Heart and Cardiovascular

  1. Grilling can raise blood pressure

    Barbecuing? Read this first!

    Here in San Diego, every season is grilling season.

    But throughout most of the nation, the covers are only just now coming off of the barbecues as the snow melts, the temperatures rise, and you can go outside without dressing like an Eskimo.

    And honestly, is there anything better than fresh food cooked over an open flame?

    Well, not so fast.

    Now, I'm not here to drain your propane. And I'm not about to throw cold water on your charcoal. But I DO have a caution on HOW to use your grill, because new research reveals a hidden risk behind foods cooked at high temperatures.

    Meats that hit the heat can practically cause your blood to boil!

    The new study finds that high-temperature cooking -- including barbecuing, grilling, roasting, and broiling -- can cause chemicals including heterocyclic aromatic amines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to form in your food.

    And the more of these compounds you eat, the higher your risk of high blood pressure.

    Eating these meats 15 times a month will cause your risk of high blood pressure to jump by nearly a fifth.

    And that's not the only reason to limit the heat.

    The same study finds that eating well-done meat -- no matter how it's cooked -- will increase your risk of high blood pressure by 15 percent.

    Obviously, very few people are lighting up the grill every other day on average (even in the summer).

    But since this includes broiled, roasted, and well-done meats, it's easy to hit those 15 overcooked meals without realizing it.

    Not worried about blood pressure? You should still worry about how your food is cooked.

    Burned and charred meats -- especially the crispy edges that come from a hot grill or broiler -- might be delicious, but those chemicals I mentioned earlier that form when food is burned are part of a class of compounds called advanced glycation end products.

    We call them AGEs for short, and that's exactly what they do: They age cells. Rapidly.

    In your body, those AGEs can trigger internal changes that lead to all of the risks of aging, including deadly chronic diseases such as cancer and dementia.

    I'm not out to ruin anyone's barbecue, especially if you've been waiting all winter to light that grill.

    Just be sensible about it. A couple of times a month should be fine if you're otherwise healthy.

    You may also want to make a couple of modifications:

    • Cook healthier BBQ dishes (like fish and veggie kabobs instead of ground chuck and processed franks).
    • Don't overcook your food -- meat or otherwise.
    • Consider avoiding direct contact with the grill by cooking your food atop something like a salt block or a cedar plank -- so you can get heat and flavor without the dangerous char.
    • Try marinating your meat, as some studies show that it can reduce the number of unhealthy compounds that form during high-temperature cooking.

    Follow any number of these tips, and you'll do a good job avoiding "well-done."

  2. Heart surgery patients need vitamin D

    What EVERY heart patient needs before surgery

    It's the science-backed therapy that can make a life-or-death difference if you're having heart surgery.

    It's safe... it's cheap... it's readily available... and it comes with no side effects.

    Odds are, though, you won't get it unless you ask!

    New research proves once again that high doses of vitamin D before heart surgery can boost blood levels in patients who are low, but that's not all.

    That boost will do something else that's every bit as important.

    It will help keep you high in D during and even AFTER the operation, when levels of this critical heart-pumping hormone may rapidly plunge and lead to dangerous complications.

    You can prevent those risks -- and all you have to do is ask your doc for high-dose D before the operation.

    He'll have a hard time saying "no" in light of this new study!

    Patients going in for heart surgery were given either a placebo or three daily 50,000 IU doses of vitamin D.

    That's a high dose, but it's not dangerously high in short-term situations.

    In fact, just the opposite: In this situation, it's a VITAL dose!

    While folks who were given the placebo saw their levels of D drop to dangerous levels during and after the surgery, the ones given the supplements kept normal levels.

    The study didn't track other outcomes, though there's another trial doing just that right now.

    But you don't need to wait for those results to know that D is critical before heart surgery.

    Other studies have already proven that high D levels before surgery can make a life-or-death difference.

    In one study a few years back, bypass patients with even moderately low levels of D had more than TRIPLE the risk of death after their operations... while those with very low levels had FOUR TIMES the risk of dying in the three months following surgery.

    If you're having some other form of surgery -- even an operation that has nothing to do with your ticker -- it's still a good idea to load up on D.

    A study that looked at all forms of surgery found that every 5 ng/mL jump in D levels will cut your risk of complications by 7 percent, including the risk of serious infection, cardiovascular events, and death.

    Those are just a couple of examples.

    Clearly, you need it. But just as clearly, most patients aren't getting it.

    So, if you're going in for surgery, talk to your doctor about D levels. Get tested for your current levels, if possible. And work on a strategy to keep those levels high before, during, and after your procedure.

    Your life may depend on it.

