When your doctor wants to check the function of your heart, he will use an electrocardiogram and often an echocardiogram to measure how your heart is working.
I have read the AHA/ACC Statin Guidelines, as well as many of the tidal wave of articles printed both for and against the new recommendations, most written by equally respected expert physicians.
Is it just me or has something drastically changed with the practice of medicine in the U.S.?
I realize that medicine has transitioned from a most noble profession to a business, but it is mind boggling to notice such a wide diversity of expert opinions that differ and contradict each other. Most of those in favor of the new recommendations are cardiologists. After all, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association put out the recommendations. One prominent cardiologist even wrote he was surprised at the standard therapy for those 75 or older, with no statin recommendation for primary prevention in the elderly. Others, including the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, are so opposed to the new guidelines, that they will not endorse or follow the new recommendations.
If this isn’t concerning enough, two months later, the new BP Guidelines from JNC-8 were released. Raising of target BP to a systolic of 150mmHg and the elimination of previous target systolic pressure of 130mmHg in diabetics and those with chronic kidney disease. Most controversial and embarrassing still, was the defection of 5 of the 14 members that formed the panel, each of whom came out in opposition to the conclusions after its release.
Let’s forget about the methodology used to create the guideline. Forget about the recommendations, and forget about the reasons why so many experts are in disagreement. What I see as the real issue is a complete shift in what is important to us as physicians.
It seems that there is an obsession with guidelines. We have so many guidelines that there is a guidelines clearinghouse to store them. There is also concern with the way guidelines are developed. A process with little or no transparency, made up of experts from a diverse body of special interests whose goal it seems is self-promotion for himself or herself or the organization they represent.
As a practicing physician, I am guide-lined to death. What’s worse is that very few physicians individualize the recommendations as they should, instead applying them equally to all patients, in a “one size fits all” model.
A serious problem arises for all of us when the recommendations by one medical group are not recognized or accepted by another medical group.
When there is disagreement and opposition among the members of the guideline panel that releases recommendations anyway, then in my opinion we have a severely damaged and broken system.
We have experts that can’t agree on much and the patients and physicians who don’t know what to believe in or who to trust.
“First do no harm.” Maybe guideline panel members should continuously remind themselves of that phrase while they are formulating new guidelines.
It seems that in medicine there are too many “experts” giving too many recommendations that only cause confusion. It’s a disservice to patients and physicians. It needs to stop before we loose what little credibility we have left as physicians.
Science fails medicine not through lack of competence, but through lack of vision. Not for the lack of curiosity, but for the limit of things we are curious about. Not for the lack in the ability to investigate, but for the narrowness of the scope of things it is willing to investigate.
I am still waiting for the day that guidelines are published, that deal with the cause of chronic disease instead of the treatment. When all medical organizations, health groups and wellness stakeholders can unite in agreement demanding better quality and a more affordable food supply for the entire U.S. population. We need to start subsidizing organic produce and farming, stop the routine use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock, limit chemicals in our foods and improving the water supply. We should have nutrition education that starts in elementary school and we should begin reinstating physical education periods. This is what is needed, not more guidelines that push more drugs on a country overdosing in drugs.
This isn’t being an idealist, this is being a responsible physician.
Despite all the guidelines published and the increased use of statins, we spend $60 billion a week in healthcare and all we have to show for it is being in 46th position in healthcare outcomes and quality, behind Iran and ahead of Serbia.
Maybe its time we remember to put patients ahead of other interests.
This article has been written by:
Jorge Bordenave MD FACP ABIHM
Miami Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine and a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of suffering a heart attack. Contact Dr. Jorge Bordenave today and learn how a holistic outlook can improve your life.
So you’ve researched it, mulled it over and are now ready to make some major changes in your life. You’ve decided that integrative medicine is going to be a critical part of making such changes. Now what? If you’re stumped, this article covers everything you need to know to prepare for your first appointment.
Every year there seems to be a new superfood that gains so much popularity that only those handcuffed to a fast food restaurant without a smart phone wouldn’t know about it. It’s on the news, the internet, your friends are talking about it, and every health magazine has a spread dedicated to this “it” food. It’s the food that your friends brag about by posting countless Facebook pictures of their hip, new, healthy concoctions – making you want to put down your cheeseburger and GMO infested soft drink. In 2013, it appears as if Chia seeds are generating quite the stir for health enthusiasts everywhere. How does such a food make headlines and impress upon leaders in holistic health? Well, the Chia seed doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to natural benefits across the board.
