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Damar Hamlin, a safety for the Buffalo Bills, collapsed on the football field after taking a strong blow to the chest, prompting emergency personnel to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to try restarting his heart.

Receiving even a streamlined, hands-only version of CPR when a heart stops beating (cardiac arrest) can at least double a person's chances of surviving. However, only about half of those who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive CPR from a bystander. And, because four out of every five cardiac arrests occur at home, the life you might save with CPR is more likely to be that of a loved one or someone you know rather than a stranger. Here are the CPR fundamentals for adults:

Understand two basic characteristics of cardiac arrest.

How do you know if someone is experiencing a heart attack? The following are two distinguishing features:

There is no response. There is no reaction if you say loudly, "Are you okay?" and shake someone's shoulders roughly.

Breathing abnormally. Check to see if their chest is going up and down, or put your face close to their nose and mouth to hear if they are breathing normally. The brain cannot receive enough oxygen from labored, erratic breathing, such as gasping or snorting.

Understand how to perform hands-only CPR.

First, dial 911—or, better yet, instruct someone nearby to dial 911. Put the phone on speaker so that you can begin CPR while waiting for instructions from the emergency operator.

Place the heel of one hand on the person's chest, directly over the breastbone and between the nipples. Place the heel of your other hand on top. Lace your top hand's fingers through the fingers of your bottom hand.

Push down while maintaining your arms straight and your shoulders precisely above your hands. Push hard: compress the chest by at least two inches with your body weight.

Repeat the compressions several times, aiming for 100 to 120 pushes per minute.

It can be challenging to prioritise heart health during busy days. Simply put, it seems like you don't have time for routines that keep your ticker in tip-top shape, such as regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and a healthy diet. To add a few extra steps to your daily tally, you might choose to park further away from a store or take the stairs whenever you can. What else can you do, though? These three activities may fit into your schedule.


Replace a bad breakfast with a good one. 

Do you typically eat a quick breakfast that is high in processed meat, refined (as opposed to whole) grains, saturated fat, and added sugar? Regular consumption of that type of food may increase weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, or calories, all of which are bad for your heart.

Instead, opt for breakfast items high in fibre, a type of carbohydrate that either passes through the body undigested (insoluble fibre) or turns into a gel that coats the gut (soluble fibre).

Change your online correspondence to a face-to-face meeting. 

It's acceptable if your primary method of communication with others is texting, emailing, using social media, or making Zoom calls. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association that was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association says that it is not okay if these methods make you feel isolated or lonely, because these feelings have been linked to higher risks for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Try to substitute some of your electronic back-and-forth with people with in-person meetings in order to combat loneliness and isolation. Maybe you can make time in your schedule for a brief lunch, a coffee break, or a stroll with a friend or coworker.


Since "it's just the flu," a lot of people think that they don't see the point in getting flu vaccines. They believe that influenza, also known as "the flu," is just a cold that will go away in a few days. Sadly, the flu usually has more severe symptoms than a cold, including worsened coughing, considerably worse aches and fatigue, and a higher fever. Additionally, the impact of the flu on the lungs might result in dangerously low blood oxygen levels. The flu can therefore result in hospitalisation and even death. This is not only a rare occurrence; according to the CDC, the flu caused 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 to 52,000 fatalities per year in the United States from 2010 to 2020. In comparison, about 40,000 people pass away in car accidents each year in the United States.

How does flu affect the heart?  The heart is rarely directly infected by the virus. Instead, the virus's negative effects on the heart are caused by atherosclerosis of the heart's arteries. Atherosclerosis affects many people over the age of 50, yet it hasn't always been recognised in some cases. Less oxygen is delivered to the heart muscle as a result of atherosclerosis, which narrows the arteries and lowers blood flow. The flu's impact on the lungs diminishes blood oxygen levels, which further reduces the heart's ability to receive oxygen. A heart attack or cardiac arrest may result from this (sudden death).

We're keeping tabs on this research.

A review article that appeared on September 1, 2022 in the International Journal of Cardiology suggested that psychological problems like anger, worry, sadness, and work stress may increase the risk of having the heart rhythm disease known as atrial fibrillation (afib).

The researchers analysed 13 studies with a combined participant population of more than 5.3 million participants. They discovered that the two most prevalent mental illnesses, anxiety and depression, were linked to an increased risk of afib by 25% and 10%, respectively. Anger was associated with a 15% increase in risk of Afib and significant work stress with an 18% increase in risk.
As people get older, the advantages of taking more blood pressure medicine must be evaluated against the risks. Years later, the benefit of a decreased risk of experiencing a cardiac event, such as a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure, becomes apparent. On the other side, after increasing medicine dosages for a few weeks, there is a chance of experiencing dizziness, fainting, and falls due to too-low blood pressure.



