News & Articles

How to Upgrade Your Morning Routine

 

A good start to a productive, successful day depends on your morning habits and rituals. Here’s how to make your morning routine healthy, inspiring, and best of all, easy — using triggers and habit chaining to kick-start an amazing day.

 

 

 


Older women should keep eating their veggies – possibly one kind in particular

 

A new study reinforces the idea that it’s never too late to start eating your veggies – especially ones like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.

Australian researchers who examined nearly 1,000 women ages 70 and older found that so-called cruciferous vegetables may be particularly helpful in lowering the risk for heart disease.

“There is a wealth of evidence linking diets high in vegetables with lower risk of heart disease and stroke,” said the study’s lead researcher Lauren Blekkenhorst, of the School of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Western Australia in Perth. “However, there is little evidence on specific types of vegetables with subclinical measures of atherosclerosis, the major underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes.”

The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, examined the association between thickness of women’s neck arteries and severity of plaque buildup within them (atherosclerosis) with total vegetable intake as well as intake of specific vegetables.

Researchers found that independent of lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors, women who ate more vegetables – cruciferous vegetables in particular – had healthier carotid arteries.

Researchers aren’t entirely sure what gives these cruciferous vegetables more of a protective effect than other vegetables, but they hypothesize it is because cruciferous vegetables are packed with nutrients and phytochemicals but are low in energy.

One outside expert, however, cautioned that it was too early to definitively say cruciferous vegetables are the most beneficial.

“The message should not be that just adding cruciferous vegetables to any diet will decrease heart disease risk,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, senior scientist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.

Rather, eating all kinds of vegetables can help decrease heart disease risk, she said. “These data add additional strength to what we have been encouraging – consume a diet rich in vegetables for the best health outcomes.”

Blekkenhorst said she focused the study on older women because risk factors for vascular disease are different in men and women, and because cardiovascular disease is often thought of as a “male” disease, leading to undertesting and undertreatment in older women.

The researchers are now exploring whether there are similar health benefits in older Australian men, as well as the different phytochemicals and nutrients in cruciferous vegetables that might explain the added advantage.

Blekkenhorst said that as the population ages and life expectancy increases, it’s important to determine how dietary choices around vegetable intake may affect overall vascular health and survival.


Rethink Your Drink; Reducing Sugary Drinks in Your Diet

 Take a minute and think about what you drink in a typical day. Unless you are a true water lover, you may be getting some extra, unneeded calories through sodas, ice teas, energy and coffee drinks.

Some research suggests that when you drink calories, you aren’t as satisfied compared to eating the same amount of calories in solid food.

 

So, here are tips on how to switch to healthier drinks that can quench your thirst and still taste good!

  • Read those ingredients – Beverages, like energy drinks, can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy but usually are loaded with calories and sugar. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice and honey. Also, look at the label carefully because one container may be considered more than one serving, which can double or triple your sugar consumption.
     
  • Cut back slowly – If you have sugary drinks like sodas and sweetened teas on a regular basis, start cutting back now. Replace those drinks with the water suggestions next.
     
  • Work up to water – We often hear we should drink water every day, but that can seem like a challenge if you aren’t a big fan. Here’s how to crave more water:
    • Carry a refillable water bottle or have a permanent glass at your office desk.
    • Add slices of oranges, lemons or even cucumbers for an added boost of flavor.
    • Try seltzers or sparking water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.
       
  • Join the juicing trend –You may have seen infomercials for juicers or read articles about the benefits of making and drinking your own fruit and vegetable juices. These homemade juices can be OK – up to a point. First, it’s always better to eat produce instead of drinking it as you get fiber from the skin and pulp that can be strained out by a juicer. It’s easy for the calories in fruit juice to add up without even noticing.
     
  • Sip a smoothie – When you are in the mood for a milkshake or want an afternoon snack, keep on the heart healthy track with a budget-friendly homemade fruit smoothie! Blend ½ cup frozen fruit with no added sugars, ½ cup plain, low-fat Greek yogurt with no added sugars and ½ cup low-fat milk. 

