The human heart, a relentless muscle responsible for pumping life-giving blood throughout the body, occasionally faces challenges that disrupt its vital work. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one such challenge, where the arteries supplying the heart muscle become clogged with plaque, reducing blood flow and oxygen delivery. In these cases, heart bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), emerges as a life-saving solution. Understanding Heart Bypass Surgery Heart bypass surgery is a surgical procedure designed to create new pathways for blood to flow to the heart muscle when the existing coronary arteries are significantly blocked or narrowed. These newly created pathways, often referred to as "bypasses," allow blood to circumvent the obstructed areas, restoring essential oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. When Is Heart Bypass Surgery Necessary? Coronary artery disease can lead to a variety of symptoms, including chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, and fatigue. While not all cases of CAD require surgery, heart bypass surgery may be considered in the following situations: Multiple Blockages: When multiple coronary arteries are significantly narrowed or blocked, bypass surgery is often the most effective solution. Left Main Coronary Artery Disease: Blockages in the left main coronary artery, which supplies a substantial portion of the heart, can be especially dangerous and may necessitate bypass surgery. Failed Angioplasty: In some cases, angioplasty (a minimally invasive procedure to open narrowed arteries) may not provide a lasting solution, and bypass surgery becomes the preferred option. Emergency Treatment: Bypass surgery is occasionally performed as an emergency intervention during a heart attack when other treatments are ineffective. The Heart Bypass Surgery Procedure Preparation: Before the surgery, the patient is given anesthesia to induce unconsciousness and ensure they feel no pain during the procedure. Incision: The surgeon makes an incision in the chest to access the heart. This can be done through a traditional open-chest incision or a minimally invasive approach, depending on the patient's condition and the surgeon's preference. Harvesting Blood Vessels: In most cases, blood vessels, typically the saphenous vein from the leg or the internal mammary artery from the chest wall, are harvested to serve as the grafts for the bypasses. Grafting: The surgeon then attaches one end of the harvested blood vessels above and below the blocked artery, creating a new path for blood to flow, bypassing the blockage. Completion: Once all necessary bypasses are in place, the heart is restarted, and the patient's chest is closed. Benefits of Heart Bypass Surgery Improved Blood Flow: Bypass surgery restores normal blood flow to the heart muscle, reducing the risk of heart attack and relieving symptoms of angina. Enhanced Quality of Life: Patients often experience a significant improvement in their ability to perform daily activities, leading to a better quality of life. Extended Lifespan: Bypass surgery can prolong the lives of individuals with severe CAD. Lower Risk of Future Heart Problems: By creating new pathways for blood flow, bypass surgery can prevent the progression of coronary artery disease. Risks and Complications While heart bypass surgery is generally safe and effective, like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks, including infection, bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia. There's also a potential for graft blockage over time, requiring further intervention. Recovery and Follow-Up Recovery from heart bypass surgery varies depending on the patient and the surgical approach used. However, most individuals can expect to spend a few days in the hospital, with a total recovery period ranging from several weeks to a few months. Rehabilitation typically involves cardiac rehabilitation, a program designed to help patients regain their strength, improve their heart health, and reduce the risk of future cardiac events. Final Thoughts Heart bypass surgery stands as a remarkable testament to the advancements in modern medicine. It offers a path to renewed health for those battling coronary artery disease, allowing them to regain control of their lives and live free from the constant threat of heart-related issues. As technology and medical knowledge continue to advance, heart bypass surgery remains a shining example of how medical science can mend even the most vital parts of our bodies, helping individuals reclaim the rhythm of their lives and look forward to a healthier, heartier future. For more information, visit our Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery page. *Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
The human heart, a miraculous organ, pumps tirelessly, supplying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. But like any intricate machinery, it sometimes needs a little maintenance. When the arteries that supply the heart muscle become clogged or narrowed due to a condition called coronary artery disease (CAD), the heart's health is at risk. This is where coronary angioplasty, a life-saving medical procedure, comes into play. Understanding Coronary Angioplasty Coronary angioplasty, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), is a minimally invasive procedure designed to alleviate blockages in the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. These blockages are often the result of the accumulation of fatty deposits called plaque, leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. During coronary angioplasty, a cardiologist inserts a thin, flexible catheter with a deflated balloon at its tip into the affected artery, usually through the groin or wrist. Once the catheter is in place, the balloon is inflated, compressing the plaque against the artery's walls, thereby widening the vessel's diameter and restoring blood flow to the heart. The Role of Stents In many cases, coronary angioplasty is complemented by the placement of a stent. A stent is a small, mesh-like tube made of metal or fabric. It