Tag Archives: Heart Health

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.

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.

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.

Where Do Broken Hearts Go? | Fullerton, CA

When we have our heart broken, it is often difficult to envision a day when the pain we feel will dissipate. We fall into a sad place for a while, but eventually, things turn around and we begin to heal. But what if the pain is very physical? Like a heart attack, broken heart syndrome has similar symptoms such as increased heart rate, shortness of breath and chest pain.

Broken heart syndrome, also known as stress-induced cardiomyopathy, can strike even the healthiest of people, but the exact cause is still unclear. Women are more likely to experience sudden chest pain (a surge of stress hormones), caused by the emotionally stressful event. Known triggers of broken heart syndrome are unexpected death of a loved one, divorce or separation, betrayal, or even a surprise party. This seems to be an apropos time to think about these stressors.

In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart enlarges for a short period and doesn’t pump as well, while other parts of your heart function just fine. The problem is, it seems very similar to a heart attack, so how can we tell the difference? Here are some basics of broken heart syndrome – you’ll see it isn’t an obvious diagnosis:

  • EKG test results aren’t the same as someone who is having a heart attack
  • Tests show no signs of blockage in the coronary arteries
  • Blood tests show no or little signs of heart damage
  • Tests show ballooning of the lower left heart chamber
  • Fast recovery time, typically within days or weeks

In some cases, broken heart syndrome can be life threatening, but the good news is most people tend to make a full recovery. Be careful with your heart – not just physically, but emotionally as well.

If you would like more information on broken heart syndrome, 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.

Am I Having a Heart Attack Right Now? | Fullerton, CA

Heart Health

Did you know that women don’t experience the same signs as men do when experiencing a heart attack? It’s true. That said, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms in order to ensure you get proper care if and when it happens.

Sweating. Pressure. Nausea. Jaw pain. May not seem dangerous at first glance but believe it or not, these are all symptoms of a heart attack in women. And this is why many women don’t believe it’s anything more than a cold. 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.

These are common 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. Unfortunately, no one is free from risk of a heart attack. 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. Take care of yourself, ladies. Not everything is just as it seems.

If you would like more information on heart attacks, 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.

Tips for Keeping Your Heart Healthy During the Holidays | Fullerton, CA

We have finally come to the end of the year, which means the Holiday season is almost over. We can soon get our normal routines back and begin to decompress. Because let’s face it – the holidays are stressful. It’s extremely important to keep your heart health in mind during the holidays. These tips will help you reduce stress and to keep heart healthy as you enjoy this festive time of year:

Move it or lose it. It’s important to stay active, keep your heart health in check and avoid excess weight gain. Exercising for just 15 minutes to reduce stress and keep yourself heart healthy.

Make meals healthy. Before you dig into all of the delicious holiday’s meals and sweets, keep your heart health in mind. Heavy meals and sweet treats have extra calories and sodium, so try eating a healthy snack before indulging to give you the nutrients you need.

All things in moderation. It can be quite stressful working holiday events into your normal routine. During these times you may find yourself having to wake earlier or work later, but make sure not to overexert yourself. Plan your days ahead of time to reduce stress.

Drink responsibly. Most holiday parties and festivities typically involve alcoholic beverages, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make healthy choice. Rather than choosing to drink a sugary cocktail, try choosing a red wine or club soda with your choice of liquor instead.

Relax. Make sure you make time to focus on yourself. Do something that makes you happy, like meditating, reading a good book, taking a long bath or cooking something you love. Taking time to treat yourself helps minimize stressors and increases positivity.

If you would like more information on holiday 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.

Prevent Heart Disease with These Menopause-Friendly Foods | Fullerton, CA

Heart Healthy

Believe it or not, but heart disease is the #1 killer of American women. And if that wasn’t bad enough, women who have had their ovaries removed are especially at risk. But there are a few changes we can make to our diets that can help prevent heart disease:

Whole grains. A study by the Whole Grains Council proved that replacing refined grains with whole grains 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. A ¼ cup a day can boost your protein and lower your cholesterol.

Tomatoes. This veggie is high in antioxidants that protect the heart.

Fish. Fish are high in Omega-3s, which are known to benefit the heart. Many doctors recommend adding fish to your diet 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. In addition to antioxidants, they also provide phytochemicals that protect the cardiovascular system.

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

Dark chocolate. Adding just a little bit of dark chocolate to those berries and you’ve got yourself a divine, guilt-free dessert. Studies do show that eating a small amount of dark chocolate a few days out of the week can help lower your blood pressure and improve blood flow.

If you would like more information on menopause-friendly 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.