Archive for the ‘Heart Disease’ Category

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Metabolic Syndrome, Syndrome X, Insulin Resistance Syndrome

Monday, December 5th, 2016

About: Metabolic syndrome, also called “syndrome X” or “insulin resistance syndrome”, is the name for a group of risk factors- habits, conditions, or genetic influences, that act together to raise your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Symptoms: Because Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors, rather than a disease, it can often be silent within the system, affecting the body slowly over time. When symptoms are present, they are due to the diseases these risk factors cause.

Risk Factors: obesity- large waistline; inactive lifestyle; high blood pressure; high cholesterol; low HDL cholesterol; high blood sugar; high triglyceride; diet high in processed and refined foods; constant low-grade inflammation throughout the body; clotting conditions; PCOS; Family history of diabetes, heart disease, stroke.

Symptoms of Risk Factors: a large waistline or “apple shape”; thirst; increased urination, especially at night; fatigue (tiredness); blurred vision, dull headaches; dizzy spells; nosebleeds

Conventional treatment: Reducing risk factors that can be controlled (obesity, diet, and physical activity) is the general first step with prescription medication to respond to disease states as indicated.

Our Approach: We begin by treating you as a whole person, recognizing that lifestyle changes are difficult and must be sustainable.

We recommend a physical exam and routine blood work to check cholesterol & fasting blood sugar values to get a clear picture of your unique health status.

We then work with you to develop individualized strategies to respond to your present health, your risks and your ongoing needs through:

  • sustainable & supported weight loss through personalized home exercise programs
  • individualized programs to address insulin sensitivity;
  • dietary and nutritional counseling with emphasis on education and real steps to understand healthy food choices;
  • stress reduction & techniques to respond to stress;
  • support understanding on how carbohydrate, sugar, processed & refined foods impact health
  • Acupuncture
  • Evidence based complimentary medicine
  • medication as indicated

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome, High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, or High Cholesterol Please give us a call today to see how we can support you : 503-287-4970

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Hot Flash or Heart Attack?

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and that more women than men die from heart disease each year?  You may not know that it is also a leading cause of disability among women.   How can this be?  Typically thought of as a male disease, the information has come out that heart disease is an equal opportunist as it claims its title of being the number one dis-ease that Americans die from.

The symptoms can be a bit different for women than the typical chest grabbing scenario the TV gives us of heart attacks.

The most common heart attack symptoms in women are some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. Though it’s not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. Women are more likely to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain.  PULSE, a great acronym should be thought of to discern between hot flash and heart attack.

Persistent chest pain-can include neck, shoulder & upper back
Upset stomach, Nausea, Vomiting
Light headedness, dizziness
Shortness of breath
Excessive sweating

As you can see these are rather vague symptoms and could be a lot of different issues. New symptoms, not your usual, are more immediate concern (though, all of these are not normal, and should be checked out by your friendly Naturopathic physician).

For those women in your life (or for you reading this) we know you are busy and time is precious. Please take the time for you and get a checkup.  Give us a call today to schedule a visit with our women’s health care specialist: 503-287-4970.

Photo courtesy of  epSos.de  some rights reserved

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“Take two thirty minute walks and call me in the morning…”

Monday, December 16th, 2013

There are not often studies that compare drugs and non-drug therapies in the treatment of illness. If such studies took place, the results might call the use of those drugs into question. And that is exactly what happened.

In October the British Medical Journal published a study that reveals a great deal about the tragic focus of health care in the US. In the study, the authors reviewed an astounding 304 prior studies that involved a total of almost 340,000 patients. Specifically, they looked at studies in which drug therapies and exercise programs were recommended for people who had four diseases: stroke, diabetes, heart failure and chronic heart disease. Three of these are in the top 5 causes of death in the US, and they account for hundreds of billions of medical expenses and lost productivity each year.

The majority of the studies they could find on these diseases only looked at the effectiveness of drugs. But they were able to find 57 studies, encompassing almost 15,000 patients, which looked at exercise in the treatment of these diseases. Then they compared which therapies – drugs or exercise – resulted in the greatest reduction in complications and deaths caused by those diseases.

What they found was that exercise was equally or more effective than drug therapies in reducing mortality for strokes, diabetes and heart failure. Only for chronic heart disease were diuretic drugs more effective than exercise at reducing mortality.

This is, of course, astounding news.

