Category Archives: Stroke

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.

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.

Why a Healthy Mouth Leads to a Healthy Body | Fullerton, CA

A mouth can tell a lot about a person’s overall health, not just dental health. A lot of non-oral health issues have manifestations in the mouth or mouth area. The following are a few examples of ways your dental health affects your overall health. This is why dental hygiene is so important. If you find you have some of these symptoms, it’s time to visit your dentist:

Heart disease. Bright red or purple gums

Type 2 diabetes. Bleeding gums sensitive to touch although there is no noticeable plaque

Kidney disease. Breath has sweet ammonia-like smell; very noticeable and pronounced

Acid reflux. Worn down teeth; teeth affected dependent on where acid settles while person is in sleeping position

Oral cancer. Gums and oral tissues with white spots; MUST last for at least two or more weeks

Leukemia. Bright red and swollen gums; differentiated from diabetes via blood test

Osteoporosis. Black spots that denote air pockets and dead bone; show up on x-rays

Stress. Cracked teeth or gums that have contracted away from teeth (can develop into infection)

Sleep apnea. Swollen gums and tongue in areas which air passes through

Pregnancy. Swollen gums could imply hormonal changes

Bulimia. Paper-thin front teeth; most enamel worn down; different from acid reflux since it affects different teeth

As you can see, the mouth can display ailments are not even related to the mouth or mouth areas. Early detection of multiple diseases and health problems can often be life-saving. It is important to visit your dentist on a regular basis to ensure your mouth is healthy.

If you would like more information on your dental 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.

Maintain Your Blood Pressure Naturally | Fullerton, CA

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 in order to keep our systems in working order. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, you may be prescribed medication to keep your blood pressure down, but there are things you can do on your own to not have to rely on meds. Here are just a few of the ways you can keep your heart healthy for years to come:

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 on blood pressure, 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.