Peripheral artery disease (also called peripheral arterial disease) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. Factors that increase your risk of developing peripheral artery disease include: -Smoking
-Obesity (a body mass index over 30) -High blood pressure (140/90 millimeters of mercury or higher)
-High cholesterol (total blood cholesterol over 240 milligrams per deciliter, or 6.2 millimoles per liter) -Increasing age, especially after reaching 50 years of age -A family history of peripheral artery disease, heart disease or stroke -High levels of homocysteine, a protein component that helps build and maintain tissue
People who smoke or have diabetes have the greatest risk of developing peripheral artery disease due to reduced blood flow.
Atherosclerosis causes fatty deposits called plaque form in your arteries. Plaque interferes with blood flow, which raises your risk for heart disease and stroke. Known causes of plaque buildup include high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, also called LDL, triglycerides, another form of unhealthy fat, and high blood pressure. Several herbal remedies or spices may help reduce the amount of plaque in your arteries and lower your risk for serious disease. Discuss these remedies with your doctor to determine what is appropriate for you. -TUMERIC Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice that also has medicinal qualities and may help reduce arterial plaque. Research suggests that it inhibits platelets from forming clots, part of the process that helps enlarge plaque deposits. It may also lower blood cholesterol, especially keeping LDL within a healthy range. -GINGER Ginger is a common spice that also has a long history in traditional medicine as a treatment for many ailments. It contains several compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which have biological activity and may be responsible for its health benefits. Ginger may help prevent plaque buildup or lessen existing plaque by lowering total cholesterol and blocking oxidation of LDL, one of the steps in plaque formation. -GARLIC Garlic has a long history as part of traditional medicine that dates as far back as ancient Egyptian times. Among its benefits, garlic tends to raise blood levels of high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, while reducing LDL. It also reduces levels of two other compounds, called homocysteine and C-reactive protein, that are associated with atherosclerosis and heart disease. Garlic is also an antioxidant and it may help reduce blood pressure, another factor that contributes to plaque formation in your arteries.
Each year in the United States, more than 700,000 people suffer a heart attack, and almost 400,000 people die of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Preventing heart disease in patients is my main goal, but early detection is the next best thing. This can lead to changes in lifestyle and medical therapies that can delay or deny the onset of a heart attack; almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle changes. Many of my patients are shocked to learn about the following clues to underlying heart disease. -Erectile dysfunction (ED) could mean clogged arteries.
Men have a built-in warning system for silent CHD. When achieving an erection is difficult or impossible, it can be a sign of clogged arteries in the pelvis that presents before a heart attack hits. -Baldness could indicate clogged arteries.
In a comprehensive new study of almost 37,000 men, severe baldness at the crown of the head strongly predicted the presence of silent CHD at any age. In a separate study of more than 7,000 people (including over 4,000 women), moderate to severe baldness doubled the risk of dying from heart disease in both sexes. -Ear crease might indicate clogged arteries. One of the stranger markers, a crease in your earlobe (specifically, an angled crease in the ear that runs diagonally from the canal to the lower edge of the earlobe) has been mentioned in medical research reports as a sign of silent CHD for decades. The ear crease may result from poor circulation, including in arteries in the heart.
-Calf pain when you walk might mean clogged arteries. This is known as claudication (from the Latin for “to limp”). Atherosclerosis can block leg arteries, particularly in smokers, before CHD is diagnosed. This symptom requires an evaluation without delay. Your doctor will examine the pulses in your legs and perform simple measurements of leg blood pressure and blood flow to confirm a diagnosis of poor circulation.
A diet high in antioxidants does more than just ward off cancer. It fights the free radicals responsible for arthritis and other joint diseases, lung problems like emphysema and bronchitis, and atherosclerosis, the leading cause of heart disease. Though you may think that antioxidant-rich foods are limited to expensive goji berries or exotic herbs, research is identifying some dirt-cheap sources of the disease-fighting, anti-inflammatory nutrients. And they cost a lot less than exotic superberries like goji or acai. -Black rice
An astounding 180,000 people die each year, worldwide, due to the consumption of sugary drinks, and about 45,000 of those deaths are from heart attacks. Heart disease might set in because people who drink many soft drinks tend to gain weight, become diabetic, and suffer premature heart blockages. Soft drinks also elevate blood sugars, which coat proteins and fats, rendering them into a harmful form that damages your arteries. Harvard researchers, who have been studying more than 40,000 physicians and 88,000 nurses for more than two decades, found that women who consumed more that two servings of a sugary beverage a day were 40 percent more likely to develop heart disease than women who drank fewer. Men who drank the most sodas were 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who drank the least. Give up soda. If you drink several a day, be realistic. Start by swapping one for iced tea. Or water it down by mixing half a glass with seltzer. Over time, drink less and less soda until you get to zero.
A stent is a small, expandable tube. It is permanently inserted into the artery during angioplasty. The stent keeps the artery open.
During angioplasty, the balloon is placed inside the stent and inflated, which opens the stent and pushes it into place against the artery wall to keep the narrowed artery open. Because the stent is like woven mesh, the cells lining the blood vessel grow through and around the stent to help secure it. Your doctor may use a bare metal stent or a drug-eluting stent. Drug-eluting stents. All stents have a risk that scar tissue will form and narrow the artery again. This scar tissue can block blood flow. To help prevent this blockage, drug-eluting stents are coated with drugs that prevent the scar tissue from growing into the artery. Drug-eluting stents may lower the chance that you will need a second procedure (angioplasty or surgery) to open the artery again.