Researchers compared usual care with more intensive blood pressure control in six previously published clinical trials involving more than 27,000 adults with high blood pressure, aged 60 and older, in order to better understand how long it takes for older people to experience the health benefits of aggressive blood pressure treatment.

The researchers discovered that a significant decrease in the risk of a major cardiovascular event did not occur until 34 months after beginning more severe blood pressure treatment, with a target of systolic blood pressure (the first number in a reading) of less than 140 mm Hg.
How well is your cardiometabolic health?

5 Major Risk Factors For Heart Attack And Stroke.

The two most common causes of death in the US are heart attack and stroke, both types of cardiovascular disease. Risk factors include a family history of cardiovascular disease, smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Excess weight raises the probability that several of these risk factors will emerge.
 
Do you have optimal cardiovascular health? And have you minimised your risk factors for getting cardiovascular disease in the future? Sadly, research indicates that few Americans can affirmatively respond to these questions.


What is cardiometabolic health?

 
Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, blood, and blood vessels. Cardiometabolic health is a term that refers to a combination of many of these risk factors. To estimate how many people in the US have optimal cardiometabolic health, researchers published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reviewed survey results from more than 55,000 adults in the US. Optimal measurements were defined as all five of the following:
 
optimum body mass index and waist circumference
Normal blood sugar (without taking medicine to lower blood sugar).
Ideal cholestotal level (without taking cholesterol-lowering drugs).
normal blood pressure (without taking drugs to decrease blood pressure)
There was no evidence of cardiovascular illness, such as a prior heart attack or stroke.
 


Dietary fat can be beneficial or detrimental to the heart. Make an informed choice.


There are 'no fats, low fats, healthy fats, and bad fats. Dietary fat has a lengthy and often perplexing history. Where does it fit into a balanced diet, and what effect does it have on your health, particularly your heart? The following are some facts regarding fat.


A tale about two kinds of fat

Saturated and unsaturated fats are the two types. (A third form, trans fat, has been abolished or significantly reduced in food products.)


Saturated fat is regarded as "bad" fat. It is found mostly in animal products such as beef and pork, as well as dairy products such as cream, butter, and cheese. Other sources include fast food and processed meals.


Unsaturated fat is the "healthy" type of fat. There are two major subtypes of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.


Monounsaturated. Avocados, peanuts, peanut butter, and nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, and pecans contain these lipids. Additionally, certain oils, such as olive, peanut, safflower, sunflower, and canola, contain significant amounts.


Polyunsaturated. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are among these lipids. These are also referred to as essential fats because they cannot be synthesised by the body and must be obtained through meals. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in oils such as soybean, corn, sesame, and peanut. Additionally, they are abundant in walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and flaxseeds. Canola and soybean oils, as well as fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and trout, contain omega-3 fatty acids.

The most recent recommendations define a normal value as being less than 120/80 mm Hg (see below). However, it is not a magic number that should be used to determine what a specific person should aim towards. Instead, it's best to think about the blood pressure range that best suits your unique situation, with the overarching objective of aiming for the lowest acceptable top and bottom values.

Therefore, the crucial question is: what is acceptable? One size does not fit all. It depends on a variety of variables, including whether there are any other chronic illnesses present, such as kidney or heart disease. For instance, you don't want your diastolic pressure (the bottom number) to be lower than 50 to 55 mm Hg if you have coronary artery disease.
Fix it. It can affect your heart.

Poor sleep appears to be associated with a variety of health issues, including an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. A recent study on people in their forties discovered that having a mix of sleep issues—such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or sleeping less than six hours a night—virtually triples a person's risk of heart disease.

"These new findings emphasise the significance of obtaining enough sleep," Many factors can contribute to a lack of sleep, he notes. Some folks simply do not give themselves enough time to sleep. Others have behaviours that interfere with or disrupt sleep. Some people also have health problems or sleep disorders that make it hard for them to sleep well or enough.



Who participated in the study?


The researchers gathered information from 7,483 participants in the Midlife in the United States Study who reported their sleep habits and history of heart disease. A subset of the 663 participants additionally wore a wrist-worn device that recorded their sleep activity (actigraphy). Women made up slightly more than half of those who took part. Three-quarters identified as white, while 16% identified as black. The average age was 53 years old.

