Tag Archives: Managing Heart Health

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.

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.

Eat Your Way to Heart Health | Fullerton, CA

Heart disease is among one of the deadliest killers in the world, killing on average 610,000 Americans a year. You’re right – it’s a staggering number, especially when there are ways that we can help prevent it from happening. Clogged arteries can be caused by diet, genetics and lifestyle choices. Because diet and lifestyle choices go together, let’s focus on foods that can prevent that plaque from building up:

Garlic. Garlic can prevent coronary artery calcification and blood clots, while 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. 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. Broccoli can also help 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.

Asparagus. Full of fiber and minerals, asparagus is one of the best veggies for clearing arteries.

Green tea. Green tea contains high levels of catechins, which is an antioxidant plant phenol that hinders the absorption of bad cholesterol during digestion.

Coldwater fish. Eating fish twice a week can help reduce inflammation and plaque buildup that can lead to heart disease.

Turmeric. Adding turmeric to your diet can help reduce inflammation and damage to your arterial walls, which are leading cause to plaque buildup and blood clots.

Cranberries. Cranberries reduces LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol levels.

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.

Summertime: Relieving the Stressors of Life | Fullerton, CA

Let’s face it – life is stressful. Unfortunately, there is little we can do to change the circumstances. Health problems, money issues and personal relationships can all be contributing factors to your stress. But it’s summertime – a time to relax and enjoy the sunshine with loved ones. If you find that your lifestyle leaves you very stressed out, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms in order to rectify the situation before it turns into something much worse. Understanding your current state of wellness improves your knowledge, helps you set goals and empowers you to make better choices for a healthier life.  Here are common symptoms of stress:

  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Recurring nightmares
  • Irritability
  • Loss of concentration

It is important to investigate symptoms of stress as prolonged stress poses a potential health threat. 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. Because of these additional health problems, try to lower the risk by adding these suggestions into your daily lifestyle:

  • 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 well-being and/or your personal/work relationships

If you would like more information on stress prevention, 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.

Updated Stroke Information that Could Save Your Life | Fullerton, CA

This is a scary pill to swallow but 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. However, the main issue is that women aren’t aware that they are at risk and 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.

So, what kinds of risks are we looking at? It all depends on your lifestyle and genetic makeup:

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, can be aging, existing heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, metabolic syndrome, and poor lifestyle choices are all factors that can play a part in a stroke or heart attack.

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. 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.

If you would like more information on heart attack and stroke prevention, 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.

Are You at Risk for a Stroke? | Fullerton, CA

According to recent survey, 425,000 women suffer from stroke each year. Most women are unaware of the risk factors and symptoms of stroke, so it is important to talk to your doctor about any future complications you may have in order to take preventative measures. After all, a healthy lifestyle will ensure longevity, and who doesn’t want a long healthy life? Unfortunately, you may be at risk for a stroke and you may not be able to control that. How do you know if you’re at risk? Here are some of the risk factors involved with a stroke:

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

Did you find one that matched with you? Don’t worry – there are things you can do to keep that stroke at bay. 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. These are just a few things we should be doing to maintain a long healthy life, so these changes are going to be good overall, not just at preventing a stroke.

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.

If you would like more information on stroke prevention, 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.