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Heart Health

Top 5 Tips to Staying Cool During Your Summer Workout

You’ve been exercising regularly, but now it’s summer — and hot. Sometimes even dangerously hot, and seemingly too hot to go work out.
But don’t decide this is the time for a little summer break from fitness, experts say, because you may be hurting yourself in the longer term.
 “It’s important to continue exercising over the summer because the effects of exercise training are rapidly lost once training stops — use it or lose it,” said Barry Franklin, Ph.D., director of the William Beaumont Hospital Cardiac Rehab and Exercise Laboratories in Royal Oak, Mich. “Most studies suggest many of the key benefits are lost in four to six weeks of inactivity.”
Be smarter than the heat
Still, you can’t just ignore the heat because you could wind up with heat stress, heat stroke or other problems. So to keep the heat from melting your workouts, Franklin recommends you:

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water) before, during and after physical activity.  Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages.

Exercise smarter, not harder. Work out during the cooler parts of the day, preferably when the sun’s radiation is minimal — early in the morning or early in the evening. Decrease exercise intensity and duration at high temperatures or relative humidity.  And don’t hesitate to take your exercise inside, to the gym, the mall or anyplace else where you can get in regular physical activity.

Ease in to summer. Allow your body to adapt partially to heat through repeated gradual daily exposures. “An increase in the body’s circulatory and cooling efficiency, called acclimatization, generally occurs in only four to 14 days,” Franklin said.

Dress the part. Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. “Remember, it’s not sweating that cools the […]

Sex and High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure could hurt your sex life.
Many people know that high blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular problems and can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke. But it also can impact your sex life.
About 78 million Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension), which is sometimes called the “silent killer.” High blood pressure overworks your body’s heart and other organs and can damage the lining of blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.
It also affects blood flow, and blockages can prevent adequate flow to the pelvis and affect the sex lives of both men and women, said Dr. Gina Lundberg, an American Heart Association volunteer.
“In a man, it’s a little more obvious,” Dr. Lundberg said, explaining that high blood pressure can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Effective blood flow through the arteries and veins is needed for an erection. Even in his mid-30s, a man can have high blood pressure that causes problems with sex, she said. That can be a sign for a doctor to check for high blood pressure and other problems.
Sometimes erectile dysfunction “can be the only indicator of underlying heart disease risk, ” Dr. Lundberg said. She said all of these patients should be evaluated for risk factors.
Women Feel Effects, Too
Women with high blood pressure may have lower libido and less interest in sex, according to Dr. Lundberg, a preventive cardiologist and clinical director for Emory Women’s CardiovascularHealthCenter in Atlanta.
“What woman wants to have sex if she feels tired and wiped out all the time?” she said.
Primary care physicians, gynecologists and endocrinologists treat high blood pressure. Your primary care physician may refer you to a cardiologist based on risk factors and symptoms.
Stress, Medicine Also Factors
Stress and anxiety can […]

Why Quit Smoking?

You can reduce your risks.
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis — the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries —which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke. Controlling or reversing atherosclerosis is an important part of preventing future heart attack or stroke.
You can modify or control six major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease:

Cigarette and tobacco smoke

High blood cholesterol

High blood pressure

Physical inactivity

Overweight or obesity


Smoking by itself increases the risk of coronary heart disease.
When it acts with the other factors, it greatly increases your risk from those factors, too. Smoking decreases your tolerance for physical activity and increases the tendency for blood to clot. It decreases HDL (good) cholesterol. Your risks increase greatly if you smoke and have a family history of heart disease. Smoking also creates a higher risk for peripheral artery disease and aortic aneurysm. It increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery, too.
Smoking is also an important risk factor for stroke. Inhaling cigarette smoke produces several effects that damage the cerebrovascular system. Women who take oral contraceptives and smoke increase their risk of stroke many times. Cigars and pipes aren’t a “safer” alternative to cigarettes. People who smoke cigars or pipes seem to have a higher risk of death from coronary heart disease (and possibly stroke), even though their risk isn’t as great as that of cigarette smokers.
Breathe clean air
It’s also important to avoid other people’s smoke. The link between secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke) and disease is well known, and the connection to cardiovascular-related disability and death is also […]

Why Diabetes Matters

Article courtesy of American Heart Association
Diabetes can affect many major organs in your body, which can lead to an array of serious complications when left untreated. These medical problems include:

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), or heart disease, including peripheral artery disease (PAD) and stroke

Renal (kidney) disease

Unhealthy cholesterol levels, which can lead to atherosclerosis

Metabolic syndrome


Nerve disease

Limb amputations

The good news is that diabetes is treatable and often preventable. Individuals with diabetes may avoid or delay other health complications by:

Working with their health care team to manage the disease, which may include the use of medications

Knowing their critical health numbers

Choosing a healthy lifestyle

The following statistics speak loud and clear that there is a strong correlation between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

Heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 causes of death and disability among people with type 2 diabetes. In fact, at least 65 percent of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke.

Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.

