Vascular fun and folly

Barring an accident or some trauma, pain management often requires some depth of investigation. Well…opioids and cortisone injections might help get rid of the pain, but what if there might be something lurking in your blood flow? Let’s get into the holistic concepts of vascular system and how USA doctors seem to avoid the topic in helping you.

Do your legs hurt when you walk? Do your muscles feel cramped? Do they tingle? Check with your doctor. It could be several things and you may get several opinions. One of the least likely diagnoses might be peripheral vascular disease (PVD). Routine blood pressure exams measure health issues pertaining to your heart and brain health. Has anyone measured the blood pressure at your ankle? Inadequate blood flow to arms, legs, and many other things below the waist might be related to peripheral vascular conditions. How would you know?

It’s how the blood flows to bring life and joy. Yet, vascular disease may also bring woe and tension. Let’s talk about vascular fun and folly.

The vascular system is the body’s network of blood vessels. It includes the arteries, veins and capillaries that carry blood to and from the heart. Cardiologists attempt to monitor vascular integrity leading to and from the heart. Deeper exams also view the carotid arteries leading to the brain.

Very few physicians are concerned with the vessels in your other body areas. Chances are that if stiffness and plaque interfere in heart arteries, it may also exist in peripheral blood vessels.

Increase in age usually is associated with vascular diseases but there are other possibilities:

Family history of vascular or heart diseases
Pregnancy
Illness or injury
Long periods of sitting or standing still
Any condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, such as diabetes or high cholesterol
Smoking
Obesity

According to many medical and health organizations, losing weight, eating healthy foods, being active and not smoking can help prevent vascular disease. All of these should not be sporadic but integrated into your lifestyle.

Managing stress well may also help reduce the incidence of vascular diseases. General anxiety is a common part of a long-term stress behavior. It is characterized by long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any one object or situation. Those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder experience non-specific persistent fear and worry, and become overly concerned with everyday matters, and indirect associations.

According to Harvard Health, anxiety may be one variable in developing vascular disease and heart problems.

Beyond general conceptions about anxiety, your body chemicals called hormones, may increase anxiety. Imbalances in the body’s stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and the precursor hormone DHEA — can cause a variety of symptoms that seem to be mentally health-related, including depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone may contribute to anxiety. Studies on rats appear to confirm this belief. Thyroid Hormone An overactive thyroid can also cause a significant problem with anxiety, and is very likely to cause panic attacks.

The positive correlation of vascular disease among the aging population may be related to many hormonal changes. Hormone changes may be associated with weight gain, reduced energy, and other conditions despite having followed a healthy lifestyle. These changes are also associated with anxiety.

One symptom that hints of vascular disease is blood pressure. Blood pressure measurements may deviate based on instrumentation. Digital machines have differing programs. That means 110/60 on one unit might be 130/80 on another unit. Anxiety (every now and then) doesn’t cause long-term high blood pressure (hypertension). Frequent episodes of anxiety have been known to cause dramatic, temporary spikes in your blood pressure. The belief is that frequent temporary spikes in blood pressure can have negative consequences that are similar to those of high blood pressure.

Another factor of blood pressure and vascular disease might be sub-conscious brainwaves of consciousness. Your brain has differing wave patterns when you are alert and relaxed. People with hypertension are prescribed beta blockers. These work to help reduce stress and anxiety. Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when we are alert, attentive, engaged in problem solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity. While remaining in beta too long may result in adverse reactions among people with hypertension, little research fails to reach any firm conclusions on associations with vascular diseases.

Vascular diseases begin as inflammation on vascular walls. They turn into lesions over time. Consider getting a paper-cut on your finger. That’s a lesion on your skin. Among the miles of veins and arteries in your body, these lesions form. The body works to protect itself. Vascular plaque forms not only near your heart or brain but other parts too.

Yet the far-reaching roads pf the vascular system extend over every sector and place of your body. Apart from cardiovascular and neurovascular pathways, there are several known peripheral vascular diseases:

Atherosclerosis and Peripheral Artery Disease.
Aneurysm.
Raynaud’s Phenomenon (Raynaud’s Disease or Raynaud’s Syndrome)
Buerger’s Disease.
Peripheral Venous Disease and Varicose Veins.
Blood Clots in Veins (VTE)
Blood Clotting Disorders.
Lymphedema.

Perhaps one of the more disabling of peripheral diseases is Erectile Dysfunction. Some say it is age related. It may be from a vascular disease. When there are peripheral vascular conditions, the blood flow does not just struggle to get to the legs and feet, but also to the penis. This then causes the ever-terrifying condition known as “erectile dysfunction”! Usually, this poor circulation is a result of other health conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. Some studies from 2011 found that vascular disease may have had less to do with erectile dysfunction.

Hormonal changes after menopause and possible vascular disease may be behind sexual mishappenings. While peripheral atherosclerosis from high cholesterol and high fats may lead to sexual disabilities, diabetes (hormonal and vascular) might be more significant contributors. In women, diabetes can lead to hardening of the blood vessels of the vaginal wall. Decreased blood flow can affect vaginal lubrication, causing the vagina to be too dry for comfortable intercourse. This condition also seems to put women at greater risk for recurring yeast infections. In men, diabetes can lead to a hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the erectile tissue of the penis. This can cause problems in getting an erection, and the penis may be less firm while erect. Basically, obesity linkage with diabetes may result in vascular folly.

Apart from sexual issues, peripheral pain in limbs may be more associated with vascular conditions than neuromuscular or skeletal issues.