  3. Hypertension drug is triple the trouble in one pill

    The TRIPLE THREAT drug aimed at YOU Docs know that you're sick to death of swallowing so many pills. And they know that you absolutely don't want to choke on any more than what you're taking already. So, they're cooking up a plan right now to sneak more meds down your throat in a plot so sinister that it sounds...
  4. Heart disease deaths linked to lead exposure

    Are you secretly being poisoned? You hear a lot about heavy metal here at my clinic, and I don't mean that awful noise on the radio. As bad as the "music" is, there's another kind of heavy metal that's worse. At least with the stuff on the radio, the only risk is to your hearing. This OTHER heavy metal can...
  5. Statins flunk new study of heart patients

    Statins FLUNK major test in heart patients The moment you have a heart problem, your doc will put you on cholesterol drugs. "It's time to get serious," he'll say, using his most serious voice. "No more messing around." Yet that's EXACTLY what he's doing! While you're in desperate need of help to protect your ailing ticker, he's messing around, as...
  6. Vitamin D cuts death risk in heart patients

    The one vitamin that EVERY heart patient needs Don't wait for summer to get some sun. If you've got heart disease... if you're even at risk for the condition... you need a little sunshine now. The warmth of the sun doesn't just FEEL good on a spring day. It's CRITICAL to your health -- and new research shows how the...
  7. Varicose veins linked to clot risk

    Are your varicose veins telling you something? It's one of those in-your-face reminders of age -- something that none of us like to see, but most of us have probably thought of as harmless. But new research reveals the ugly truth about varicose veins. They're more than just unsightly. They could be dangerous -- and they might even be deadly...
  8. Heart disease? Avoid this antibiotic

    URGENT: New warning for heart patients The feds are out with a new warning that's making big headlines... stunning doctors and patients alike. The FDA says that a wildly popular antibiotic can HURT and even KILL heart patients. And it's urging docs to limit or avoid the meds in these folks. The agency is acting like it's protecting you. It...
  9. Heart attacks often missed in women

    Docs often MISS this life-threatening cardiac event Could emergency room doctors completely MISS a heart attack? You'd better believe they can! It happens. It happens all the time, especially for seemingly healthy women who are often sent home after mild chest pain without basic tests. "Oh, it's nothing," the friendly ER doc will offer in reassurance. And since the chest...
  10. Hypertension risks shrink with yogurt

    Eat this twice a week for the ultimate heart protection Take two yogurts and call me in the morning? I know that it sounds crazy, but it's true: Just two servings of yogurt can make a MAJOR difference when it comes to your health. And you don't even have to eat it every day to get the benefits! New research...
  11. Lungs damaged by household cleaners

    Common cleaning products can damage your lungs It's the kind of damage in the lungs that we normally see in people with a longtime cigarette habit. Except you can have it in your own lungs... right now... even if you've never taken a puff or lived with a smoker! Many common cleaning chemicals -- including the stuff you use in...
  12. Stroke risk linked to common medications

    Could your DOCTOR cause a stroke? It's the SECRET stroke risk factor -- hiding in plain sight! We all know the risk factors for a stroke. At least, we THINK we know them. There's high blood pressure, poor diet, obesity, and old age. But the new study exposes what may be the biggest risk factor of all, potentially more dangerous...
  13. Women often wait to get help after a heart attack

    What women need after a heart attack It's one of the most urgent pieces of advice that I can give anyone: If you even SUSPECT there MIGHT be something going wrong in your heart, don't wait it out. Get help. Get it now. Common sense? It should be... but new research shows how it's not quite common enough. Too many...
  14. Breast cancer treatment puts heart at risk

    URGENT: New warning for breast cancer survivors It's the one thing they WON'T tell you about breast cancer treatments. Sure, your docs will admit that you'll be in for some of the worst days of your life. They'll warn that you'll be run-down and worn-out with fatigue. And they'll tell you straight up that you could lose everything from your...
  15. Alarming new tumor risk linked to cellphones

    Cellphones in alarming new tumor link Your cellphone is safe! That's what a new study claims, anyway, with researchers saying that constant exposure to cellphone radiation WON'T give you a tumor. And the media -- which treat every new iPhone launch like a national celebration -- are eating it right up. No doubt, millions of Americans are relieved by the...
  16. Aspirin can hurt heart failure patients

    The first advice given to heart failure patients is dead wrong It's the first piece of advice the docs will give you when they send you home from the hospital after heart failure: Take your aspirin! Daily aspirin isn't merely "recommended" after a heart attack or heart failure. It's practically assumed. You know what happens when you assume, right? Well...
  17. Vitamins slash heart attack risk

    The REAL secret to surviving a heart attack The cholesterol-obsessed mainstream is going to have a tough time explaining this one! Turns out, there IS something patients can take after a heart attack to slash their risk of serious problems -- including death. And it's NOT a statin! New research finds that high-dose vitamins given after a heart attack can...
  18. Surgery linked to heart damage

    'Minor' surgery could pack a MAJOR risk It's the heart risk factor you never even knew you had... and it wasn't triggered by anything you did. It was caused by your doctor! New research proves yet again that there's really no such thing as a "minor" operation once you're past the age of 65. Any procedure -- even one on...
  19. Medical devices to get faster approvals

    Secret FDA decision could HURT you Think your Christmas has been merry? The medical industry is having an even jollier one -- and don't think for a second it's because it suddenly found religion. The only God it worships is money -- and by that standard, it's celebrating today like never before thanks to a Christmas gift from pals in...
  20. PPIs linked to kidney damage

    The only thing worse than reflux... Christmas is a time of good feeling... a time when we wish for peace on Earth as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But all that celebrating can lead to another kind of feeling, especially if you haven't been careful about your diet. Too many rich meals and desserts can lead to the...

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