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Change Your Lifestyle, Change Your Future

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Everyone knows something about the heart, most of which is false apart from its size (a fact that you are all most likely aware of is that it’s about the size of your fist) and the fact that it is located slightly left of center in the chest. It stays in the chest cavity just like someone lying on a bed.

As heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the world, we believe there is room for improvement in our lifestyles and that we need more healthy habits. Change is an important part of living with heart disease or trying to prevent it. Furthermore, your heart is a muscular mass that can literally change shape as a result of lifestyle choices you make every day. A jump in blood pressure or a rise in cholesterol levels is actually a warraning that urges you to learn healthy lifestyle changes. Heart attack and stroke survivors are often told to alter age-old habits.

Heart attacks are often seen in women aged over 65 and younger ages for men. None of these numbers suggest that you will not get heart disease at a younger age. I had a colleague that just passed away this month at the age of 30 after a heart attack, most probably caused by his morbid obesity. An upward trend in the incidence of heart attacks among women aged between 35 and 54 can be seen in many data collections. Another survey-based study performed by the Women’s Health and American Heart Association has also shown worrying results. Forty percent of the participants said that heart disease risks are not their major concern. On the other hand, we should note that a quarter of the female population that die from heart disease start getting the first signals from their body during their teenage years. The risk of death for women who don’t pay attention to the symptoms of heart disease is three times greater than women with breast cancer. Therefore, death from heart disease comes early mostly due to lack of knowledge.

On the other hand, the average age when men face a serious risk of heart attack is about 65, but they also carry the risk of heart attack at early ages just like women. According to a report published in 2009 by the National Center for Health Statistics, a quarter of total (more than 300,000) male deaths were due to heart disease. Moreover, the data showed that half of these men died due to acute heart attacks while the other half resulted from chronic cardiovascular illness. These numbers are unfortunately increasing in our country, totaling approximately 47 percent of all deaths. We should take action accordingly with our bodily symptoms before it’s too late.

The latest guidelines released in November 2013 by the American Heart Association advices people inculcate a high fiber diet, sweaty exercise for 40 minutes three times a week, and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels in order to reduce the risk of heart disease.

A person who has enough knowledge about heart disease should: check their blood pressure regularly, measure the waistline, know their ideal weight, know their cholesterol levels, and measure their blood glucose levels. I know you all have heard about these terms in the past, but knowing the right numbers may save your life when your turn comes.

Some of you may manage to renovate your exercise pattern, diet, and unhealthy habits into a healthier routine easily but there are a lot of people that keep trying to make changes but unfortunately, often fail. So, as a general rule, instead of undertaking a huge transformation your aim should be to make a series of small alterations to your lifestyle to improve your heart’s health. It is the most major decision you will make. Just choose whether you want a better future, or the future of a person whose breath is not enough when it is most needed. Once you start your lifestyle renovation, I am sure you will find out that change isn’t so bad or even hard. Habits can be adopted and forgotten throughout life, the major point here is that you should take up healthy habits and think that you were already doing these regularly. Forcing your body into alterations is not the way to succeed; don’t forget that many battles are won in your minds. Although a step-by-step lifestyle renovation may take longer than desired, it could also motivate you to make some big changes once you start seeing that there is actually something you can do.

Major particulars of a healthy heart renovation

Inactivity: Think of all the times you are lounging around during your day. Too much sitting can trigger the growth of pericardial fat, a type of golden swampy buildup that grows right in your heart and increases the risk of heart disease. Instead of increasing exercise sessions alone, which won’t necessarily control this risk, sitting less is usually a good remedy. The more active you are regularly, the more your heart becomes stronger and helps you evade the risk.

