Archive for the ‘heart attack’ Category

Sex After a Heart Attack

October 3, 2013

A man has a recent heart attack. He is eager to get back in the saddle and remembers the movie, Something’s Gotta Give, when Jack Nicholson, who had a recent heart attack, asks his doctor about when “his best friend” can start getting back into action. He’s told that he has to wait until he can climb two flights of stairs without shortness of breadth or chest pain. Both the man and his partner are concerned if sex trigger could another heart attack.
It is well documented that fewer than 1% of heart attacks come from having sex. It makes sense to think of sex as a form of exercise: If your doctor clears you for physical activity, you’re also likely safe for sex. Remember the two flights of stairs test.
Most men and their partners are uncomfortable broaching the topic with their doctor. Most doctors are comfortable talking about sexual intimacy and you shouldn’t avoid the topic. Often the patient is surprised — or even relieved — that the doctor raises the subject.
Similar to any type of exercise, if you begin to feel symptoms such as chest pain, abnormal shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, or palpitations, it definitely makes sense to slow down what you’re doing, whether you’re a man or a woman. If you’re pretty certain it’s angina, which is temporary pain or pressure in the chest when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, it might help to take your nitroglycerin.
The exception to that advice is for men who use medication for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis — it’s dangerous to take nitroglycerin. Your blood pressure can fall to dangerously low levels, and there’s an increased risk of heart attack and even death. If you’re on an erectile dysfunction drug and have heart-related symptoms during sex, call your doctor.
Bottom Line: Sexual intimacy is important to men at all ages and includes men who have had a recent heart attack. A candid conversation will help you get back to enjoying a sexual relationship with your significant other. Talk to your doctor

Sex After a Heart Attack: What You Need To Know

May 29, 2013
Your Average Middle Age Couple Who Are In Love And Wish To Be Sexually Active

Your Average Middle Age Couple Who Are In Love And Wish To Be Sexually Active

Every man or woman who has had a heart attack has concerns when they can begin having sexual intimacy after recovering from a heart attack. Certainly the movie, Something’s Gotta Give with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, offers the protagonist advice about engaging in sexual intimacy after a heart attack until the man can climb two flights of stairs without shortness of breadth or chest pain. Every woman is concerned whether resuming sexual activity may trigger another heart attack in her partner. We know depression is extremely common after a heart attack, especially for women. This blog will attempt to answer some of those questions that men and women have after a heart attack.

First, most cardiologist believe it is helpful for men to be in a supervised exercise program. These cardiac rehab programs teach men and women that it’s OK for them to exercise after a heart attack.

However, if you begin to feel symptoms such as chest pain, abnormal shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, or palpitations, it definitely makes sense to slow down what you’re doing, whether you’re a man or a woman. If you’re pretty certain it’s angina, which is temporary pain or pressure in the chest when the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, it might help to take your nitroglycerin tablet under your tongue.

Now the warning: Just like the movie, Something’s Gotta Give, men who use medication for erectile dysfunction, such as Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis, — they should not take nitroglycerin. Your blood pressure can fall to dangerously low levels, and there’s an increased risk of heart attack and even death. If you’re on an erectile dysfunction drug and have heart-related symptoms during sex, call your doctor.

Yes, and sexual intimacy is often related to the emotions that follow a diagnosis of heart disease. It influences people’s lives in many different ways, and sexual activity is one of them. A new diagnosis of heart disease — or even a surgical scar — can make people feel less attractive. Some drugs have side effects that diminish sexual interest and performance. When patients feel angry and frustrated, it affects not only their sex lives but also their “couple” relationships.

Sexual intimacy is like a stress test. Engaging in sex shows that you’re capable of doing physical activity in which your heart rate and blood pressure go up. In a sense, you’re doing a stress test on your heart. If you tolerate that well and you feel good doing it, it suggests good things about your overall level of fitness and therefore your risk of heart disease.
Sex can also be a sign of healthy relationships and social supports. It shows you have the opportunities, frankly, and that you’re interested and engaged. Sex is a barometer for overall health.

Bottom Line: Sex is a good thing and sex is okay after a heart attack if your doctor gives you permission to exercise and engage in sexual intimacy. This is a discussion every man and woman needs to have with their doctor after having a heart attack and before leaving the hospital.

Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)-a Dangling Stress Test

February 5, 2013

Erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence may more than affect your relationship with your significant other. ED just may be a warning sign of impending heart disease.

