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The Dangers of Prehypertension

Posted on: April 28th, 2015 by vgmforbin
Catching hypertension early will help you and your doctor treat and monitor your condition.

Catching hypertension early will help you and your doctor treat and monitor your condition.

We often hear warnings about hypertension, but the issue of prehypertension is often overlooked. Prehypertension is slightly elevated blood pressure. This may not sound serious, but it is our body’s warning sign that we need to take action to lower our blood pressure. Prehypertension often turns into high blood pressure if lifestyle changes aren’t made. Not treating it and allowing prehypertension to worsen will increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and heart failure.

So how do you know if you have prehypertension? Unfortunately, it doesn’t cause symptoms that would indicate a growing problem. Blood pressure readings are the only way to detect it. See your doctor at least once every two years to have your blood pressure checked. You may need to get a checkup more often if you have a family history of hypertension or heart disease.

LA Medical has some tips to help you fight prehypertension and the health problems it leads to.

Maintain a healthy weight – Losing just 5 pounds can lower your blood pressure. Talk with your doctor about what your healthy weight should be and find small weight loss solutions.

Increase physical activity – Regular physical activity is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. If you aren’t used to exercise, start slow, increasing to at least 30 minutes of activity a day. Walking is one of the best and easiest options!

Limit your salt intake – You don’t need to cut out salt completely, but if you reduce it a little bit at each meal, you won’t even notice the loss. Make a habit of checking labels and avoid foods high in sodium like soups, frozen meals and bread.

Limit alcohol – If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. One to two drinks a day is the recommended amount for healthy adults.

LA Medical wants to help you prevent the issues that could lead to life-altering problems later on down the road. For more information about leading a healthy lifestyle, keep up with our blog!

Hold the Salt

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by LAMedicalBlogger
While salt adds flavor to bland foods, most Americans get more sodium than they think.

While salt adds flavor to bland foods, most Americans get more sodium than they think.

Most people get much more sodium than what is recommended. Chances are that you aren’t aware of how much sodium is in your diet. It isn’t just table salt that you need to take into account. Most processed and prepared foods also contain sodium.

Your body needs some sodium to:

  • Help maintain the right balance of bodily fluids
  • Help transmit nerve impulses
  • Influence the contraction and relaxation of muscles

The recommended Dietary Guideline is to limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day but the average American gets about 3,400 mg of sodium a day.  The main sources of sodium are:

  • Processed foods with additives and preservatives
  • Natural sources like vegetables, meat and dairy products
  • In the kitchen or on the table

Most people can benefit from reducing their sodium intake. Cut back on sodium by:

  • Eating more fresh foods
  • Choose low-sodium products
  • Remove salt from recipes when possible
  • Use herbs and spices to season foods

Your kidneys balance the amount of sodium stored in your body so if your body’s sodium levels are low, your kidneys hold on to the sodium. If your sodium is high, the kidneys excrete the excess. But if your kidneys can’t get rid of enough of the sodium, it starts to build up in your blood. Since sodium holds water, this causes your blood volume to increase. Your heart must then work harder and the pressure in your arteries increases.

Throughout February, LA Medical has been offering different things you can do to keep your heart healthy. Limiting your sodium intake is one small way you can take care of your heart. You can find more information about heart health in our previous blogs.

Supplement a Healthy Heart

Posted on: February 19th, 2015 by LAMedicalBlogger
Lifestyle changes are the most effective ways to reduce risk of heart disease. But there are some medications and nutrients that can provide benefits as well.

Lifestyle changes are the most effective ways to reduce risk of heart disease. But there are some medications and nutrients that can provide benefits as well.

Since February is American Heart Month, LA Medical wants to provide information about some ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease since it is the leading cause of death in the United States. While we usually focus on cholesterol and blood pressure, there are other factors that play into heart health. Antioxidant support, anti-inflammatory support and correction of vitamin and mineral imbalances are also important factors. While lifestyle changes are the most effective ways to reduce risk, there are some medications and nutrients that can provide benefits as well.