Factors that increase your risk of developing peripheral artery disease include:
Smoking.
Diabetes.
Obesity (a body mass index over 30)
High blood pressure.
High cholesterol.
Increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age.
A family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke.

Many of these conditions demonstrate possible circulatory problems in the peripheral vascular system. Diabetics are known to develop gangrene in toes and fingers, in extreme cases, with surgeries required for removal. Certain dietary choices and smoking may deprive areas of blood – over time. Constriction of the blood vessels is the body’s way to raise the blood pressure. By narrowing the passage in the blood vessels, blood flows more slowly to the organs and the extremities. This goes way beyond the scope of heart and brain vascular issues. Peripheral vasoconstriction is associated with chronic stress.

Peripheral vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contraction of the muscular wall of the vessels, in particular the large arteries and small arterioles. The process is the opposite of vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels. Vasoconstriction of the arterioles increases resistance and decreases blood flow. This may cause hypertension readings in early stages.

Peripheral vascular testing is generally overlooked by most traditional physicians. The diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) should always be confirmed using objective vascular testing. Sometimes heart and brain vascular health seem clean and normal. Other parts of your vascular system may not be as healthy. When it comes to where the blood flows and how, a thorough vascular health screening is a more holistic approach for the bigger picture.

The most common symptom of peripheral vascular disease in the legs is pain in one or both calves, thighs, or hips. Like many other health-related issues, proper diets and movement exercises are beneficial for treatment and lifestyle. Your health care professional will most likely recommend physical therapy or physiatry as part of a treatment plan. When no other treatment is offered by a general physician, you may want to consult with a vascular specialist.

In the flowing tributaries so vital to our lives, vascular health influences us through arteries, veins, and capillaries. PAD usually affects the arteries in the legs, but it also can affect the arteries that carry blood from your heart to your head, arms, kidneys, and stomach. The center hub is your heart beating constantly. And by genetics or personal choice, determinants of what is in your blood contribute to your health and how you feel. Managing dietary and activity lifestyles, monitoring hormones, and insisting that your doctor examines all your vascular system may help you enjoy life better. Seek vascular fun over folly.

Poor physical fitness nearly harmful as smoking for heart health

When it comes to wellness and longevity, what might be the best method of achievement?

A nearly 50 year study in Sweden asserts that physical wellness and breath capacity are key variables for cardiovascular wellness. Basically, when compared to hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and smoking, poor physical fitness was noted nearly harmful as smoking for heart health.

What are some of the factors that help determine the length of your life? Is it diet? Is it physical activity? Is it obesity? Is it smoking? Is it genetic predispositions? Study shows poor physical fitness is nearly as harmful as smoking as risks for getting a heart attack or stroke. Does aerobic fitness determine an improved life length? I think fitness has to do with weight management AND exercise together.

How many hours do you sit in front of your TV in a week? How long do you sit in front of your Mac or PC each day? How far do you walk (or do any aerobic activity) per week? When it comes to heart health, two factors scored high as risks – smoking and aerobic exercise. This 45 year longitudinal study seems to assert that poor aerobic physical fitness is nearly as harmful as smoking, at least, in Sweden. Is it applicable elsewhere?

Swedish researchers followed up on nearly 700 Swedish men for 45 years (1967 to 2012_ years to find risk factors for heart attacks and death. This is one of many longitudinal studies that Sweden generates. The reports showed fairly obvious and startling results. Smokers, men with high cholesterol levels or hypertension ran a higher risk of a premature death. Low levels of aerobic capacity – or poor physical fitness actually represented a higher death risk than high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Only smoking was found to be a higher risk factor than poor (aerobic) physical fitness. Is it time to consider walking more than watching TV or staring at the monitor?

A longitudinal study is an observational research method in which data is gathered for the same subjects repeatedly over a period of years, decades, and longer. Compared to short studies, longitudinal studies show responses over time, sometimes lifespan.

This study, by a team from Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. A representative sample of 792 men were followed for 45 years. All subjects were 50 year old men when they were selected in 1963. The study and research aimed to investigate the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and mortality. The remaining participants would be in their 90’s. The study inluded men born in 1913, 1923, 1933, 1943, 1953 and 1963.

In 1967, the group’s members all completed an exercise test. 656 of the subject group carried out a maximum exercise test where they were required to push themselves to the limit (the others were exempt due to health concerns that might have made the exertion dangerous). Oxygen uptake was measured using with consistent instrumentation that measure respiration and gas metabolism during exercise. Subjects were monitored every 10 years. Data on smoking habits, leisure time physical activity, mental stress and previous diseases, including hypertension and diabetes, as well as on pharmacological treatments were collected by questionnaires.

Smoking was the most likely lifestyle factor to kill a person early, but low aerobic capacity as measured by peak oxygen uptake (better known as VO2 Max) was linked to higher mortality than the other cardiovascular factors assessed. The men with the lowest VO2 Max (maximal oxygen uptake) had a 42 percent higher risk of dying of premature death than the men who were the fittest, and about 21 percent higher risk than men with average aerobic capacity.

Of course, previous mortality rates conducted by the American Heart Association indicate that high LDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, and hypertension have been evident in patients with cardiovascular incidents. LDL Cholesterol and (in less than 2% of population) Homocysteine may contribute to to artery blockages. Left unchecked, these have been observable causes of strokes and heart attacks.

The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week may help minimize the risk of a heart attack, a leading killer.

Of course you join a gym and use treadmills, joggers, stair-masters, or join a spinning class to boost your aerobic fitness. It’ll help meet those recommended lifestyle guidelines. Considering most people’s busy lives, is it really possible?

