February 20, 2011

Cardiologists Get Updated Guidelines With Coumadin Alternatives

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 8:11 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by Ambro

An update to the US atrial fibrillation guidelines posted last week has made Pradaxa an official part of the treatment protocol.

When the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology published their new atrial fibrillation guidelines in December, many people were left with more questions than answers.  The updated guidelines did not include the newest drug, Pradaxa, which is the only alternative to Coumadin at this point.  At the time the guidelines were published, the American Heart Association promised they would provide an update to the guidelines to include Pradaxa soon.  As promised, the “update” to the “updated guidelines” is officially out.

What do the guidelines say then about this new Coumadin alternative? The guidelines give Pradaxa one of the highest recommendations possible (called a Class I).  They state specifically that it “is useful as an alternative to warfarin [Coumadin] for the prevention of stroke.”  However, they also say, “patients already taking warfarin [Coumadin] with excellent INR control may have little to gain by switching to dabigatran [Pradaxa].”

These new guidelines provide further assistance to cardiologists and patients who desperately needed an alternative to Coumadin.  Through the support of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, physicians can now prescribe Pradaxa more comfortably for the patients who have trouble taking Coumadin.

February 9, 2011

New USDA Dietary Guidelines Criticized by the American Heart Association

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, Helpful Heart Links tagged , , , , , , at 11:13 am by keepyourhearthealthy

image shared from heart.org article


By law the US dietary guidelines have to be reviewed and updated every 5 years.  The newest guidelines came out last week with the intent of targeting an obese and hypertensive population.

The USDA guidelines are famous for their food pyramid but they also publish an updated report every 5 years.  This year they advised most Americans to cut the salt out of their diet.  Specifically they recommend reducing sodium intake to less than 2300mg per day OR 1500mg per day if you are, “51 and older,” “African American” or if you “have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.”  The guidelines go on to state that “the 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children, and the majority of adults.”

If you know your dietary numbers, 1500mg of sodium per day is a tough number to stay under.  One typical fast food meal has more than 1500mg of sodium and most restaurant meals are well beyond the sodium limit as well.  The easiest way to stay under 1500mg of sodium in one day is to prepare your food at home and never use the salt shaker.

The American lifestyle makes this sodium goal a daunting task.  Yet the American Heart Association is holding the population to a higher standard and has outright criticized the Guidelines for not being strict enough.  They recommend all Americans should eat less than 1500mg of sodium per day…not just a select population.  Why?  According to the American Heart Association website, “High-sodium diets are linked to an increase in blood pressure and a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.”  For those who want to learn more about sodium, the AHA website has a very simple, yet detailed, page dedicated to this diet obstacle: Sodium (Salt or Sodium Chloride).

February 4, 2011

National Wear Red Day Promotes Heart Disease Awareness in Women

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , at 11:38 am by keepyourhearthealthy

Elaine Stritch, in Red Dress Collection 2006 f...

Image via Wikipedia

You might notice a few more people wearing red today.  It’s not the latest fashion trend prompting their change of clothes but a sign of awareness.

Today is a special day in the campaign against heart disease in women.  The nationally recognized red dress symbol has been marching through advertisements for several years now.  The “Go Red” campaign asks everyone to wear red on the first Friday of February so people will start talking about this lesser-known problem for women.

People who wear red today know that heart disease is the number one killer of women.  They might even personally know a woman who has heart disease.  Survivors and loved ones can only do so much in spreading the word about heart attack risk.  Hopefully National Wear Red Day and the Go Red campaign will get everyone talking about their heart!

January 4, 2011

American Heart Association Does Not Include New Coumadin Alternative in Updated Guidelines

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , , at 3:34 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Support the American Heart Association. I'm Se...

Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

On December 20th the American Heart Association released the newest guidelines for management of atrial fibrillation…but something’s missing!

Despite the fact that American Heart Association president, Dr. Ralph Sacco, has called the new Coumadin alternatives “a great breakthrough,” the newest atrial fibrillation guidelines do not include the new anticoagulants.  Pradaxa was approved in October of 2010 and yet this guideline just released at the end of December does not guide US physicians on how to use it instead of Coumadin.  The American Heart Association reportedly states they will put out an “update” to the new guidelines at some point soon in order to include Pradaxa.  Until then, cardiologists will be relying on the manufacturer’s guidelines or recommendations from other physicians who are familiar with the drug.  It certainly presents for an interesting situation when the most updated guidelines are no help with the one of the biggest advancements in afib for over 50 years!

November 13, 2010

The Latest in Pradaxa News

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Helpful Heart Links, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:33 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by br3akthru

It’s assumed that patients and cardiologists alike will love the new Coumadin alternative, Pradaxa.  On Monday, we’ll get to hear more about the drug and cardiologists’ reactions to it.

The American Heart Association‘s Scientific Sessions will surely be buzzing during their presentations about the latest treatments for anticoagulation.  The scientists who tested Pradaxa on 18,000 patients in the RE-LY study are reportedly presenting their findings to the thousands of cardiologists at this large conference in Chicago (reported by The Sacramento Bee).