is inserted into the artery during the angioplasty procedure and remains in place permanently. Stents provide structural support to the artery, preventing it from re-narrowing after the balloon is deflated and removed. Stents can be bare metal or coated with medication (drug-eluting stents) to reduce the risk of reblockage. The Procedure Preparation: Before the procedure, the patient is typically given a mild sedative to help them relax. The surgical team thoroughly cleans and sterilizes the access site, which is often in the groin or wrist. Local Anesthesia: Local anesthesia is applied to numb the access area, reducing discomfort during the procedure. Catheter Insertion: A catheter is inserted through the access site and carefully guided through the arterial system to reach the coronary arteries. Angiography: A contrast dye is injected through the catheter to make the coronary arteries visible on an X-ray monitor. This allows the cardiologist to identify the location and severity of blockages. Balloon Inflation: The balloon at the catheter's tip is inflated to compress the plaque against the artery walls, effectively widening the artery. Stent Placement: If necessary, a stent is placed in the treated area to maintain the artery's patency. Drug-eluting stents release medication over time to prevent reblockage. Balloon Deflation and Removal: The balloon is deflated, and the catheter is carefully withdrawn. Post-Procedure Observation: After the procedure, patients are monitored to ensure there are no complications. They may need to stay in the hospital for a short period or can often return home the same day. Benefits of Coronary Angioplasty Swift Recovery: Coronary angioplasty is a minimally invasive procedure, resulting in a faster recovery time compared to traditional open-heart surgery. Improved Blood Flow: By opening narrowed or blocked arteries, angioplasty enhances blood flow to the heart muscle, reducing the risk of a heart attack. Symptom Relief: Patients often experience immediate relief from symptoms like chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath. Enhanced Quality of Life: Restoring normal blood flow to the heart can significantly improve a patient's overall quality of life. Risks and Complications While coronary angioplasty is generally considered safe and effective, there are potential risks and complications, including bleeding or infection at the access site, blood vessel damage, or an allergic reaction to the contrast dye. In rare cases, the procedure may lead to a heart attack, stroke, or the need for emergency bypass surgery. Recovery and Follow-Up After coronary angioplasty, patients are advised to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, regular exercise, and medication adherence. Follow-up appointments with a cardiologist are essential to monitor the stent's function and overall heart health. Final Thoughts Coronary angioplasty is a remarkable medical procedure that has saved countless lives by restoring blood flow to the heart and alleviating the symptoms of CAD. It exemplifies the advancements in modern medicine, providing a minimally invasive solution to a condition that was once treated primarily through open-heart surgery. As technology and medical knowledge continue to progress, coronary angioplasty remains a beacon of hope for those dealing with coronary artery disease, promising a brighter and healthier future for their hearts and their lives. For more information, visit our Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery page. *Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
Medical tourism has become a global phenomenon, with millions of people traveling abroad each year to seek quality medical treatments at affordable prices. While the primary goal of medical travel is to receive top-notch healthcare, it also offers an incredible opportunity to explore the rich tapestry of global cultures. One aspect that often goes unnoticed but plays a vital role in a patient's recovery journey is the local cuisine. In this blog, we will take you on a culinary adventure, exploring healthy international cuisine during medical travel. The Healing Power of Food As the saying goes, "You are what you eat." Nutrition plays a crucial role in the healing process, and it is even more critical when recovering from medical procedures or treatments. Many medical tourism destinations are known for their healthy and flavorful cuisine, which can enhance the recovery experience. French Gastronomy: A Culinary Extravaganza No exploration of international cuisine would be complete without delving into the world-renowned French gastronomy. France is not only famous for its art, fashion, and history but also for its exceptional culinary heritage. For medical travelers seeking both world-class healthcare and a gourmet experience, France stands out as a dream destination. Mediterranean Delights Mediterranean cuisine is revered for its health benefits and exquisite flavors. Countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain offer a bounty of dishes rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and lean proteins. Their diets are known to promote heart health and reduce inflammation, making them ideal for patients recovering from heart-related issues or surgeries. Asian Wonders Asia is a treasure trove of diverse and nutritious culinary traditions. Japanese cuisine, for example, with its emphasis on fish, vegetables, and rice, provides essential nutrients and is low in saturated fats. The healing properties of certain Japanese ingredients, such as miso and green tea, have been widely acknowledged. Ayurvedic Wisdom in India India, with its ancient practice of Ayurveda, has much to offer in terms of holistic healing through food. Ayurvedic principles emphasize the balance of mind, body, and spirit. Traditional Indian dishes prepared with aromatic herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, and cumin are believed to have therapeutic properties that aid digestion and support the immune system. Thai Serenity Thai cuisine not only tantalizes the taste buds but also offers a range of health benefits. With