Is Heart Disease Reversible?

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease, be sure to follow up with your doctor regularly and take your medication as prescribed. Although you may not be able to completely reverse heart disease, there are some actions you can take that may help your heart and prevent further heart-related complications.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet or exercise restrictions. 

A Healthy Dietvegetarian

Some cardiovascular experts recommend that patients with heart disease follow a vegetarian diet. This is largely due to the fact that the typical meat-filled American diet contains an enormous amount of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. Plant-based foods contain zero cholesterol and a well-balanced vegetarian diet contains very little saturated fat. Several studies have shown that lowering your intake of fat and cholesterol can vastly improve the symptoms and complications associated with heart disease.

If you’re not ready to commit to a vegetarian diet, here are a few less drastic dietary changes that may make a difference in the progression of heart disease.

  • omegaEat more omega-3 fats like salmon, tuna, or other cold-water fish. Flaxseed and walnuts, almonds and some other nuts also contain a large percentage of omega-3s. 
  • Eat more monounsaturated fats. This type of fat is found in avocados and olive oil. It’s been shown to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
  • Increase your intake of soluble fiber to 35 grams or more per day. Soluble fiber is found in beans, oats, lentils, and some fruits and vegetables. One study found that a high intake of soluble fiber lowers the risk of a cardiovascular event by 10 percent.

28227034_lAn Exercise Plan

A sedentary lifestyle may be extremely dangerous for heart disease patients. Experts say it’s a critical risk factor on its own, but also increases the risk of heart threatening conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. One study suggests that inactive individuals have a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than people who are active.

Beginning an active lifestyle may be easier than it sounds. Experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of activity five days per week, which could be broken down into three 10-minute segments a day. Anything that makes your body move counts as exercise: walking outside, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, or simply skipping a drive-through and going inside. Exercise is important because it may decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increase blood circulation, thus helping blood vessels stay healthy. 

Whether you have heart disease or not, it’s extremely important to be conscious of both diet and exercise every day. Taking even small steps to improve your health will help in the long-run. 

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, make a plan to check in with your doctor every three months to check your condition and be sure to take your medications as instructed. If you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, request a card be mailed to you, or text CARD to 95577. All brand name and generic medications are eligible for savings with our card–including those for heart disease.

By WHBlogger 

2/22/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.

Best Foods For Your Heart

We all know that eating a balanced diet is crucial to leading a healthy lifestyle, but not all healthy foods are created equally. When it comes to heart health, some foods may provide more nutritional benefits than others. Below is a list of the top heart-healthy foods within each level of the food pyramid. Be sure to keep these foods in mind the next time you are at the grocery store.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions. 

Vegetables:
  • Bell peppers, Carrots, Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Yams and Sweet Potatoes – While all vegetables are beneficial to heart health, these veggies are especially rich in fiber and may help flush out “bad” cholesterol. They are also rich with beta-carotene, a heart-protective antblueberryioxidant (WebMD). 

Fruits:

  • Blueberries – According to Fitbie, blueberries contain a compound known as anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid. Flavonoids are antioxidants that may protect cells from damage caused by free radicals and have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Protein:salmon

  • Salmon – Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to WebMD, may help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque buildup, and lower blood pressure.

Dairy (Alternative):

  • Soy Milk – Soy milk contains a component known as isoflavones, another type of flavonoid. As stated before, there is evidence that these antioxidants may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Whole Grains:

  • Steel-Cut Oats – Steel-cut oats are not to be confused with instant oatmeal, which is often loaded with as much sugar as a Pop-Tart! (Fitbie) They are less processed than instant oatmeal, and therefore contain much more fiber to help flush out bad cholesterol.

flax seedNuts and Seeds:

  • Flax seeds – According to WebMD, flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are plant substances that may help lower the risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. They may also help lower “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, and even blood pressure. Flax seeds can be easily added to yogurt parfaits, cereal, muffins and even cookies. As a tip, their nutrients are better absorbed when the seeds are finely ground.

Legumes:

  • Kidney Beans – Kidney beans are rich in B-complex vitamins, which may help protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They are also full of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and fiber.

If you have been diagnosed with heart-disease, be sure to take your medications as instructed by your doctor. If you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, request a card be mailed to you, or text CARD to 95577. All brand name and generic medications are eligible for savings with our card–including those for heart-disease.

By WHBlogger 

2/19/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

Everything You Need to Know About Blood Pressure

36110707_lAll day long, your heart is hard at work pumping blood through your arteries to provide your organs with the nutrients they need to function. This force of blood pumping through your body is commonly known as blood pressure. So, what is blood pressure and why is it so important to regulate?

