Tips For Living With AFib

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is one of the most common forms of heart arrhythmia.  It is estimated that up to six million people living in the United States are affected by this condition.

When a person has AFib their heartbeat is irregular. The upper chambers of the heart are out of sync with the lower chambers.  Irregularities in the rhythm of the heart can increase their risk for complications such as stroke or heart failure.

Living with AFib poses challenges that can affect several aspects of a person’s health.  However, there are lifestyle changes that can be applied to help improve quality of life.  Here are a few:

  • Diet- A heart-healthy diet is important for overall good health and offers many benefits to those living with AFib. Eat foods that are low in sodium and fat. Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is recommended as these substances have been known to trigger AFib episodes.
  • Using medications as advised- There are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that can have adverse effects. Some OTC cold medications and nasal sprays may contain substances that aggravate AFib. Certain multivitamins and herbal remedies, when combined with prescription medications, can also result in adverse reactions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to speak with a physician before taking any drugs or supplements.
  • Exercise- Adopting an exercise routine that fits your life can help strengthen your heart and improve stamina. As a person living with AFib, it is advised that you speak with your doctor about your exercise regimen because participating in activities that are too rigorous may lead to complications. Exercise also promotes the production of feel-good hormones.
  • Keep stress levels low- High levels of stress or intense bouts of anger can cause heart rates to quicken- this is not good for AFib. Find ways to keep stress to a minimum. Participating in activities such as taking walks or yoga can help to alleviate stress and decrease depression or anxiety.

The key to improving your health while living with AFib involves incorporating these tips as well as communicating with your doctor.   He or she will recommend a care plan for you to follow.

To schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of the EKG

An EKG machine measures the electrical activity of the heart. It displays this activity by drawing waves on a piece of paper that is either displayed on a screen or drawn on a piece of paper that runs through a machine.
• Late 1700’s – The first step in the development of the modern electrocardiograph machine was the creation of a machine that could sense, but not measure, electric current. This machine was called a galvanometer.
• 1786 an Italian physician, Dr. Luigi Galvan, discovered that skeletal muscles worked by producing electric current. In
• 1842 Dr. Carlo Matteucci working at the University of Pisa discovered that there is an electrical current that comes with each heart beat in a frog.
• Mid 1800’s a machine called the “Rheotome” was invented that could now measure this electrical current.
• 1872 – further refinements to this Rheotome led to a machine devised by Gabrrile Lippman  of the “capillary electrometer”.
During this time, a British physiologist, Augustus Waller, was able to record the first human electrocardiogram that using this technology with electrodes placed on the chest and back of a patient. This demonstrated electric activity taking place before ventricular contraction. In
• 1893 – Dr. Wilhelm Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist,  refined the capillary electrometer to show five deflections in the electrical current passing through the heart. The five waves were initially called ABCDE, but were changed to PQRST after a mathematical correction was made to compensate for the inertia in the capillary tube. He used the phrase “electrocardiogram” for the first time at a meeting of Dutch physicians.  In
• 1901 – Dr. Eintoven he developed a string galvanometer, a more sensitive machine. He  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his invention of the electrocardiograph.
As time passed, the electrocardiograph machine became much smaller and much more accurate. In 1903 it weighed 600 pounds and by 1930 it weighed about 30 pounds. Tthe importance of an electrocardiograph was recognized as being essential in diagnosing cardiac from non cardiac pain and able to help diagnose a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Today we use a 12 lead electrocardiogram as a major tool in diagnosing heart disease. The machine today weighs just a few pounds and is an essential tool in diagnosing diseases of the heart.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Heart Disease and Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve and sustain an erection firm enough for intercourse) may serve as an early warning sign of the development of more serious health issues, such as heart disease.   According to Harvard Health Publications, ‘erections “serve as a barometer for overall health,” and that erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of trouble in the heart or elsewhere.’

Studies have shown that if a man has erectile dysfunction (ED), he is at a greater risk of having heart disease.  Some experts suggest that men with ED who have no obvious cause such as trauma and no symptoms of heart problems should be proactive and receive an assessment to determine their risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart disease and erectile dysfunction share many risk factors including:

  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol intake
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Low testosterone
  • Obesity

If you are believed to be at risk for heart disease and have ED, your doctor may recommend applying lifestyle changes that may include drinking alcohol in moderation or none at all, quitting smoking, exercising and eating a balanced diet.  For those diagnosed with ED and heart disease your doctor may explore treatment options that include medication management to help regulate both health issues

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Holiday Heart Syndrome

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Holiday Heart Syndrome, coined in 1978, is a real syndrome in which the heart’s vulnerability to certain arrhythmias is increased by excessive alcohol ingestion (binge drinking) and the onset of a heart rhythm disturbance in people who are otherwise healthy.

The most frequently seen arrhythmia during the holiday season is atrial fibrillation, in which the top chambers of the heart quiver or fibrillate causing the heart to beat irregular and often quite fast.

