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Taking Control of Your Health: Exercise

Last week we discussed how healthy dietary choices can improve your health. This week we’ll turn to another area where you can positively impact your well-being. Exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. It has beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. And there is good evidence that exercise is good for the brain. It is one…

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Taking Control of Your Health: Diet

Most of the recent blogs have addressed risk factors for coronary heart disease—things like hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes and smoking. We’ve discussed what you can do to lower those tendencies, but we unfortunately don’t have complete control over them. Even the seemingly simple decision to smoke is not so simple once a person has become addicted to nicotine. But there are a couple…

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Women : Listen To Your Heart

Quick question:  What disease kills the most women every year? Strokes? Lung disease? Alzheimer’s?  Breast cancer? Lung cancer? Nope, it’s heart disease—in fact, heart disease is more lethal to women than ALL cancers combined. And it kills three times more women each year than either lung disease, stroke or Alzheimer’s. So why do people think of heart disease as a “man’s illness?” There are several answers to…

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Family History: How We Define It

Have you heard the one about how having children runs in families?  It’s true . . . if your parents didn’t have kids, most likely you won’t either. OK, bad joke—but it introduces us to the topic of genetics and how it impacts your cardiac health. How close do you have to be to someone genetically for it to affect your likelihood…

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Tobacco: An Addictive Toxin

Smoking is the most immediately reversible cause of heart disease. It acutely activates platelets, which are cell parts in the bloodstream that help form clots. Within 24 hours of quitting smoking, your blood becomes less “sticky,” lowering the tendency to having a heart attack. By the same token, though, don’t think that “one cigarette won’t hurt me.” That could be the one that triggers…

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Hypertension: The Silent Killer

I’d like to talk a bit today about high blood pressure—which we refer to as hypertension. Hypertension is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease. Furthermore, it is also a risk factor for other cardiovascular problems: heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and aneurysms, not to mention kidney disease (mainly due to its effects on the small vessels of…

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Let’s return this week to a discussion of cardiac risk factors. I find that my patients get frustrated about the moving target for goals in treating hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol). When I started my medical training in the 1980s, we generally looked at total cholesterol and considered it to be high if it was over 240. Eventually we learned to look at the different…

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COVID Redux (again)

I just posted a blog a couple weeks ago about the state of Covid in the new year. Monday I failed to post a blog in a series regarding cardiac risk factors—why? Because I got Covid, just under a year from my bout with it in 2022. I don’t know who I got it from, but it once again occurred when I was…

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Cardiac Risk Factors

Happy New Year to everyone. I’ll start out the year with a blog that discusses the most basic of concepts in cardiology: cardiac risk factors. That’s the phrase we use to refer to aspects in a person’s medical history that affect the likelihood of him or her having a heart problem—in particular, the heart problem of coronary heart disease—also known as coronary…

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