Wood Street Clinic Blog

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How long does it take to recover from heart bypass surgery?

Heart bypass surgery is the most common type of heart surgery performed on adults. Doctors recommend heart bypass surgery when one or more of the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart muscles become partially blocked.

Heart bypass surgery is a complicated procedure that involves a significant amount of preparation and recovery time. Occasionally, someone must undergo emergency heart bypass surgery, but most of the time the operation is planned.

Heart bypass surgery is a relatively safe and effective procedure that reduces the risk of heart attack and death. The procedure might also ease symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as chest pain.

What is the procedure? surgeon making heart shape with hands
A heart bypass can lower the risk of a heart attack.

Doctors typically have a range of options at their disposal to fix the blockage. If left untreated, coronary artery disease can lead to heart attack and even death.

When possible, doctors may try to resolve the issue of blocked arteries with medication and less-invasive procedures, such as a stent.

If these options do not work or are not suitable for an individual, surgeons might decide to perform heart bypass surgery.

Heart bypass surgery is one of the most effective weapons against blocked arteries and the problems they cause.

The medical name for heart bypass surgery is coronary artery bypass graft (CABG).

According to the American Heart Association, CABG involves removing a blood vessel from the chest, arms, or legs and using it to create a detour or bypass around the blockage. This allows blood to reach the heart again.

Surgeons can address more than one artery in a single operation. A double bypass involves two repairs, a triple bypass involves three, and a quadruple bypass involves four. The quintuple bypass is the most intricate heart bypass surgery and includes all five of the major arteries feeding the heart.

Removing a blood vessel from another part of the body will not substantially affect blood flow in the area the vessel came from.

Types of heart bypass surgery Heart bypass surgery is typically an open-heart surgery, which means that the surgeon cuts the chest open to reach the heart. The surgeon can then perform the surgery "on-pump" or "off-pump." On-pump surgery involves using a heart-lung machine that circulates blood and breathes for the body. The machine allows doctors to stop the heart, which makes the operation easier. Off-pump surgery, also called "beating heart surgery," takes place while the heart is still beating, but does not use the heart-lung machine. Sometimes, a surgeon can perform heart bypass surgery without opening the chest. Risks and potential complications vary for each person. A doctor can help decide which treatment is the best option for each person. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What should people expect before the surgery? administering medication via iv tube
An IV enables medicines and fluids to be administered directly into the body. Before heart bypass surgery, people should: refrain from taking any drugs containing aspirin for 3 days before the surgery stop smoking immediately, as smoking creates mucus in the lungs that can interfere with recovery arrange for someone to stay with them after returning home avoid eating or drinking after midnight on the night before surgery follow any other instructions provided by the doctor or care team Some people might want to donate their own blood beforehand for use during the surgery. A person undergoing a planned heart bypass operation will have an opportunity to discuss the procedure with their doctor before the operation. The care team will explain the surgery, set up arrival times, and help complete paperwork. Many people may undergo tests before the surgery including an electrocardiogram (EKG), chest X-ray, and blood tests. Before the operation, nurses insert a needle (IV) into the person's arm. The IV will allow fluids and medicines to enter the body as needed. A member of the healthcare team might also shave the areas where a surgeon will make their incisions. Immediately before the surgery, the doctors provide medicine that causes a deep sleep until after the operation. Although times can vary, heart bypass surgery usually lasts between 3 and 6 hours. Success rate Heart bypass surgeries are serious but relatively safe. Surgeons perform hundreds of thousands of heart bypass operations each year and many of those who have the surgery get relief from their symptoms without needing long-term medication. The more severe the heart disease, the higher the risk of complications. However, the mortality rate is low, and according to one report, only 2–3 percent of people who undergo heart bypass surgery die as a result of the operation. Recovery time After waking up, a person will have a tube down their throat that helps them to breathe. It will feel strange and uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Usually, a doctor will remove the tube after 24 hours. On average, a person will remain in the hospital for about a week after surgery. It is normal to experience soreness and night sweats, and there is likely to be some fluid in the lungs, so people should expect a good bit of coughing. People usually start to eat and move around soon after the doctor has removed the breathing tube. Common post-surgery medications typically include drugs called platelet inhibitors, which help prevent blood clots. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today How will life change after the surgery? nurse talking to patient after surgery
Generally, a person will stay in the hospital for about a week after surgery. Complications are possible but unusual. Assuming there are no complications, most people can expect a better quality of life quite soon after surgery. Improvements include reduced chest pain, as well as other symptoms related to blocked coronary arteries. More importantly, successful heart bypass surgery typically means that a person is at a much lower risk of heart attack and death. After having heart bypass surgery, a person will most likely need to take aspirin every day for the rest of their life. Takeaway Heart disease continues to be a top health problem in the United States. There are many options for treating heart disease. For hundreds of thousands of people each year, heart bypass surgery is the best choice to address blocked arteries. Heart bypass surgery is safe and effective and can help people regain the quality of life they experienced before they developed the heart condition.
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New protein 'regenerates' the heart after an attack

A new study brings us one step closer to "the 'holy grail' of heart research:" heart regeneration. When injected in rodents, a new protein triggers a process that helps the heart to recover following an attack.
woman making heart sign with her hands on pick background
The results of new research may soon help the heart to regenerate itself after a heart attack.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds.

Almost 800,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack every year, with 1 in 5 people not even being aware that they had one.

During a heart attack, or a myocardial infarction, the oxygen-carrying blood flow does not reach the heart.

Because of the oxygen deprivation, cells begin to die — thereby damaging a person's heart muscle.

This causes the immune system to dispatch immune cells to the "injury site" in an attempt to get rid of the dead cells. However, these immune cells also cause inflammation, which leads to cardiac fibrosis.

In the long-term, the damage caused by the immune cells is greater than their help. The scar tissue in cardiac fibrosis does not contract, impairing the heart's ability to pump blood. Ultimately, this could lead to heart failure.

So far, medical scientists have not managed to find a solution to this problem. But now, a team led by researchers at Oxford University in the United Kingdom may have found a protein that, when injected after a heart attack, reduces heart muscle damage and helps the heart to regain its pumping function.

The new study was led by Paul Riley, a professor of regenerative medicine at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Centre of Regenerative Medicine at Oxford University.

The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Protein helps to 'dismiss' immune cells

Prof. Riley and colleagues designed a mouse model of a heart attack. Then, they injected a protein called VEGF-C in some of the rodents and left another group untreated.

In the treated group, the researchers were able to see that the protein caused the growth of a network of lymphatic vessels.

They noticed that these lymphatic vessels helped to clear the immune cells after having helped with heart repair and cell debris clearing.

So, the immune cells were at the injury site just long enough to help recovery, but not too long so as to cause more damage.

This treatment-induced process allowed the heart to recover its pumping ability almost entirely. And by comparison, the untreated rodents lost almost half of their heart function.

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Closer to the 'holy grail' of heart research

Prof. Riley explains the mechanism behind the findings, saying, "We now know that it's not enough to just get healing immune cells into the heart."

"We need to boost the routes that remove these immune cells once they've done their job, so that they don't start causing more harm," he adds, "and ultimately contribute to the long-term damage that leads to heart failure."

"This research has allowed us to start a drug discovery program to develop drugs to promote the growth of lymphatic vessels and quickly clear immune cells. We hope to get a treatment we could give to people after a heart attack within 5–10 years."

Prof. Paul Riley

Prof. Jeremy Pearson — an associate medical director at the BHF — also chimes in, saying, "Heart regeneration is the 'holy grail' of heart research. [The] findings bring us one step closer to understanding how to turn this into a reality."

"Exploiting the lymphatic system," continues Prof. Pearson, "opens up new opportunities to find treatments that will limit the damage caused by a heart attack and promote regeneration."

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Multivitamins 'of no benefit' to heart health

A comprehensive analysis of published studies and clinical trials has found no benefit to cardiovascular health from multivitamin and mineral supplement use.
heart drawing with some pills
Multivitamins do not benefit heart health, after all.

The study authors hope that this will settle the controversial debate about whether the use of multivitamin and mineral supplements is able to prevent strokes, heart attacks, and deaths from cardiovascular diseases.

A paper on their findings is now published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"Our study," write the authors, "supports current professional guidelines that recommend against the routine use of [multivitamins and mineral] supplements for the purpose of [cardiovascular disease] prevention in the general population."

They suggest that people focus instead on proven ways to promote heart health.

"These include a heart-healthy diet, exercise, tobacco cessation, controlling blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels, and when needed, medical treatment," explains lead study author Joonseok Kim, an assistant professor of cardiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Multibillion dollar industry

Since use of multivitamins and mineral supplements in the United States took off in the 1940s, it has grown into a multibillion dollar industry. Estimates suggest that these are now taken by "more than one third" of the U.S. population.

The team attributes the popularity of multivitamins and mineral supplements to a widespread belief that they "may help maintain and promote health by preventing various diseases, including cardiovascular disease."

Many studies have sought evidence to support this idea. The study authors cite several that have followed large groups over long periods as well as randomized controlled trials.

But the results have been inconclusive. Some of the studies that followed people over time have suggested that taking multivitamins and mineral supplements "may be beneficial for certain cardiovascular outcomes," but most others show "no significant cardiovascular benefit."

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Pooled analysis of large dataset

In an effort to settle the controversy, Prof. Kim and colleagues pooled and analyzed data from 18 "clinical trials and prospective cohort studies in the general population."

Pooling the results of the studies gave the team a dataset that was equivalent to following more than 2 million participants for an average of 12 years.

The analysis examined associations between multivitamin and mineral supplement use and several "cardiovascular disease outcomes," including stroke and coronary heart disease.

Overall, it found no association between multivitamin and mineral supplement use and death from cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Neither did it find a link to "stroke incidence."

Use of the supplements "did seem to be associated with a lower risk of [coronary heart disease] incidence," but this was found to be non-significant when tested only with data from the randomized controlled trials.

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'Decrease the hype'

In the U.S., dietary supplements are not regulated to the same extent as drugs. The law does not require them, for instance, to pass clinical trials of safety and effectiveness before they can be offered to consumers.

In addition, dietary supplement manufacturers and sellers are not obliged to back up "most claims" that they make on product labels.

