The Mediterranean Diet Plan

The Mediterranean Diet Plan

The Mediterranean Diet Plan

Make The Lifestyle Change This Summer

Heart-Healthy Living

The Diet for Heart Patients

Earlier this month during a taping of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates, Dr. James O’Brien mentioned the Mediterranean diet. He said it was a diet that he strongly recommend for patients with heart disease. Now, being a health and fitness enthusiast and a 40-year old man with a family history of diabetes and heart disease, I am always open to ways to improve my heart health.

The Mediterranean Diet

Eating Fresh

Dr. O’Brien proclaimed that the benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a push away from using animals as a protein source, introducing more fruits and vegetables in meals, while also cutting out butter in favor of using oils cooking. It seemed simple which made me skeptical. I know that in dieting nothing good is easy. When I got back to office I started my research and was surprised to learn that the Mediterranean diet was endorsed by the American Heart Association and Mayo Clinic.

And this before that I discovered that you could have a glass or two of wine with dinner on the Mediterranean diet! We’ll get into why wine is good for you a little later in the article.

The following weekend I was looking for a book on this diet at Barnes & Noble in Colonie Center. A title caught my eye, “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” written by Susan Zogheib. After reading the book’s introduction I quickly skimmed through the background of the diet and stopped at the diet plans. I smiled. I thought to myself, “I could totally do this!” I skipped ahead to the recipes. At that moment I knew I had found my diet plan! The book has four, four-week diet plans complete with recipes for every meal that are structured on the level of comfort you have with making the switch. One month of meals AND recipes, I couldn’t wait!

I read the book while sitting by the pool that Sunday afternoon and informed my girlfriend that we were going to be starting a new diet on Monday. “Oh really,” she asked. “What is so good about this diet?” I told her about the salads, fresh fruit and vegetable dishes, and her favorite part, how we would be replacing steak night with chicken and much more fish. “This is the perfect diet for summer!”

Recently, I had the chance to speak with the author of “The Mediterranean Diet Plan,” Susan Zogheib, a registered dietician about her diet plan. Susan will be joining me for an upcoming episode of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates this month (Sunday, June 24th). I wanted to share the highlights of conversation before YOU grocery shop this week so that you can discover the join of healthy eating this summer.

Discover The Health Benefits

What Makes The Summer The Best Time To Make The Switch

Whole Grain Bread

“I think the Paleo, Atkins, there are so many diets out there that really deprive people of the absolute nutrients that they need,” says Zogheib. “The Mediterranean diet has a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and not necessarily a lot of beef because beef is more fatty, so it incorporates fish and poultry.”

Honey Garlic Chicken

A majority of the meal planning for the Mediterranean diet consists of fresh fruits and vegetables. A sample days meal menu consists of: a pumpkin-gingerbread smoothie for breakfast, Macaroni with Milk (Macoroni oil-Hali) for lunch, and Trout with Wilted Greens for dinner. Your suggested snacks during the day: Mango-Pear Smoothie, cashews and raisins, low-fat ricotta cheese with peaches, hummus, and seed and nut snack bars.

Tell me the last time you ever ate like that.

While reading the weekly meal plans I could close my eyes and picture enjoying the tastes of these dishes while soaking in the awesome summer weather on the patio with my girlfriend, with a glass of my favorite California red wine. “The diet also recommends four ounces of red wine in the evening with your meal. Red wine contains flavonoid which helps reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. That’s my favorite part,” shared Susan.

The wine part, that’s my favorite too.

This is why I recommend that if you are looking to change your diet or just something new this summer, pick up a copy of the book and try a dish. If you do, I’d love to hear which one you made and how it was received!

Mirassou Wine Bottle

Why Is This Diet Right For Heart Patients?