A stent is designed to: -Press the plaque against the artery walls and open up the artery, thereby improving blood flow. -Keep the artery open after the balloon is deflated and removed. -Seal any tears in the artery wall. -Prevent the artery wall from collapsing or closing off again (restenosis). -Prevent small pieces of plaque from breaking off, which might cause a heart attack.
The most common type of sleep apnea is called obstructive sleep apnea. It happens because the muscles in your throat relax, blocking the flow of air to your lungs. Your airway might be completely blocked or only partly blocked. When you stop breathing, the amount of oxygen in your blood drops. Your brain recognizes this and makes your body start breathing again.
If you have sleep apnea, there are times during the night when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer.
Your doctor needs to know how often there is a pause in your breathing. This helps to determine how severe your problem is. You might be asked to stay overnight in a sleep laboratory. Or your doctor might ask you to have your breathing measured at home.
Here’s one guide that doctors use: -If your breathing is affected between five and 15 times an hour, you have mild sleep apnea.
-If your breathing is affected between 16 and 30 times an hour, you have moderate sleep apnea.
-If your breathing is affected more than 31 times an hour, you have severe sleep apnea.
People with severe sleep apnea may be at an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke and dying early.
The circulatory system includes your heart and the blood vessels. The job of the circulatory system is to transport oxygen to your cells and carbon dioxide away from them. Heart disease is a disease of the circulatory system that afflicts more than 81 million adults living in the United States, the American Heart Association reports. Consuming healthy foods for the circulatory system can help boost the health of your crucial circulatory system. Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain a number of nutrients that promote the health of the circulatory system, Harvard School of Public Health reports. They note that the antioxidants in dark- and bright-colored fresh fruits and vegetables such as eggplant, bell peppers and broccoli protect your heart and blood vessels from damage. They add that a fruit and vegetable-rich diet can help prevent and treat high blood pressure. High blood pressure puts strain on your circulatory system, increasing the risk of injury. Almonds
Almonds and other nuts can boost the health of your circulatory system by providing your body with heart-healthy vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant vitamin that reduces oxidation in your blood vessels. Oxidation damages blood vessels, making them more likely to form plaque. Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats that can reduce cardiovascular disease risk. Oily Fish
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sole and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fats aid the circulatory system by reducing inflammation — a harmful process that damages your body’s blood vessels. Additionally, the omega-3s in fish can help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. Video: Clogged Arteries
Imagine that you’re exercising. You’re working up a sweat, you’re breathing hard, your heart is thumping, blood is coursing through your vessels to deliver oxygen to the muscles to keep you moving, and you sustain the activity for more than just a few minutes. That’s aerobic exercise (also known as “cardio” in gym lingo); any activity that you can sustain for more than just a few minutes while your heart, lungs, and muscles work overtime. The beginning. It all starts with breathing. The average healthy adult inhales and exhales about 7 to 8 liters of air per minute. Once you fill your lungs, the oxygen in the air (air contains approximately 20% oxygen) is filtered through small branches of tubes (called bronchioles) until it reaches the alveoli. The alveoli are microscopic sacs where oxygen diffuses (enters) into the blood. From there, it’s a beeline direct to the heart. Getting to the heart of it. The heart has four chambers that fill with blood and pump blood (two atria and two ventricles) and some very active coronary arteries. Because of all this action, the heart needs a fresh supply of oxygen, and as you just learned, the lungs provide it. Once the heart uses what it needs, it pumps the blood, the oxygen, and other nutrients out through the large left ventricle and through the circulatory system to all the organs, muscles, and tissues that need it. A whole lot of pumping going on. Your heart beats approximately 60-80 times per minute at rest, 100,000 times a day, more than 30 million times per year, and about 2.5 billion times in a 70-year lifetime! Every beat of your heart sends a volume of blood (called stroke volume — more about that later), along with oxygen and many other life-sustaining nutrients, circulating through your body. The average healthy adult heart pumps about 5 liters of blood per minute. Oxygen consumption and muscles. All that oxygen being pumped by the blood is important. Muscles are like engines that run on fuel (just like an automobile that runs on fuel); only our muscles use fat and carbohydrates instead of gasoline. Oxygen is a key player because, once inside the muscle, it’s used to burn fat and carbohydrate for fuel to keep our engines running. The more efficient our muscles are at consuming oxygen, the more fuel we can burn, the more fit we are, and the longer we can exercise.
Drinking coffee can not only boost your energy but also your longevity. That’s the key finding of a new federal health study of nearly a half-million coffee drinkers that found those who regularly enjoy a cup of java live longer than those who don’t.
The National Institutes of Health study, published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that caffeinated and decaf coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections.
In an interview published this week in the Journal of Caffeine Research, Neal Freedman — with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the NIH National Cancer Institute — said his study is among the most comprehensive to date of the health benefits of coffee and has significant implications for java junkies. Researchers tracked 500,000 U.S. men and women — ages 50 to 71, all members of the American Association of Retired Persons — for about 12 years. Not only did the results show a clear association between coffee and longevity, Freedman said, but they also indicated people who drank the most coffee tended to have greatest health benefits.