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Medical Options for Dealing with Heart Complications

April 10, 2014

Complications arising in the heart are a serious medical issue. The heart can be afflicted with numerous medical conditions that are collectively called heart disease. Heart disease can be a specific medical condition affecting the heart's muscles, anatomical abnormalities to the heart, cardiac tissue damage due to high blood pressure or lack of oxygen, a result of plaque build-up on the arteries, and many other conditions. Because of the nature of heart disease, there are several medical options to deal with heart disease. Here are four common methods to treat heart disease.


Surgery is the best option when the cardiac tissue damage is severe enough to warrant its direct repair. Radically invasive surgeries include a complete heart transplant for the patient, while less invasive surgeries involve the surgical placement of stents that prop open blood vessels to prevent permanent blockage. One common form of cardiac surgery many people know is bypass surgery.

Bypass surgery is used when the arteries to the heart are so severely blocked that the doctor must re-route the arteries so blood can reach the cardiac muscles. This form of surgery will require the doctor to open up the chest cavity and graft blood vessels around blocked areas. This helps the flow of blood to continue toward damaged cardiac muscles that had lost precious oxygen and nutrients.

Blood Vessel Techniques

Many medical problems involving the heart are actually issues with the blood vessels. Like the bypass surgery example, a lack of blood flow to the cardiac muscles will damage the heart. In some cases, the doctor can avoid surgery on the heart muscles and just focus on re-opening the flow of blood in the arteries.

The first thing to do is to properly diagnose how the heart vessels are damaged. This is done through a catheter, which is a small tube that enters a patient's arteries through a limb. The catheter moves through the circulatory system until specific readings like blood pressure rate within the artery or the rate of blood flow is found. The catheter may also stumble upon the reason for the cardiac issue, such as a accumulation of plaque in a certain area.

Whichever the result, there are multiple ways to solve these issues. First, some catheters come with numerous tools that can help fix blood flow issues. Manufacturers design their catheters through a process called extrusion. Extrusion is when the tube is designed with a specific shape to meet the demands of a situation. Medical extrusion technology helps doctors use the catheter to diagnose or repair artery issues by effectively pushing away plaque, as with balloon devices that widen the narrowed artery. A custom extrusion device can also house a stent, which is a mesh, open-ended cylinder that supports the artery walls to keep them open. Using these custom devices, the doctor can not only use their catheter for diagnostic purposes, but they can use the extrusion tools to solve the medical complication in combination with the catheter.


Medications are a common technique to either solve the condition of heart disease or to help supplement any cardiac surgery. These medications can often solve issues within the heart or the blood vessels that arise from the patient's lifestyle or the patient's genetics. Some medications help with the heart's pumping rhythm while others thin the blood so it can be carried more easily through the heart muscles. Very common medications are blood pressure medications, which help to lower a patient's blood pressure, and blood clotting medications which minimize clotting within the body.

Electrical Issues

Like any muscle, the heart needs electrical signals from the nervous system to contract and relax. The heart muscles do this involuntarily and they need to constantly be “on” in order for a person to be alive. Many patients may have medical conditions where their nerves around their heart are not working properly. To solve this, doctors will prescribe specific medications or perform surgical techniques that will help the electrical signals transmit properly.

One well-known cardiac remedy is the surgical implant of a pacemaker. The pacemaker is placed in tissue around the heart that used to send electrical impulses to contract and relax the cardiac muscles yet is no longer doing so. An artificial pacemaker mimics the functions of this tissue and sends electrical pulses to the heart muscles.

The heart is the most important muscle in the body. When there is a cardiac complication that results in heart disease, doctors have to work quickly to solve any muscular, artery and cardiac nerve issue or prescribe the necessary medications that can reverse damage to the cardiac system.

Categories: Heart Health News

Warning: What Your Food Label Doesn't Tell You (But Should)

March 3, 2014

In a perfect world we would all eat more whole foods, but until then, knowing more about what we're tossing in the grocery cart is important. Like the saying goes, "you are what you eat."

Since it's a less than ideal world, let’s be honest -- reading food package labels can sometimes feel like a fool’s errand, even for the most empowered shoppers among us.

(How many cookies, chips or crackers have you munched before you realize the actual serving size is way less than the amount already ingested?)

Deciphering the contents of foods most Americans buy may soon get a lot easier with new Nutrition Facts labels coming soon to a grocery store near you. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed the changes on Feb. 27, 2014.

It could be a small victory for nutrition-conscious label readers if the changes are adopted.

