December 29, 2010

Less Sleep Means Harder Time Losing Weight

Posted in New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , at 2:31 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by Filomena Scalise

Sleep can be elusive for people who maintain a busy life.  It’s well-known that getting less sleep is bad for your body.  A new study now proves that less sleep also sabotages your diet.

The latest study which has grabbed the media’s attention shows that people need to sleep more if they want to lose weight.  When comparing patients who slept more than 8 hours a night versus those who slept less than 6 hours a night, the people who slept more lost 55% more body fat!!  Scientists believe the cause for such a discrepancy is related to hormones.  When the body does not get enough sleep, certain hormones are increased which can make a person feel more hungry and retain more fat.

It seems the moral of this story proves what your mom always told you…go to bed early and get a good night of sleep!  It can help you lose more weight and feel better all at the same time.

October 9, 2010

Meridia Pills Taken Away By FDA and Abbott

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:07 am by keepyourhearthealthy

Medication used for obesity. Orlistat and sibu...

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The FDA has asked Abbott to stop making a popular weight loss drug called Meridia.

Meridia has been advertised on television as a great new alternative to help suppress appetite. You may recall the commercials which showed plates of food being eaten only half-way. The suggestion was that Meridia would help you eat less and less thereby losing weight. Unfortunately, taking the drug has also been shown to increase your chance of a serious heart event by 16%!

In addition to increasing your risk of heart attack, Meridia can also increase your risk of stroke. Given that the risks seem to outweigh the benefits, the FDA asked Meridia’s manufacturer Abbott Laboratories to withdraw the drug from the market.

As of today, Abbott has agreed to stop production of Meridia.  If you are currently taking it, this means you will no longer be able to get your prescription filled at the pharmacy. Given the long history of various diet pills being pulled off the market for serious heart risks, I would say diet and exercise are the only safe alternatives for weight loss at this point!

September 11, 2010

Losing Weight Bad for Your Heart? No, GAINING Weight Bad for Your Heart!!

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:08 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by federico stevanin

I‘m sure many people have heard about this shocking new study which claims that losing weight is bad.

According to this Korean study, people who lost MORE weight over a ten year period had higher amounts of bad chemicals in their blood called persistent organic pollutants.  The theory is that fat holds on to these pollutants and thus when you lose the fat, the pollutants are released into the bloodstream and cause terrible effects throughout the body.  They claim that people who lose the most amount of weight over a ten year period are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension and diabetes (some reports even say it increases the risk of heart disease as well!).

What is a health-minded person supposed to think about this new information?  I heard one of the doctors on the news say the best advice yet regarding this study: Avoid gaining weight at all costs!!  The moral here is that people who gain too much weight and then lose it are still at an increased risk of disease.  If you are overweight or obese right now, most studies support the idea that you need to LOSE it and get down to a healthy weight.  BUT now you should be even more motivated to keep all the weight off so that you can avoid any more surges of pollutants in your bloodstream.

September 2, 2010

Weight Loss Pills Dangerous For People With Heart Disease

Posted in Heart Disease in the News, Heart disease tips, New Heart Studies tagged , , , , , , at 12:01 am by keepyourhearthealthy

photo by Michelle Meiklejohn

The popular weight loss drug which you may have seen on television called Meridia is officially proven to be unsafe in heart disease.

A few months ago, the manufacturers placed a warning on Meridia’s label stating that it should not be given to patients with heart problems.  Now, there is a new study which confirms that the weight loss drug increases heart attacks in patients who are already known to have heart disease.

Some years ago there were problems with other weight loss drugs as well.  You may recall a drug called Fen-phen which was taken off the market for causing pulmonary hypertension and heart valve problems.  In addition, many over the counter diet pills contain stimulants that are unfavorable in the setting of heart disease.

In general, patients with heart disease need to use caution when entering into a weight loss plan.  The best solution is diet and exercise which you can learn about in cardiac rehabilitation.  However, if you must use something more extreme and your plans to lose weight include Meridia or other pills, you need to discuss it with your cardiologist first to make sure it is safe.

February 10, 2010

Do You Need To Lose Weight? Know Your BMI!

Posted in Heart disease tips tagged , , , , , , , at 1:07 am by keepyourhearthealthy

In my book What To Do When You Have Heart Disease, I do not specify that everyone with heart disease needs to lose weight.  Why would I miss such an important detail when we are always hearing about how overweight the American population is?  Certainly a large number of heart disease patients are overweight and even obese!  BUT, not everyone with heart disease is your typical overweight patient.  My father has had 2 heart attacks and you can barely pinch an inch of fat on him.  I know it seems like a contradiction, but skinny people can also have heart disease!  It would be totally inappropriate to tell someone who is already thin that they need to lose weight because of heart disease.  Of course, everyone with heart disease needs to eat healthy, but there can be a difference between eating healthy and eating to lose weight.  Someone who is already thin does not need to eat less or cut back on their calories like someone who is overweight.  A thin person just needs to change the types of foods they eat to avoid saturated fats.

When SHOULD a person go on a restrictive diet for the purpose of losing weight?  First, you need to calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index) at the following site:  If your BMI is greater than 25, then you are considered overweight and should discuss a weight loss diet with your cardiologist.  If your BMI is 30 or more, then you are considered obese and should go on a weight loss diet as soon as possible.  Being obese puts a strain on your entire body, from your heart to your joints!