Tag Archives: Stay healthy

YOUR HEART: PREVENTING AND REVERSING HEART DISEASE

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR HEALTH

Your Heart: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease will be available this month. We are in the final editing process. To give you an early start on some of the book’s content, Lipstick Logic will be posting excerpts. Based on the latest evidence-based research, you will have the information and power to make changes to improve your heart health. 

Front Page - Kindle- 6x9Your Heart is a handbook on heart disease. Coronary artery disease is preventable. Caused by narrowed heart arteries it kills more men and women than any other disease including cancer. Because one-in-four women die of heart disease and two-thirds of them have no recognized symptoms, learning the information in this book may be life-saving.

The heart is the only muscle that never rests. You sleep, but your heart doesn’t. Its built-in nervous system electrically drives this biological engine every minute of your life. Your heart’s neurological pacemaker fires off an electrical impulse signaling the heart muscle to contract. As the muscle contracts, the chamber inside the heart becomes smaller. As the chamber reduces in size, it pushes blood through the aortic valve into the aorta and through the rest of the body.

The coronary arteries run on the surface of the heart and with each contraction, blood surges into them to supply the heart muscle with nutrients and oxygen. With each beat about 70 ml (2+ounces) of blood exit the heart. If your heart rate is 70 beats per minute, add it up—your heart circulates approximately 5 quarts of blood each minute. Without this mandatory oxygen distribution to the body life ends.

Along with transporting red blood cells that carry oxygen to all organs, the blood carries many other cells, proteins and factors needed to sustain life. This red super-highway carries wonderful nutrients to feed your cells. Swirling throughout the body are cells that fight infection, promote clotting and support life functions. The blood also carries factors, that in excess, cause heart disease and early death.

In developed countries throughout the world coronary artery disease (CAD) is the primary cause of death. It is a disease of affluence. We eat not only because we feel hungry, we eat for enjoyment, to pass time, and at social events we munch mindlessly. The fact is, we eat too much and it’s making us sick.

Coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women, is tied to obesity. Your food choices, portion sizes and exercise interplay, but CAD is more complex than these factors alone.

Understanding the anatomy, physiology and dynamics of heart function in health and disease, and actions both men and women can take to reduce related risk factors are provided in the book. The latest research information makes this book a up-to-date valuable reference and includes diagnosis, treatment details and dietary recommendations.

Betty Kuffel, MD

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WOMEN’S HEART DISEASE

Front Page - Kindle- 6x9The first volume in our women’s health book series is in the final editing process. After many iterations, our cover has evolved to the attached image. We aren’t sure this will be the final but it’s close.

As many newly published e-book authors know, the old adage You can’t tell a book by its cover doesn’t hold true anymore.  The first glimpse at a book cover should be readable in postage stamp size. Subtitles can tell it all and many sources suggest using a subtitle to further identify your book contents to those people skimming titles on the many Internet sites available to all of us.

With expanding knowledge in the e-book, media and marketing world, it is difficult to keep up with the many options.

Blue Heron Loft has done a great job in creating this cover and my Eyes of a Pedophile cover.  http://www.blueheronloft.com

Your Heart is a complete handbook of the anatomy, physiology and dynamics of heart health. It provides detailed explanations of many types of heart disease, some specific to women, and choices you can make to maintain a healthy heart. By learning about a disease that impacts so many lives and then taking steps to improve your own cardiovascular health and the health of your family, who knows? – You may save your life or the life of someone you love.

Below is an excerpt from Your Heart: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease:

DIFFERENCES IN THE FEMALE HEART

Early in life, male and female hearts look and act the same. With aging, gender differences in disease processes become apparent and often contribute to misdiagnosis in women. Men develop the usual type of arterial heart disease which narrows the large coronary arteries on the heart surface. Women often have narrowing of large coronary arteries like men, but females are also prone to developing coronary microvascular dysfunction (CMD) – a problem involving the small vessels called arterioles. In the face of inflammatory disorders that often affect women more than men, these tiny arterioles become stiff and unable to supply adequate oxygen to the heart muscle.

A number of health problems cause inflammatory changes: high blood-sugar, smoking and chronic infection. Additional factors like poorly controlled premenopausal hypertension, anemia and rheumatologic disorders also affect women and are thought to contribute to the development of CMD. However, the specific cause of CMD is still unknown and anyone can develop these changes. Coronary microvascular dysfunction cannot be treated with stents or bypass, but medications are beneficial and life prolonging.

