Tag Archives: Heart Disease

10 Tips to Improve Your Sleep | Fullerton, CA

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule and routine. Go to bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning. A set sleep routine will “train” you to fall asleep and wake up more easily. Keep a sleep diary and chart your sleep for 2 weeks.

Use your bed only for sleep and sex.

Improve your sleep surroundings. Keep the television, laptop, mobile devices, bright lights, and any other distraction turned off or out the bedroom. This reinforces the idea that this room is meant for sleeping. An ideal environment is quiet, dark, and relatively cool, with a comfortable bed and pillow and minimal clutter. If you tend to “watch the clock”, turn the clock’s face away from view so you do not worry about the time.

If you’re still awake after 20 minutes in bed, get up and read awhile to relax until you feel sleepy. Otherwise, you’ll set yourself up for tossing and turning and being anxious of not being able to sleep.

Avoid caffeine and nicotine. Both are stimulants. Coffee, colas, certain teas, chocolate all contain caffeine, and its effects can take as long as 8 yours to fully wear off. Caffeine often means a sleepless night and can also increase the need to urinate during the night. Nicotine, acting as a stimulant, often causes smokers to sleep very lightly and to wake up early in the morning because of nicotine withdrawal. If you use tobacco in any form, you know your future health status – QUIT.

Avoid alcoholic drinks before going to bed. Alcohol depresses the nervous system, so a nightcap may help you relax in falling asleep. But this effect wears off after a few hours and often leads to waking up throughout the night. Alcohol can also worsen snoring and other sleep breathing problems (e.g. sleep apnea).

Avoid meals and beverages within 3 hours of bedtime. A light snack is OK. Drink only a small amount of water to take any nighttime medications. Evening fluid intake often causes you to wake up during the night to urinate.

Be physically active. Regular aerobic exercise like walking, running, or swimming provides three important sleep benefits: you’ll fall asleep faster, attain a higher percentage of restorative deep sleep, and awaken less often during the night. HOWEVER, do not exercise within 2-3 hours of retiring to allow your endorphins to return to a resting level, allowing you to relax.

Limit daytime naps. Prolonged napping can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from feeling tired enough to fall asleep.

Try to avoid taking sleeping pills. Sleeping pills such as zolpidem (Ambien) or eszopiclone (Lunesta) do not induce the natural, large, deep-sleep brainwave activity. They target the same system in the brain that alcohol does, effectively knocking out the higher regions of the brain’s cortex. Sleep disorders should be evaluated to find an underlying cause. There are natural supplements and meditative techniques that may assist you in falling and remaining asleep.

If you would like more information about getting a good night’s sleep, 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.

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.

Heart Healthy New Year Resolutions | Fullerton, CA

Heart Healthy

Here we are – 2022. And with the new year comes a new set of goals to try to live our healthiest, happiest lives. Some of us go to the gym, others quit a bad habit or two. The point is that now is the time to check in with ourselves in regard to what we want our next year to bring. Because if we don’t, it will likely lead to health problems instead.

Being diagnosed with problems such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol should be a wakeup 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. Simple changes to your lifestyle will make a big difference to your overall health. And a healthier life will lead to a happier one. Unsure where to start? Here are some ways that will make the changes you’re looking for:

  • Lowering weight and maintaining healthy weight
  • Eat heart healthy meals
  • Become or continue to be more active
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Avoiding tobacco products
  • 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, but heart disease is actually the No. 1 killer in the US, so taking action to keep your heart healthy is very important. If you need tips to becoming healthier, feel free to contact your doctor. They will be more than willing to lead you down the right track.

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.

Celebrating American Stroke Month | Fullerton, CA

Heart Health

May is the month we celebrate American Stroke Month, a time to raise stroke awareness. Strokes do not discriminate; they can affect people of all ages and backgrounds. According to the American Stroke Association, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, and that’s in the United States alone.

We shouldn’t stand idly by while this disease ruins and takes the lives of our loved ones, especially when it is preventable, treatable and beatable. The following list is a few things that everyone should know about stroke prevention:

Not just an age thing. Stroke risk does, in fact, increase with age. However, young adults, children and even unborn babies can suffer from a stroke.

Keep calm. High blood pressure is a stroke’s first target. Keeping your blood pressure under control reduces your risk and prevent stroke.

It’s treatable. There are blood clot-busting drugs and medical devices have made stroke largely treatable. However, every second counts, nearly 2 million brain cells die each minute a stroke goes untreated.

Know the signs. By learning the signs and symptoms, you too can save someone from suffering from a stroke. F.A.S.T. is an acronym used to detect the strokes: Face dropping, Arm Weakness, Speech difficulties and Time to call 9-1-1. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call for help right away.

American Stroke Month wants to help others by increasing their knowledge of strokes, so that they may be able to save a friend, family member or their own life one day. Make it a mission to help build a healthier life for you and the ones you love to prevent against stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

If you would like more information on stroke signs and symptoms, 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.

On the Road to Recovery After a Heart Attack | Fullerton, CA

After having a heart attack, you may feel overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, like your world has be flipped upside down. After all, you’ve just survived a life and death situation – thanks a pretty sobering experience. It takes time to fully recover from a heart attack but don’t let that stop you from pushing forward. But you are going to need to make a change or two. Lifestyle change is the best way to recovery, and listed below are a few common lifestyle changes you may want to take into consideration going forward:

Stop smoking. Smoking cigarettes is one of the primary risk factors in heart disease. One of the most important things you can do is quit smoking cigarettes. In just one year after quitting your risk for heart attack drops severely.

Healthy diet. Eating a well-balanced diet keeps blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and body weight within healthy rages, which can greatly reduce risk of heart attack.

Stress and anger. When stress or anger are uncontrolled it can lead to increased risk of heart disease. Skills Such as yoga, relaxation and time management can lower risks.

Body weight. Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight to lower your risk of heart attack. Being overweight makes the heart pump harder due to having to support the extra weight.

Exercise. Physical activity is a key factor in maintaining long-term heart health after suffering from a heart attack. Enrolling in cardiac rehabilitation is a recommended step towards resuming normal physical activity.

Medication. Taking medication is considered a lifestyle change because taking your medication at the right times can be vital and takes some time to adjust to a new schedule.

If you would like more information on recovery after a heart attack, 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.