How many times have you heard a doctor specifically name a diet that fights heart disease and helps you lose weight? By name? We’re always told to eat healthy, maybe you are given a list of foods to add or avoid but from that point it’s on you to bring the meal plan together. Not with the Mediterranean diet. “This diet is for anyone but specifically for those with high blood pressure,” says Susan. “This is a low sodium, low fat, low cholesterol diet. It’s also ideal for those that are at risk for developing cardiovascular disease. It’s also great for weight loss or management, so if you are looking to shed a few pounds this is a great diet to embrace.”

You start each day with a heart healthy breakfast. Your vegetable intake is increased. You find yourself making trips to the farmers market to get a better variety of fresh fruits and veggies. You stop eating processed food. And that’s a big one. Let’s talk about bread for example. Besides price and taste, what is the difference between white and whole grain bread?

Susan answered, “White bread is so refined that the nutrients are stripped down, again it’s a simple carbohydrate where when a diabetic eats something, there blood sugar will rise and you get a boost of energy. This is the difference between a whole grain and a white-refined bread, once you consume that bread your blood sugar will rise for a little while and you’ll feel energized but the whole grain has better effect on your blood sugar, sustaining that energy over a longer period of time, avoiding the ‘crash and burn’ some feel when eating white bread. Keep in mind that in white bread all of the nutrients have been processed out of the food.” The other difference, you can literally, “Taste the difference when you eat one over the other.”

This diet also works for every type of eater who wants variety in their meals. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had Pistachio-Crusted Sole much less would I know how to make it. But in the “Mediterranean Diet Plan,” everything I need to know is on page 175 along with substitution tips in case I can’t find pistachios or want to try pecans or cashews instead. I also can see the health breakdown too. “The Mediterranean diet incorporates as lot of nuts, like walnuts, pistachios, and cashews which have a lot of fiber,” adds Zogheib. “Also tuna fish, king mackerel, salmon, all have omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. There’s are whole grains, bananas, and one of the best oils to bake with — canola and olive oils. You can replace fatty butter with these oils when baking.”

Putting The Focus Back On Food

In her book, Susan highlights one of the major problems with dinner time today: quality time. Does everyone else remember when dinner time was family time? When we would all sit down together, share our day, talk, laugh, and leave when the meal was done? Susan and I shared our childhood dinning experiences when we discussed her call for embracing the the Mediterranean lifestyle — incorporating exercise, relaxation, and family meals back into our daily routines. This book is looking for someone who is looking to make a lifestyle choice. The way that you eat, sitting down with your families at the dinner table. No more meals on the go, no more meals with the TV. I wanted to bring back the importance of food in our households,” noted Susan.

She recommends eating outdoors, using our lunch hour to incorporate a half-hour walk with a friend, turning off electronics at meals, and stepping outside for walk after meals. I have to tell you, I felt like I was 12 when we put the “no electronics” rule back into play at my home. Dessert used to be my thing after dinner, now it’s taking a walk around the neighborhood with my son or girlfriend.

Meal planning also causes you to look at your calendar and consider everyones schedule. Grocery shopping can again become part of the family routine with everyone contributing to the meal. You’ll also notice a change in your weekly food budget. Susan pointed out that she had, “Given a presentation on the cost of buying food and cooking meals at home saved $1,200 a year versus eating out. Eating out on average costs people about $2,000 a year. Yes, there are some up front costs when buying the spices or equipment you may need but the second time you go to use them, you are saving instead of spending.”

In my food shopping we save about $40 a week even though we eat seafood twice a week. A fillet of salmon or swordfish that feeds two is about the same price of the cut of steak that I would grill for myself. Preparing snacks on Sunday night also means no more trips to the office vending machine for that late-day snack. “I joked around with a couple of colleagues last week in my presentation,” Susan mentioned. “I said, ‘You know, we’re paying for diabetes, we’re paying for high blood pressure. Why not invest your money and diet in food sources that are good for you body?'”

To hear my full conversation with Susan Zogheib listen to HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates on Sunday, June 24th at 2PM on NewsRadio WGY or the iHeartRadio app.