Men with even mild erectile dysfunction — but no known heart problems — face a major extra risk of developing heart disease in the future. And as erectile dysfunction becomes more pronounced, signs of hidden heart disease and earlier death risk grow.

Not surprisingly, men already known to have a heart condition along with severe erectile dysfunction fare worst of all. Among men aged 45 and up without diagnosed heart disease, those with moderate or severe erectile dysfunction were up to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems. Erectile dysfunction boosted the risk for hospitalization with a diagnosis of heart disease.

Men with erectile dysfunction should take action by seeing a health professional and asking for a heart check.

An estimated 60 percent of men aged 70 and up suffer from moderate to severe erectile dysfunction. The condition can place major limits on sexual activity and require the use of drugs like Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis that can come with side effects.

A variety of causes can contribute to impotence, but it is widely acknowledged that erectile dysfunction is predominantly the result of underlying cardiovascular disease.

Doctors already believe that erectile dysfunction is an early warning sign of heart problems. The arteries of the penis are smaller than those of other parts of the body including the arteries to the heart and may be more likely to reveal problems when their lining deteriorates before heart symptoms occur.

Bottom Line: Men with severe erectile dysfunction, compared to those with no problem, were eight times more likely to have heart failure, 60 percent more likely to have heart disease and almost twice as likely to die of any cause.
 So before you ignore erectile dysfunction as occurring with age, think of your ED as a dangling stress test and see your doctor and get your heart checked out.

A Drink A Day Keeps A Heart Attack Away

November 14, 2012

Moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of heart disease.

Alcohol in moderation may help the heart

A recent study from Japan evaluated moderate alcohol consumption in in men , especially those with metabolic syndrome which consists of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol levels, found higher levels of HDL bandeaux in men who did not consume any alcohol. Again, there may be a medicinal advantage to moderate alcohol consumption.

Hypertension awareness
More men than women in the United States have hypertension, that men are less likely than women to be aware of their condition and to be taking medication to reduce the high blood pressure. The study appeared from the national health and nutrition examination survey.

The data from the study showed that less than 80% of the men were aware of their condition of high blood pressure compared with 85% of women. In addition, 70% of men were taking medication for hypertension compared with 80% of women with hypertension.

Bottom line: “If it may grow, don’t fix it” may apply to your car but not to your heart and blood vessels. Hypertension is a silent disease and often has no symptoms until complications occur. See your doctor at least once a year to have a blood pressure determination.

The (Better) Life List

September 9, 2012

All of us, myself included, are looking for motivations to participate in regular exercise. I think you will find the following list helpful. Let me know if you have any other ideas to add to this list.

1.Exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system. It releases growth factors, which through a chain reaction, aid in the production of new blood vessels. Another byproduct of exercise widens the pathways where blood flows and in turn boosts blood volume. Increased blood flow reduces hardening of the arteries.
2.Exercise regulates your fuel. It increases regulatory factors that help maintain proper insulin and glucose levels. This is vital since insulin levels drop as we age making it harder for our cells to uptake glucose and use it as energy. When glucose isn’t used for fuel, and is left to its own devices, it creates waste. This waste, such as free radicals, eventually puts the body at risk of stroke and more likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
3.Exercise reduces obesity. It burns calories and reduces appetite. High body fat is harmful to the cardiovascular, metabolic, and nervous systems. Being overweight doubles your chance of developing dementia and obesity is frequently paired with high blood pressure and cholesterol.
4.Exercise elevates your stress threshold. It makes proteins that combat free radicals and ex¬citatory neurotransmitters, which stress your cells and trigger the cell death process and aging. Exercise also combats cortisol, a product of the stress response. By lowering your stress thresh¬old, you are also lowering your risk of depression and dementia.
5.Exercise boosts the immune system. It brings the immune system back into equilibrium and fights the effects of stress and age. Even moderate activity increases antibody and lymphocyte levels, which make the body more alert to bodily threats and better able to deal with them.
6.Exercise fortifies your bones. Regular weight training, or any sport that requires you to jump or run, helps counteract natural bone loss. You need a strong skeletal system to continue to stay active as you age. Remember, it is never too late to reverse or prevent bone loss.
7.Exercise boosts motivation and lifts your mood. It strengthens connections between dopa¬mine neurons, which is key to the brain’s motivation system. This will help guard against the trap of becoming sedentary and solitary. It is important to stay mobile as you age. Mobility helps you maintain social connections important to sustaining mood and motivation.
8.Exercise fosters neuroplasticity. It builds a stronger, more flexible brain. Exercise elevates the supply of growth factors and neurotrophic factors in the brain. This leads to better connections, more synapses, and more new stem cells ready to become neurons in the hippocampus. All of these effects improve your brain’s ability to: learn, remember, execute higher thought processes, adapt, and manage your emotions.