Your heart beats constantly and therefore uses a lot of oxygen. That also means that the heart experiences oxidative stress. This is why you need antioxidant support from vitamins A, E and C. But before you go out and stock up on these vitamins, remember that they need to be balanced with other nutrients like vitamins B and D, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. If you had to pick a single vitamin to take, vitamin D is a good place to start. Vitamin D deficiencies are to blame in almost every disease, including heart disease.

More and more studies are showing that omega-3 fatty acids are important for every body system including immune, cardiovascular, nervous, and endocrine. Marine sources like fish oil are the best way to get these cholesterol-reducing fatty acids.

There are many more supplements that have been shown to benefit heart health. Always discuss supplementation with your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you are being treated for any chronic conditions. Remember, supplements and pills are not meant to replace the lifestyle modifications such as diet, exercise, hydration, sleep, and stress reduction.

LA Medical is using American Heart Month as an opportunity to give information and advice about keeping your heart happy and healthy. Check out our other blogs about how to Show Your Heart Some Love and Use Exercise and Nutrition to Manage a Healthy Cholesterol.

Use Nutrition and Exercise to Manage a Healthy Cholesterol

Posted on: February 17th, 2015 by LAMedicalBlogger
Good nutrition and exercise are the best ways to maintain a healthy cholesterol and overall heart health.

Good nutrition and exercise are the best ways to maintain a healthy cholesterol and overall heart health.

Having high cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes. Throughout this month, LA Medical wants to give you some more information about keeping your heart healthy.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in the blood that builds up on the walls of your arteries. This narrows the passageways through the artery, preventing blood from flowing freely to the heart. Since blood carries oxygen to the heart, a clogged up artery keeps oxygen from the heart. This increases your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

So what can you do to about it? Diet and exercise are the best ways you can manage your cholesterol.

Nutrition

  • Eat plant-based foods like vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains at every meal.
  • Enjoy healthy fats found in olive oil, avocadoes, fish, and nuts. These fats boost your good cholesterol levels while decreasing your bad ones.
  • Get your fiber from whole grains, fruit, beans and vegetables. Fiber will lower your risk of heart disease.

Activity

  • Take a brisk 30 minute walk 5 days a week to lower bad cholesterol levels.
  • Find an exercise partner! Peer pressure from a friend keeps you accountable for daily workouts.
  • Jog or walk at inclines on the stairs or treadmills to boost good cholesterol levels.

If you have high cholesterol already, don’t give up! You can lower your cholesterol over time by maintaining healthy diet and exercise habits. If you don’t have high cholesterol, make healthy choices now to keep your risk low. Prevention is often easier than treatment.

LA Medical is celebrating American Heart Month by offering information about ways you can keep your heart healthy. Check out our previous post about how you can Show Your Heart Some Love.

Show Your Heart Some Love

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 by LAMedicalBlogger
February is American Heart Month. Use this as motivation to get your ticker into great shape.

February is American Heart Month. Use this as motivation to get your ticker into great shape.

Love is in the air throughout the month of February. How about showing some love to your heart? February is a good time to take a look at how well you are treating your ticker. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in developed countries. But there are some things you can do to keep your heart healthy. LA Medical has some tips that will help you understand the lifestyle changes you can make to prevent heart disease.

Manage diet and weight – Poor diet and exercise habits often lead to obesity which can be damaging to the heart.

Quit smoking – Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your body, including your heart. Smokers often develop heart disease decades earlier than they otherwise might. In addition to heart disease, you also increase your risk for cancer, lung disease and premature aging.

Manage cholesterol – Blood lipids, like cholesterol, are important factors in cardiac risk. Maintaining a healthy balance between diet, lifestyle and medications will help keep cardiac risk low. Your cholesterol levels should be tested at least every five years.