"It has been exceptionally difficult," Prof. Kim explains, "to convince people, including nutritional researchers, to acknowledge that multivitamin and mineral supplements don't prevent cardiovascular diseases."

"I hope our study findings help decrease the hype around multivitamin and mineral supplements and encourage people to use proven methods to reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases — such as eating more fruits and vegetables, exercising, and avoiding tobacco."

Prof. Joonseok Kim

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Gene editing shown to lower cholesterol in monkeys

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, posits that people who are at a high risk of heart disease due to their excessive levels of cholesterol may soon have a safe and effective alternative treatment in gene editing.
gene editing concept
Gene editing may be the future of cholesterol-lowering treatment.

Hypercholesterolemia, which is a cardiovascular condition, puts people at an extremely high risk of coronary artery disease due to the high buildup of cholesterol in their blood.

Most people with hypercholesterolemia take statins to treat their condition, but for others, these drugs are not enough to lower their cholesterol.

According to some research, 1 in 7 people with inherited hypercholesterolemia might have to resort to another type of drug called PCSK9 inhibitors.

However, treatment with PCSK9 inhibitors may often be inconvenient because it requires repeated injections, and some patients simply do not tolerate the drug.

For these people, gene editing may be the solution, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The new study — led by first author Lili Wang, Ph.D., a research associate professor of medicine at the university — shows that genome editing can lower cholesterol levels in rhesus monkeys.

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In a healthy body, the PCSK9 gene breaks down low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors that are responsible for removing excess cholesterol from our blood.

PCSK9 inhibitors help to lower levels of LDL, or "bad," cholesterol. But for people who do not tolerate these drugs, Wang and colleagues have found a workaround.

"Most often," explains Wang, "these patients are treated with repeated injections of an antibody to PCSK9 [...]."

"But, our study shows that with successful genome editing, patients who cannot tolerate inhibitor drugs might no longer need this type of repeat treatment."

Lili Wang

The researchers designed an enzyme that targets and deactivates the PCSK9 gene. They used an adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector to transport this enzyme into the monkeys' livers. The liver carries most of the responsibility for removing excessive cholesterol.

Animals that received the treatment were found to have lower PCSK9 and LDL cholesterol levels.

Specifically, the middle and high doses of the treatment decreased PCSK9 levels by 45–84 percent and cholesterol levels by 30–60 percent.

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These AAV vector doses were previously shown to be safe and effective in human clinical trials of gene replacement therapy for treating hemophilia.

"Our initial work with several delivery and editing approaches," notes senior study author Dr. James M. Wilson, who is the director of the Gene Therapy Program at the university, "produced the most impressive data in nonhuman primates when we paired AAV for delivery with the engineered [enzyme] for editing."

"We leveraged," he goes on to say, "our 30-plus years of experience in gene therapy to progress the translational science of in vivo genome editing, and in doing so, reinforced the importance of early studies in nonhuman primates to assess safety and efficacy."

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Blood thinning foods, drinks, and supplements

Natural blood thinners are substances that reduce the blood's ability to form clots. Blood clotting is a necessary process, but sometimes the blood can clot too much, leading to complications that can be potentially dangerous.

People who have certain medical conditions, such as congenital heart defects, may require blood-thinning medications to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.

It is essential to speak with a doctor before trying these remedies, as they may not work as well as medication and may interfere with some prescription drugs.

Best natural blood thinners Some foods and other substances that may act as natural blood thinners and help reduce the risk of clots include the following list: 1. Turmeric Natural blood thinners tumeric
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning properties.

People have long used the golden spice known as turmeric for culinary and medicinal purposes. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin that has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning or anticoagulant properties.

A study published in 2012 suggests that taking a daily dose of turmeric spice may help people maintain the anticoagulant status of their blood.

People can add turmeric to curries and soups or mix it with hot water to make a comforting tea.

2. Ginger

Ginger is another anti-inflammatory spice that may stop blood clotting. It contains a natural acid called salicylate. Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a synthetic derivative of salicylate and a potent blood thinner.

To get the anticoagulant effects of natural salicylates, people may want to use fresh or dried ginger regularly in baking, cooking, and juices.

It is unlikely, however, that natural salicylates are as effective as blood-thinning medications.

A 2015 analysis of 10 studies also suggests that ginger's effects on blood clotting are unclear. It indicates that more research is needed to understand the potential blood-thinning properties of ginger fully.

3. Cayenne peppers

Cayenne peppers are also high in salicylates and can act as powerful blood-thinning agents. Cayenne pepper is quite spicy, however, and many people can only tolerate it in small amounts.

Capsules containing cayenne pepper are available in health food stores and online. Other benefits of this spice include lowering blood pressure, increasing circulation, and reducing pain sensations.

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4. Vitamin E

Natural blood thinners almonds
Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, which may reduce blood clotting.

Vitamin E reduces blood clotting in a few different ways. These effects depend on the amount of vitamin E that a person takes. The National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements suggest that people who are taking blood-thinning drugs should avoid taking large doses of vitamin E.

It is unclear how much vitamin E thins the blood, although it is likely that people would need to take more than 400 International Units (IU) per day. Taking high doses of vitamin E supplements, for example, above 1,500 IU daily, on a long-term basis, may have negative effects.

It may be safer to get vitamin E from foods rather than supplements. Foods that contain vitamin E include:

almonds safflower oil sunflower oil sunflower seeds wheat germ oil whole grains

5. Garlic

Besides its often desirable taste in food and cooking, garlic has natural antibiotic and antimicrobial properties.

Some research reports that odorless garlic powder demonstrates antithrombotic activities. An antithrombotic agent is a substance that reduces blood clot formation.

Another review of several studies on garlic suggests that it may thin the blood, although the effects are small and short-lived.

The American Academy of Family Physicians nonetheless recommend that people stop taking high doses of garlic 7 to 10 days before a planned surgery because of its antithrombotic properties.

6. Cassia cinnamon

Cinnamon contains coumarin, a powerful blood-thinning agent. Warfarin, the most commonly used blood-thinning drug, is derived from coumarin.

Chinese cassia cinnamon contains a much higher coumarin content than Ceylon cinnamon. Taking coumarin-rich cinnamon on a long-term basis can, however, cause liver damage.

It may be best to stick to small amounts of cinnamon in the diet in addition to using other natural blood thinners.

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7. Ginkgo biloba

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have used leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree for thousands of years. Ginkgo is also a very popular herbal supplement in the United States and Europe. People take it for blood disorders, memory problems, and low energy.

Gingko thins the blood and has fibrinolytic effects, according to some sources. This means it may dissolve blood clots. One study reports that ginkgo extract has similar effects to streptokinase, a drug used to treat blood clots.

The research was, however, done in a laboratory, and not carried out on people or animals. Further research is necessary to see if gingko has the same effects in the human body.

8. Grape seed extract

There is some evidence to suggest that grape seed extract may have potential benefits for several heart and blood conditions. It contains antioxidants that may protect the blood vessels and prevent high blood pressure.

Grape seed extract may also act as a natural blood thinner. Because of these effects, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health suggest that people with blood disorders, those taking blood-thinning medications, and people about to have an operation should not take grape seed extract.

9. Dong quai

Natural blood thinners dong quai
Dong quai is a traditional Chinese herb that increases the length of time it takes blood to clot.

Dong quai, also known as female ginseng, is another traditional Chinese herb that may reduce blood clotting.

Studies on animals report that dong quai significantly increases the length of time it takes blood to clot (prothrombin time).

This effect may result from dong quai's coumarin content, the same substance that makes cinnamon such a potent anticoagulant.

Dong quai is taken orally, and can be consumed as part of a herbal tea or soup.

10. Feverfew

Feverfew is a medicinal herb that comes from the same family as daisies or the Asteraceae family. People take feverfew for migraines, some digestive disorders, and fever.

Feverfew may also act as a blood thinner by inhibiting the activity of platelets and preventing blood clotting. Feverfew is available in capsule or liquid form.

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11. Bromelain

Bromelain is an enzyme that people extract from pineapples. It may be an effective remedy for cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

Research suggests that bromelain can thin the blood, break down blood clots, and reduce clot formation. The enzyme also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Bromelain is available in supplement form from health stores and drug stores.

Takeaway Many natural substances may reduce clotting to some degree. But natural remedies are unlikely to be as effective as blood-thinning drugs and people at risk of blood clots should not use them instead of prescription medications. Government authorities do not monitor herbs and supplements as closely as food and drugs. People should research the different brands carefully before buying to ensure they are known for quality and purity. People taking prescription blood thinners should not use natural remedies without talking to their doctor first. Even though they are natural, some substances and foods may thin the blood too much, especially when taken in conjunction with medications. This can increase the risk of bleeding. While people can usually consume foods with potential blood-thinning properties safely in reasonable amounts, it is essential to speak to a doctor before trying herbal remedies, such as dong quai and grape seed extract.
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How do you improve poor circulation?

A wide range of symptoms can indicate poor circulation. These symptoms can affect a person's quality of life and may even cause severe complications.

Common symptoms include:

numbness and tingling in the hands and feet cold hands and feet swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs memory loss and difficulty concentrating digestive issues fatigue joint and muscle cramping skin color changes ulcers in the legs or feet varicose veins

The best treatment for poor circulation depends on the cause, and problems in the arteries or veins are often responsible.

Symptoms of poor circulation Woman holding hand and wrist experiencing pain and numbness in joints and extremties.
Tingling in the extremities and joint pain are symptoms of poor circulation.

The symptoms of poor circulation may not be apparent.

However, whether symptoms are obvious or not, poor circulation can be dangerous.

The following are common symptoms of poor circulation.

A person should report any of these to a doctor.

1. Numbness and tingling in extremities

One of the most common symptoms of poor circulation is numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.

When something is restricting the flow of blood, and blood cannot reach the extremities in sufficient quantities, a person may also have a sensation of pins and needles.

2. Cold hands and feet

Reduced blood flow causes the hands and feet to feel much colder than the rest of the body.

When blood cannot flow at healthy rates, this can lead to temperature fluctuations in the skin and nerve endings of the hands and feet.

3. Swelling in the lower extremities

Poor circulation can cause fluid to accumulate in certain areas of the body. This is called edema, and it often occurs in the legs, ankles, and feet.

