February is American Heart Month

Over 50 years ago President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed the month of February to be American Heart Month in order to bring attention to one of the leading causes of death in the United States. This tradition has been carried on by every President since.

Each year over 800,000 lives are taken as a result of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Every 84 seconds someone in the United States dies from the disease and each year approximately 750,000 people experience a heart attack and of those, about 115,000 will not survive.

The American Heart Association recommends the following behavioral modifications to prevent heart disease:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Engage in some form of daily physical activity
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Control cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels

The death rate from heart disease has been improving slowly over the last decade due to advances in medications, better diagnostic capabilities, and better access to health care, but the statistics are still pretty alarming. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-6742.

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.

Five Steps to Lowering Blood Pressure

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, here are five lifestyle changes that you can make to help to lower it:
• Losing just ten pounds can have a significant effect on blood pressure.
• Partaking in regular physical exercise such walking, jogging, swimming and dancing are all good choices.
• Eating foods with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy is important.
• Drinking less coffee and tea will help lower blood pressure
• Quitting smoking will help to lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure can cause significant health problems if left untreated. Consult with your physician about ways that you can keep yours under control. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a physician at Jamaica Hospital, 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.

How Does Caffeine Effect Your Blood Pressure?

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

Are you one of many people who can’t function without having their morning coffee first? If so, there are a few effects that caffeine can have on hypertension. The java jolt of a caffeine fix may cause a jump in blood pressure — a particular problem in people who already have high blood pressure.

Caffeine can cause a short, but dramatic increase in your blood pressure, even if you don’t have high blood pressure. It is not clear what causes this spike in blood pressure. Some researchers believe that caffeine could block a hormone that helps keep your arteries wide enough for steady blood flow.

Some people who constantly drink caffeinated beverages have a higher average blood pressure than those who don’t drink any. Others who regularly drink caffeinated beverages develop a tolerance to caffeine. As a result, caffeine doesn’t have a long–term effect on their blood pressure. Research has shown that caffeine has a stronger blood pressure increasing effect in men who are older than 70 or who are overweight.

To see if caffeine might be raising your blood pressure, check your blood pressure within 30 to 120 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. If you plan to cut back on caffeine, eliminate it slowly over several days to avoid withdrawal headaches.

If you have high blood pressure, ask your doctor whether you should limit or stop drinking caffeinated beverages. Keep in mind that the amount of caffeine in coffee and other beverages varies by brand. Also, avoid caffeine right before activities that naturally increase your blood pressure, such as exercise, weightlifting or hard physical labor.

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.

What is Pre-Diabetes?

docpicAre you one of the estimated 54 million people in this country who have pre-diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a silent health condition that has no symptoms and is almost always present before you develop type 2 diabetes.

It is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you haven’t visited your doctor, a good way to see if you are at increased risk for pre-diabetes is to take the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Diabetes risk test by visiting www.diabetes.org/risk.

Among those who should be screened for pre-diabetes include overweight adults age 45 and older or those under age 45 who are overweight and who have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Habitually physically inactive
  • Have previously been identified as having impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian, African-American, Hispanic or Native American)
  • Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds
  • Have elevated blood pressure
  • Have elevated cholesterol
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have a history of vascular disease

That said, if you have pre-diabetes, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by a sustained modest weight loss and increased moderate-physical activity, such as walking 30 minutes a day.

Through weight loss and increased physical activity, a dietitian may direct you on how to make food choices that cut down on the amount of fat and carbohydrates by:

  • Eating more foods that are broiled and fewer foods that are fried
  • Decrease the amount of butter you use in cooking
  • Eat more fish and chicken
  • Eat more meatless meals
  • Re-Orient your meals to reflect more vegetables and fruit

If you have symptoms such as increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue and blurred vision, you may have crossed from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

It’s best to consult a physician if you’re concerned about pre-diabetes or if you notice any type 2 diabetes signs or symptoms. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center is centrally located and has convenient hours.  To make an appointment, 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.

The Many Benefits of Garlic

Looking for a wonder drug that can:

ThinkstockPhotos-469904627• Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol? Check
• Boost your immune system? Check
• Control you diabetes? Check
• Improve your digestive and respiratory system? Check

What is this new, breakthrough drug? It’s not a medication at all; in fact you can find it at your local grocery store. It’s garlic!

Garlic is a plant that is used in many cultures for both culinary and medical purposes for hundreds of years. Eaten on its own, or more commonly used as an ingredient in many tasty dishes, garlic contains allicin, which is known to have anti-oxidant, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties.

Garlic has been shown to lower blood pressure by relaxing vein and artery walls. This action helps keep platelets from clumping together and improves blood flow, thereby reducing the risk of stroke. Garlic also decreases the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, substances that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Studies suggest that regularly eating garlic helps lower blood pressure and controls blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

This popular herb may also improve immunity by stimulating some of the body’s natural immune cells. Studies suggest that garlic may help prevent breast, bladder, skin, stomach, and colon cancer. Garlic’s antibacterial properties also make it a wonderful anti-viral and decongestant to prevent and combat colds, coughs, and upper respiratory tract infections. In addition, Garlic is often used to treat many other common maladies such as ear infections, toothaches, and treatment for warts and athlete’s foot.

Garlic can be digested either cooked or in raw form (but only in small amounts). If you do not like the taste of garlic there are also powdered or caplet forms. Your doctor can recommend which form of garlic is best for you.

For most people, consuming garlic does not cause any serious side effects if taken in moderation, but it can cause heartburn or stomach irritation if taken in excess. Due to its blood thinning properties, individuals taking anti-coagulant medications should speak with their doctor before increasing their daily garlic intake.

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.

Does the Alcohol In Red Wine Dampen Its Benefits?

redwine151019868There have been many reports about how red wine can lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health. But don’t be so quick to open that bottle of Merlot at home. That’s because recent studies suggest that the antioxidants found in wine that may help prevent heart disease, are much more effective when the wine is non-alcoholic.

Wine contains antioxidants called polyphenols that can help prevent heart diseases. They increase the levels of HDLs, or “good cholesterol” in the blood, which protects against artery damage and can lower blood pressure. Another potential benefit is, polyphenols may help protect blood vessels in your heart and prevent blood clots.

Unfortunately, alcohol in red wine may dampen the blood pressure-lowering potential of its antioxidants. A study published in Circulation Research found that when men drank red wine containing alcohol, their blood pressure only went down slightly, but when they drank non-alcoholic red wine, their blood pressure went down enough to lower their risk of heart disease by 14%.

This is good news for those who want to receive the benefits of red wine, but don’t or can’t consume alcohol. In addition, while red wine has shown some benefits in moderation, consuming too much poses several health risks.

If you have high blood pressure and want to learn more about the potential benefits of red wine, please speak with your doctor. Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center has many doctors who can help. To make an appointment, 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.