If you don’t have a blender, mix small pieces of fresh fruit with yogurt and milk, then freeze for an hour. Experiment with different fruit combinations like mango-pineapple or strawberry-blueberry.

 


Heart-Check Food Certification Program Nutrition Requirements

The Heart-Check Food Certification Program’s nutrition requirements for certification are based on the sound science of the American Heart Association regarding healthy dietary recommendations including food categories, specific product ingredients and nutrient values.

To be certified, a product must meet specific nutrition requirements. The Heart-Check program has seven different categories of certification, and each category has a different set of nutrition requirements. All products must also meet government regulatory requirements for making a coronary heart disease health claim. When a product is close to exceeding the limits for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fat or sodium, independent third-party lab testing is conducted to verify that it meets our nutrition requirements.

Most nutrient requirements are per FDA/USDA RACC amounts (RACC = Reference Amount Customarily Consumed or “standardized serving size”). Some are per additional or other measurement amounts as noted with an asterisk below. Main Dish and Meal Products do not have RACC amounts.


Heart-Check Food Certification Program Nutritional Requirements

  • Standard Certification (FDA-regulated products)

    • Total Fat: Less than 6.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g or less and 15% or less calories from saturated fat
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving*). Products containing partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification.
    • Cholesterol: 20 mg or less
    • Sodium: One of four sodium limits applies depending on the particular food category: up to 140 mg, 240 mg or 360 mg per label serving*, or 480 mg per label serving and per RACC*. See Sodium Limits by Category for details.
    • Beneficial Nutrients (naturally occurring): 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)

      Additional Food Category-Specific Requirements:

    • Canned Fruits/Vegetables:
      • No “heavy syrup” (including potatoes and sweet potatoes) 
    • Frozen Fruit:
      • 100% Fruit (no added sugar) 
    • Fruit/Vegetable Juice:
      • 100% juice (or 100% juice plus water) with no added sugars/sweeteners (excludes non-nutritive sweeteners) 
      • 120 calories or less per 8 fl oz*
      • 10% Daily Value or greater for 3 nutrients for which a Daily Value exists. At least one of these beneficial nutrients must satisfy the beneficial nutrient requirement listed above.
    • Grain- Based Products:
      • All grain-based products must be a good source of dietary fiber (10% or more Daily Value per RACC), and contain 7 g or less Total Sugars per serving if the product is a good source of dietary fiber (10-19% Daily Value per RACC) or 9 g or less Total Sugars per serving If the product is an excellent source of dietary fiber (20% or more Daily Value per RACC).
      • Sugars from pieces of fruit do not count toward the sugars allowance but amount(s) and source(s) must be disclosed.
    • Grain-Based & Snack Bars:
      • If product used the new Nutrition Facts label format, product must be a good source of dietary fiber (10% or more Daily Value per RACC), and contain 8 g or less of added sugar per serving.
      • If product uses the old Nutrition Facts label format, the requirements for all other grain-based products apply.
    • Milk and Milk Alternatives
      • 130 calories or less per 8 fl oz*
    • Smoothies:
      • 200 calories or less per 8oz or 300 calories or less per 9-20 oz. (upper limit for size)
      • 2 teaspoons (8 g) or less added sugar per serving
      • Must contain at least one serving of whole fruit or vegetable (not including any added juice or puree concentrate, which will be counted as added sugars) or dairy/dairy alternatives (e.g. nut/grain/soy-based milks)
      • Caffeine and other stimulant additives are not permitted. Caffeine occurring naturally in other ingredients (e.g. green tea) is permitted.
    • Snacks:
      • 5 grams or less added sugar per serving. Naturally occurring sugars do not count toward this limit Grain-Based Snacks: Must be a good source of dietary fiber (at least 10% Daily Value per RACC)
    • Yogurt:
      • 20 g or less total sugar per standard 6 oz serving. 
  • Standard Certification “Extra Lean” (meat and seafood)