Imagine living in a world where there's no more guesstimating how much a serving size actually is, or how much processed sugar or salt has been added to your food. And we'd be able to put away our calculator because gauging calorie consumption will get easier too.

"The goal is to make people aware of what they are eating and give them the tools to make healthy dietary choices throughout the day," says Jennifer Leighton Ph.D., senior nutrition science and policy advisor in FDA's Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine.

The changes are needed to “freshen up” the 20-year-old nutritional labels so they reflect new public health and scientific information, including the undeniable link between our diets and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease, and some cancers, the FDA said.

Should the proposed changes go into effect, all packaged foods except those regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (certain meat, poultry and processed egg products) would be updated in 2016.

“The new label would update out-of-date serving size requirements to better align with how much people really eat,” the FDA said, making it more difficult for food manufacturers to fool consumers about the number of calories they consume.

In some cases, consumers would better understand the calorie information for the entire package rather breaking it up into strange, difficult to calculate, or rather unrealistic serving sizes.

For example, your 20-ounce soda will be listed on the label as one serving instead of two, since most people drink the entire bottle at once rather than splitting it between people or saving half for another time.

Perhaps most notably, the new label is big, bold and beautiful to highlight key parts such as calories and serving sizes.

Proposed changes to food labels include:

• Requiring information about “added sugars” within the products consumers purchase. This proposed change is based on expert recommendations — including those from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans — that Americans should reduce their intake of calories from added sugar.

• Updating reference amounts, which are used by manufacturers to determine serving sizes, so they reflect the realistic amounts people currently eat and drink. Current data show that the consumption of certain food products has changed over the last 20 years.

• Presenting calorie and nutrition information for the whole package, in addition to per serving, on certain products that contain more than one serving size but that could be consumed in one sitting or in multiple sittings.

• Requiring the declaration of potassium and vitamin D on the label, if present, because some segments of the U.S. population are not consuming adequate amounts of these substances, putting them at higher risk for chronic disease.

Vitamin D is important for its role in bone health and potassium is beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Calcium and iron would continue to be required on the label if present, but listing vitamins A and C would now be voluntary.

• Revising the daily values for a variety of nutrients such as calcium, dietary fiber and vitamin D. Daily values are levels of nutrients in a standard serving in relation to the consumer's estimated need for it.

They are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value on the label to help consumers understand the food’s nutritional information in the context of a total daily diet. These elements are important in addressing current public health problems like obesity and heart disease, the FDA said.

The FDA also is proposing some corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements, including proposed changes to the Daily Values and the units of measure.

The proposed updates reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports and national survey data, such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrient intake recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The federal food regulatory agency is also considering extensive input and comments from a wide range of stakeholders. Consumers are invited to participate in the 90-day comment period at www.regulations.gov/

To see the new labels or learn more about the proposed changes, click here.

Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and watersports junkie who lives in San Diego with her husband and two beach loving dogs. In addition to writing about cancer-related issues for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in publications internationally.


Proposed Nutritional Label Changes Are Based on Science and Research. FDA Consumer Update. 27 February 2014.

Nutritional Facts Label: Proposed Changes Aimer to Better Inform Food Choices. FDA Consumer Update. 27 February 2014.

Reviewed March 4, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Image:  Image Caption:  MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News

American Heart Month: 50 Years Promoting Awareness and Health

February 25, 2014

In honor of American Heart Month, CEO of the American Heart Association Nancy Brown reflected on the past half century of U.S. awareness-raising for heart health.

In an article on Huffingtonpost.com, she pointed out that in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson originally proclaimed February to be American Heart Month which became the pivotal point in American heart health history.

By 1960, 924,000 in the United States were dying annually from cardiovascular disease. Of these deaths, 662,000 were from heart disease. We must be doing something right, because 50 years later, in 2010, cardiovascular disease claimed 784,000 and of those numbers 600,000 were from heart disease.

Too many? Certainly. But the numbers had significantly dropped. And considering that there were 72 percent more Americans in 2010 than there were in 1960, those numbers are even more encouraging.

What has helped to bring about these changes?

Brown attributes much of this decrease to improvements in diagnosis, equipment, research, drugs and treatment. The nation as a whole is trying to quit smoking, eat better and get more exercise.

And of course, increased awareness and information about heart disease has been essential to beating the illness and saving lives. Which brings us back to the importance and success of American Heart Month.

The American Heart Association has supported cardiovascular research since its origins in 1924 to the tune of more than three billion dollars. Its contributions now exceed 100 million dollars a year.

