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Dose Reduction Improvements In Cardiac Ct Scanning

(category: Cardio, Word count: 271)
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Answering a growing demand for radiation dose reduction in cardiac CT scanning, GE Healthcare announced the release of "SnapShot Pulse" at a national meeting earlier this month. This advancement in technology will achieve up to an 83% reduction in the patient's radiation exposure as well as improve image quality. Los Angeles CT Scan expert explains.

The average American's total radiation exposure has nearly doubled since 1980, largely because of CT scans. Medical radiation now accounts for more than half of the population's total exposure; it used to be just one-sixth, and the top source was the normal background rate in the environment, from things like radon in soil and cosmic energy from the sun. But CT use continues to soar. About 62 million scans were done in the U.S. last year, up from 3 million in 1980.

Los Angeles CT scans became popular because they offer a quick, relatively cheap and painless way to get 3D pictures so detailed they give an almost surgical view into the body. But they put out a lot of radiation. In a few decades, as many as 2 percent of all cancers in the United States might be due to radiation from CT scans given now, according to the authors of a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine. A CT scan of the chest involves 10 to 15 millisieverts (a measure of dose) versus 0.01 to 0.15 for a regular chest X-ray, 3 for a mammogram and a mere 0.005 for a dental X-ray. The dose depends on the type of machine and the person

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Why High Blood Cholesterol Is Dangerous

(category: Cardio, Word count: 597)
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Cholesterol, like fat, cannot move around the bloodstream on its own because it does not mix with water. The bloodstream carries cholesterol in particles called lipoproteins that are like blood-borne cargo trucks delivering cholesterol to various body tissues to be used, stored or excreted. But too much of this circulating cholesterol can injure arteries, especially the coronary ones that supply the heart. This leads to accumulation of cholesterol-laden "plaque" in vessel linings, a condition called atherosclerosis.

When blood flow to the heart is impeded, the heart muscle becomes starved for oxygen, causing chest pain (angina). If a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery affected by atherosclerosis, a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or death can occur.

Are you at risk? Cardiovascular disease is still one of the greatest health problem affecting western countries. According to the American Heart Foundation, over 70 million Americans have cardiovascular disease (CVD). The national cost of is nearly $400 billion and every 45 seconds an American has a stoke.

Certain risk factors increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

1. Overweight

2. High blood cholesterol

3. Insufficient physical activity

4. High blood pressure

5. Smoking

6. Excessive alcohol intake

7. Diabetes

Many people have multiple risk factors for heart disease and the level of risk increases with the number of risk factors. By reducing these risk factors you can largely prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease. On its own elevated blood cholesterol is not necessarily a problem, but coupled with one or more other risk factors for heart disease, it is often the straw that breaks the camel's back.

It is, therefore, very important to know what your cholesterol levels are and to keep them at a healthy level before you have any problems.

High risk cholesterol

If your total cholesterol level is 240 or more, it's definitely high. You have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, you should have your LDL and HDL cholesterol tested. Ask your doctor for advice. Close to 20 percent of the U.S. population has high blood cholesterol levels.

Borderline-high risk

People whose total cholesterol is 200 to 239 mg/dL have borderline-high cholesterol. About a third of American adults are in this group, while almost half of adults have total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL. In fact, people who have a total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL have twice the risk of coronary heart disease as people whose cholesterol level is 200 mg/dL. Does physical activity affect cholesterol?

Other factors that affect blood cholesterol levels:

Heredity - High cholesterol often runs in families. Even though specific genetic causes have been identified in only a minority of cases, genes still play a role in influencing blood cholesterol levels. If your parents have high cholesterol, you need to be tested to see if your cholesterol levels are also elevated.

Age and gender - Before menopause, women tend to have total cholesterol levels lower than men at the same age. Cholesterol levels naturally rise as men and women age. Menopause is often associated with increases in LDL cholesterol in women.

Stress - Studies have not shown stress to be directly inked to cholesterol levels. But experts say that because people sometimes eat fatty foods to console themselves when under stress, this can cause higher blood cholesterol.