Written by: Michael Arce, Host of HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

HeartTalk presented by Capital Cardiology Associates

Do Smoking And Soda Bans Work?

Do Smoking And Soda Bans Work?

Do Smoking and Soda Bans Work?

Focusing On Heart Healthy Legislation

In 2013, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned “sugary beverages” larger than 16 ounces sold in New York City. Restaurants with self-service soda fountains could not have cups larger than 16 ounces. Convenience stores and supermarkets were excluded. Under the ban restaurants that failed to comply would be fined $200. You may recall the outrage that came with this ban, along with the challenge in the State Supreme Court. Eventually the Court ruled against the ban and Bloomberg spent the remainder of his final year in office proposing a ‘health in all policies’ approach to legislation.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health reviewed health relevant legislation in New York City from 1998 to 2017 and found that 7.4 percent of the 3,745 pieces of legislation introduced during the Bloomberg Administration had the potential to impact New Yorker’s cardiovascular health. The news was published online in the journal Cities and Health.

Soda Cup

The team focused on four categories of factors associated with cardiovascular health: air pollution exposure, physical activity, dietary intake, and tobacco smoke exposure — the one most targeted by legislative efforts. Dr. Robert Benton, Director of Clinical Research at Capital Cardiology Associates, took notice of our governments role in public health policies. “In this case, you have government taking a good attitude to try and help you, help yourself. Your government is working to protect you from environmental toxins as well as educate you about what’s in the food you eat,” said Benton.

In 2008, New York City was the first to require that chain resturaunts put calorie information on their menus and drive-thru signs. It became federal law in 2011. For many of us, it was difficult to determine the difference between the price and number of calories. “I think it is scary when you see the amount of calories on menu items,” exclaims Dr. Benton. “It does give people pause to say, “Wow, if I eat that donut it’s going to take me two hours to work that off!” Getting that information to people at the moment they are making a decision, that is really important. Does it mean you can’t have that soda all the time? No. Does it mean you can’t have a sandwich once in a while? No. Knowing those facts is going to help you make better choices in the long term. What I hope as a heart doctor is that instead of eating 10 donuts, you have one. Providing this dietary information helps shape healthy eating habits.”

New York City

Do ‘Health In All Policies’ Work?

In the NYC legislation study, researchers found, “the potential of a ‘health in all policies’ approach that a city takes — whether it’s regulatory changes, taxes, or innovative health promotion campaigns — can make a difference,” noted Y. Claire Wang, ScD, MD, Mailman School associate professor of Health Policy and Management. “Our data suggested that the Bloomberg administration and the legislations enacted during that period reduced cardiovascular diseases among New Yorkers; these policy efforts can serve as a model for other municipalities to pursue similar results.”

“There are so many things in our environment and our daily habits that we can act on ourselves.”

Dr. Robert Benton

Director of Clinical Research, Capital Cardiology Associates

America’s Fittest Cities

One key win for public health was a decline of smokers in New York City. New tax laws on cigarettes sold in NYC and the Smoke-Free Air Act reduced smokers from 35% to 14%, since 2002. When examining the success of public health policies it’s important to look at the numbers. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) 2018 American Fitness Index Rankings, over 8.5 million people live in New York City. Of that, almost 28% have high blood pressure, 3.5% have angina or coronary heart disease, and 2.4% have stroke. These numbers recently ranked New York City as the 52nd fittest city in America. Buffalo was the only other city in the state to make the list with ranking of 43. Comparing the data between Buffalo and New York City, NYC residents enjoy a better personal and community health ranking.

Running in NYC

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“There is an interest in your government, believe it or not, in having you live a healthy lifestyle,” declared Dr. Benton. “The costs of health care are huge in this country. We could save so much if people ate a healthy diet and exercised. Why not let people know that? Why not remind people of that? Not to the point of being onerous but allowing you to make your own decisions, giving you the information to be confident with your lifestyle choices.”