The American Heart Association considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Why are people with diabetes at increased risk for CVD?
Diabetes is treatable, but even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s because people with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, often have the following conditions that contribute to their risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

High blood pressure (hypertension)
High blood pressure has long been recognized as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Studies report a positive association between hypertension and insulin resistance. When patients have both hypertension and diabetes, which is a common combination, their risk for cardiovascular disease doubles.

Abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides
Patients with diabetes often have unhealthy cholesterol levels including high […]

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    Warning Signs of Heart Attack:Recognizing symptoms of heart problems can save your life.

Warning Signs of Heart Attack:Recognizing symptoms of heart problems can save your life.

Article courtesy of Written by Brian Krans | Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA
Recognizing symptoms of heart problems can save your life.
Not All Heart Attacks are Alike
 Did you know you can have a heart attack and not feel any chest pains? Heart failure and heart disease don’t show the same signs for everyone, especially women. A heart attack—    medically known as myocardial infarction—happens when a blood clot blocks flow of blood to the heart muscle.
There are many things that can contribute to a heart attack, including age, heredity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, poor diet, alcohol consumption, stress, and physical inactivity.
Fatigue & Shortness of Breath
 Exhaustion and shortness of breath are two ways your body tells you it needs rest, but it can also be a sign of heart trouble as a response to the extra stress on your heart. If you often feel tired or exhausted for no reason, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Fatigue and shortness of breath are more common in women and may begin months before a heart attack (AHA, 2013).
Sweating—Day & Night
Sweating more than usual—especially if you aren’t exercising or being active—could be an early warning sign of heart problems. Pumping blood through clogged arteries takes more effort from your heart, so your body will sweat more to try to keep your body temperature down during the extra exertion. If you experience cold sweats or clammy skin, then you should consult your doctor.
Night sweats are also a common symptom for women experiencing heart troubles (IHS, 2012).
Indigestion, Nausea, & Vomiting
 Often people begin experiencing mild indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems before a heart attack. Because heart attacks usually occur in older people who typically have more indigestion problems, […]

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    May is High Blood Pressure Education Month. When it Comes to Blood Pressure, Make Control Your Goal.

May is High Blood Pressure Education Month. When it Comes to Blood Pressure, Make Control Your Goal.

Article/picture courtesy of CDC (
May is High Blood Pressure Education Month, and it’s a good time to find out how to “make control your goal.”
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood on the walls of your blood vessels as blood flows through them. Blood pressure has two numbers, systolic and diastolic, and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Systolic pressure is the force on the blood vessel walls when the heart beats and pumps blood out of the heart. Diastolic pressure is the force that occurs when the heart relaxes in between beats.
One of three American adults has high blood pressure, also called hypertension. That’s 67 million people who have to work to keep their blood pressure in check each day. Unfortunately, more than half of people with high blood pressure do not have their condition under control.
Keep it down in there!
Having the highest score is good in many things, but not with blood pressure—the higher your numbers, the more serious the condition.
You may not have any symptoms of high blood pressure, but it can damage your health in many ways. For instance, it can harden the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and brain. This reduced flow can cause—

A heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle cells die from a lack of oxygen.

A stroke, which can occur when arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain become blocked or burst.

Chest pain, also called angina.

Heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to other organs.

Make control your goal
Of the 67 million American adults who have high blood pressure, 16 million […]

Heart Attack Risk Assessment

Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?


high blood pressure

high blood cholesterol


being overweight or obese

physical inactivity

It’s essential that you measure your risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it in the near future. Use this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years. It will also check to see if you may have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that greatly increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes. This Risk Assessment can be use by people age 20 or older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.
After you have finished using the tool, you can print a copy of your risk assessment results, risk factor summary report, metabolic syndrome assessment and action plans for those areas you need to work on in order to reduce your risk.
Learn your risk

Your Heart Disease Education Starts Here

by the Go Red For Women Editors

You often hear people say, “If only I had a second chance in life, I would do things so differently!” But unfortunately, not everyone gets that second chance.

Eva Gomez was one of the lucky ones. In her twenties, Eva was living in denial, thinking that her heart murmur, leaky valve, high blood pressure and breathing problems weren’t serious. Even after a heart aneurism, she was shocked, but still in denial.

But after open heart surgery, she knew she had that elusive second chance – a second chance that she wouldn’t get again.

Post surgery, Eva embarked on a mission to tell women about their risks. But you don’t have to wait for a problem with your own health to begin your heart disease education or help others. Take the time to educate yourself, and other women, by learning these three tips about heart disease and healthy living before it’s too late.

1. Know your risk, no matter your age
For Eva, heart health became an issue in her early twenties. She had risk factors that she ignored, like high blood pressure and being a Latina woman, and almost lost her life. No matter how small your health issues may seem, find out if you’re at risk, and what you should do to reduce it.

2. Get regular checkups
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Eva ignored various warning signs for 13 years. If she had gone for a checkup, her conditions could’ve been treated and monitored without the need for open heart surgery. Don’t wait until you feel symptoms. Make getting regular checkups an annual priority.

3. Make your lifestyle a heart-healthy one
Making healthy changes in your life can reduce your risk for […]