Cardiovascular health is likely more associated with exercise constancy. Taking routine time each day or two for 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity. It has to be integrated and mindful in your lifestyle as a routine, not as an option. Cardiovascular exercises help increase breath volume capacity, movement of body fluids, and use of calories.Sound difficult?

Try walking! Make time to walk to work, walk to meetings, walk around your neighborhood or walk when shopping. Walking briskly, even moderately may help boost aerobic fitness and improve your cardiovascular integrity. The AHA cites a recent study that indicates, “walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running.” Many studies suggest that walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress.

Just 30 minutes walking every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. Even if you don’t smoke, don’t have high levels of cholesterol, and don’t have hypertension, the benefits of walking are prime at thwarting many health risks.

While the Swedish study examined men, primarily because 45 years ago, more men had cardiovascular incidents than women. Studies indicate that women doing aerobic activities reduce risk of coronary issues in the future.

The exciting data from Sweden’s longitudinal study and those of USA cross-sectional studies clearly match. All infer that the causality of cardiovascular and respiratory health and heart wellness are associated with marked levels of activity.

Aerobically poor physical fitness is near the top of the list of variables that increase risks of cardiovascular episodes, sometimes even if there are no indexes of other cardiovascular risks.

While following a healthy diet is important, a motivated routing of aerobic exercise seems to offer assurances that you will have a higher quality and longer cardiovascular life if you try to walk moderately brisk 30 minutes per day. The Swedish know it. USA medical specialists know it. So should you.

Ancient Asian practices addressed poor physical fitness with breathing as an important facet. Persia, India, and China all focused how breathing bears influence. Chinese medicine believed that poor physical fitness required Qi Gong, to achieve balance and strength. The Swedish results demonstrate the significance these ancient practices had at insuring cardiovascular health over time.

Understanding cardiovascular health means opting for lifestyle choices, with no interruptions. And no smoking.

While cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and diet may be causes of havoc within arteries leading to the heart, brain, and some other areas, the Swedish study prioritizes how crucial breathing is to upgrade your status toward cardiovascular health.

Of course, there are those that may have chronic asthma or COPD and other respiratory conditions that wouldn’t have qualified for the respiratory segment of the Swedish study. They are likely to be already treated by another specialist.

For most, however, in this cardiac risk study, healthy breathing was an important variable in assessing longevity of cardiovascular wellness.

As part of normal daily activities, if you find you lose your breath on short walks or climbing a few stairs, it may be an indicator of cardiovascular disease, even if your cholesterol and other blood indicators are within the normal range. The importance of respiration integrity with stress is a good marker for potential cardiovascular risks. This stress-test is usually given by a cardiologist exploring possible symptoms. If you don’t smoke but experience breathing problems, consider adding a cardiologist on your To-Do list.

It is also suggested if you feel changes in the way you breathe, seek medical attention as there are many serious respiratory illnesses that may occur during your aging process. Unawareness or ignoring symptoms contribute to degrees of poor physical fitness.

Overall, if you have any of the indicators that may contribute to cardiovascular events that could lead to heart attacks or strokes, be wary of them. Find out more from a medical specialist or alternative cardiologist and what you can do about them. You would be surprised that physical fitness and weight management are two common approaches to help alleviate ongoing cardiovascular diseases. The Swedish study may be valid. Poor physical fitness is, as the Swedish study asserts, is almost as bad as smoking as a lifestyle that might contribute to heart diseases.

Sweden is very serious about fitness, exercise, and diet. This could be a confounding variable in the overall results and report. Nonetheless, world organizations support physical fitness and diet responsibilities as keys for life extension. Breathe well and move.

Cardiovascular illnesses may be genetic but, in general, they may arise by lifestyle choices and poverty. While this study demonstrates the significance of physical fitness to suppress some symptoms of this silent killer, routine blood tests covering lipids are very important. Ask your physician to give you a copy of the blood test results so you can track them. You may never know whether you are a candidate or not. Becoming fit doesn’t guarantee happily ever afters. Fitness may just help sweeten and lengthen your odds of living well, as part of an integrated approach. Isn’t that what you want? What’s stopping you?

Heart Health relies on sugar intake

The winter holidays are upon us. There are family gatherings and all kinds of festive sugary snacks to help us brave the cold. Why consider hear health? It seems that a research study last year cited evidence that foods and drinks with added sugar may be heart health threatening. Who knows what the future brings? Eat, drink, be merry, and sit. In this gambling game of life, enjoy a happy holiday season and a very happy new year.

Mary Poppins believes that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Do you regularly add spoons of sugar to your morning tea or coffee? While those spoonful or packets may help those beverages go down, they may also be hurting your hear health. According to an article in the Journal of American Medical Association or JAMA, getting too much added sugar in your diet might significantly increase your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in January 2014.

The study concluded that. “Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet. We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.”

While there are many risk factors that may lead to an eclipse of the heart or some form of heart failure, the results point that added sugar rather than salt may probably influence cardiovascular health and possible mortality (or life reduction).

The American Heart Association recently updated a section devoted to heart health issues and added sugar. They indicated that sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars in the American diet, often as many as 9 teaspoons of sugar as carbohydrate calories. Those excess carbohydrates may also lead to weight gain and diabetes – other potential risk factors against heart health. The problem is many people consume not one 12-ounce can but as much as 2 liters or nearly a half-gallon of these beverages daily.

That prompted a Congress representative, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), to propose an excise tax on sugared soft drinks, much like those already imposed on cigarettes and alcohol. While there are many supporters of The SWEET Act, there are many that oppose the act from passing.