Exercise: Just one 30-minute, heart-pounding workout beefs up tiny blood vessel, or capillaries, on the heart’s surface. The more active and robust your arteries are, the more your heart can handle an increased blood flow to itself – and the stronger it will become over time (in other words, it will grow just like any other muscle). The aim is obviously not to grow the heart (this is an abnormality), it is actually to grow the artery bed that feeds the heart and helps increase the powering capacity of your energy core and reduce the troublesome outcome of a major heart attack. Aim for at least 2.5 hours of weekly cardio exercise to make sure your capillaries stay nice and plump. Additionally, exercise (higher than 12 hours a week) can also pose an oxidizing (rusting) threat to your arteries. So more and more is not as good as moderate exercise in this scenario.

Smoking: As you may hear every single day, puffing cigarettes increases your risk for atherosclerosis, which can contract and clog your arteries, the pipes that carry blood away from your heart. Blocked arteries can cause reduced blood flow and higher blood pressure, making your heart work overtime (as a result, depriving most of your organs of fuel they need: oxygen rich blood). A single cigarette –or even breathing in secondhand smoke – can damage the heart. You should just say “never ever” to lighting up.

English Articles

False Facts About Catching a Cold, Flu

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Everyone catches a cold once or twice in the winter and mid-seasons. Although we take precautions to prevent catching a cold, the false facts that we believe to be true misdirect us. To be able to protect ourselves from the disease, it is important to know facts about the disease in the first place

Even though it is getting warmer, changes in temperature have the potential to lead to different diseases. Some of us have already started to feel tired, get the sniffles or become sneezy. Amid the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, we do not have time to rest and look after ourselves to fight our sicknesses. One should not forget that the most important point in the fight against a cold is to take precautionary measures.

Well, what do you know about illnesses, such as the cold, which affects the quality of our lives immensely? How accurate is the advice that our elders or neighbors give us? One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the source of sickness (for influenza) is not cold weather, but it is microorganisms and viruses. Here are several points about colds that are actually false.

Does going out with wet hair make us sick?

Cold or flu develops after a virus called “rhinovirus” enters the human body. Regardless of the temperature, weather or environmental conditions, once this virus enters into your body through your nose, mouth or other organs, then you will get sick. Otherwise, this virus will not affect you even though it exists in the same place where you are.

In this case, if we go out with wet hair, are we more likely to catch this virus? Well, wet hair only leads you to feel the cold more intensely. That is why this ongoing belief is still popular among people.

A group of American scientists studied the influence of going out with wet hair in cold weather on catching cold or flu. They first asked a group of participants if they believe this factor increases the risk of getting a cold. Some 41 percent of them responded “yes” to this question.

Then they prepared two different settings where the flu virus existed. In one of these settings, there were cold temperature conditions while the other had normal weather conditions. Some of the participants had wet hair and some had dry hair when they entered their own settings.

The result turned out to be very interesting. According to the study, in the same conditions (cold temperature), no difference was observed between the participants with wet hair and those with dry hair regarding their chances of getting cold. The only difference between the two groups turned out to be that the participants with wet hair felt colder than the participants with dry hair.

There are more studies that point out the same results. Thus, it has been scientifically proven that wet hair in cold weather does not increase the chances of getting a cold. Well, you’d better tell your mother about this fact because it is very likely she will resist changing this strong belief about catching a cold.

Do wool caps protect us from getting cold?

I am sure there are thousands of people who spent their childhood wearing woolen caps like I did, thus you became like a pea in a pod with your cap on until the weather gets better. The common belief that woolen caps protect us from getting cold stems from the belief that the fastest and biggest heat loss in the human body occurs from the head when the body starts to lose heat in cold weather, a belief that dates back 50 years.

The U.S. Army Forces conducted various experiments to increase their chances of survival in the perishing cold, to which the soldiers were likely to be exposed. A pretty cold environment was prepared for the experiment guided by scientists. Some volunteer soldiers started to wait in a cold room without wool caps and scientists measured the head temperatures of soldiers at certain intervals. Results show that soldiers lost up to 50 percent of their body heat from the head.

One of the most important reasons why this belief is still popular is the trust in the results of the scientific research. But, does the fact that we lose heat from our head quickly and in large amounts mean that it is the only part of our body that loses heat? Of course, not. If that was the case, only wearing a woolen cap would be enough to protect us from risk of freezing.