Excess weight - Being overweight tends to increase blood cholesterol levels. Losing weight has been shown to help lower levels. A greater risk of increased cholesterol levels occurs when that extra weight is centered in the abdominal region, as opposed to the legs or buttocks.

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New Technology Brings Improved Diagnosis Of Heart Disease

(category: Cardio, Word count: 341)
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Heart disease is the leading killer of Americans. According to the American Heart Association, more than 13 million Americans are affected and, when diagnosing heart disease, using the best medical imaging technology available is crucial.

Until recently, diagnosing heart disease was difficult without a costly and invasive surgical procedure, especially for patients with little or no history of a heart condition.

But now, new medical imaging technology has vastly improved the area of computed tomography or CT scanning, which renders 3-D images of internal parts of the body, including the heart, brain and other organs, to make noninvasive diagnoses of heart disease and even stroke faster and more accurate.

As with most medical imaging procedures, image quality is key. If the scanned image does not clearly represent all the minute details, the diagnosis may not be as accurate. And today's latest CT technology allows doctors to not only see things they've never seen before, meaning patients are getting the most accurate diagnosis possible, but also conduct faster exams on critically ill patients who might find it difficult to remain still for long periods of time.

For instance, the new Toshiba Aquilion 32 CFX multislice CT system is currently the industry's finest resolution scanner available for cardiovascular imaging, producing 32 slices of detailed images as thin as .5 millimeters.

Using this new equipment, a detailed three-dimensional image is produced to allow doctors to see the heart from virtually any angle, which results in greater confidence in diagnosing heart diseases and abnormalities.

Inevitably, better diagnosis leads to better treatment. As we become more aware of the dangers of heart disease, we should also be aware of the medical technology available to our doctors. If you have the option of seeing a doctor with access to the latest medical imaging technology versus another doctor with access to dated technology, which one would you prefer?

You can be a better-informed patient. Ask your doctor about the quality of the imaging equipment on which you will be scanned.

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Signs Of High Blood Pressure

(category: Cardio, Word count: 310)
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High blood pressure is known as a silent killer. And probably most don't even think about their blood pressure. However, high blood pressure can be quite fatal. There are some symptoms that can indicate that you have high blood pressure, and can prevent you from having a stroke. So continue reading as it might save your life or the life of someone you know.

Some of the typical signs of high blood pressure are headaches, dizziness, pounding in the ears and a bloody nose. But some people experience a small pain in the back of their head or have an increase in urination.

Though an increase in urination could mean your blood sugar is really high, if you are diabetic. That's why it's hard to see the signs. But if you are diabetic and you are experiencing an increase in urination and headaches, then just check your blood sugar and see if that is the cause. If it is not then you can rule out high blood sugar, and find out if you have high blood pressure.

Adding salt to your diet can also inflate your risk of having blood pressure. Having too much salt in your diet can increase your blood pressure. Talk to your doctor if need to cut down on your salt intake.

But if you have to cut down on the salt, you can use many other herbs instead of salt. Garlic, chives, and onions are good alternatives. Cutting down on the slat is not so bad, just think of the alternative.

You shouldn't ignore high blood pressure; it can be very fatal if unchecked. The result could be you having a stroke. A stroke can be very deadly and limit your movements. So go to the doctor and see if you have high blood pressure.

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Cardio May Be A Waste Of Time Without This Knowledge

(category: Cardio, Word count: 915)
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The most important factor for improving cardiorespiratory fitness (cardio or CR) is the intensity of the workout. Changes in CR fitness are directly related to how "hard" an aerobic exercise is performed. The more energy expended per unit of time, the greater the intensity of the exercise, the greater the effect on cardiorespiratory fitness.

You have to know how hard is "hard" to determine if an aerobic exercise like running is producing a CR training effect or if it's just burning a few calories. The heart rate during work or exercise is an excellent indicator of how much effort you are exerting. Only by keeping track of your heart rate during a workout can you be sure that the intensity is enough to improve your CR fitness level. In other words, your ability to monitor your heart rate is the single most important key to success in CR training.

