Walk for heart health!

Get ready now for National Walking Day on April 6

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Walking is great for many reasons, especially if you find yourself sitting at a desk all day. That applies to quite a few of us because, according to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83 percent since 1950. So it’s important to get moving during lunch, after work and on weekends for heart health and overall well-being. 

You can get started by gearing up for National Walking Day on Wednesday, April 6. Then, make a commitment to incorporate walking into your daily routine. Continue reading

The best fish to eat for heart health

Keep up with fish dinners, even after Lent

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Friday night fish fries are in full swing, but when Lent ends, your commitment to eating fish on Fridays doesn’t have to stop …

The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week (particularly fatty, or oily, fish) to reduce the risk of death from heart disease and stroke. So why not continue a good thing by keeping fish on your Friday menu?

And, remember, the best fish to eat for heart health is oily fish. Here’s why:

While all fish provide protein and omega-3 fatty acids, salmon and other oily fish — sardines, tuna, mackerel, bluefish, rainbow trout and herring — have the highest amounts. These “good fats” benefit the hearts of healthy people, and those who have, or are at high risk for, cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lower blood pressure. Continue reading

Heart health and depression

Some things that might surprise you

 

Depression and heart disease blogThe American Heart Association reports that while an estimated 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and older acknowledge depression, up to 33 percent of heart attack patients develop some degree of depression.

Dr. Michelle Riba, professor of psychiatry and associate chair for U-M’s Integrated Medical and Psychiatric Services in the Department of Psychiatry and associate director of the U-M Comprehensive Depression Center, takes it a step further: “It’s very complicated,” she says, noting that “almost every major cardiac condition has psychological issues that need to be addressed.” Monitoring a heart patient’s mental health is just as important as treating his or her physical condition, she says.

It gets even more complicated, says Dr. Riba, because not only can cardiovascular disease lead to depression, but also depression can lead to cardiovascular disease. “It’s bidirectional.”

According to research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, persistent depression may double the risk of stroke in adults over 50. What’s more, new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes (American Heart Association journal) reports that the combination of stress and depression can significantly increase a heart patient’s risk of death or heart attack. Continue reading

Tailgating and alcohol: Information to take to heart

Why does my heart race after drinking?

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Before you head out to your next tailgate party, make sure you’re aware of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

It’s football season, and with it comes the fun of tailgating … and often an increase in alcohol consumption. Dr. Kenneth Tobin, clinical assistant professor for the Department of Internal Medicine and director in the Chest Pain Center at the University of Michigan, says patients often ask questions about alcohol and heart health, including: “Why does my heart race after drinking alcohol?” Dr. Tobin discusses this question and other alcohol/heart health issues here–information about tailgating and alcohol you can take to heart this football season. Continue reading

Six heart-healthy seeds

Boost your heart health with these nutrition-packed seeds

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Seeds provide a variety of nutrients that are good for your heart.

Seeds are packed with nutrients. In their most natural form, seeds are tiny embryonic plants inside of a shell. Besides a little sun, water and TLC, seeds contain all of the nutrients they need to grow. The outer layer is packed with minerals, vitamins, and plant-based chemical compounds known as phytochemicals, while the endosperm is filled with high-quality protein, complex carbohydrates and heart-healthy fats. This makes them a wonderful addition to our well-balanced diet! So the question is, which heart-healthy seeds should you choose?

Variety is key. All seeds provide protein and fiber, but each type of seed has something special it brings to the table. Consider incorporating some of these seeds into your diet: Continue reading

Men’s heart health tips

Develop good habits early for a healthy heart later in life

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Adopting healthy habits at a young age can pay off as you age.

As we age, the stakes get higher for coronary artery disease (CAD). A man in his 70s has a higher risk of developing CAD than a man in his 20s. But CAD does not occur overnight.

Even at 20 years old, you can affect what happens to you and your heart health when you are older. Having an appropriate health maintenance exam to define your risk of diabetes, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and other cardiac risk factors is very important for heart health.

The role genetics plays

The single biggest risk factor for developing CAD is genetics. A person (man or woman) who has a family history of early-age CAD (usually defined as 55 or younger) needs to be extremely diligent about his or her heart health.

Even though you can’t change genetics, there are certain genetic risk factors that can be modified — and the earlier you start, the better. Continue reading