Due to the fact that adults typically undergo different and challenging life events throughout this time in both their career and personal lives, researchers chose to concentrate on people in their midlife. Also, this is when clogged heart arteries, atherosclerosis (which can lead to heart disease), and sleep problems caused by getting older start to show up.

Read: 

SLEEP MAY HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT

  

How did researchers evaluate the sleep problems?


The effectiveness of sleep was measured by putting together different parts of sleep, such as

regularity (whether participants slept longer on work days versus nonwork days).

(whether they had issues falling asleep, woke up during the night or early morning and were unable to fall back asleep, or had daytime sleepiness)

alertness (how often they napped for more than five minutes)

efficiency (how long it took them to fall asleep at bedtime).

duration (how many hours they typically slept each night).

Participants were asked, "Have you ever experienced heart problems suspected or confirmed by a doctor?" used by researchers to gauge heart-related issues. and "Have you ever had a significant chest ache that lasted for at least 30 minutes?"

Follow-up inquiries about the diagnosis were prompted by a "yes" response to either query. These questions were about things like angina, which is a pain in the chest caused by not enough blood getting to the heart muscle, heart attacks, heart valve problems, irregular or fast heartbeat, and heart failure.
What’s the best sleep position to combat heartburn?

When heartburn is a frequent bed partner, it's difficult to sleep. How can you get rid of it? A small study suggests that sleeping on your left side may help, in addition to elevating your upper body with a wedge pillow, avoiding meals close to bedtime, and taking heartburn medications. The findings were published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology in February 2022. A total of 57 people with chronic heartburn were monitored while sleeping, with the same amount of time spent on their left, right, or back. The positions had no effect on the number of times participants' stomach acid back up into their esophagus (which causes heartburn pain). However, when participants were on their left side, as opposed to their back or right side, the acid cleared much faster. Less acid exposure can reduce heartburn pain as well as the risk of tissue damage and other serious problems.
Heart disease and heart attacks have been related to depression, anxiety, wrath, and other so-called negative emotions. What about the other side of the coin: are happy emotions associated with better heart health? Yes, according to two reports that approached the issue from different angles.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center polled 2,618 men and women who were scheduled for coronary angiography (a specific x-ray that reveals blood flow through the arteries that feed the heart) about their expectations for their future cardiovascular health. They discovered that people with the highest expectations were 24% less likely to die of heart disease fifteen years later than those with the lowest expectations (Archives of Internal Medicine, online Feb. 28, 2011). 




The ability to manage stress reduces the risk of developing anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

The more we learn about women's hearts, the clearer it becomes that they differ from men's. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or broken-heart syndrome, is nine times more prevalent in women than in men. This is one of the most striking differences. It has been cited as proof that sudden emotional stress can cause death in some women.


However, unlike a heart attack, takotsubo cardiomyopathy does not involve clogged arteries. Symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy is caused by an influx of stress hormones that literally distort the heart. As a result, when the main pumping chamber of the heart (the left ventricle) contracts, it swells, preventing it from effectively expelling blood into the arteries.

In September 2015, The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study conducted by an international team of physicians from the United States and Europe on 1,750 patients with takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Similar to previous reports, ninety percent of these cases occurred in postmenopausal women in this study. The most common causes of takotsubo cardiomyopathy were lung problems and infections. The second most common trigger was emotional shock caused by grief, panic, or interpersonal conflict. Patients with takotsubo cardiomyopathy were nearly twice as likely as patients with other heart conditions to have a neurological or psychiatric disorder.

According to Dr. Thomas H. Lee, a cardiologist at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital, Takutsubo cardiomyopathy is an extreme example illustrating a general truth. "There is no doubt a strong connection between the head and the heart," he asserts. Stress and the negative emotions it elicits, such as anxiety, anger, and sadness, have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease for decades.


How our feelings impact our hearts
Protect yourself from the harmful effects of persistent inflammation.
Chronic, low-grade inflammation can become a silent killer that contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions, according to scientific evidence. Experts from Harvard Medical School provide simple advice for combating inflammation and remaining healthy.


There is a growing body of research on the relationship between stress and heart health. A small amount of stress can be beneficial, as it stimulates the release of hormones that help you face adversity. These hormones increase your heart rate, muscle tone, and the brain's oxygen consumption. However, prolonged exposure to stress can contribute to a variety of conditions, including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, anxiety, and depression.

Furthermore, stress-related health issues are frequently interrelated. Not only are anxiousness and depression risk factors for heart disease, but a heart disease diagnosis can also exacerbate emotional issues. To alleviate stress, people with anxiety or depression may engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking or overeating, which may also increase their cardiovascular risk.