Chia is extremely rich in Omega-3. In fact, they are one of the “richest plant-based sources,” even above flax seeds and salmon! Within the Chia seeds’ lipid profile, it has an overall omega-3 composition of 60%, which is high in alpha-linolenic acid, ACA. Benefits of omega-3 include reducing high cholesterol and inflammation, while refining cognitive performance. Its anti-inflammatory properties, associated with Chia’s high essential fatty acid content, help improve heart health, lowers the risk for arthritis along with joint pain, and also aids in the prevention of some forms of cancer. Enhancing hair, skin, and nail health is also associated with incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.
“Two tablespoons of Chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese,” according to healthyeating.sfgate.com. The nutritional makeup of Chia does wonders to your health – maintaining a healthy body weight and issues with hypertension are just a few of the benefits. Calcium and manganese help improve bone health, and phosphorous is essential for tissue growth and repair, as well, as protein syntheses.
3. It’s Gluten and GMO Free – Vegan and Kosher Friendly!
Gluten allergy or on a gluten free diet? No problem, because you will not find gluten in Chia. It is also valuable for vegans, vegetarians, and safe for those who eat Kosher. If you have any of these dietary restrictions, you are in luck. This superfood allows you to gain many of the health and nutrition benefits that could have been lacking in your diet – with no hidden GMOs anywhere to be found.
Chia seeds are loaded with protein, which helps curb cravings and build lean muscle mass. This is definitely an advantage to any vegans or vegetarians out there scrambling to get more protein in their diet!
5. Mental Energy
The high essential fatty acid content found in Chia seeds is excellent for improved cognitive performance, concentration, mood, and overall mental health. It is a great study tool for all of you students out there!
Put down the Red Bull, because Chia was derived from the Mayan word for “strength,” and referred to as the “running food” by ancient Aztecs, for a reason. The Chia seed’s hydrophilic properties and complex carbohydrates (soluble fiber) create a physical barrier between digestive enzymes and carbohydrates in your digestive system. This barrier is a result of a gel that is formed when the soluble fiber in the seed attracts water and expands. This efficient process allows a delay in carbohydrate to sugar conversion, thus resulting in increased metabolic rates and endurance. This process also stabilizes blood sugar, which is essential for diabetic individuals.
7. Weight Loss
The gel forming phenomena that takes place during digestion, along with the Chia seeds’ high protein content, makes you feel fuller faster and for an extended period of time. Satiety is one of the major keys to weight loss, due to its power to decrease calorie intake. The insoluble fiber in Chia seeds helps clear and detoxify the colon by clearing out the “extras”, thus by promoting digestive regularity.
8. Hydration and Electrolyte Balance
In addition, the gel created by Chia ensures maximum hydration and electrolyte retention. Toss the Gatorade because “the seeds absorb and retain 10-12 times their weight in water.”
9. Inexpensive and Organic
This is not a combination you hear very often, but for those on the right path of eating organically, Chia seeds can cost as low as $9 for an entire pound – this amount typically lasts for about 3 weeks. If you want to buy in bulk, Chia lasts 4-5 years, unless it is in its gel form, which gives it a safe 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. Chia seeds are also naturally organic. There is no need to treat them with pesticides because insects don’t have much interest in the product.
10. It’s Delicious!
It took a few years after the Chia Pet hit the shelves, and thousands of years after it was a staple food for the Mayans and Aztecs, for the Chia seed to hit the shelves as a well-known health food. The typical American diet lacks, well, standards, to say the least – especially when it comes to incorporating nutrients the natural way. After understanding how Chia seeds can greatly improve your health and wellness, you may never want to change your diet again. The reputation of the Chia seed may withstand the bounds of a yearly fad.
Brown, Genevieve Shaw. “Chia Seeds the ‘It’ Food of 2013.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 6 Feb. 2013. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/eating-chia-seeds/story?id=18296119>.
“Chia Seeds – The Pinnacle Superfood.” Healthy-Eating-Guidelines.net. Healthy-Eating-Guidelines.net, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.healthy-eating-guidelines.net/chia-seeds.html>.
Coles, Terri. “Chia Seed Benefits: 10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc., 03 June 2013. Web. 13 Sept. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/06/03/chia-seed-benefits-_n_3379831.html>.
Duncan, Lindsey, ND, CN. “Chia: Ancient Super-Seed Secret.” The Dr. Oz Show. HARPO, Inc., 14 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/lindsey-duncan-nd-cn/chia-ancient-super-secret>.
“Five Health Benefits of Chia.” FitDay. Internet Brands, Inc., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/five-health-benefits-of-chia.html>.