    • Total Fat: Less than 5 g (also per 100 g*)
    • Saturated Fat: Less than 2 g (also per 100 g*)
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving*). Products containing partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification.
    • Cholesterol: Less than 95 mg (also per 100 g*)
    • Sodium: One of four sodium limits applies depending on the particular food category: up to 140 mg, 240 mg or 360 mg per label serving*, or 480 mg per label serving and per RACC*. See Sodium Limits by Category for details.
    • Beneficial Nutrients (naturally occurring): 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)
  • Main Dish & Meal Products

    • Total Fat: 3 g or less per 100 g of product* and 30% or less calories from fat
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g or less per 100 g of product* and less than 10% calories from saturated fat
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (per label serving*). Products containing partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification.
    • Cholesterol: 20 mg or less per 100 g of product* and 90 mg or less per label serving* for a main dish and 120 mg or less per label serving* for a meal
    • Sodium: 600 mg or less (per label serving*)
    • Beneficial Nutrients (naturally occurring): 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber) per the entire main dish or meal
  • Whole Grains with Required Levels of Whole Grain & Dietary Fiber

    • Total Fat: Less than 6.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g or less and 15% or less calories from saturated fat
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving*). Products containing partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification.
    • Cholesterol: 20 mg or less
    • Sodium: One of four sodium limits applies depending on the particular food category: up to 140 mg, 240 mg or 360 mg per label serving*, or 480 mg per label serving and per RACC*. See Sodium Limits by Category for details.
    • Beneficial Nutrients (naturally occurring): 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)
    • Whole Grain Content: 51% or more by weight/RACC
    • Minimum Dietary Fiber (from whole grain only): 1.7 g/RACC of 30 g; 2.5 g/RACC of 45 g; 2.8 g/RACC of 50 g; or 3.0 g/RACC of 55 g
       
      Additional Food Category-Specific Requirements:
    • Certifiable grain-based products include breads, biscuits, cereals (ready-to-eat & cooked), crackers, pancakes, French toast, grains (single or multi) and their derivative flours/meals, waffles, muffins, sweet quick-type breads, and pastas. Must be a good source of dietary fiber (10% or more Daily Value per RACC), and contain 7 g or less Total Sugars per serving if the product is a good source of dietary fiber (10-19% Daily Value per RACC) or 9 g or less Total Sugars per serving If the product is an excellent source of dietary fiber (20% or more Daily Value per RACC). Sugars from pieces of fruit do not count toward the sugars allowance but amount(s) and source(s) must be disclosed.
  • Nuts (Whole or Chopped)

    • Total Fat: No limit
    • Saturated Fat: 4 g or less (per 50 g only*) No limit for Macadamia Nuts
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving*)
    • Cholesterol: 0 mg per label serving*
    • Sodium: 140 mg or less per label serving*
    • Beneficial Nutrients (naturally occurring): 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber). Not applicable to walnuts.

      Other:
    • Eligible nuts include almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts & some pine nuts
    • Added Fats: Less than 0.5 g per RACC
    • Added Carbohydrates: Less than 1 g per RACC
    • Amount(s) and source(s) of added fats and carbohydrates must be disclosed
  • Fish with Required Level of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

    • Total Fat: 16 g or less
    • Saturated Fat: 4 g or less
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per label serving*)
    • Cholesterol: Less than 95 mg (also per 100 g*)
    • Sodium: One of four sodium limits applies depending on the particular food category: up to 140 mg, 240 mg or 360 mg per label serving*, or 480 mg per label serving and per RACC*. See Sodium Limits by Category for details.
    • Beneficial Nutrients (naturally occurring): 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids (EPA & DHA): 500 mg or more per 85 g (3 oz cooked)

      Other:

    • Added Fats: Less than 0.5 g per RACC
    • Added Carbohydrates: Less than 1 g per RACC
    • Amount(s) and source(s) of added fats and carbohydrates must be disclosed
    • Fish may be certified under the Standard, Extra Lean or Fish categories, depending on the nutritional profile of the product. 
  • Liquid Vegetable Oils and Oil Containing Products

    • Total Fat: no limit
    • Saturated Fat:
      • For Olive Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, and vegetable oil blends: 4 g or less (also per label serving*, not per 50g)
      • For Canola Oil: 1 g or less (also per label serving*) and 15% or less calories from saturated fat
      • For Olive, Corn, and Soybean Oil-Containing Products: 2 g or less (also per label serving*)
    • Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g (also per 50 g*). Products containing partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification
    • Cholesterol: 20 mg or less (also per 50 g*)
    • Sodium: 0 mg for liquid oils. For Oil-Containing Products, see Sodium limits by Category for details.
       