Columbia University researchers agree. While this was one of the first studies to examine the impact of public health policies on the population, further research will be needed to evaluate the long-term impact legislation has on health. The report concluded that, “Future research on how these policies impact segments of the population — the young, older adults, and people residing in socio-economically depressed neighborhoods — are the missing pieces and will be equally important for informing legislative efforts.”

Written by: Michael Arce, Media Specialist

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

How A Heart Attack Could Save Your Life

How A Heart Attack Could Save Your Life

How A Heart Attack Could Save Your Life

Why one man is grateful for surviving a “widow maker” and how you can prevent one

Actor and Director, Kevin Smith, suffered a massive heart attack in February. From his hospital bed he Tweeted, “The Doctor who saved my life told me I had 100% blockage of my LAD artery (aka “the Widow-Maker”). If I hadn’t canceled show 2 to go to the hospital, I would’ve died tonight. But for now, I’m still above ground!”

What Is A Widow Maker?

Dr. James O’Brien, a board certified cardiologist with Capital Cardiology Associates, agrees that a “widow maker” is a definite life changer. “The widow maker is the form of a blockage in one of the main arteries of the heart called the LAD or the left anterior descending artery. They call it the widow maker because that artery is responsible for a lot of muscle.” In Smith’s case, he started feeling nauseous, sweating heavily and threw up. He also said that his chest felt heavy. He was quickly taken to the hospital. “He was very lucky that he caught this early,” notes O’Brien. “As a result of that, he will be able to make changes in his life.”

Why Men At 40 Should Know Their Risk

There are three main factors that determine your risk for heart disease: stroke, or a heart attack: your diet, exercise or activity level, and family history. In Smith’s case, he was admittedly overweight. In 2010 he said he was booted from a Southwest Airlines flight for being too large for one seat. Smith also admitted to an unhealthy lifestyle, smoking marijuana, working late hours, with little to no daily exercise or physical activity. With his diet and exercise lacking, Smith’s risk of heart attack tripled with a family history of heart disease. His father died from a massive heart attack, as Kevin described as, “screaming for his life.”

Two months after his heart attack, Smith spoke out, encouraging men to use his experience as a life-changing moment for themselves. “The heart attack was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Smith. “I didn’t know until I was in the operating room that I had a heart attack. I didn’t feel it, I didn’t recognize that it was happening.” He was also told he had to make lifestyle changes. Smith has lost over 30 pounds since the heart attack on a plant based diet. “What worked for me was reading Penn Jillette’s book, ‘Presto‘ where he talks about losing 100 pounds.” In the book, Jillette went on a potato and plant based diet. Smith also joined Weight Watchers with the hopes to lose 25 more pounds.

Dr. O’Brien recommends the Mediterranean Diet for patients with heart disease. “It’s basically a push away from animals (as a protein source) and over to plants. It’s more fruits and veggies, fish as away to cut down on animal products including butter, substituting olive oil.” The Mayo Clinic reports that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.

Written by: Michael Arce, Media Specialist

Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

National Men’s Health Month

National Men’s Health Month

National Men’s Health Month

If you are man in your 30’s, here’s why you need to get your risk of heart disease checked this month

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.” — Congressman Bill Richardson (May 1994)

This month: Eat Healthy, Get Moving, and Make Prevention a Priority

June is the month we celebrate the men in our lives. From the handmade gifts, ties, tools, BBQ accessories, or golf clubs we give dad on Father’s Day the one thing dad could do for us starts with a simple talk with his doctor. The most important men in our lives ironically put their own heart health as a relatively low priority. Dr. Lance Sullenberger, Co-Medical Director of the Cardiovascular CT Scanning Suite at Capital Cardiology Associates, urges men to take a more active role in their heart health – today. “Men (and women), as young as in your twenties, you should be thinking, ‘What can I change now to start preventing future problems?’ We were all in our 20’s once, 66 seems a long ways a way but 40 is not that far. We see plenty of patients with heart attacks and strokes in their 40’s.”

