If you’re a senior or love someone who is, take heart. A new study is shedding light on ways to help older Americans keep healthier longer. According to the study, thousands of heart attacks, strokes and deaths could be prevented if patients used prescription blood-pressure medicine.
The study, “Reducing the Human Impact of High Blood Pressure,” looked at the number of strokes, heart attacks, deaths and nursing facility placements that could be avoided every year if all seniors were to actively treat their high blood pressure. For instance, it was discovered that proper treatment of high blood pressure could prevent almost 7,000 deaths in Los Angeles alone.
“Currently, two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have hypertension, which puts millions of seniors at risk annually,” according to Dr. Paul Antony, chief medical officer for Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “Yet, for most people, high blood pressure can be controlled.”
High blood pressure has no symptoms. If you’re at risk, you should be tested regularly by your doctor. Self-tests at pharmacies and convenience stores are useful, but may not be totally reliable. Get tested if you’re over 60, if you smoke, if you eat a lot of salt, if you lead a high-stress lifestyle or if you suffer from diabetes.Heart attacks are a very serious heart condition that ‘attack’ suddenly. They can be characterized by a spectrum of chest pains and discomfort as well as sweating, vomiting and nausia. Sometimes these symptoms can even result in a complete loss of consciousness. Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted. This interuption causes both death and scarring of the tissue in the local area of the heart.
Due to the fact that the interuption can vary in size, as can the area that is affected. Large or small, heart attacks are serious and often life-threatening. Deemed as such they are a medical emergency which needs immediate attention from an emergency medical service. Staying on top of heart attack symptoms as well as the combination of complete medical history, blood tests and ECG findings are what make up the diagnosis for heart attacks.
In recovery the most important thing is restoring the flow of blood back to the area of the heart that has been interrupted. This is acheived through thrombolysis and/or angioplasty. Thrombolysis is a procedure in which the clot is dissolved in the artery enymatically. Angioplasty is the procedure in which a balloon is used to push open the artery.
Great importance is placed on monitoring for various complications, that could prevent a secondy heart attack. Through this monitoring work is done to help eliminate any risk factors that may exist, which helps to reduce the odds of further heart attacks.For example, lets say you jog trying to maintain the same pace for a good 45-minute run. As long as you didn’t encounter any big hills along the way, you probably maintained approximately the same heart rate the entire time – let’s say it was 135 beats/minute. Now, let’s contrast that with a much more effective workout of doing 20 minutes of alternating all-out wind sprints with walking for a minute or two in between sprints to recover. With this more effective workout, you’re rapidly changing your heart rate up and down on a much larger scale, forcing it to grow stronger to be able to handle varied demands. Your heart rate would probably alternate from 110-115 during the recovery walks all the way up to 160 bpm or more during the sprints. This doesn’t mean that sprints are the only way to take advantage of this style of training. Any style of training that incorporates highly variable intensity will give you these improved results.
The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.
To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle wasting, increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors. There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training.
Before you start wasting hours upon hours on those boring treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical machines, let’s examine if low-moderate intensity, long duration cardio exercise is really doing your body any good, or if it is mostly a waste of time. I hope you will concede upon finishing this article that there is a better way to get in great shape, and it doesn’t have to involve endless hours on boring cardio machines.
It is common to hear fitness professionals and medical doctors prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations constitute something along the lines of “perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times per week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”. Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to consider in your training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals demonstrate stop-and-go motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities.
Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?
Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss).
Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors. On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way — Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday.
. The “L” word your heart truly longs for: lycopene. This heart-healthy phytonutrient -; found in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit – may lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Harvard researchers found that eating seven or more servings of tomatoes a week might reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent.
7. Choose healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats (think olive oil, avocado, nuts) – when used in place of saturated fats (think butter, bacon, beef) -help lower cholesterol. Another healthy fat – omega-3 – helps reduce inflammation. Omega-3 sources include wild salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.
8. Don’t turn breakfast into break-feast. While skipping breakfast actually lowers your metabolism, going overboard is no better. A new study done at the University at Buffalo found that big fatty breakfasts trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals associated with clogged arteries. So skip the stack of flapjacks and opt for a strawberry-banana smoothie.
9. Ode to soy. Twenty-five grams of soy protein per day can help lower cholesterol, according to the American Heart Association. Soy’s other heart-healthy nutrients include folic acid and magnesium (which helps maintain normal blood pressure). Soymilk, edamame, tofu and soynuts are just some of the many ways to enjoy soy.
10. Go for a raise. In HDL cholesterol, that is. Higher levels of this “good” cholesterol can be almost as important as low levels of LDL cholesterol at keeping cardiovascular disease at bay. In addition to exercise, quitting smoking and limiting trans fats, a University of Scranton study found that drinking cranberry juice could help boost HDL levels.