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Posts Tagged ‘heart health’

Are Doctors Doing Too Many Invasive Heart Tests?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 12, 2010

We’ve heard a lot about too many mammograms leading to too many invasive biopsies.  But now a recent study is showing that doctors may be doing too many invasive heart tests as well.

Every year more than a million people in the United States are given an angiogram to check for blocked arteries, but in many cases the tests reveal no significant blockage.

Does that mean that all of these tests were unnecessary?  Not at all.  The study suggests that doctors begin to do a better job determining which patients really need an angiogram…Specifically, that careful evaluation be done when patients have no known heart disease and they are not in an emergency situation.

From NPR

Patel thinks that “the entire diagnostic process from start to finish needs reevaluation — from talking to patients to the threshold for going invasive,” meaning angiography.

The best place to start, he says, is with patients without symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pain. Almost 1 in 3 Americans who get angiograms today are symptom-free. Their doctors order angiograms presumably because they suspect “silent” heart disease, perhaps because a patient has a family history of coronary disease, diabetes or other risk factors.

But angioplasty and stenting–procedures commonly done during angiography to widen clogged coronaries and keep them open–have never been shown to lengthen life, Patel says. The reason for doing them is to relieve symptoms. And if a patient doesn’t have symptoms, then doctors and patients should ask themselves what’s the point of doing the angiogram — instead of reducing coronary disease risk factors.

From the Wall Street Journal

Typically, patients suspected of heart disease based on family history or, say, unexplained chest pain, first undergo non-invasive tests such as a stress echocardiogram or nuclear perfusion study to see how well the heart is functioning. Guidelines suggest such tests should indicate a potential problem before a patient is referred for an angiogram. In the study, 84% of patients got at least one of these tests, but the information they provided was only modestly helpful in predicting whether patients had significant disease. Researchers said this underscored the need to find more effective ways to recommend patients for angiograms.

Other factors contribute to demands for more angiograms, doctors say. Among these: financial incentives for doctors to perform angiograms, worries of malpractice suits if a blockage is missed on early tests, and patients demanding more specific information about their condition.

“Our whole system is incented to do more,” says Chet Rihal, a cardiologist and director of the catheterization clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “We’ve got to get much smarter about how we’re ordering and interpreting these tests.”

What do you think?  Do the benefits of angiograms outweigh the risks for patients without known heart disease?


Posted in Health, heart disease, life, news | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

7 Lifestyle Tips For Reducing Blood Pressure

Posted by Catherine Morgan on July 12, 2009

Did you know that one in every three adults has high blood pressure?  Are you one of them?

I had some good news the other day.  It seems that all of my hard work trying to eat healthy and lose weight is finally paying off.  For the first time in years my blood pressure is actually normal.  Yaaay! This is just the kind of validation I was looking for when I began my journey of weight loss and healthy living.

If you have high blood pressure or know someone who does, here are some tips that can help lower blood pressure naturally.

Tip #1 – Lose 10 Pounds

Did you know that most Americans are overweight (66% are overweight or obese)?  It’s true.  It’s also true that losing as little as ten pounds can help reduce high blood pressure.

Read full post 7 Tips For Reducing Blood Pressure at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in awareness, blood pressure, chronic illness, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Even A Small Amount Of Exercise Is Better Than Being A Couch Potato

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 12, 2009

Become A Recovering Couch Potato With Just 7 Minutes Of Exercise A Week

Even A Small Amount Of Exercise Is Better Than Being A Couch Potato

A new study finds that as little as seven minutes of exercise a week is beneficial to your health.  This is my kind of news. I’ve always thought that you either had to be totally committed to fitness or be a couch potato.  But it turns out that good health can boil down to making healthy food choices and committing to just one minute a day of rigorous exercise.   Even if you spend all day online, making time to exercise for one minute is more than possible.   So you can be fit even without jeopardizing your couch potato or internet potato status.

From Science Blog

Scientists at Heriot-Watt University have found that short, intensive periods of exercise – involving as little as seven minutes per week – can significantly reduce the chances of contracting diabetes.

Professor James Timmons, who led the study, said, “It is clear that cardiovascular disease and type two diabetes are major health issues for western society. The risk of developing these diseases is substantially reduced through regular physical activity. But many people simply don’t have the time or inclination to follow government guidelines. What we have found is that doing a few intense muscle exercises, each lasting only about 30 seconds, dramatically improves your metabolism in just two weeks. The improvements in metabolism we measured are known to be critical for reducing your chance of getting diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the future.”

Here is some of what other women bloggers are saying about making time for fitness.

Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat has a list of excuses for not exercising…

1. Can’t find a sports bra. (Creates a hazard to one and all.)

2. Two showers a day is 1.5 more than I have time for. (Plus all the blow drying.)

3. My ankle/neck/gums hurt. (Pain is my body telling my head, Really? You’re trying to do a situp? Is that wise?)

4. Eating a box of Captain Crunch and or Apple Jacks until the roof of my mouth is shredded is a workout.

5. I don’t want to get intimidatingly buff. I want you to feel welcomed. Hello, I’m fluffy.

6. It’s winter. (I can’t go outside.)

7. It’s spring. (I gave it up for Lent.)

8. It’s summer. (Hot. Might die.)

9. It’s autumn. (Pil-whatees = hard, XL sweatshirt = easy)

10. Huffing and puffing when climbing the stairs with laundry in my jello arms is how I know I’m almost alive.

11. I don’t have workout clothes. I’ve got businessy clothes and pajamas. (yoga pants = nap)

12. My IPod is acting weird.

From Elizabeth Quin – No Time For Exercise

If you say you can’t find time to exercise, you aren’t alone. Even Olympic athletes struggle with finding enough time to train for sports, often waking up early for pre-dawn training sessions. Balancing workouts with work, family and social commitments can be challenging and can result inconsistent or skipped workouts.

Contributing Editor Mir Kamin talks about Motivating kids to exercise

The non-movie reality, though, is that we are still a nation fighting an obesity epidemic, and that’s due not just to our poor eating habits. As a society, we are too sedentary. And that’s true of our children, too. “Go play!” often means get out the video games or watch TV, now, rather than running and jumping and other physical activities.

Kim from Weight Loss Diet Secrets

All around you, people are waking up to the fact that some type of daily exercise is important. Still, you can’t seem to get up the motivation to settle into an exercise routine. Before you reach for that box of doughnuts and turn on the television, here are five tips that may help to motivate you to get up and get moving today.

Tip # 1 – You’ll Live Longer People who get at least some exercise often live more years than persons who are essentially sedentary.

From Workout Mommy – A Single Mom’s View on Fitness

It is time for another installment of “One Fit Mommy”! As I surf around the blogosphere, I come across fit moms (and dads too!) who inspire me to fitness. From there, I hunt them down and force them to tell me their secrets, which I then share with you! There are no excuses with these parents, just support on how we can ALL find time for fitness!

This week’s mommy is Alison, who blogs over here. She is a busy single mom who makes fitness a priority. If you live with a significant other and claim that you have “no time to exercise”, then I encourage you to think again. Single parents have very little, if any, time to themselves and if they can find the time to exercise, then we can certainly find time as well.

Do you find it hard to make time for fitness?  Could you spare seven minutes a week if it meant better health and a longer life?  Let me know in comments.

Also See:

Couch Potato No More

Start A Heart Healthy Workout

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan

at Catherine-Morgan.com

Posted in BlogHer, blood pressure, children, chronic illness, dieting, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, nutrition, self-help, weight loss, Women, women's health, women's issues | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »