Monday, 21 April 2014

Book Review: The Heart Health Bible

It was interesting being sent this book. There are two diseases that take most of us. One is cancer, the other is cardiovascular disease. The healthcare system in Canada is one in which everyone can receive good healthcare, and learn the early warning signs, having access to early diagnostic tools. It would be prudent of us to listen to the wisdom of the professionals and watch out for cardiovascular health signs.
In the ER
There are often no early warning signs that people listen to before their heart gives way. It was when my ex-husband was receiving chemotherapy treatments for cancer that he experienced a sudden heart attack and passed away in February. The heart attack symptoms, I think, masked any possible warnings of a heart attack. Sudden death is a difficult thing for families to deal with.

Funnily enough, with the stress of my current husband cancer treatments, I experienced chest pains. I recognized the signs, and to be prudent, went into the ER where they gave me several tests. Heart attacks manifest them differently by both gender and by individual. I was fairly certain I was having anxiety attacks, but the chest pains made me stop and rest. They popped me into an ER room immediately, took bilateral blood pressure (a BP cuff on both arms), gave me an ECG (negative), then had me wait 4 hours to give me a blood test for enzymes that indicate a heart attack. Indeed, it was anxiety and stress. I went home.
Our blood pressure clinic!

Having facilitated some blood pressure clinics in Muskoka, it's better to  identify good heart health practices and therefore prevent heart disease. The high cost of healthcare come with a certain amount of responsibility: eat well, exercise, relax, socialize and manage your stress.

This is a well-written book, which contains all of the strategies you need to prevent a heart attack that may be caused by obesity, stress, or poor nutrition. Unfortunately, it is difficult to change our lifestyles, once we are set. Better, still, to ensure that your life balances: Mind, Body, Spirit. That Fight or Flight reaction to stress causes more disease than many realize as the body fights within itself. Look after yourself!

 The Heart Health Bible: The Five Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – By Dr. John M. Kennedy, Cardiologist. He advises patients to “follow their H-E-A-R-T” - a five-point plan to lower their risk for cardiovascular disease:

H-E-A-R-T Plan Overview
      Heal your blood Pressure: Know your goal blood pressure. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg. High blood pressure is defined as 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
a.      Studies show that if you maintain normal blood pressure you’ll lower your chance of having a stroke by 20-50%.
       Energize and Exercise for a healthy heart: Know the duration of your idea exercise routine. Healthy adults aged 18-65 yrs. Need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 min, five days a week or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for 20 minutes, three days per week. You can meet this recommendation by walking briskly for 30 min. 2X  during the week and then jogging for 20 minutes on the other two days. 
a.      Walking briskly for three to five hours a week can cut your risk of heart disease by as much as 35%.
Dr. John M. Kennedy
       Act on Fat: Know your goal Body Mass Index (BMI). For adults, an ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. A person with a BMI over 24.9 is considered overweight.
a.      Being overweight can increase your chance of developing heart disease by 32%.
       Reduce your blood sugar: Know your goal blood sugar. Normal fasting blood sugar is less than 100 mg/dL. If it’s 126 mg/dL or higher, you have diabetes.
a.      If you have diabetes and you maintain normal blood sugars or achieve “tight glycemic control,” you can decrease your risk for heart disease by 20% or more.
       Tackle Triglycerides: Know your goal cholesterol. Normal total cholesterol is less than 100 mg/dL. LDL, or “bad” cholesterol,  should be less than 100 mg/dL or less than 70 mg/dL if you’ve already had a heart attack or vascular disease. HDL, or “good cholesterol, should be greater than 60 mg/dL. Triglycerides (a form of fat in the blood) should be less than 150 mg/DL.
a.      By lowering your cholesterol, your risk for heart disease drops within six months. By maintaining healthy levels, you can drop risk by up to 75% within two years.


William Kendall said...

Thanks for pointing the book out!

Roan said...

Something to think about and act on for sure. Excellent post!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Why do you think he says "healthy adults 18 to 65"? I am 74 and healthy and am pretty sure I'm not so close to dead that I can stop exercising and eating right.

Red said...

I've been watching for this to show up in my library.

Naquillity said...

i'm so sorry for the loss of your husband. i know the shock of it was probably the hardest thing to overcome. may he rest in peace.

happy to read your okay. may you continue to be alert to your bodies signals. hope all is well.