Heart Health

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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Is Staying Up Late or Waking up Early Better for Your Heart?

Man covering head with pillow next to alarm clock

In modern society, especially in the corporate world, 9 to 5 has fallen out of favor. This has been made worse, somewhat counterintuitively, by the work-at-home movement brought about by Covid-19. While the average American worker typically had the opportunity for a decent work-life balance half a century ago, today, expectations and connectivity have made breaking away from work difficult, if not impossible. Staying late or waking up early or both to work and be productive have become virtues, and the concept of sitting back and relaxing has all but disappeared.

One of the byproducts of this lifestyle is obesity, an excess weight epidemic that has created a true medical emergency, not only here in the US but even abroad. As a follow-up to the weight problem we face, we have seen heart disease rates stay stubbornly high, even though we know the consequences of our actions and have ever better treatments to keep our hearts healthy.

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Do Saunas Help Improve Cardiovascular Health?

two towels and bucket sitting on sauna bench

You may have heard the term biohacking – A seemingly gimmicky phrase. Yet, it has motivated some here in the United States and elsewhere who are genuinely interested in how our actions and what we eat make a difference in our health. Of course, while the long-term goal is to live longer, we must live a healthy life, too. Biohacking aims to crack our biological code and use science for longevity and continued health.

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Can Fast Food Ever Be Good for Your Heart?

assortment of fast food in boxes

As cardiologists, when we speak to a patient and find out that they eat a lot of fast food, the first reaction is often to shudder. After all, fast food is known to be highly processed, high in saturated fat, and often high in sugar, especially sodas and desserts, which are distinctly heart unfriendly. However, many patients either don’t have access to healthy and fresh foods or don’t have the time and use fast food to fill the gap during a very busy or stressful day.

In fact, for some, fast food is the only way to get a meal or two before getting off work and having a proper dinner. So, we’re often asked: Should we skip the meal instead of eating fast food? On the surface, it may be “absolutely, yes!” After all, how bad could skipping a meal be? However, it’s not quite so cut and dried. Skipping a meal can have consequences, most notably consuming far more calories at subsequent meals. Controlling yourself at the next meal isn’t easy if you miss a meal and become ravenous. Further, fast food restaurants (at least some of them) have made significant strides in recent years to offer healthier options and customize some current menu items to make them less unhealthy. Let’s explore!

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Pulse Pressure – Blood Pressure Readings You Need to Know

Man getting blood pressure taken by a nurse

You’ve undoubtedly had a blood pressure reading at virtually every doctor’s visit in memory. There’s good reason for this. As it is scientifically known, hypertension is among the most common metabolic diseases affecting American adults. It occurs when the pressure of the blood flowing through the arteries is elevated, pushing against the arterial walls. When caught and managed early, treatment can slow or prevent the onset of severe cardiovascular diseases. But you’ll probably notice that your blood pressure reading differs within a few days or even over the course of the same day. This is perfectly normal. We all have fluctuations in blood pressure caused by emotions, hormonal surges, physical exercise, or stress.

Further, it’s important to remember that the reading taken at your doctor’s office is probably somewhat, if not significantly, different from what you would see when relaxing at home.

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Understanding the Four Stages of Heart Failure

Many patients often misunderstand the concept of heart failure and believe that with this condition, the heart, as a mechanical pump, has stopped working entirely. However, heart failure is not that at all. Instead, it describes a condition in which the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body is degraded. As such, it is a progressive disorder that may eventually lead to severe disability and death.

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The Omega-3 Index – A Useful Cardiovascular Test?

Omega - 3 supplements in bowl and on table

When we evaluate cardiovascular risk in our patients, we typically use several tried-and-true metrics, all revolving around the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Through decades of research, we have homed in on several vital markers that help us develop proper screening protocols for our patients, which hopefully catch heart disease, if it should occur, at its earliest stages. An appropriate screening regimen can Improve our patients’ quality of life and often avoid or at least delay invasive cardiovascular procedures.

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What Does Heart-Healthy Mean in Day-To-Day Life?

Woman exercising and stretching holding knee to chest

These days, heart health has become a loosely used term. And while the theory behind heart, healthy foods, drinks, and activities are important to understand, how can one practice a healthy heart lifestyle in “real” life? In other words, with all the temptations around us, what can we do to prolong our heart health and, frankly, our lives?

The most important thing to understand about heart health is that it is not a zero-sum game. If you have been following lax dietary and exercise habits and experiencing high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, or other metabolic concerns, it’s important to remember that these did not develop overnight and will not be fixed immediately. Getting back to a heart-healthy lifestyle is a continuum that will start with minor improvements that eventually lead to more considerable successes—being heart-healthy means changing habits for the better but doing so sustainably.

Plenty of data supports the concept of incremental improvements leading to long-term overall success. These improvements may seem small, but as we stack one on the other, we slowly but surely reach our goals.

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Are Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Similar Drugs Good for Your Heart Health?

diabetes tools and injections on orange table

If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably seen much coverage on using OzempicTM, a diabetes drug approved in 2017 by the FDA, and WegovyTM (with the same active ingredient), approved in 2022 for certain obese patients. These drugs, and others like MounjaroTM and RybelsusTM, have been in such high demand that we are experiencing the effects of production shortfalls. Notably, while Ozempic and Mounjaro are diabetes drugs, they can still be prescribed “off-label” by qualified physicians and clinicians.

Let’s discuss whether these drugs make sense for a patient concerned about heart disease, and in doing so, we will focus on the two drugs (both Semaglutides) that have garnered the most headlines – Ozempic and Wegovy. Ozempic has apparent positive effects on type-2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels through improved insulin sensitivity in type two diabetics. While taking the drug, most patients ate less and lost weight, leading the developer to seek FDA approval for a new higher-dose indication as a weight loss therapy – Wegovy was brought to market last year.

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Discussing Questions Raised by a Recent Study on Intermittent Fasting

plate with alarm clock on it, in between fork and knifeThere has been quite a bit of debate in the medical and diet community about a recent study entitled Calorie Restriction with or without Time-Restricted Eating in Weight Loss which showed, in essence, that intermittent fasting was no more successful in providing weight loss than caloric restriction.

First, let’s talk about how this study was misinterpreted. Many media outlets interpreted this study as saying intermittent fasting was ineffective. However, other studies have shown this not to be the case. Some thoughts:

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