It should be interesting to see what the conference attendees have to say about Pradaxa at the end of the Session.  Currently it doesn’t appear that there has been a huge surge of prescriptions for this only alternative to Coumadin.  It could be that cardiologists are just not completely comfortable switching their patients yet.  Once the trend catches on though, Pradaxa could easily become the most popular drug of 2011.

Read more about Pradaxa in Yes, Your Pharmacy Can Now Give You An Alternative To Coumadin! Pradaxa is HERE!

To learn more about atrial fibrillation and heart disease, check out the book What To Do When You Have Heart Disease.

October 24, 2010

New CPR Guidelines and Home CPR Kits from the American Heart Association

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, Helpful Heart Links tagged , , , , , , , at 9:43 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

CPR training
Image via Wikipedia

Loved ones of patients with heart disease are frequently urged to learn CPR. 

Over the past year or so, studies have shown that the most vital part of CPR is doing chest compressions.  In fact, people who are untrained in CPR can do compressions only and still help save a life (see Know Your CPR!).  Chest compressions are a way of pushing on the chest to help circulate the blood in a heart that is not pumping effectively.   

Last week the American Heart Association changed the CPR guidelines to giving compressions first.  Previously, they had used the letters A-B-C to remind people of the steps, “Airway, Breathing and Circulation.”  Now they are saying to remember C-A-B which stands for Circulation (AKA compressions), Airway and Breathing.  The new guidelines stress the importance of giving chest compressions immediately on someone who is unresponsive.

CPR used to be taught only in special classes but now the American Heart Association offers home kits.  Even people with busy schedules can learn CPR with the new Home CPR Kits.  The kit comes with an inflatable mannequin, an instructional DVD and even flash cards.  The whole family can get together at home for a night of CPR now!  

May 21, 2010

Video Games That Are Good For Your Heart

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 1:31 am by keepyourhearthealthy

Some interesting news came out today from one of the largest heart organizations in the U.S.  The American Heart Association has given its seal of approval to the Nintendo Wii Gaming System.  Apparently they have taken the old phrase literally, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!”  Even though most people think of video games as being inherently bad, the Nintendo Wii offers a more active type of game.  The Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort games require significant movement in order to play.  It’s basically an exercise program for a modern generation revolving around media and high-tech graphics.  I don’t personally believe playing these physical video games should replace your usual exercise routine.  It doesn’t hurt to change things up a bit though and play a video game of tennis on a rainy day!

April 13, 2010

Beware of Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Treatment

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:00 am by keepyourhearthealthy

A study published in August 2009 showed that men with a history of Coronary Artery Disease were twice as likely to die when given hormone therapy for prostate cancer.  Several other studies in the past have noted that low testosterone can increase the risk for heart disease.  In the course of treating prostate cancer, hormones (as part of Androgen Deprivation Therapy) are frequently given to counteract testosterone.  In other words, they try to make the testosterone as low as possible to help shrink the prostate cancer.  Without testosterone, apparently there is a higher risk of death for men who already have heart disease.  Some of the most common names for hormone therapy are: leuprolide (Lupron, Viadur, Eligard), goserelin (Zoladex), triptorelin (Trelstar), and histrelin (Vantas).

The study did not find any specific increase in death for patients without known heart disease who were also receiving hormone treatments for prostate cancer.   However, 3 very large organizations are thinking there is a risk regardless of previous heart attack or heart failure.  The American Heart Association (AHA), American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Urological Association(AUA)–just released a joint statement last month stating that there might be a “relationship” between androgen-deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer and cardiovascular risk.

This does not mean that hormone therapy should be avoided completely in prostate cancer.  However, if you have heart disease and have also recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you and your oncologist should seriously consider all other treatments before jumping straight into hormone therapy.

March 2, 2010

Learn More About Prevention of Heart Disease for Your Loved Ones

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 2:51 am by keepyourhearthealthy

As a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, I recently was asked to do an internet TV interview regarding heart disease prevention.  Your loved ones who have not yet been diagnosed with heart disease may benefit from watching this: http://www.joyinthehouse.tv/  I talk a lot about a great internet tool on the Heart Association’s website that is designed to lower risk for heart disease.

January 8, 2010

Discount Offer For Heart-Smart Diabetes Cookbook

Posted in Heart disease tips, Helpful Heart Links, Recipes, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 8:51 pm by keepyourhearthealthy

Do you have both Diabetes AND heart disease? If so, you may be having trouble finding flavorful recipes which are heart healthy AND keep your blood sugar under control. I recently received a special offer for “The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen” ccokbook that I would like to share with you.

Canola Oil, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have teamed up to create this unique cookbook. It includes recipes such as salmon cakes and brownie wedges. To order the book, go to http://store.diabetes.org and use the promotional code CANOLAOIL.  This code will give you 25% off at checkout.  Enjoy!

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