Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Having a Happy Heart is Important

Every morning I am up a little bit early to be sure that I have enough time to workout.  The reason I get up early is that I know, historically, that life will interfere in some way during my afternoon and my workout gets pushed aside.  Often I am not overly enthusiastic about going upstairs to workout but then I think of the benefits; how good I feel after, how healthy my body looks and how much healthier I actually am.

If you have been reading this blog for awhile you are most likely aware of my family history and that my father suffered from heart disease from his early twenties, he didn't do much to reverse his condition or mend his heart during his life, he died at 57.  My mother spent her lifetime functionally obese until her late 50's then became, for the most part, incapacitated by obesity and diabetes.  My whole life I have worked to not fall prey to their legacy and to inspire others to do the same, it is working for me and I hope it works for those that follow what I am doing.

I read an article in Men's Health, one of my favorites reads, regarding the 5 new rules to a healthy heart and I wanted to share with all of you. 

  • Rule One: Know your Risk: The Framington Heart Model estimates your risk based on and algorithm of your numbers like: blood pressure, cholesterol, age and other figures. 
         "New rule: Via: Men's Heath: Broaden the equation. Current research suggests that the Framingham Heart Model has some limitations: It doesn't consider family history, lifestyle, and body mass index. And according to a recent study published in BMC Medicine, roughly a third of heart trouble occurs in people labeled as low risk by common prediction models."
  •  Rule Two: Train With Intervals (and weights):  Running, jump training and interval training is an excellent way to training your heart to be stronger but there is a new rule in town.
         "New rule: Via: Men's Health: Throw your weights around too. You can snare additional heart benefits by incorporating resistance training into your routine, says Earnest. According to a 2010 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, weightlifting may improve blood flow throughout your extremities, which eases your heart's workload. The study also found that your post-workout blood-pressure dip tends to last longer after weightlifting than after cardio exercise. "
  • Rule Three: Cut Cholesterol with Fiber: Sources of soluble fiber help reduce your cholesterol using betaglucans, which interfere with the absorption of LDL and helping to keep those numbers down.
         "New rule: Via Men's Health: Add tomatoes. Okay, maybe not to your oatmeal. But pour yourself a daily glass of tomato juice; it's rich in lycopene, a nutrient that may cut your body's production of LDL cholesterol. People who drank about a glass and a half of tomato juice and ate 2 tablespoons of ketchup (natural no sugar variety please) every day for 3 weeks reduced their LDL levels by an average of 8.5 percent, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition. Make sure you opt for low-salt varieties of ketchup and tomato juice, since sodium can raise blood pressure. "
  • Rule Four:  Watch your Stress: Stress releases cortisol into your blood stream and that cortisol was found to be 1/3 higher in a study group of men who recently had heart attacks.  Feeling stress is not joke, take steps to dissipate stress before it gets to you..  How, exercise, yoga, meditation.. yes meditation, tell you work mates you are in deep thought on your project, only you need to know you are imagining yourself doing something really relaxing, like lying on a beach of some tropical resort.
         "New rule: Via: Men's Health:  Banish the blues as well. Stress can kill, but so can depression. After studying twins with genetic predispositions for depression and heart disease, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis concluded that depression—past or present—raises a man's risk of heart disease more than genetic or environmental factors do. "The higher risk may come from the inflammation that certain mental health problems can cause,"

  • Rule Five: See your doctor and get tested:  to see what your risk is for inflammatory heart disease and to see if you need to be put on a drug to reduce your risk.  High Cholesterol raises your risk of heart disease by 30%, if you have been working on lowering your numbers naturally and yet that number isn't coming down then a medication might be needed.  Testing is important, knowing your numbers is important and taking care of your heart early to prevent future damage is important.
         "New rule: Via: Mens' Health Also consider a CT scan. The problem with the CRP test: Cholesterol may not be the only cause of inflammation, or even its main cause. Arthritis or a sinus infection, for example, can also inflame your insides, Dr. Blaha says. A 2010 study he coauthored shows that if you have borderline LDL and an elevated CRP, you should consider, well, another final call: a CT scan. This test can take the guesswork out of diagnosing atherosclerosis by allowing your doctor to see firsthand whether arterial buildup is a problem. 

To read the entire article by Men's Health "5 New Rules for a Healthy Heart"

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