We are not only talking about sodas and iced-teas/fruit drinks but also sweetened energy and sports drinks. I might accept electrolyte enhancing sport drinks if you exercised intensely but many are consumed while sitting in front of a TV or at a desk.

Can you have your cake and eat it too? I was sitting at Starbucks and noticed someone ordering coffee and a cupcake. A typical cupcake weighs about 3 ounces. It is about 235 calories, mostly from fat and sugars, based on 1 ounce. That’s 700 calories. Keeping in the Christmas spirit, the person ordered an Espresso with steamed milk and caramel brulée flavored sauce. The 16-ounce beverage contains 52 grams of sugar. Then the customer went to the convenience stand and added 3 more packets of sugar. I was drinking an espresso straight with 5 calories.

So, here we are, armed with a study that heart health may be compromised by adding sugars and beverages aren’t the only culprit. Then there are foods that add high fructose corn syrup that say “no added sugar.” Sugar is deemed as sucrose. The problem lies in economics and taking sides with the investment quotient.

Mary Poppins may have been correct about adding sugar to medicine. You’re only sick for a brief time. Not adding sugar is an acquired taste and often requires lots of adaptation.

Few people below the age of 30 would never consider heart health issues as threatening. Most of them continue their dietary habits and, with age, start noticing the consequences. Is it likely that added sugar will shorten your life with deteriorating heat health? Who knows? There are many habits and diseases that make up the ingredients.

This JAMA study on added sugars from last year has stirred new debate amidst health concerns, tastes, and economics.

Whether added sugar will result in diseased heart health over time may still be an open case. One can always say that life is a gamble. Any threatening research may lead with “not me” responses. So smoke, drink booze, and have sugar-rich foods. If you encounter diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular issues along the way, there are always treatments (or not).

Happy holidays! May this be a year that leads to many others with increasing happiness. We hope this won’t be your last.

Heavy Metals and heart health

Do you enjoy heavy metals? Heavy Metal may be great music. Your body requires metals (minerals) in trace amounts for stable health. Too much may be hazardous to your health, even poisonous. Metal and heavy metal nutrients can bring life and death. They are vital to cellular maintenance. Too many metals may contribute to heart attacks, strokes, and cancers. Know how much metal you need to enjoy life?

Metals are very important to your body’s normal functioning. Iron, for example, is found in hemoglobin, a molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. Iron is essential in tiny trace, An iron deficiency may lead to anemia, general fatigue, weakness. shortness of breath, and dizziness. Your body has many trace metals. Other metals your body requires are zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, chromium, and molybdenum. Many of these are included in most multiple vitamins. Some metals are often found in medicine formulas, such as aluminum, bismuth, gold, gallium, lithium, and silver. Then there are heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead that are highly toxic to your body but essential for manufacturing products.

Exposure to heavy metals and their absorption into our body systems are often indirect and build-up is cumulative over time. Yet, most people don’t have an idea about the effects that even harmless metal exposure might have.

Very few realize that Calcium is a metal and also a vital nutrient for teeth and bones. It also is an active ingredient in common antacids sold in pharmacy and convenience stores. Some dairy products and dairy substitutes fortify additional calcium for marketing purposes. Accidental overdosing calcium is easy because of its availability. Calcium, over time, can contribute to the hardening of the arteries that may result in heart attacks and strokes. Even if your cholesterol is in the normal range!

Calcification can show up in breast tissue and, prior to crystallization, may not be detected by mammograms. Crystallized calcium may be the cause of many observed lumps in breasts. While most are not cancerous, calcium may (in certain conditions) be associated with forms of invasive cancer.

We have said that Iron is essential for health in trace amounts. Taking too much Iron in your diet can be lethal. Iron overdose has been one of the leading causes of death caused by toxicological agents in children younger than 6 years. While Iron in the bloodstream is vital for delivering oxygen to cells, overdose can kill cells. Large amounts of Iron is an extremely corrosive substance to the GI tract, and may induce abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Some heavy metals may be surreptitious and confusing. We are taught about how beneficial it is to eat fresh-water salmon and tuna fish. While there are many health benefits, seafood and fish store Mercury in their bodies, some more than others. In an average adult diet, Mercury levels may be harmless. Some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child’s developing nervous system. Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish, but, be advised, that eating more than 12 ounces of these low-mercury fish may be harmful in the long-run.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and can also be released into the air through industrial pollution. Mercury falls from the air and can accumulate in streams and oceans. Mercury transforms into methyl mercury in the water. Naturally, Fish absorb the methyl mercury as they feed in these waters and so it builds up in them. If young children are exposed to fish with high mercury levels, cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness may result. Methyl mercury damage is usually irreversible. Treatment is determined by the severity of the condition and is similar to that given for cerebral palsy.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, some forms of mercury may lead to muscle weakness, and mental disturbances. Mackerel, Shark, Swordfish, and Tilefish generally have the highest levels of mercury and are not recommended for pregnant women or young children. In its pure form, Mercury was once used in dental fillings and as an inactive base in some pills. What do they mean by inactive?

Supplements containing the metal Selenium make claims that it is beneficial at keeping thyroid levels in the normal range, among many other things. Most dietary Selenium comes from fish, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, whole grains, and nuts.

The recommended dietary allowance of Selenium for adults is about 55 micrograms daily. It acts as a powerful antioxidant when combined with certain vitamins. Doses of over 200 micrograms daily may result in a form of diabetes. An overdose of selenium may cause bad breath, fever, nausea, and liver, kidney and heart problems. At high enough levels, selenium could possibly be a factor that results with death.

