The Heart Foundation Blog

Heart Attack: Men vs. Women

March 29th, 2017

A heart attack occurs when heart disease has reached the point that blood flow to the heart is blocked. Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem. In a heart attack if the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage. Symptoms of a heart attack may be immediate and intense. More often, though, symptoms start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. Heart disease is most often the cause of a heart attack.

SIGNS OF HEART DISEASE
Heart and blood vessel disease — also called heart disease — includes numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition that develops when a substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. This buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. If a blood clot forms, it can stop the blood flow. This can cause a heart attack or stroke. The first sign of heart disease is often a heart attack or other serious event. But, there are a few important signs that can help you recognize problems before they come to a head.

Heart disease that involves your blood vessels is often signaled by:
1. Chest pain (angina) – a sense of discomfort or squeezing in your chest that lasts for 30 minutes to a few hours.
2. Shortness of breath – experience difficulty catching your breath after moderate physical exertion, like walking up a flight of stairs.
3. Unexplained pain in your upper torso, neck, and jaw and changes in your extremities, such as pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, coldness, and weakness.
4. Extreme fatigue
5. Irregular heartbeat that is faster or slower than usual
6. Dizziness or fainting

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death among adults of both sexes in the United States. But, between men and women, the risks, the symptoms and even the disease may be different.

MEN
Heart disease is one of the leading health risks facing men today. Many men are at high risk for developing heart disease. Only a quarter of the men in the US meet the federal guidelines for physical activity. In 2015, an estimated 205 million U.S. men were obese. And about 20 percent of men smoke, which can cause the blood vessels to narrow. Narrowed blood vessels are a precursor to certain types of heart disease. Other risk factors include a diet high in saturated fat, alcohol abuse or excessive drinking, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure (hypertension).

Heart Attack Signs in Men:
1. Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
2. It used to be thought that only chest pain was a sign of heart attack, but it’s possible to have discomfort that doesn’t register as painful. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4. Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or feeling lightheaded.

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and call 911.

WOMEN
Most of what we know about diagnosis and treatment of heart disease comes from research done on middle-aged men. However, the disease is different in women. Women with heart disease may have different symptoms than men and tend to have heart attacks later in life. Symptoms of heart disease in women might be attributed to existing conditions, like arthritis or diabetes. Such problems as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes may make surgery a riskier proposition for them.

Heart Attack Signs in Women
1. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4. Other common symptoms in women include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea/vomiting, or feeling lightheaded, palpitations; sleep disturbances and unexplained fatigue.

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and call 911.

HEART DISEASE IS PREVENTABLE
1. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease. Know your numbers – your blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat index.
2. Quit smoking. Did you know that just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent?
3. Start an exercise program. Just walking 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
4. Eat a heart healthy diet. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, eat lean protein rich foods, such as fish or skinless chicken, avoid saturated and trans fats, found in red meat, butter and processed foods, and reduce your salt and sugar intake.
5. Learn to cope with stress


Kid’s health

March 22nd, 2017

For children, adult family members are important role models. Our lives are very hectic, but a few simple daily lifestyle changes can instill heart healthy eating and exercise habits in your children.

1. Get you and your kids moving!                                                                                                                                          Allow time for activities the entire family can participate in. Pick two 30-minute and two 60-minute time slots for family activity time each week. Weekdays are usually better for 30-minute activities and weekends are better for 60-minute activities.  Here are some fun ideas for the entire family:  

Family game night.                                                                                                                                                                     Shoot some hoops or throw a ball.                                                                                                                                         Walk the dog. No dog? Take a walk after dinner.                                                                                                                         Explore a nearby park, on foot or on a bike.                                                                                                                             Turn up the music and have a dance around the house party.                                                                                               Do fun chores that require physical activity – like raking leaves, washing the car, or vacuuming the dust bunnies under the beds.                                                                             

2. Limit screen time!                                                                                                                                                                  Plan TV watching in advance. Pick the shows you want to watch. Turn the TV on for those shows and turn it off afterwards. Don’t just watch whatever comes on next.                                                                                                     Limit TV, computer, and video game time. Experts recommend that kids get no more than 1-2 hours of TV/computer/video games a day.                                                                                                                                         Remove televisions from bedrooms. And avoid using TV as a reward or punishment.                                                 Get off that couch and get active with your kids! 

3, Eat healthy!                                                                                                                                                                            Keep track of how many times you grab food on the go for one week.  Make a change and take the time to prepare healthy food and try to eat fewer fast and processed foods. With a little planning, it is easy to make healthy food. Plan a weekly menu, go shopping and prep those healthy snacks and meals with your kids. Treat your family like a team and encourage everyone to work together.

4. Manage stress!                                                                                                                                                                    Our non-stop lifestyle isn’t sustainable or healthy. As a parent, making sure the heads and hearts in your home are healthy is a lot to handle. Prioritize your activities and see what you can do without, so you’ll have more time for the things that matter.  

