5 Things You Need to Know About Smoking and Your Heart

You don’t need a reminder that smoking is bad for your heart. But do you realize the full extent of the damage your heart sustains every time you light up a cigarette? Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in our country. It kills nearly 500,000 people every year, but with the right knowledge and support, you don’t need to be part of that statistic.

Smoking Affects Your Blood Vessels

Blood is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients to your body’s tissues and organs. This is an absolutely necessary task; if your blood fails to deliver oxygen and nutrients, the consequences are deadly.

The blood vessels function as highways for blood as it travels throughout the body. The carbon monoxide that enters the body while smoking actually damages the all-important layer of cells inside the blood vessels. This makes it much harder for the blood vessels to sustain healthy circulation. Read More

Stress: Our Society’s Debilitating Epidemic

Stress began as an evolutionary strategy for survival, but it has evolved into something unrecognizable in today’s society. It is quickly becoming the next debilitating epidemic, but you don’t have to let stress dictate your own life. With the help of strategies like mindfulness and strong nutrition, you can protect yourself from stress and live your best life.

The Epidemic of Stress

The body responds to threats by secreting hormones that change its physiology, a tactic that ancient people used to defend themselves from predators and hostile enemies. The triggers for stress have changed dramatically in the 21st century, and now our bodies respond to prolonged threats in the form of chronic stress. This means our bodies are constantly expending an enormous amount of energy secreting the stress hormones that change our physiology. Read More

All About Deep Vein Thrombosis

Many people are familiar with the term “deep vein thrombosis” (DVT) but don’t realize the full implications of the condition. Since DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in at least one of the deep veins in the body, it is a serious health issue that should always be treated immediately.

What Are the Signs of DVT?

Like many serious conditions, DVT can actually occur without any symptoms at all. Symptoms that do occur usually include swelling, warmth, and pain in the affected leg. The pain might resemble a cramping or soreness in the calf region. Unfortunately, the blood clot that forms from DVT can potentially lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is  far easier to recognize with symptoms like unexplained shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid pulse, and dizziness. As soon as you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to seek medical attention. Read More

Leg Pain and When to Worry: Be Proactive to Avoid Heart Danger

John Murano thought he was having back problems, and that his legs were hurting as a result. As it turns out, that pain may have saved his life.

An otherwise healthy 55-year-old, he figured he just needed to learn some back-strengthening exercises, so he found a personal trainer to help him. But despite the workouts, his leg pain got worse making it hard for him even to walk from the car to the grocery store entrance. He and the trainer suspected something else was wrong and he sought the advice of his doctor.

Soon his doctor’s tests revealed the true cause: blockages in the blood vessels of his legs. In fact, the arteries going to his lower extremities were nearly 100 percent blocked. The cause? Years of heavy smoking and high-fat meals, and other factors had caused cholesterol, scar tissue and blood clots to build up inside his blood vessels.

Most people think this kind of clogged artery disease, or arteriosclerosis, only happens in the heart. But as Murano’s case shows, it can happen throughout the body. When it does, it’s called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.

Leg Pain could be a sign of possible peripheral artery disease.

Leg Pain could be a sign of possible peripheral artery disease.

And in some people, PAD causes leg pain that acts as an ‘early warning’ that someone is at high risk for a heart attack or a stroke.

In fact, nearly a quarter of people who have leg pain due to PAD will be dead in five years, mostly due to heart attacks and other heart problems, Dr. Davis says. For people like Murano, whose leg pain kept them from walking even short distances, the odds are even worse: as many as half will die by five years.

Fortunately, Murano got diagnosed and treated before that happened to him. Dr. Davis performed a vascular bypass operation to open his blocked leg arteries, similar to the bypasses that heart patients have. A recent checkup showed he’s doing well.

“For sure, it’s a wake-up call,” says Murano, who has quit smoking and changed his eating habits. “You know that old saying, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire’? I’m sure that I not only have the vascular issues in my lower extremities, but I’m sure I have them in other parts of my body.”

Murano isn’t alone, says Dr. Davis, who has operated on many patients with severe PAD. Nearly 30 million people in the United States have some form of PAD, though the vast majority are “silent” cases that don’t cause symptoms. Among people over age 70, nearly one person in five has PAD.

Who’s most at risk for PAD? People over 50, smokers, people with diabetes, people with high blood pressure, people with high cholesterol, and people who are overweight or obese, Dr. Davis explains. In other words, it’s the same group of individuals who have a high risk of heart attack and stroke.

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Horse Chestnut Extract – New Alternative Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?

cvi-1Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition where the flow of blood through the veins is inadequate. Problems with the valves of the veins can cause the blood to flow backwards causing blood to pool in the legs. The greatest and most common symptom patients usually complain of is leg pain, which can be intensified by standing for a long period of time. Swelling in the legs and/or ankles is also a common symptom. As fluid accumulates the patient often experiences leg tightness, cramping and tingling sensations. Skin changes are often seen, varicose veins and in extreme occasions leg ulcers. Read More

High Blood Pressure – How to Manage

HBPOne in every three adults suffers from high blood pressure in the United States. Detection of hypertension and blood pressure control are critically important for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.  When most patients are diagnosed with high blood pressure they are often worried about taking new medications and in many cases become resistant to treatment plans. What if your doctor told you that the progression of the disease is in your hands? Read More

Are Sleep and Hydration Linked to Obesity?

sleep apnea 2The obesity epidemic in American can often seem like a paradox, since the problem of obesity is increasing despite dramatic growth in consumer awareness, fitness, and alternative health. Recent statistics indicate that 17 percent of American children and adolescents are obese, and it’s well known that obesity is a direct route to health complications like diabetes and heart disease. Researchers recently uncovered two obesity correlations that could potentially explain why the American population continues to suffer from obesity.

Preschool Bedtime Connects to Obesity in Teenage Years Read More

About Renal Artery Disease

kidneyAlso known as renal artery stenosis, this disease has a major impact on the kidneys and thus on the rest of the body. It’s not a disease that is widely known or understood, but it can occur nonetheless, especially in people with atherosclerosis. Here’s a quick and easy guide to help you understand the basics of renal artery disease and how to prevent it from taking over your body.

Defining Renal Artery Stenosis

Renal artery disease when at least one of the arteries responsible for carrying blood to your kidneys becomes too narrow to do its job. As less oxygen-rich blood reaches the kidneys, they struggle to adequately filter waste and excess fluids from the body. In addition, renal artery stenosis causes high blood pressure because the body misinterprets the lack of blood reaching the kidneys as low blood pressure and releases a hormone to increase blood pressure. If left untreated, renal artery stenosis can eventually culminate in kidney failure. Read More