Edema may also be a sign of heart failure. It can occur when the heart is unable to circulate an adequate supply of blood throughout the body.

Edema in the lower extremities can also develop when blood collects in those areas. Pressure builds, forcing fluid from the blood vessels into surrounding tissues.

Symptoms of edema include:

heaviness and swelling tight, warm skin stiff joints pain in affected areas

Some people notice that they have edema because clothing or jewelry starts to feel tight.

If a person with edema presses on the affected area, they may leave an indentation in the swollen skin.

Also, when fluid that contains proteins collects in the abdomen, this is known as ascites. Circulation problems and liver cirrhosis can be responsible.

4. Cognitive dysfunction

Poor blood circulation can affect the functioning of the brain, leading to memory loss and difficulty concentrating.

These and other cognitive problems can result from:

a reduction in the flow of blood to the brain a reduction in the amount of blood pumped throughout the body certain changes in blood pressure

5. Digestive problems

Digestion relies upon blood flow, and poor circulation may be linked to fatty matter that can collect in the lining of blood vessels in the abdomen.

Digestive problems related to reduced blood flow include:

6. Fatigue

Poor blood flow affects energy levels and can cause fatigue.

Also, the heart must pump harder when circulation is poor, which can lead to further fatigue.

7. Joint pain and muscle cramping

Poor circulation can cause pain in the legs, feet, arms, and hands.

Cold hands and feet may ache or throb, especially as they start to warm and blood flow returns.

Poor circulation in the legs and arms can also cause these areas to ache, including the calf muscles. This type of pain in the legs is often worse when sitting or standing for long periods.

Also, when the blood does not circulate correctly, oxygen and nutrients cannot reach tissues effectively, which can result in stiffness and cramping.

8. Skin color changes

When an insufficient amount of arterial blood reaches the body's tissues, the skin may appear pale or blue. If blood is leaking from capillaries, these areas may appear purple.

The following areas may be discolored:

nose lips ears nipples hands feet

9. Leg ulcers

Poor circulation affects the body's ability to heal, which can lead to ulcers in the legs and feet.

Ulcers can also develop when blood pools in the veins of the legs, which causes swelling beneath the skin.

10. Varicose veins

Poor circulation causes existing varicose veins to become visible.

Varicose veins make it harder for blood to return to the heart. They can also lead to symptoms, such as:

heaviness in the legs aches in the legs itchiness swelling veins that appear to be knotted

Varicose veins are common among people who regularly stand for long periods.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What are the causes? Various conditions can cause poor circulation, including: Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis
Plaque building up in the blood vessels can cause poor circulation. Atherosclerosis is among the most common causes of poor blood circulation. It occurs when plaque builds up in blood vessels, especially in the arteries. This buildup eventually narrows and hardens the arteries, eventually restricting blood flow. Atherosclerosis commonly affects the arteries of the brain, the heart, the legs, and the arms. When atherosclerosis develops in the upper and lower limbs, this is called peripheral artery disease (PAD). Diabetes mellitus Diabetes can cause circulation problems and related conditions, such as PAD. Over time, high levels of blood glucose can damage blood vessels and cause plaque to build up. It is essential for people with diabetes to correctly manage their blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to maintain healthy blood flow. Diabetes can cause nerve damage, and high levels of glucose may lead to a condition called diabetic neuropathy. One type of this condition can also affect a person's blood pressure and heart rate. Blood clots A clot in a blood vessel can restrict blood flowing to or from organs or tissues. In some cases, a clot completely blocks the flow of blood. A blood clot can be painful, and if a clot travels, it can have severe consequences, such as: Blood clots can develop anywhere in the body and lead to circulation problems. However, if a doctor detects them early, treatment can be successful. Being overweight Extra weight places a burden on the body, especially if a person does a lot of sitting or standing. Added weight also increases the risk of blood pressure problems and varicose veins. Raynaud's disease or phenomenon This condition causes blood vessels to narrow, and it affects 5 percent of the population in the United States. Narrowed vessels and restricted blood flow can cause numbness, tingling, and a cold feeling in the hands and feet, and the effects may become more severe with time. Smoking tobacco products Smoking increases the risk of developing conditions that cause poor circulation. It also interferes with the flow of blood, damages the walls of blood vessels, and causes plaque to build up in veins. These effects increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, strokes, and heart attacks. Diagnosis and treatment Doctor showing patient a tablet.
A doctor will consider a person's medical history when diagnosing poor circulation. Poor circulation occurs with a range of conditions. Before making a diagnosis, a doctor will consider a person's: symptoms risk factors any related conditions family medical history the results of a physical examination The doctor will then order tests, which may include: blood sugar testing for diabetes blood tests to detect inflammatory conditions ultrasound or CT imaging to examine the blood vessels and check for clots an ankle-brachial index to check for PAD Treatment for poor circulation will depend on the underlying cause. The following lifestyle changes can also help: Wearing compression stockings can help to manage pain and swelling in legs. Some people also benefit from attending exercise programs designed to improve circulation. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway Conditions that cause poor circulation are easier to treat when a doctor detects them early. If a person does not receive treatment, they may develop life-threatening complications, including blood clots and infected skin ulcers. Some people require amputation. It is essential to report symptoms of poor circulation to a doctor, to receive appropriate treatment, and to maintain a healthful lifestyle.
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What causes chest pain and vomiting?

Chest pain and vomiting can have a variety of causes, which are different in adults and children. Reasons can include digestive and abdominal issues, such as acid reflux or an ulcer. Sometimes, a heart problem causes the symptoms in adults.

This article will explore the potential causes of chest pain and vomiting. Some of the causes are harmless, while others can be more serious.

Causes Woman with chest pain who may vomit
GERD is a common cause of chest pain and vomiting.

Common causes of chest pain and vomiting include:

GERD is a disorder of the digestive system that causes symptoms including acid indigestion, heartburn, chest pain, and vomiting. People can usually manage GERD with medication and dietary changes.

Peptic ulcers develop on the lining of the stomach. They can be very painful, and symptoms include vomiting and a burning-type pain in the chest. Treatment includes medication, but sometimes surgery is necessary.

Panic attacks can be frightening, and symptoms can include feelings of tightness and pain in the chest. Stress and anxiety are leading contributors to panic attacks, so finding ways to reduce stress can help alleviate the symptoms.

Making some lifestyle changes can help address anxiety and panic attacks. People should also speak to a doctor about treatment.

Reducing stimulants, such as coffee, as well as introducing meditation and mindfulness may also help alleviate stress.

Anyone who is experiencing chest pain and vomiting should visit a doctor for a diagnosis.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Could it be a heart attack? businessman with chest pain
Chest pain and shortness of breath are common symptoms of a heart attack. Sometimes chest pain and nausea can be symptoms of a heart attack. It is important to know that women and men can present with different symptoms. Common symptoms of a heart attack include: mild chest pain and discomfort that builds up slowly chest pain or discomfort upper body discomfort shortness of breath nausea or vomiting sudden dizziness breaking out into a cold sweat unusual tiredness According to the American Heart Association, women are more likely than men to experience the following: shortness of breath nausea vomiting pain in the back, shoulders, and jaw Heart attacks require immediate medical assistance. If someone suspects they are having a heart attack, or are with a person who is experiencing one, they should call the emergency services immediately. Heart attack diagnosis A heart attack is when a person experiences a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries. This blockage prevents oxygenated blood and nutrients getting to heart tissue and muscle, which can cause them to die. A doctor can diagnose a heart attack with an electrocardiogram (EKG test) or coronary angiography. If the tests detect an irregular rhythm, it might indicate a heart problem. Sometimes, doctors will do a blood test to diagnose a heart attack. Heart attack treatment Anyone experiencing these symptoms and suspects a heart attack should call 911 or the local emergency services. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the emergency operator may recommend giving crushed aspirin, which can reduce the effect of a heart attack. Other early treatments might include: aspirin nitroglycerin clot-busting medicines However, some people might require surgery. Surgery can include: Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Also known as coronary angioplasty, PCI involves inserting a stent (small metal or plastic tube) into the artery to improve blood flow. Coronary artery bypass grafting. This is when a surgeon removes an artery or vein from another part of the body and uses it to bypass the blocked section of the coronary artery. Long-term treatment involves adopting healthful lifestyle changes, managing stress, and quitting smoking. Could it be angina? painful neck which may be polymyalgia or fibromyalgia
If a person has angina, they may have neck and shoulder pain. Angina occurs due to plaque buildup in arteries. It is a symptom of underlying heart disease, not a disease on its own. Angina may feel like a squeezing in the chest or like indigestion. Some people may also experience pain in the following areas: neck shoulders arm jaw back Angina diagnosis A doctor will perform a physical exam and take a full medical history. The doctor will ask about: symptoms family history smoking status diet history other risk factors If the doctor suspects angina, they will recommend tests, such as an EKG, stress testing, a chest X-ray, and blood tests. Angina treatment There is a variety of treatment options available. If symptoms are mild, treatment can include making some lifestyle changes and taking medication. Lifestyle factors include: stopping smoking eating a healthful diet avoiding large meals with rich foods taking regular breaks from exercise if it brings on angina being physically active limiting stressful situations and managing anxiety maintaining a healthful weight taking all medicines the doctors prescribe If these treatment options do not work, some people may require medical procedures, such as an angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What are the causes in children? Chest pain and nausea are some of the more common reasons children end up in the hospital. Unlike adults, however, most cases of chest pain in children are benign. Causes include: GERD: An over-production of digestive fluids, such as acid and bile, in the stomach causes the fluids to enter the food pipe, which irritates the lining. Treatment includes monitoring of the diet and over-the-counter medications. Musculoskeletal disorders: Pain and tenderness related to the chest wall, muscles, and skeleton should clear up over time. Always attend follow up appointments with the doctor to monitor improvements. Other causes: Children with asthma or who experience anxiety and stress may also develop sudden chest pain and vomiting. When to see a doctor Any adult who thinks they may be experiencing a heart attack should go straight to a hospital or call an ambulance. It is essential not dismiss any symptoms as timing is key to a better outcome. For children, evidence strongly shows that chest pain and vomiting is unlikely to be a cardiac issue. However, timely treatment is essential.
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New potential risk factor for heart failure

A body measure that can be taken in a painless and noninvasive way as easily as stepping onto scales might predict a person's risk of future heart failure.
senior woman holding chest
Heart failure affects millions of people around the world.

