Heart and Cardiovascular

  1. Silent heart attacks are more common than thought

    The heart attack you'll never even feel

    You grab your chest with one hand, the phone in the other, and you quickly dial 911.

    You're having a heart attack -- and you need help ASAP.

    But what if you didn't feel a thing... and never got help... because you didn't even know that you'd just had that same heart attack?

    It can happen, and it can happen to you!

    New research shows that 45 percent of all heart attacks are "silent," meaning you don't feel any signs or symptoms.

    But while you won't feel the attack, you WILL suffer on the inside. A silent heart attack leaves behind the same kind of dangerous scarring in the heart as any other heart attack.

    That, in turn can cause serious problems down the road -- because folks who suffer from silent heart attacks have TRIPLE the risk of death from heart disease and are a third MORE likely to die from any cause, according to the study in the journal Circulation.

    Overall, men are much more likely to have a silent heart attack. One study last year found evidence of a silent heart attack in 13 percent of older men, compared to just 2.5 percent of older women.

    But the new study finds that while women are less likely to have one, when they actually do, they're much more likely to die because of it.

    So that leaves us with the million-dollar question for the day: If I can't feel the symptoms... what could I possibly do about it?


    First, watch out for OTHER symptoms -- ones you might not link to a heart attack. In many cases, silent heart attacks can cause jaw pain, fatigue, indigestion, flu-like symptoms, and muscle pain in the chest or upper back.

    Some people report that, in hindsight, it felt like a muscle strain in the chest.

    In reality, it was a heart attack.

    If it comes on suddenly and for no apparent reason, get some help and get checked out -- and if the ER doc won't take your symptoms seriously, don't leave without getting an EKG.

    Second, take action today that can protect you from EVERY type of heart attack tomorrow. Kick bad habits like smoking, and if you've put on a few too many pounds, drop a little weight.

    And third, be sure to give your heart a suit of armor. Fish oil, coenzyme Q10, and magnesium can all help protect your ticker and cut your risk of any kind of heart attack.

    Don't fall into the trap of thinking you're "too young" or "too fit" to have a heart attack. Fact is, they can happen to anyone -- sometimes, even if you're doing everything right.

    So, if you suspect something's wrong, get it checked out ASAP.

    For one-on-one help with heart health, including an all-natural treatment plan customized to meet your needs, make an appointment to see me at my clinic in the San Diego area.

    Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

  2. Arteries prematurely age after prolonged use of PPIs

    The longer you take a PPI, the older your insides are

    You know what it's like driving on aging roads and highways.

    It's uncomfortable, nerve-wracking, and dangerous -- and let's not even get into all the expensive damage it's doing to your car.

    There's an elaborate highway system inside your own body, too -- and the latest research shows how some of today's most commonly-used meds can rapidly age it. You could pay dearly... in the form of serious health problems.

    The proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) used by millions to control heartburn and acid reflux can damage your superhighway of veins, arteries, and capillaries.

    When they're young and healthy, those blood vessels are like the world's most efficient highway system, allowing blood to quickly deliver oxygen and nutrients around your body.

    Not even FedEx can do it as well!

    As you get older, you get the buildups and blockages that tie up "traffic," leading to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

    While time alone can cause that damage, certain things can speed it up -- including bad habits and bad meds such as PPIs.

    In experiments using two PPIs -- including the popular drug esomeprazole (a.k.a. Nexium) -- researchers found signs of premature aging, including a dramatic shift in the texture and appearance of arteries.

    After prolonged exposure to the PPIs in the in vitro study, artery linings transformed from a smooth roadway into one that catches everything in its path -- the perfect condition for the formation of a deadly blockage. One researcher went so far a to compare it to a Teflon coating turning into Velcro.

    And that's not all they discovered.

    The drugs work, as their name suggests, by blocking more than just the gastric proton pump, which stops the parietal cells in your stomach from pumping out acid. The study finds they also block ANOTHER type of acid-making cell, called lysosomes, which are found all over your body.

    Lysosomes are like the garbage man for your body's cells: They help clear junk out. But taking a PPI keeps the garbage man off his route -- and the trash accumulates.

