What Is the Role of Cholestrol? | Fullerton, CA

When it comes to our health, we always hear about ways we can lower our cholesterol levels. But have you ever stopped to wonder what exactly cholesterol is and why we need to be so concerned with its levels? Let’s take a quick look…

Cholesterol is an essential building block for the normal metabolism of the body. Cholesterol is a lipid (fat). The liver produces 90% of the body’s cholesterol (usually during sleep). This is primarily a genetic factor; only 10% comes from food. Herein lies the issue: Lipids cannot circulate alone in the blood stream (fat and water do not mix) – they require a transport system. How do we transport those lipids? ‘Water-soluble’ proteins called lipoproteins transport cholesterol in the blood.

There are three main types of lipoproteins that transport cholesterol:

HDL (high-density lipoprotein). Referred to as “good” cholesterol, because it removes cholesterol from arterial plaque and transports it back to the liver to be metabolized.

LDL (low-density lipoprotein). Referred to as “bad” cholesterol, because it deposits cholesterol into the inflamed plaque of the artery wall.

VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein). This lipoprotein is directly related to the level of   triglycerides.

Total cholesterol is the sum of all three types of lipoproteins. Measuring these and the triglyceride level produces a lipid profile. The ratio is the total cholesterol divided by the HDL level (the lower, the better).

Women are frequently told their cholesterol levels and “ratio” are either normal, or if abnormal, their ‘good’ cholesterol is ‘OK’. The problem is 50% of women who suffer their first heart attack or stroke have ‘normal’ cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association.

If you would like more information on cholesterol, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Protect Your Heart’s Health | Fullerton, CA

It is a scary thought to know you are at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, it is a truth we all need to accept. Every year, millions of Americans suffer from a heart attack, and nearly half of those heart attacks are fatal. Strokes are the leading cause of disability and the third leading cause of death in men and women. It’s time to take control and get heart healthy. In honor of National Stroke Awareness Month, here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to heart attack and stroke prevention:

Quit smoking. If you’re a smoker, you really need to consider quitting. As you already know, smoking is very unhealthy, not only for your overall health, but for your heart. Nicotine actually narrows and restricts blood vessels.

Exercise more. You should exercise daily, or at least walk two miles a day. You don’t need to walk those two miles all at once, exercise doesn’t just burn calories. Exercise also activates genes that are very beneficial to your health.

Learn to de-stress. Stress contributes to lots of health issues, including heart disease. If you find that you are stressed often, try reducing stress by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, volunteering and laughing. Also, try to avoid stressful situations and people that make you anxious or angry.

Watch your cholesterol. Having high levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, increases your risk of heart disease. Cholesterol levels can be improved with exercise and healthy eating habits.

A heart-healthy diet. Eating a healthy well-balanced diet can reduce your risk of getting heart disease. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in order to maintain consistent good health.

If you would like more information on heart health tips, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Should I Get Hormone Therapy? | Fullerton, CA

As women progress into their 50’s, it is likely that they will begin to experience menopause. Menopause is a natural occurring event when their ovaries cease producing estrogen, thereby marking the end of the reproductive period of her life. The problem is women are living so much longer than they were, living well into their 80’s, which means menopause can even take up a third of their lives.

Peri-menopause is diagnosed when the menstrual cycles vary in frequency and length and may be associated with psychological, emotional and/or physical symptoms. These disturbances are due to a declining ovarian production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that may be periodic or continuous. In order to deal with the drastic changes going on, many sought relief in hormone therapy. However, symptoms arose with those additional hormones and studies were conducted to see if any other health issues arose by using hormone therapy, like breast cancer, stroke and heart disease.

In April 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer over time, and those who did develop breast cancer were 63% less likely to die from their disease. Among the women with a prior hysterectomy treated with estrogen alone and followed for 11 years, there was NO increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, hip fracture, colon cancer or mortality. Importantly, there was a persistent decrease in the risk of breast cancer.

After a decade of fear and confusion regarding the risks and benefits of estrogen replacement therapy, medical studies have now clearly established its safety and its health benefits.

