Tag Archives: heart disease

The 4 Main Tests For Determining Heart Disease Risk

heart-health

 

Blood screening can be a vital way to gain some information about your individual risk for heart disease. Once you have the information, you can make educated, informed choices to reduce your risk factors, such as: Continue reading

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Heart Health Tips + What You Need to Know About Statins

February is American Heart Month! 28 days dedicated to the ticker (of the non-doily variety) and getting smarter about managing it could not be more relevant today, as more than half a million Americans die of heart disease every year. This is preventable.

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Prayitno

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Prayitno

While the education and prevention awareness campaigns take flight, this annual awareness month just happens to come on the heels of one recent decision that has undoubtedly raised some eyebrows, including ours. Continue reading

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Trailblazing Thursdays: The Side Effects of Statins

credit: Instagram @applesrnummy

credit: Instagram @applesrnummy

More than half a million Americans die of heart disease every year. Without statins, a cholesterol-reducing drug, that number could be even more staggering.

There’s no doubt about it: in a world wrought with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, statins are a necessary and beneficial part of traditional medicine. But how safe are they? Do the benefits outweigh the negative side effects?

The answer: It depends.

First, let’s take a look at some of the most common side effects of statins.

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

“Carbs Are Killing You”

credit: Instagram @ deutschefrau

credit: Instagram @ deutschefrau

The Dilemma

In 1984 the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute set out to do a noble thing: fight heart disease, obesity, and all the complications that come with it. They launched a massive campaign to promote low-fat diets. Saturated fat consumption certainly went down, but obesity and diabetes levels went up.

The Study

This raised the question: is it really fat consumption that makes us fat? Researchers from Stanford University attempted to answer just that. The study was simple: one group ate all the fat and protein they wanted, but were restricted to 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day while the other group was put on a calorie-restricted low-fat diet where carbs made up 55-60 percent of all calories. Both groups lost weight, but the low-carb group saw nearly twice the benefits in weight loss, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure.

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Celiac Disease, Exercise to Sleep, Omega-3s for a Healthy Baby, and More!

Small two year old baby girl sleep in a bassinet on a airplane

credit: iStock @Nick_Thompson

National Sleep Foundation Poll Finds Exercise Key To Good Sleep

“Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help.” – David Cloud, CEO of the National Sleep Foundation (NSF)

Have you ever told someone how you ‘slept like a baby’ after a tough workout, or a long day of physical exertion? Well, it turns out you don’t have to climb Mount Kilamonjaro to get a good night’s rest. The results of the National Sleep Foundation’s 2013 Sleep in America® poll show just how beneficial exercise can be to a good night’s sleep:

  • Exercisers say they sleep better – Among people who sleep roughly the same amount each night, exercisers reported better sleep than non-exercisers. “If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night’s sleep,” says Max Hirshkowitz, PhD, poll task force chair.
  • Vigorous exercisers report the best sleep – Vigorous exercisers are almost twice as likely as non-exercisers to report “I had a good night’s sleep.” More than two-thirds of vigorous exercisers say they rarely have sleep problems such as waking up too early and difficulty falling asleep, while one-half of non-exercisers experienced these problems.
  • Non-exercisers are the sleepiest and have the highest risk for sleep apnea – Participants were evaluated on how ‘sleepy’ they were using a standard excessive sleepiness clinical screening measure. The poll found that non-exercisers had a high sleepiness level about twice as often as exercisers. Here’s an interesting finding: non-exercisers reported having trouble staying awake while driving nearly three times the rate of those who exercise. Non exercisers were more than two times as likely to have symptoms of sleep apnea (a serious medical condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep) than vigorous exercisers.
  • Less time sitting is associated with better sleep and health – How much data have we seen lately showing how much sitting is ruining our lives? This study also found that people who sit for less than eight hours a day are twice as more likely to say they have “very good” sleep quality than those who sit for eight hours or more. The same comparison is seen in overall health: non-sitters were twice as likely to report having ‘excellent health’.
  • Exercise at any time of day appears to be good for sleep – But when is the best time to exercise? As far away from bedtime as possible, right? Not exactly. According to the study, those who report exercising close to bedtime and earlier in the day do not demonstrate a difference in self-reported sleep quality. For most people, exercise at any time seems to be better for sleep than no exercise at all.

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

HIIT Plus Standing: Match Made in Heaven?

credit: iStock @creacart

credit: iStock @creacart

You hit the gym early in the morning, warm-up, stretch, and then go to work. After ten minutes or twenty or an hour of intensity, you’re toast. It was the kind of workout that leaves you soaked in sweat and flat on your back, gasping for air even though you can’t help but smile. What a feeling!

When you’re ready, you peel yourself off the gym floor, pat yourself on the back, and then . . .

. . . you sit all day. Whether it’s at a desk on the weekdays or in front of a television on the weekends, your time outside the gym is all about sitting. Does this sound like you?

The Dilemma

Numerous studies have shown that high intensity interval training (known as HIIT) is just as or more beneficial for overall health and athleticism when compared to longer bouts of lower to moderate-intensity exercise. For example, a 2008 study found that 2.5 hours of sprint interval training produced similar muscle and endurance improvements as 10.5 hours of endurance training. Another study found that HIIT’s effects stick with you long after you leave the gym, increasing the resting metabolic rate for 24 hours. The famous Tabata 1997 study (one of the foundations of CrossFit) concluded that “intermittent exercise . . . may tax both the anaerobic and aerobic energy releasing systems almost maximally.”

A recent study, however, set out to challenge some of these claims. Published last week in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE, the study followed eighteen healthy individuals between the ages of 19 and 23 who were randomly assigned to three physical activity regimes for four days. They were split up into three groups and were instructed to either a) sit 14 hours per day b) sit 13 hours per day and exercise for 1 hour per day and c) sit 6 hours, walk 4 hours, and stand two hours per day. While the 1-hour workout group showed the same energy expenditures per day as the minimal intensity group, insulin levels and plasma lipids in the minimal intensity group were significantly better than the sitting group. The same could not be said for the group with 1-hour of daily physical exercise.

Does this mean high-intensity exercise is not as beneficial as we once thought?

We’ve talked about ideas suggesting that one hour (or less) of exercise a day cannot make up for 23 hours of inactivity no matter how intense you make it (see Sitting is Killing You). In fact, people who sit for most of the day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack, regardless of exercise. So while exercising for six hours a day (whether it’s by taking long walks or going on a treadmill marathon at the gym) will help eliminate some of the problems of chronic sitting, you still may be missing out on all the benefits of high-intensity training (not to mention 6 hours of exercise a day just isn’t sustainable for everyone).

The Take-Away

While there are benefits to HIIT over regular exercise, it alone does not make up for an extremely sedentary lifestyle. Looking at the PLOS ONE study in the context of other research, the literature seems to suggest that remaining active throughout the day (through intermittent standing in the workspace or daily walks) in addition to a HIIT routine can be the perfect combination to achieve both short- and long-term health and fitness goals.

What do you think? Weigh in below!

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.