    In the real world, that leads to streets filled with debris. Inside your body, all that cellular trash is a sign of aging...and the disease risks that come with it.

    AstraZeneca, which makes Nexium, insists the drug is safe when used "in accordance with the label" -- which means short-term use.

    Here's the problem with that: Reflux isn't a short-term problem for most of the people who have it. They suffer for months... or years.

    Besides, the fact that PPIs are now available over the counter makes it easy for acid reflux sufferers to take them far too much, for far too long.

    That can set the stage for the rapid aging seen in the new study as well as other serious problems, including dangerous deficiencies in key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin B12.

    Why face those risks when you don't have to?

    In many cases, stomach acid problems are caused or worsened by sensitivities to certain foods or food additives. Sometimes, the cause is obvious -- such as spicy foods or alcohol.

    But most of the time, it's not. It could be a "hidden" ingredient such as MSG or a widely-used one such as gluten.

    You can try to learn the triggers on your own with a food-challenge diet, or you can work with a doctor who can run some tests to help figure out your triggers.

    Over time, you'll learn what's causing your reflux... and how to avoid it, no drugs needed.

    For one-on-one help with reflux, make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in the San Diego area.

    Not in Southern California? I can also offer advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

  3. Multivitamins cut heart risk in men

    Multivitamins aren’t just a great way to start the day. New research finds that over the long run, they can cut the risk of heart problems in men by almost half.
  4. Magnesium may keep heart disease at bay

    Taking a daily magnesium supplement reduced stiffness in the arteries of overweight adults after just six months.
  5. Magnesium can keep arteries healthy

    Magnesium is critical to cardiovascular health, and new research shows how it can keep arteries from getting stiff in the overweight and obese.
  6. Atrial fibrillation after death of spouse

    Atrial fibrillation, a dangerous irregular heartbeat condition, can strike after the loss of a spouse, a new study finds.
  7. Why heart failure patients need vitamin D

    Heart failure is when the heart can’t pump as much blood – but new research shows how vitamin D can help restore some of that ability and improve the condition.
  8. Allergies linked to heart problems

    Allergies will do more than cause sniffles and sneezes. New research shows how hay fever can even cause heart problems!
  9. Arthritis painkillers pack serious heart risks

    Arthritis patients often turn to NSAID painkillers to ease their aching joints, but a new study shows how these drugs can be dangerous for folks with heart problems.
  10. Magnesium can cut blood pressure and fight calcification

    Magnesium can cut your risk of high blood pressure and protect your arteries from damaging calcium deposits.
  11. Nuclear stress test uses too much radiation

    A nuclear stress test is supposed to check the health of your heart… but the way most docs are using them, they could increase your risk of cancer instead!
  12. Basic fitness speeds up heart attack recovery

    A heart attack might not kill you, but the recovery can still be a challenge. New research finds that being fit before an attack can speed recovery afterward.
  13. Depression linked to heart attack and stroke

    Depression alone is miserable enough, but new research finds that the longer you have the condition, the higher your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  14. Heart attack is deadlier in women

    Heart attack could be deadly no matter who it strikes, but new research finds that women are more likely to die than men in the years after having one.
  15. Curcumin can help protect the heart

    Curcumin, the compound in the spice turmeric, can help improve blood flow and protect your heart, according to a new study.
  16. Gout linked to atrial fibrillation

    Gout can do more than cause terrible pain in your toe. It can knock your heart out of rhythm, increasing your risk of atrial fibrillation.
  17. Nuclear stress test often has too much radiation

    The nuclear stress test given so frequently to patients facing heart risk often involves nearly 20 percent more radiation than necessary.
  18. Tooth loss linked to heart problems

    Tooth loss isn’t just bad for your mouth. New research shows how it can also increase the risk of death in heart patients.
  19. Statins linked to kidney risk

    Statins can damage the kidneys and even cause kidney failure, according to new research.
  20. Sudden cardiac arrest often has warning signs

    Sudden cardiac arrest isn’t as sudden as the name implies, with new research showing how it often comes with warning signs…if you know how to spot them.

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