Category Archives: Heart Attack

What To Know About Recovering From A Heart Attack | Fullerton, CA

Heart attacks are a jolting experience. They can make anyone overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, and like their world has been turned on its head, and for good reason. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States. The following are ways you can begin recovering from a heart attack, and help yourself avoid one.

Continue reading What To Know About Recovering From A Heart Attack | Fullerton, CA

Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart | Fullerton, CA

Heart disease kills on average 2,200 thousand Americans a day and one of the key risks for developing heart disease is clogged arteries. Clogging of the arteries doesn’t happen overnight, but there are foods that can help unclog your arteries of plaque buildup:

Garlic. According to studies, garlic powder can reduce the buildup of nanoplaque.

Chia seeds. This superfood can help keep arteries clear by regulating blood pressure, lowering triglycerides and reducing LDL cholesterol.

Coconut oil. Despite popular belief that all saturated fats are bad, a regular consumption of coconut oil can help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries.

Broccoli. This vegetable is loaded with vitamin K which can help prevent the hardening and calcification of arteries and prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol which can lead to serious heart problems.

Avocado. Studies have shown that avocado can lead to improved blood cholesterol, while lowering LDL and triglycerides and increasing the HDL, the good cholesterol that help keep arteries clear.

Asparagus. Full of fiber and minerals, asparagus is one of the best veggies for clearing arteries and lowering cholesterol prevent blood clots that could potentially cause serious illness.

Green tea. Green tea contains high levels of catechins, which is an antioxidant plant phenol that hinders the absorption of bad cholesterol during digestion and helps reduce blocked arteries and improve blood-lipid levels.

Cold-water fish. Eating fish rich in healthy fats twice a week can help clear arteries, reduce inflammation and plaque buildup.

Turmeric. Turmeric’s main component is curcumin which a powerful anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce inflammation and damage to your arterial walls, the leading cause to plaque buildup and blood clots.

Cranberries. Full of antioxidants, cranberries can help improve cardiovascular health by reducing LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol levels.

If you would like more information about heart-healthy foods, 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 You Need to Know About Omega-3s | Fullerton, CA

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on October 21, 2020

Not all fats are unhealthy. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the “good” types of fat. They may help lower the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis. Your body can’t make them. You have to eat them or take supplements.

Omega-3 fatty acids come in more than one form. The types found in fish, called DHA and EPA, seem to have the strongest health benefits. Another form known as ALA is found in vegetable oils, flaxseed, walnuts, and dark leafy vegetables such as spinach. The body can change a small amount of ALA into EPA and DHA, but not very well.

Omega-3 also helps your heart in several ways. They curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body). At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. Finally, they can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

The American Heart Association recommends 1 gram a day of EPA plus DHA for people with heart disease. Eating oily fish is best, but your doctor might recommend a fish oil capsule. If you’ve had a heart attack, a prescription dose of omega-3s may help protect your heart. Some studies show fewer heart attacks and fewer heart disease deaths among heart attack survivors who boosted their levels of omega-3s. Omega-3s seem to have a stabilizing effect on the heart by lowering heart rate and helping prevent arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms). Several common sources of omega-3s are fish, walnuts, broccoli, and edamame (green soybeans that are often steamed and served in the pod).

DHA and EPA can lower your triglycerides, a blood fat that’s linked to heart disease. Talk with your doctor before taking omega-3 supplements, because some types can make your “bad” cholesterol worse. You can also bring down triglyceride levels by exercising, drinking less alcohol, and cutting back on sweets and processed carbs like white bread and white rice.

Omega-3s can help lower blood pressure a bit. If you have high blood pressure, limiting salt is probably one of the things your doctor has recommended. Foods and supplements curb plaque buildup inside blood vessels, helping with blood flow. So, they may help prevent stroke caused by clots or a blocked artery. But at high doses, omega-3 supplements might make bleeding-related stroke more likely, so check with your doctor.

