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Heart Health Newsletter
Issue 7 - April 9, 2005

By Gene Millen

Today's Heart Health Articles  

1. Millen's musings.

2. Are your heart arteries trying to send you a message?

3. New and revised pages. 

4. Heart Health Tips

5. Laughter is the best medicine.

Millen's Musings

I recently bumped into an acquaintance that I hadn't seen in several years and as we chatted he commented, "I've been thinking about getting started on an exercise program."

I had to smile internally when he asked where our health club was located. The irony of this question is that we had been waiting for him to get started for 11 years!

This conversation reminded me of the days preceding my heart bypass surgery.  My intentions to change my lifestyle were sincere but I felt that there just wasn't enough time left over to exercise after doing all of the "important" things.  My motto was. "Anything worth doing is worth putting off."

If I got the desire to exercise I would lay down until it went away. Experience has taught me that there are a lot of you out there who need to stop thinking about becoming more active and actually do something about it.

"The possession of facts is knowledge, the use of them is wisdom."
                  Thomas Jefferson

If you are one of the "elite 10%" of people who exercise on a regular basis I think you will still enjoy this article

Are your heart arteries trying
to send you a message?


Our Creator has hardwired the human brain with the instinct for survival. So far this system has worked pretty well for me. I've survived a six-way heart bypass operation for 14 years and have far more energy and endurance now than in my pre-op life.


After a recent physical exam, Dr. Gallery, my family physician commented, "I want to compliment you on your good health."


Everyone isn’t so fortunate. According to the American Heart Association there are 1.2 million heart attacks per year, nearly half occurring in women.


For more than 30% of these victims the first sign of a problem is sudden death.


It’s possible that this news may be interpreted as a little bit negative but I assure you that my intentions are not to scare you. As Hercule Poirot, my favorite Belgium detective, would say, I just want to get your "little gray cells" stirring around.


Walter Bortz, MD, noted author and expert on aging at Stanford University gives us some food for thought,


"As a physician, I have watched with astonishment as my patients actively avoided all manner of preventive health care. Our instincts for indulgence and self destruction seem more deeply ingrained than our hopes for longer lives."


The good doctor hit it right on the nose. I’m sitting here at my computer trying to figure out how I can convince you to do something that you know is good for you but you find a host of excuses why you don't do it.


My track record in this type of activity is less than perfect. When our kids were growing up I tried a variety of techniques, strategies and tricks to help them avoid some of the mistakes that I have made; usually without much success. It seems that most of us have to learn our lessons the hard way.


Researcher, Ray Borowitz does a good job of describing why so many of us procrastinate when it comes to exercise.


 "Whenever you run into a statistic that says only 10% of the people are doing what almost everybody knows is good for them, look for an underlying bio-logical reason."


Borowitz observes that the basic reason why people don't exercise is so simple it is often overlooked. "It is unnatural to move and expend calories for no immediate apparent reason. It’s natural and effortless to move out of the way of a charging tiger, but it strikes our brain as 'senseless' to move now in order to get fit or lose weight some time in the future."


Our brain blocks out anything that it does not perceive to be an immediate danger, and our Creator has given our bodies so much extra capacity that we seem to be getting by with our errant lifestyle.


Dr. Bortz describes the state of affairs brilliantly.


 "Our arteries don't give us any warning sign until it’s almost too late. We can start with 100% capacity and give away 50% ‘wildly nilly’. We give away another 10% and still ‘seem O.K.’ Another 10%, down to 30% of original and we experience some shortness of breath. Before the doctor  is seen 70% of capacity is gone, and only a few percentage points separate the individual from the undertaker."


That's the bad news. The good news is that the renewal capacity of life is one of its wonders. We are improvable, and redeemable, no matter what our age or how we may have neglected our bodies in the past.


A well designed exercise program can slash your risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke to a small fraction of your non-exercising friends. Your blood pressure and cholesterol will improve, blood sugar will stabilize, your energy will skyrocket, excess body fat will begin to melt away and you will feel better than you have in years!


Get started with your "extreme health makeover" today. Your revitalized body will say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!"


 New and revised web pages


1. Blood Pressure 

2. The Cholesterol Heart Disease Puzzle  

 Heart Health tips


1. Are you aware of these heart attack risk factors?

.....There are many "risk factors" that contribute to heart disease/heart attacks and it makes good sense to reduce as many of them as possible. Most physicians concentrate on just LDL cholesterol, however the latest research indicates that inflammation of the arteries is a more important risk.


Inflammation is easily measured by having your doctor add two items to your next blood test; homocysteine and CRP levels.


If you are interested in a comprehensive blood test that measures not only inflammation but a number of other risk factors there is a link to the Berkeley Heart Lab on the Heart Health For Life home page.


2. Read Your Labels!

One of my "pet peeves" is how little attention the medical establishment gives to the danger of trans fats, which are far more dangerous than saturated fats.


In the ongoing Nurses Health Study each 2% increase in trans fat consumption converted to a whopping 93% increase in coronary heart disease!


If the ingredients on the label include "partially hydrogenated oil" this means it contains trans fats, which are recognized as a foreign substance by your body.


These "killer" fats are formed by pumping hydrogen into an oil to make it solid and increase the shelf life. This process changes the molecular structure and turns a perfectly good oil into a toxic product. 


Any oil heated to a high temperature for deep frying (as in French fries) is loaded with trans fat...even if it is canola, corn or soybean oil. In our next newsletter we will discuss the healthiest oil for cooking.



Laughter is the Best Medicine


Some good questions.

.....Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat? 

.....Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

.....Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

.....Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?
.....Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?
.....Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

.....What is the speed of dark? 

An Irish Story

.....A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he could buy him a drink.
....."Why of course," comes the reply.
.....The first man then asks: "Where are you from?"
....."I'm from Ireland," replies the second man.
.....The first man responds: "You don't say, I'm from Ireland too! Let's have another round to Ireland."
....."Of Course," replies the second man. Curious, the first man then asks: "Where in Ireland are you from?" "Dublin," comes the reply.
....."I can't believe it," says the first man. "I'm from Dublin too! Let's have another drink to Dublin."
....."Of course," replies the second man. Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks: "What school did you go to?"
....."Saint Mary's," replies the second man. "I graduated in '62."
....."This is unbelievable!" the first man says. "I went to Saint Mary's and I graduated in '62, too!"
.....About that time in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar.
....."What's been going on?" he asks the bartender. "Nothing much," replies the bartender. "The O'Malley twins are drunk again."

.....Have a GREAT day.......and keep Laughing.

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