Excessive alcohol intake in women is defined as consuming seven or more drinks per week or over three doses at one time.  For men, heavy consumption is defined as over 14 drinks per week or over four drinks at one time by the U.S. Department of health and Human Service.

Alcohol alone does not fully explain Holiday Heart Syndrome.  There are other risk factors for atrial fibrillation that are higher around the holidays such as:

  • Overeating
  • Stress
  • High levels of sodium consumption
  • Dehydration

Everyone has some degree of stress in their lives.  Health concerns, family and relationship issues, financial problems can all cause stress which can ultimately affect your health; the idea of “letting go” at a holiday event and consuming more alcohol than usual as a way to forget the present may have a negative effect on your future.

If you have any heart symptoms, it is best to seek medical attention immediately; even if your symptoms appear ON a holiday.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Healthy Heart = A Health You

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Every year, more than 1.2 million Americans die from heart attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 50 percent of those deaths occur outside the hospital—a figure suggesting many people with heart disease don’t act on early warning signs.

Some signs to watch for are chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, lightheadedness, and upper body discomfort are  red flags and an indication to immediately call 911. Just a few wasted minutes can stand between life or death.”

There are several factors that can put you at risk for heart disease, including high blood pressure, being overweight, having diabetes, and being over 55 years old for men and 65 years old for women.

Individuals who maintain a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and quit smoking, in  addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, or are taking your heart medication regularly are great ways to protect yourself against heart health conditions.

Flushing Hospital offers a non-invasive Cardiology Lab, as well as other services for heart diseases, such as arrhythmia, coronary heart disease, and cardiomyopathy.
Our non-invasive Cardiology Laboratory performs the following tests:

• Electrocardiograms, which allow the electrical activity of the heart to be examined
• Echocardiograms, which use sound waves to take pictures of the heart to assess how it is working
• Stress tests, both chemical and exercise, with and without imaging modalities to assess the blood flow to the heart and the function of the heart with exercise
• Holter monitors
• Event recorders
• Tilt table testing
• Nuclear wall motion studies
• Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring

Non-invasive treatment of coronary artery disease is available for patients who are not candidates for angioplasty, stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery, but who have continued chest pain or angina.

To speak with a cardiologist about your heart health or to obtain more information about the cardiology services offered at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5489.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

World Heart Day

September 29th has been designated as “World Heart Day”. This observance serves to bring international attention to the dangers of cardiovascular disease. According to the World Heart Federation, over 17.3 million deaths occur each year due to cardiovascular disease. By the year 2030 it is expected that this number will rise to 23 million. This makes it the leading cause of death in the world. The most common cardiovascular diseases include coronary heart disease (heart attack) and cerebrovascular disease (stroke).
Ways to control heart disease and protect the heart:
• Keep active – a minimum of 30 minutes a day of physical activity or exercise
• Do not smoke – if you do smoke, quit and if you don’t smoke, don’t start
• Healthy eating – A healthy diet includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean meat and fish
• Maintain a healthy weight – keep away from food that is high in sodium and sugar or contains unsaturated fat
• Keep blood pressure under control
• Take medication as prescribed to control cholesterol, pressure, and diabetes if present
It is very important to know the warning signs of heart disease.  For instance, a person who is experiencing a heart attack will often experience chest pain (fullness, squeezing, pressure), discomfort in areas of the upper body ( neck, jaw, arms, back), shortness of breath, and may also experience nausea, lightheadedness, and cold sweats. A person who is experiencing a stroke may have sudden trouble seeing, sudden confusion, a severe headache, loss of balance, trouble speaking, and sudden numbness and weakness of the face, arms and legs that is often just one sided.
It is very important to receive a medical check – up at least once a year to ensure that your heart is healthy. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Flushing Hospital please call 718-670-5486

Stethoscope and heart shape mascot.

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All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

The Benefit Of The Power Nap

young Japanese businesswoman sleeping on the desk

An office protocol, that normally would have been grounds for termination, is now being considered for its many benefits. Several companies are now acknowledging the health benefits of a short nap during the workday, which include increased alertness, enhanced brainpower, and fewer sick days.

It is recommended that adults sleep for at least eight hours every night, however, research has shown that most individuals suffer from broken sleep and fail to get a good night’s rest. For these individuals, a short nap can help. A quick 15 to 20 minute power nap can provide the boost needed to effectively complete your workday.

There are several progressive companies, such as British Airways, Nike, Pizza Hut and Google, who are now seeking to reap these benefits. These companies have created designated nap rooms or “renewal rooms” for their employees, allowed their employees to bring a nap mat for the office, or simply encouraged their employees to sleep at their desk.