Studies suggest omega-3s can curb joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. A diet high in omega-3s may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Depression is rarer in countries where people eat a lot of omega-3s. But omega-3s aren’t a treatment for depression. If you’re depressed, talk with your doctor about what might help you feel better. Some studies suggest omega-3 supplements may ease the symptoms of ADHD. Omega-3 fatty acids are important in brain development and function. They may provide some added benefits to traditional treatment, but they don’t replace other treatment.

There’s some evidence that omega-3s may help protect against dementia and age-related mental decline. In one study, older people with a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease. More research is needed to confirm the link.

Be wary of promises that omega-3s have “brain-boosting” powers for children. The Federal Trade Commission asked supplement companies to stop that claim unless they can prove it scientifically. The American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend that kids eat fish, but it cautions against types that are high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.

The best source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA is fish. Some varieties deliver a higher dose than others. Top choices are salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of fish. A serving is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish or 3/4 cup of flaked fish. Tuna can be a good source of omega-3s. Albacore tuna (often labeled “white”) has more omega-3s than canned light tuna, but it also has a higher concentration of mercury contamination. The amount of omega-3s in a fresh tuna steak varies, depending on the species.

The FDA encourages people to eat fish, and for most people, mercury in fish is not a health concern. But the FDA has this advice for young children and for women who plan on becoming pregnant, are pregnant, or are nursing:

  • Eat 8-12 ounces of fish per week (which is equal to 2 or 3 servings a week). Provide kids age-appropriate portion sizes. Limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week.
  • Choose fish lower in mercury, such as salmon, shrimp, pollock, tuna (light canned), tilapia, catfish, and cod.
  • Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
  • When eating fish caught locally, check fish advisories or limit fish to 6 ounces for women and 1-3 ounces for children and do not eat fish for the rest of the week.

If you don’t like fish, you can get omega-3s from supplements. One gram per day is recommended for people with heart disease but ask your doctor before starting. High doses can interfere with some medicines or increase risk of bleeding. You may notice a fishy taste and fish burps with some supplements. Read the label to find the amounts of EPA, DHA, or ALA you want. If you don’t eat fish or fish oil, you can get a dose of DHA from algae supplements. Algae that are commercially grown is generally considered safe, though blue-green algae in the wild can contain toxins. Vegetarians also can get the ALA version of omega-3 from foods such as canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, broccoli, and spinach — or products fortified with omega-3s.

Many food products now boast that they have added omega-3s to support various aspects of your health. But be aware that the amount of omega-3s they contain may be minimal. They may contain the ALA form of omega-3s, which hasn’t yet shown the same health benefits as EPA and DHA. For a measured dose of omega-3s, taking fish oil supplements may be more reliable.

If you would like more information about omega-3s, 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.

11 Steps to Lower Your Blood Pressure | Fullerton, CA

High blood pressure is not only a common affliction, but also the precursor of a more serious issue. This is when changes really need to be made in order to improve the way your blood circulates through your system. It isn’t impossible, but it will take an effort getting used to this new way of living…

Monitor blood pressure at home. This will result in a more accurate assessment of your blood pressure.

Exercise regularly. Regular exercise improves blood vessel flexibility and heart function. It can be as simple as walking regularly and may decrease blood pressure by 10 points.

Eat well. The American Heart Association recommends the ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’ (DASH) diet. This diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.

Lose weight, if overweight. Losing even 10% of your current weight can make a big difference.

Stop smoking. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and can cause a 20-point increase in your B.P.

Drink alcohol in moderation. Limit to one drink a day for women & two for men.

Limit salt intake. Too much sodium and too little potassium can increase blood pressure in people who are sensitive to salt. Aim for less the 1.5 grams of sodium and more than 4.7 grams of potassium daily.

Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night. Chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to high blood pressure and increased chance of developing heart disease.

Reduce stress. Mental and emotional stress can increase blood pressure. Meditation lowers stress and your blood pressure.

Take prescribed blood pressure medication. Taking blood pressure pills can keep you from having a stroke or heart attack.

Blood uric acid. Make sure your level is optimal.

If you would like more information about lowering your blood pressure, 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.

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.