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Know the Signs of a Heart Attack | Heart Health Fullerton, Ca

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With 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 for this months blog with focus on knowing the signs of a heart attack in women.

You may have heard how women don’t experience the same signs as men do when experiencing a heart attack. So lets be aware and take the warning signs to heart.

Here’s what you should know:

Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. Believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. 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. As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. 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 or jaw pain.

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. That is why it’s crucial to learn about heart disease and stroke, know your numbers, live a heart-healthy lifestyle and be aware of the risk factors of heart disease. (Source: goredforwomen.org)

 

Contact Gordon Gunn, MD. Dr. Gunn can access your health status and put you on the road to a healthier you. Call today at 714-912-2211 or visit our website at gethearthealthytoday.com.

The Effects of Stress on your Health | Heart Health Fullerton, CA

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Wellness is a dynamic process and it changes with age and circumstance. Understanding your current state of wellness improves your knowledge, helps you set goals and empowers you to make better choices for a healthier life. Stress can greatly affect your wellness. Understanding more about stress and how to limit your stress can help lead you to a path of wellness.

Common Symptoms of Stress:

  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Recurring nightmares
  • Irritability
  • Loss of concentration

Common Causes of Stress:

  • Health problems
  • Financial concerns
  • Communication issues at work and home
  • Social isolation

It is important to investigate symptoms of stress as prolonged stress poses a potential health threat. Chronic stress is believed to raise the risk of increased blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic back pain, depression and a reduced immune response.

Effective steps for dealing with stress:

  • Discuss your symptoms and your feelings about them
  • Keep a diary to gain insight into your concerns and emotional patterns
  • Exercise regularly engaging in both aerobic and weight training
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation deep breathing exercises
  • Maintain your immune system by eating well balanced meals, exercising regularly and
  • getting sufficient sleep
  • Avoid destructive behaviors, including overindulgence of alcohol, caffeine or smoking
  • Seek professional help if any of your symptoms persist, interfering with your sense of well-being and/or your personal/work relationships.
  • Medications

If you fear stress could be having an adverse effect on your health contact Gordon Gunn, MD. Dr. Gunn can access your health status and put you on the road to a healthier you. Call today at 714-912-2211 or visit our website at gethearthealthytoday.com.

Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke

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Cardiovascular 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 subclinical 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.

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology and womens health. Don’t continue to suffer and make yourself a priority, call his office today for an appointment at 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

Echocardiogram

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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.

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology and womens health. Don’t continue to suffer and make yourself a priority, call his office today for an appointment at 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

High Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure or  hypertension currently affects 1 out of every 3 American adults. High blood
pressure often has no signs or symptoms and is therefore called the “silent killer” as it is one of the most important factors leading to heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, kidney disease and early death.
Blood pressure changes constantly throughout the day to respond to what you are doing, thinking and feeling. Blood pressure readings in a doctor’s office are a snap shot of the overall pressure. Some people have higher readings in the office than at home, a condition called “white coat hypertension”. Measuring blood pressure at home at various times of the day gives the most accurate idea of your true blood pressure. Relatively inexpensive home blood pressure monitors are available at most pharmacies. The pressure should be measured in a sitting position with your elbow supported at the heart level. You should sit quietly for 5 minutes before testing the pressure and take it twice with a brief break in between.
Two numbers are recorded with blood pressure readings. The top number is called the
systolic pressure reflecting the amount of pressure generated when the heart is contracting. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure that reflects the pressure when the heart is relaxing between beats. The latest national guidelines for blood pressure are as follows:
Making healthful lifestyle changes can control or improve blood pressure.
Here are 10 steps that can help to lower your blood pressure:
1) Monitor blood pressure at home. This will result in the most accurate assessment of your blood
pressure.
2) Regular exercise improves blood vessel flexibility and heart function. It can be as simple as
walking regularly and may decrease blood pressure by 10 points.
3) Eat well. The American Heart Association recommends the ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop
Hypertension’ (DASH) diet. This diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products,
whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
4) Lose weight, if overweight. Losing even 10% of your current weight can make a big difference.
5) Discontinue smoking. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and can cause a 20 -point increase in
blood pressure.
6) Drink alcohol in moderation. One drink a day for women may be good for the heart and blood vessels.
7) Limit salt intake. Too much sodium and too little potassium can increase blood pressure in
people who are sensitive to salt. Aim for less the 1.5 grams of sodium and more than 4.7 grams
of potassium daily. Many salt substitutes contain potassium.
8) Sleep at least 6-8 hours a night. Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to high blood pressure
and increased chance of developing heart disease.
9) Reduce stress. Mental and emotional stress can increase blood pressure while meditation, deep
breathing and other stress-reducing activities can lower it.
10) Take prescribed blood pressure medication. Taking blood pressure pills should not make you
feel differently and can keep you from having a stroke or heart attack.

