Tag Archives: heart attack prevention

February Is a Time for Love and Heartache | Fullerton, CA

Because the American Red Cross celebrated Go Red for Women this month, we thought we would take a moment to breakdown the differences between a stroke and a heart attack. After all, many women don’t even know they have an issue because our symptoms aren’t the same as they are for men. And those symptoms that are often chalked up to the flu. We all know women have a higher threshold for pain, and many times women ignore little symptoms as nothing to worry about. 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. It’s also 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. It 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.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort.

Symptoms of a stroke:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Severe headache with no known cause

If you would like more information about getting more heart healthy, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

Stress: Symptoms, Causes and Managing | Fullerton, CA

As we get ready to begin a whole new year, we tend to take stock on things we’d like to change and improve upon. One of the main causes of lots of health issues comes from stress that we carry in our lives. Financial issues, problems at work or home, health problems and social isolation are just some of the major factors that lead to stress in our lives. It is a crazy world we live in, but we need to find ways to curtail our stress levels in order to keep ourselves healthy for the year ahead. Here are some common symptoms of stress:

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

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. If you find that you are getting stressed on a frequent basis, try some of these ideas:

  • 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 wellbeing and/or your personal/work relationships. You may be prescribed a medication based on your particular symptoms:

Recurrent acute anxiety (episodic anxiety): Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam (Ativan), or Alprazolin (Xanax).

Depression: Selective serotoninuptake inhibitors: Fluoxetin (Prozac), or Paroxetine (Paxil) or other antidepressant medication.

Insomnia: Zaleplon (Sonata), Zolpiden (Ambien) or Temazapan (Restoril).

If you would like more information about dealing with stress, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

What Is an Echocardiogram? | Fullerton, CA

As we continue to age, we will find that health problems will begin to arise and need to be addressed by a doctor. If these issues are mainly in the chest area, additional tests may be conducted. One of these tests 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.

Before you get nervous, please understand not everyone will need a test like this. Who should have an Echocardiogram? Individuals of any age who have any of the following should expect to have one of these tests done in their lifetime:

  • 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

Like we’ve stated before, this is a non-invasive test, but it will be a test that could possibly save your life. As for what results you can expect, an Echocardiogram of your 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 about echocardiograms, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

Maintaining Your Blood Pressure During Hot Summer Months | Fullerton, CA

As the weather gets warmer, there is a bigger need to take care of our health. Drink plenty of water, eat light healthy meals and lots of summer fun in the sun are definitely in order and necessary if we are going to keep our systems in working order enduring these extremely dangerous heatwaves. Because heart disease is such a common disease for Americans, it is important that we all try to do our best to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep our blood pumping. Here are just a few of the ways you can keep your heart healthy:

Watch your weight. Blood pressure typically increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce your blood pressure immensely.

Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity can help you lower your blood pressure. Consistency is key, as your blood pressure can increase again. The best kind of exercise to lower blood pressure include, walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and dancing.

Maintain a healthy diet. Consuming a diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy can help lower your blood pressure. Be sure to avoid foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol, as these foods can increase blood pressure.

Careful with the salt. Even just a small reduction in your sodium intake can reduce blood pressure. To decrease your sodium intake, you can read food labels, eat fewer processed foods and not add salt to meals.

Reduce your stress. To reduce your stress levels, you should take some time to think about what is causing your stress in the first place. Once you figure out what is causing your stress, think about how you can eliminate or reduce it.

If you would like more information about reducing heart issues during the summer, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

The PDA Your Heart Doesn’t Want | Fullerton, CA

Some people love a bit of PDA with someone they love. But there is one form of PDA that no one wants to experience. Patent Ductus Arteriosus, more commonly referred to as PDA, is a condition where the heart’s ductus arteriosus doesn’t close, leaving an unclosed hole in the aorta. The ductus arteriosus is a vessel that’s an essential part of fetal blood circulation and is connected to the major arteries – the aorta and pulmonary artery.

When a baby is born, their blood must get oxygen from their lungs and the patent arteriosus is supposed to close within the first few hours or days. If the patent arteriosus remains open, the blood can skip a necessary step of circulation and allow oxygen-rich blood from aorta to mix with the oxygen-poor blood from the pulmonary artery, causing strain to your heart and increased blood pressure in the lung arteries.

If the PDA is small, it won’t cause many symptoms or problems beyond a distinctive type of heart murmur. If the PDA is large or moderate, you may become breathless more easily due to reduced heart function and high pressures in your lungs. High pressure can occur in your lung vessels because more blood is being pumped there than normal. Over time PDA can cause permanent damage to your lung blood vessels.

Normally the heart’s right side only pumps blood into the lungs and the left side pumps blood to the body. If you have PDA, extra blood is circulated and extra blood get pumped from the body (aorta) artery into the lung (pulmonary) arteries. This extra blood being pumped into the pulmonary arteries makes the lungs and heart work harder, eventually becoming congested.

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

Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

Keeping Your Heart Healthy During American Heart Month | Fullerton, CA

It may be the end of the month, but there is never a bad time to get heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association, a devastating 6.2 million Americans have heart failure. Scary, isn’t it? Fortunately, heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Striving to live a heart healthy life can be simple if you’re dedicated. Simple changes in your lifestyle can make a big difference in your heart health. So, in honor of celebrating this very precious organ in our bodies, here are some ideas for getting you started toward a heart healthy life:

Schedule an appointment with doctor to talk about your heart health. It’s important to schedule regular check-ups, even when you’re not sick. You can partner up with your doctor to set goals to improve your heart health.

