What you need to know about IVC filters

Learn the risks and benefits of filters designed to catch dangerous blood clots

Doctor holding IVC filterMore adults than ever have inferior vena cava filters, cage-like devices implanted in their chest to protect them from stroke or deadly blood clots. News reports that questioned the safety of IVC filters made by CR Bard may have patients wondering: what kind of IVC filter they have, and if, and when, it should be removed.

Vein specialists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center weigh in on the emerging concerns about IVC filters.

How IVC filters work

IVC filters are inserted into the inferior vena cava to capture large blood clots and prevent them from reaching the lungs. The inferior vena cava is the main vessel that returns blood from the lower body back to the heart and lungs. Doctors may recommend an IVC filter if they’re worried about the risk of dangerous blood clots among their patients with risk factors, such as: Continue reading

Heart-healthy pumpkin chili

Try this recipe for lunch on crisp fall days

pumpkin chili Blog

Like it or not, the leaves are falling. And, for many, that means spending weekends outside with rake in hand. When lunchtime rolls around, there’s nothing like a hot bowl of protein-packed chili to warm you up and replenish your energy.

This season, switch it up by adding a distinctly different taste to your chili: pumpkin. This simple pumpkin chili recipe will keep you warm and energized, and it’s heart healthy, too!

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Are compression socks right for you?


If you plan to participate in the Free Press Talmer Bank Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 18, make sure your legs are ready.

As you’ve trained for the race, you may have noticed a growing number of runners wearing compression stockings and wondered if they’re right for you.

Because running is a high-impact activity, runners often experience vein swelling, which can result in leg aching, throbbing, heaviness or fatigue. Many runners are wearing compression socks to help them recover from the stress a long run puts on their legs. The snug-fitting, knee-high socks are meant to increase circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up. Some runners wear compression socks while training and racing while others use them after a run. Continue reading

4 nutrition habits that might be hurting you

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Many of us grew up with nutrition habits we thought were healthy. But, according to today’s standards, some of those habits should be laid to rest …

1. I eat vegetables every day at dinner, so I’m healthy.

Not so fast! Eating one serving of vegetables a day will no longer cut it, especially if they’re starchy vegetables like corn, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes or winter squash. Although still good for you, a serving of these actually counts in place of bread, pasta or rice. For optimum cardiovascular health, aim to eat half a plate of non-starchy vegetables — asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, lettuces, onions, peppers, tomatoes and zucchini — at lunch and dinner. Aim for at least five or six cups of raw leafy greens or three cups cooked or raw vegetables every day, and remember: There’s no maximum on these non-starchy vegetables. They pump you full of fiber and phytonutrients and are low in calories.   

When taking a blood thinner such as warfarin, it’s important to maintain a healthy intake of vegetables — no more “I’m on a blood thinner so I can’t eat veggies.” Instead, be consistent with Vitamin K content from day to day and you’ll have no problems and be healthier. Continue reading

ICD patients: You’re not alone


An implantable cardioverter defibrillator, or ICD, provides immediate therapy to life-threatening arrhythmias (heart beating too quickly or too slowly) through a painless pacing sequence or a jolt of electricity. Despite its lifesaving capabilities, an ICD may bring questions, fear and anxiety for many patients.

Here are three questions I’m often asked by ICD patients:

Q. What about airport security scanners and other magnetic devices? Will they interact with my ICD?

External electromagnetic or radiofrequency signals can impact an ICD, so patients should not stand in or near the doorway of stores with electronic theft-detection devices or in airport security areas. Instead, show your ICD identification card and ask to be hand searched at airports or other places with electronic security areas (sports venues, etc.). Also, cellular telephones shouldn’t be held on the side where your ICD has been implanted. Instead, use your opposite ear when talking. X-rays, including mammograms, are permitted. Continue reading

Tips for choosing healthy, affordable foods

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Are you trying to eat better, but can’t seem to find room in the budget for it? Here are some tips for choosing healthy, affordable foods.

Keys for heart-healthy eating on a budget

  1. Plan ahead. Avoid “impulse buys” by sticking to a list.
  2. Shop savvy. Join your store’s rewards program, choose store or generic brands, look for sales and discounts, and bring coupons to get the most out of your dollars.
  3. When you cook, make it count. Cook larger meals so you can eat leftovers on your busier days. Portion into single-serving containers and refrigerate or freeze right after cooking.
  4. Eat mindfully and save leftovers. The faster you eat, the easier it is to overeat. Slow down and save leftovers, which will help you save money.

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