Hathwell, Jen. “Top 10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.” SFGate: Healthy Eating. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/top-10-health-benefits-chia-seeds-6962.html>.
Katie. “10 Uses for Chia Seeds.” Wellness Mama. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://wellnessmama.com/4981/10-uses-for-chia-seeds/>.
Mike. “Chia Seed Benefits.” Nutrition Talk. Thrive Foods, 27 July 2009. Web. 10 Sept. 2013. <http://blog.thrivefoods.net/2009/07/chia-seeds-top-10-benefits.html>.
Photo 1: chiaseedszone.com
Photo 2: wesellchia.com
Photo 3: mensfitness.com
Photo 4: dailymoneysaving.com
Posted By: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Many of us don’t realize the pressure we put on ourselves and the ones we care about. In middle school, some parents put their children on amphetamine salts, such as Adderall, so they can get them into honors courses in high school. In high school, we juggled extracurricular activities and academia so we could get into college. In college, many have to work and pull all-nighters in order to boost our G.P.A. so we could get a decent job. At work, we “willingly” agree to overtime so we could get a promotion. We are rushing through life, replacing healthy essentials with processed foods, prescription medications, caffeine, and anything else that will bring us from point A to point B faster than the next person. Where does it end? Unfortunately, it ends with a large percentage of the population dealing with serious health complications due to sleep deprivation.
Chronic sleep loss can damage our overall well-being by negatively impacting the brain. When we sleep, we are giving our brain the opportunity to repair itself, which is the key to proper learning and memory retention. When the average person begins to lose an excessive amount of sleep, it can weaken problem solving skills, creativity, and the ability to remain focused. Ultimately, those who are sleep deficient may have mood swings, problems with impulse and anger, as well as, depression and motivational issues. Ironically, many students think it is more efficient to cram information into our heads in place of getting a good night of sleep.
It only makes sense that when your doctor tells you to get plenty of rest when you are ill, to at least get an average amount to stay well, right? Your immune system also relies on sleep in order for it to function properly. We are taking away our ability to combat disease by suppressing the actions of our killer T-cells when we lose too much sleep. Recent studies have also found that maintaining a healthy sleep schedule may also fight cancer.
Chronic sleep deprivation negatively modifies our metabolism. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry (ghrelin) or full (leptin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your level of ghrelin goes up and your level of leptin goes down. This makes you feel hungrier than when you’re well-rested.” Ultimately, it has been found that there is an increased risk with becoming obese with each hour of sleep lost per night, on average.
Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, irregular heartbeat, imbalanced stress hormones, and other cardiovascular diseases. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Chicago claim that, “too little sleep can promote calcium buildup in the heart arteries, leading to the plaques that can then break apart and cause heart attacks and strokes.” In addition, our blood pressure decreases when we sleep; therefore, we are putting our bodies at risk of incessant high blood pressure when we force ourselves to stay awake.
Where to Begin?
While it is difficult to completely change bad sleep habits over-night, we can at least start by making simple lifestyle changes.
Reduce Caffeine Intake.
Most of us have a cup of coffee before work every morning, some of us have two, maybe even three by the end of the day. No big deal, right? Well, what about the additional cup of tea, chocolate bar, soda, or occasional energy drink? All of these products contain caffeine, which as all know, is a stimulant. While mainstream media encourages you to buy the latest energy drink, in addition to promoting alleged health benefits from drinking coffee, we tend to lose site of the term “in moderation.” A study conducted in 2002 at Duke University found that, “The effects of coffee drinking are long-lasting and exaggerate the stress response both in terms of the body’s physiological response in blood pressure elevations and stress hormone levels.” Lack of sleep is already dabbling with your hormones and blood pressure; submitting yourself to excessive amounts of caffeine can add to those health issues while taking a toll on your physical appearance and increasing anxiety levels.
Keep your Diet in Check
When we are drained from constantly rushing and working, we sometimes forget to eat properly. We end up reducing ourselves to processed meat, lack of vegetables, and items on the “healthy” menu at fast food chains. Start by reserving Sunday nights for family and friends; take the time to make a balanced home cooked meal.
Chronic sleep loss can damage our overall health-wellness by negatively impacting our weight, cardiovascular health, neurological functioning, and immune system. Most importantly, lack of restful sleep results in increased levels of inflammation, which is the underlying cause of many of our current chronic illnesses. Sleep loss education, healthy role models, and proper medical information could change the way the next generation of students and professionals maintain a healthy balance between well-being and the pressure to succeed. Relax every once in a while – Hit the snooze button.