Bottom Line: Good health is a choice and a decision. It begins with the right mental attitude, regular exercise and seeing your physician on a regular basis

This blog was inspired by and based on “Spark” by John J. Ratey, MD.

Get Your Blood Pressure Taken in BOTH Arms-Could Save Your Life

March 18, 2012

Patients commonly get their blood pressure taken in only one arm. However, there has been a finding that there is may be a disparity between your right and left arm. People whose systolic blood pressure — the upper number in their reading — is different in their left and right arms may be suffering from a vascular disease that could increase their risk of death.
The arteries under the collarbone supply blood to the arms, legs and brain. Blockage can lead to stroke and other problems. That’s why the blood pressure should be taken in both arms should be routine.
The arteries that run under the collarbone can get blocked, especially in smokers and diabetics. If one artery is more blocked than the other, then there is a difference in blood pressure in the arms.
Doctors should, for adults — especially adult smokers and diabetics — check the blood pressure in both arms. If there is a difference it should be looked into further.
A report in the prestigious British Medical Journal, Lancet, found that a difference of 15 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or more between readings was linked with an increased risk of narrowing or hardening of the arteries supplying the lower limbs, called peripheral vascular disease.
The difference in blood pressure was also associated with a 70 percent increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a 60 percent increased risk of death from any cause.
Finding peripheral vascular disease early and treating it by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol as well as giving up smoking can help reduce the risk of death.
Bottom Line: Next time you visit your doctor and have your blood pressure taken, request that the doctor or nurse measure your blood pressure in BOTH arms. It could save your life.

The Life and Death of the Penis-What’s Happening Down There As Men Grow Older

February 18, 2012

It is a fact that as a man ages, the penis also changes in size, shape, and function. This blog discusses some of those changes to help men better understand what’s happening “down there”.
It’s no secret that a man’s sexual function declines with age. As his testosterone level falls, it takes more to arouse him. Once aroused, he takes longer to get an erection and to achieve orgasm and, following orgasm, to become aroused again. Age brings marked declines in semen volume and sperm quality. Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is clearly linked to advancing years; between the ages of 40 and 70, the percentage of potent men falls from 60% to roughly 30%, studies show.
Men also experience a gradual decline in urinary function. Studies show that a man’s urine stream weakens over time, the consequence of weakened bladder muscles and, in many cases, prostate enlargement.
And that’s not all. Recent research confirms what men have long suspected and, in some cases, feared: that the penis itself undergoes significant changes as a man moves from his sexual prime — around age 30 for most guys — into middle age and on to his dotage. These changes include:
Appearance. There are two major changes. The head of the penis (the glans) gradually loses its purplish color, the result of reduced blood flow. And there is a slow loss of pubic hair. As testosterone wanes, the penis gradually reverts to its prepubertal, mostly hairless, state.
Penis Size. Weight gain is common as men grow older. As fat accumulates on the lower abdomen, the apparent size of the penis changes. A large prepubic fat pad makes the penile shaft appear shorter. Advice to obese men who are concerned about their shrinking size of their penis, if they would lose some weight especially in their abdominal area, the penis would appear to grow longer.
In addition to this apparent shrinkage (which is reversible) the penis tends to undergo an actual (and irreversible) reduction in size. The reduction — in both length and thickness — typically isn’t dramatic but may be noticeable. If a man’s erect penis is 6 inches long when he is in his 30s, it might be 5 or 5-and-a-half inches when he reaches his 60s or 70s.
What causes the penis to shrink? At least two mechanisms are involved, experts say. One is the slow deposition of fatty substances (plaques) inside tiny arteries in the penis, which impairs blood flow to the organ. This process, known as atherosclerosis, is the same one that contributes to blockages inside the coronary arteries — a leading cause of heart attack. It is common for men with coronary artery disease to have erectile dysfunction several years before they have chest pain or signs of a heart attack. It is this reason that men who have erectile dysfunction seek out medical care and be checked for heart disease.

