Category Archives: Heart Attack

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

 

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.

Heart Attacks & Strokes in Women | Fullerton, CA

Grandparent and daughterUpdated Information That Could Save Your Life

Consider this:

50% of American women die as a result of a heart attack or stroke. Heart attacks and strokes are preventable, according to new medical evidence. Many women underestimate their personal risk level. By participating in the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program you will gain an understanding of your risk, increase your awareness for heart disease, and be empowered with healthy solutions.

Be proactive! Prevent disease!

What Determines Your Risk of Having Heart Attack or Stroke?

  • Heredity: Family history is an important indicator of your future risks, especially if your father had a heart attack before the age of 45 or your mother before the age of 55.
  • Personal:  Factors that contribute to an elevated LDL, an elevated CRP-HS, and the amount of atherosclerotic plaque within your arteries (determined by vascular ultrasound)include:

-Aging, existing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, metabolic syndrome, obesity, stress, excessive alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, and poor nutrition.

-Menopause (estrogen deficiency) raises LDL and lowers HDL. Estrogen replacement is preventative.

-Low thyroid function will increase cholesterol levels.

  • Presence of Atherosclerotic plaque within your coronary or carotid arteries, regardless of your hereditary or personal risk profile. Plaque is a disease of the arteries and can rupture at any stage and cause a potential heart attack or stroke.

Good News! All risk factors, except age, can be reduced with lifestyle changes and proper medical care.

What Causes a Heart Attack or Stroke?

  • Over 90% of heart attacks and strokes are due to plaque within the walls of arteries supplying blood and oxygen to the vital organs of the body.
  • Atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”) occurs when the immune system tries to heal the inflammation within the arterial wall. LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol is deposited within the inflamed lining. The body’s defense mechanisms attempt to reverse the process. However, during the ‘healing’ process LDL cholesterol continues to be deposited forming a plaque with a thin cap (like a cholesterol blister).
  • When the surface capsule of the cholesterol plaque ruptures, releasing cholesterol core material directly into the blood stream, a significant and sudden event occurs: a blood clot is formed causing a potentially fatal blockage of blood flow and oxygen supply.
  • If plaque rupture occurs in the coronary arteries of the heart, the result is a heart attack. If a plaque rupture occurs in the carotid arteries supplying the brain, a stroke occurs. The size and location of the resulting clot determines the severity of the attack and frequently results in death.
  • It is important to understand that plaque rupture can occur with only mild disease and not just with advanced blockage (stenosis). The presence of any amount of plaque is a diagnosis of disease. This explains the frequently heard story of the friend or neighbor that suffered a fatal heart attack the day after a normal EKG Stress Test.
  • Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.

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

Menopause and Hormone Therapy | Fullerton, CA

iStock_000014235018SmallMenopause is a natural occurring event that all women will experience, usually in their early 50’s, when their ovaries cease producing estrogen. Post-menopause is diagnosed when a woman has not menstruated for one year and marks the end of the reproductive period of her life. Gunn Center of Fullerton, CA offers some interesting and useful information on menopause and hormone therapy.

Peri-menopause is diagnosed when the menstrual cycles vary in frequency and length and may be associated with psychological, emotional and/or physical symptoms (discussed later). These disturbances are due to a declining ovarian production of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that may be periodic or continuous. Women born prior to the 1930’s had a life expectancy of about 50 yrs. Today, a woman can expect to live well into her 80’s with over one-third of her life occurring after menopause and be subject to the physical changes discussed later in this paper.

The history of hormone replacement in women has seen many swings in popularity over the past few decades. In 1991 the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) launched the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study involving about 161,000 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50-79 years with an average age of 63 years. The study was designed to test the effects of hormone therapy on heart disease, bone fractures, breast cancer and colon cancer. One group of women who had undergone a hysterectomy received oral estrogen (Premarin) alone [estrogen replacement therapy or ERT]. A second group received a combination of Premarin and progesterone (PremPro) [combination hormone replacement therapy or HRT]. A third group received a placebo, which contained no hormone. In 2002 the study was stopped because the Provera group was associated with a slight increase in the incidence of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and blood clots.

Millions of women in the U.S. stopped their hormone out of fear and they entered into “hot-flash hell”. A recent careful re-analysis and follow up review of the data has revealed that the actual risks of breast cancer, stroke and heart disease were NOT increased over time and were, in fact decreased; especially in women who were perimenapausal when they initiated hormone therapy.

In April 2011 the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a follow-up study of the women in the WHI who took estrogen alone. The finding: a statistically significant reduction in breast cancer over time. Further, those women 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. This finding is now contrary to the persistently held belief that estrogen causes breast cancer and increases the risk of heart attacks.

