Walking

Exercise reduces body weight, reduces the risk of getting diabetes, lowers blood pressure and keeps the arteries of the heart in tip-top condition. There are three important parts to exercise. This is duration (how long), intensity (how fast), and frequency (how often). Although all parts are important, the good news is that low intensity workouts can be beneficial if done for enough time and on a regular basis. The average 70 kg person burns about 110 calories whether he runs or walks a mile but it would take longer time to cover that distance by walking. The American College of Sport Medicine recommends burning a 1000 calories a week through exercise. Exercise does not need to be done in one setting but can be done in intervals. Integrating exercise into a regular work routine can be helpful (eg. Taking the bus/MRT one stop prior to your destination. Parking your car ...
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High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure or hypertension is a common condition that increases the risk of various illnesses such as stroke, heart attacks and kidney damage. Blood pressure rises with age and even persons who have normal blood pressure at age 55 are estimated to have a 90% chance of developing hypertension in their lifetime. A common misconception is that high blood pressure results in symptoms such as headaches and giddiness. The majority of people who have high blood pressure in fact have no symptoms and are only discovered incidentally when their doctor measures their blood pressure.There are two components to a blood pressure reading. The higher reading taken when the heart is pumping at its maximum is called systolic and the lower reading taken when the heart is relaxing is called the diastolic. Both readings are important but with increasing age, the systolic number rises and the diastolic number fall. A ...
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Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD)

The heart is a vital organ that pumps blood around the body and provides the oxygen that all living tissue in the body requires. Once the heart stops its pumping, there is a sudden loss of oxygen and death of vital organs occurs within minutes. Although there may be subtle warning signs and symptoms before sudden cardiac death occurs, in the majority of victims, the onset of collapse is unexpected. It is estimated that in Singapore, about 4500 people a year may suffer from SCD. 90% of victims have underlying narrowing of the heart arteries. This occurs due to build up of cholesterol in the wall of arteries. This deposit and narrowing restricts blood supply to the muscle and electrical system of the heart. With reduced oxygen supply to the heart, the electrical activity of the heart becomes erratic and unstable. They may become too fast (medically the heart rhythm ...
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Weight loss diets – Are they good for the heart?

Obesity is an increasing health problem in Singapore. According to the National Health Survey, obesity rates increased from 6.9% in 2004 to 10.8% in 2010. Correspondingly, the diabetes rate has gone up from 8.2% in 2004 to 11.3% in 2010. Obesity is a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and the metabolic syndrome. Therefore, there is an increasing interest in weight loss diets to combat obesity. Most of these weight reducing diets reduce the caloric intake of food and encourage people to consume more plant-based food instead of animal-based food. Currently, there is a greater interest in low carbohydrate diets to aid in the weight loss. The more popular approach for weight loss in the past was to cut the fat in the diet which makes logical sense if you want to lose fat.Low carbohydrate versus Low fat dietWith the interest ...
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SHAPE media query on late night snacking and heart disease.

Research is currently inconclusive of timing of eating and the development of heart disease. The bottom line is a calorie is a calorie and it does not matter when you take it. However, most people take most of their calories at night, in the US, dinner accounts for 34% of total calorie intake. Also working late and stress may lead us to indulge in high fat and high calorie snacks at night which may then add to the calorie intake. Most of the studies done are in animals, shift workers or people with late night eating syndrome, which is not representative of most normal people. Research indicates that not following the natural rhythm of our bodies with regards to meal times may upset the metabolism of our body. Changes in circadian rhythm like staying in a dimly lit place led non-obese adults to feel hungrier at 8pm than 8am and ...
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My Pounding Heart: Is it Anxiety or Atrial Fibrillation?

What are palpitations? Palpitation is a general description of an increased awareness of our own heart beat. We may feel that the heart is beating faster, beating stronger, beating in a skipped way or beating irregularly. Some patients even describe their heart beats as fluttering or as popping out of the chest.Are palpitations always abnormal? Palpitations are not always abnormal. Some patients may feel their heart beating fast or differently but upon monitoring the heart rhythm, no abnormalities are found. So this palpitations can be psychological.What are the causes of palpitations? Palpitations can have triggers. They can be triggered by anxiety or emotional stress. Stimulants such as coffee or tea or exercise can also bring on palpitations. Traditional medicine products have stimulants which can also cause palpitations, for example ginseng or mah huang. Certain medical problems can also cause palpitations, the most famous of which are thyroid overactivity or thyrotoxicosis ...
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MANAGEMENT OF CHRONIC HEART FAILURE

A 60 year old man complains of progressive shortness of breath when he walks up the slope or when he walks to the nearby market. He also complains of breathlessness when he lies flat on the bed at night and has to sleep on two pillows to feel better. Occassionally, when he is sleeping, the breathlessness gets quite bad and he needs to sit up to catch his breath. He also complains that his feet are more swollen and his shoes do not fit very well anymore. On physical examination, there is a raised jugular venous pulse wave and pitting pedal edema up to the mid shin. On auscultation, there is a fourth heart sound and fine crepitations in the bases of both lung fields. The ECG shows Q waves in the anterior precordial leads and a QRS duration of 126ms. The transthoracic echocardiogram revealed an old left anterior descending ...
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COFFEE VERSUS TEA SHOOT OUT: WHICH IS BETTER FOR THE HEART?

We all know that wine has been shown in multiple studies to be beneficial in protecting against heart disease which is also known as the French Paradox.This has spurred investigations into other common beverages like coffee and tea which are consumed by more people and in larger quantities than wine. How do they fare in this respect?Tea has been drunk for the last 4000 years and has its origins in China. In the early years, it was regarded as a medicinal plant with therapeutic qualities. Tea has been found to contain catechins, caffeine, theanine, saponins, vitamins and many other minor components. The main therapeutic effects must come from the catechins which are polyphenols and have a strong antioxidant effect. The theanine which is an amino acid gives the tea its full bodied taste and has a relaxing effect for which has been famous for relaxation and a good companion to ...
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Cholesterol and Supplements

I would recommend that low risk individuals who have high cholesterol levels try taking cholesterol – lowering supplements to lower their bad cholesterol levels. Actually dietary therapy such as vegetables, oats and tofu can lower bad cholesterol levels by at least 10%. By taking supplements, the bad cholesterol level can be lowered by another 10-20%. The rationale for taking cholesterol lowering instead of medications in low risk individuals is that they are not at high risk cardiac events or strokes and can afford to have a less aggressive and slower way of reducing their cholesterol levels. Supplements have a very low toxicity level and are unlikely to cause harm even if taken at high doses. If the individual already knows that his cholesterol level is high, he may benefit from taking such supplements. If the individual does not know their cholesterol level and is worried, he should go for a ...
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