The measure is called leg bioimpedance. Body composition machines use bioimpedance to calculate body fat by measuring how easily weak electrical currents can pass through tissue.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California proposed the measure as a new risk factor for heart failure after analyzing data on over half a million United Kingdom residents aged 49–69.

In a paper published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, they report how they found that lower leg bioimpedance was tied to a higher risk of heart failure.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart continues beating but fails to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to meet the needs of organs in the body.

In the United States, the condition affects around 5.7 million adults and has an estimated annual cost of $30.7 billion.

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Predicting heart failure

Should the new finding be confirmed by analyzing data from a different population, it could lead to earlier diagnosis and potentially even prevention of heart failure.

The Stanford team also developed a formula that accurately predicts a person's risk of developing heart failure in the next 8 years. It brings together leg bioimpedance, age, sex, and whether or not the individual has a history of heart attack.

Senior study author Erik Ingelsson, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, says that he would like to see manufacturers of body composition analyzers add the formula to their calculations.

"The ideal scenario," he explains, "would really be that you stand on the scale, and in addition to getting your body fat percentage, you also get your risk for heart failure within the next 8 years."

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'Easily measurable' risk factor

For the new study, he and his colleagues sifted through more than 3,500 factors relating to health, lifestyle, and disease that have been collected on each person enrolled in the UK Biobank project.

They used an approach called "machine learning" to search for risk factors tied to heart failure. This revealed some expected results, such as having or having had diabetes, having had a heart attack, or having chronic heart disease.

Leg impedance was high on the list of unexpected results. Prof. Ingelsson says that one of the reasons they "homed in" on it is that it "is easily measurable."

Measures of leg impedance were taken as part of body composition measurement. People were invited to stand on equipment that resembles "a standard scale but with handlebars."

The machine sends a weak electrical current through electrodes under the feet and measures the extent to which tissue in the legs resists or impedes the current. The more water and fluid in the tissue, the more easily the electricity passes through it and the lower the impedance.

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An early indicator of fluid buildup

Prof. Ingelsson suggests that people with low leg impedance in their study may have been starting to build up fluid in the legs. Fluid buildup in the legs happens often in heart failure.

He and his colleagues wondered if they may have come across a way of identifying water retention that is present but not high enough to be spotted before shortness of breath, fatigue, and other more obvious signs of heart failure.

This point was taken up by Barry Borlaug, a cardiologist and medical professor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, who was not involved with the study.

He explains that, subject to further research, he can see how leg impedance might be used as a predictor of heart failure — especially in those who are less physically active.

"A number of people might have the abnormalities in their hearts and lungs that cause symptomatic heart failure, but they don't experience these symptoms because they are so sedentary."

Prof. Barry Borlaug

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What is a blood gas test?

A blood gas test is also called an arterial blood gas test or a blood gas analysis. It measures oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. The test can also show blood pH levels and lung function.

Doctors often use blood gas tests in emergency situations to help diagnose the cause of breathing difficulty.

In this article, learn more about the purpose of a blood gas test and how to interpret the results.

Purpose Doctor holding vial of blood from a blood gas test
A blood gas test can help to diagnose lung problems.

Anyone who is struggling to breathe or who has a lung-related health issue will undergo a blood gas test. The results can help a doctor to identify the cause of symptoms.

A blood gas test can show how well the lungs, heart, and kidneys are working.

More specifically, results of the test can help a doctor to:

diagnose lung and breathing problems check whether treatments for lung conditions are working determine whether a person has a ruptured blood vessel, metabolic disease, or chemical poisoning

Doctors also use the test to check the acid-base balances in people who:

have kidney problems have diabetes are recovering from drug overdoses Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Procedure A doctor usually performs the test in a hospital, and often in an emergency room, but some doctors can perform the blood gas test in clinics. A doctor may start with a modified Allen test to determine how well blood is flowing to the hand. This involves applying pressure to the arteries in the wrist to obstruct the blow flow for no more than 15 seconds, causing the hand to change color. The doctor will release the pressure, and if regular coloring returns to the hand within 5–15 seconds, the results are normal, and the blood gas test can begin. If the color does not return in this period, it is not safe to continue with testing. During the blood gas test, a doctor will use a small needle to draw blood from an artery in the wrist. If a person is receiving oxygen therapy, they will need to stop using it for at least 20–30 minutes before the blood gas test, if possible. Risks Drawing blood from an artery can cause more pain than drawing blood from a vein because the arteries contain sensitive nerves and are located deeper within the body. Any pain or discomfort last for a few minutes after the test. Some people may feel nauseous or dizzy while the doctor draws blood, especially if they are nervous. To reduce bruising, a person can gently press on the area for a few minutes, once the doctor removes the needle. Rarely, it is possible for the needle to cause damage or block the artery. Anyone who has undergone a blood gas test should avoid heavy lifting for at least 1 day to prevent complications or injury. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Additional testing doctor looking at x ray of the chest
A doctor may also request a chest X-ray before making a diagnosis. A doctor will not use a blood gas test alone to make a diagnosis. They usually need other tests, including: urine tests to check the functioning of the kidneys a chest X-ray or other imaging to examine the lungs tests that measure lung volume The doctor will also request further blood work to determine a person's blood counts and to check the levels of: sodium potassium bicarbonate blood glucose, commonly known as blood sugar Understanding the results Abnormal results of a blood gas test can indicate that health conditions or injuries are affecting a person's breathing. When making a diagnosis, a doctor will consider results of this test and others and a person's overall health. The results of a blood gas test can show whether: the lungs are getting enough oxygen the lungs are releasing enough carbon dioxide the kidneys are working properly The following are normal ranges for results of a blood gas test: pH: 7.35–7.45 partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2): 80–100 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) partial pressure of carbon dioxide: 35–45 mmHg bicarbonate: 22–26 milliequivalents per liter oxygen saturation: 95 percent Age, health history, and sex can influence these measurements. Results that fall outside the normal ranges do not always indicate a heart, lung, or kidney problem. A doctor is in the best position to explain to each person what their results mean. pH and PaO2 The two most important measurements are pH, also called the acid-base balance, and PaO2. If a person's pH is out of balance, it could mean that their lungs are not functioning well or that their kidneys are struggling to remove waste. If pH results fall outside of normal ranges, the doctor will perform further tests to determine the reason. The PaO2 measurement shows the oxygen pressure in the blood. Most healthy adults have a PaO2 within the normal range of 80–100 mmHg. If a PaO2 level is lower than 80 mmHg, it means that a person is not getting enough oxygen. A low PaO2 level can point to an underlying health condition, such as: emphysema chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD pulmonary fibrosis a problem with the heart Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway A doctor usually performs a blood gas test in a hospital, when a person has a severe illness or injury. The doctor will draw blood from an artery in the wrist to check how well the lungs and kidneys are functioning. Results of a blood gas test can help to determine the cause of breathing problems. However, a doctor will also consider results of other tests before making a diagnosis.
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Good news for heavy coffee drinkers

Although coffee in moderation is widely considered to be good for our health, questions remain — such as what about people who are sensitive to caffeine or who drink large quantities? A new study investigates.
Coffee in a cup
New research into coffee confirms, and widens the scope of, its benefits.

Coffee is among the most commonly consumed beverages on earth.

Because of its popularity, it has attracted a great deal of research over the years.

After all, something that permeates society so thoroughly must be studied for its pros and cons.

Scientists have now stacked up a fair amount of evidence proving that coffee, when consumed in moderation, can protect against certain diseases and may even extend lifespan.

Studies have now shown that moderate coffee consumption might protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease, to name but three.

Gaps in our knowledge

But the findings to date leave some unanswered questions. For instance, "moderate consumption" — which usually means three to five cups per day — depending on the study, seems to be of benefit, but many people drink six or more cups each day.

So, do they still enjoy coffee's protective powers?

Also, certain people have genetic variations that alter the way in which they metabolize, or break down, caffeine. How are these individuals affected? Similarly, does the type of coffee — ground, instant, or decaffeinated — make a difference to health outcomes?

Other studies have attempted to answer the questions above, but, because fewer people fall into these categories, it has been difficult to make robust conclusions from the available data.

Recently, researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Rockville and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, both in Maryland, set out to get some answers.

Their work, which includes the data of more than half a million people in the United Kingdom, is published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Reopening the coffee question

The scientists found that, as predicted, coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death over the course of the follow-up. They also found that this reduction in risk extended to people who drank eight or more cups each day.

It also affected people who metabolize caffeine slower or faster than normal, and it worked across all coffee types (although the benefits were slightly less pronounced for instant coffee).

The fact that individuals who process caffeine differently and those who drink decaffeinated coffee also saw benefits hints that caffeine is not the main player in this beneficial relationship. Coffee consists of hundreds of different chemicals, making this a tricky code to crack.

One group of chemicals that scientists have been interested in is polyphenols, which are found in reduced levels in instant coffee. Much more work will be needed to understand how they fit into the bigger picture, though.

The new study is based on observational data, but because of the large number of participants used, the authors conclude:

"[T]hese results provide further evidence that coffee drinking can be part of a healthy diet and may provide reassurance to those who drink coffee and enjoy it."

With its unwavering popularity, research into coffee is guaranteed to continue. The authors hope that future studies focus more on how the preparation of coffee influences health outcomes.

For now, it seems firmly established that coffee has a raft of health benefits.

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How to stop heart palpitations during pregnancy

During pregnancy, the body's blood volume increases. The heart needs to pump faster to circulate the extra blood, and this can lead to a faster resting heart rate. Sometimes, the extra exertion on the heart can lead to palpitations.

A heart palpitation may feel as though the heart is:

skipping beats racing flopping in the chest

Heart palpitations are usually harmless. However, in some cases, they can indicate a problem in the heart or elsewhere in the body.

What are the symptoms? Heart palpitations during pregnancy
Heart palpitations can cause a person to experience dizziness, sweating, and a rapid heartbeat.