Three Steps This Month

Three simple steps to building good heart healthy lifestyle choices

Eat Healthy

Start by taking small steps like saying no to super-sizing and yes to a healthy breakfast. “Once you enter your 30’s and are about the age of 35 it is much hard to obtain a lower weight after the age of 35. You can’t just exercise your way into it, you have to employ choleric restriction as well as exercise. If you’re learning health habits on how to eat, make exercise a priority, then you are on the right track than most patients,” says Sullenberger. Eat many different types of foods to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Add at least one fruit and vegetable to every meal.

Get Moving

Play with your kids or grandkids. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do yard work. Play a sport. Keep comfortable walking shoes handy at work and in the car. Most importantly, choose activities that you enjoy to stay motivated for at least 30 minutes a day.

Make Prevention a Priority

Many health conditions can be detected early with regular checkups from your healthcare provider. Sullenberger adds, “Once you move to your 30’s and certainly into your 40’s then you see where those lifestyle changes and especially genetics are playing more of a role. Those patients I usually sit down and go over what their risk factors are. Is it smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, what’s their family history like. And then we start to look at lipid levels, blood pressure levels and see who needs to be medicated. There are multiple different ways to determine that.”

Assessing Your Risk

When a physician is seeing a patient in front of them, from a cardiac perspective there are two major types of patients: patients with symptoms and patients without symptoms. “The vast majority of patients are patients without symptoms, they don’t come in with chest pain or shortness of breath. What I or any other provider are trying to determine is, what is the chance that this person is going to have a heart attack that is unexpected, or die of cardiovascular disease, or have a stroke — unexpectedly? There have been multiple ways over the years that we have tried to determine what that risk is. Initially it was just with stress testing but that has multiple failures in terms that the people without symptoms in just looking for the unexpected plaque in the patient that doesn’t have any symptoms. Then there are mathematical models based on population studies that we put factors into an app like: age, sex, blood pressure, diabetes, what the cholesterol levels are, if the patient smokes, and what their race is. What comes out is a mathematical prediction of what this patients risk of having a heart attack or dying of cardiovascular disease or having stroke is over the next ten years,” says Sullenberger.

But those models not only change over time, as do population studies, they include a lot of people who won’t actually have an event and sometimes they miss people. As Sullenberger shared, “Where we find they miss is in family history because there are certainly people who have strong genetic predisposition to coronary disease who have normal lipid levels, blood pressure, normal body weight, and do the right things yet are still predisposed. When these mathematical models were created there was no way to account for all the variances and nuances of family history and it didn’t really pan out as something that was included in those mathematical models.”

When your primary care physician assess your risk, they may order a cardiac CT (computed tomography) scan which provides a high-resolution three-dimensional image of the moving heart and great vessels. A CT scan is a low risk procedure that has been around since the 1990’s. The CT scan is an x-ray procedure that combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views of the body. “With this technology we can see if there is plaque in the arteries. That plaque can then be scored using a software package that uses the number of pixels and density that gives us a score,” notes Sullenberger”

“Studies since the early 2000’s which have been longitudinal, meaning the patient populations who have been scored have been followed for years; we now have five year, ten year, and now twelve year data on calcium scoring. That data shows us that number, your score, is directional proportional to event outcomes making it the most predictive model we have for determine whether or not a patient who has symptoms is going to wind up having a heart attack or what their risk of heart attack, stroke, or dying from cardiovascular disease is over the near future. When I look at calcium scoring, I usually start thinking about calcium scoring people in the mid 30’s, especially if they have a strong family history. Certainly people over 40. Above that age, I think everyone should at least consider or discuss with their physician if calcium scoring is appropriate for them. What we know from studies that have been done is that a calcium score of zero gives you the best prognostic information of any test that anyone can do for you at any time regarding your cardiac health. A calcium score of zero gives you a risk of somewhere in the range of .5% risk of heart attack over the next five years on an annual basis and there’s nothing else, no math model, no stress test, or anything else. Scores above zero are abnormal and the height of the score is indicative of increase risk. The highest score I have ever seen a symptomatic person was in the 12,000 range, that’s very usual. The usual high score we see is in the low thousands, I usually tell people 2,000 is the highest we’ll see in a week of doing scoring.”