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology and women’s health.  Don’t continue to suffer, call his office today for an appointment 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

Are My Arteries “On Fire”?

Role of Inflammation in Plaque Formation and Rupture

Chronic inflammation in the body is the root cause of many medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease. Other diseases related to inflammation are diabetes, depression, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation attacks the walls of the arteries and increases risk of plaque formation and plaque rupture: the cause of heart attacks and strokes. Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism to fight off infection and toxins. If the natural balance of our immune system is disrupted, it can shift into a chronic state of inflammation, adversely affecting our entire body, including our arteries where cholesterol is then deposited and plaque buildup begins. (See ‘How Plaque Causes a Heart Attack or Stroke’ article)

The following three blood tests are independent predictors of risk factors for heart attacks and stroke:

  • CRP-hs (C-Reactive Protein-highly sensitive) is a simple blood test that measures the amount of inflammation in the body.   Lp-PLA2 is a blood enzyme that is released from vulnerable, rupture-prone plaque in the arteries.  Elevated levels of both Lp-PLA2 and CRP-hs increases the risk for a heart or stroke event of up to  5X the normal risk.
  • MPO (myeloperoxidase) is an enzyme in white blood cells that is linked to inflammation and plaque activity. MPO is a marker for vulnerable rupture-prone plaque. Elevated blood levels of MPO predict an early risk of heart attack in patients with chest pain.

For more information: www.clevelandheartlab.com/wp-content/uploads/…/MPO-Practice.pdf

Obvious causes of inflammation include arthritis, infection and injury. Other causes include:

  •  Diet high in sugars, refined flour, trans fats, saturated fats and processed foods
  •  Overweight, especially abdominal fat (Waist: Women – 35” and Men – 40”)
  •  Smoking
  •  Lack of exercise
  •  Stress, physical and emotional
  •  Sleep deprivation of less than 7 hours per night (possible Sleep Apnea)
  •  Toxins (mercury, lead)
  •  Food allergies, such as gluten and dairy
  •  Nutritional deficiencies including Vitamins D, B, C and Omega-3 fatty acids

How can inflammation be lowered?

  •  Diet: LOW in trans/saturated and low glycemic index carbohydrates, HIGH in monounsaturated fats,
  • fruits and vegetables.
  •  Aerobic Exercise – five days a weeks for 30 minutes/day
  •  Smoking cessation
  •  Weight loss – goal of BMI below 25
  •  Omega 3 fatty acid supplements (EPA & DHA)
  •  Fruits and vegetables
  •  Stress management techniques
  •  Adequate sleep
  •  Medications & Supplements, including Statins, Fibrates, Niacin, Vitamin D3, fiber

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology.  Don’t continue to suffer, call his office today for an appointment 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

 

Heart Disease & Stroke – Update 2014

Consider the Following Facts:

  •  Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) includes heart attacks, strokes and peripheral artery disease (abdomen and legs). CAD is the number one cause of death in the United States, resulting in over 900,000 deaths annually and representing nearly one half of ALL causes of death.
  • Additionally, hundreds of thousand of women and men survive their initial attack and frequently with varying degrees of disability.
  • For an excellent overview of cholesterol and the role of plaque in causing heart attacks, strokes and peripheral arterial disease visit: www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/cholesterol-and-artery-plaque-buildup

Good News: Over the past two decades major advances in the research of cardiovascular
disease and the role of cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaque has demonstrated that this process
is potentially preventable and reversible, thereby preventing heart attacks and strokes.
In 2004 I began a clinical study using screening office vascular ultrasound testing to diagnose
the presence of cholesterol plaque within the carotid arteries to the brain, abdominal aorta and
the femoral arteris in the lower extremities. When any plaque is present, a complete diagnostic
carotid artery duplex ultrasound is performed to determine exactly what type and location of
the plaque is present as well as the amount of narrowing (stenosis) of the artery, blood flow
pressures and surface contour of the plaque. This diagnostic carotid artery study establishes a
baseline with which future ultrasounds can be compared for stability, progression or regression.
Results to date: In patients who have made significant changes in their lifestyle habits and have
followed my recommendations, the result has been very encouraging. In nearly 2000 patients
the progression of their disease (as measured by their carotid artery plaque) has been stopped,
stabilized and even reversed. And to my knowledge no events have occurred to date. In fact,
there are a number of patients who NO longer have any evidence of their previous plaque. The
ramifications of these findings are monumental for the potential of significantly reducing the
mortality and the morbidity caused by this disease.
Remember: Plaque may be common as we age, but it is NOT normal. It is a disease and is still
is the Number 1 cause of death and disability in the U.S. However, it has been clearly
demonstrated that plaque can be stopped and even reversed.
 The Key:
o Diagnosing the presence of plaque before it ruptures, causing a heart attack or stroke.
o Treating patients with asymptomatic (subclinical) disease (plaque) in the same manner as
those patients who have had a heart attack or stroke (clinical) and survived.