its combination of fresh herbs, spices, and exotic fruits, Thai food is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, dishes like Tom Yum soup are believed to promote detoxification and boost the body's healing mechanisms. Wholesome Middle Eastern Fare The Middle Eastern diet is centered around whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Dishes like hummus, falafel, and tabbouleh are not only delicious but also rich in essential nutrients. These foods can help patients recover from various medical procedures and maintain a balanced diet during their healing process. Final thoughts Medical tourism is an adventure that extends beyond the hospital walls. Exploring healthy international cuisine during medical travel adds an exciting dimension to the entire experience. Embracing the local foods of medical tourism destinations not only nourishes the body but also the soul, fostering a deeper connection with the culture and people. As you embark on your medical travel journey, remember to savor the delightful flavors and nourishing dishes that each country has to offer. By incorporating healthy and nutritious cuisine into your recovery plan, you can enhance the healing process and create lasting memories of your time abroad. Bon appétit and safe travels! *Image by -Rita-
The American Heart Association (AHA) has added sleep to its cardiovascular health checklist for the first time. Sleep now joins diet, exercise, tobacco use, weight, cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure on the association's list of factors people can modify to stay healthy. The AHA published its new checklist, called “Life’s Essential 8,” in the journal Circulation on June 29. The old checklist, created in 2010, was known as “Life’s Simple 7.” “Not only is sleep health related to the other things that play a role in heart health, it seems to also be directly related to cardiovascular health itself,” says Michael Grandner, PhD, the director of the sleep and health research program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, who helped compile the new AHA checklist. “Sleep is changeable, and studies show that you can improve aspects of heart health just by improving sleep,” Dr. Grandner says. People who get less than six hours of good quality sleep a night are at increased risk of obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, as well as worse mental and cognitive health, Grandner says. Likewise, those who get more than nine hours of sleep a night are also less likely to be healthy and more likely to die prematurely, he added. *Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay
Only 20% of American adults have 'optimal' heart health, new research reveals. According to the study by the American Heart Association (AHA), the US population is well below optimal levels of cardiovascular health. This is based on AHA's Life’s Essential 8™ cardiovascular health scoring, its updated metrics to measure heart and brain health. The AHA's Life’s Essential 8 scoring includes: diet physical activity nicotine exposure sleep health body weight blood lipids blood glucos blood pressure With sleep being the newest addition. For the AHA study, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 2013 to 2018. This data included non-pregnant, non-institutionalized individuals between two and 79 years old who did not have cardiovascular disease. All participants had an overall cardiovascular health (CVH) score calculated for them ranging from 0 to 100, as well as a score for diet, physical activity, nicotine exposure, sleep duration, body mass index (BMI), blood lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure – all using AHA definitions. The results revealed that among the more than 23,400 American adults and children without cardiovascular disease (CVD), overall cardiovascular health was not ideal. Indeed, the research showed roughly 80% of people scored at a low or moderate level. Mitchell Weinberg, MD, chair of cardiology at Staten Island University Hospital, part of Northwell Health in New York, the AHA's Life’s Essential 8 scoring is both valuable and patient friendly for determining CVH. “Possessing one number that crystallizes a person’s current health status enables that individual to comprehend the need for change and target a single numeric goal,” he said. *Image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay
People who suffer with stress and anxiety could realise heart health benefits through regular exercise, new research has found. According to the study by res earchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, regular physical activity among individuals with depression or anxiety had nearly double the cardiovascular benefit than in people without such diagnoses. The study found that, people who accomplished the recommended amount of physical activity per week – 150 minutes, according to he American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association – were 17 per cent less likely to suffer a major adverse cardiovascular event than those who exercised less. However, of those who achieved the recommended amount of physical activity per week, individuals with anxiety or depression had a 22 per cent risk reduction versus a 10 per cent among those without either condition. The analysis included more than 50,000 patients in the Massachusetts General Brigham Biobank database. Just over 4,000 of the patients analyzed had suffered a major cardiovascular event, like a heart attack, chest pain caused by a blocked artery, or underwent a procedure to open a blocked artery in the heart. Commenting on the study's findings, Michael Emery, MD, who is the co-director of the Sports Cardiology Center at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and was not involved in the study, said: “Exercise is medicine both physically and psychologically, and these factors interplay such that when you are more physically healthy your psychological state is more robust, and when you are mentally more healthy your physical state is improved.” *Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
