart palpitations or shortness of breath may indicate afib. Your doctor may prescribe an anticoagulant drug (blood thinner) to reduce your stroke risk.

 

Drink alcohol in moderation (or not at all)

 

New research concluded that 1-2 drinks per day increased stroke risk by 10-15%. Four drinks per day increased the risk by 35%. 2

 

Commit to consuming no more than one glass of alcohol a day. Choose red wine first because it contains resveratrol, a substance which is thought to protect the brain and heart.  Also, beware of your portion sizes. A standard-sized drink is a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5-ounce glass of hard liquor.

 

Stop Smoking

 

Smoking thickens  blood and increases the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. This can lead to clot formation.

 

Ask your doctor for advice on the best way for you to quit. Quit-smoking aids, such as nicotine patches or pills, counseling, or medication may be strategies he or she recommends. Don’t give up no matter what! Few are able to quit on their first attempt. Think of any period of time not smoking as part of your success no matter how long or short it may be.

 

A stroke is a serious medical condition and requires emergency care. If you think you or someone else is having a stroke, call 9–1–1 immediately. During a stroke, every second counts!

 

To learn about our quality stroke care at CCMH, visit our website at https://www.ccmhhealth.com/stroke-care.

 

Sources

 

1 National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Stroke. 2019.

2 The Lancet. Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. 23 Aug. 2018.

 

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.

Anxiety and Heart Disease

Is anxiety a contributing factor to heart disease? Can it also deter recovering from heart related issues? Many doctors believe so. If you suffer from anxiety, it is important to do all you can to manage your anxiety to prevent other health problems also. However, if you suffer from heart disease, dealing with this condition may cause anxiety as well.

 

How anxiety affects the heart


When someone experiences anxiety, the body’s reactions may also cause extra strain on the heart. Therefore, anxiety can be especially harmful to those diagnosed with cardiac disease.

The following cardiac risk factors and heart disorders may be caused by anxiety :

 

Decreased heart rate variability – Heart rate variability is the variation in the time interval between heartbeats. Even if your heart beats 60 beats per minute, that does not necessarily mean it beats every single second. It is normal to have some variation in how often the beats occur. Decreased heart rate variability may increase someone’s risk of death after an acute heart attack.

 

Tachycardia- This is rapid heart rate. In some serious cases, it interferes with normal heart function, increasing the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

 

Increased blood pressure – Chronic high blood pressure can lead to coronary disease. Coronary disease weakens the heart muscle and may also cause heart failure.

 

 

Heart attack and anxiety

 

Dealing with anxiety after a heart attack can be difficult. It is natural to react to this life-altering event in ways that are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it is important for patients to visit with their doctor if the anxiety does not improve over time.

Someone who has a heart attack may:

 

  • be shocked by this near-death experience and afraid to participate in activities that they once did.
  • struggle with reliving the event, and also avoid the activity or place where it occurred.
  • feel negative and uncertain about their future.
  • have difficulty sleeping.

 

Furthermore, after a heart attack, many individuals may have a difficult time completing tasks essential to their recovery and a healthy lifestyle due to their anxiety. Some of these problems may include:

 

  • not taking  prescribed medications
  • not following prescribed exercise regimens
  • disconnecting from friends and family
  • inability to confidently resume their career and family responsibilities
  • not following a healthy diet

 

Some anxiety disorders may affect heart health

 

Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD) – Patients  with OCD manage their unreasonable thoughts and worries by performing the same actions over and over. For example, a person obsessed with perceived cardiovascular symptoms may be concerned that their anxiety disorder is really a heart problem. The symptoms do after all mimic a heart condition.


Panic disorder – Panic attacks are sometimes believed to initially be heart attacks. Sufferers will feel terror, agitation, chest pains, stomach discomfort, dizziness, shortness of breath, and also have rapid heart rates.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – PTSD follows a shocking or frightening incident or sudden, life-threatening event. This may include a violent crime, major accident, or heart attack. Those who suffer from PTSD often have trouble dealing with anything associated with the incident that caused their anxiety.

 

 


Panic attack or heart attack?

 

It can be difficult to determine if a patient is suffering from anxiety or heart problems without proper treatment. A patient that suffers from chest pain—even if under the care of a physician for anxiety— should go to the emergency room. Blood tests can indicate heart muscle enzymes present due to a heart attack.

A cardiologist that is sensitive to anxiety issues will know how to sort out panic attack symptoms from heart attack symptoms and can also refer patients as needed if anxiety is the issue.

 

If you are having difficulty dealing with anxiety, please make an appointment with one of our providers. They would love to help you take charge of your life again. You can find a list of them at https://www.ccmhhealth.com/providers/.

 

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 also 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.

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 https://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.

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.

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