Relieving stress
Replacing negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and anger with positive emotions such as happiness and contentment may be a key to better mental and cardiovascular health, but no single therapy has been demonstrated to achieve this. "We have so much to learn about how to utilize the positive effects of emotions while minimizing the negative ones," says Dr. Lee. In the interim, the following are likely to be of assistance.

The practise of mindfulness meditation.
 The practise consists of sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and remaining in the present moment without dwelling on the past or the future. A meta-analysis of thousands of studies published in October 2016 in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that mindfulness meditation can alleviate psychological stresses such as anxiety, depression, and pain.

Exercise. 
There are mountains of evidence that regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, anxiety, and depression. If you're not physically active, you may want to begin with a 10-minute daily walk and work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

Social support. In times of stress and crisis, friends and family can provide emotional support that helps to sustain the individual. There is also growing evidence linking a supportive social network to a reduction in anxiety and depression symptoms and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Recognizing and treating heart failure as soon as possible may help to slow the progression of this serious condition.

If you start feeling tired or winded more than usual, it's easy to blame it on getting older, being out of shape, or being overweight. However, if these symptoms persist, don't dismiss them, especially if you're also experiencing ankle swelling and difficulty breathing when lying down.

These are all classic symptoms of early heart failure, which occurs when the heart is unable to effectively pump blood throughout the body (see "The FACES of heart failure"). Recent advances in both detection and treatment may help to alleviate the burden of heart failure, which is the leading cause of hospitalization in people 65 and older.




Eating a nutritious diet is important for treating and preventing heart disease. That is simple to comprehend, but sometimes difficult to implement. There is no such thing as a diet regimen that fits all, but there are 9 diet types. The American Heart Association changed its dietary advice for the first time in 15 years with this in mind. Rather than specifying dos and don'ts for individual nutrients (such as protein or fat), the new circulation guidelines (published online on Nov. 2, 2021) emphasize healthy eating patterns. As long as the following guidelines are followed, you can design a heart-healthy diet around your preferences and circumstances.



 
1. Keep a healthy balance of calorie consumption and physical activity. 

Weight gain is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and eating more calories than you expend results in weight gain. Consult a dietitian to determine the number of calories you should consume based on your level of activity. It may just take a few minor adjustments to your diet to ensure that the calories you eat equal the calories you burn during activity. Perhaps you need to cut back on fast food in order to make room for healthy foods. Or perhaps your portions are overly large. For instance, a salad may contain a cup of beans when a quarter-cup would serve.

Reduced carbohydrate intake may improve several cardiovascular risk factors, but additional research is needed.

Can a Low-Carbohydrate Diet Be Beneficial to Your Heart?

When many people envision a low-carbohydrate diet, they envision dishes heaped with red meat, bacon, and butter. Low-carbohydrate diets, which are frequently high in saturated fat, have long been considered bad for the heart. However, a study published online on Sept. 28, 2021, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered that a small amount of saturated fat may be OK if the rest of the diet is healthy.



The researchers discovered that following a well-designed low-carbohydrate diet plan appeared to minimize several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This is despite the fact that saturated fat made up 21% of daily calories, which is more than double the amount of fat you should eat each day.

However, this does not mean you should remove all of the bread from your meal. It is premature to declare that a low-carbohydrate diet is actually heart-healthy. One cause for concern is that the researchers picked an unusually low-carbohydrate diet. "This was not a bacon and steak diet. This included nuts and lentils, vegetarian sloppy joes, salmon, and a variety of vegetables.

diastolic blood pressure

Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by aggressively decreasing your high systolic blood pressure (the top number). However, what significance does the diastolic (bottom) number have?

When it comes to blood pressure management, doctors typically focus on lowering the top (systolic) reading, and with good reason.

It has been proven that aggressively managing high systolic blood pressure will significantly reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. However, what about the bottom number (diastolic)? It also plays a very important role in heart health, but one that is often overlooked.

A Tale of Two Digits

The two blood pressure readings indicate the heart's activity and rest. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries caused by the contraction of the heart to pump blood throughout the body. The higher the number, the more difficult it is for the heart to pump blood.

Diastolic pressure refers to the pressure that exists between heartbeats. This pressure is necessary for coronary arteries to provide oxygen to the heart muscle. Normal blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of fewer than 120 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 mm Hg. A systolic value of 120 to 129 combined with a diastolic value of less than 80 is considered "elevated."