Think about lead poisoning, one of the more common toxic heavy metals. It was found in paint and gasoline up to the 1970’s. When homes are rented or sold, owners have to indicate a “lead notice” to prevent possible accidents from exposure to older paint layers. Sometimes toys imported from China may also have lead-based finishes. Accumulated exposure may be very harmful.

The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include: Developmental delay, Learning difficulties, Irritability, Loss of appetite, and Sluggishness and fatigue. There may also be abdominal issues.

There is one metal that your body really needs. It is called Magnesium for muscle, nerve, heart, ad bone health. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Prenatal magnesium deficiency has been inferred with autism and other early development disorders.

Excitability, Muscle weakness, and (excessive) Sleepiness have been associated with magnesium deficiencies. Getting your magnesium quota from foods is really easy. Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, such as dark green, leafy vegetables, legumes, whole-grain rice, nuts, and (some) soy products.

Though rare, magnesium overdose may lead to hypertension, vomiting, unintentional weight loss, slow breathing, kidney stress, and a possible calcium deficiency. While magnesium reportedly helps fight against accumulation of heavy metals in your body, further studies are needed.

There’s something wise about the health benefits of oysters. They are one of the foods that deliver the highest natural source of Zinc, another beneficial metal. For over 20 years, doctors claimed that Zinc can reduce colds from viruses.

Zinc has also been associated as beneficial to ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) and the development of Alzheimer’s Disease. Zinc may benefit skin and fertility. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Taking too much Zinc may result in digestive problems and may lower your immunity system. Zinc competes with copper for absorption in the human body. Having an overdose of zinc unbalances your copper levels which become deficient. Taking too much Zinc may affect a change in taste and smell. Other Zinc side-effects may contribute to dizziness, chest pain, trouble breathing, fever, chills and jaundice, when taken at higher than recommended quantities.

Sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Too much cake may make you fat. The acids in coffee may attack tooth enamel, for example. Too much milk brings healthy bones but possible circulatory problems. Certain seafood and fish may result in nerve disorders. It really is difficult. While heavy metals have benefits they may prematurely kiss you toward a stairway to heaven and a black Sabbath. Beware! Overdosing on heavy metals can impact the qualities of your life.

Heavy metals and metals may be nutritious and healthy in tiny amounts. Before dosing up or eating certain foods, especially when pregnant, their content in docile, everyday foods and supplements may be poisonous. Check with your doctor or nutritionist. The symptoms can be confusing but harmful if a possible associative suspicion is overlooked.

Many multivitamin supplements include metals as minerals. These small amounts help prevent deficiency but many of these come from healthy diets. How many people follow healthy diet guidelines? Sticking to that source will help you reap their benefits. It’s advisable not to over-supplement or you’ll reap consequences.

Careful review of heavy metals and metals in your diet may make the music of life more appealing.

Carbohydrates and Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, carbohydrates are often viewed as the bad guys. Yet, we are the descendants of people that have eaten carbohydrates as food staples. Why are carbohydrates getting such bad press? Can they actually help with weight loss? What should you know?

As you escalate upwards on clothing sizes and notice bulges where you don’t want them, it may be time to consider weight loss. Many diets over the past 10 years have been lashing out on those nasty carbohydrates (carbs) and are professing that minimizing carbs help lead to weight loss quickly. The problem is we love our carbs. We need our carbs.

Carbohydrates are sugars and starches that are naturally found in most foods, excluding meat and fish. Basically, if it’s a plant (fruit, vegetable, legume,grain), juice, or dairy product, there are naturally occurring sugars or starches. Foods high in carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.

Historically, people had high carbohydrate breakfasts because these natural sugars and starches provide bursts of energy required to start the day. In those days, people worked on farms and ranches. There were no cars and more people walked where ever they needed to travel to or rode on horses (that required upkeep). Carbs were considered great for most times in human history and, currently, in most uncivilized areas.

In civilized countries, sedentary lives suffer from too much carbohydrate intake. People drive cars, work with personal computers, and all sorts of mobile devices. Physical activity is more of an option as many more people choose to go home and watch TV for a few hours. Is this you?

Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is converted to energy used to support bodily functions and physical activity. Your brain requires carbs for thinking as do many cellular networks. Sedentary lifestyles, following traditional eating habits formed for thousands of years, find that their trim bodies grow larger and they can’t figure out why.

A key problem is in society itself. Many “bought” foods use processed grains and add sugars to make them more palatable. These carbs are fine if you plan to go running for fifteen minutes after eating. The reason is these are simplex carbohydrates. These have simple, easily digestible carbs that are quickly absorbed by the body.

Examples of these are:
◾Table sugar
◾Brown sugar (including raw and organic sugar)
◾Corn syrup
◾Honey
◾Maple syrup
◾Molasses
◾Jams, jellies
◾Fruit drinks
◾Soft drinks
◾Candy

Then there are complex carbohydrates that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables. The key difference between simple and complex carbs isn’t easily seen by your eye. It’s at microscopic levels. A carbohydrate is a molecule. Complex carbs have larger molecules than simple carbohydrates.

To understand this, you must be aware that our planet and everything on the planet and its atmosphere are made of atoms. There are many different types of atoms. When atoms are mixed together, you get molecules. For example, two hydrogen atoms meet one oxygen atom and, when they get together, the result is water. Zillions of these atomic bonds comprise our oceans. Carbohydrates are molecules, a group of atoms bonded together, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound. There are many different carbohydrate molecules and those differences lie in what makes one better for you than others.

Foods containing the healthiest sources of carbohydrates—unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans—promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients (nutritive molecules that help distinguish one food from another). Less healthy sources of carbohydrates include white bread, pastries, sodas, and other highly processed or refined foods. These items contain easily digested carbohydrates that may contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease.

How can carbohydrates promote heart disease? Excess sugar in the bloodstream can contribute to plaque, arterial wall residue and releases a hormone called insulin from your pancreas. Carbohydrates (starches and sugars) raise blood sugar levels and trigger the release of insulin. Insulin helps leads in the reduction of excess sugars and starches in the bloodstream that would be thickening blood, in high amounts. Insulin helps convert those carbs into energy.

When there are problems with insulin production, thicker blood in arteries can result in plaque that could disrupt vascular flow to your heart, brain, or elsewhere. This may contribute to strokes, heart attacks, and issues throughout the body.

One of the problems that can occur over time, in previously healthy individuals, is the development of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it effectively. When people have insulin resistance, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells, leading to type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is usually found among obese people. In insulin resistance, muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin and thus cannot easily absorb glucose from the bloodstream. As a result, the body needs higher levels of insulin to help glucose enter cells. This is hyperglycemia, a condition of insulin resistance, where not enough insulin can be produced to deal with excessive carbohydrate consumption.

On the other side of the coin, there’s a hypoglycemia condition. Hypoglycemia may be a result that, when carbs are present in your bloodstream, excess insulin attacks them. Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by an abnormally low level of blood sugar (glucose), your body’s main energy source. Normally, there are certain pancreatic beta cells that help bring carbs to the cells but the flow is disrupted. In many cases, hypoglycemia occurs after meals because the body produces more insulin than is needed.
For those with hypoglycemia, excessive simple carbs can result in confusion, sleepiness, and (in extreme cases) unconsciousness. Other possible symptoms may include:

•Heart palpitations
•Shakiness
•Anxiety
•Sweating
•Hunger

When hunger occurs, a hypoglycemic is not satisfied after eating a full meal and feels the need to eat more. Eating more helps lead to excess weight gain and, perhaps, a higher degree of exhaustion.

How does your body react to carbs? There’s a rather long, tedious blood test that illustrates what happens after high-carb intake. The glucose tolerance test acts as a guide for you and your physician to take proper steps.

Carbohydrate consumption and problems associated with it may often be genetically linked, inherited through familial generations. In some ways, this may account for body appearance, and energy levels throughout a life span. Often, it can go undetected for many years under routine medical care.

Considering weight loss with carbohydrates? It is possible. The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA provides an excellent website with tons of information and recipes for each meal. Carb lovers needn’t worry. Slight modifications to how and when you eat, and how much you physically move, may contribute to an enduring weight loss program.

Carbs may not necessarily be the evil behind weight gain. How you consume carbs, especially mixed with excess saturated fats, may contribute to excess pounds. Consider that when you down a 4 ounce bad of chips and a liter of soda while wat5ching TV.

Knowing and using appropriate carbs and moving more actively may just help you achieve weight loss over time. Carbs are part of our history and are very addictive. Adapting responsible carb intake into a sedentary lifestyle may not be an easy task. Total carb withdrawal can be dangerous. Finding the responsible path may require aid from a certified nutritionist. Over years, you may find that your excess pounds have shed and your energy has improved, if you understand the virtues and dangers of carbs. It’s a lifestyle adaptation for the new lifestyle. It is not a quick-fix!

New 2013 cholesterol guidelines

Sometimes it may be the binge eating you had before your medical exam. Other times it may be the dietary recommendations that eating chicken and fish are healthier than red meat. Any animal-source food has cholesterol. According to the Center of Disease Control, 71 million Americans or 1 in 3 have high LDL or bad cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is associated with lining arteries with plaque that may lead to organ damage, particularly leading to heart attacks and strokes. For some people, it is dietary, and is easily controlled. For others, these may be familial, chronic conditions. There’s no wonder why cholesterol management is a big topic and essential indicator examined on general blood tests. When the American Heart Association announces new guidelines for cholesterol management, doctors listen. The new report promotes high statin dosage to control high LDL levels.

A group of researchers from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association put their weight on new cholesterol management guidelines. Their emphasis is to increase statin treatments to more people who might be at risk of having a heart attack. The origin of these reports were designed to effectively care for those who already had some level of a cardiovascular episode.

As with all cases, the panel took a traditional approach. As with all patients, they emphasized lifestyle guidelines (i.e., adhering to a heart healthy diet, regular exercise
habits, avoidance of tobacco products, and maintenance of a healthy weight). They cited that use of one of the 4 statin groups would help those who can’t manage to keep their LDL at a normal range. They did not discuss HDL/LDL ratios.

Establishing a target range under real circumstances still remains vague but they deemed that an LDL-C of 190 is considered threatening.

The new guideline recommends moderate- or high-intensity statin therapy for these four groups:

1) Patients who have cardiovascular disease;
2) Patients with an LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level of 190 mg/dL or higher;
3) Patients with Type 2 diabetes who are between 40 and 75 years of age
4)Patients with an estimated 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease of 7.5 percent or higher who are between 40 and 75 years of age (the report provides formulas for calculating 10-year risk).

Chronic use of statins may have negative effects on neuromuscular systems, particularly peripheral myopathies. While Cleveland University research cites that 72.5% of statin-intolerant patients may be treated with statins. There are those that have diseases like muscular dystrophy or multiple sclerosis for which statin use may be almost fatal. Recommendations of high stain dosages may be more dangerous holistically than cardiology specialists realize.