Heart palpitations can cause a wide variety of symptoms. Pregnant women may experience one or any combination of the following:

dizziness or lightheadedness a feeling of uneasiness a feeling that the heart is pounding a rapid heartbeat sweating a fluttering or flopping feeling in the chest a sensation of the heart skipping beats Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Causes A variety of factors can cause heart palpitations during pregnancy. Most are not serious. In some cases, however, the underlying cause of the palpitations requires medical treatment. Some harmless causes of heart palpitations during pregnancy include: the heart reacting to the increase in blood volume stress and anxiety reactions to certain food or drinks, especially those that contain caffeine reactions to cold or allergy medications More serious causes include: Pregnant women and healthcare providers may find it difficult to distinguish the cause of palpitations. Many symptoms of heart problems occur during a normal pregnancy, making it hard to know whether an underlying condition is causing the symptoms. Diagnosis Caffeine can cause heart palpitations during pregnancy
Drinking caffeinated drinks while pregnant can cause heart palpitations. Only a doctor can correctly diagnose the cause of heart palpitations. The doctor will usually begin by asking about symptoms and medical history. If a woman has any of the following, it is important to tell the doctor: a history of heart palpitations a history of heart disease a history of other problems that affect the heart a family history of heart disease The doctor will usually then perform an exam and listen for abnormalities of the heartbeat. They will often perform additional tests to pinpoint the underlying cause of the palpitations. The doctor may use any of the following to make a diagnosis: blood tests to look for imbalances and check the functioning of the thyroid an electrocardiogram to measure the heart's electrical activity a Holter monitor test, which involves wearing a device that measures the heart's rhythms for an extended period Thank you for supporting Medical News Today When to see a doctor A woman attends several scheduled visits during pregnancy. The frequency of these visits will increase as the due date approaches, or if the doctor suspects that there are complications. If heart palpitations occur more frequently between visits, become more intense, or last for increasingly long periods, a woman should contact the doctor. Seek emergency medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur with heart palpitations: a bloody cough an irregular pulse labored breathing when not exerting effort trouble breathing pain in the chest a rapid heart rate How to stop heart palpitations Heart palpitations during pregnancy may require medical attention
Seek medical attention if heart palpitations occur regularly during pregnancy. Heart palpitations do not necessarily require treatment. When symptoms are mild and do not result from an underlying condition, a doctor will usually not recommend treatment, and a woman can expect the palpitations to end with the pregnancy. If symptoms are severe, a doctor may prescribe medication to regulate the heartbeat. The doctor will discuss the risks to the woman and fetus before prescribing medication. The risks are higher during the first trimester, and a doctor is unlikely to prescribe medication then. If a woman has an arrhythmia, a doctor can use a timed electrical current to return the heart to its normal rhythm. This procedure, called cardioversion, is considered safe during pregnancy. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway Many pregnant women experience heart palpitations. They may be disconcerting, but most heart palpitations are harmless. However, they can result from underlying problems that require medical treatment. Any pregnant woman who experiences heart palpitations should report her symptoms to her doctor for further evaluation because of this. Heart palpitations during pregnancy often do not require treatment. For those who need treatment, many safe options are available.
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Chinese restaurant syndrome: What you need to know

Some people experience symptoms, such as headaches and sweating, after eating in Chinese restaurants. The medical community once called this group of symptoms Chinese restaurant syndrome. Doctors now call it MSG symptom complex.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a food additive that enhances flavor. It is commonly used in restaurants and pre-packaged foods.

While there are many anecdotal reports of MSG-induced symptoms, scientific research into the syndrome is limited.

As a result, the use of MSG remains controversial. Some Chinese restaurants advertise as being MSG-free.

Read on to learn more about MSG symptom complex and the health effects of this additive.

What is Chinese restaurant syndrome? Selection of Chinese food that may cause Chinese restaurant syndrome
Chinese restaurant syndrome is now known as MSG symptom complex.

The term Chinese restaurant syndrome is no longer in professional use, though some people may still use the phrase to explain their symptoms.

Reported symptoms include:

breathing difficulties chest pain facial flushing a headache numbness or burning pain in the mouth a rapid heart rate sweating swelling of the face

Sometimes, symptoms can be severe. A case report published in the Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine described a 23-year-old man who experienced severe swelling in the mouth after eating Chinese food. He was unable to speak and had serious difficulty swallowing saliva.

Causes While MSG symptom complex is likely related to MSG intake, researchers are still not entirely sure what causes the symptoms. While MSG may not affect everyone, it appears that some people are extremely sensitive to it or other food additives. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today What to know about MSG MSG on a table which can cause Chinese restaurant syndrome
MSG is a flavor enhancer commonly added to processed meats. MSG is made from glutamate, which is one form of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is naturally present in many foods. The human body also produces glutamate and requires it for several functions, including learning and memory. MSG is used to enhance flavor, and it is commonly added to Chinese food, processed meats, and canned goods. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consider MSG to be "generally recognized as safe." However, because the FDA have received many reports of negative reactions to MSG, the administration requires manufacturers to feature added MSG on food labels. Research Relatively few studies have investigated the effects of MSG, especially in recent years. A study from 2000 included 130 people who self-reported as being sensitive to MSG. They were administered MSG or a placebo. Of those participants, 38.5 percent reacted to MSG only, 13.1 percent reacted to the placebo only, and 14.6 percent reacted to MSG and the placebo. The reactions were typically mild. An increased dose of MSG without the presence of food was most likely to cause a reaction. However, the researchers were unable to replicate the results when they repeated the test with the same of participants. This suggests that outside factors, such as food intake, may have caused the reactions. In 2016, a review of studies concluded that eating MSG with food had no significant influence on the occurrence of headaches. However, one study included in the review reported a significant link between the consumption of MSG and headaches in female participants. The authors concluded that, overall, the methods used could not produce reliable, consistent results and that more research is needed. It is important to note that an organization that promotes the use of glutamate employs one of these authors. Researchers commonly administer MSG to mice to induce obesity. In the past decade, some people have wondered whether MSG intake is also linked to extra weight in humans. One study from 2011 found that MSG was associated with an increase in weight in healthy Chinese adults. However, there have been conflicting results. More research is needed to determine the effect of MSG on the body. Side effects People report various health issues that they associate with MSG. According to a Korean study from 2014, the most common complaints were: thirstiness (84.5 percent) drowsiness (55.7 percent) weakness (34.5 percent) nausea (30.2 percent) a headache (14.7 percent) MSG symptom complex may also cause: excessive sweating flushing of the skin a tingling sensation in the skin numbness or burning in the mouth Severe and life-threatening symptoms are rare. They resemble the symptoms of an allergic reaction and include: chest pain difficulty breathing an irregular or rapid heartbeat swelling in the throat or face People who experience severe symptoms should seek emergency medical attention. Treatment The treatment for MSG symptom complex varies, depending on the symptoms and their severity. Mild symptoms Mild symptoms typically clear up without treatment. A person with these symptoms may benefit from: drinking water to stay hydrated resting drinking ginger or peppermint tea to reduce nausea taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, if a person has a headache Severe symptoms A doctor may recommend OTC or prescription medications to relieve these symptoms. Treatments include: ïantihistamine medications for breathing problems, facial swelling, or an abnormal heartbeat ïa shot of epinephrine (adrenaline) for life-threatening reactions Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Prevention group of people at home drinking and eating popcorn and crisps out of bowls
MSG is usually present in potato chips. The only way to completely prevent MSG syndrome complex is to stop eating foods that contain the additive. People with very mild symptoms may be able to prevent them by only eating small amounts of foods that contain MSG. Anyone with a sensitivity to MSG should check whether it is included on food labels. Remember to also check for the full name: monosodium glutamate. The additive is usually present in: packaged and processed meats, such as hot dogs meat extracts, such as pork extract bouillon canned vegetables potato chips soups and stocks MSG is also known as: E621 hydrolyzed protein maltodextrin modified food starch Some people prefer to eat at Chinese restaurants that are MSG-free. Other kinds of restaurants also use MSG, so it is essential to ask before ordering food. Avoiding natural glutamate People who are very sensitive to MSG may also need to avoid foods that contain high amounts of natural glutamate. Natural glutamate is present in the following: mature cheeses cured meats braised meats bone broths fish and shellfish fish sauce and oyster sauce soy protein soy sauce mushrooms ripe tomatoes and tomato juice grape juice yeast extract malted barley, which is used in beer and bread walnuts Avoiding natural glutamates may be challenging, but a doctor or dietitian can provide guidance and develop a low-glutamate meal plan. When to see a doctor A person should see a doctor if symptoms are severe or persistent. Anyone with breathing difficulties, chest pain, or swelling of the throat should seek emergency medical care. To assess a person's symptoms, a doctor may ask: when the person last ate Chinese food if the person has recently eaten any foods that contained MSG Depending on the symptoms, the doctor may also: check the heart rate examine the airways for blockages perform an electrocardiogram to check for an abnormal heart rhythm Outlook The effects of MSG syndrome complex usually pass quickly. People often feel better within a few hours. In the meantime, home remedies can alleviate discomfort. However, anyone with a life-threatening reaction to MSG should carry an epinephrine shot, such as those sold under the brand names Adrenaclick or EpiPen. Be very careful when eating out or buying packaged or processed foods. A dietitian can help to determine which foods are safe.
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Exercise, the 'best antidepressant,' also prevents heart disease

Depression is a risk factor for heart disease. New research now explores the link between these two conditions, finding that for many who have depression, exercise is the best treatment that can keep both the heart and the mind healthy.
people of all ages stretching
The earlier in life you start exercising, the better your chances of staving off both depression and heart disease.

Depression raises the risk of heart disease in people who haven't had a history of cardiovascular problems.

For those who have already been diagnosed with heart disease, depression raises their mortality risk.

In fact, some studies have revealed that people with depression are at high risk of arrhythmia.

Others, meanwhile, have pointed out that people who develop depression after being diagnosed with heart disease are twice as likely to die from it.

So, what can be done to prevent this bleak scenario? The solution might lie in exercising more, say researchers, as studies have continuously pointed out that in some cases, working out can be as effective as antidepressant medication.

But, when the feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that characterize depression seep into every aspect of your life, it may seem impossible to find the motivation to exercise.

A new study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, shows the many ways in which depression negatively affects health and highlights the benefits of exercise for relieving depression and keeping the heart healthy.