      Other:
    • Must be pure Olive Oil, pure Canola Oil, pure Corn Oil, or vegetable oil blend containing 4 g or more Corn Oil per RACC
    • Canola Oil-Containing Products must have more than 4.75 g of Canola Oil per RACC
    • Corn Oil-Containing Products must have more than 4 g of Corn Oil per RACC
    • Olive Oil-Containing Products must have more than 6 g of Olive Oil per RACC
    • Soybean Oil-Containing Products must have more than 5 g of Canola Oil per RACC
  • Grain-based and Snack Bars

    • Total Fat: < 6.5 g per RACC
    • Saturated Fat: ≤ 1.0 g per RACC and ≤ 15% calories from saturated fat
    • Trans Fat: < 0.5 g per RACC and per label serving and no PHOs allowed
    • Cholesterol: ≤ 20 mg per RACC
    • Sodium: ≤ 140mg per serving
    • Beneficial Nutrients: 10% DV of 1 of 6 nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber

      Other:

    • For Old Label
      • Dietary fiber: 10% or more DV per RACC
      • Sugars (total): 
        • 7 g or less per serving if good source of dietary fiber (10-19% DV per RACC)
        • 9 g or less per serving if excellent source of dietary fiber (20% or more DV per RACC)
    • For New Label
      • Dietary fiber: 10% or more DV per RACC
      • ≤ 8g** ADDED sugars per serving vs. RACC (1 tsp. sugar = 4g)
      • Sugars from pieces of fruit do not count toward the sugars allowance
    • FDA Health Claim Language: (exact language) “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and as low as possible in trans fat, may reduce the risk of heart disease”
    • RACC = 40g (same as new RACC for med.-weight cereals). Per FDA – all bars (protein, snack, nuts/seeds, etc.) fall into same RACC category
  • Smoothies

    • Calories : 200 cal. Per RACC (8oz) or 300 cal. Per 9 – 16 oz. (upper limit)
    • Total Fat: < 6.5 g per RACC
    • Saturated Fat: ≤ 1.0 g per RACC and ≤ 15% calories from saturated fat
    • Trans Fat: < 0.5 g per RACC and per label serving and no PHOs allowed
    • Cholesterol: ≤ 20 mg per RACC
    • Sodium: ≤ 240mg per serving
    • Beneficial Nutrients: 10% DV of 1 of 6 nutrients: vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber

      Other:

    • ≤ 2 tsp. (or 8 grams) added sugar per serving
    • Must contain at least one serving of whole fruit or vegetable (not including any added juice or puree concentrate; juice concentrate and puree concentrate will be counted as added sugars) OR dairy/dairy alternative (e.g. nut/grain/soy-based milks)
    • Caffeine and other stimulant additives are not permitted; caffeine occurring naturally in other ingredients (e.g. green tea) is permitted.
    • FDA Health Claim Language: (exact language) “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and as low as possible in trans fat, may reduce the risk of heart disease”
    • RACC category for Smoothies = Dairy Products and Substitutes: Shakes or shake substitutes (e.g. dairy shake mixes, fruit frost mixes) = 240mL OR 1 cup or 8 fl. oz.
    • If product requires additional ingredients to be added in preparation (e.g. milk, yogurt, juice, water) the company must provide a nutrient profile for the finished product and at least one preparation method must meet certification criteria per serving/RACC.
  • Fresh (raw) Fruits and Vegetables

    • Total Fat: 13g or less (also per label serving size* and per 50g* (if the standard serving size is 30g or less)]
    • Saturated Fat: 1.0 g or less and ≤ 15% calories from saturated fat
    • Trans Fat:
      • less than 0.5 g (also per label serving*) Products containing partially hydrogenated oils are not eligible for certification.
    • Cholesterol: 20 mg or less
    • Sodium: 140mg or less per label serving*
    • Other:
      • Nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables that don’t qualify under Standard Certification should meet these requirements (e.g. fresh coconut would not qualify). Dried fruit is not covered in this category and must qualify under Standard Certification.