Perhaps in the future we will see more studies like this. In the meantime, give us a call and let our team of  medical care providers support you in learning how to exercise in the presence of chronic illness.

Give us a call today to schedule a visit: 503-287-4970

 

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Keeping the Heart Healthy

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

The hearts of our Valentines are not the only ones that we celebrate in the month of February.  Since 1963, Congress has officially required the President to declare February as American Heart Month as a way to urge Americans to join the battle against cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are our nation’s No. 1 killer. For those reasons, it’s important to know what ‘heart health’ means and how you can accomplish it.

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Gaining a basic understanding of cardiovascular physiology is important in order to know how to improve that physiology.  Allow me geek out for a few moments here on the physics of what the heart does for us.

For starters, the heart is a pump that is responsible for supply our entire body with blood flow to provide our cells with oxygen and nutrients, and to help eventually rid the body of some toxins.  Heart failure occurs when the heart can no longer meet the metabolic demands of the body.

The heart working as a pump pushes our blood through a series of large and small tubes (arteries, capillaries and veins) that have a limited volume capacity. If our ‘tubes’ get too gummed up (with plaques derived from cholesterol) and become smaller in diameter, or if our blood volume has a dramatic increase, our heart will have to work much harder to pump the required blood through, straining the system.  This is what we refer to as blood pressure, and when the blood volume is too high, or the arteries have become too narrow, hypertension ensues.

The heart also has an intricate conduction system that allows it to beat in a succinct, rhythmical fashion.  Our heart rate is supposed to increase as we exercise and move around throughout our daily activities, but at rest, our heart rate should remain even and slow.   Arrhythmias, such as atrial fibrillation, occur when the heart’s usually quiet electrical system misfires or becomes overactive, often due to damage of the cells that support the conduction system.   Last, but not least, our heart cells require oxygen to survive.  When these cells become starved of oxygen, from too little or restricted blood flow, it is possible to experience chest pain, commonly called angina.

So… now that we know all about what our hearts are responsible for, how do we keep them healthy?  We can take many lifestyle-based steps to decrease the workload required of our cardiovascular systems.  Keeping blood pressure in check is a good place to start.  A key tactic in accomplishing this is decreasing the amount of stress in our lives, as the hormones and neurotransmitters released during times of stress are responsible for constriction of our blood vessels, which in turn causes elevated blood pressure.

While the stresses of our daily lives can often not be eliminated, how we cope with stress can be improved upon.  This includes taking time daily to relax, breathe, and let our bodies switch from the “go go go!” mode, to one that is more calm.  And any amount of time will be beneficial: from laying down and breathing deep for a few minutes to hours of meditation.  There are several specific nutritional, herbal and even pharmaceutical options that can be explored if blood pressure is a concern.  Keeping our blood pressure at a normal level decreases the wear and tear on our vascular systems and our hearts, allowing for flawless function well into our later years.

There are several dietary changes that can be made to improve heart health.  By now, most people are aware that saturated fats and processed foods should generally be avoided. Those foods can lead to a negative increase in cholesterol levels as well as help generate plaques along artery walls that further promotes hypertension and increases the risk of adverse events, such as a stroke.  And most people also know that sugar, along with simple carbohydrates and starches, should be avoided.

What may not be as familiar to you, however, are the foods that we can add to our diet to improve heart function.

Foods rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium are all important for proper function of our heart cells and their conduction systems.  Coincidentally, these foods also offer plentiful vitamins and minerals.  Now, where can you get these power-packed nutritional foods?  Your own garden!  That’s right: fruits and vegetables have high amounts of the major minerals we need for heart health, as well as smaller nutrients that help our entire cardiovascular system, such as bioflavonoids and vitamin C.  Fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, are also high in soluble and insoluble fiber —- both of which help balance cholesterol levels and overall bowel health.

It is also important to remember that your heart is a muscle and it, like all other muscles in our body, needs regular exercise to maintain healthy. Fortunately for us, some of the main ways to exercise out bodies also give our hearts a sufficient workout.  Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging or biking gives your heart the best workout.  Weight loss, achieved through diet and exercise, also increases our overall heart health by putting less work on the heart.

If you are unsure where to start with these heart health changes, come in and see us at Nature Cures Clinic.  Navigating the world of health and fitness can be tricky and overwhelming… let us help you find your way!

Photo courtesy Debs

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