“Caffeine’s Effects Are Long-Lasting and Compound Stress.” DukeHealth.org. Duke Medicine News and Communications, n.d. Web. 15 Aug. 2013. <http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/news/5687>.
“Importance of Sleep : Six Reasons Not to Scrimp on Sleep.” Harvard Medical School. Harvard Health Publications, Jan. 2006. Web. 15 Aug. 2013. <http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health>.
Park, Alice. “Lack of Sleep Linked to Heart Problems.” Health & Family. Time, 23 Dec. 2008. Web. 15 Aug. 2013. <http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1868406,00.html>.
“Why Is Sleep Important?” NHLBI, NIH. U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services, 22 Feb. 2012. Web. 15 Aug. 2013. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why.html>.
Posted By: Axiom Health Care Marketing
Giving up meat doesn’t sound too appetizing to some people, but the results are well worth it – if it’s done right. Enjoy nature’s best, and start eating more of what your body craves. Find out what researchers are saying when it comes to combating cardiovascular disease, losing weight, and elongating your lifespan with a vegetarian lifestyle.
Posted By: Axiom Health Care Marketing
You’ve probably seen quite a few stories in the media in recent years about the health benefits of a group a foods that some people have labeled as “superfoods.” But just what makes a food “super,” and which foods really deserve this label? And how do the positive attributes of these “superfoods” help contribute to good health and longer life?
In fact, while many researchers recognize the benefits of many of the so-called superfoods, the term has no specific medical, scientific, or legal definition. In general, however, superfoods tend to be low in calories while being high in many essential vitamins and nutrients. Many are excellent sources of antioxidants, which are believed to contribute to the prevention of chronic illnesses including cancer and heart disease. Other superfoods have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be helpful in preventing conditions such as cancer, arthritis, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Superfoods have been credited with helping to prevent three of the most debilitating diseases affecting the U.S. population – cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Lets look at each of these diseases and see how superfoods work to prevent them, as well as which foods are considered the most “super” in terms of their beneficial effects.
Claims for the cancer-fighting properties of superfoods center around two key compounds – antioxidants and phytochemicals. Antioxidants have been credited with inhibiting the production of free radicals, highly reactive chemical agents that can cause damage to cells that may result in cancer. Common antioxidants found in many superfoods include beta-carotene, vitamin C, and lycopene. Phytochemicals are naturally-occurring compounds found in plants. According to researcher Jed Fahey of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, studies have shown that phytochemicals have the potential to protect cells from damage and mutation that lead to cancer. There are literally hundreds of phytochemicals found in a wide variety of plant foods.
Superfoods identified as particularly powerful cancer prevention agents include broccoli, spinach, berries, tomatoes, and carrots. A review of nutrition studies conducted by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research found that broccoli and all kinds of berries can protect against cancer of the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. A study by the National Institutes of Health showed that spinach also acts a preventive agent against those cancers. Lycopene, a substance found in abundance in tomatoes, has been show in laboratory tests to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in breast and lung tissue.
The antioxidant properties of superfoods are also considered to help reduce the risk of heart disease, and some of the foods on the list of cancer-preventing agents are also among those thought to be best at preventing heart disease. For example, the antioxidant anthocyanin that is found in blueberries, is thought to reduce the accumulation of LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) that can clog arteries and contribute to heart attacks and stroke. Spinach is another cancer-fighting superfood that does double-duty against heart disease. In addition to antioxidants, spinach contains omega-3 fatty acids that prevent blood platelets from clumping together to form clots or buildup on the walls of arteries. It also contains folate that helps reduce the level homocysteine, an amino acid linked to the development of cardiovascular disease. Two other superfoods high in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon and soy protein, both of which are high on the American Heart Association’s list of heart-healthy foods.
The American Diabetes Association has compiled a list of superfoods that help prevent this debilitating disease. One thing all of them have in common is a low glycemic index, or GI, which measures the rise of blood sugar (glucose) after consuming a particular food. Foods with a low GI help maintain healthier levels of glucose, which can help in preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Some old friends among the superfoods that help prevent cancer and heart disease are also on the ADA’s list of diabetes fighters. These include spinach, tomatoes, berries and salmon. Whole grains, which are loaded with nutrients including folate and omega-3 fatty acids, are also recommended by the ADA. Other superfoods highly recommended by the ADA include nuts, sweet potatoes, and citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit.
American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/diabetes-superfoods.html
Maeda N, Matsuraba K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Jan;11(1):32-8.
World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research (2007) Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Project Report. The American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington, DC.