Blood Pressure 101

You may have noticed that your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers: systolic pressure over diastolic pressure, which are both measured in millimeters.
  • Systolic blood pressure  Measures the pressure in the arteries as your heart beats (or contracts). This is the higher of the two numbers because the pressure within your arteries is much higher when your heart is contracting.
  • Diastolic blood pressure – Refers to the amount of pressure present in the arteries when your heart is relaxed (or expanded). The blood presses less forcefully against the vessel walls when the heart is in this state, so your diastolic blood pressure is always the lower of the two numbers.

Why your blood pressure mattersblood pressure
According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is often called “the silent killer” because it rarely has any  symptoms. Hypertension can be damaging to your arteries, heart and other organs. The higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of heart disease, kidney failure and other blood-vessel disorders. 

Below is a chart created by the American Heart Association that reflects the blood pressure categories.

hypertension

While hypertension is a condition that relies partially on genetics, there are several factors that you can start taking control of TODAY to manage your blood pressure. In addition to managing your weight, getting plenty of exercise, eating a balanced diet (rich in plant-based foods) and cutting out tobacco products; below is what you should focus on.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions. 

  • Your sodium intake – Limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less, so reading over food labels before you sit down to eat is crucial.
  • Your alcohol intake – This one is tricky; alcohol in small amounts can actually lower your blood pressure. However, excessive alcohol consumption not only raises your blood pressure significantly, but it also decreases the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
  • Your caffeine intake – Caffeine affects every body differently, but it has been correlated to temporarily causing a spike in blood pressure.
  • Your stress levels – Like caffeine, stress and anxiety are also associated with temporary spikes in blood pressure so it is important to always manage your stress.

If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, be sure to take your medications as instructed by your doctor. If you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, request a card be mailed to you, or text CARD to 95577. All brand name and generic medications are eligible for savings with our card–including those for hypertension.

For more information on managing your blood pressure, visit: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/.

By WHBlogger
 

2/17/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

Treats for the Heart

Doctors and medical researchers have actually endorsed these treats, and here’s why:

chocolateChocolate: Antioxidant Powerhouse #1
The cells in our bodies are continually subjected to damage through a process called oxidation. This can cause a host of problems for the heart, like prompting LDL (“bad”) cholesterol to form artery-clogging plaque.

To resist the damage of oxidation, our bodies utilize compounds called antioxidants. Flavonoids are one specific class of antioxidants, and the cocoa bean contains a large amount of specific heart-healthy flavonoids called flavanols. Researchers say the compound can lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, and improve blood flow.

Unfortunately, manufactures routinely remove a large percentage of chocolate’s flavanols during processing. This is most noticeable in milk chocolate, but certain types of dark chocolate are highly processed, too. Even so, medical experts report that eating a few one-ounce servings of dark chocolate (at least 60 percent cocoa solids) each week could provide protection against heart disease.

Red Wine: Antioxidant Powerhouse #2download
Like chocolate, red wine contains a large amount of protective antioxidants. The specific compound in red wine is a type of polyphenol called resveratrol.

Researchers speculate that resveratrol protects the heart in several different ways: increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and protecting the lining of blood vessels, plus helping prevent diabetes and obesity. Although the research is somewhat debated, countless patients and some doctors believe in the power of resveratrol and red wine. According to the University of California at Davis, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Syrah, and Pinot Noir have the highest concentrations of heart-healthy flavonoids. They recommend that women drink one serving of red wine per day and that men bump up their portion to two servings each day. Remember, one serving equals 4-5 ounces of wine.

If you’ve been prescribed medications to treat heart disease, be sure to discuss any dietary changes with your doctor. Remember that the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card could save you up to 75% on both brand name and generic medicines. Click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577 now to start saving instantly.

By WHBlogger
 

2/16/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

The Meaning of Heart Month

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

heartbeat-163709_640The symbol of Valentine’s Day, the heart, has long been synonymous with the month of February. In recent years a much more serious heart-related theme has also been assigned to this month—heart health. February is devoted to bringing awareness to heart diseases, its causes and how it can be treated or even prevented.

Tips on recognizing the symptoms and how to prevent them through proper nutrition and exercise can be found at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/. Just as important as recognizing the dangers of heart disease—and how lifestyle adaptations can prevent them—is shining a spotlight on how costly it can be for the average sufferer.

Heart disease is a chronic illness, which is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. It accounts for 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S., or 600,000 people each year. This chronic condition is an epidemic that also impacts our health care system and economy. For example, coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.

Those with chronic illnesses like heart disease generally rely on more prescription medications than individuals without a diagnosed chronic illness. Recent studies have suggested that even with insurance, the chronically ill spend a greater percentage of their income on prescriptions.