Women are 100% more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services.

Women go to the doctor more often than men, particularly in their reproductive years, according to a 2016 study conducted by the University of Sydney. One reason women see their doctor more than men is mainly for gynecological and reproductive health visits. Women also have health screening tests earlier in their lives than men. Since women are more familiar with their health care provider, they also tend to be more forthcoming when discussing their personal health. Sullenberger noted this difference in visits with his patients. “Women will expound upon their symptoms and tell you about it. With men, you really have to pull out the details. I can tell you that as a physician it’s important that give those details up to make sure that those aren’t important to the development or workup of a symptom.”

During Men’s Health Month one statistic we would like to see changed is this: men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year. Guys, if you haven’t seen your doctor for a check-up this year, you are not alone. “I am around doctors all of the time and I am reluctant to go to the doctor,” admits Sullenberger. “It is important, much like, you wouldn’t drive your car forever and never take it in to be serviced. That’s just not smart. You need to take your body in, get it serviced, see what’s going on, see what’s under the hood. You are much better off finding things that can be changed before they become life altering than having that problem develop into an emergency room visit or hospital stay that could have been prevented.”

If you have a family history of heart disease or have questions about your risk of heart disease, stroke, or heart attack — talk with your doctor. “The first person to talk with is your primary care physician,” points out Sullenberger. “Address what your concerns are. Most primary care physicians especially in this area respect that a lot. In this area, primary care physicians are very familiar with coronary calcium scoring and are comfortable ordering the test and dealing with the results of it. If you want more than that, you can always ask your physician for a referral, alternatively at Capital Cardiology Associates, we see all patients even if they don’t have a referral. We have an Enhanced Cardiac Access Suite, our walk-in clinic, for people to be seen. We are always open to seeing patients even if they haven’t been referred by their primary care physician.”

Written by: Michael Arce, Social Media Specialist

Information provided on this website is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Your should not use information on this website or the information on linked from this site, or the content on the website (or any part thereof), to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider If you have or suspect you have an urgent medical problem, promptly contact a professional healthcare provider. CCA advises you to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider proper to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any application of the recommendations in this website is at the reader’s discretion.

Traveling with Heart Disease

Traveling with Heart Disease

Traveling with Heart Disease

How to plan for a summer vacation

Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer vacation season. Whether you are traveling or expecting visitors, vacationing isn’t off limits to heart disease patients. In fact, with a little planning your trip can less stressful, relaxing, and fun!

“The biggest thing to start with is planning,” states Mary Ellen King, Nurse Practitioner at Capital Cardiology Associates. “If I had a patient that had a recent cardiac event, heart attack, stents, or a new pacemaker implant, it is helpful to let your doctor know what your travel plans are. We can offer some suggestions and make sure that we contribute to that plan before you leave.”

Plan with your doctor

Discussing your travel plans with your health care provider helps address many questions you have about medications, safety, and travel restrictions. As King points out, “Making sure that you have all of your medications with you. That you are thinking about where you are going and what access to medical care you will have. The more you plan in advance, the smoother your trip will be.” Whether you are planning a trip by plane or heading up to Lake George for a week, make sure you are aware what medical services will be available to you. “If you are coming to an area like Albany where we have access to medical facilities, hospitals, urgent care that’s pretty straightforward. But if you’re going camping in Montana you need to think differently. How far is it to the nearest emergency room? What resources are there? Again, planning is key. If you know people in the area that you are visiting, find out from them. You can also get help from your primary care doctor and cardiologist on finding nearby medical facilitates. You don’t want to be stuck with an emergency and then have to come up with a plan.”

