When Should High Cholesterol Be Treated With Medication
If youve had a heart attack, stroke, or have diabetes or been diagnosed with inherited high cholesterol, youll need to take one or more cholesterol-lowering medications, in addition to being careful with your diet and staying active. Statins can have a tremendous impact for lowering LDL cholesterol, says Khandwalla. Statins decrease your risk of illness and dying if youre in one of these high-risk groups.
In addition to statins, which should always be used first, other cholesterol-lowering drugs include fibrates, niacin, PCSK9 inhibitors, bile-acid sequestrants, and cholesterol absorption inhibitors, according to the CDC.
If you found out your cholesterol was high after a routine checkup, discuss your test results with your doctor. Your doctor will calculate your individual risk of heart attack or stroke to decide if you should be on a statin.
In some cases, the doctor may recommend giving a healthy diet and active lifestyle a try first. However, if your cholesterol levels remain high, you may need a heart scan to look for plaque buildup in your arteries, and your doctor may prescribe cholesterol-lowering drugs to lower your heart-disease and stroke risk.
Does Sleeping Position Affect Heart Health
There is limited evidence linking a persons sleeping position with their overall heart health.
Some research that focuses on people with congestive heart failure has found that sleeping on your left side may change aspects of heart and lung function.
Congestive heart failure is a buildup of fluid in the lungs or other parts of the body that occurs when the heart isnt pumping blood effectively. Studies have found that people with congestive heart failure frequently avoid sleeping on their left side, and this effect is greater in people with larger heart dimensions. While the exact reason for this is unknown, it may relate to how this sleeping posture alters positioning of the heart, pressure on the lungs, and/or the sensation of the heart beating against the chest wall.
While studies have found that people with heart failure often avoid sleeping on their left side, it does not show that this sleeping position causes heart problems. Based on research to date, a persons sleeping position is not considered to be a risk factor for heart disease or other cardiovascular problems.
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Eric Suni has over a decade of experience as a science writer and was previously an information specialist for the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Callender is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who has been working in womens health for over a decade.
What Is Dangerously High Cholesterol
You may be diagnosed with borderline-high or high cholesterol if your blood test results show:
- Total cholesterol higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter
- LDL cholesterol higher than 100 mg/dL
- Triglycerides over 150 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol lower than 40 mg/dL
But what do these numbers really mean for your health?
While having high cholesterol isnt something youll notice day to day, it does mean youre at risk for or may already have heart disease, the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States.
Want to know more? Here are answers to 11 frequently asked questions about high cholesterol.
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Hdl Cholesterol And Your Pulse
While it is important to lower your LDL level, it is just as important to raise your HDL level. According to MayoClinic.com, HDLs act as scavengers picking up cholesterol and taking it to the liver to be excreted. A high HDL level can slow plaque buildup along the blood vessel walls, which in turn can lower your risk of heart disease. While plaque buildup that already exists may not be reversible, making healthy lifestyle changes can stop it from getting worse and can keep your pulse under control. Eating a diet low in fat and cholesterol getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking are all parts of an overall heart-healthy plan.
Things That Can Affect Your Heart And What To Do About Them
Debby Schrecengast’s blood pressure was “through the roof.” She had gained a lot weight. A history of heart disease ran deep in her immediate family.
When she looks back at herself in 2014, the year she suffered a stroke, she sees a “stubborn old donkey” in denial about her health.
“I had let my blood pressure go uncontrolled and I remained overweight for so long,” said Schrecengast, 56. “There’s some damage that I can’t undo. Now, I try to keep it from getting worse.”
Schrecengast, who lives in LaFargeville, New York, eased back into an exercise routine at her local YMCA. She took nutrition classes and spent evenings swapping healthy recipes.
Since then, she’s dropped 30 pounds and has run a half-marathon. She no longer needs blood pressure medicine.
Stroke survivor Debby Schrecengast made changes to improve her heart health.
“I know now I have to be diligent,” she said. “This really isn’t, ‘I have to be good for six months or I have to be good for a year.’ I have to be good forever.”
Genetics can play a role in cardiovascular health, but so can lifestyle changes. Here are eight factors than can affect the heart and what to do about them:
What to know: “Bad” LDL cholesterol can clog up the arteries that feed your heart and brain and increase heart attack and stroke risk. “Good” HDL cholesterol can help eliminate the bad, but only to an extent. The body also takes in additional cholesterol from certain foods like meat, eggs and dairy.
4. Blood pressure
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Whats Behind My Heart Palpitations
There are a lot of reasons behind your heart palpitating and overconsumption of coffee can be one of them. However, heart palpitations can also be a symptom of other health conditions.