Though the numbers have been decreasing, it's still true that heart disease remains public enemy number one in the United States. And more women than men die from stroke and heart disease, ever since 1984.

Want to improve your odds of avoiding cardiovascular disease, including heart disease?

The CDC website offers many suggestions.

Enlist the help of your health care practitioners. Have an annual checkup. Get yourself checked for diabetes and high blood pressure, and other conditions that can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

Have your cholesterol checked every five years with a simple blood test.

Lifestyle changes can change your life. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables. Limit sodium, trans fat and increase fiber. And don't eat more than you need to maintain a healthy weight.

Avoiding obesity can help you avoid higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Get moving. Regular exercise will keep weight, cholesterol and blood pressure at healthier levels. Listen to the Surgeon General who encourages all adults to spend at least two and a half hours in moderate activity each week.

Don't start smoking, or if you smoke, kick the habit.

Women should have no more than one alcoholic drink on average per day. Men should have no more than two drinks daily.

Diabetics need to monitor blood sugar levels regularly, and stay in touch with their health care practitioners.

If you have cardiovascular disease already, don't despair. Be careful about taking your medication for any conditions that can exacerbate cardiovascular disease. Ask questions. See your health care practitioner about any side effects you might have.


50 Years of American Heart Month: Fight Continues vs. Our No. 1 Killer. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2014.

Take It One Step at a Time. CDC.gov. Retrieved Feb. 25, 2014.

Visit Jody's website at http://www.ncubator.ca

Reviewed February 26, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN

Image:  Image Caption:  B-D-S/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News

Heart Disease & Women: We're Very Different than Men

February 24, 2014

We all know that we think and act differently than men, and recently many cardiologists are discovering that our hearts think and act differently too. Consider "Broken Heart Syndrome" or Takotsubo's Cardiomyopathy, a type of heart attack that affects women many more times than men.

We’ve all heard about the typical causes of heart disease and heart attacks from high blood pressure and too much cholesterol, but what about those atypical scenarios when someone suddenly has a heart attack seemingly out of nowhere?

Consider Katherine, a woman I met recently who was stranded by the side of the road, waiting for Triple A, fuming because she was late for an important meeting. By the time the mechanic arrived, she started to feel a burning pain between her shoulder blades. Then the pain radiated around to her neck and jaw. She knew this wasn't good, but didn't know what it was until finally after her car was towed and a friend picked up her. Her friend didn't like what Katherine was saying about the burning pain in her jaw, and so despite Katherine saying that it was nothing, and to please just take her home, her friend did the right thing and headed straight to the Emergency Room.

By the time Katherine arrived, her testing revealed that the burning was from a type of atypical (unusual type) of heart attack.

What happens

This is more common in women after menopause than it is in men. Takotsubo’s typically occurs after a severe and sudden emotionally stressful event. It can be from anger, anxiety or from a happy event. We think it happens when there’s a flood of adrenaline and other “fight or flight” neurochemicals that leads to a rapid response in the heart.

It’s believed that the flood of stress hormones causes the coronary arteries to constrict which reduces blood flow to the heart muscle. And yet, because of the "fight or flight response" the heart is trying it's best to pump harder and harder to supply the needed oxygen and blood to the body, but there's less oxygen and blood flow available for the heart to do it's work. These 2 opposing factors results in a heart that’s trying to pump more blood without enough oxygen, which leads to the muscle in the lower part of the heart (the ventricles) bulging out abnormally at the bottom. The blood doesn't pump efficiently this way.

Other scenarios

There are cases Takotsubo's, where women who have come home, opened their door after a long day at work and discovered all of their friends shouting “Happy Birthday" and then collapsing. And not just fear, there was even a case reported of a woman who had inherited a substantial amount of money and was at a reception signing a big check for $ 1 million dollars to her favorite charity when she suddenly had Takotsubo’s and had to be rushed to the Emergency Room.

Takotsubo's? Interesting name, what does it mean?

When this was first described in Japan, the bulging at the bottom of the heart on angiogram looked just like an octopus pot, which is how it got it’s name Tako Tsubo’s or Octopus Pot.

Why we can see it now?

In the past, before we had advanced imagery that could look at the heart muscle, cardiologists could only guess at what was happening. Now with echocardiograms and angiograms that are performed right away, Takotsubo’s or Broken Heart syndrome can be identified and the typical bulging of the ventricles can be seen.

Though Takotsubo's is rare, luckily most women recover from it and go on to lead normal healthy lives. However in our over-stressed, go, go, go world, more and more women are experiencing all sorts of heart conditions brought about by numerous factors, including stress.

