Tag Archives: exercise

Insane Medicine – Cardiac Rehabilitation will save your life

Cardiac rehab and healthy eating save lives
Cardiac rehab and healthy eating save lives!

eat healthy

  • Have you had a heart attack? Then why aren’t you in cardiac rehab if your doctor says it’s okay?
  • Those who are involved in cardiac rehab have a 47 % decrease in heart attack risk over the next two years! Also, those who participate have fewer hospital admissions and live longer.
  • Cardiac rehab is an option post-heart attack, as well as for those with arrhythmias and heart failure. It is associated with decreased mortality and prolonged survival.
  • Cardiac Rehab is coached by trained professionals who teach you how to appropriately exercise based on your capabilities and prescription. This improves your functional status.
  • It also involves nutritional counseling, teaching the patient to eat a low fat and sodium diet to help manage cholesterol levels and blood pressure. This allows you to maintain a healthy weight.
  • cardiac rehab also helps you maintain a regimen. More important, one must take their prescribed medications for optimal outcomes. Compliance leads to success. Education about medications that are important is a key  factor.
  • Cardiac rehab also educates one to avoid unhealthy habits, such as smoking and maintaining diet. likewise, the mental aspect of a post-cardiac condition is crucial in maximizing outcomes. Depression and other mental disorders must be fully addressed and treated.
  • Exercise creates stronger muscles and improved cardiovascular fitness that improves ones emotional state as well. Cardiac rehab must be continued in the home environment for maximal impact.
  • The journal BMJ showed that even a little bit of exercise provides noticeable benefits of health. the goal is 150 minutes of exercise per week, but even small amounts of physical activity may decrease the mortality risk.
  • Exercise helps with depression and boosts your natural endorphins that make you feel better, resulting in increased energy levels. Exercise allows you to take control of your life and is a mood enhancer that gives you an overall sense of well-being.
  • Depression and anxiety can be blunted by such exercise programs, especially when they are maintained at home as well. Meditation and behavior modification are key components to creating a healthy lifestyle. People who are depressed and feel hopeless have a higher rate of dying from their cardiac disease. exercise at least 30 minutes a day, working your way up to that amount even if you don’t have the internal motivation to do so.

Insane Medicine – Ways to help adjust your blood pressure

Control your Blood Pressure for long term health:

  • Eat a better diet and reduce salt intake
  • Be physically active
  • Take your prescribed medications as you and your doctor agree upon
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Cope with stress more effectively
  • Maintain a healthy weight

According to the latest recommendations, hypertension is now considered to need intervention if it is 150/90 at the age of 60 or older, unless you are diabetic in which blood pressure above 140/90 needs intervention. Pre-hypertension is considered to be 120-139 systolic and 80-89 diastolic (the lower number).

Remember that blood pressure, when untreated, increases your risk of stroke, heart attacks, and peripheral artery disease.

Here are a few details to consider:

  1. Salt substitutes (potassium chloride and magnesium sulfate blended with normal salt) decrease blood pressure per some studies (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) by ~4.9/1.5 mm of Hg lower. In the United States, most of our added salt comes from processed and packaged foods (80%) and less from the salt shaker. Salt substitutes have less of an impact on blood pressure reduction unless you add extra salt on your food yourself!
  2. Exercise for life: Per a recent article in JACC (Journal of the American College of Cardiology), those who maintain regular exercise throughout their lifespan and maintain fitness will delay the age at which hypertension affects your body. Men who exercise little typically reached a systolic blood pressure of 120 mm of Hg by age 46, whereas the fit individuals reached that number by age 54!
  3. Higher protein intake has been linked to lower average systolic and diastolic blood pressure per a recent study in the American journal of Hypertension. Over an 11 year period, those in the top third of a group consuming a lot of protein were 40 % less likely to develop hypertension than individuals who consumed the least amount of protein. The amount of protein they consumed was 102 grams, more than double the daily value normally recommended. Combining high protein diets with high fiber intake reduces hypertensive development by 59%. the source of protein does not appear to matter, whether it is animal or plant protein. Just eat healthy! The mechanism by which protein intake decreases blood pressure may be a result of amino acids which dilate blood vessels in addition to an overall healthier diet.
  4. Flaxseed is another food product that can be helpful in decreasing blood pressure. Flaxseed works best when it is used to substitute for other food products such as refined grains. Flaxseed has 55 calories per tablespoon, so it does add calories. It also has a lot of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acids in it, in addition to lignans, a fiber-like polyphenol. The amount of fiber and antioxidants in flaxseeds are excellent. In a recent article in the journal Hypertension, 30 grams of milled flaxseed in foods such as bagels, buns, muffins, and pasta resulted in blood pressure reductions of 10/7 mm of Hg. This was as effective as blood pressure medications!

