Mammograms are part of many women’s yearly health check up, yet it turns out that these common tests can also predict your risk for heart disease. Like every other organ of the body, the breasts are supplied by arteries, blood vessels which continuously supply freshly oxygenated blood and nutrients. And like the others arteries in the body, these arteries can become filled with cholesterol plaque, or atherosclerosis.
When your mammogram is read by the radiologist, she may report calcifications within the breast tissue. These may be a warning sign of cancer. Yet calcifications can also show up in the breast arteries, indicating hardening of those arteries due to atherosclerotic plaque. This finding was first reported several years ago, and a new study from Mount Sinai Hospital takes it one step further, by correlating these blood vessel calcifications with the risk for heart disease. In fact, women who have breast arterial calcifications are highly likely to have cholesterol plaque in the heart, making mammograms a valuable tool in identifying women at high risk for heart disease.
To learn more, and to get my take, check out reporter Tara Haelle’s article on Everyday Health.
An older patient with a weak heart is less likely to get a life-saving implantable defibrillator after a heart attack, even though the devices are covered by Medicare and insurance when used appropriately.
To learn about how you can reduce your risk for heart disease by as much as 70%, check out my segment on WFAA’s “Live, Love, Laugh Today” show, which aired last week.
You’ve probably heard about “white coat hypertension”, or blood pressure that is high at the doctor’s office but perfectly normal at home. This condition, which can affect as many as 20 percent of us, can lead to unnecessary medication if we only use office readings to gauge blood pressure.
You might not have heard of “masked” hypertension, in which blood pressure is normal when you go in for your office visit, but high on a daily basis at home. The condition, found in about 10 percent of adults, raises the risk for heart attacks and strokes. As I recommended in an interview with DailyRx.com, “It makes much more sense to have a series of readings over time, so we can detect any important trends. One to two readings per week, at different times of the day, is usually all that is necessary. Bring that information with you to your next office visit to help your doctor optimize your care.”
You can read more about the study on DailyRx.com
A recent gift of a box of mangoes got me curious about this delicious fruit. It turns out that mangoes are low in calories and super super source of vitamin A and fiber.
|Mango Nutrient Information|
|Serving size: 3 1/2 ounces mango slices|
For more great information, including a primer on cutting up a mango (it’s easier than you might think) and a wealth of mango recipes, check out this website from London Fruit.
If you’ve been thinking about checking out my new book but just haven’t gotten around to it, this is the time to do so. Through May 27, the Amazon Kindle edition is only $2.99. No Kindle? No problem. You can get the paperback version for only $5.98.
Want to know more about SELF magazine’s 13 for 13? Click here and check it out.
Join me on Tuesday January 22 at 3 pm Central Time for a inspiring, informative Google+ Hangout with SELF Magazine, Everyday Health, and DailyRx. We’ll be talking about SELF magazine’s 13 Resolutions for a Better 2013. The topic? Take Charge of Your Health. I’d love to hear your questions and comments. Let’s make 2013 the healthiest year ever.
My apologies for the long wait, but I’m very happy to report that we now have a beautiful Kindle version of Best Practices for a Healthy Heart.