What's important to know:

For women, the signs of a heart attack can be very different.
Yes, you may have a crushing chest pain, but you might also have:
• Shoulder pain or pain between the shoulder blades
• Burning pain in your arm, neck, jaw or between your shoulder blades
• Sweating
• Sudden fatigue
• Nausea
• Indigestion and burning
• Pain that comes with exercise and then goes away when you stop

When in doubt, don't wait and don't try to figure out what it is on your own. Go to your nearest emergency room. It saved Katherine's live and it just may save yours or someone you love.

Categories: Heart Health News

6 Reasons You'll Fall in Love with Beets

February 18, 2014

They’re sweet, packed full of fiber and are truly one of the world’s healthiest foods.

I’m talking about beets, those rather unassuming roots belonging to the chenopod family. It's a shame some people think of beets only as a traditional food eaten on holidays or as something to occasionally throw on a salad plate.

Beets aren’t particularly charismatic aside from their vibrant colors — from golden yellow to deep purple, crowned in bright to dark green.

But what beets lack in aesthetics, they more than make up for in versatility. They're a vegetable that can be roasted, steamed or boiled.

They're generally widely available year round, though the best time to find fresh young tender roots is from June through October.

If you haven't tried beets in a while, here are six reasons why you’ll fall in love with this superfood and want to bring beets to the table often.

1. Energy Boost

Beets are rich in natural nitrates, which are converted in the body to nitric oxide, known to expand the wall of blood vessels so you enjoy more oxygen, nutrients and energy.

A recent study showed six days of beet juice enhanced overall physical performance and heart function during exercise, including a 2 percent reduction in resting blood pressure and a 20 percent increase in stamina.

2. Weight Loss

Beets have a sweet, earthy flavor but one cup of raw beets has only 35 calories, 8 grams of carbohydrates and is bursting with fiber, a perfect recipe for weight management.

The sugars in natural whole food beets are complex carbohydrates, sometime referred to as “smart carbs” that fuel the muscles and brain. Unlike refined sugar—which is sometimes made from beets— whole beet sugars contain powerful nutrients and phytochemicals.

3. Cupid’s Potion

Beets have been considered the ‘fruit of love’ since antiquity. Around 800 BC, an Assyrian text described beets growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

During the Roman Empire, beets were considered an aphrodisiac and were so beloved for their potency that frescoes of beets decorated the walls of the Lupanare brothel in Pompeii.

In Greek mythology Aphrodite ate beets to enhance her appeal, and in countries worldwide, tradition purports a man and woman will fall madly in love after eating from the same red beet.

Quaint folklore or natural Viagra? Studies show beets contain high amounts of natural boron, a trace mineral that increases the level of sex hormones in the human body, reported Tori Avey, food writer.

4. Mood Enhancer

The same natural chemicals in beets that promote amorous feelings can also help alleviate depression. Research shows that beets are a natural source of tryptophan and phytonutrients known as betalains. Both substances promote a feeling of well being that’s similar to the one that comes from eating chocolate.

5. Disease Fighting Superhero

Beets may well be the Tony Stark of vegetable roots. Several studies show that beets contain high amounts of vitamin C, folate, manganese and betalains. Betalains are powerful antioxidants that may protect humans from oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

These factors have been linked to aging skin, some cancers, diabetes, chronic pain, high blood pressure and heart disease, among other health problems.

Some studies show as little as one cup of beet juice can have dramatic effects as a natural alternative to blood pressure medication for some people. Drinking two to three ounces of beet juice per day works as a natural technique to prevent constipation. Beets also contain unique epoxy xanthophyll carotenoids that can strengthen eye health.

6. Natural Dandruff Relief

It may sound counterintuitive but beets have been used for some time as a home remedy for dandruff. To control those embarrassing white flakes, simply boil a few beets until soft and then use the cooled water mixture on your scalp.

If you have blonde hair, unless you want deep red locks, choose white to yellow colored beets rather than red ones. (19th century Victorians used beets to dye their hair— and their Easter eggs too.) Red beets are fine to use on brunette hair, according to Totallybeauty.com.

Now that you know all about the benefits of beets, be choosy in your selection and preparation.

Pick firm beets with fresh greens and smooth skins. Here, size matters. Small to medium beetroots tend to have the best flavor and tender skins that won’t need to be peeled.

Wash your beets thoroughly before removing the greens with a knife, being careful to leave about one inch between the beetroot and the stem. Store beet greens separately from the root in plastic bags. You can refrigerate beetroots for up to one month, but it’s recommended to eat greens within three days.

Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and watersport junkie who lives in San Diego with her husband and two beach loving dogs. In addition to writing about cancer-related issues for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in publications internationally.


Betalains—a new class of dietary cationized antioxidants Kanner J, Harel S, Granit R. J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Nov;49(11):5178-85. Study abstract at:

New Study find beetroot juice may help lower blood pressure. Dr. Vita.com

The Best Natural Dandruff Treatments. Totalbeauty.com. Accessed 17 Feb. 2014.

Learn why these 10 foods are Edible Aphrodisiacs. Tori Avey. The History Kitchen. 10 Feb. 2014. Online

Wettasinghe M, Bolling B, et al. Phase II enzyme-inducing and antioxidant activities of beetroot (Beta vulgaris L.) extracts from phenotypes of different pigmentation J Agric Food Chem.2002 Nov 6;50(23):6704-9. Abstract at

Reviewed February 19, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Image:  Image Caption:  Svetlana Foote/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News

Women: What's Your Risk for a Heart Attack?

February 11, 2014

As a woman maybe you do not think about a heart attack as a potential health problem. But perhaps you should. Heart disease is a health concern for all women and the earlier you become aware of the symptoms, the more empowered you will be about your health.

Understanding your symptoms may help you get the correct diagnosis when you walk into the emergency room. You can be proactive and tell your doctor that you think that you are having a heart attack so they can give you fast preventative protocols as they rule out a heart attack.

Let’s talk about the risk factors for heart disease and heart attack. If an immediate member of your family has had a heart attack or heart disease, you have a higher risk. So at your next family reunion spend some time talking with your siblings, your mom and dad, and your grandparents to learn more about your family’s health history.

Ask your family about histories of of diabetes, high cholesterol, being overweight or obesity, and high blood pressure. If members of your family have a history of any of these it is important for you to share this with your doctor. If you have any of these, your risk of heart disease increases as well.

There are lifestyle factors that increase your risk of heart attack and heart disease, including smoking and lack of exercise. If you are a current or past smoker your history must include the amount of usage and duration of use. Exercise includes current exercise and fitness levels.

Not only is it important for you to understand your risks for heart disease it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Some of the signs and symptoms are different for women than for men.

Signs for women include:

• Chest pain or chest discomfort – for women it might feel more like a squeezing sensation

• Pain in the neck, back, jaw or arms – it might be gradual or sudden and radiate to the jaw or back, not just focused on the chest and down the left arm

• Severe abdominal or stomach pain – pain that feels like heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer can be a symptom of heart pain

• Shortness of breathe – feeling pressing down on the chest or difficulty breathing

• Nausea

• Lightheadedness

• Breaking out in a cold or nervous sweat – stress-related sweating, breaking out in a cold sweat is the type of sweating you will expect to se
• Extreme tiredness or fatigue – a feeling of tiredness in the chest or inability to do small or normal activities

Learn about your heart health and your heart risk. It will help you to answer the question about how safe your heart is from a heart attack.

Live Vibrantly,
Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.org

Dr. Dae's Bio:

Dr. Daemon Jones is your diabetes reversal, hormones, metabolism and weight loss expert. Dr. Dae is a naturopathic doctor who treats patients all over the country using Skype and phone visits. Visit her or schedule a free consultation at her website www.HealthyDaes.org/


Fields, Lisa. "6 Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.

Kam, Katherine. "Learn the Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.

Reviewed February 13, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Image:  Image Caption:  Oleksandr Bilozerov/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News

FDA to Teens: Consider ‘Real Cost’ of Tobacco

February 10, 2014

Ads aimed at discouraging kids and teens from using tobacco begin to air on Feb. 11, 2014 on TV, radio, and the Internet across the nation as part of a new hard-hitting anti-smoking campaign launched by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Real Cost campaign goal is to reduce the number of future adults who are at risk of developing serious long-term tobacco-related health problems by convincing young people 12-17-years of age who smoke or are experimenting with cigarettes to kick the habit now, and stay tobacco free for life, said FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg.

This is the FDA's first ever campaign to prevent youth tobacco use.

The federal agency estimates more than 10 million teens are open to smoking or already have experimented with cigarettes and are in danger of become hooked in the near future. That’s a big social and financial problem for a struggling national economy.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and more than 480,000 deaths in the United States each year. It costs the nation $193 billion annually in health care and lost productivity, according to the American Cancer Association.

Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said that tweens and teens share important characteristics that put them at risk for tobacco use.