Eating just two servings of avocado each week can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease by a fifth, new research reveals. According to the study by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, one avocado a week (equivalent to two servings) appears to cut the risk of coronary heart disease by 21% compared to people who do not eat avocado. Furthermore, by replacing half a serving of margarine, butter, egg, yoghurt, cheese or processed meats per day with the equivalent amount of avocado, people can lower their risk of heart disease by 16%-22%. Avocados contain dietary fibre, healthy monounsaturated fats and other key vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamins C, E, and K. The new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAMA), involved almost 70,000 women from the NHS Nurses’ Health Study and around 40,000 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dr Cheryl Anderson, chair of the American Heart Association’s Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, said: “We desperately need strategies to improve intake of American Heart Association-recommended healthy diets — such as the Mediterranean diet — that are rich in vegetables and fruits. “Although no one food is the solution to routinely eating a healthy diet, this study is evidence that avocados have possible health benefits.” *Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay
It’s a well-known fact that sleep is of utmost importance to health. Specifically, it’s been shown that a lack of high-quality sleep negatively impacts our resilience, productivity and performance. Furthermore, long-term chronic sleep deprivation is linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure and stroke. Now, new research suggests that irregular sleeping patterns may contribute to the risk of cardiovascular problems. The study was carried out by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, who analysed data from 1,992 patients in their 60s and 70s with no cardiovascular problems at baseline. They found that those who had the most irregular sleep patterns (defined as 2 hours or more difference in sleep duration each night) had a twofold plus increased risk of cardiovascular disease than patients with one hour or less difference in sleep duration. Importantly, even after adjusting for other risk factors, patients with irregular sleep patterns remained at significant risk of cardiovascular events. Publishing their findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers said: “Our study indicates that healthy sleep isn’t just about quantity but also about variability and that this can have an important effect on heart health.” Do you get enough sleep each night? Is your sleeping pattern pretty irregular? If not, you could be increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Remember, getting enough high-quality sleep is extremely important and beneficial to your health.
The Mediterranean diet, which features plenty of vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans and whole grains, has long been lauded for its heart health benefits. But now a new study shows that it could also improve brain function in elderly people, even when only eaten for a year. According to the research published in the BMJ, following a Mediterranean diet for just 12 months can inhibit production of inflammatory chemicals in elderly individuals that can lead to loss of cognitive function, as well as prevent the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and atherosclerosis. For the study, 612 elderly people from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom has their gut microbiome analysed. Then, 323 of them were put on a special diet, based on Mediterranean principles, for one year, while the rest were asked to eat as they normally would. After 12 months, all of the study participants had their gut microbiome re-analysed. Those who had followed the Mediterranean diet saw beneficial changes to the microbiome in their digestive system. The rate at which bacterial diversity was lost slowed and the production of potentially harmful inflammatory markers was reduced. Furthermore, there was also a growth of beneficial bacteria linked to improved memory and brain function. So-called “keystone” species, critical for a stable “gut ecosystem”, were also boosted, helping to slow signs of frailty, such as walking speed and hand grip strength. “Our findings support the feasibility of changing the habitual diet to modulate the gut microbiota which in turn has the potential to promote healthier aging,” the study authors said.
While it’s not possible or practical for everyone, training for and completing a marathon significantly improves the health of a new runner’s arteries, a study suggests. For the study, researchers from Barts and University College London analysed 138 novice runners attempting the London Marathon. Following six months of training, the runners’ arteries were seen to regain some youthful elasticity, something which should reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Furthermore, the runners’ blood pressure fell by as much as if they had been prescribed medication. Interestingly, those who were the least fit before the training appeared to afford the most health benefits. The best news is that the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which funded the study, says smaller amounts of aerobic exercise are likely to have a similar effect, meaning people don’t necessarily need to train for a marathon to benefit. Speaking about the findings of the study, Prof Metin Avkiran, an Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “The benefits of exercise are undeniable. Keeping active reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke and cuts your chances of an early death.” According to NHS England guidelines, every week, adults should do a minimum of either: 150 minutes moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, doubles tennis or cycling 75 minutes vigorous exercise, such as running, football or rugby It’s also important to do strengthening activities - such as push-ups, sit-ups or lifting and carrying - at least twice a week.