*Measurement amounts in addition to or instead of RACC


What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

 

What Does Cardiac Rehab Involve?
Cardiac rehab doesn’t change your past, but it can help you improve your heart’s future. It’s a medically supervised program designed to help improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery. Think of cardiac rehab as three equally important parts:

  • Exercise counseling and training: Exercise gets your heart pumping and your entire cardiovascular system working. You’ll learn how to get your body moving in ways that promote heart health.
     
  • Education for heart-healthy living: Managing your risk factors, choosing good nutrition, quitting smoking…education about heart-healthy living is a key element of cardiac rehab.
     
  • Counseling to reduce stress: Stress hurts your heart. This part of rehab helps you identify and tackle everyday sources of stress.

Cardiac Rehab is a Team Effort
You don’t need to face heart disease alone. Cardiac rehab is a team effort. It’s a medically-supervised program in which you partner with your doctors, nurses, pharmacists — plus family and friends — to take charge of the choices, lifestyle and habits that affect your heart.

What’s Next?
You’re in the driver’s seat…but here’s what we suggest to get started:

  • Ask your doctor if you are eligible for cardiac rehab.
  • If you are eligible for cardiac rehab, register for a program.
  • In consultation with your medical team, set some heart-health goals and create a cardiac rehab plan.
  • Take an active role in your care to achieve your goals.
  • Keep taking your medicines correctly.
  • Call 911 if you experience new or worsening symptoms.

Dr. Basil Margolis explains what cardiac rehab is and explains why eligible patients should participate after a cardiac event.

Article from the American Heart Association


Life After a Heart Attack

Explore and Embrace your Options - Life After a Heart Attack You had a heart attack.

Now what? 

If you don’t know the answer, you’re not alone. Many survivors feel scared, confused and overwhelmed after a heart attack and it’s no surprise. You experienced a life changing event. You probably received a lot of information and instructions from your doctor. Now, you’re trying to understand what happened and — more importantly — what you need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Navigating the road to recovery isn’t easy. Questions, confusion, fear and uncertainty are normal and common. Get answers to your questions and learn more about what to expect.

Don’t Wait for a Second
Where were you when you had your first heart attack? It’s an experience you’ll never forget — and one you never want to repeat. After a first heart attack, most people go on to live a long, productive life. However, around 20 percent of patients age 45 and older will have another heart attack within five years of their first.

Don’t wait for a second; make preventing another heart attack your first priority. Here are five things you can do:

Take your medications as prescribed. Certain medicines can greatly lower your risk of another cardiac event. That’s why it’s important for you to understand your medicines and take them correctly. Learn about how to manage your medications.

Attend your follow-up appointments. Attending your follow-up appointments will help your doctors keep track of your condition and recovery. You can make the most of your time with your doctor by preparing for your appointment.

Participate in cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to help you recover after a heart attack. You should have received a referral to cardiac rehab when you were discharged from the hospital — if you did not, ask your doctor about it. 

Get support. It is normal to feel scared, overwhelmed or confused after a heart attack. Getting support from loved ones or from people who have also had a heart attack can help you cope. 

Manage your risk factors. After a heart attack, it is important to manage risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes by taking medications, quitting smoking, eating healthy food, and getting active. 

 

View original article on American Heart Association


Nearly half of U.S. adults could now be classified with high blood pressure, under new definitions

ANAHEIM, California — Nearly half of American adults are at risk for major health problems because of high blood pressure, according to a new scientific guideline that redefines the dangerous condition and provides tactics for doctors to detect, treat and prevent it.

People with readings of 130 as the top number or 80 as the bottom one now are considered to have high blood pressure, according to the guideline released Monday by the American Heart Association. High blood pressure used to be defined as 140/90.