When it comes to diagnosing hypertension (high blood pressure), either number can be indicated if it is continually raised. For example, if your systolic blood pressure is 130 to 139 or your diastolic blood pressure is 80 to 89 — or both — you are said to have Stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is characterised by a systolic blood pressure of 140 or greater (or both) or diastolic blood pressure of 90 or greater. It's critical to monitor both numbers because, in several cases, if the systolic is elevated, the diastolic is elevated as well.

Are you having difficulty sleeping? Your heart may suffer as a result.


Poor sleep is now being linked to several health issues, including a higher risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, according to increasing data. A new study of people in their midlife indicates that a combination of sleep issues, such as difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, or sleeping less than six hours each night, can virtually triple a person's risk of heart disease.

"These new findings emphasize the importance of obtaining enough sleep," says Harvard Medical School assistant professor of medicine and sleep specialist Dr Lawrence Epstein. He goes on to say that a lack of sleep can be caused by a variety of factors. Some people just do not schedule enough sleep time. Others have sleep-disrupting or interfering behaviours. Some persons also have a medical ailment or a sleep problem that causes them to lose sleep quality or quantity.



Who was in the study group?

The researchers used information from 7,483 persons who participated in the Midlife in the United States Study and provided information on their sleep habits and history of heart disease. A small group of participants (663 persons) also wore a wrist-worn gadget that tracked their sleep patterns (actigraphy). Women made up slightly more than half of the participants. Three-quarters said they were white, while 16% said they were black. The average age was 53 years old.

The researchers selected to study people in their midlife years since this is when adults typically encounter diverse and difficult life experiences in their work and family life. It's also when clogged heart arteries or atherosclerosis (an early indicator of heart disease) first appear, as well as age-related sleep problems.

What criteria did researchers use to evaluate sleep problems?

A composite of many characteristics of sleep was used to assess sleep health, including

regularity (whether participants slept longer on workdays versus non-work days)

satisfaction (whether they had difficulty getting asleep, woke up in the middle of the night or early the next morning and couldn't get back to sleep, or felt drowsy during the day)

alertness (how often they napped for more than five minutes)

efficiency (how long it took them to fall asleep at bedtime)

length of time (how many hours they typically slept each night).

To examine heart problems, researchers asked participants "Have you ever been suspected or verified by a doctor of having heart trouble?" and "Have you ever had intense discomfort across the front of your chest that lasted for at least a half-hour?"

 Is this the onset of a heart attack?


The new guidelines describe the sensations that patients may experience during a heart attack, as well as other probable causes of chest pain.


Never hesitate to contact 911 if you fear you are suffering a heart attack. When confronted with a potentially fatal situation, the saying "better safe than sorry" is always appropriate. However, there is an issue with the two terms we frequently employ to describe heart attack symptoms - chest pain.


Now, the first-ever guidelines for evaluating and diagnosing chest pain seek to clarify the situation by cataloguing the range of suspected heart attack symptoms. "Rather than using the term "pain," individuals frequently use the terms "pressure," "tightness," "squeezing," or "heaviness." Additionally, symptoms may manifest in the shoulders, arms, neck, back, upper abdomen, or jaw. The report, which was released late last year, also includes a road map to assist physicians in assessing chest discomfort through the selective use of the latest available diagnostics.



Question and response

Q. Is there a distinction between sunstroke and heatstroke, and are there any specific indications or symptoms I should watch for?

A. These are two different words for the same illness. Heatstroke (or sunstroke) occurs when the body can no longer keep its temperature below 105° F when exposed to extreme heat. Although people almost always have warning symptoms prior to heatstroke, they frequently ignore them or are unable to act.

Everyone is aware that they should eat more healthily. So, why are they having such a hard time doing it?


Most people can recite the recipe for healthy eating: more fruits and vegetables, less red meat and processed meals. It appears to be quite straightforward. Nonetheless, Americans continue to struggle to maintain a healthy diet.

The top cause of mortality continues to be heart disease, while obesity rates have increased from 30.5 percent in 2000 to 42.4 percent in 2018. Adopting a healthy diet can help with both of these issues. Only about 22% of Americans follow the American Heart Association's dietary guidelines.

 

Therefore, if we understand how to eat healthfully, why isn't everyone doing it? Part of the problem stems from people's erroneous assumptions. Many people continue to believe that healthy food is excessively restricted – low fat, low calorie, low sugar. Then there's the impression that healthy foods are too expensive and complicated to prepare.

The underlying message is that good eating requires too much effort and that nutritious food is unappealing, "explains Teresa Fung, an adjunct professor of nutrition at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

 

Disclaimer:

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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