While exercise has long been thought to help boost mental health and there’s evidence to support this, less is known about whether physical activity can actually prevent the onset of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Indeed, previous studies have suggested that low levels of physical activity are associated with a greater incidence of several common mental health problems, but few studies have investigated whether the opposite is true: more exercise = less risk of developing mental health disorders – until now. By conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of four different studies, the researchers from University College London were able to assess the impact of physical exercise on mental health risk. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the researchers said low and medium levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are associated with a 47% and 23% greater risk of common mental health disorders, compared with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness. In other words, doing more physical exercise does seem to have a positive impact on a person's mental health risk. The research makes for interesting reading when you consider that mental health issues are growing and not everyone benefits from therapies and medication. The researchers are now planning to explore this avenue further to see if they can identify the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between exercise and mental health.
Even if you’ve been pretty physically inactive for much of your life, exercising more in your later years can still afford benefits and lower your risk of premature death, a new study has found. According to research by the University of Cambridge - which studied 15,000 Brits - by doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, physically inactive individuals can reduce their risk of early death by 24%. However, it’s people who are already physically active who can benefit the most from more exercise. That’s because the study found that individuals who were already doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week could reduce their risk of early death by as much as 42%. Finally, all older adults involved in the study saw a “substantial” boost to their life expectancy by being more active – regardless of their activity levels previously. So, the simple message is clear: the more exercise, the better. And it’s never too late to make a difference in your life. Speaking about the findings of the study, the results of which are published in the British Medical Journal, Huw Edwards, from health body UKactive, said: “This provides further evidence against the outdated idea that people should do less as they age or while managing a long-term illness. “The time has come for a total rethink of how we approach our later years.”
How many push-ups (also known as press-ups) can you do? Do you even know? Do you even care? Well maybe you should… That’s because a new study has found that a man’s ability to do push-ups may be a good indicator of their cardiovascular risk. The findings of the study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, may enable physicians to assess cardiovascular risk more easily and more cost effectively. Simply put, the more push-ups a man can do, the lower his cardiovascular risk and vice versa. Speaking about the findings of the study, first author Justin Yang, M.D. said: "Our findings provide evidence that push-up capacity could be an easy, no-cost method to help assess cardiovascular disease risk in almost any setting.” For the study, researchers measured both the push-up capacity and the submaximal treadmill exercise tolerance of each participant at the beginning. Yearly physical exams and medical questionnaires were then used to gather relevant data. The researchers found that participants who were able to complete over 40 push-ups to begin with had a 96% lower cardiovascular risk than those who could only complete 10 or fewer push-ups. It is still unknown whether the findings of the study also apply to women and men who are older, younger and/or less physically fit than the participants. That’s the study involved 1,104 active male fire fighters with a mean age of 39.6 and mean BMI of 28.7.
People who have a heart attack sometimes experience heart muscle damage. As a result, many live with heart failure and may require a heart transplant in the future. But what if there was a way for human hearts to heal themselves? Scientists say an exotic fish could perhaps hold clues to making such an occurrence a reality. The Mexican tetra fish, which lives in freshwater, can, quite amazingly, repair its own heart. Popular with aquarium owners because of its unique coloring, the tetra fish has many different species, most of which can heal their own hearts following damage. To understand how the tetra fish do this, a team of researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK travelled to the Pachón cave in Mexico to study a tetra subspecies, the “blind cave tetra”. This remarkable fish has not only lost its ability to see, but also its color. Moreover, it can no longer regenerate heart tissue. By studying the blind cave tetra alongside other species of tetra, the team of researchers was able to create genetic profiles for both, allowing them to better understand what gives the tetra its amazing heart regeneration abilities. The team, led by Dr. Mathilda Mommersteeg, an associate professor at the University of Oxford, identified three separate genomes relevant to the tetra’s self-healing. Further analysis revealed two genes, lrrc10 and caveolin, were far more active in the river tetras. “A real challenge until now was comparing heart damage and repair in fish with what we see in humans. But, by looking at river fish and cave fish side by side, we've been able to pick apart the genes responsible for heart regeneration,” said Dr. Mommersteeg. Going forward, the research team hopes it may be possible to develop a way for heart attack patients to repair their own heart tissue.