Also, study co-author Dr. Madhukar Trivedi, the director of the Center for Depression Research and Clinical Care at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, lays out some useful tips for overcoming the problem of finding the drive to exercise when you're depressed.

Dr. Benjamin Willis, the director of Epidemiology at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, is the first author of the paper.

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Exercise halves heart disease mortality risk

Dr. Willis and colleagues examined data on almost 18,000 participants, whose cardiorespiratory health was measured when they were 50 years old, on average.

Using administrative data from participants' Medicare files, the researchers analyzed correlations between their cardiorespiratory fitness at the age of 50 and the prevalence of depression and heart disease in later life.

Overall, they revealed that participants with high fitness levels at midlife had a 56 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease after receiving a diagnosis of depression.

The scientists also found correlations with other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease.

Such illnesses, the authors point out, can affect the efficacy of antidepressants. For these people, exercise may be the best treatment for depression.

"There is enough evidence to show that the effect of low fitness on depression and heart disease is real," Dr. Trivedi says. "But further study is needed to establish the mechanism by which this effect happens."

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Regular exercise difficult, but it can be done

Dr. Trivedi cites studies that showed that people with depression can frequently do three quarters of the amount of physical activity that they're recommended.

"Maintaining a healthy dose of exercise is difficult, but it can be done," he says. "It just requires more effort and addressing unique barriers to regular exercise."

So, what are some of the ways in which one can address such barriers?

Try dedicating the same amount of time to working out each day, at the same time. Try not to get discouraged if you miss a few days. Instead, just resume exercise as soon as you're able to. Track your progress. Keep the workout activities varied and fun by trying something new every day. You can also charge a friend with the task of keeping you accountable if you don't exercise.

"The earlier you maintain fitness, the better chance of preventing depression, which in the long run will help lower the risk of heart disease," urges Dr. Trivedi.

"There is value to not starting a medication if it's not needed [...] Being active and getting psychotherapy are sometimes the best prescription, especially in younger patients who don't have severe depression."

Dr. Madhukar Trivedi

Dr. Willis also chimes in here, saying, "These new insights demonstrate the ongoing importance of fitness throughout the lifespan."

"Now we know that the long-term benefits, and the connection between mind-body wellness, are more significant than we thought. We hope our study will highlight the role of fitness and physical activity in early prevention efforts by physicians in promoting healthy aging."

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Even minor sleep problems raise women's blood pressure

A new study finds that even relatively minor sleep disturbances can increase the risk of high blood pressure in women. This increase was measured even in women who slept for the recommended duration.
Woman cannot sleep
Even mild sleep disturbance may increase hypertension risk in women.

For some time, we have known that insufficient sleep increases blood pressure, and, therefore, the risk of heart-related diseases.

Recently, researchers from Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York conducted a study to assess whether or not less serious sleep issues could cause measurable cardiovascular effects.

An estimated one third of people in the United States do not get enough sleep. And, women seem to be affected more often than men.

There are several reasons why sleep problems are more common in women. For instance, women are more likely to be carers for children and elderly relatives, and they also experience shifts in hormones both monthly and across their lifespan.

For this reason, the scientists decided to focus their study on women. Lead study author Brooke Aggarwal explains why the prevalence of sleep disturbance in women is particularly worrying.

She says, "[S]tudies have shown that sleep deprivation and milder sleep problems may have a disproportionate effect on cardiovascular health in women."

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Investigating sleep disturbances

To investigate, the scientists studied 323 healthy female participants aged 20–79. As well as more severe sleep problems such as sleep apnea — wherein a person stops breathing for short periods of time while asleep — they tested for more minor problems, such as poor sleep quality, difficulty dropping off, and insomnia.

Their results were published recently in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers used a wristwatch-like device to monitor the women's sleep. They revealed that women who displayed minor sleep problems — even those who slept for 7–9 hours each night — were more likely to have elevated blood pressure.

In other words, even when the amount of sleep was at recommended levels, sleep disturbances still increased the risk of hypertension. The researchers conclude:

"[R]elatively mild sleep disturbances such as poor sleep quality, prolonged time to fall asleep, and insomnia are associated with increased blood pressure and vascular inflammation in women, even in the absence of sleep deprivation."

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Vascular markers

Of the participants, 26 women also allowed the researchers to sample endothelial cells — the cells that line blood vessels — from the vein in their arms. The team assessed the samples for a protein called endothelial nuclear factor kappa B, which is related to inflammation and can signal the development of cardiovascular disease.

As expected, the scientists found a relationship between sleep disturbance and inflammation in endothelial cells.

"Our findings suggest that mild sleep problems could possibly initiate the vascular endothelial inflammation that's a significant contributor to cardiovascular disease. Results of an ongoing clinical trial may confirm these results."

Brooke Aggarwal

Although the research was carried out on a relatively small sample (particularly the endothelial cell investigation), the findings merit further work. Indeed, the scientists are involved in ongoing experiments into this interaction.

As we await confirmation, Aggarwal concludes that "[i]n the meantime, it may be prudent to screen women for milder sleep disturbances in an effort to help prevent cardiovascular disease."

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Why do I get heart palpitations after I eat?

Heart palpitations occur when the heart starts to beat faster, and they feel like a fluttering in the chest, neck, or throat. Palpitations can make people feel short of breath and anxious.

If people experience heart palpitations after eating, the foods or beverages they have consumed recently may be responsible. Something in the diet might also cause a person to have heart palpitations after lying down, although this could also occur due to an underlying medical condition.

Below we explain why a person may experience heart palpitations after eating and also consider other causes.

What causes heart palpitations after eating? The foods and beverages that a person consumes can lead to heart palpitations. Some possible causes include: Alcohol Heart palpitations after eating
A person may experience heart palpitations after consuming certain foods or beverages.

Alcohol is a common cause of a racing heart or heart rhythm changes.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco found that alcohol was likely to trigger heart palpitations in people with cardiac arrhythmia.

In particular, it was a common trigger for people with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the top part of the heart, comprising the atria, to quiver out of rhythm with the ventricles, or lower part of the heart.

Doctors are not sure exactly why alcohol affects the heart in this way, but they do know that some people are more vulnerable to its effects than others.

Caffeine

Caffeine is another food that many researchers believe may cause heart palpitations. Caffeine occurs in:

coffee espresso-based drinks sodas teas chocolate some energy drinks

However, a 2016 study that the Journal of the American Heart Association published found no correlation between caffeine consumption and irregular heart rhythms.

Individual reactions

People can also have individual reactions to specific foods or beverages, which may result in various symptoms. These could include heart palpitations.

A doctor will often recommend that anyone noticing symptoms after consuming certain products keeps a journal to monitor what they eat and drink and when they experience symptoms.

This might help them to link their symptoms to specific elements in their diet.

Medications for asthma, diabetes, and other conditions

People should also consider any medications that they take with meals. Some cold, allergy, and asthma medicines contain phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine, which can raise the heart rate.

People with diabetes may use insulin to lower their blood sugar. If their blood sugar gets too low after eating due to excess insulin, they may experience heart palpitations.

Supplements

Some people take dietary supplements before or after eating, which could affect their heart rate. Examples of nutritional supplements that can affect the heart rate include:

bitter orange ephedra ginseng hawthorn valerian

Smoking

Some people may smoke a cigarette before or after they eat, which can also cause heart palpitations.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Causes of heart palpitations after lying down Heart palpitations after eating could be related to anxiety
Anxiety is a common cause of heart palpitations. Common causes of heart palpitations that do not relate to specific foods and beverages include: People can also experience heart palpitations due to underlying heart diseases, such as heart failure, cardiomyopathy, or valve disorders. During pregnancy It can be common for pregnant people to have heart palpitations when they are lying down on their backs. This is because the fetus can press on major blood vessels, which causes the heart to pump faster and harder to keep up with blood flow demands. As a pregnancy advances, it may be more comfortable to lie down on the left side, as this puts less pressure on the blood vessels. Treatment and prevention A doctor will begin to diagnose possible causes of heart palpitations by taking a person's medical history. If the doctor identifies a particular food or beverage that causes heart palpitations, they are likely to recommend excluding it from the diet where possible. Other methods to reduce heart palpitations include: quitting smoking drinking plenty of fluids maintaining a healthy blood sugar level taking steps to reduce stress and anxiety, such as exercising or participating in meditation or yoga People should not stop using medications that cause heart palpitations unless a doctor instructs them to do so. They should also let their doctor know if they are taking non-prescription medications, including dietary supplements and herbs. Medical treatments Doctors rarely recommend medical treatments to reduce the incidence of heart palpitations. However, they may suggest medications called beta-blockers or a procedure called a heart ablation. A heart ablation involves burning, or ablating, the areas of the heart that are sending irregular electrical signals and causing the heart palpitations. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today When to see a doctor Persistent heart palpitations after eating require medical attention
A person should see a doctor if they experience heart palpitations regularly. People should not ignore heart palpitations, including those that occur after eating, and should visit a doctor if they regularly experience them. It is best to seek emergency medical attention for the following symptoms: pain or tightness in the chest difficulty breathing dizziness feeling faint Takeaway Heart palpitations can be an uncomfortable and concerning symptom. There are several dietary causes of heart palpitations. Other causes can include anxiety, smoking, and certain medications. If people often experience palpitations after eating or lying down, they should visit their doctor to ensure that the symptoms are not due to an underlying condition.
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Five hot baths per week may be good for the heart

A new study shows that taking at least five hot baths every week can improve cardiovascular health for seniors.
senior woman taking a bath
For those of us who enjoy indulging in hot baths, a new study has some good news.

Several new studies have pointed to the health benefits of saunas.

From slashing the risk of high blood pressure in men to drastically lowering the risk of stroke in both men and women, relaxing in steamy, hot rooms seems to do wonders for one's cardiovascular health.

Specifically, one study revealed that those who enjoyed a sauna four to seven times per week had a 60 percent lower chance of stroke than those who only had one sauna per week.

Another study found a 46 percent lower risk of hypertension among people who had four to seven weekly sauna sessions compared with those who had just one.

But, for those of us who perhaps cannot afford to go to the sauna so regularly, could we derive the same health benefits from hot baths?