What Every Women Needs to Know About Heart Attacks | Fullerton, CA

overactive bladder, fullertonThere’s always been a debate about women and heart disease: Are their symptoms different from those of men? Ask any woman that has had a heart attack and they will tell you no. Symptoms in women who are having a heart attack are generally not that different than those experienced by men, say cardiologists.  In a heart attack, men feel heaviness in their chests, shortness of breath, nausea or other general discomfort — just the same as women do.

There’s definitely some confusion out there about the differences between men and women and heart attacks but women are more similar to men than different when it comes to their hearts. When it comes to a heart attack the most common symptom for women experiencing a heart attack is still chest pain.

It has long been believed that the story that women’s symptoms are different is a myth. Where the real difference is is how women communicate and report on heart disease. If a heart attack is not at the top of your list when it comes to the symptoms, many women generally pass off symptoms as indigestion. Women need to start realizing that this is their health and the threat is real.

How real is it, you may be thinking?  On average, every 4 minutes someone dies of a stroke or heart disease and stroke & heart disease are equal opportunity killers. The scariest fact is that the death rate from cardiovascular disease in women is on the rise. The reasons are not entirely clear, but there are suggestions that there may be a difference in the care some women receive. Women may not be treated by a cardiovascular specialist when they experience symptoms.

It’s not unusual for women to put everything before themselves and their health.  It’s deeply concerning that many women would rather complete the last five items on their to-do list than go to an emergency room when they need one the most.  In fact, it was during a recent study that it was brought to light again how women prioritize. When surveyed on their priorities the results were suprizing:

  1. Children
  2. Their homes
  3. Their workplace relationships
  4. Pets!
  5. Husbands

Women didn’t even place themselves on the list! These results make the point that while women may have symptoms that are similar to those of men, those symptoms may not be taken seriously, especially by themselves.

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology and womens health. Don’t continue to suffer and make yourself a priority, call his office today for an appointment at 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

200,000 heart disease, stroke deaths a year are preventable | Fullerton, CA

Rates of avoidable deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure by U.S. county, 2008 to 2010. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Rates of avoidable deaths due to heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure by U.S. county, 2008 to 2010. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

It’s easy to think of heart disease and stroke as an almost inevitable part of aging in a developed country like the United States. After all, they are our leading causes of death and disability. But the truth is that these are largely preventable conditions.

New estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that one-quarter of all deaths from heart disease and stroke are preventable. And that is almost certainly an underestimate.

According to a report, published September 2, 2013 in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, among American adults under age 75, approximately 200,000 of deaths caused each year by heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure (hypertension) are avoidable and preventable. Surprisingly, more than half of those preventable deaths occurred among individuals under age 65.

During a press conference to present the study results, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “As a doctor, I find it heartbreaking to know that the vast majority of people who are having a heart attack or stroke, under the age of 65 in particular, and dying from it didn’t have to have that happen.”

It’s possible that the rate of preventable deaths is lower among those over age 65 because they are covered by Medicare, and so may be more likely to see doctors and receive preventive treatment.

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology and women’s health.  Don’t continue to suffer, call his office today for an appointment 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

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New Model to predicting cancer in Women | Fullerton, CA

Branch of dogwood blossoms against a dark backgroundScientists have developed a new model that can predict a woman’s risk of developing breast, ovarian and endometrial (womb) cancer.

The model uses easily obtainable information on known risk factors for these cancers, according to the researchers.

Researchers developed these models by using data from two large US studies that included white, non-Hispanic women aged over 50 years and by including commonly known risk factors, such as parity (the number of children a women delivered), body mass index (an indicator of the amount of body fat), use of oral contraceptives, and menopausal status and use of menopausal hormone therapy.

Researchers said the new models are able to predict individual women’s risk of each cancer.  For instance, individual women’s risk for endometrial cancer calculated using this model ranged from 0.5% to 29.5% over the next 20 years depending on their exposure to various risk factors.

“These models predict absolute risks for breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers from easily obtainable risk factors and may assist in clinical decision-making,” researchers wrote.

“Limitations are the modest discriminatory ability of the breast and ovarian models and that these models may not generalize to women of other races,” they added.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn, M.D., a specialist in female urology.  Don’t continue to suffer, call his office today for an appointment 714-912-2211 or visit his website at www.gordongunnmd.com.

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

Story written by Christine Hsu for www.counselheal.com.  Story is dated July 30, 2013