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220817 Movement and heart health

220817 Movement and heart health

Your heart’s abilities to function start diminishing with age. We all know this but the vast majority of our population still refuses to do anything about it. Aging adversely affects the communication capability of the regulatory nerves in the heart telling it how fast to beat. Gradually, as we age, our maximum heart rate (MHR) declines.

However, with regular exercise this typical transformation in max heart rate is less noticeable.

Not only does the MHR decline with age but the ability of the heart to relax and fill up again decreases as well. This is especially true for those with hypertension.

In addition, as we get older, the major blood vessels of our body lose some of their natural elasticity. This in turn makes it more difficult for the blood to pass through them, thereby increasing the load on the heart and making it harder to transfer oxygen throughout the body.

The good news is age related changes such as these are less dramatic with daily exercise. The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends the following activity levels for adults up to age sixty-four.

We all know that a little bit of activity is better than nothing, however, if you’ve been in active for any length of time be better for you to gradually increase the level of activity. This can mean that as little as 10 minutes a day of moderate exercise will garner health benefits. After you’ve been at it a while this this length of time is going to feel easy.

The benefits to your health increase with higher intensity activities. Again, 10 minutes of time exercising is the minimum amount necessary to push up your fitness levels. In the case of higher intensity vigorous exercise, you will need at least one hundred and fifty minutes a week at a level where you can only say a few words at a time without stopping for a breath.

Up to a point, higher amounts of activity will produce the most in health benefits. In fact, the literature states unequivocally that exercising 6 to 7 hours a week will result in the ideal level of health benefits for the majority of the population. At this level of activity per week, you are probably going to be doing six or seven hours of moderate to vigorous intensities of exercise.


030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach. (1/2)

030417 Spare tire risks associated with carrying fat around your stomach.

By Danny M. O’Dell, MA. CSCS*D

According to recent research, those who have a large potbelly appear to have a higher risk of arteriosclerosis. This is the medical term for the fatty buildup on the lining of arteries that researchers now believe increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. SOURCE: Diabetes 2003;52:172-179

People who carried this “spare tire” of fat around their waists are more likely to have increased fat and cholesterol in their blood.

The study by doctors in Seattle also noted that insulin resistant people with excess abdominal fat also appeared to show higher concentrations of a substance known as apolipoprotein B (apoB) and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, a “good” form of cholesterol. Previous studies have suggested that high levels of apoB may encourage the development of arteriosclerosis.

Study author Dr. Steven E. Kahn of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, Washington, states that he and his colleagues suspect that a potbelly likely precedes insulin resistance. Once both conditions have set in, he noted, people’s bodies are more likely to be primed to develop arteriosclerosis.”We think that the deposition of fat in the inside of the abdomen is the critical determinant of insulin resistance in the general population,” Kahn said. “We think that the fat begets the insulin resistance, which helps produce” risk factors for arteriosclerosis, he added.

020913 Pharmacological interventions, depression and your heart health

Pharmacological interventions, depression and your heart health

Pharmacological intervention may be necessary to prevent a heart attack and one of the simplest may be taking a dose aspirin a day. Before you do this discuss with your doctor the pros and cons of aspirin therapy.

Current research finds that an aspirin a day is effective at reducing heart attacks for men under 65 and reducing strokes for women. For women over 65, particularly for those with coronary risk factors, a low-dose daily aspirin could potentially prevent heart attacks and reduce their risk for strokes. For women who are under 65, they should consider an aspirin a day only if they are already at high risk for cardiovascular disease. This recommendation brings with it the caveat of some potential side effects of aspirin, notably bleeding in the gastrointestinal areas.

Even if you have successfully managed to change your habits and included all of these suggestions above you still may have high cholesterol. In that case, you may have to consider using statin drugs. Since these are prescription drugs, you will have to talk with your doctor about them.

Alcohol, self-medicated usage excluded, used in moderation of no more than one drink a day for a woman, may actually reduce the risk of having a heart attack. The definition of one drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80 proof liquor. However, alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women along with other cancers and some additional serious health risks. This does not mean that you can drink your way to better heart health because you can reduce your risk without drinking alcohol.

In the past, hormones such as estrogen and progestin were used because it was thought they prevented heart attacks. We now know otherwise. A study in 2002 resulting from the Women’s Health initiative that found that this type of hormone therapy actually increased the risk of heart attacks, along with stroke, blood clots, breast cancer in older women. Hormone replacement therapy is still used for women with severe hot flashes and other problems resulting from menopause however, these are normally at the lowest possible dosages and for the shortest time.

Depression and stress both have adverse effects on your heart health. You must do what you have to do if you are chronically depressed.

See your doctor, talk with a counselor; do not let it continue because it is not normal to feel miserable most of the time. The treatment of depression can be a successful and you will benefit from the success of your treatment.

If it is your job is demanding more of your life than you want to give to it, it may be time to move on, especially if you have little control and are consistently unhappy in doing it. Life is too short to be doing something you do not want to do. Find that passion and live a happier life.

One final thing you need to know is your family history. Notably so if your father or brother before they turned fifty-five or your mother or sister before they turned sixty-five had a heart attack since this increases your risk of having one too. Obviously, you won’t be able to change your pre-existing genetics, but knowing this is a part of your family history gives you a heads up and should cause you to start paying closer attention to your heart health.

It all boils down to keeping your cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the medically recommended ranges, exercising daily and watching over your diet to make sure you are eating cleanly each day.

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