Grounding his research in this argument, Dr. Daniel Sessler, president of Cleveland Clinic Research Center, conducted similar a similar study – in cooperation with the U.S. army again – including participants who wore swimsuits in the same conditions. This study showed that almost every part of the human body experiences heat loss at the same level when the body is not protected in cold weather.

Thus, even if we can’t say that wearing a wool cap does not make any difference in cold weather, we can easily say that protecting only the head does not protect us from getting cold.

To sum up, always remember it is microorganisms and viruses that make us sick, not the cold weather itself. We must be especially careful about keeping our hands clean as we are frequently in crowded places and in contact with people who have a cold or the flu. Hands are in constant contact with the mouth and nose, which serve as an entrance point for microorganisms. We must make a habit out of washing our hands especially while it is still cold.

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English Articles

Depression: A Hidden Heart Disease Risk Factor For Women

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Depression is almost twice as likely to affect women than men. Difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite and fatigue are the most common symptoms, but another lesser-known risk is a higher chance of heart attack

If we have not seen for ourselves a person who has had a heart attack before, the first image that comes to our minds in such a situation is similar to those in movie scenes. In most cases, a man holding his chest suddenly collapses, and the diagnosis is a heart attack. There is a strong public belief that a heart attack is seen in men more than women. This partially true data does not necessarily mean that women are at a lower risk.

The human body generally gives signals about what is happening. The important thing is to interpret these messages correctly and in a timely manner. The male and female bodies are two different systems that process things in different ways. This is why the same disease can show up with different signals in the two sexes. A heart attack is one of them.

If you have problems such as fatigue, heartburn, indigestion, sudden dizziness and lack of quality sleep, it may be a sign that you are at risk of a heart attack. Many women can relate these symptoms to busy work life, stress and city life. These are true, yet your lifestyle may assist in developing such symptoms, which can lead to worse health problems.

Do you constantly feel tired?

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints in our lives. Insomnia, the flu or the side effects of medications can easily cause tiredness, but being able to associate your fatigue with these causes does not mean that the actual cause of your complaints is one of them.

The results of a survey on women who have had a heart attack are quite interesting. More than 70 percent of women who had a heart attack reported that they had a feeling of fatigue that did not go away in the pre-heart attack period.

Do you have trouble sleeping?

There can be many different reasons for lack of sleep, and the vast majority requires regular treatment. If you cannot sleep immediately when you get into bed at night or if it takes too much time, you should be careful. A scientific study on women suffering from a heart attack calls attention to women’s sleep disorders. Almost half of the women who had a heart attack reported that they had suffered from lack of sleep that lasted for a while.

Do you suffer from shortness of breath?

If you are having difficulty doing routine activities during the day and the most obvious change that is bothering you is shortness of breath, never ignore this. Studies have shown that unexpected shortness of breath, which cannot be attributed to a known illness, may be a symptom of a heart attack for women. If you suffer from a cough as well as shortness of breath, this can be a signal you need to take seriously.

Do you suffer from heartburn and indigestion?

Eating habits and existing stomach disorders may cause you to develop heartburn. What should be noted here is whether you have a known illness that can explain your stomach problem. If you have not developed heartburn or indigestion complaints before, do not ignore it.

Another scientific study on women who had a heart attack draws attention to the finding that women who suffer from (unexpected) heartburn and indigestion should be careful. According to the study, almost 40 percent of women who had a heart attack reported that they suffered from heartburn or indigestion before the heart attack occurred.

Apart from heartburn, nausea and vomiting that occur without reason are among the heart attack symptoms for women. A study examining pre-heart attack symptoms showed that women had twice as many stomach and intestinal system diseases as men. In this case, women who have complaints such as heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting that develop without cause should pay twice as much attention as men.

Do you have serious anxiety problems?

