Tag Archives: Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program

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.

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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Cholesterol and Plaque | Fullerton, CA

Pure, Natural, BeautyWhat is the Role of Cholesterol?

  • 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.
  • Problem: Lipids cannot circulate alone in the blood stream (fat and water do not mix).

They require a transport system.

  • Solution: ‘Water-soluble’ proteins called lipoproteins transport cholesterol in the blood.

Think of ‘dump trucks’ designed to carry specific types of cholesterol. The amount of

These lipoprotein ‘dump trucks’ determines how much cholesterol can be transported.

  • 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.

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.

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.

Am I at Risk for Stroke? | Fullerton, CA

iStock_000014233903XSmallAccording to recent survey, 425,000 women suffer from stroke each year. Most women are unaware of the risk factors and symptoms of stroke. Dr. Gordon Gunn in Fullerton, CA encourages women’s wellness and health and wants women to be informed of the health issues they face.

How do I know that I’m at risk?

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Being overweight

To reduce your risk of stroke you will need to make some lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. Exercising and eating a healthier diet can help you lose weight and reduce your chances of diabetes and high cholesterol.

If you want to start reducing your risk for stroke, contact Dr. Gordon Gunn and ask about the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program. 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.

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.

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month | Fullerton, CA

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about the benefits of getting active. Getting regular physical activity can benefit everyone – children, adolescents, and adults alike.

Dr. Gordon Gunn is teaming up with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition in honor of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. During the month of May, he challenges you to include 30 minutes of physical activity every day.

Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Yet in California nearly 53.1% don’t get enough physical activity.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that people:

  • Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes things like walking fast, dancing, swimming, and raking leaves.
  • Do muscle-strengthening activities – like lifting weights and using exercises bands – at least 2 days a week.

No matter what shape you are in, together we can rise to the challenge to get more active during the month of May!

Here are just some of the benefits of physical activity:

  • Children and adolescentsPhysical activity can improve muscular fitness and bone and heart health.
  • AdultsPhysical activity can lower risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
  • Older adultsPhysical activity can lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive functioning (like judgment and learning).

Call Dr. Gordon Gunn and make an appointment to see what his Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program can do for you.  Call Dr. Gordon Gunn at (714) 912-2211 or visit our website.

 

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.

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.