Strength training exercises benefit the heart more than aerobic activities, such as walking and cycling, new research suggests. The survey of more than 4,000 American adults found that static exercise, like lifting weights, is more effective at reducing the risk of heart disease than cardiovascular exercise. Specifically, while undertaking both static and dynamic exercise was associated with a 30% to 70% reduction of cardiovascular risk factors, the link was strongest for younger individuals who did static exercises. Nevertheless, any amount of exercise brings benefits and doing both static and dynamic types is still better than focussing on just one kind, the researchers from St. George's University in St. George's, Grenada said. Speaking about the findings of the research, Dr. Maia P. Smith, assistant professor at the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George's University, said: “Both strength training and aerobic activity appeared to be heart healthy, even in small amounts, at the population level.” Current American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines recommend that American adults should undertake at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity every week. The same guidelines also stipulate that said activity should be spread across the week and not completed in just one or two days. Are you doing enough physical activity each week? If not, you could be increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease. [Related reading: Why being overweight increases your risk of cancer]
Do you take supplements containing omega-3 fish oil in the belief they are helping to protect your heart? A new study suggests you could be wasting your money. Researchers from Cochrane analysed trials involving more than 100,000 people and discovered little proof that omega-3 supplements prevented heart disease. In fact, they say the chance of getting any benefits from such supplements is one in 1,000. However, despite this, the researchers still maintain that eating oily fish as part of a healthy diet is beneficial. Indeed, NHS guidelines state that people should try to eat two portions of fish each week, one of which, ideally, should be oily fish such as mackerel, salmon or fresh tuna. This is so they get enough “good” fats. Speaking about the findings of the research, Prof Tim Chico, a cardiologist from Sheffield University, said: “There was a period where people who had suffered a heart attack were prescribed these on the NHS. This stopped some years ago. “Such supplements come with a significant cost, so my advice to anyone buying them in the hope that they reduce the risk of heart disease, I'd advise them to spend their money on vegetables instead.” Dr Lee Hooper, from the University of East Anglia, said: “The most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on cardiovascular health.” Nevertheless, Dr Carrie Ruxton from the UK’s Health and Food Supplements Information Service said supplements containing omega-3 can still play an important role for people who don’t eat oily fish – especially as omega-3 also benefits the brain, eyes and immune function.
While many people will be using the start of the New Year to kick-start certain lifestyle changes in an attempt to become “healthier”, there are some who might think it’s too late based on their age. However, a new study has revealed that it’s often not too late for many who want to improve their fitness. In fact, with exercise, even individuals who are into their late middle age can reduce or even reverse the risk of heart failure caused by years of sedentary living. But there’s a slight catch – it requires at least two years of aerobic exercise four to five days a week. According to the study, which was published in the journal Circulation, individuals aged 45-64 who followed an aerobic exercise routine for two years showed an 18% improvement in their maximum oxygen intake while exercising and a more than 25% improvement in "plasticity" in the left ventricular muscle of the heart, compared to their counterparts who didn’t follow such an exercise regime. The take-home message of the research is that exercise needs to be part of a person’s daily routine, like teeth brushing. Dr Richard Siow, vice-dean for the faculty of life sciences and medicine at King's College London, said: "I think that's a very important take-home message for those of us who may have a doom and gloom view there's nothing we can do about it. Yes there is, we can start by getting off the couch to have a more active lifestyle."
Calcium is well-known for its role in promoting healthy bones, but a new study suggests it could also be beneficial for heart health too. Cardiac arrest, or heart attack, is one of the leading causes of death in the United States today. In fact, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), approximately 350,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests (SCAs) occur in America every year. Furthermore, almost 90% of people who experience SCA die as a result. The primary cause of SCA is coronary heart disease. However, around 50% of women and 70% of men who die from SCA have no medical history of heart disease, suggesting other significant risk factors are at play. For the study, researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, CA, analysed data from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study. They found that the risk of SCA was increased by 2.3-fold for people who had the lowest blood calcium levels (under 8.95 milligrams per deciliter). More importantly, this risk remained after confounding factors, including demographics, cardiovascular risk factors and medication use, were accounted for. Dr. Hon-Chi Lee, of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, said: “This is the first report to show that low serum calcium levels measured close in time to the index event are independently associated with an increased risk of SCA in the general population”.