With generic medications growing more expensive, prescription discount cards can play an enormous role for people with heart disease or other chronic conditions. With our card, all brand name and generic prescriptions are eligible for savings. We believe that no one should suffer because they can’t afford to treat a life-threatening illness, or should be prevented from creating a better cycle of health for themselves.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

Resting vs. Target Heart Rate

heartbeatA beating heart is the greatest symbol of life there is—no living thing can exist without it. It’s your body’s internal clock and hardest working organ you have, beating nearly 100,000 times a day. Heart rate, measured by the number of beats per minute, can provide necessary insight into your current state of health. Here’s what you need to know:

Resting Heart Rate
Your resting heart rate refers to the number of beats per minute your heart experiences while you are at rest (when you aren’t doing strenuous activity or exercise). Between 60 and 100 beats per minute is considered a “normal range”. However, 80 beats/minute or above may indicate a higher risk for heart disease. Generally, lower heart rates are associated with healthier hearts because they can pump blood throughout the body more easily. 

Target Heart Rate
Your target heart rate (determined by age, height, and gender) is the ideal range of heartbeats per minute while you are exercising. Your workout is most effective when your heart has reached its target heart rate. To calculate 29440498_lyour heart rate and optimize your workout, visit eHow. Remember, certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure and pregnancy factor into what your target heart rate should be, so always consult a physician before beginning a new exercise regimen.

To learn more about achieving your optimal resting and target heart rate, visit the American Heart Association.

Sources: WedMD

By WHBlogger
 

2/12/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

Heart Attack or Stroke?

Both conditions are a leading cause of death in the United States. Every minute, someone dies from a heart disease-related event; every 4 minutes, someone dies from a stroke. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms of these potentially fatal conditions are important so you can properly react if it happens to you or someone you know. The chances of survival are much greater when emergency treatment begins quickly.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions. 

Heart AttackBlog

The most common reason for a heart attack is if there is a blood clot in one of the main arteries. A network of blood vessels known as coronary arteries surround the heart muscle and supply it with oxygen-rich blood. When a coronary artery becomes suddenly blocked and the heart can’t receive adequate blood flow, the muscle becomes damaged, resulting in a heart attack. Here are the signs and symptoms:

  • Chest Pain
  • Pressure, tightness or heaviness in the chest cavity
  • Pain/pressure in the neck, jaw or in one or both arms (usually the left arm)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Pain or throbbing between the shoulder blades

Stroke

Like a heart attack, a stroke is also caused by a blood clot that has caused build-up within one of the arteries. This blood clot, however, prevents blood flow from reaching the brain rather than the heart. When the brain doesn’t receive an adequate blood supply, brain cells die, causing permanent damage. A stoke, sometimes known as a “brain attack”, has varying symptoms:32505834_l

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Your chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke depend partially on genetics. However, there are several preventative measures you can take to keep your arteries healthy. While a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a given, be sure to limit your intake of saturated fats and trans fats. As suggested by Mayo Clinic, you should limit your saturated fat intake to only 10% a day, and cut out trans fats all together. Major sources of saturated and trans fats include:

Sources of Saturated Fats:

  • Red meats – beef, pork and lamb
  • Dairy products
  • Coconut and palm oils

Sources of Trans Fats

  • Deep-fried fast foods
  • Baked goods
  • Packaged snack foods
  • Margarines
  • Crackers

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, call 9-1-1 immediately. Even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, lowering your risk factors and striving for a heart-healthy lifestyle may greatly improve your health.  

Need help affording your heart disease or other medications? Click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription card works, check out our video.

Related information: Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened — and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery. Listen to her TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight?language=en

Sources: 
http://www.theheartfoundation.org/heart-disease-facts/heart-disease-statistics/
http://www.cdc.gov/stroke/
http://www.mayoclinic.org/

By WHBlogger 

2/10/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

Top 5 Secrets of Heart-Healthy People

As we continue our February series on heart health, today’s blog will focus on what many doctors and medical experts call the absolute best form of medicine: prevention. According to Northwestern Medicine, it’s never too late to start forming heart-healthy habits—even as an adult. Here are five secrets from heart-healthy people that can help protect your heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet restrictions. 

1. Plan your mealsgrocery

Avoid fad diets, but be conscious of what you eat. Plan to cook a few meals each week and make sure you make enough for lunch-leftovers the next day—you’ll save money and avoid the temptation of fast food.  Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends for a heart-healthy diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 servings a day
  • Fish (preferably oily fish): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
  • Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: No more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a weekcouple walking

2. Take a stroll

Taking five 30-minute brisk walks per week can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. It lessens your stress, improves cholesterol levels, improves insulin control, and lowers blood pressure—all critical factors in heart health. 