The reason behind heart palpitation may be among the following:
- Low blood sugar level
- Heart failure
So if youre experiencing heart palpitations, even though you barely had any coffee, you might want to consult a health professional.
Coffee is not dangerous for your heart, but instead, a high intake of coffee is! That is why, if you are sensitive to caffeine, you might want to pace yourself when consuming coffee.
A normal cup of coffee contains 40mg of caffeine, which isnt a lot but if you drink cups after cups, that 40mg will quickly become 400mg.
Isnt that great news? Because I cant imagine working a single day until a strong cup of morning coffee kicks into my system.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
If you have never had heart palpitations before, see your provider.
- Loss of alertness
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- You often feel extra heartbeats .
- You have risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure.
- You have new or different heart palpitations.
- Your pulse is more than 100 beats per minute .
- You have related symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling faint, or loss of consciousness.
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Know The Risk Factors
The same risk factors that can damage your heart can damage your legs: Diabetes, high levels of bad cholesterol and high blood pressure can all lead to the development of PAD.
If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions, be diligent about taking medications. These include statins and cholesterol-lowering medications, which can help prevent blockages and are often an early step in treating PAD.
Another key to preventing PAD: Don’t smoke.
“Smoking is a principal risk factor for many types of vascular disease, especially PAD,” adds Lee. “My first advice to patients is, ‘If you smoke, quit.'”
Magnesium Consumption And Heart Palpitations
Adults typically need to consume between 310 and 420 milligrams of magnesium each day. This nutrient can be found in a variety of fiber-rich, plant-based products. These include foods like legumes, beans, nuts and seeds. You can obtain large amounts of magnesium from foods like seaweed, hemp seeds, flax seeds, Brazil nuts and peanut products.
According to the National Institutes of Health, insufficient amounts of magnesium can result in cardiac problems like abnormal heart rhythms and coronary spasms. Magnesium deficiency also has the potential to cause hypokalemia or hypocalcemia .
Like potassium, large amounts of magnesium can also produce cardiac side effects. Excessive magnesium in your body can result in gastrointestinal issues, low blood pressure, palpitations and even heart attacks. Magnesium toxicity is rare, but when it occurs, it can result in death. You’re more likely to experience magnesium toxicity if you’ve taken magnesium-containing laxatives or antacids.
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Have Your Palpitations Checked
If youre experiencing heart palpitations or other symptoms, HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC is here to help. We can perform a comprehensive exam to discover the underlying cause of your heart palpitations and help get you back to normal.
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Other Products That Cause Palpitations
While certain vitamins and minerals can cause heart palpitations, it’s much more likely for something else in your diet to be causing this issue. For example, caffeinated products like coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks are all common causes of heart palpitations and other cardiac side effects.
If you’re not particularly sensitive to caffeine but have experienced palpitations or other similar side effects after consuming energy drinks, your symptoms could be caused by another added ingredient.
An October 2014 study in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that common energy drink ingredients, like ginseng and taurine, can affect your cardiovascular health. These aren’t just energy drink ingredients,though according to a March 2018 study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, products like these are also taken as supplements to enhance cognitive function.
Despite their benefits, these ingredients have been known to cause increases in blood pressure. You might also experience sensations like your heart racing after eating or drinking them.
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Eating A Lot Of Fatty Foods And Lack Of Exercise
Well admit, this sign seems pretty straightforward, but theres absolutely no denying that eating a lot of fatty foods greatly increases the cholesterol levels in your body. A lack of exercise allows cholesterol to build up in your body. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are also highly detrimental. In short, if youre living an unhealthy lifestyle, chances are youre also dealing with high cholesterol.
Ldl Cholesterol And Your Pulse
A high cholesterol level is a major controllable risk factor for heart disease, a heart attack or stroke, reports the American Heart Association. When your LDL level gets too high plaque can build up along the blood vessel walls, which can cause the blood vessels to become hard and narrow. This can lead to a condition called coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis. This hardening of the blood vessels can restrict blood flow to the heart and or brain. When less blood is able to get through the blood vessels, the heart must beat faster to deliver enough blood and oxygen. This can lead to a higher pulse and higher blood pressure. A fast pulse may or may not be accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, trouble breathing, chest pain and weakness or fainting. Any of the above should be discussed with your physician.
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Dont Wait For Another Sign: Talk To Your Doctor About Your Heart Disease Symptoms
If youre noticing one or more of these seven symptoms, then the best place to start is by making an appointment with a primary care doctor to have your heart checked out and tested.