Add exercise into your daily routine. You could start the day off by talking a 15-minute walk, 3 times a week. Then slowly begin to increase your time to 30-minute walks, 3 times a week.

Increase healthy eating. Sure, it’s easy, but why not try to cook heart healthy meals at least 3 times a week to help balance your diet out? Also make your favorite recipe lower in sodium by swapping out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.

Take the first step to quit smoking. If you smoke, quitting can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. This isn’t news to anyone.

Take your medication as prescribed. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, talk with your doctor about your prescribed medication. If you’re having any issues taking your medication or have any side effects, contact your doctor.

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

Dr. Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

Signs and Symptoms: Heart Attack and Stroke | Fullerton, CA

Heart Health

With the Coronavirus still running rampant through our world, it is important that we take care of ourselves and loved one that have weakened systems. And if we ignore certain symptoms, it is possible that we are putting ourselves in an even greater risk conducting our day-to-day lives. Because knowledge is power, it is a good idea to know what to look for when it comes to having a heart attack or a stroke.

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 but have different outcomes. Women are more likely than men to die from a heart attack or stroke than men.

CAD is a condition in which one more of the heart’s arteries is narrowed or blocked by cholesterol plaque called atherosclerosis, which decreases the blood flow to the heart muscle. Chest pain called angina can occur when the heart muscle does not receive adequate blood and oxygen, such as during exertion, and 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 would like more information on signs and symptoms of cardiovascular issues, contact Dr. Gordon C. Gunn MD at 714-912-2211 or visit www.gordongunnmd.com to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

Foods to Make Your Heart Healthy | Fullerton, CA

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States? And women who have had their ovaries removed are especially at risk. So, what’s a girl to do with these odds stacked against us? Eat yourself healthy by replacing the junk food in your cupboard with these heart-healthy foods, recommended by the American Heart Association!

Whole grains. Whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, are packed with many nutrients that refined grains are stripped of, like fiber, folate and iron that can lower the risk of heart disease by up to 28 percent.

Leafy greens. Greens such as kale and spinach are great sources of fiber, antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals that contribute to heart health.

Extra-virgin olive oil. This healthy fat can make a great heart-healthy substitute for butter.

Raw, unsalted almonds and walnuts. These make great snacks, salad additions, and toppings. A ¼ cup a day can boost your protein and lower your cholesterol.

Tomatoes. This veggie is high in antioxidants that protect the heart and is a super easy add-in to any recipe.

Fish. Fish are high in Omega-3s, which are known to benefit the heart, so try to eat fish at least a couple times a week.

Beans and lentils. Versatile and extremely healthy, beans and lentils are a great way to add fiber, protein, and iron to almost any meal.

Grapes. They may be tiny, but grapes are packed with antioxidants, making heart health a little sweeter.

Berries. Filled with fiber and antioxidants, berries make great, heart-healthy desserts any time of day.

Dark chocolate. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate a few days of the week can help lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow.

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

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

Keeping Our Hearts Healthy | Fullerton, CA

It’s a scary fact but heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US. Heart attacks are commonly caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which leads to the blockage of oxygen and blood flow to the heart muscle. The good thing is that there are ways you can improve and manage your heart health to live a long healthy life. Here are five ways you can go about improving your heart health:

Stay active. Staying active doesn’t mean you have to work out for endless amounts of hours. You can do anything physical that keeps your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes. Need Ideas? Try jogging, walking, biking or hiking.

Stop smoking. Most people know that if you are smoking tobacco products you are more like to develop heart disease. So, if you do smoke…drop the habit and quick, for your heart’s sake.

Shut down. When you are sleep that’s when your body is recovering and rebooting. While you sleep you heart rate is lowered which gives your heart a much-needed break. Make it a priority to get a proper amount of sleep.

Chill out. Learning how to relax does wonders for your heart. When you are under pressure your body ramps up adrenaline, which can exhaust your heart. Need ideas on how to handle stress? Try doing yoga, going on a walk, listening to calming music, or even talking to a trust friend or professional.

Healthy eats. The way to eat heart healthy hasn’t changed in hundreds of years, so the classic choices are still your best bet. Try incorporating whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds into your diet.

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

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.

What Is Cholesterol? Fullerton, CA

We are all aware that having too much cholesterol isn’t good, so we tailor our diets when things begin to go awry with our health. But how much do you actually know about cholesterol and what it does to our bodies?

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. The problem is lipids cannot circulate alone in the blood stream because fat and water do not mix.

They require a transport system.

‘Water-soluble’ proteins called lipoproteins transport cholesterol in the blood, and the amount of lipoprotein determines how much cholesterol can be moved. 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 by their physicians that their cholesterol levels and “ratio” are either normal, or if abnormal, their ‘good’ cholesterol is ‘OK’. The problem with this message is the fact that 50% of women who suffer their first heart attack or stroke have ‘normal’ cholesterol levels, according to the American Heart Association criteria.

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

Dr. Gordon Gunn proudly serves Fullerton and all surrounding areas.