For example, many people suffer from rheumatism and fibromyalgia. These involve muscle pains, affecting over 10 million people, that have no succinct etiology to infer causality and results. There is little data to support that high-dose statins may induce more extreme pain or inflammation. While cholesterol management is vital, average cardiologists may not take these other common diseases into consideration when prescribing statin drugs.

Specialists that read these guidelines may take easier approaches at high-dosing statins to force cholesterol management to those that may not need it. The November 2013 guidelines of the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association seems to sanction this. Most cardiologists adhere to the average and this report definitely targets the average. Patients are then forced to seek out cardiologists that see patients as individuals instead of group numbers. Groupings are attractive at writing presentations. Patients as clients require more specific attention.

Yet statins are touted well beyond cholesterol management with research demonstrating efficacy in treating cancer and other diseases. It’s as if all the leading drug companies that produce cholesterol are behind all the experiments. In some respects, companies like Merck and Pfizer are using cardiologists as drug pushers, especially when two major heart organizations sanction high dosages of statin medications to help lower LDL cholesterol.

I have genetic cholesterol and management requires an almost vegan diet along with exercise. Because of a form of muscular dystrophy, all statins have been proven toxic. I use Source Natural Cholesterol Complex on a daily basis, along with non-statin prescription Zetia and Lopid. Policosanol is a key ingredient in my supplement mix and policosanol research shows that 20mg can help reduce LDL cholesterol by nearly 30%. For people that suffer from statin intolerance, statins are not the conclusive treatment.

Cholesterol is only one of many indicators that may lead to heart disease. Relying on statins to lower LDL cholesterol levels may be great for many people. For those that exhibit statin intolerance, there are other routes and physicians should understand and study these.

Sifting through this 80 page document from November, it’s a rather unimpressive work and further extends that the two leading organizations continue to fail at examining holistic approaches to cholesterol management. Cholesterol levels correlate differently with age and this report didn’t cover that well. As people rise over 70, 190 to 200 LDL is more tolerable than that of a 25 year old.

Prescribing high intensity statins as a rule instead of an exception, may actually harm some patients in those groups due to side-effects. The fervent faith in statins for cholesterol management that seems to be shared by traditional cardiologists may be taking cardiovascular care in wrong directions. There must be more exploration into alternative approaches that place responsibilities on both doctor and patient.

Finding a reasonable target that I can maintain without statins is my goal. In the overall wellness mix, I prefer to be in control. Control requires an active goal-oriented approach. That control persists between routine visits to my practitioner.

Patients, as drug consumers, will accept statins and will likely not report intolerances. While statins for lowering cholesterol may be beneficial, the overall goal is to help patients (as clients) pursue healthy lifestyles and feel well. On the patient’s side, you must be willing to take necessary drug-free steps to improve your heart and cardiovascular health. Ultimately your health is your responsibility!

As to the new stricter standards proposed by the ACC and AHA regarding cholesterol borderlines and statin medications, everything and anything is subject to change. Each year new studies and interventions lead to new perspectives of how to approach cardiovascular conditions. The ACC and AHA are traditionalists and are likely to follow Statins as a holy sword. Statins are not exclusive. Seek out other options and, if possible, find integrative health centers that offer more holistic and educational approaches to help resolve what may be a chronic condition. There are lifestyle choices that can help you manage your LDL cholesterol levels.

Hypertension or High Blood Pressure

Beware! There may be a serial killer stalking and targeting you. It might be you. One of the new epidemics facing people living in the United States is very silent. You don’t feel it. If it’s there and it can contribute to your health problems. It can even kill you. It’s called hypertension or high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing up against the blood vessel walls travelling throughout your body as it nourishes organs and cells. The higher the pressure the harder the heart has to pump. Do you have hypertension?

Normal blood pressure is defined as less than 120/80 mmHg; pre-hypertension is classified as between 120-139/80-89 mmHg. High blood pressure is classified as stage I (140-159/90-99 mmHg) or stage II (greater than 160/100 mmHg). These targets are often modified.

Each time you visit your doctor, make certain that you have your blood pressure checked and ask what it is. Better yet, keep a blood pressure monitor at home and check your reading each day, preferably at the same time everyday. It is an affordable, practical tool that each home should have and, for some, as important as a toothbrush.

One out of three adults in the developed and developing world may develop or have hypertension. The underlying cause usually cannot be determined and it is likely that many factors may contribute to the cause. Hypertension, though, may influence your heart, kidneys, liver, and brain. If untreated, it may help trigger life-threatening illnesses or death.

Hypertension patterns may be caused by genetics and it may be good to know if it runs in your family. The general causes may be associated with diet and/or lifestyle. Some people with high blood pressure may be sensitive to salt or sodium. Research on sodium intake have been generally inconclusive. Usually other factors, such as old age, become a factor. Patterned hypertension is defined as Essential Hypertension. Essential hypertension has often been connected with obesity, diabetes, stress, insufficient intake of potassium, calcium, and magnesium; lack of physical activity, and chronic alcohol consumption.

The reason why owning (and using) a blood pressure monitor is as important as owning a toothbrush is that one cause may be the narrowing of blood vessels. Those narrow canals may have plaque accumulations. Plaque on teeth may result in gum disease. Plaque in your arteries may result in heart attacks and strokes. When blood vessels narrow, it is believed that blood pressure heightens as a possible result. Some people might have plaque build-up without hypertension but both hypertension and heart disease may be easily monitored and prevented by doctors and (mostly) by you. Cardiovascular disease and hypertension may easily be controlled by cardiovascular exercise – as simple as walking briskly 15 to 30 minutes each day. Are these changes reasonable? You can also opt for other methods to treat hypertension.