Your primary care doctor can diagnose and treat hundreds of conditions. They can help you build your heart wellness by working with you to create a tailored treatment plan. And if specialist help is needed, your doctor can connect you with an expert in cardiology for more testing and treatment.
Theres no doubt that symptoms of heart disease can be concerning, especially if youre not sure whats behind them or what the next steps are. But answers, care and treatment are available to help keep your heart as healthy as it can be so you can live your best life.
Pay Attention To Your Heartbeat
People say, My heart skipped a beat, when theyre scared or excited. But an irregular heartbeat is actually much more common than youd think. An irregular heartbeat is called an arrhythmia, says Dr. Pugazhendhi Vijayaraman, cardiac electrophysiologist and director of cardiac electrophysiology at Geisinger Northeast. There are many different types, which can be temporary or permanent. Often, arrhythmias are harmless however, if you feel a persistent irregular heartbeat, see a doctor.One type of arrhythmia, a premature ventricular contraction, or PVC, is the most common type of irregular heartbeat. A PVC happens when the heart beats too early, which causes a stronger second beat. This causes a fluttering or pounding sensation in the chest. Most people have at least one PVC every day, and many dont even notice it. Things like caffeine, alcohol and stress can cause small, temporary arrhythmias like PVCs. But there are factors that can cause permanent arrhythmias, too.Here are four potential causes of a persistent, irregular heartbeat:
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Know The Risk Factors For Heart Disease
Heart disease can affect anyone. But if youre experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, you should take the time to learn whether you have certain risk factors that make you more likely to develop heart trouble. Here are a few risk factors to consider:
- High blood pressure , high cholesterol and smoking are all associated with heart disease. Almost half of all Americans have at least one of these risk factors.
- High stress levels, excessive alcohol use, not exercising regularly, and eating too much fat, salt or sugar all put extra strain on your heart.
- Some people have a family history of heart disease, so they may be at higher risk of developing heart problems themselves.
Foods That Cause Heart Palpitations
By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Often when I write about the best and worst foods for the heart, I talk in the context of heart-healing foods that are good to eat, as well as foods that should be avoided because they fan the flames of inflammation. Those discussions focus on how the things we eat and drink every day affect heart health over the long haul.
Today, though, I want to shift gears and focus on foods that can have more immediate and noticeable impacts on the heartstarting with foods that can cause heart palpitations. In this article Ill explore:
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What To Do If You Have An Arrhythmia
If symptoms of arrhythmia persist or you have a history of sudden unexplained death in your family, do see a doctor. Your doctor may monitor your heartbeat using devices like a Holter monitor or event monitor or ask for an electrocardiogram, a test that measures your hearts electrical activity. Depending on the diagnosis, medication, surgery to remove heart tissue causing the arrhythmia, or implantation of a pacemaker may be recommended.
Lifestyle changes like stopping smoking, limiting the consumption of caffeine or alcohol, lowering stress, increasing physical activity , and maintaining a healthy weight can also be helpful as they can impact underlying medical conditions as well as target arrhythmias directly.22
Caffeinated Foods / Beverages
The research around caffeine is a little less definitive since a study released at the start of 2016 found no relationship between caffeine consumption and palpitations. However, those results dont change the fact that caffeine revs up your sympathetic nervous system and spikes your levels of stress hormones , raising your blood pressure and increasing your heart rate. Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, which can wash away your potassium and magnesium stores, creating an electrolyte imbalance that disrupts the heart rhythm.
In my experience, placing extra stress on the heartas caffeine doescan aggravate existing arrhythmias or cause new ones. One of the reasons beta blockers are prescribed to heart attack patients is that they help control heart rate and prevent sudden changes in heart rate and rhythm by blunting the effect of the stress hormone adrenaline.
For those of you with healthy hearts, your daily dose of coffee, tea, or chocolate probably wont cause any harm. Beware, though, of caffeine-containing energy drinks, which are particularly popular with young people. These drinks, which combine caffeine with large amounts of sugar, have been linked with heart palpitations, arrhythmia, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death in adolescents and young adults.
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Sleep And Heart Health During Pregnancy
Pregnancy places additional strain on the heart and some women develop cardiovascular problems during pregnancy. High blood pressure, for example, can begin or worsen during pregnancy with potential complications for both the mother and her baby.
Insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep difficulties affect many pregnant women, and these issues have been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems both during and after pregnancy. Ongoing research studies are working to identify ways to improve sleep during pregnancy with the goal of also reducing hypertension and other cardiovascular issues.