5. Walk the walk!                                                                                                                                                                      The best way to influence your kids’ behavior is through example. If you want your kids to eat healthy and exercise, you’ve got to eat healthy and exercise. The key is to take baby steps. Getting heart-healthy is a journey; you don’t have to do everything at once.

 

 

 


Keep Your Heart Healthy

March 15th, 2017

Keep your heart healthy by limiting your intake of saturated and trans fats. Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. To reduce the saturated and trans fats in your diet, follow these simple guidelines: 

  1. The best way to reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats — hydrogenated fats (shortening, lard) and animal fats (butter, cream) — you add to food when cooking and serving. When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, or safflower, sunflower or canola oils. Polyunsaturated fats, found in certain fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  3. Eat more fish and chicken. Substitute ground turkey or chicken for ground beef. Remove the skin from chicken before cooking.
  4. Eat leaner cuts of beef and pork, and trim as much visible fat as possible before cooking.
  5. Bake, broil, or grill meats; avoid frying, and breaded meats and vegetables.
  6. Use fat-free or reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk. Instead of sour cream, try nonfat plain yogurt or a blend of yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese. Use low-fat cheeses and make cream and cheese sauces with low-fat milk and cheese.
  7. In recipes, use two egg whites instead of one whole egg.
  8. Instead of chips, snack on pretzels or unbuttered popcorn.
  9. Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans fat. Limit how frequently you eat them and check the food labels of some cookies, crackers and chips. Many of these snacks — even those labeled “reduced fat” — may be made with oils containing trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat in it is the phrase “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.
  10. Read the nutrition labels on all products. Many “fat-free” products are very high in carbohydrates, which can raise your triglyceride levels. Compare the fat content of similar products. Do not be misled by terms like “light” and “lite.” Look for hidden fat. For example, refried beans may contain lard, or breakfast cereals may have significant amounts of fat.
  11. When eating in a restaurant, ask that the sauces and dressings be served on the side, and use in moderation.
  12. Try cooking with herbs, spices, lemon juice, etc., instead of butter or margarine. You can also use low-fat substitutions when possible for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with low-sodium salsa or low-fat yogurt rather than butter, or use sliced whole fruit or low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.

 

Fats to choose Fats to limit
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Vegetable and nut oils
  • Margarine, trans fat free
  • Cholesterol-lowering margarine, such as Benecol, Promise Activ or Smart Balance
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Avocados
  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Bacon fat
  • Gravy
  • Cream sauce
  • Nondairy creamers
  • Hydrogenated margarine and shortening
  • Cocoa butter, found in chocolate
  • Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils

Heart Disease is the #1 Cause of Death

March 9th, 2017

Did you know……HEART DISEASE is the #1 CAUSE OF DEATH
for both men & women in the U.S. #theheartfoundation


Research Update from Dr. P.K. Shah – December 2016

December 31st, 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, we thought you might like to see a brief update from Dr. P.K. Shah on the research taking part in his laboratory thanks to your generous support.  We are grateful to have you as a vital partner in our mission to increase awareness of heart disease and advance medical science.  Please click on the Research Update button below for more information.


Actress Jennie Garth and Renowned Cardiologist Dr. P.K. Shah Spearhead ESCADA’s “Loving is Giving” Shopping Days to Benefit The Heart Foundation

February 5th, 2015

Actress Jennie Garth

Actress Jennie Garth

Dr. P.K. Shah

Dr. Prediman K. Shah

In support of February Heart Health Month, ESCADA, one of the world’s leading luxury womenswear brands, is partnering with The Heart Foundation nationally by presenting “Loving is Giving,” two days of shopping for a cause. Shop at any ESCADA U.S. boutique on Friday, February 13th and Valentine’s Day Saturday, February 14th, and a percentage of sales will be donated to The Heart Foundation to support their mission of awareness, early detection, prevention and treatment of heart disease.
Actress Jennie Garth, best-known for her starring role as Kelly Taylor for 10 seasons on “Beverly Hills 90210” and more recently on the HGTV series, “The Jennie Garth Project” has teamed with world-renowned cardiologist Dr. P.K. Shah, Director of the Atherosclerosis Prevention and Treatment Center and the Oppenheimer Atherosclerosis Research Center, in spearheading the “Loving is Giving” project. A former ambassador for the American Heart Association, Garth revealed her first-hand experience dealing with her late father’s heart disease and subsequently, the discovery that she, too, had a condition known as ‘leaky heart valve.’ A patient of Dr. Shah’s, she has joined him in becoming a passionate advocate for healthy living and annual check-ups. Through ESCADA’s “Loving Is Giving” program, the two are seizing the opportunity to focus attention and build awareness about heart disease through education, advocacy and making smart lifestyle choices.