If you would like more information on menopausal hormone therapy, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Your Broken Heart May Be Cause for Concern | Fullerton, CA

Of all the emotions one tries to avoid at all costs, it would have to be heartbreak. The end of a relationship or situation that you are emotionally invested in can not only affect your spirit and cause a spike in your sugar intake but can actually cause health issues. Believe it or not, but broken heart syndrome is real and closely imitates a heart attack. Like a heart attack, broken heart syndrome has similar symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Broken heart syndrome, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, can strike even the healthiest of people, but the exact cause is still unclear. Women are more likely to experience a sudden chest pain caused by an emotionally stressful event. Known triggers of broken heart syndrome are unexpected death of a loved one, divorce or separation, betrayal, or even a surprise party. In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart enlarges for a short period and doesn’t pump as well, while other parts of your heart function just fine. It can be life-threatening, but most make a complete recovery. So, before you write off your feelings as just that, take a look at these signs and symptoms:

  • EKG (test that records hearts electric activity) results aren’t the same as someone who is having a heart attack
  • Tests show no signs of blockage in the coronary arteries
  • Blood tests show no or little signs of heart damage
  • Tests show ballooning of the lower left heart chamber
  • Fast recovery time, typically within days or weeks

If you would like more information on broken heart syndrome, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Am I Having a Heart Attack? Fullerton, CA

Heart HealthWith all the focus on the American Red Cross and their Go Red for Women campaign this month we thought we’d focus on women’s heart health. What better way to keep our hearts in tiptop shape than by knowing the signs of a heart attack? After all, women don’t experience the same signs of a heart attack men do. So, let’s be aware and take the warning signs to heart…

Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. Seems familiar, doesn’t it? They’re also symptoms that women often brush off as the flu, stress or simply feeling under the weather—which could put their lives in jeopardy.

The most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort, like men. But it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back/jaw pain. Other symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Women who consider themselves healthy often misdiagnose the symptoms of a heart attack because they don’t think it could happen to them. It’s crucial to learn about heart disease and stroke, live a heart-healthy lifestyle and be aware of the risk factors of heart disease.

If you would like more information on symptoms of a heart attack, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Start the New Year with a Healthy Heart | Fullerton, CA

It’s January – and we are all in the midst of our new year resolutions. Some focus on life, others focus on health, but all are working towards building healthy habits going forward. One of the main focuses for becoming healthier is heart disease prevention. After all, more and more Americans are becoming diagnosed with many health conditions. Being diagnosed with problems such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol should be a wake up call to start to strive toward a healthier lifestyle. Good news is, there are many ways to prevent and even go about lowering both your high cholesterol and high blood pressure. And since we are all in the mood to make some changes for the better, this is the ideal time to make that start. Fortunately, these prevention tips aren’t difficult to work into your lifestyle, so it won’t be an overhaul to your current situation. Take a look at the following lifestyle changes that will help get your heart health on track:

  • Lower & maintain healthy weight
  • Eat heart-healthy meals
  • Be or get more active
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Quit smoking
  • Control cholesterol

Making heart healthy changes before you develop conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol is extremely crucial. Many of us aren’t aware that heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the US, so taking action to keep your heart healthy is very important. Not only for you, but for your loved ones as well. Lifestyle changes affect everyone, and these are some great tips to carry with you throughout your life.

If you would like more information on healthy heart tips, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Am I Having a Stroke? | Fullerton, CA

Heart HealthCardiovascular disease, which includes coronary artery heart disease, stroke and peripheral arterial disease (PAD), is the leading cause of death of both American women and men. Statistics show that women and men have different outcomes from this disease. Women are more likely than men to die from a heart attack or stroke than men. However, the misconception still exists that cardiovascular disease is not a real problem for women.

CAD is a condition in which one more of the heart’s arteries is narrowed or blocked by cholesterol plaque called “atherosclerosis” in which decreases the blood flow to the heart muscle. Chest discomfort or pain called angina can occur when the heart muscle does not receive adequate blood and oxygen, such as during exertion, strong emotions or extreme temperatures. The discomfort typically lasts less than ten minutes.

Women are more likely than men to have a hidden or sub-clinical type of CAD, which may cause only chest discomfort (rather than pain), minor EKG abnormalities or minor abnormal stress tests. This hidden type of heart disease does not involve the larger arteries supplying the heart, but it is due to disease of the small branches of the coronary arteries called micro vessels. Frequently, normal arteries are found on angiograms of the heart in women.