Training Heart Rate (THR) = Desired Intensity of the Workout

THR is the heart rate at which you need to exercise to get a training effect. The U.S. Army fitness gurus have given us two methods to determine THR. The first method, percent maximum heart rate (%MHR) is simpler to use, while the second method, percent heart rate reserve (%HRR) is more accurate.

%MHR Method

With this method the THR is figured using the estimated maximal heart rate. You can estimate your maximum heart rate (MHR) by subtracting your age from 220. Thus, a 20 year old would have an estimated maximum heart rate (MHR) of 200 beats per minute (220 - 20 = 200).

A person who is in poor shape should exercise at 70 percent of his MHR; if he is in relatively good shape, at 80 percent MHR; and, if he is in excellent shape, at 90 percent MHR.

Examples:

A 20 year old in good physical condition would have a THR of 160 beats per minute (BPM). 220 - 20 = 200 * .80 = 160 BPM.

A 30 year old in good physical condition would have a THR of 152 beats per minute (BPM). 220 - 30 = 190 * .80 = 152 BPM.

A 40 year old in poor physical condition would have a THR of 126 beats per minute (BPM). 220 - 40 = 180 * .70 = 126 BPM.

%HRR Method

A more accurate way to calculate THR is the %HRR method. The range from 60 to 90 %HRR is the THR range in which people should exercise to improve their CR fitness levels. If you know your general level of CR fitness, you can determine which percentage of HRR is a good starting point

for you. For example, a person in excellent physical condition could start at 85 percent of his HRR; if he is in reasonably good shape, at 70 percent HRR; and, if he is in poor shape, at 60 percent HRR.

Most CR workouts should be conducted with the heart rate between 70 to 75 percent HRR to attain, or maintain, an adequate level of fitness. A person who has reached a high level of fitness may derive more benefit from working at a higher percentage of HRR, particularly if he cannot find more than 20 minutes for CR exercise.

Exercising at any lower percentage of HRR than 60 does not give the heart, muscles, and lungs an adequate training stimulus. Exercising at more than 90 percent can be dangerous. Before anyone begins aerobic training, he should know his THR (the heart rate at which he needs to exercise to get a training effect).

The example below shows how to figure the THR by using the resting heart rate (RHR) and age to estimate heart rate reserve (HRR). A 20 year old in reasonably good physical shape is the example.

STEP 1: Determine the MHR by subtracting your age from 220. i.e. MHR = 220 - 20 = 200.

STEP 2: Determine the resting heart rate (RHR) in beats per minute (BPM) by counting the resting pulse for 30 seconds, and multiply the count by two. A shorter period can be used, but a 30 second count is more accurate. This count should be taken while you are completely relaxed and rested. For this example we use a RHR of 69 BPM.

STEP 3: Determine the heart rate reserve (HRR) by subtracting the RHR from the estimate MHR. i.e. HRR = 200 - 69 = 131 BPM

STEP 4: Calculate THR by (1) multiplying HRR by the relative fitness level as a percentage and (2) adding the result to the HRR. For example, our 20 year old in good physical condition will exercise at 70% HRR.

(1) .70 * 131 = 91.7

(2) 91.7 + 69 = 160.7

In summary, a reasonably fit 20-year-old with a resting heart rate (RHR) of 69 BPM has a training heart rate (THR) goal of 161 BPM.

During aerobic exercise, the body will usually have reached a "Steady State" after five minutes of exercise, and the heart rate will have leveled off. At this time and, immediately after exercising, is when you should monitor your heart rate to see if you are within your desired THR range.

If your pulse rate is below the THR, you must exercise harder to increase your pulse to the THR. If your pulse is above the THR, you should reduce the intensity to reduce the pulse rate to the THR goal.