Another mechanism involves the gradual buildup of relatively inelastic collagen (scar tissue) within the stretchy fibrous sheath that surrounds the erection chambers. Erections occur when these chambers fill with blood. Blockages within the penile arteries — and increasingly inelastic chambers — mean smaller erections.
As penis size changes, so do the testicles. Starting around age 40, the testicles definitely begin to shrink. The testicles of a 30-year-old man might measure 3 centimeters in diameter; those of a 60-year-old, perhaps only 2 centimeters.
Curvature. If penile scar tissue accumulates unevenly, the penis can become curved. This condition, known as Peyronie’s disease, occurs most commonly in middle age. It can cause painful erections and make intercourse difficult. The condition may require surgery.
Sensitivity. Numerous studies have shown that the penis becomes less sensitive over time. This can make it hard to achieve an erection and to have an orgasm. Whether it renders orgasm less pleasurable remains an open question.
Bottom line: The normal changes that occur in nearly all men need not ruin your erotic life. According to a good friend, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, “The most important ingredient for a satisfying sex life is the ability to satisfy your partner, and that doesn’t require peak sexual performance or a big penis.” Remember it isn’t the size of the penis, but how you use it that counts.
This has been modified from an article in WebMD by David Freeman, http://men.webmd.com/features/life-cycle-of-a-penis

Sex Is More Than Sexy-It’s Healthy

January 22, 2012

Sexual intimacy for the most part is enjoyable, feels good, and is fun. But did you know that that there are other benefits of jumping into the sack with your partner? This article will take a look at how our sexuality adds to our life and enhances our life and our health, both physical and psychological.

Sex Is a Stress Buster

A big health benefit of sex is lower blood pressure and overall stress reduction. Studies have show that those men and women who had intercourse had better responses to stress than those who engaged in other sexual behaviors or abstained.

It’s Blood Pressure Lowering Event

Elevated blood pressure is a risk factor for coronary artery disease, heart attack, kidney disease, and stroke. Frequent intercourse is associated with lower diastolic blood pressure (the lower, or second, number in a blood pressure reading). Even partner hugs have the effect of lowering blood pressure in women.

An Immune Booster

Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections.
Men and women who have intercourse once or twice a week had higher levels of IgA than those who reported being abstinent or having sex less than once a week.

It’s An Aerobic Exercise

The benefits of sex as a form of exercise are many – sex can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, and balance, not to mention your emotional health. People who get regular exercise tend to sleep better and have more restful sleep

It Burns Calories

Thirty minutes of sex burns 85 calories or more. It may not sound like much, but it adds up: 42 half-hour sessions will burn 3,570 calories, more than enough to lose a pound. The number of calories burned during sex is about the same as the number burned by walking at 2 miles per hour. Doubling up on the 30 minute sessions, you could drop that pound in 21 hour-long sessions.

Sex Is Heart Healthy

While some older folks may worry that the efforts expended during sex could cause a stroke, that’s not so. Let the truth be told that frequency of sex is not associated with stroke.
If you can walk up two flights of stairs without shortness of breath or chest pain, you can safely indulge in sexual intimacy without risking injury to your heart.

Fact: having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half for the men, compared with those who had sex less than once a month. However, it is important to have sex with your regular partner as a sexual tryst outside of your regular relationship does place you at risk for a unhealthy heart event. Just ask Happy Rockerfeller!

It’s an Ego Booster

One of the reasons people say they have sex is to feel good about themselves. Great sex begins with self-esteem, and it raises it. If the sex is loving, connected, and what you want, it raises it.

Sex Strengthens Your Well-Being

Sex, like any activity that fosters a close and loving connection to your partner, not only raises self-esteem, but strengthens your overall sense of well-being. Studies have shown that people with strong social support networks (which includes lovers) are healthier and happier than their less-connected peers. That’s why happily married men live longer than men who are divorced.

Sex Improves Intimacy

Having sex and orgasms increases levels of the hormone oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, which helps us bond and build trust. A study of premenopausal women before and after warm contact with their husbands and partners ending with hugs found that the more contact, the higher the oxytocin levels.
Higher oxytocin has also been linked with a feeling of generosity. So if you’re feeling suddenly more generous toward your partner than usual, credit the love hormone.

Sex Reduces Pain

As the hormone oxytocin surges, endorphins increase, and pain declines. Endorphins are natural pain relievers and are even more potent than morphine. So if your headache, arthritis pain, or PMS symptoms seem to improve after sex, you can thank those higher oxytocin levels. And if you have a headache, don’t use it as an excuse to avoid intimacy, use it as a reason to engage in intercourse.