 

Insane Medicine – A few points on cardiovascular health and interventions

Here’s some general cardiovascular stuff that is useful:

  • There is now a trend to treat your hypertension and cholesterol based on risk factors rather than just specific targets. Looking at the overall cardiovascular risk is more important tan focusing on just one factor.  The decision to treat cholesterol issues should be based on not just the absolute LDL – cholesterol number but also the coexisting problems, such as obesity or hypertension. It is important to modify other lifestyle issues including losing weight, maintaining regular exercise, eating a low-salt diet, and taking your prescribed medications. Look at the overall picture and not just a single parameter.
  • Be certain to stay active. Check with your doctor about the safety of exercise for you before you start on a program. Engage in aerobic activity such as walking or jogging at least four to five times a week and be certain to mix this with muscle-strengthening exercise at least twice a week. Get moving!30-60 minutes a day, and be certain to use good form, standing upright and keeping your back straight, walking on even surfaces so you don’t fall, with good heel-strike and arm swing to maintain balance. Wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes. Stretch after a brief walk and be careful to do the stretching appropriately without any bouncing so you don’t damage your muscles. As winter approaches, you may need to exercise indoors due to the cold. Consider working out a variety of muscle groups to spice it up and keep you interested. This stimulates other muscle groups to maintain overall fitness. You thereby avoid burnout and keep motivated! Consider indoor sports that you can add to your regimen such as swimming, indoor rowing, stair-climbing machines, ellipticals, aerobics, yoga, and racquetball. Keep social. Get a training partner to keep things fun.
  • Be certain to stay on the best diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins with low saturated and trans-fats as well as low cholesterol and sodium. Avoid processed foods and added sugar. Keep your Vitamin D intake at the appropriate levels, with 600 IU a day being recommended for ages 51-70 and 800 IU a day for ages over 70. The goal is a blood level of more than 30 nanograms per milliliter. Sources of foods wit Vitamin D include salmon, swordfish, tuna, canned sardines, milk, eggs, yogurt, orange juice, and cereals fortified with it. Vitamin D provides cardiovascular, neurological, and immune system health. People with high levels of vitamin D have had lower in-hospital death and morbidity rates.
  • Try to get 8 hours of sleep a night.

Insane Medicine – Passion fruit peel has some efficacy for arthritis pain.

Insane Medicine - Passion fruit for arthritis pain
Passion fruit for arthritis pain.
  • Passiflora edulis has shown to reduce joint pain and stiffness by close to 20% when the passion fruit peel (150 mg a day) was taken for two months.
  • Passion fruit has flavonoids with anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ability. It may also be helpful in reducing blood pressure and asthma.
  • You can add this fruit to your well-rounded diet. It comes in many forms including puree, concentrate, or as the fresh fruit itself.
  • In addition to passion fruit for your pains, incorporate other avenues of treatment including appropriate exercise and stretching exercises. Increase your vegetable intake for the anti-inflammatory component, as well as spices such as tumeric and ginger, for their inflammation-fighting abilities. Don’t forget the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and walnuts, which can help reduce your pain as well!

 

Insane Medicine – An active body results in a healthy brain!

  • You can expand your mind in a healthy way through exercise. Stair climbing, swimming, jogging, dancing, yoga, and weight-lifting can increase your mental powers by providing increased blood flow to the brain and thereby nutrients. This helps neurons grow and repair themselves in aging minds.
  • Exercise-related infusions of oxygen-rich blood helps the brain operate. As it consumes a quarter of the oxygen taken in by the body, any increased flow is helpful in brain functioning.
  • The increased flow of blood to the brain increases glucose flow as well and also increases growth factors such as nerve growth factor and insulin-like growth factor, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor to increase. These  allow the brain to increase it’s internal connectivity and plasticity – important for memory formation and retention.
  • Exercise increases new brain cell formation in the hippocampus, a site involved in memory formation. Lack of activity causes the brain to decline in many components,  showing up as decreased density in gray matter (involved in memory) and white matter (involved in connections in the brain). Over time, with inactivity, one loses cognitive performance.
  • The more you exercise, the stronger and more dense the connections are within the brain. Also, there is increased immune function in the brain. The active body allows an active mind to regenerate axons when damaged, maintaining a person’s cognition. thereby preserving memory. Also, physical activity elevates one’s mood.
  • Side effects of exercise: blood pressure control, loss of weight, and decreased cardiovascular disease.

