Author Archives: bettykuffel

About bettykuffel

An internal medicine physician and honors graduate of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Kuffel directed and worked in many Emergency Departments. Retired director of inpatient care at North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, Montana. In addition to writing a monthly health column in Montana Woman Magazine, Dr. Kuffel has several medical murder mysteries, a biological thriller, and additional Lipstick Logic Health Series Volumes in process. Her interests include photography, flying and marksmanship. She lives near the Rocky Mountains with her husband Tom and dog Valkyrie.

PREVENT HOLIDAY HEART ATTACK DEATHS

my-treeDeaths during the holiday period between December 25th and January 7th are higher than other times of the year.

Winter temperatures and snowfall in northern portions of the US contribute to heart attacks. Cold exposure can cause coronary artery spasm and when you are not accustomed to lifting, the exertion of shoveling snow is a significant factor. These are not the only causes of increased deaths at this time of year. Flu season, higher stress and travel can take a toll.

In a New Zealand study where the holiday season occurs in warm weather, they also found an increase in cardiac deaths. More studies are needed to explain the findings, but possible reasons include holiday travel. People delay seeking attention for symptoms away from familiar physicians and hospitals. Stress, rushing to flights, lugging packages, over-eating, and increased alcohol consumption are also factors.

  • If you are traveling, be sure to bring medical records, a medication list, enough medications for the entire trip, and even a copy of your baseline electrocardiogram.
  • Seek attention immediately for classic chest, arm, neck or jaw discomfort. Women sometimes have atypical symptoms of weakness, abdominal discomfort and shortness of breath.
  • All of these symptoms can be warning signs for an impending heart attack due to narrowing of coronary arteries.
  • Early treatment is life-saving. See a doctor right away, even if an ER evaluation interrupts festivities.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

As a holiday gift to you, I have placed both the Kindle format and paperback of Your Heart on sale.

Betty Kuffel, MD

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‘Mediterranean’ diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks, strokes in heart patients: But a ‘Western’ diet is not associated with an increased risk

A ‘Mediterranean’ diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease, according to a study of over 15,000 people in 39 countries around the world. The research also showed that eating greater amounts of healthy food was more important for these people than avoiding unhealthy foods — a ‘Western’ diet.

Source: ‘Mediterranean’ diet linked to lower risk of heart attacks, strokes in heart patients: But a ‘Western’ diet is not associated with an increased risk

Valentine’s Day is free Heart book day

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Our special free download event for Your Heart  has pushed it to #1 on the Top 100 Free in both the Internal Medicine and Cardiology categories! 

Thank you.

We’d love to have reviews from our readers posted to Amazon.

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Share YOUR HEART

Greetings from Betty and Bev
February is National Heart Month!

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death, but

with the right knowledge and actions, it is preventable.

We’d like to share our heart health guide FREE as a Valentine gift for you, your friends and family members. Click on YOUR HEART and it will take you to the Amazon purchase page where you and your friends can download a kindle copy of YOUR HEART FREE.

2016 Promo Graphic - 2

 

If you are healthy and want to stay that way, or if you are overweight, have diabetes or heart disease, our book Your Heart, can help. It provides the science behind coronary artery disease with actions to improve health and longevity, including information on the 5/2 Mediterranean diet. This is a healthy way to maintain your weight over a lifetime. It’s easy and it works. Overweight children show signs of early heart disease. The book contains information on how to keep kids healthy, too.

Please share this link with everyone! Your Heart

Happy Valentines Day and Have a healthy 2016.

Betty and Bev

Heart Disease is Preventable

IF CORONARY DISEASE IS PREVENTABLE WHY IS IT THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH IN BOTH MEN AND WOMEN?

The simple answer: Coronary artery narrowing is a silent disease that develops over many years from untreated risk factors that are unknown or not addressed.

People don’t realize they have heart disease until something bad happens, such as a heart attack or sudden death. They don’t realize subtle symptoms such as mild shortness of breath, upset stomach and fatigue are signs of heart disease. Women tend to complain less and are more often not diagnosed when they do see a physician.

