Supplements and Your Heart

Assortment of supplements in pile Many Americans suffer from deficiencies in common vitamins and minerals. For example, as we spend more time indoors, vitamin D deficiency has reached significant proportions. About 50% of Americans have a vitamin D insufficiency, and about 35% have a vitamin D deficiency. And as our diets have worsened, many find themselves lacking in other essential nutrients. Many studies have been designed to prove the link between vitamin supplementation and heart health. While some studies have shown a correlation, others do not, with some even showing an adverse effect of certain supplements on heart health. So, how do we cut through the marketing and decide which supplements are appropriate?

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High Blood Pressure and Cognitive Health

Man getting blood pressure taken by doctor with arm on table

As if we needed more warnings about high blood pressure, Brazilian research¹ has shown that hypertension, even for short periods in middle-aged and older adults, can increase the rate of cognitive decline. Cognitive decline is a normal part of aging, but issues such as high blood pressure can speed up the process. For some, however, this can turn into more severe conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Cognitive function includes memory, concentration, attention span, thinking, and fluency.

Of particular concern is that estimates now show upwards of half of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure.

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Does a Heart Attack Mean the End of Life as I Know It?

Man grabbing chest with one hand while hunched over

There is very little that puts more trepidation into the minds of our patients than the prospect of a heart attack. We even use the term to describe some of the most dramatic goings-on in our lives. To be sure, with heart disease being the leading killer of adults in the United States, we should be very concerned about our cardiovascular health, especially if we have any of the risk factors of heart disease.

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Can Cold Weather Cause More Heart Attacks?

woman with winter coat and scarf in the wintertime outside

The weather is not typically at the top of the list when we think of the causes of heart attacks. To be sure, lack of exercise and poor dietary choices are the primary causes behind this deadly condition. However, patients must understand what they’re feeling during cold weather and whether it is a warning sign of cardiovascular disease or an impending heart attack.

Here in Nevada, temperatures can get pretty cold, and regardless of what we wear, our bodies try to compensate for even small temperature changes. The body does so in the cold by constricting blood vessels to retain more heat in the core. This is why your skin turns white and blue if exposed to very cold conditions. Remember that your vascular system requires body heat to work correctly, so by reducing blood flow to less important peripheral structures, our body can keep us alive longer, for example, in an emergency. Of course, when a blood vessel constricts, less blood circulates. This is rarely a concern in an adult with a healthy cardiovascular system, as even reduced blood flow still provides enough oxygen throughout the body.

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What to Expect: PET/CT Stress Testing

man on treadmill during stress test with cardiologist controlling panel

A PET/CT stress test is an advanced diagnostic option for finding the cause of new or worsening chest pain or shortness of breath, determining the risk of heart disease, evaluating how cardiovascular treatment is progressing, and following a patient’s recovery after a heart attack or other major coronary event. Most of our PET scanning and PET stress tests performed by our physicians are done in our Summerlin office.

A PET/CT stress test gives your heart specialist images of blood flow to the heart muscle. To generate these images of your heart, you will receive infusions of a radioactive tracer through an IV. The radioactive tracer has no significant side effects and is not a contrast dye. It does not contain iodine and will not harm your kidneys. PET/CT stress testing is safe and can help your cardiologist diagnose heart disease accurately, allowing for a more comprehensive treatment plan.

We also measure vitals like heart rhythm, heart rate, and blood pressure during this time.

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Pulsed Field Ablation – A Revolution in Electrophysiology?

The specialty of electrophysiology is one of the most advanced in medicine and is primed for technological disruption by new and exciting therapies and procedures. After all, we are working with the heart’s electrical system rather than the body’s mechanics, as most other specialties do. With that said, the gold standard and potentially curative treatment for Afib and several other arrhythmias is a procedure known as cardiac catheter ablation. It is often more effective than front-line medical therapies, including antiarrhythmics.

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Should Your Blood Pressure Be Taken Lying Down?

Man sitting down taking blood pressure

Recent data¹ presented at the American Heart Association Hypertension Scientific Sessions from a long-term study has shown that there’s always something to learn, even with modern medicine and the technological advances we have enjoyed. This long-term study consisted of about 11,000 patients and began in the late 1980s. The thinking behind this study is that not all cases of high blood pressure will be found when blood pressure readings are taken sitting. Indeed, this was true, with approximately 16% of participants showing high blood pressure while lying down but not while sitting.

The data suggests that a blood pressure reading while patients sit and then lie down could be more valuable in evaluating heart disease risk than blood pressure readings with patients sitting up alone.

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Semaglutide Study on Cardiovascular Disease

Woman holding injection while talking with doctor

With obesity rising in the United States and worldwide, providers and patients seek novel ways to combat the diseases associated with excess weight. People use several methods to lose weight, from fad diets to surgical weight loss, but with almost 75% of the adult population overweight or obese, something needs to change. Our standard measures of healthy and unhealthy weights are based on a somewhat archaic formula known as the body mass index (BMI). Obesity is defined as patients with a BMI greater than 30, while those considered overweight are between 25 and 29.9. The BMI has several limitations discussed in one of our other blogs. However, it is the simplest and best formula we have today.

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Four Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Man taking blood pressure reading with cuff on couch

There are several reasons why our blood pressure may be elevated. After all, our cardiovascular system responds to several physical and psychological inputs. For example, when you are embarrassed, excited, or nervous, your heart starts beating faster, you may get flushed, and your blood pressure may increase. It’s one of the most common reasons why blood pressure readings at your doctor’s office are almost certainly higher than when you are relaxing at home. Blood pressure is also affected by physical exertion. Your blood pressure will rise when you work out or perform physical activity. It can even temporarily increase when you use the sauna or steam room. In the case of exercise and sauna, blood pressure readings typically drop rapidly after the exertion is over and usually settle below baseline for a decidedly beneficial outcome.

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Cardio and Strength Training: What’s the Difference?

Close up of feet on treadmill at gym

Are you new to your fitness and weight loss journey? Don’t sweat it. Not many people know the actual benefits of cardio and strength training for their bodies and how they work together for optimal fitness. Similarly, where you put your focus can matter in the long run, depending on what goal you’re trying to achieve. Check out some differences below to see what works best for you and how to incorporate both into your daily routine.

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