Other causes of chest discomfort that are not related to the heart include acid reflux, inflammation of the chest wall or lung inflammation. If you have episodes of chest discomfort, you should see your physician for an evaluation.

If you would like more information on stroke symptoms, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Keep Your Heart in Tip Top Shape | Fullerton, CA

It is always important to take care of your health by getting regular check-ups. And sometimes, this will include going in to check on our heart’s health. After all, the heart is keeping our blood pumping through our system, so if something goes awry, we know why. To do this, you will need an Echocardiogram.

What is an Echocardiogram?

An Echocardiogram (ECHO) is a special non-invasive office ultrasound examination that determines the health of the heart by evaluating both its anatomy and function.

Who should have an Echocardiogram? Individuals of any age who have any of the following:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Heart murmur or other abnormal heart examination finding
  • Mitral valve prolapse (MVP)
  • Irregular heart rhythm or palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Ankle swelling
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • History of diet pill use
  • History of congenital heart defects

What information does Echocardiography provide? An ECHO examination of the heart will measure the following:

  • The four heart chambers that receive circulating blood (atriums) and then pump the blood (ventricles) to the lungs and body. Both the size of the chambers and the thickness of the chamber walls are measured. (Note: High blood pressure can cause wall thickening and subsequent weakening of the heart muscle.)
  • Pumping function of the heart muscle, while in motion
  • Heart valve structure including prolapse (MVP) or leaking
  • Pressure within the heart and lungs in patients with a history of diet pill use
  • Detects blood clots, masses or infections of the heart
  • Detects inflammation or fluid accumulation around the heart

If you would like more information on Echocardiograms, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

October Is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month | Fullerton, CA

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among American women, affecting around 230,000 women each year. Raising breast cancer awareness is extremely important as it does not discriminate; it affects people of all ages and races. One of the first steps we can take towards effectively identifying and treating breast cancer is by taking preventive action and being aware of the symptoms that come along with this terrible disease. The following list includes breast cancer symptoms that we should all be aware of:

  • Nipple tenderness, lump or thickening in or near your breast or underarm area
  • Change in skin texture
  • Lumps
  • Change in breast or nipple appearance
  • Unexplained swelling or shrinkage of your breast
  • Recent unexplained asymmetry
  • Slightly inward or inverted nipple
  • Breast, areola, or nipple becomes red, scaly or swollen
  • Nipple discharge (particularly clear or bloody)

Most times these symptoms are not due to cancer, but if you have any breast cancer symptoms you should be seen by your doctor immediately to be sure you’re healthy and cancer free. Even if you haven’t experienced any symptoms, it’s still incredibly important to be seen for regular screenings. Your doctor is always able to check for breast cancer before you have any noticeable symptoms.

Keeping an eye on any changes in your breasts is a great way to catch any issues that can arise. There is no rhyme or reason cancer appears in patients – make sure you do everything you can to ensure you aren’t at risk. We are all at risk without a cure.

If you would like more information on breast cancer, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding areas.

Improve Your Life One Goal at a Time | Fullerton, CA

We are our own worst critics. We are all guilty of having many areas of our lives that we would like to improve upon, and all improvement requires hard work and motivation. In walks the month of September…

September marks National Self-Improvement Month, a month to take the time to improve aspects that may be holding you back from being a happier and healthy version of yourself. Try these tips:

Get physical. Physical activity is very important to your overall health. Focus on whether you want to lose weight, boost your energy level, or just cut your salt intake, and set a goal to do so. If you have a certain fitness goal, create a realistic plan that you’ll be able to stick to for the long haul.

Eat a healthy diet. When you eat healthy food, you’re getting the nutrition your body requires. Evaluate your diet and see if there are any eating habits that need improvement. A few small changes in your diet can affect your health and the way you feel about yourself.

Take time to de-stress. Stress can take a major toll on your health and mentality. Be sure that you take some time to yourself by scheduling a designated day each month to take time to do something that you enjoy.

National Self-Improvement Month is the perfect time for you to take step back to evaluate yourself, find the areas you wish to improve and get motivated to take back control of your life.

If you would like more information on high blood pressure, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD in Fullerton, CA at 714-912-2211 to schedule an appointment today. Or visit www.gordongunnmd.com for additional information regarding women’s health. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Buena Park, La Mirada, Yorba Linda, Diamond Bar, Walnut and all surrounding Orange County areas.