A team of Japanese-based scientists led by Prof. Katsuhiko Kohara, of the Faculty of Collaborative Regional Innovation at Ehime University in Matsuyama, set out to find an answer to this question.

Their findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Studying the benefits of hot baths for seniors

Prof. Kohara and team asked 873 study participants aged between 60 and 76 years old to fill in a questionnaire regarding their hot water bathing practices.

"Hot" water was defined as having a temperature of over 41°C, and a single hot bath lasted 12.4 minutes, on average.

To assess cardiac health, the researchers took several measures, including brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity, which is a measure of atherosclerosis, and plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide, which is a standard measure of cardiac loading.

Of the 873 participants, the researchers had access to longitudinal data on 164 people who had undergone a minimum of two medical examinations, averaging a follow-up period of almost 5 years.

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Five hot baths may improve heart health

Overall, the study found that "[h]ot water bathing showed a favorable effect on atherosclerotic and central hemodynamic parameters."

More specifically, people who took at least five hot baths every week had significantly lower markers of atherosclerosis and cardiac loading. Prof. Kohara and his colleagues conclude:

"Based upon these findings, it is conceivable that hot water bathing could have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system in the general population."

Reacting to the study, Prof. Jeremy Pearson — an associate medical director with the British Heart Foundation in the United Kingdom — explains that "there are [...] plausible reasons for why a long soak could be beneficial for a person's heart health."

"This study," Prof. Pearson adds, "shows an association between having regular hot baths and some indicators of better heart and circulatory health."

"However," he cautions, "this is just an observation and might be related to other lifestyle factors, such as people who have regular baths may also be more likely to live a low-stress lifestyle, or have a healthier diet."

"Far more research is needed," concludes Prof. Pearson, "to understand the link before doctors start prescribing a hot bath to the elderly."

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Six health benefits of safflower oil

Research suggests that safflower oil may provide some health benefits, especially for blood sugar, cholesterol, and skin inflammation.

Safflower oil is a popular cooking oil made from the seeds of the safflower plant. Some research suggests it may have some health benefits when used in the diet and on the skin.

Safflower oil may be a more healthful option than olive oil when cooking at high temperatures, thanks to its high smoke point and neutral flavor.

In this article, we list the top health benefits of safflower oil. We also discuss the effects of safflower oil for weight loss.

Six health benefits of safflower oil Safflower oil offers a variety of potential benefits. Below, we discuss the evidence behind six key benefits of safflower oil: 1. A healthful source of fatty acids Safflower seeds can create Safflower oil
Safflower oil is made from the safflower plant.

Safflower oil is a rich source of unsaturated fatty acids, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

The body needs these fats to function, and unsaturated fatty acids are generally considered 'good fats.'

Fats in the diet, such as those found in safflower oil, are essential for hormone regulation and memory. They are vital in allowing the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Eating some fat with meals may also help a person to feel fuller.

Safflower oil is lower in saturated fats, which are often considered 'bad' fats, than olive oil, avocado oil, and sunflower oil.

A diet high in 'good' fats and low in 'bad' fats has many health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving heart health.

There are two types of safflower oil: high-oleic and high-linoleic. Both contain unsaturated fatty acids.

Like olive oil, the high-oleic variety of safflower oil contains monounsaturated fats and is a good option for cooking at high temperatures.

High-linoleic safflower oil contains higher quantities of polyunsaturated fats. It should not be heated but is ideal for use in the preparation of salad dressings.

2. Improves blood sugar levels

A systematic review of studies from 2016 suggests that eating a diet high in unsaturated fats can improve a person's blood glucose control.

The study found that replacing some sources of carbohydrate or saturated fats with unsaturated fatty acids, especially polyunsaturated fats, had a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels, as well as insulin resistance and insulin secretion.

A 2011 study suggested that consuming 8 grams (g) of safflower oil daily for 4 months may reduce inflammation while improving blood sugar in some people with type 2 diabetes.

It is important to note that the participants in this study were women who had type 2 diabetes and were also obese and post-menopausal.

The researchers suggest that quality dietary fats may be used alongside diabetes treatments to reduce complications associated with the condition.

3. Lowers cholesterol, boosts heart health

The same 2011 study also reports that participants' blood cholesterol levels improved following 4 months safflower oil use.

These findings support the American Heart Association's suggestion that unsaturated fats may lower LDL or 'bad,' cholesterol in the blood.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Safflower oil may contribute to heart health in other ways too.

The unsaturated fats in safflower oil can thin the blood and make platelets less sticky. This might help prevent blood clots that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Safflower oil might also affect blood vessels by relaxing them and reducing blood pressure.

4. Fights inflammation

Safflower oil may also have anti-inflammatory properties.

According to a study in Clinical Nutrition, Safflower oil and the unsaturated fatty acids in safflower oil improved markers of inflammation. This may help with several conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.

5. Soothes dry skin

Applying safflower oil topically to dry or inflamed skin may help soothe it and give the skin a soft and smooth appearance. Although most of the research on safflower oil for the skin is anecdotal, it is a common ingredient in cosmetics and skin care products.

Safflower oil contains vitamin E, which may be responsible for some of its skin benefits. Vitamin E has been an important ingredient in dermatological products for decades.

Some research suggests that vitamin E protects the skin from free radicals, which are harmful molecules that damage cells in the body and contribute to disease, and the effects of sunlight.

Before using safflower oil on the skin, perform a patch test. Rub a drop of the oil into the arm and wait for 24 hours. If no reaction develops, it is probably safe to use.

6. Safe for cooking at high temperatures

Not all oils are safe to use for frying. This is because overheating delicate oils can create free radicals.

High-oleic safflower oil is safe to cook with at high temperatures. In fact, this monounsaturated oil has a higher smoke point than many other oils, including:

corn oil canola oil olive oil sesame oil

Safflower also has a milder flavor than other oils, including olive and coconut, which makes it an excellent choice for deep frying, pan frying, or baking.

Polyunsaturated safflower oil, on the other hand, should not be heated. Save it for drizzling over steamed vegetables and making vinaigrettes. Keep the oil in the refrigerator to prevent it from turning rancid.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Safflower oil for weight loss Oil being poured into a pan
Safflower oil is not a low-calorie food. Some people consider safflower oil to be a weight loss aid, but research in this area is limited. Some studies, including a 2011 study, report that safflower oil has no significant effects on weight or body fat. At 120 calories per tablespoon, safflower oil is not a low-calorie food. Eating too many calories, regardless of their source, can adversely affect weight-loss efforts. But adding a small amount of this oil to food may improve its flavor, increase the feeling of being full, and balance blood sugar — all of which can have a beneficial effect on weight management. When trying to lose weight, it may be helpful to limit the intake of oils to recommended amounts and to focus on eating whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. The 'Choose my Plate' initiative recommend the following intake of oils by teaspoon (tsp) each day: Sex Age Recommended daily oil Female 19–30 6 tsp Female 30+ 5 tsp Male 19–30 7 tsp Male 30+ 6 tsp However, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 states that most oils consumed in the United States are in the form of processed foods, such as: salad dressings mayonnaise prepared meals corn and potato chips When calculating daily oil intake, remember to include these fats, as well as healthful sources of fats, such as those found naturally in nuts, seeds, and fish. Side effects of safflower oil Most people will not have any adverse reaction to safflower oil, as long as they consume it in the recommended daily amounts. As safflower can thin the blood, it may slow down the clotting of the blood, which may increase the risk of bleeding in: people who have bleeding disorders those undergoing surgery Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Outlook Safflower oil contains healthful fats called unsaturated fatty acids. When consumed in moderation, it may offer health benefits, such as blood sugar control, improved heart health, and reduced inflammation. People can use it topically to treat dry skin, and it is safe to use when cooking at high temperatures. Safflower oil is available to buy from health food stores, some supermarkets, and online. As with all oils, safflower is high in calories and low in many nutrients. Therefore, use it sparingly and as part of a balanced diet. We picked linked items based on the quality of products, and list the pros and cons of each to help you determine which will work best for you. We partner with some of the companies that sell these products, which means Healthline UK and our partners may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link(s) above.
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Targeting 'microtubules' could prevent heart failure

Researchers publish a study in the journal Nature Medicine that determined the cause of "stiff heart." The findings could help to prevent future cases of heart failure.
Microtubule illustration
Microtubules (depicted here) may be key to the future treatment of heart failure.

One of the most common causes of congestive heart failure is "stiff heart syndrome."

According to Dr. Jerry Sokol — a cardiologist in Deer Park, NY — this causes fluid to build up and back up into the lungs.

This occurs "usually in patients older than age 60," he says.

At the microcellular level, they revealed that stiff heart appears to be related to microtubules in the cells of the heart muscle.

By treating these microtubules with newly developed research and medications, cardiac surgeons will soon be able to more effectively treat patients with this type of congestive heart failure.

The new study was led by Dr. Ben Prosser — an assistant professor of physiology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia — and is a "continuation" of research carried out 2 years ago into how microtubules help to regulate heartbeat.

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Investigating microtubules

"These findings provide compelling evidence from human samples for a new therapeutic target for heart disease," says Dr. Prosser; his team aims to "develop therapies that seek out the damaged microtubules to reverse their harmful influence."

Normally, microtubule cells in the heart have diverse structural and signaling roles. When these microtubules are altered, the result is believed to trigger heart disease.

Recent studies have suggested that chemical changes to the microtubules called detyrosination — that is, the removal of a tyrosine chemical group — control a person's heartbeat.

Detyrosinated microtubules provide resistance that could "impede the motion of contracting heart muscle cells." Dr. Prosser and his team tested single heart muscle cells to identify changes to the cell's microtubules network and their consequences for normal heart function.

The analyzed tissues from the left ventricle of heart transplant patients revealed a consistent level of proteins that resulted in the stiffening of microtubules.

Thanks to super-resolution imaging, the researchers also found a "dense, heavily detyrosinated microtubule network in the diseased heart muscle cells."

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The researchers used a drug to suppress the detyrosinated microtubules, successfully restoring around 50 percent of the lost contractile function in the diseased cells. They also revealed that genetically lowering the microtubule detyrosination "softened" any diseased cells, therefore enhancing their ability to contract.

According to Dr. Sokol, unlike the usual type of congestive heart failure — typically caused by a weakened heart muscle (when the heart doesn't contract well after pumping) — a stiff heart resulting in heart failure occurs because the heart doesn't "relax" well after contracting.