A study by Public Health England looking at the heart health of the nation has found that thousands of men face early death at the hands of a heart attack or stroke. In fact, according to the analysis of 1.2 million people, one in 10 British men has a heart age that’s a decade older than their actual age. Heart disease is the main cause of death among men and the second among women. Public Health England says that 7,400 people will die from heart disease or stroke this month alone. However, most of these deaths are preventable and Public Health England says that just a few small lifestyle changes can have a positive impact. One of the suggestions made was for over 50s to get their blood pressure regularly checked as high blood pressure can be an early sign of a potentially life-threatening condition. Public Health England’s head of cardiovascular disease, Jamie Waterall, urged people not to only start considering their heart health later in life. "Addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older", he said. How to improve your heart health: Give up smoking Get active Manage your weight Eat more fibre Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables per day Cut down on saturated fat Cut down on salt Drink less alcohol
While the association between a lack of exercise and an increased risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease, is well-established, new research shows that just 14 days of physical inactivity can increase a person's risk such conditions. A study by the University of Liverpool found that young, healthy adults who switched from moderate-to-vigorous activity and then to near-sedentary behaviour for just 14 days experienced metabolic changes that could raise their risk of chronic disease and even premature death. Presenting their findings at the European Congress on Obesity 2017 in Portugal, Study leader Dr. Dan Cuthbertson and colleagues said that reducing physical activity for just 14 days led to a loss of skeletal muscle mass in the participants. However, the reduction of physical activity for 14 days also led to an increase in total body fat. Furthermore, said body fat was most likely to accumulate centrally, which the team notes is a significant risk factor for chronic disease. Current guidelines recommend that adults aged 18-64 undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that fewer than 50% of adults meet these exercise recommendations. Are you doing enough exercise each week? Even just small lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to your risk of chronic disease.
Researchers have found that laughter may really be the best medicine when it comes to a person's health in later life. And, according to the study led by Georgia State University, when laughter is combined with moderate exercise, not only is the mental health of older individuals improved, but also their motivation to undertake physical activity. Prior to their research, lead author Celeste Greene, from Georgia State, and colleagues noted that many seniors are reluctant to carry out physical activity because they lack motivation due mainly to the fact they don't find exercise enjoyable. That's why Greene's team set out to investigate whether combining laughter with physical activity would increase the amount of enjoyment older people get while exercising, thus increasing the likelihood of them doing more and reaping the associated health benefits. For older people, regular physical activity can improve heart health; reduce the risk of diabetes; aid weight control; improve bone health; and maintain and boost muscle strength. Greene and her team created LaughActive, a unique laughter-based exercise programme, which combines moderate-intensity physical activity with simulated laughter techniques. The research team enrolled 27 older adults in the LaughActive programme, who were all required to attend two 45-minute sessions every week for a period of 6 weeks. What they found at the end of the 6-week programme was that 96.2% of participants said that laughter was an enjoyable addition to physical activity and boosted their motivation to take part. In addition, the programme was associated with significant improvements in the mental health and aerobic endurance of the participants.
A study of 5,700 men in Norway has revealed that doing just three hours of exercise per week has a dramatic effect on life expectancy, with regular exercisers living up to five years longer than their sedentary peers. The study’s authors, writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, have called for more campaigns to encourage regular exercise and fitness in older people. Conducted by Oslo University Hospital, the study found that both light and vigorous exercise had a positive impact on life expectancy. This tallies with official UK government advice, which recommends 150-minutes of moderate exercise per week for people aged over 65. While the study showed that doing less than an hour a week of light exercise had little impact, those undertaking the equivalent of six 30-minute sessions – regardless of intensity – were a whopping 40% less likely to have died during the study, which lasted 11 years. "Even when men were 73 years of age on average at start of follow-up, active persons had five years longer expected lifetime than the sedentary,” said the report. It even added that exercise was as "beneficial as smoking cessation" at reducing deaths. Julie Ward, from the British Heart Foundation, reiterated the study’s findings, saying: "Regular physical activity, whatever your age, is beneficial for your heart health and ultimately can help you live longer.” Photo credit: Human Kinetics Sport, Health & Fitness Blog
CHECK UP WOMAN UNDER 40 BASIC MEDICAL ASSESSMENT Blood - Urine & Endocrinological tests Heart Health-check Gynaecological checking Endocrinologist consultation Gastroenterologist consultation Cardiologist consultation OPTIONAL CONSULTATIONS ON DEMAND Dietary consultation Dental consultation with panoramic X-Rays Dermatological consultation ENT consultation OPTIONAL EXAMS ON DEMAND Chest CT Scan, recommended for smokers Virtual Colonoscopy recommended beginning at 50 Abdominal ultra sound Doppler Ultrasound of the neck vessels Doppler Ultrasound of the lower limb arteries Doppler Ultrasound of the neck vessels & lower limb arteries Bone densitometry (evaluation of osteoporosis risk) FSH/LH & Estradiol Hormone Level Testing Gastroscopy ...