Insane medicine – Exercising Tip: Aerobic and strength exercises help

  • Exercising lowers ones risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, diabetes, and premature death risks.
  • The CDC recommends 5 hours of moderate or 2 1/2 hours of vigorous aerobic activity a week. This decreases the risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as breast and colon cancer risks! Strength training should be performed at least two or more days a week including all major muscle groups. Videos by the cdc are provided in the link below:
  • http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/videos/
  • Moderate intensity exercise raises your heart rate and makes you break a sweat, such as walking fast (3 mph) or riding a bike on level ground. Vigorous activity means you are breathing hard and your heart is beating rapidly, such as jogging or riding a bicycle fast or on hills.
  • Excercise more
    Insane meidicne - exercise more
    Insane meidicne – exercise more

    fit-exercise-or-illness

Insane Medicine – A manual for care of your Brain: Part 1

Insane Medicine - Brain matters
A chimpanzee Brain in a jar.
  • Alzheimer’s disease presents with plaques and tangles in the brain, the plaques being clumps of a protein fragment, beta-amyloid, and the tangles being misshaped ‘tau’ proteins. These can be present in people and yet the individual does not show signs of dementia. Thirty percent of people over age 70 have elevated beta-amyloid but are cognitively normal.
  • Neurofibrillary tangles damage neurons and synapses, disrupting the architecture of the brain. It may take more than 10 years before amyloid deposition begins and symptoms of dementia start.
  • Damaged blood vessels in the form of small strokes add on to the problem of dementia. Some 20 percent of the elderly have had ‘silent’ strokes and do not have any knowledge of it. These small strokes further the destruction of the brain’s architecture, leading to vascular dementia.
  • Risk factors for vascular damage include smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Watch your blood pressure!
  • High blood pressure is a huge risk factor for later cognitive impairment. Why? Small strokes cut off blood flow to brain tissue due to uncontrolled blood pressure and diabetes, destroying brain architecture and function. On an MRI, bright white matter areas of hyper-intensities represent areas of damage, in which neurons cannot connect well with one another. Patients with uncontrolled blood pressure tend to have more hyper-intensities, representing compromised brain functioning.
  • Control your diabetes and sugar intake.
  • Type 2 diabetes in a strong risk factor for dementia. People with this problem are insulin resistant, mostly due to obesity. High levels of insulin in the blood correlate with more rapid cognitive decline, possibly due to less brain insulin as a result of decreased receptors for insulin in the blood-brain barrier. This results in less insulin entry into the brain. Insulin may help clear the toxic beta-amyloid from the brain.
  • Insulin receptors in the brain seem to localize in areas that are important for the formation of new memories. When the receptors decrease, memory seems to get impaired. Intranasal insulin may have a positive effect on cognitive abilities in patients with memory impairment, but studies are ongoing.
  • What to do: Lose weight and exercise more. Evidence from studies show that patients  who had a diet low in saturated fats and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index had lower beta-amyloid levels in the brain CSF, which surrounds and bathes the brain) So eat less saturated fats and sugars!
  • Exercise! Executive functioning (the ability to plan and make decisions, correct errors, and respond to new information) is improved by exercise. Executive functioning is lost in cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. People who move and exercise, especially over their lifetime, have a lower risk of dementia. Sedentary people have less blood flow to the distant blood vessels in their brain and that makes them vulnerable. Exercise may expand brain volume and protect blood vessels in the brain. It helps with stress, insulin levels, and many other parameters in good ways.
  • Keep your brain active! People who are involved with mentally stimulating activities, like reading, going to classes, playing games) have a lower risk of dementia. This cognitive reserve may protect against the onset of symptoms.
  • Caffeine may protect your brain! There is evidence that up to 500 mg of caffeine a day was helpful in preservation of memory. Caffeine may reduce amyloid burden.
  • Blueberries and strawberries may reduce memory decline. Aim for at least one serving of blueberries a week and two of strawberries.
  • Increase the amount of fish in your diet! Dark-meat fish, such as swordfish, salmon, mackerel, sardines,) are excellent in certain measures of cognition. Omega-3 fats  alone (which are present in high amounts in fish)  have not been shown to help dementia.
  • Avoid sleep restriction! Get plenty of sleep! Sleep seems to expand the area between brain cells making it easier to clear beta-amyloid and toxins from the brain, sleep disruption impairs this capability.
  • DASH diet: A healthy diet that includes fruit, vegetables, fiber, low sugar content, and low saturated fat, helps with blood pressure and overall health. The American Heart Association recognizes this diet as being effective in a number of health scores.
  • Consider the Mediterranean Diet. More on this diet later.
  • Antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E/C/beta-carotene, B vitamins, phosphatidyl serine, ginkgo, huperzin-A, and other supplements have been found to be ineffective in preventing memory decline and dementia.
  • Insane Medicine - Plaques in the brain - what a pain
    Insane Medicine – Plaques in the brain – what a pain!
  • http://dashdiet.org/    – this is a link to the DASH diet – a heart-healthy option
  • http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/
  • http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dash-diet/art-20048456  – Mayo clinic presents the DASH diet