“They [at-risk teens] are more likely to live chaotic, stressful lives due to factors such as socioeconomic conditions; be exposed to smoking by friends and family; and use tobacco as a coping mechanism or a way to exert control or independence,” he said.

Additionally, many at-risk youths who experiment with cigarettes don’t consider themselves smokers or believe they will become addicted, and they are not particularly interested in the topic of tobacco use. Yet, some recent studies show current adult smokers who held these beliefs as teens were still lighting up a decade later.

So far the FDA has produced six ads that use a little fear and vanity to show teens, despite what they might see in pop culture, smoking is far from glamorous — and it might just kill you.

Take a look here to see some of the powerful anti-smoking clips created by the FDA.

“We want to make these teens hyperconscious of the risk from every cigarette by highlighting consequences that young people are concerned about, such as loss of control due to addiction and health effects like tooth loss and skin damage,” Zeller said.

Tobacco use is almost always initiated and established during adolescence, health experts say. The younger a person is when they start, the more likely they will become hooked and the more intense their addiction.

Several health studies show adults who started using tobacco as teens tend to experience intense nicotine addictions similar to heroine or cocaine — even at low-level tobacco use.

Experts believe because a teen’s brain is still developing — and will likely do so until age 25 — early nicotine exposure alters that development by rewiring the brain for addiction, making quitting even more difficult than for those who started smoking as adults.

More than 3,200 young people under age 18 smoke their first cigarette every day in the United States — and another 700 become daily smokers, the FDA says.

“FDA sees a critical need for targeted efforts to keep young people from starting on this path. Reducing the number of teens who start smoking will diminish the harmful consequences that tobacco use has on the future health of our country,” said Zeller.

Will today’s teens heed the anti-tobacco message? Time will tell, but this isn’t exactly uncharted territory.

A similar 3-month campaign launched in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convinced 100,000 to permanently kick tobacco.

The FDA will follow 8,000 teens nationwide for two years to see if exposure to the $115 million campaign is associated with a decrease in youth smoking. The campaign is funded by user fees collected from the tobacco industry.

Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and watersport junkie who lives in San Diego with her husband and two beach loving dogs. In addition to writing about cancer-related issues for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in publications internationally.


FDA to Teens: Consider the “Real Cost’ of Tobacco Use.
http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm383887.htm and http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofMedicalProductsandTob...

FDA Public Education Campaign Aims to Prevent and Reduce Youth Tobacco Use. Margaret Hamburg. FDA Voice

Brain Maturity Extends Well Beyond Teen Years. Interview with Sandra Aamodt, neuroscientist and co-author of the book Welcome to Your Child's Brain. NPR. 10 Oct. 2011.

Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults. U.S. Surgeon General Report on Tobacco.

The True Cost of Smoking and Tobacco Use. Infographic. Tobacco Atlas 4th edition. American Cancer Society.

Government’s Stop Smoking Ad Campaign Got Results. Adweek. 9 Sep 2013.

Reviewed February 11, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Image:  Image Caption:  Auremar/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News

Cholesterol Myths - Know how to take care of YOUR heart! (plus a free gift from me)

February 10, 2014

Don't miss out on my FREE gift to you, EmpowHER! You can get my Heart Tune-Up Gift Package (value of $29) for free. Just go here. 

Commonly Believed Cholesterol Myths 

  • High cholesterol is the leading cause of heart disease. 
  • If your HDL is normal or if your total cholesterol/HDL ratio is good, you are safe from heart disease. 
  • The amount of cholesterol in your food determines your blood cholesterol level. 
  • Moderate egg and shrimp consumption causes your cholesterol level to jump. 
  • LDL cholesterol is your enemy and should be as low as possible. 
  • A high body mass index (BMI) is a major risk factor for heart disease. 
  • Once you start medications for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you will need to take them the rest of your life. 
  • Your family history determines if you are at high or low risk for cardiovascular disease. 
  • If you take a statin cholesterol‐lowering medication, you can eat whatever you want.