It’s Prostate Healthy

Frequent ejaculations, especially in 20-something men, may reduce the risk of prostate cancer later in life. But they found men who had five or more ejaculations weekly while in their 20s reduced their risk of getting prostate cancer later by a third.
Also the Journal of the American Medical Association found that frequent ejaculations, 21 or more a month, were linked to lower prostate cancer risk in older men, as well, compared with less frequent ejaculations.

Sex Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles

For women, doing a few pelvic floor muscle exercises known as Kegel exercises during sex offers a couple of benefits. You will enjoy more pleasure, and you’ll also strengthen the area and help to minimize the risk of incontinence later in life.
To do a basic Kegel exercise, tighten the muscles of your pelvic floor, as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine. Count to ten, then release. Do the exercises 8-10 times a day.

Additional Benefits of Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises have a number of proven health benefits in addition to making sex more enjoyable. The strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles can help prevent prolapse (a slipping out of position) of the vagina, uterus, and bladder. Pelvic floor muscles may be weakened later in life as a result of childbearing, being overweight, and aging. Kegel exercises help offset the consequences of weakened pelvic floor muscles.

It’s a Sedative

The oxytocin released during orgasm also promotes sleep, according to research. And getting enough sleep has been linked with a host of other good things, such as maintaining a healthy weight and blood pressure. Something to think about, especially if you’ve been wondering why your guy can be active one minute and snoring the next.

Bottom Line: Not because it is Valentines Day is it good to have intimacy and bonding with your partner. It’s good for your health. If you are looking for reasons to have sex, tell them Dr. Baum recommended it!

Modified from article on WebMD by Kathleen Doheny
http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-sex

After a Heart Attack: Nine Important Steps to Follow

November 25, 2011

Heart disease is one of the most common conditions affecting middle age and older men and women. What you do after you have a heart attack (myocardial infarction) is important to your recovery and to your survival.
If you’ve just had a heart attack, how do you know whether you’re getting the best possible care? A new set of clinical performance measures can tell you whether your in-hospital treatment is on track. The measures, which were developed by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, are designed to help physicians provide optimal care for heart attack patients by outlining the key therapies that define high-quality hospital care.
• Heart Attack Step 1. You should receive aspirin when you arrive at the hospital. Studies show that aspirin reduces the risk of dying after a heart attack.
• Heart Attack Step 2. The hospital should provide clot-busting medication or angioplasty quickly. Prompt treatment is essential after a heart attack to reduce the risk of death. If you’re a candidate for clot-busting medication, you should receive it within 30 minutes of arrival at the hospital. Angioplasty with or without stenting should be done within 90 minutes of arrival.
• Heart Attack Step 3. While you’re in the hospital, you should receive a test that evaluates your heart’s pumping ability. Doctors will administer an echocardiogram, radionuclide angiogram or left ventriculogram to evaluate your heart’s left ventricular systolic function, or pumping ability.
• Heart Attack Step 4. Within 24 hours of admission, doctors should measure your total, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels as well as your triglyceride level. The results of this test will help determine your risk of a second heart attack and how aggressive your lipid-lowering therapy and dietary modifications need to be.
• Heart Attack Step 5. You should leave the hospital with prescriptions for a beta-blocker and a statin and advice to take a daily aspirin. These drugs reduce the risk of death and a second heart attack. A statin will be prescribed even if your LDL cholesterol is below 100 mg/dL.
• Heart Attack Step 6. If your heart’s pumping ability is reduced, you should also receive on discharge a prescription for an ACE inhibitor or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB).
• Heart Attack Step 7. If you received clot-busting medication after your heart attack, you should also receive a prescription for the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel (Plavix) when leaving the hospital. Adding Plavix to a daily aspirin further reduces the risk of heart attack in individuals treated with clot-busting medication after a heart attack.
• Heart Attack Step 8. You should receive a referral to a cardiac rehabilitation program or information about a clinical exercise program. These programs offer supervised exercise in addition to counseling on lifestyle measures, medication use and psychological issues. Make sure to follow through with your referral to cardiac rehab.
• Heart Attack Step 9. If you are a smoker, you should receive advice on smoking cessation while in the hospital. Quitting smoking is an essential part of recovering from a heart attack and has important long-term health benefits, including reducing your risk of a second heart attack.

This was excerpted from Johns Hopkins Medical Report: https://mail.google.com/mail/?hl=en&shva=1#inbox/133da74a2625336a