Some employers are now encouraging napping for the wellness of their employees. People who take daily 30-minute naps are 37 percent less likely to die from heart disease than those who don’t nap, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2007. Naps can also boost the immune system—theoretically leading to fewer sick days—and propel employees into their most alert, energetic, and creative states, say nap advocates. Believers in this protocol feel that a well-rested employee is a pleasant employee, noting that if you’re sleep deprived, you’re going to be moody.

Napping Further Explained Naps can be broken down into four categories:

  • Planned napping, also known as preemptive napping, involves taking a nap before you get sleepy. It is a good thing to do if you know you’re going to have a late night.
  • Emergency napping is exactly as it sounds— taking a nap when you’re so sleepy that you can’t properly engage in your current activity.
  • Habitual napping is the practice of taking a nap at the same time every day.
  • Appetitive napping is the act of napping strictly for enjoyment.
  • As noted, napping increases alertness, learning capacity, memory and performance— and we have known this now for several decades. Naps can also reduce stress, as well as lower blood pressure, which is important for our overall health. So, with the research and results on “power napping,” it is safe to say that a well-rested employee is a more productive employee.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Juicing Heart Healthy?

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people living in the U.S., according to the American Heart Association. While no one juice or juice blend can prevent heart disease or repair damaged heart and blood vessel tissue, some juices contain heart-friendly nutrients. Some juicing proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber. Pomegranate, beet and red grape juices could give your cardiovascular system an overall health boost.

Pomegranate juice has shown the ability to lower blood pressure and is considered a heart-healthy fruit juice. Scientists found, as published in “Nutrition Journal,” that beet juice, combined with a low-nitrate diet, lowered blood pressure as soon as six hours after drinking the juice. Grape juice is naturally high in flavonoids, particularly in the case of red or purple grape juice. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage from aging and may help reduce your risk of developing cancer and heart disease. An article from “Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology” said studies have shown that red grape juice provided protection from “bad” or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which can cause hardened arteries. The scientists concluded that medical findings made it reasonable to suggest including purple grape juice in a daily diet as a way of reducing the risk of developing heart disease.

As with all premade juices, check to make sure there is little added sugar to derive the most benefits from the juice. Also, make only as much juice as you can drink in one sitting because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. When juicing, try to keep some of the pulp. Not only does it have healthy fiber, but it can help fill you up.

Although these juicing ingredient suggestions have proven to prevent heart disease it is still important to check in with your doctor for heart health tests. The Department of Cardiology at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is available to assess and treat heart conditions and diseases. To make an appointment, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of the EKG

EKGAn EKG machine measures the electrical activity of the heart. It displays this activity by drawing waves on a piece of paper that is either displayed on a screen or drawn on a piece of paper that runs through a machine.
• Late 1700’s – The first step in the development of the modern electrocardiograph machine was the creation of a machine that could sense, but not measure, electric current. This machine was called a galvanometer.
• 1786 an Italian physician, Dr. Luigi Galvan, discovered that skeletal muscles worked by producing electric current. In
• 1842 Dr. Carlo Matteucci working at the University of Pisa discovered that there is an electrical current that comes with each heart beat in a frog.
• Mid 1800’s a machine called the “Rheotome” was invented that could now measure this electrical current.
• 1872 – further refinements to this Rheotome led to a machine devised by Gabrrile Lippman  of the “capillary electrometer”.
During this time, a British physiologist, Augustus Waller, was able to record the first human electrocardiogram that using this technology with electrodes placed on the chest and back of a patient. This demonstrated electric activity taking place before ventricular contraction. In
• 1893 – Dr. Wilhelm Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist,  refined the capillary electrometer to show five deflections in the electrical current passing through the heart. The five waves were initially called ABCDE, but were changed to PQRST after a mathematical correction was made to compensate for the inertia in the capillary tube. He used the phrase “electrocardiogram” for the first time at a meeting of Dutch physicians.  In
• 1901 – Dr. Eintoven he developed a string galvanometer, a more sensitive machine. He  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his invention of the electrocardiograph.
As time passed, the electrocardiograph machine became much smaller and much more accurate. In 1903 it weighed 600 pounds and by 1930 it weighed about 30 pounds. Tthe importance of an electrocardiograph was recognized as being essential in diagnosing cardiac from non cardiac pain and able to help diagnose a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Today we use a 12 lead electrocardiogram as a major tool in diagnosing heart disease. The machine today weighs just a few pounds and is an essential tool in diagnosing diseases of the heart.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Important is Eating Breakfast?

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How important is eating a healthy breakfast to you? Please share your daily morning routine with us. Do you make the time for a healthy breakfast every morning?

Here’s what we know, breakfast is STILL the most important meal of the day.  It provides you with the energy and nutrients that lead to increased concentration whether in the classroom or at work.

Some benefits of eating a healthy breakfast are:

  • Reduces the chance of developing diabetes
  • Reduces the incidence of heart disease
  • Improves cognitive functions related to memory

Additionally, studies have shown that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight.

Translation – Eating breakfast is a smart move!

 

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.