The change means 46 percent of U.S. adults are identified as having high blood pressure, compared with 32 percent under the previous definition. A blood pressure of less than 120/80 still will be considered normal, but levels at or above that, to 129, will be called “elevated.”

The new guideline is designed to help people take steps to control their blood pressure earlier, according to the authors. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world.

“Yes, we will label more people hypertensive and give more medication, but we will save lives and money by preventing more strokes, cardiovascular events and kidney failure,” said Kenneth Jamerson, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and hypertension specialist at the University of Michigan Health System. He is one of 21 experts on the guideline writing committee. “If you are going to put money into the healthcare system, it’s to everyone’s advantage if we treat and prevent on this side of it, in early treatment.”

Still, the guideline – in the works for about three years and based on hundreds of studies and clinical trials – doesn’t suggest a massive increase in the number of people who will need to take medication to control hypertension.

Of the estimated 14 percent more adults to be classified with high blood pressure, about one in five will need medication, according to Paul Whelton, M.D., who chaired the guideline writing committee. But taking into account the overall population of adults who now will have hypertension, the guide predicts only a small percentage more should be prescribed medicine for it, compared with the previous guideline’s recommendations released in 2003.

Instead, the guideline, published in the AHA’s journal Hypertension, emphasizes that doctors need to focus on a whole framework of healthier lifestyle changes for patients.

“We need to send the message that yes, you are at increased risk and these are the things you should be doing,” said Whelton, chair of global public health at Tulane University in New Orleans. “I’m not saying it’s easy to change our lifestyles, but that should be first and foremost.”

The recommendations for a heart-healthy diet include reducing salt and incorporating potassium-rich foods such as bananas, potatoes, avocados and dark leafy vegetables. The guideline also gives specific suggestions for weight loss, quitting cigarettes, cutting back on alcohol and increasing physical activity.

The guideline, the first comprehensive one in 14 years, homes in on making sure doctors’ offices and patients understand how to accurately measure blood pressure and diagnose hypertension in the first place.

Hypertension occurs when the force of blood pushing against vessel walls is too high. This added pressure causes the heart to work too hard and blood vessels to function less effectively. Over time, the stress damages the tissues within arteries, which can further damage the heart and circulatory system.

Often called the “silent killer” because there are often no obvious symptoms, hypertension accounts for more heart disease and stroke deaths than almost all other preventable causes. It’s second only to smoking.

Robert M. Carey, M.D., vice chair of the guideline writing committee, said he expects some controversy over how the report treats older adults. It recommends people 65 and older be treated to the same 130/80 goal as younger patients. A guideline early this year from the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Family Physicians suggested patients 60 and older be held to a standard below 150/90.

But Carey, professor of medicine and dean emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, said several intensive studies since 2015 show treating older adults to a lower blood pressure goal is beneficial.

“You have to escalate the treatment slower and monitor any side effects,” he said. “But it’s true there is benefit to treating ambulatory, older subjects.”

The guidelines say it can be lifesaving: “BP lowering therapy is one of the few interventions shown to reduce mortality risk in frail older individuals.” Men and women age 65 to 74 under the new classification will see high blood pressure rates increase by 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Here are how some other groups will be affected by the new measurements:

     — High blood pressure rates could nearly triple among men age 20 to 44 – up to 30 percent from 11 percent. Women in that age group will see their rates almost double, to 19 percent from 10 percent.

     — Roughly three-quarters of men between 55 and 74 could be diagnosed with high blood pressure.

     — Black and Hispanic men will experience a 17 percent increase in rates. Asian men will see a 16 percent increase.

The new classifications and recommendations are specific in how they determine who is at risk and what they should do about it, Jamerson said.

Doctors should use a “risk calculator” to determine a patient’s risk of heart disease or stroke over the next 10 years. That assessment, combined with the other recommendations, can prompt more thorough doctor-patient conversations to determine whether lifestyle changes alone can help, or if medicine is needed as well.

“These new guidelines give patients a voice because it gives them an opportunity to ask healthcare providers, ‘What’s my risk?’” Jamerson said. “Consumers should be getting an explanation. Physicians ought to be calculating risk as they think about how to treat.”