Special tests are required to diagnose CMD. Women may have advanced microvascular changes and be at risk for a heart attack, yet a coronary angiogram — the best diagnostic evaluation for large coronary arteries — may appear normal. When the angiogram is normal but clinical suspicion for heart disease is high, a “Stress-Echo” is recommended to evaluate for CMD. Diagnostic methods are discussed in SECTION 15.

 Heart risks increase in menopause

Menopause is the biological time period when ovary function ceases. Ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and a small amount of the male hormone, testosterone. At menopause, ovarian production of these hormones stops and hastens the occurrence of changes in the female body.

Not only are there cardiac changes. Around age fifty, when ovarian function naturally fades, most women begin recognizing other bodily changes as well. Some of these are: mood disorder, reduced libido, and hot flushes. But unknown to them, many women also begin silent internal vascular changes leading to heart disease. When premenopausal women have their ovaries surgically removed, the changes of menopause begin abruptly. This is referred to as “surgical menopause.” Starting at a younger age, problems related to estrogen deficiency take a toll on bone health making osteoporosis more likely. In all women lacking estrogen, skin changes become evident with vaginal tissue dryness. Hair may become thinner and skin less resilient.

In the past, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) using estrogen, progesterone or a combination of the two, was recommended. However, based on information from the Women’s Health Initiative, as of May 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against HRT to prevent chronic diseases such as: heart disease and osteoporosis. This is based on longitudinal studies over many years, weighing risks and benefits of taking replacement hormones. Still, under some circumstances HRT may be appropriate. If you have concerns, discuss hormone replacement with your physician.

Coronary heart disease gradually increases in women after menopause but can affect younger women, too, including those who have functional ovaries and continue to menstruate. Women under age 55 may not recognize the symptoms of heart disease or don’t seek medical attention believing they are too young to have a heart attack. American Heart Association statistics show heart disease kills 16,000 young women between the ages of 30-55, each year.

Because heart disease in women is variable, women of all ages, not only post menopausal women, should pay attention to symptoms that could indicate heart trouble, such as: indigestion, unexplained dizziness or weakness, jaw aching, sweating and feeling short of breath.

Betty Kuffel MD

Influenza Protection

Importance of Influenza Immunization

Have you had your seasonal flu immunization? If not, you are increasing your risk and risk to those around you to a serious, sometimes fatal, preventable highly infectious disease. Don’t let the flu spoil winter fun.

From national news, we see this year’s flu season is taking a terrible toll. It is especially severe in young children and older people with chronic health conditions. Those with increased risk are diabetics, those with lung conditions, reduced immunity and the very young and old. Highest hospitalization rate is for young children. Numerous respiratory deaths have been reported this year.  Data collected at the CDC show that 90% of deaths from influenza occur in people over the age of 65.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone who has not already received an influenza immunization for this year’s viral strain should be immunized immediately. It takes two weeks for the body to generate antibody protection. Many children are not currently  immunized. The Journal of Pediatrics recommends immunization for children over the age of six months.

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable. They may develop severe illness so immunization of pregnant women is extremely important. It has also shown a reduction in the newborn’s influenza risk for up to six months following birth.

Influenza vaccine is considered safe based on use statistics over 50 years with hundreds of millions of people. Many parents have been concerned about the risks of thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative used in multi-dose vials. It has been used for 70 to prevent growth of contaminating germs in a drug bottles.

The CDC reports: “Since 2001, no new vaccine licensed by FDA for use in children has contained thimerosal as a preservative, and all vaccines routinely recommended by CDC for children younger than 6 years of age have been thimerosal-free, or contain only trace amounts of thimerosal, except for multi-dose formulations of influenza vaccine. The most recent and rigorous scientific research does not support the argument that thimerosal-containing vaccines are harmful.”

There are numerous studies that show no association between thimerosal and autism.

If you are still concerned and avoid the immunization based on thimerosal concerns, there are two options for influenza immunization that are thimerosal-free:

Single Dose Vials and Nasal Spray Vaccine

The vaccine protects against flu viruses likely to be most virulent in the coming season. If you have not been immunized and suddenly become ill, a nasal swab can confirm the diagnosis. Antiviral drugs shorten the course but may have significant side effects. Prevention is the goal.

Influenza has spread throughout much of the US already. By the end of December 2012, eighteen pediatric deaths occurred and 16,000 people had developed the disease. Spread is rampant, filling Emergency departments and hospitals.