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Exercise Bikes How Far They Have Come

(category: Cardio, Word count: 503)
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The exercise bike has long been the type of exercising that people just love to do. Why? It is relatively easy to do and it allows people to exercise at virtually any time, in a number of different ways. It is through these bikes that people can tone muscle or lose weight. They can find an excellent amount of help through these bikes as well. If you are one of the many that love to work hard and want an exercise bike that will work for you, then this may just be the right option to think about. But, wait; did we mention the various types of exercise bikes on the market?

Just Look At The Options!

The exercise bike has really come a long way from the days of a stationary bike that you can ride. They used to be quite similar to those bikes that are rode out of doors, but now they have become complex machines. Now, although you can choose any of the exercise bike options that you find, it is important to realize that the true benefit to the bike comes only from getting on it and getting in that workout. In other words, you need to invest the time in the bike to gain anything from those features.

Some of the features that you will find on exercise bikes are those that will enhance your performance. One of the major problems or differences between the stationary bike and those that are real bikes is that you don't get the up and down of hills that help to intensify a workout. But, this is possible and does happen when you use an exercise bike that you can tighten and release the tension off of. Also, some exercise bikes can be inclined at different levels to simulate the effects of bike riding.

Exercise bikes can also monitor your performance better. Yes, they can tell you how well you are doing. Many exercise bikes are equipped with mileage counters. Some have calorie burner counters as well. Still others will track your speed. On top of these elements, you will find heart rate monitor bikes that will actually track and monitor your heart's beat throughout the course. Want to analyze this data? Some exercise bikes will allow you to download the information to your computer or will allow you to track and use it right on the bike.

Just remember, as much as you want to have these excellent features, you have to commit to the exercise as well. That means that you have to get on the bike and get the workout done, regularly because if you don't nothing is gained. Take some time to find just the right features and priced exercise bike for you and get to working out! If you use your exercise bike fully and regularly, then you will reap the rewards of increased health and wellness that loss of weight and increased muscle tone can do for you.

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Get To Know The Physical Symptoms Of High Blood Pressure

(category: Cardio, Word count: 408)
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Hypertension can sometimes confuse both the patient and the doctor for a couple of reasons. One, the physical symptoms of high blood pressure can vary quite widely. And secondly, it shares many symptoms with other diseases or conditions.

That's why, in dealing with any illness, a thorough examination of the patient, including checking blood pressure, is essential.

It is quite common for patients to visit the doctor for one illness only to be told that their real problem is high blood pressure.

Undiagnosed hypertension can affect all the major organs of the body, including the heart, kidneys and liver. It is also capable of affecting vision and causing strokes.

The physical symptoms of high blood pressure can include giddiness, headaches, blurry vision, tremors, convulsions and difficulty in walking or exerting oneself and clinical depression, among other things.

Difficulty in even minor physical exertion and unusual tiredness may be signs of cardiac damage from high blood pressure. Excessive perspiration and breathlessness can also signal this condition. This is a serious situation and calls for immediate medical attention.

Damage to kidneys can cause symptoms like increase in frequency of urination or pain while passing urine. The skin may appear to be dull due to dehydration and electrolyte loss.

High blood pressure can affect vision causing lesions in the ocular region. If left untreated, it can cause loss of vision.

The problem is that many of these symptoms can cause the physician to suspect other diseases. Sometimes, the high blood pressure can also be a symptom of another underlying problem. Comprehensive testing may be necessary to zero in on the real problem.

In cases where hypertension caused damage to major organs, the real underlying problem (high blood pressure) may be missed. To avoid misdiagnosis, a blood pressure check is routinely done for a wide variety of complaints.

Some of the symptoms of hypertension are similar to those of diabetes. Some are even similar to that of a person who is heavily drunk!

In fact, there have been cases where hypertension was not detected or treated because it was assumed that the symptoms were induced by alcohol.

The range of physical symptoms of high blood pressure is wide enough to present real problems. Having any of the above symptoms is reason enough to consult a health care professional at the earliest.

