sleep affects heart health

How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart?

In our society which seems to glorify being busy, penciling in time in our schedules for sleep each night may seem impossible. However, getting adequate sleep should be a priority. It is critical to good health. Sleep helps your body repair itself, and it is also important for the health of your heart. 

 

How much sleep do I need?

 

Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night. However, more than one in three American adults report not receiving the recommended amount of sleep.1 Not getting enough sleep for a short time may cause no other problem other than struggling to keep your eyes open the next day. Going for longer periods of time without adequate sleep, however, may lead to new health problems or intensify current problems. 

 

What health conditions am I at risk of due to lack of sleep?

 

Asthma, heart attack, and depression are common conditions that are more likely to occur in those who receive less than 7 hours of sleep each night. Some health problems that are more likely may raise the risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. These problems include:

 

Obesity

 

Lack of sleep can cause an unhealthy weight gain. This is especially true for children and young adults, who need more sleep. Inadequate sleep affects the part of the brain that controls hunger, leading to overeating. Like adults, many American children do not get enough sleep. If you are unsure of the recommended sleep for your child’s age group, visit SleepFoundation.org. 2

 

Type 2 diabetes

 

Diabetes causes sugar to build up in your blood. This condition may damage your blood vessels. Some studies show that getting enough quality sleep may help improve blood sugar.

 

High blood pressure

 

During quality sleep, blood pressure lowers. If you do not sleep well, your blood pressure stays higher for a longer period of time. High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors of stroke and heart disease. To learn about managing blood pressure, check out our article “High Blood Pressure Management.” 

 

How do I get better sleep? 

 

Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.

 

Keeping your body on a schedule helps greatly. Attempt to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, whether it’s a workday or weekend. 

 

Expose yourself to natural light during the day. Try going for a walk in the morning or at lunchtime. Get enough physical activity during the day, and try not to exercise earlier in the day as opposed to the hours before bed. 

 

Avoid artificial light, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime. Use a blue light filter on your smartphone or computer.

 

Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime, especially alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar.

 

Need a physician to help you work to conquer sleep difficulties? Find one by visiting ccmhhealth.com/providers

 

Sources

 

1 Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Cunningham TJ, Lu H, Croft JB. Prevalence of healthy sleep duration among adults — United States, 2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65:137-41.

 

2 SleepFoundation.org. How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health? 2020. 

 

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.

woman with high blood pressure

High Blood Pressure Management

Untreated, hypertension (high blood pressure) can lead to serious problems such as heart attack and stroke. 

If you’re one of the one in three Americans suffering from this condition, 1 lifestyle plays an important part in treating your high blood pressure. Some patients are able to successfully control blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle. Committing to such a lifestyle may help you delay, reduce, or even remove the need for medication.

Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to control hypertension.

 

Eat a healthy diet

Make smart choices in your diet including fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Avoid cholesterol, sodium, processed foods, and saturated fat as much as possible. 

Keeping a log of what you eat even for a little while to gain insight into how much and what you’re consuming. There are a variety of apps out there that can help log meals and break down the nutrients for you. 

Make a plan before you go out to eat or to the grocery store. Proper planning can help you avoid making unhealthy decisions. 

Potassium is also an important nutrient. It may lessen the effects of sodium on your blood pressure. The best way to receive potassium is food, not supplements. Discuss with your doctor to learn the potassium level that’s best for you.

 

Limit alcohol 

Drink alcohol only in moderation. The recommendation is no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men. Drinking above the recommendation not only raises blood pressure by several points, but it also may reduce the effectiveness of medication for hypertension. 

 

Lose weight if needed 

Weight loss is very effective for controlling blood pressure. Losing even a small amount of weight may reduce your blood pressure. 

Besides weight loss, keep an eye on your waistline. Men with a waist measurement greater than 40 inches generally have hypertension. Women are at risk if they have a waist measurement above 35 inches.

 

These numbers do vary among ethnic groups. Ask your doctor what is healthy for you. 

 

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity, 150 minutes a week, can lower blood pressure. It’s important to be consistent. Blood pressure can rise again if you stop exercising regularly.