Control Your Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is common and often comes with no symptoms. This means it is vital that you have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at a pharmacy, doctor’s office or drug store.

Control Blood Sugar – Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and other insulin resistance disorders lead to high blood sugar in addition to other metabolic problems. These all increase your risk of heart disease.

If someone in your family has heart disease, you are more likely to develop it as well. But by taking some measures to keep your heart healthy, you can greatly decrease your chances. If you need to make some lifestyle changes, don’t become overwhelmed. Take it slow. Each small step you take is one step closer to a healthy heart. LA Medical wants you to take care of yourself and we believe you can! We have different products that can help you do so. Check out our online catalog for solutions to your health-related needs.

Red Wine: A Heart-Healthy Valentine’s Day Treat

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by LAMedicalBlogger

It is finally Valentine’s Day here in the Los Angeles area, and if you have a significant other you are most likely doing something special tonight to celebrate, such as going out to a romantic dinner or creating your own intimate candlelight dinner at home. If this is the case, do not be afraid to have a glass or two of red wine from the Napa Valley. It could be helping you avoid heart disease.

A nice red wine from California can help provide your heart with a healthy boost, as long as it's in moderation.

Yes, your favorite bottle of red wine could be making your heart healthier, and here is how. There is a process that occurs in the body called oxidation, which is what allows us to harvest energy from the food we eat. However, when this process occurs with a large number of free radicals present (from smoking, exposure to toxic substances, x-rays, etc.), it can damage the soft inner walls of our arteries.

This is where the antioxidants in red wine (vitamin A, vitamin E and beta carotene) come into play. They slow down or cease the oxidation process caused by the free radicals and keep our arteries from being damaged.

There is also an antioxidant in red wine called resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes, which shows promise in preventing damage to red blood cells, reducing “bad” cholesterol and preventing blood clots. However, no research involving resveratrol has been conducted in humans yet, only in mice.

We would like to state that this is not encouragement to begin drinking excess amounts of red wine as that can have many negative effects on the body. Two to three small glasses of red wine per week is enough for your body to get the fighting power of the antioxidants it has to offer.

LA Medical encourages you to pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle, including adding small amounts of red wine to your diet. February is, after all, American Heart Month, so take steps to improve your heart health today!

Take Heart! Health is Easy to Achieve

Posted on: February 5th, 2013 by LAMedicalBlogger

Your heart affects every other system in your body, so try making some heart-healthy changes this month.

Given that February is known for Valentine’s Day, it is only fitting that it is also American Heart Month, a time for education about how we can better the beating soul of our bodies. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, whether it is a heart attack, stroke or heart disease. This means that there is a lot that can be done to help everyone live heart-healthy lives, and a large portion of that is what we eat.

It is common knowledge at this point that a diet high in fat, sodium and carbohydrates can compromise the health of our heart. Fat clogs vital arteries in the heart, making it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to travel throughout the body, while too much sodium increases our blood pressure. High-glycemic carbs like white bread, potatoes, pretzels, popcorn and more spike insulin levels in our body which put our bodies into a fat-storing mode.

So, what should be devoured to decrease our danger of developing heart disease? Women should be digging into berries, blueberries and strawberries to be specific. These tasty morsels contain “anthocyanin,” a naturally occurring compound that may help dilate arteries and counteract the buildup of plaque, according to a study conducted by Harvard and British researchers.

Men should focus on eating less red meat and more fresh fish, spinach and almonds. Fish, such as tuna or mackerel, contain those Omega-3 fatty acids that are always in the health section of news broadcasts. These fatty acids, along with the fiber and antioxidants found in spinach help keep you free of high blood pressure heart attacks. The unsaturated fat in almonds help raise your “good cholesterol” (HDL) levels and decrease “bad cholesterol” (LDL) levels.

We encourage you to pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle for American Heart Month, and it’s as simple as replacing harmful foods in your diet with ones that will work for your heart. Live this month to your heart-healthiest!