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How Can A Wine And Cheese Party Lower Your Blood Pressure

(category: Cardio, Word count: 494)
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A wine and cheese party can be a fun way to relax and make new friends. It's also a great way to lower your blood pressure.

Cheese and wine parties are great for large get-togethers. Make it lots of fun by having every guest bring a bottle of wine and an exotic cheese. It's a fantastic way to try new wines and cheeses ... and a perfect conversation starter.

A cheese and wine party is also the perfect way to relax ... both yourself and your arteries. Wine is good for lowering blood pressure ... and so is cheese.

A Glass of Red Wine

Red wine contains a protective antioxidant - the flavonol called resveratrol. This powerful antioxidant protects your arteries against the damage done by free radicals ... and helps prevent hardening of your arteries.

The flavonoid in red wine also keeps your blood platelets from clumping together ... stopping this first step in the formation of deadly blood clots. A glass of red wine keeps your blood flowing smoothly through your arteries.

Even more important for your blood pressure ... recent studies have shown that drinking red wine improves the function of your artery linings. When the linings of your arteries are working well ... they freely dilate and bring down your blood pressure.

A glass or two of red wine a day ... this is the perfect amount to keep your heart and arteries young - and keep your blood pressure normal. The darker the red wine ... the better. Dark red wines are higher in the protective resveratrol flavonoid. Forget about white wines ... they pale by comparison.

A Wedge of Cheese

Although cheese has lots of saturated fat and can raise cholesterol levels ... a little cheese is good for you. Like red wine, cheese is good for you if eaten in moderation.

During the cheese making process, while the milk is fermenting ... peptides are released from the milk proteins. These peptides help control your blood pressure ... by inhibiting the enzymes that convert angiotensin.

When the protein angiotensin is converted into angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a peptide that constricts your arteries and increases the retention of water and sodium. This whole process really pumps up your blood pressure.

The other peptides - found in fermented milk products like cheese - put a stop to this reaction that ups the blood pressure. Eating a small wedge of cheese blocks the enzyme that creates angiotensin II, keeps your arteries relaxed, and keeps your blood pressure down.

Relax With a Glass of Shiraz and a Slice of Gruyere

After a hard day at the office ... when tension has got your blood pressure creeping up ... enjoy some nice cheeses with a glass of red wine. Relax ... relax your arteries ... bring your blood pressure back down to normal. Your heart will love you for it.

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The Organ We Love How The Heart Works

(category: Cardio, Word count: 324)
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Being the strongest muscle in the body, the hearts purpose is to pump blood through our blood vessels through rhythmic contractions. To regulate blood pressure and volume, the heart secrets "ANF", which is a very powerful peptide hormone. It affects the regulatory region of the brain, as well as the kidneys, blood vessels, and the adrenal glands.

First off, i would like to clear up a worldwide rumor; the Heart is not located on the left side of your body! Its actual location is found in the center of your chest, just SLIGHTLY of to the left hand side, and underneath the sternum. For protection, the heart is enveloped in a sac called the pericardium, and is surrounded by the lungs. First thought is, "why does the strongest muscle in the body need so much protection?". It's fragile! Weighing in at about 300 grams, the heart consists of 4 chambers; 2 lower ventricles and 2 upper atria. Valves between the atrium and the ventricle control proper blood flow from one to the other.

The job of pumping blood everywhere in the body is a huge responsibilty. Each and every beat of the heart consists of a sequence of events called the cardiac cycle. "Cardiac" is greek, meaning "heart". There is 3 major steps in the sequence: atrial systole, ventricular systole and complete cardiac diastole. After the blood has completely left the atria, the atrioventricular valves (located between atria and ventricular chambers), close to prevent backflow. This function is what you would recognize as your heartbeat. Next, there is a contraction of the ventricles and flow of blood into the circulatory system. This is known as the ventricular systole. Once again, valves called "pulmonary" and "aortic semilunar" close to prevent backflow. After these 2 steps, the heart takes a quick break called complete cardiac diastole. This allows the refilling of blood and to start the process over.

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