Depression, angst and anxiety are frequently experienced among many people. Panic attacks, which have seriously increased in prevalence, are one of the psychological disorders that go along with a heart attack. As I mentioned before, if there is no known cause of the situation you are experiencing, you should take it seriously.

A study on women who had heart attacks call attention to the fact that women suffering from anxiety and angst should be careful. According to the survey, most of the women who had a heart attack said that they suffered from unexpected anxiety and angst in the pre-heart attack period.

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English Articles

A Heart-Friendly Grocery List For Your Next Shopping Trip

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While walking along a supermarket’s aisles, the temptation to buy a variety of food items sets in, not aware that your basket is already full. For a healthy diet especially for the heart, you need a smart grocery list

Having a well-thought grocery list does not only save you time but helps you stick to a healthy diet. The items on your grocery list show how much you prioritize your health without being fooled by the marking hype.

The same thing goes when it comes to your heart health. Avoiding unhealthy food is as crucial as consuming foods rich in nutrients, fiber and healthy fats to prevent heart attacks. We have put together a shopping list for a heart-healthy diet.

The following foods that have been proven to be healthy for your heart should be included on your shopping list.

Beet greens

Are you throwing beet greens in the trash? Don’t! Beet greens is the top item on our list to protect yourself against heart diseases. Studies have revealed many advantages of beet greens for health. Fibers found in beet greens are known to decrease cholesterol absorption. Particularly those who have high cholesterol should definitely take advantage of the health benefits of beet greens. The heart-friendly product also helps stabilize your blood pressure thanks to its potassium content.

Canola oil

Marketed as heart-healthy oil, canola oil, which used to be widely available in local markets is currently a rarity. Made from crushed canola seeds, it has less saturated fat than any of the other oil kinds. It is higher in the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Studies show that sterols found in the canola plant lowers bad cholesterol levels. Canola oil is also very rich in antioxidants and (thanks to antioxidants) it reduces inflammation in the body. You need to consume one table spoon of canola oil to get the expected benefits.

Bitter chocolate

There are enough studies to make any chocolate lover happy. Findings show that bitter chocolate speeds metabolism and aids weight loss, putting a smile on women’s faces in particular. However, in order to accelerate your metabolism, you need to make sure that your choice of bitter chocolate contains no less than 70 percent cacao.In addition to boosting metabolism, bitter chocolate is also good for your heart. Flavanols found in cacao help your vessels to flex and your blood to dilute, thus, reducing your blood pressure. Flexing your blood vessels is an important factor helping you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, do not forget that bitter chocolate must contain at least 70 percent cacao in order to protect your health.

Garlic

A staple of traditional Turkish cuisine, garlic is usually an indispensable item in the preparation of dishes. Researchers say consuming one clove of garlic – or if you are taking it in powder form, 1 teaspoon – will also provide protection against cardiac diseases. Garlic flexes your muscles and prevents plate formation in vessels and high cholesterol.

Apples

The struggle to lose weight has been one of the most popular subjects in the last few years. A number of scientific studies spotlight the fiber content of apples. There is about 5 milligrams of fiber in an apple – enough to meet (+/-) three-quarters of our daily intake need. Those trying to lose weight must definitely include apples in their diet. There are some other studies revealing that eating an apple a day helps you protect against heart diseases. Apple ranks fifth on our list of heart-healthy products. Scientists say that the high fiber flavonoid content of apples reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes and lowers cholesterol levels! Consuming an apple a day is crucial for your health.

Olive oil

Used frequently in Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil is deemed as one of the miracles of nature. Very rich in antioxidants, olive oil helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels without affecting HDL (good cholesterol). Therefore, it ranks sixth on this list. In order to benefit from olive oil, you need to consume about 2 tablespoons per day. It is advised to consume it raw by adding it to salads. There are a myriad of olive oil varieties available at supermarkets, which perplexes shoppers. It is very normal that you might not be able to decide which one to buy. The packaging and labels are sometimes confusing. My personal advice is to go for the “natural extra virgin olive oil.”

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