 

Quit smoking

The benefits of not smoking are numerous.  Quitting reduces your risk of heart disease and improves your overall health and may lengthen your life.

 

Cut back on caffeine

Caffeine doesn’t affect everyone the same. In fact, those that regularly drink coffee may not notice a rise in blood pressure. 

Take your blood pressure before and after having caffeine. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg within 30 minutes of caffeine consumption,  you may be sensitive to caffeine. 

 

Reduce stress

Chronic stress may contribute to hypertension. More research is needed to determine the effects of chronic stress on blood pressure. If you respond to occasional stress in unhealthy ways such as drinking alcohol, smoking or overeating. 

Take some time to think about what causes you to stress and consider ways you can reduce or eliminate stress. This may include activities like exercise, hobbies, and finding quiet time alone. 

 

Monitor your blood pressure regularly 

Regular visits with your doctor help manage hypertension. Your doctor may suggest checking your blood pressure daily with an at-home monitor. If you’ve had a recent medication change, your doctor may recommend that you check it beginning two weeks after starting the medication. 

 

 

Learn more about our advanced cardiac care at ccmhhealth.com/heart-and-vascular.

 

Sources 

 

1 Merai R, Siegel C, Rakotz M, Basch P, Wright J, Wong B, Thorpe P. CDC Grand Rounds: A Public Health Approach to Detect and Control Hypertension. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65(45):1261–1264.

 

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.

worst foods for heart

10 Foods That Destroy a Healthy Heart

February is Heart Month. There’s no better time to make a decision to keep your heart and cardiovascular system healthy for years to come than right now! Here are 10 foods that you should save for occasional treats or find healthy swaps whenever possible: 

 

Deep-fried foods

Fried snacks, fried chicken, French fries, etc.  increase your risk of heart disease. Conventional frying methods create trans fats. Frans tats are a type of fat that raises bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol. 

If you crave fried foods, look for alternative recipes. Examples include recipes that bake, air fry or use healthier oils. Many of these recipes also use mock “vegetable” versions or alternate batters. 

 

Cured and processed meats 

Meats such as sausage and bacon are often high in saturated fat. Even low-fat options, however, tend to be very high in sodium. A few thin slices of deli meat may have half your daily recommended amount of salt! 

High sodium intake is linked to high blood pressure, and avoiding extra salt can greatly improve it. 

 

Fast-food burgers

Saturated fats may contribute to heart disease, their relationship isn’t entirely clear. In general, however, saturated fats from animals, especially in combination with carbohydrates, appear to have a negative effect on heart health. Fast- food restaurants tend to use lower quality ingredients as well as unhealthy cooking methods. Avoiding them is a good way to be kind to your heart. 

 

Candy

Diets high in added sugar may help contribute to inflammation, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.

 

Juices and soft drinks

Check your beverage labels carefully. Many soft drinks and juices contain a ridiculous amount of sugar!

 

Diet soda

You would think the fat-free and zero-calorie version of your favorite soft drink may be a good solution. It may be fat-free and zero-calorie, however, some research suggests that the chemicals in diet soda may alter gastrointestinal bacteria. Altered gut bacteria makes people more prone to weight gain. 

 

Pastries and cookies

Baked goods, especially commercially produced ones, are full of sugar. They also likely contain saturated fats or trans fats.

 

Sugar filled cereals 

Like drinks, breakfast cereals often contain sugar. The consumption of refined carbohydrates and sugars in the morning produces inflammation. This in return makes blood sugar go up and down, increasing sugar cravings throughout the day.  

 

Meat-lovers pizza

Pizza is a food that often contains too much sodium (salt) according to the American Heart Association. The more meat and cheese you add, the worse it gets. When eating pizza, limit yourself to one or two slices and opt for veggie-filled varieties. 

 

Margarine

Trans fats are common in sticks of margarine which are often marketed as a healthier alternative to butter. To be on the safe side, select a soft, spreadable margarine that contains no partially hydrogenated oils. Olive oil is also a better alternative. 

Our CCMH providers commit to helping you live a healthier lifestyle! Find a list of them by visiting 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 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.