If your readings are routinely pre-hypertension or at Stage I levels, you should seek out a physician for further tests or medication. There are many classes of medications used to treat hypertension. Each has some risk of side effects. Because these classes may be sourced at certain theoretical causes, it is important that you and your doctor are aware of possible inferences of causality.

If there is no general pattern of hypertension but your blood pressure has been increasing recently, it may be secondary hypertension. Causes are likely to be sourced to kidney, thyroid, and other possibilities. For this reason, your doctor should order blood tests before determining treatment.

Not always associated with hypertension, but an important factor, is rapid heart rate. The condition is known as Tachycardia. Normal resting heart rates are generally 50 to 90 or 60 to 100, depending on different theories. Heart rates over 100 and as high as 400 may cause dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and lightheadedness. Possible cases may be heart-related conditions, high blood pressure, hearty muscle disease, thyroidism, lung disease, and chronic emotional stress. Consumption of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages may also contribute variances toward a rapid heart rate. If your heart rate range is somewhere between 50 and 110, you may not have clinical Tachycardia. But if you experience routine dizziness or lightheadedness, you may benefit by exploring further.

Because rapid heart rate may often be heart related, you should consider an appointment with a cardiologist, and many primary physicians may recommend one. Often, doctors can perform non-invasive tests to help determine heart rate steadiness. These are called Vagal Maneuvers. These are tests that affect the vagus nerve, which helps regulate your heartbeat. The maneuvers include coughing, bearing down as if you’re having a bowel movement, and putting an icepack on your face. The vagus nerve not only helps mediate heart rates but may also contribute to regulating stress that’s bridged with mood disorders, such as depression. For those patients who may have resting heart rates that are typically over 150, diagnostic tests may be performed to determine cardio-muscular conditions within the four heart chambers.

For those with rapid heart rates that are near the normal range, beta-blockers are often selected as medicinal treatment.

When hypertension may be associated with lifestyle, there are lifestyle steps that may help you get your blood pressure back to normal range. What I’ve found, through the years, is that lifestyle measures often have high extinction rates. Blood pressure readings may drop when following these changes but may rise to higher levels when lifestyle steps cease. This is why medications are generally helpful.

There are a number of different types of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. As mentioned earlier, these are different classes and work in different ways. Work with your doctor but familiarize yourself with the different options:

Diuretics: Help the kidneys to flush excess water and salt from the body.

Beta blockers: Help the heart beat more slowly and less forcefully, and also relax arterial walls, together resulting in less pressure within and on blood vessels.

ACE inhibitors: ACE stands for angiotensin-converting-enzyme.This class of drugs inhibits production of the hormone angiotension II, which normally causes blood vessels to narrow, thereby increasing the pressure inside.

Calcium channel blockers: Prevent calcium from entering the muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels, allowing both to relax.

Alpha blockers: Reduce nerve impulses that tighten blood vessels allowing blood to flow more freely.

Beta blockers: Reduce nerve impulses and slow heartbeat. Beta brain waves are associated with normal waking consciousness and a heightened state of alertness, logic and critical reasoning. While Beta brain waves are important for effective functioning throughout the day, they also can translate into stress, anxiety and restlessness. Often prescribed for treating hypertension, beta blockers may make you sleepy when you need to be alert.

Nervous system inhibitors: Increase nerve impulses from the brain to relax and widen blood vessels.

Vasodilators: Relax muscles in blood vessel walls.

Do you enjoy eating licorice? This popular candy may contribute in elevating blood pressure. Do you take over-the-counter meds? Decongestants contain pseudoephedrine, which adversely affects your cardiovascular system and increases your blood pressure. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can increase your blood pressure if you have hypertension. Women older than 35 and use oral contraception are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

There are many vitamins and supplements that might be effective in treating hypertension. Please realize these have not been tested by the US Federal Drug Administration for possible efficacy. Even though these may be natural, they are (like drugs) chemicals and may behave uniquely in your body. If you have hypertension and prefer to go the natural way, consult a medically associated nutritionist. Sometimes nature may not be the best path.

Beware of sodium (salt) content in canned and processed foods. Many add around 1 gram of sodium per serving. Most people don’t eat one serving. Fast foods often have more than 1 gram per serving. The reason is easy. Salt helps make foods tastier. If you haven’t got hypertension, enjoy eating to your heart’s content. If you do have hypertension, your heart may not be as content as your appetite. Using different spices and herbs may be better alternatives but then that means you better prepare meals at home. Fortunately many foods sold at supermarkets offer Reduced Sodium versions. While sodium intake is up to scientific debate as a cause of hypertension, are you willing to risk your life to a bunch of bickering scientists?

It was always believed that hypertension and heart attacks were more prevalent in adult men than women. That may no longer be true. As more women are in the workplace and confronting more stressors, hypertension and heart issues may be emerging among women. While not always positively correlated, hypertension is seen as a cofactor when a heart attack occurs. This silent killer targets men and women.

Gum disease may lead to tooth loss if not monitored. Hypertension may be like going alone into a dark alley at midnight. Having hypertension means you are dealing with a silent killer, a phantom of your body. Hypertension is easily detected and monitored. Hypertension is also easily treated in many different ways, from lifestyles to meds. The point of wisdom is – once you’re aware of it, control and treat it.

Nobody says that some other condition or event may kill you. You can play an active role to assure that hypertension won’t stop you from experiencing the fullness of life. On that level, you can be the empowered controller.