Article from American Heart Association


More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says

The number of Americans at risk for heart attacks and strokes just got a lot higher. An estimated 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure, according to new statistics from the American Heart Association. That’s nearly half of all adults in the United States.

“With the aging of the population and increased life expectancy, the prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to continue to increase,” said epidemiologist Dr. Paul Muntner, co-chair of the group that wrote the AHA’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2018 Update, published Wednesday in Circulation.

The death rate from high blood pressure increased by nearly 11 percent in the United States between 2005 and 2015, and the actual number of deaths rose by almost 38 percent — up to nearly 79,000 by 2015, according to the statistics. Worldwide, high blood pressure affects nearly a third of the adult population and is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease-related deaths, said Muntner, a professor and vice chair in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Guidelines published last November redefined high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, as a reading of 130 on top or 80 on the bottom. The standard used to be 140 over 90. The percentage of U.S. adults with high blood pressure jumped from 32 percent under the old definition to nearly 46 percent.

“Before this guideline, if your blood pressure was at 130, you weren’t supposed to do anything,” said cardiologist Dr. Kenneth Jamerson, an author of the high blood pressure guidelines.

“With the new [high blood pressure] guideline, we’re having patients do something about it,” he said. For his patients, that includes 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week and the DASH diet, plus medication if the patient has additional heart disease risk factors, Jamerson said.

According to the statistics, only about one in five Americans gets enough exercise and poor eating habits contributed to 45 percent of U.S. deaths in 2012 from heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. 

Overall, cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in the world, claiming nearly 18 million lives in 2015. In the United States, heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death and stroke is No. 5.

Even so, these latest statistics show progress is being made, said Dr. Emelia Benjamin, who led the group that wrote the statistics report.

“We’ve made incredible inroads in cardiovascular disease,” said Benjamin, a professor of cardiology at Boston University’s School of Public Health. “There’s a real focus on improving health by adopting a healthy lifestyle, not just waiting to develop disease before one focuses on risk factors.”

Article from the American Heart Association 


How Much Do You Know About Heart Health Answers

Question #1

Answer: D. The latest statistics suggest that nearly 900,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that’s 36% of all deaths. Cancer claims about 550,000 lives; accidents are responsible for 108,694 deaths; and HIV/AIDS kills about 13,000 Americans annually.

Question #2

Answer: E. All the foods listed above contain considerable amounts of sodium. In fact, some cereals have more sodium than potato chips. Even if you don’t add a single dash of salt to food, you could be getting too much sodium. Most of us take in more sodium through convenience foods than by using table salt.

Questions #3

Answer: E. Each is considered “a drink.” Men should only have up to two alcoholic drinks per day; women should stick to one drink.

Question #4

Answer: E. None of the above. There is not sufficient science to justify taking antioxidant (or other types of nutritional) supplements to prevent heart disease.

Question #5

Answer: E. All of the above. As with men, a woman’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms (some of which mimic a bad case of indigestion). Experiencing chest discomfort, particularly with one or more of the other signs listed above, for more than five minutes warrants seeking medical attention.


How Much Do You Know About Heart Health? Take The Quiz!

Quiz yourself on your knowledge of heart health!

1. How many Americans die from heart disease each year?

A) 20,000
B) 75,000
C) 350,000
D) 900,000

2. As salt intake increases, so does your blood pressure. Which food is high in sodium?

A) Potato chips
B) Cereal
C) Cookies
D) Cheese
E) All of the above

3. Studies show that moderate alcohol intake is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Which is considered a “drink”?

A) A 12-ounce bottle of beer
B) A 4-ounce glass of wine
C) 1½-ounce shot of 80-proof vodka
D) 1 ounce of 100-proof alcohol
E) All of the above

4. Which of the following supplements should you take to reduce your risk of heart disease?

A) Selenium
B) Vitamin E
C) Vitamins B6 and B12
D) Vitamin C
E) None of the above

5. Which symptoms of a heart attack are most common to women?

A) Chest pain or discomfort
B) Shortness of breath
C) Nausea/vomiting
D) Back or jaw pain
E) All of the above
 

Check Your Answers Here!

 

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