New Facts to Replace Old Myths 

  • You don’t need to be on cholesterol medications forever! Even people who have taken them for years can change their diet and exercise, shrink their arterial plaque, and may be able to stop further arterial plaque growth without any medication.
  • Most cholesterol doesn’t come from your diet. Your liver makes it while you sleep. Eating saturated fat (found in fatty dairy products and meats) does more to increase cholesterol production than can be caused by simply eating foods high in cholesterol.
  • Some foods that are high in cholesterol don’t raise cholesterol levels at all. For instance, moderate egg consumption doesn’t raise cholesterol levels. Even better, organic, free-range chickens fed flaxseed produce eggs with much less saturated fat and much more healthy fats. (However, skip the bacon and syrup-drenched pancakes on the side.)
  • Shrimp is higher in cholesterol than many other foods, yet studies show it seems to have a form that doesn’t cause human cholesterol to increase. Eating shrimp is safe, as far as cholesterol goes.
  • If you take a statin cholesterol medication, you are only partly protected! You may not eat whatever you want. Statins tell your liver to make less cholesterol when you’re sleeping. But they can’t stop bad food choices from coating your arteries with slime and plaque. Notice that statin commercials state correctly, “This medication, when combined with a healthy lifestyle, can reduce the risk of heart disease.” Healthy lifestyle is the operative phrase here. Drugs alone have not been shown to shrink plaque.


Categories: Heart Health News

Doctor Emphasizes Spending More on Prevention for #1 Killer of Americans

February 10, 2014

Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of Americans today, despite the fact that it is preventable 90% of the time, reveals physician Dr. Steven Masley, president of The Masley Optimal Health Center, in his new book THE 30-DAY HEART TUNE-UP: A Breakthrough Medical Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease  ($25.00.)

In THE 30-DAY HEART TUNE-UP, Dr. Masley teaches readers how to discover potential and existing threats to their cardiovascular health and how to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

For our EmpowHER community, Dr. Masley is giving away a free Heart Tune-up Gift Package. Get it here. You will get the following delivered to your email: 


Dr. Masley wrote THE 30-DAY HEART TUNE-UP to enable readers to tune up their hearts, energy, waistline, and sex life--and how to reverse cardiovascular disease if you have it. This book will arm readers with the tools to build the strongest heart possible.

Dr. Masley’s approach emphasizes prevention. Over the years, as a resident and then as a physician, Dr. Masley has volunteered in more than 15 impoverished countries. He discovered that most of the time, the human body has the capacity to heal itself without high technology, specialized drugs, or risky procedures and surgeries. These unique experiences led Dr. Masley to view healing from a different perspective than many of his medical colleagues in the United States and he has developed a different understanding as to why cardiovascular disease remains the #1 cause of death in the United States, despite the fact that it is preventable 90% of the time.

Teaching readers to shrink arterial plaque, improve circulation, manage stress, eat heart-healing foods, and strengthen the heart and arteries through specific exercises, Dr. Masley improves on the traditional method of preventing heart disease. By evaluating more factors in a holistic way, rather than the one-dimensional measurement of cholesterol levels, THE 30-DAY HEART TUNE-UP is an answer to the epidemic of heart disease. 

The good news is that everyone—regardless of size, genetics, gender, or age—can treat arterial plaque and prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Along with medically sound advice to reduce cardiovascular risk without surgery, drugs, invasive tests, or expensive trips to the doctor, Dr. Masley provides a scientifically proven plan to reduce plaque in the arteries plus recipes that include heart-healthy foods and an exercise regimen that will strengthen the heart. Best of all, his plan produces results in as little as 30 days.

“As a physician, I find our state of affairs incredibly frustrating,” writes Dr. Masley. “Nationally, we spend far too much money on procedures for a problem that is preventable, should be diagnosed earlier, and is best treated with lifestyle changes. We often don’t act until aheart attack or stroke occurs, and by then it’s often too late.Fortoo many people, the first symptom of heart disease is sudden—they don’t get another chance to change anything.”

Studies published in the American Journal of Cardiology show that we devote less than 10% of our health‐care dollars for cardiovascular disease on prevention and medical management and more than 90% on procedures and hospital care. We head down this wrong road because today’s paradigm doesn’t target the real cause of heart disease and cardiovascular events. The truth is, until now, we have not gotten to the heart of the matter. Yet despite the bleak scenario described above, there is a solution.

THE 30-DAY HEART TUNE-UP can save you and your loved ones from most forms of cardiovascular disease.THE 30-DAY HEART TUNE-UP is based on Dr. Masley’s life’s work. He has devoted every hour of every day to making his patients’ lives and hearts better without having to resort to surgery or other invasive procedures. 

Again...for our EmpowHER community, Dr. Masley is giving away a free Heart Tune-up Gift Package. Get it here. 

About the Author:Steven Masley, M.D., FAHA, FAAFP, FACN,is a fellow with the American Heart Association, the American College of Nutrition, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is also a health researcher, speaker, author, and trained chef. Over the past fifteen years, he has won acclaim for helping hundreds of patients reverse Type II diabetes and eliminate the symptoms of cardiovascular disease.Currently, he is the President for the Masley Optimal Health Center, the medical director for the Ten Years Younger ProgramTM, and has a clinical appointment with the University of South Florida. He is also an instructor for the Lasting Leadership training at Eckerd College and at the Center for Leadership with Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa.