"Also," he says, "the more damaged [microtubules] one has, the weaker the heart. When the damaged microtubules are compressed, the heart functions better."

Prior clinical data from the institution identified a "direct correlation between excess microtubule detyrosination and a decline in heart function" in patients who are living with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

In this condition, thickened heart muscle can lead to problems in maintaining both proper blood pressure levels and blood flow through one's heart.

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Information from transplants

For this study, the team cited research conducted by transplant cardiologist and study co-author Dr. Ken Margulies, a professor of cardiovascular medicine.

Dr. Margulies compared human heart tissue donated by heart transplant patients with normal heart tissue from other donors. The result was that detyrosination was greater in diseased hearts.

Therefore, cells from diseased hearts contain more microtubules, and these microtubules possess greater detyrosination.

This process meant impaired function in this patient population; their hearts, prior to transplant, had a lower ejection fraction (a marker of heart health designed to measure the blood pumped out of heart ventricles with every contraction) that matched up with greater detyrosination.

Currently, the team is seeking ways to target only heart muscle cell microtubules. By utilizing the Penn Gene Vector Core, the scientists are refining gene therapy approaches to transport "an enzyme to the heart that reverses detyrosination within heart muscle cells."

Dr. Sokol adds, "Congestive heart failure is one of the most serious types of heart disease and increasingly common with age in both men and women."

"This new research from Penn is in infancy stages," he concludes, "but will hopefully prevent congestive heart failure in patients, resulting in healthier lives."

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What are the symptoms of heart disease in men?

Heart disease is one of the most common health problems that men face. By knowing some of the signs and symptoms of heart disease, they may be able to reduce their risk of developing serious complications, such as a heart attack.

Heart disease is a term referring to a range of heart health issues. These include:

coronary artery disease arrhythmias heart failure angina other heart-related irregularities, infections, and birth abnormalities

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease affects more than 1 in 3 men in the United States.

In some cases, a person may have evident signs of heart disease that are easily recognizable. It is possible, however, to develop heart disease without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.

Read on to discover some of the common signs and symptoms of heart disease in men.

Are symptoms different in men and women? Man with chest pains and heart disease
Men may experience a crushing pain or squeezing sensation in the chest.

Men and women share many of the same symptoms for heart disease and heart attacks.

However, men are more likely to experience the well-known heart attack symptoms such as:

crushing chest pain squeezing, discomfort, or fullness in the chest pain in the arm, jaw, or back shortness of breath cold sweat nausea

Women are less likely to experience crushing chest pain. They have a higher chance of having the following symptoms instead:

pain in the jaw, neck, or chest feeling faint or lightheaded squeezing on the upper back fullness, pressure, or squeezing in the center of the chest

As a result, women are more likely to ignore their cardiac symptoms as it is less obvious that they relate specifically to the heart.

Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Signs of heart disease in men In some cases, a heart attack or another severe heart-related event may be one of the earliest signs of heart disease that a man notices. However, there are often some earlier symptoms and signs that they can look for, which may help to prevent a heart attack, stroke, or other complications of heart disease. These include the following: Symptoms of heart arrhythmias Heart arrhythmias occur when the heart beats irregularly, or too quickly or slowly. Some symptoms to look for include: fainting or dizziness a sensation of the heart racing, or beating too slowly or irregularly discomfort or pressure in the chest that can last for up to 30 minutes difficulty catching the breath after moderate exercise such as walking up stairs unexplained pain in the jaw, neck, or torso Symptoms of blood vessel problems Blood vessels can constrict or narrow over time. When this occurs, it is more difficult for blood to pass through the veins and arteries and this puts greater strain on the heart when it pumps. Some early symptoms of narrowing blood vessels include: shortness of breath extreme fatigue an irregular heartbeat chest pain or angina a feeling of pain, numbness, swelling, tingling, coldness, or weakness in the outer extremities Symptoms of a heart attack Men generally experience a combination of the following symptoms when they have a heart attack: chest pain pain in the arm, neck, jaw, or back squeezing or a sensation of chest pressure or fullness unexplained excessive sweating shortness of breath lightheadedness nausea Diagnosis Man on treadmill in physical therapy clinic with trainer monitoring.
Diagnosis may involve monitoring a person while they walk or run on a treadmill. Diagnosing heart disease often begins with a physical examination. During the examination, a doctor will discuss any symptoms that a person is experiencing and any risk factors they may have for developing heart disease. After assessing a patient's physical health, symptoms, and risk factors, a doctor may run several diagnostic tests to determine if a person has any form of heart disease. Many doctors will order a stress test that looks at how the person and heart respond to moderate exercise. A doctor will monitor a person as they walk or run on a treadmill to gauge whether or not they are likely to have narrowing of the blood vessels. A doctor may also use an MRI scan to check for blockages that could be causing a restriction in blood flow. If they confirm a blockage, the doctor will need to determine its exact location. The method for this is invasive but should not be painful. A cardiologist will use a long, thin tube to insert a dye into the blood vessels of the heart, in a procedure called cardiac catheterization. A radiologist will then take a series of X-ray images of the heart and arteries, called an angiogram. Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Treatment There are several potential treatment options for heart disease. A doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications: nitrates diuretics warfarin or other blood thinners digoxin, which helps the heart work more efficiently medication to break up blood clots aspirin antiarrhythmic drugs angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors medication to inhibit platelets, which help blood to coagulate beta-blockers calcium channel blockers In addition to medication, a doctor may also recommend therapies and other medical interventions. Potential therapies include: CPR, in the case of heart attack heart bypass surgery stents valve disease treatment that uses either surgery or balloon valvuloplasty a pacemaker a cardioverter defibrillator to help maintain a regular heartbeat heart transplant a left ventricular assist device to aid in pumping blood enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP), which may open up small bypass channels around constricted arteries cardioversion to restore a regular heartbeat angioplasty to open up blocked arteries Prevention Man shopping for vegetables and salad in supermarket.
Eating a healthful diet with lots of fruits and vegetables may lower the risk of heart disease. There are several lifestyle changes that men can make to help reduce their risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack. Some potential lifestyle changes include: quitting smoking exercising three or more times per week eating a diet low in processed sugars increasing the amount of fiber, vegetables, and fruit in the diet lowering salt consumption reducing stress through meditation or yoga establishing a baseline of health through regular checkups to help identify problems earlier being aware of snoring as a potential sign of heart disease maintaining a healthy weight Thank you for supporting Medical News Today Takeaway Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women, though they may experience different signs and symptoms. It is important for people to familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms most likely for their sex. Every adult should also schedule regular visits to their doctor to establish baseline health metrics against which it will be possible to identify changes that may signal heart disease. There are many lifestyle changes that men can make to help prevent heart disease and avoid a heart attack. There are also treatments available for heart disease before it becomes a problem and during and after a heart attack. If a person suspects that they are having a heart attack, it is vital to call 911 immediately to get emergency medical help.
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Brain tingling sensation 'ASMR' may benefit health

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) describes the pleasurable tingling sensation that some people experience in response to stimulating videos, activities, or sounds. Now, new research suggests that ASMR lowers heart rate and improves overall health and well-being.
brain illustration
ASMR is described as a 'brain tingling' sensation that starts at the crown of the head and then descends through the rest of the body.

ASMR is an Internet phenomenon. Over recent years, websites such as Reddit and YouTube have seen millions of ASMR videos posted.

Such websites have also witnessed thousands of testimonials from people talking about the relaxing, static-like feeling that they get from specific stimuli, ranging from the sound of whispering to that of crumpling paper.

Reportedly, the sensation starts in the crown of the head and spreads throughout the body.

Dubbed ASMR in 2010 by one Facebook user, the phenomenon has been backed by little scientific research since then. But now, researchers from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom set out to investigate whether science can confirm the anecdotal evidence of ASMR's relaxing benefits.

Giulia Poerio, of the University of Sheffield's Department of Psychology, is the lead author of the study, and the findings are published in the journal PLOS One.

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Studying ASMR online and in the laboratory

Poerio explains the motivation for the research, saying that despite there being more than 13 million ASMR-inducing videos on the Internet, "[A]SMR has gone virtually unnoticed in scientific research."

"[This] is why we wanted to examine whether watching ASMR videos reliably produces feelings of relaxation and accompanying changes in the body — such as decreased heart rate."

To do so, Poerio and colleagues conducted two studies: a large online experiment and a laboratory study. In the online research, over 1,000 participants watched ASMR-inducing videos and control videos.

Then, all the participants completed a survey in which they reported how often they experienced ASMR sensations during the videos and what emotional response they had to each video.

Participants who reported experiencing ASMR frequently were also asked questions about what triggered their sensations.

The survey revealed that individuals who experience ASMR frequently also reported higher levels of excitement and calmness, as well as lower levels of stress and sadness.

Moreover, whether the participants were ASMR experiencers or not did not influence how they responded to the control videos.

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Just as relaxing as music and mindfulness

Next, they sought to replicate the results of the survey under "controlled laboratory conditions." So, Poerio and colleagues recruited 110 volunteers — including both ASMR experiencers and non-experiencers — and asked them to watch ASMR-inducing videos as well as control videos.

Like in the online experiment, the participants were all asked to report on the frequency with which they had tingling sensations throughout the video. Also, the researchers took some physiological measurements, such as heart rate and skin conductance response, of the participants.

The measurements were taken both at the beginning of the study and while the participants were watching the videos.

The laboratory experiment revealed that ASMR experiencers had a much slower heart rate when watching ASMR videos compared with those who had never experienced the brain sensations.

Specifically, the heart rates of the ASMR experiencers were, on average, 3.14 beats per minute lower than those of non-experiencers.

Poerio comments on the significance of these results, saying, "Our studies show that ASMR videos do indeed have the relaxing effect anecdotally reported by experiencers — but only in people who experience the feeling."

"This was reflected in ASMR participants' self-reported feelings and objective reductions in their heart rates compared to non-ASMR participants," she adds.

"What's interesting is that the average reductions in heart rate experienced by our ASMR participants was comparable to other research findings on the physiological effects of stress reduction techniques such as music and mindfulness."

Giulia Poerio

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