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PVCs could lead to a more serious heart condition

When should you worry about a fluttering heart?

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If you’ve ever had a fluttering heart, or noticed that your heart seems to skip a beat, you might be experiencing premature ventricular contractions (PVCs), a relatively common type of arrhythmia in both adults and children.

PVCs are the result of extra, abnormal heartbeats that begin in the ventricles, or lower pumping chambers, and disrupt your regular heart rhythm, which is controlled by a natural pacemaker known as the sinus node. This natural pacemaker creates electrical impulses that travel across the atria to the ventricles, causing them to contract and pump blood out to your lungs and body in what is known as normal sinus rhythm.

In the case of PVCs, the heart doesn’t actually skip a beat. Instead an extra beat comes sooner than normal. Then there’s typically a pause that causes the next beat to be more forceful, which is what most individuals detect. Although the range differs for each individual, we typically begin to see problems in patients with premature ventricular contractions that comprise 20 percent or more of total heartbeats.

PVCs can be caused by heart disease or scarring that can interfere with the heart’s normal electrical impulses. They can also be triggered by certain medications, alcohol, stress, exercise or caffeine. Continue reading

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What is the Zika virus?

What pregnant women need to know

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News about a mysterious, tropical virus called Zika and its link to severe birth defects and newborn deaths abroad may be worrisome for many – especially pregnant women or those who are thinking about getting pregnant. The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a first-of-its-kind travel alert recommending that pregnant women avoid countries where Zika has spread, and world health officials have declared a global emergency to control the Zika virus.

A small number of cases have recently been reported in the U.S.  If you’re pregnant or have a loved one who is, you may understandably be concerned.
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Lewy Body Dementia experience inspires wife to further U-M’s offerings

The Rinne Lewy Body Dementia Initiative is underway

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Tamara Real and Carl Rinne enjoy a trip to Venice, Italy before his LBD diagnosis.

For more than two years Tamara Real and her husband, Carl Rinne, searched for reasons why Carl, a once vibrant man, was forgetful, had dizzy spells and was no longer interested in normal social activities.

Rinne was eventually diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) — a brain disease that impairs thinking and mobility. Unfortunately, knowing the cause of her former U-M professor husband’s decline didn’t bring Tamara Real much relief or understanding. Although LBD accounts for about 20 percent of all dementia cases in the United States, Real discovered that few people know anything about it.

“It’s very hard when no one understands what you’re going through,” she said. Continue reading

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Hey Sugar – are you Public Enemy No. 1?

Our dietitians explain good sugar versus bad sugar

sugar in processed foodsIs sugar really public enemy number 1? The simple answer is no. But sometime sugar can be bad for us. There are actually “good” sugars and “bad” sugars.

Good sugars are natural sugars (also called complex carbohydrates). They are found in fruits and whole grains. These types of foods not only have sugar, they also have anti-disease nutrients that should be included in a healthy diet.

“Bad” sugar — the sugar we need to be careful of — is the sugar that gets added in cooking and pre-made/packaged foods. And it’s not just in cakes, cookies and soft drinks. Added sugars are also found in tomato sauce, ketchup, salad dressings, cereals, crackers and breads. Continue reading

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Paging Dr. Violin?

Free Jan. 24 concert will bring out the musical talents of U-M medical and science community

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Dr. Jenna Devare, an ear, nose & throat surgeon in training, “scopes” her violin

If you could see Dr. Ellen Janke or Dr. Jenna Devare in action in a U-M operating room, you’d probably notice how confidently they handle the complex equipment of 21st Century surgery.

You’d see how every operation is a team effort, with surgeons, anesthesiologists, residents, nurses and technicians each playing their part to help every patient.

But if you come to Hill Auditorium this Sunday afternoon, you can see Dr. Janke and Dr. Devare engaged in another kind of teamwork: the kind it takes to play in a 70-member symphony orchestra.

 

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Exercise to keep your heart ticking

Don't let excuses get in the way

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We all know that exercise is a good thing for our health. But getting into a regular routine is often the first stumbling block. Once you overcome that, you’ll begin to realize the benefits of establishing and keeping to a successful exercise program.

According to University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center Cardiologist Dr. Sara Saberi, “For the general population, great things result from habitual exercise. Studies show that people who exercise actually live longer.” Continue reading