Categories: Heart Health News

Self Care can be the Key to Heart Health

February 5, 2014

In general we, as women, need to take better care of ourselves! We have the tendency to multitask ourselves into mental and physical exhaustion. We take care of our children, our husbands or boyfriends, our extended family, and our communities by helping them be successful in their projects.

By the time we have given energy to all these different people we seldom have time to focus on our most important asset -- ourselves. We have to focus on our health.

February is Heart Month, and it's a great time for us to take time to think about our emotional as well as our physical health. When we neglect our emotional and physical health we have aches, pains, fatigue and persistent health problems. Ignoring those signs can be dangerous and damaging to our health.

Indicators show up in our life to tell us that we are moving out of balance with our health. Signs serve as an alarm to let us know we need to make changes to the way we are living our lives. We can experience a combination of emotional and physical issues.

Addressing the symptoms when they first come to the surface allows us to set a new baseline for our health. They allow us to catch a potentially dangerous health condition when it is happening.

For women, heart attacks show up differently than with men and can be a combination of both. In women our symptoms can seem much more subtle.

Instead of chest pain, women may have unexplained shortness of breath, or pain or pressure in other areas than the chest, including the jaw, neck, arms, back or stomach. There are other ambiguous symptoms like weakness, feeling sick to the stomach, extreme fatigue, nausea, dizziness, or lower chest discomfort.

If you have any of those symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment to see your doctor and get a heart health check. The better you take care yourself and your health, the more energy you will have to help to take care of the ones you love.

Dr. Dae

Dr. Dae is a Naturopathic Physician who practices in the Washington DC metro area treats the whole person using safe and effective combinations of traditional and natural methods to produce optimal health and well-being in the lives of her patients.


Pittman, Genevra. "Heart attack with no chest pain more likely in women." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 21 Feb. 2012. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.

"What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Disease?." - NHLBI, NIH. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2014.

Reviewed February 6, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Image:  Image Caption:  Ivelin Radkov/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News

The Shocking Truth about Heart Disease

February 4, 2014

The shocking truth about heart disease is that it is the number one killer of women in America. Heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer combined! Because of these truths the American Heart Association has created a Go Red campaign to educate women on the facts about their heart health.

What is heart disease?

It is a term that encompasses numerous diseases of the heart and the blood vessels. This can include coronary artery disease, heart attacks and heart value issues. It can encompass rhythm problem issues, high blood pressures, high cholesterol and many more health concerns.

Education is the key to prevention

Why do we care about educating women about heart health? Prevention!

It is just that simple. For so many years heart disease has been portrayed as a man’s disease. It is not really surprising that women don’t think of it a women’s disease. We have to become aware of a problem before we can take steps to prevent it.

As women become more aware of heart disease they can come together as a community. They can then share information with friends and family to help decrease the death rates among women.

Prevention starts with lifestyle habits

Most people don’t realize that many of the diseases that make up heart disease are progressive problems. This mean they take years to develop.

Some start as early as childhood. So awareness for parents and children about these diseases are important to prevention of them.

Many lifestyle factors contribute to heart disease, so the earlier we become aware of healthy lifestyle choices we can make, the better. Then we're on the road to creating healthy habits, and that can help prevent heart disease.

You can help increase awareness by joining the campaign and wearing something scarlet, crimson, flame or vermilion. Go Red on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Live Vibrantly,
Dr. Dae
Dr. Dae's website: www.healthydaes.org
Dr. Dae's book: Daelicious! Recipes for Vibrant Living can be purchased @ www.healthydaes.org

Dr. Dae's Bio:
Dr. Daemon Jones is your expert for diabetes reversal, hormones, metabolism and weight loss. Dr. Dae is a naturopathic doctor who treats patients all over the country using Skype and phone visits. Visit her or schedule a free consultation at her website www.HealthyDaes.org/


"American Heart Association Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Beginning in Childhood." American Heart Association Guidelines for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Beginning in Childhood. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.

"Fight Heart Disease in Women - Go Red For Women." Go Red For Women. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Feb. 2014.

"Heart disease." Definition. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2014.

"There's room for improvement in women's heart disease awareness." Welcome to the AHA/ASA Newsroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2014.

Reviewed February 5, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Image:  Image Caption:  Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin
Categories: Heart Health News