Traveling can be difficult for anyone, do yourself a favor before you leave and check ahead. King advises patients with pacemakers or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) to, “Have your wallet card with you so that as you go through airport security or airline check-in areas you can show them.” You should also talk with your doctor about your implanted device and airport security. With most pacemakers, it’s safe to walk through metal detectors now; it’s a good idea to check if yours is one of these. Walking through the full body scanner will not harm your pacemaker either. If you have a stent, it is safe to walk through metal detectors and full body scanners. You should tell the agent before you step in of your implanted devices as they will be seen on full body scans. Your wallet card can help explain your device/implant at security checkpoints. If you are in doubt, ask for a hand search by a TSA agent.

THE WATCHMAN

The One Time Procedure For People With Atrial FIBRILLATION
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If you are traveling, you will also want to talk with your doctor about your medications. “Give your medications the same level of detail as the outfits or clothing you are packing for your trip,” advises King. “If you are taking insulin, make sure you have a way to keep your medication cool or refrigerated. Patients taking nitroglycerin for chest pain, has your bottle been opened? It will expire after six months of being opened. The medicine has to be in a dark container. The same planning ahead applies; you wouldn’t want to be somewhere with chest pain or discomfort with a medication that is not effective because it wasn’t stored properly or is past the expiration date.” Having a written copy of your current medications which can serve as your personal health passport, is strongly recommended too. “Make sure you have a current list of your medications because I can tell you, there is nothing more frustrating than when asking a patient what pill they take for the blood pressure and their answer is, ‘The little blue one.’ Bring a current list of your medications not the little one that is folded up in your wallet and has been in your back pocket for five years. List out your medications, what the strength of the pill is, how often you are taking it. Make sure you have your local doctors names and phone numbers. If you have to see a provider on your trip, the phone call home for help is much easier. Again, make sure you have enough of your medications. You should keep them in your carry-on bag, not your check-on bag, in case you and your luggage are separated.”

If Driving or Flying

Avoid sitting for long periods of time. Sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of swelling in your legs which can lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is when a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body, most commonly in the legs. This is condition is dangerous because the clot can break free and travel through the bloodstream to the lungs. Your doctor may advise your to wear compression stockings when you talk about your long-distance travel plans as well as recommend that get up to move or walk for 5-10 minutes every hour or two.

Planning Your Home For A Visit

If you are hosting a heart patient this summer there are few things you should know. “Most patients with heart disease and certainly those with heart failure or difficulty breathing; air condition is a must have, fans at a minimum,” recommends King. Besides a comfortable climate, simple accommodations can help provide a relaxing visit for you and your guest. “Making arrangements that your guest can be on the first floor of your home will be helpful for patients that have difficulty moving or getting around. Again, some of this may sound like common sense but a small consideration like, making sure there are enough power outlets in the room. While that may sound silly, if there is medical equipment, like a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, it will need to be plugged in near the head of the bed — that makes a difference,” said King.

As the host of a family member or friend you can also prepare by planning outings that won’t exhaust your company. Make sure plenty of healthy snacks and water is available. As King cautions, “The other important piece of traveling is diet. That is probably the biggest triggers for problems. When we get our of our meal times and routines, that alone can cause problems by itself.” Plan home cooked meals that fit within their diet plan. Get some great tips here along with a tasty twist on a summer salad dish. When dining out, seek out restaurants that respect dietary restrictions and requests. “Vacations are a lovely thing but you still need to take care of yourself.”

Written by: Michael Arce, Social Media Specialist

Information provided on this website is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Your should not use information on this website or the information on linked from this site, or the content on the website (or any part thereof), to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider If you have or suspect you have an urgent medical problem, promptly contact a professional healthcare provider. CCA advises you to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider proper to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any application of the recommendations in this website is at the reader’s discretion.

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