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. In March 2012 the North American Menopause Society released a statement that supports these findings, stating that combination hormone therapy (both estrogen and progesterone) initiated around the time of menopause is safe.

Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.

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

Women at a Greater Risk for Heart Disease than Men | Fullerton, CA

iStock_000004537186SmallMost people think that heart disease is a problem only for men. However, more woman than men dies from heart disease every year. Woman need to understand their risks and symptoms to reduce their chances of heart diseaseDr. Gordon Gunn of Fullerton, CA wants you to be aware of the risks heart disease and the things you can do to reduce that risk.

Besides the common risks for heart disease like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, other factors may play a role in the development of heart disease in women.

  • Low levels of estrogen after menopause.
  • Smoking – greater risk factor than in men
  • Stress and depression – affects woman’s heart more than men’s
  • Metabolic syndrome – fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure and high blood sugar shows a greater impact on woman’s hearts than men.

What you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise
  • Eat a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol

Woman’s health differs from that of a man’s and requires its own special attention with proper diet, exercise and overall health and wellness.

Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.

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

Wellness Solutions – Preventative medicine is the best medicine | Orange, CA

Branch of dogwood blossoms against a dark backgroundDr. Gordon Gunn believes preventive medicine is the best medicine. That’s why the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program was created. With a focus on prevention and early detection of disease, WOW gives you a true picture of your overall health and empowers you to live a healthier life. To supplement the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program, Dr. Gordon Gunn has created two additional programs to support women who are diagnosed to be at risk for heart disease, stroke or metabolic syndrome.

Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.

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

12-Week Healthy Heart Program – Fullerton, CA

A loving grandparentThis is a structured, step-by-step program to help you meet your individual goals. As heart disease is the #1 killer of American women, a healthy heart is a priority. Research suggests that approximately 90% of deaths related to heart disease could be prevented.

You will receive an overall assessment of your current health, an outlined diet, exercise and lifestyle program and re-evaluation after the 12-week period is completed.

Make this year the healthiest ever. Call to enroll in The 12-Week Healthy Heart Program and enjoy the benefits of a healthy, happy future.

Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.

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

How to Assess Your Risk for Developing Heart Disease or Stroke | Anaheim, CA

iStock_000014235018SmallThe goal in determining your risk is to diagnose the actual presence of atherosclerosis within the arteries of your body, especially your brain, heart, abdomen and legs. Our Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program includes understanding your inherited genetic makeup (family history) as well as determining your personal lifestyle, medical history, physical examination, body fat composition, laboratory testing, carotid artery ultrasound (determines the actual presence of any atherosclerotic plaque in the carotid arteries in the neck), and EKG. Additional testing may include a 64-Slice CT scan of the heart.

Initial screening tests include:

•Family History
•Personal Medical History
•Complete Physical Examination
•Current Status of: Smoking, Alcohol Intake, Physical Activity, Medications
•Blood Pressure
•Pulse (to detect any irregularity of the heart rate)
•Resting EKG
•Body Mass Index (BMI)
•BodyStat Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) of fat and lean body mass composition
•Waist / Hip Circumference Ratio
• Laboratory Testing:
•Fasting Lipoprotein Profile (Total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, VLDL, Triglycerides)
•Cardiovascular Risk Markers (CRP-HS)
•Metabolic Profile for Diabetes, Liver, Kidney, Bone and Electrolytes
•Thyroid Function
•Complete Blood Count (CBC)
•Carotid Artery Ultrasound Screening for atherosclerosis and Stroke Risk
•Echo and Stress Echocardiograms, when indicated
•Holter Monitoring for evaluation of irregular heartbeat, when indicated

Initial screening tests should be performed at the age of 18 and be repeated at least every two to five years, depending on age and test results. By implementing lifestyle changes and indicated medical treatments now available, the future risk of coronary artery disease and stroke due to atherosclerosis can be significantly reduced and probably prevented.

Learn more about your health and opportunities for prevention of this disease by contacting Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment.

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

How to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke for women | Fullerton, CA

mature woman blonde grey

Heart Attacks & Strokes in Women : Updated Information That Could Save Your Life

Consider this: 50% of American women die as a result of a heart attack or stroke. Heart attacks and strokes are preventable, according to new medical evidence. Many women underestimate their personal risk level. By visiting Dr. Gordon Gunn in Fullerton, California you will gain an understanding of your risk, increase your awareness for heart disease, and be empowered with healthy solutions.

Be proactive! Prevent disease! Contact Dr. Gordon Gunn today at (714) 912-2211 to schedule an appointment and to learn more about the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program.

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