3. Measure your BMIBMI calculator

BMI, or body mass index, is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight. A high BMI usually indicates a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. In fact, studies have shown that gaining as little as 11 pounds after the age of 20 triples your likelihood of developing heart disease. Calculate your BMI here

4. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

The only drinking that is good for the heart is in moderation. This equates to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. At this level, alcohol is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, but more than that can lead to a cascade of heart-related problems—high blood pressure, weakened heart muscle, and weight gain.

5. Quit smokingno smoking

Tobacco products—especially cigarettes—are the heart’s worst enemy. Experts say that smoking cigarettes accounts for nearly 20% of all heart disease-related deaths. After just one year of being smoke-free, your risk for cardiovascular disease will be cut in half.

Maintaining a healthy heart is a lifelong task. Even if you’ve had a less-than-perfect lifestyle in the past, it’s never too late to pick up a few heart-healthy habits.  Keep trying—your heart will thank you!

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, be sure to take your medications as instructed by your doctor. If you need help affording your medications, download a free Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card, request a card be mailed to you, or text CARD to 95577. All brand name and generic medications are eligible for savings with our card–including those for the heart.

Related posts: https://www.watertreehealthcard.com/heart-disease-101/ 

By WHBlogger
 

2/5/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.
 

Heart Disease 101

In recognition of this being American Heart Month, we will be focusing this month’s blog posts on heart disease—the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. By learning more, you may be able to improve your coronary health or the coronary health of a family member.

1. Most common types of heart disease

Heart disease is essentially a catchall term that encompasses several conditions that impact the functioning of the heart and blood vessels. Here are just a few that fall under the umbrella of heart disease:
  • Coronary artery disease
    This is the most common type of heart disease. It’s caused by plaque buildup in the arteries. That sticky plaque coats the walls of the arteries and gradually narrows the passageway for blood. If the condition goes untreated, it can cause heart attack and stroke.
  • Heart failure
    This can be caused by coronary artery disease or other circumstances. It may sound alarming, but heart failure is not necessarily an emergency situation. Rather, it simply means that the heart cannot pump hard enough to provide adequate blood supply to the body. This causes fluid to build up in the lungs and lower extremities.

heartbeat-163709_640

  • Arrhythmia
    In this condition, the heart beats irregularly. It could be slow, fast, or an erratic combination of both. The most common type of arrhythmia, called atrial fibrillation, causes blood clots and stroke.

2. Common risk factors of heart disease

Heart disease can affect anyone, but the risk is considerably higher if these circumstances apply to you
  • You’re over the age of 45
    In general, this is when the risk of heart disease shows a steep incline. It’s a few years later for women. Before a woman hits menopause, certain hormones protect her against heart disease. After that point, that incidence of heart disease between genders is nearly equal.
  • You have a direct relative who suffered from heart disease
    Many forms of this disease are genetic. This is especially true for conditions that developed in relatives before the age of 55 (for a male) or before the age of 65 (for a female).
  • You have high cholesterol or high blood pressure
    Both of these conditions force the heart to work harder. They contribute to blocked arteries and can cause heart attack.diabetes
  • You have diabetes
    Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, is closely linked with heart disease. More than half of all diabetics die from complications of the heart.
  • You have an unhealthy lifestyle
    Obesity, physical inactivity, poor diet, excessive stress, smoking, and alcoholism contribute to heart disease. 

3. Strategies for preventing heart disease  

Many of the risk factors listed above—like age, gender, and family history—cannot be controlled. However, there are several steps you can take in order to prevent heart disease or lessen the impact it has on your health.

Please consult your health care professional before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you suffer with any chronic ailments or have health concerns that involve diet or exercise restrictions. THURSDAY
  • Stick to a heart-healthy diet
    Fruits, vegetables, and fiber are wonderful for your heart. Avoid consuming a lot of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
  • Exercise (your heart)
    Physical activity strengthens the heart and promotes healthy blood vessels. Aim to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes at least three times each week.
  • Keep your weight in check
    Eating healthy and exercising will help you keep your weight under control.

  • Stop smoking
    When you quit smoking, your risk is reduced immediately and the body is able to repair a portion of the damage that was done.
  • Be kind to yourself
    Watch your stress levels and develop coping techniques that can keep you relaxed.

Remember, even if you’ve already been diagnosed with heart disease, lowering your risk factors and striving for a heart-healthy lifestyle may greatly improve your health. If you’re taking any heart disease medications, and need help affording them, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free prescription card works, check out our video.

Related Posts: 360 Approach to Women’s Heart Health

By WHBlogger 

2/2/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like to see us cover in our blog.