About 50 million people around the world died in the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918. Within months, it had killed more people than any other illness in recorded history. We now have excellent prevention and treatment methods that reduce risk and save lives if you use them. Live better through science. Act now.

To reduce your risks: Most important of all, immunize. Avoid crowds and anyone ill. Wash hands and use alcohol wipes liberally. Use gloves or sleeves to open doors. Avoid shaking hands. Don’t touch your face or nose. Wash your hands with soap after blowing your nose. Avoid visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Keep your child home from school if ill to prevent spread to others. Cover your mouth with coughing and sneezing; cough into your underarm as children are taught.

For more detailed information see:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2012-2013.htm or review a previous Lipstick Logic article at: www.lipsticklogic.com. “Learning About Viruses” Sept. 30, 2012.

Betty Kuffel, MD

BEAT THE FLU SEASON: IMMUNIZE NOW

Prevent Influenza: B and A including H1N1, H3N2

Influenza is always around, but the typical “flu season” in the US extends from October to May. It takes about two weeks for your body to generate antibodies against the flu following an immunization, so now is the time to immunize yourself and your family. Vaccines are available at many convenient locations, even in pharmacies, so there are no long lines.

We may have forgotten the scare and severity of the H1N1 (swine) flu illness in the past, but recent illnesses and a death from swine flu contracted by people attending fairs and touching pigs has brought the disease back into focus. Treatment may not be effective, so it is best to avoid the disease altogether. You can do that by arming yourself against the H1N1 viral illness and other seasonal flu types by an immunization which covers a variety of influenza strains.

An annual immunization is recommended because flu viruses change. The vaccine is re-formulated based on the observed changes. Just because you had the “flu” once, doesn’t mean you are immune. Natural immune responses decline over time. The inclusion of a viral strain in the vaccine is based on research and anticipated spread of illness type. This year the vaccine protects against three different flu types: influenza A (H3N2 virus, influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses.

You have a number of immunization options:

“Flu shot”-an inactivated vaccine containing a killed virus is given with a needle and is for healthy adults, children older than 6 months and for people with chronic medical conditions

  • Regular: 6 months and older
  • HD (high dose): for people age 65 and older
  • Intradermal: for ages 18-64

Nasal-Spray: Made from weakened viruses which do not cause the flu. Approved for healthy people ages 2-49 that are not pregnant.

At the website listed below there are immunization guidelines. People who have severe egg allergies and anyone who has had a severe reaction to the vaccine in the past should not be re-immunized. Others who are ill and feverish, and those who have had a paralytic illness called GBS (Guillain-Barré Syndrome) should discuss the situation with a physician. Children younger than 6 months of age are not approved for flu immunization.

General immunization recommendations include: People with lung conditions such as asthma and COPD; Diabetics and people 65 years and older; Pregnant women; Those associated with the above examples including caregivers and household contacts.

If you develop influenza, what are the symptoms?

  • Sudden onset of a high fever
  • Headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, aches and tiredness
  • Diarrhea and vomiting can occur but are less common and more often in children

What to do: Although the above symptoms might be flu, other illnesses have similar symptoms. If you are concerned, especially if you have asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease or have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor. There are some medications that help, in fact, some specifically treat viral infections. These antiviral drugs may make you feel better faster and help prevent complications, but must be started within two days to have benefit.

There are actions to decrease your risk of infection, such as:

  • Avoid people who are coughing or other flu symptoms
  • Be sure to wash your hands
  • Don’t shake hands with people
  • Use alcohol based wipes or sanitizer solutions frequently

It takes about two weeks for your body to produce antibody protection after you receive the vaccine. The best protection is to GET YOUR IMMUNIZATION NOW!

You have two options:

  • The shot—when this vaccine containing a killed virus is injected, your body begins building antibodies against the illness. Generally healthy people, those with chronic disease and children over 6 months of age are approved for this method
  • The nasal spray—this vaccine is made from live but weakened viruses that do not cause the flu. The body senses it’s presence on the nasal mucus membrane and mounts an antibody response. This is approved for healthy people between the ages of 2-49. It is not used in pregnant women.

NOTE: You cannot get influenza from the vaccine. But vaccine effectiveness varies and flu viruses are constantly changing.

Possible Side effects: Soreness, redness and swelling at the site of the injection, low grade fever and aches, runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscle aches, fever, sore throat, cough.

For more information: www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm and Influenza Vaccine Safety at the same site.

For questions related to your personal health issues, consult your physician.

Betty Kuffel, MD