Narrowed coronary arteries restrict blood flow to the heart muscle and begin causing symptoms that resolve with rest. When arteries become blocked, the pain persists. A part of theArtery heart dies because the muscle is starved of blood and oxygen. Sweating, weakness, discomfort in the chest, jaw, neck, arm and sometimes the back are common with a heart attack. This is a medical emergency and 911 should be called for immediate medical care. If the artery can be opened with angioplasty and stents soon enough, heart damage is decreased. Fifty percent of people who have heart attacks die before reaching a hospital.

Coronary artery disease is preventable, but unhealthy lifestyles and food choices are difficult to change. We live in a fast food environment. The number of people smoking has decreased and some people are making healthier food choices through education, but heart disease is still the leading cause of death. Obesity has increased to epidemic proportions, even in the young, so we have a long way to go to become a healthier nation.

50% of US citizens have either high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoke
2/3 of adults are overweight or obese
1/3 of children are overweight or obese
Overweight 5-year-olds show evidence of early heart disease

Take control of your health and reduce heart disease risks with healthy actions. See a physician to monitor health and measure glucose, thyroid, cholesterol, vitamin D, blood count and inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein.
♥ Stop tobacco use
♥ Control high blood pressure
♥ Treat abnormal cholesterol levels with dietary modification and medication
♥ Obesity and Diabetes: normalize weight and glucose
♥ Exercise daily with your doctor’s recommendation
♥ Limit alcohol consumption
♥ Consider heredity factors and obtain early testing/treatment

You can counteract good genes by making bad life choices. You can offset bad genes by making healthy choices. The choice is yours to make.

Actions to Improve Heart Health

Actions to Improve Heart Health

Vegetable heartLifestyle and diet impact health and longevity. This concept was once again substantiated by a medical study presented at the recent American Heart Association Scientific Sessions meeting. Researchers at Allina Health and the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation shared information from their ten year joint study based in New Ulm, MN. This study examined modifying cardiovascular disease risk factors in a rural community.

Interventions impacting improved health of participants in the study included:
♥Health coaching
♥Heart health screening
♥Work site health improvement
♥Better food choices in restaurants
♥Encouraging farmer market shopping
♥Increasing physical activity in the community

Researchers looked at changes in heart disease risk factors over the first five years. In an additional study, they examined whether short-term lifestyle changes had any effect on HDL, high density lipoprotein, often termed the “good cholesterol” – the one you want high. With the Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio, heart disease risk prediction can be calculated. (These tests are included on standard lipid blood panels.) Researchers found weight loss the strongest lifestyle predictor for increasing HDL.

Findings included improvements in:
Blood pressure control
Cholesterol levels

In the studies, improving lifestyle choices, health care access, and environment changes in the community and workplaces, resulted in overall reduction of cardiovascular risks. Lack of exercise increased heart risk.

To calculate your personal heart risks, complete the survey at the Harvard School of Public Health: https://healthyheartscore.sph.harvard.edu/

Ted Talk Thursday ~ Heart Healthy

Dr. Dean Ornish was way ahead of the times in recommending healthier food choices and exercise to combat heart disease. Thank you indacampo.wordpress.com for sharing.

In Da Campo

There’s no point in giving up something you enjoy unless you get something back that’s even better, and quickly. ~ Dean Ornish ~

I had planned on a totally different talk for my Ted Talk Thursday but recent developments of heart issues with two members of my family within the last week changed my direction today.  I’ve just begun my research into what changes to make to improve heart health through lifestyle and diet, and so today I bring you two talks by Dr. Dean Ornish. 

For over 35 years, Dr. Ornish has directed clinical research demonstrating, for the first time, that lifestyle changes may begin to reverse even severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery. Dr. Ornish is known for his lifestyle-driven approach to the control of coronary artery disease (CAD) and other chronic disease.  He is the author of six books and The Ornish Diet was rated #1 for heart health…

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