CHECK UP WOMAN OVER 40 BASIC MEDICAL ASSESSMENT Blood - Urine & Endocrinological tests Chest X-Rays MRI Heart Health-check Gynaecological checking Endocrinologist consultation Gastroenterologist consultation Cardiologist consultation OPTIONAL CONSULTATIONS ON DEMAND Dietary consultation Dental consultation with panoramic X-Rays Dermatological consultation ENT consultation OPTIONAL EXAMS ON DEMAND Chest CT Scan, recommended for smokers Virtual Colonoscopy recommended beginning at 50 Abdominal ultra sound Doppler Ultrasound of the neck vessels Doppler Ultrasound of the lower limb arteries Doppler Ultrasound of the neck vessels & lower limb arteries Bone densitometry (evaluation of osteoporosis risk) FSH/LH & Estradiol Hormone Level Testing Gastroscopy ...
CHECK UP MEN UNDER 45 BASIC MEDICAL ASSESSMENT Blood - Urine & Endocrinological tests Urological checking Heart Healthcheck Endocrinologist consultation Gastroenterologist consultation Cardiologist consultation OPTIONAL CONSULTATIONS ON DEMAND Dietary consultation Dental consultation with panoramics X-Rays Dermatological consultation ENT consultation OPTIONAL EXAMS ON DEMAND Chest CT Scan, recommended for smokers Virtual Colonoscopy recommended beginning at 50 Abdominal ultra sound Doppler Ultrasound of the neck vessels Doppler Ultrasound of the lower limb arteries Doppler Ultrasound of the nexk vessels & lower limb arteries Bone densiometry ( evaluation of osteoporosis risk) FSH/LH & Estradiol Hormone Level Testing Gastroscopy ...
CHECK UP MEN OVER 45 BASIC MEDICAL ASSESSMENT Blood - Urine & Endocrinological tests MRI Urological checking Heart Healthcheck Endocrinologist consultation Gastroenterologist consultation Cardiologist consultation OPTIONAL CONSULTATIONS ON DEMAND Dietary consultation Dental consultation with panoramics X-Rays Dermatological consultation ENT consultation OPTIONAL EXAMS ON DEMAND Chest CT Scan, recommended for smokers Virtual Colonoscopy recommended beginning at 50 Abdominal ultra sound Doppler Ultrasound of the neck vessels Doppler Ultrasound of the lower limb arteries Doppler Ultrasound of the nexk vessels & lower limb arteries Bone densiometry ( evaluation of osteoporosis risk) FSH/LH & Estradiol Hormone Level Testing Gastroscopy ...
At France Surgery we can’t stress the importance of having regular health check-ups enough. Often regular check-ups can help find problems before they start. But perhaps more importantly, they can help to find problems that are in their early stages - when the chance for treatment and recovery are much greater. For adults over the age of 40 we stress this point even more, since the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancers increase. However regardless of age or whether you lead a healthy lifestyle, the doctors at France Surgery recommend having regular check-ups to help improve your chances of leading a long and healthy life. Our check-ups are adapted to suit each patient using the latest in preventive medicine and early diagnosis techniques. Depending on age, sex and lifestyle the types of tests and consultations we carry out during a regular check-up are: Blood & Urine Tests Gynaecological Test (for women) Heart Health Check Chest X-Ray MRI Scan Urological check Endocrinology consultation – to provide an overview of diseases related to hormones. Gastroenterology consultation – to provide an overview of diseases related to the digestive system. Cardiologist consultation - to provide an overview of diseases related to the heart. So what are you waiting for? Book your check-up appointment with us today and enjoy living a healthier life.