Tag Archives: heart

Could You Have Masked Hypertension?

Approximately a third of American adults suffer from hypertension (a whopping 75 million people). Some may not even be aware they have the condition. Just because your blood pressure readings are okay at the doctor’s office doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. There are two phenomena that result in inaccurate blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office: one is called ‘masked hypertension’, and its opposite is called ‘white coat hypertension’. Today we’re going to investigate masked hypertension.

What is Masked Hypertension?

Masked hypertension is a phenomenon whereby a person’s blood pressure measures in the healthy zone when they are visiting a doctor, but readings are much higher when they self-measure at home or at another location. This may occur because some people find a doctor’s office to be a calming environment, whereas their home life may be quite hectic or busy which may affect their blood pressure. Masked hypertension may also be a result of a person’s blood pressure spiking when they partake in activities such as drinking or smoking on a regular basis.

How Common is Masked Hypertension?

According to Doctor Deepak Bhatt, MPH, editor of the Harvard University Heart Health letter, the only reason we know this condition even exists is because of several studies that required participants to gather ambulatory blood pressure readings as well as some in a doctor’s office. In some of the studies, up to 40% of participants experienced higher blood pressure in everyday life than in the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing the true number of people affected by masked hypertension because if a person’s readings are fine in the office, a doctor commonly won’t request they check them at home.

What to do About Masked Hypertension?

Dr. Deepak suggests that because high blood pressure is such a prevalent problem in America, those middle-aged or older should invest in a home monitor to occasionally check their numbers to ensure their readings are healthy across the board or to alert them if the readings differ. Blood pressure is a silent killer if left undetected and unmanaged, so it is important to know your true numbers.

Stay tuned next time for the opposite phenomenon known as white coat hypertension. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Tips For A Healthier Heart (Part 2)

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 610,000 lives annually. It is important that we all do everything we can to help lower our individual risks of developing heart disease. We looked at some heart-healthy tips in our last post, now let’s take a look at the rest:

Put Out That Cigarette For Good!

You’re well aware of how damaging smoking can be to the lungs, but did you know it can be just as bad for your heart? Smoking damages the walls of your arteries which can lead to a buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis). This can lead to heart disease or stroke. You should also note that second-hand smoke also raises your risk of heart disease.

Apple-shaped? Beware!

Those who tend to carry most of their weight around their midsection are at higher risk of developing cardiovascular complications, as the abdomen is the worst place for excess fat to reside. This fat is closer to all the major organs and it also increases a person’s risk of having higher triglyceride and blood sugar levels. If you have a bit of an ‘apple thing’ going on, it may be in your best interest to start shedding some of those extra pounds today!

Try HIIT to Get Fit

So, we’ve established that anyone carrying extra weight should do their best to get down to a healthier BMI. There are endless ways to do this, but if you’re looking for a great way to work out that heart while you work off those calories, high intensity interval training (HIIT) may be just the thing for you. Studies have found that stopping and starting exercise in short intervals may be one of the most efficient ways to burn calories fast.

Watch All Of Your Numbers!

We all know it is important to watch the scale, especially if you are concerned about extra weight putting you at higher risk for disease, but you should also keep an eye on what the blood pressure cuff may be trying to tell you. If you have high (or drastically low) blood pressure, or even borderline high, you should be keeping an eye on that and trying to calibrate it. Also, you should get your cholesterol checked regularly and have your doctor show you your numbers so you know if you should start watching it. Another number to keep an eye on? Your age. Even though you can’t prevent getting older, as you age your risk of developing heart disease increases as well. Because of this, you should start being even more vigilant and living healthier as you climb in years.

Healthy Mouth, Healthier Heart!

Numerous studies have pointed out the link between gum disease and heart disease. If you strive to take good care of your teeth and gums, you may lower your risk of heart disease in the process!

There you have some tips to set you on a better path to heart health! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Tips For A Healthier Heart (Part 1)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 610,000 lives annually. Because of the alarming statistics, it is important that we all do everything we can to help lower our individual risks of developing heart disease. Some factors cannot be prevented or changed, but some of the things you can do to lower your risk include:

Trim The Fat

We are all a little guilty of having too much fat in our diets from time to time, but if you notice a large portion of foods you eat contain saturated fats, you should re-evaluate your diet. The USDA advises people to consume no more than 7% of their daily caloric intake in saturated fat.

Feed Your Heart Right

The type of foods you choose to fuel your body can have a big impact on your heart. By choosing lots of produce, whole grains and low fat dairy and limiting red meat, junk food and refined carbs, you’re doing your heart a better service. Try to include foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids as well, such as nuts, seeds and fish.

Nip Cortisol in the Bud

Stress can be a killer, especially when the heart is involved. While the link between type-A personalities and heart disease is still being debated, it is clear that too much stress isn’t great for the heart. According to the World Heart Federation, acute stress can raise blood pressure, alter the way the heart beats and lead to reduced blood flow to the heart which can cause (or worsen) blood clotting. So, if you tend to get very stressed easily, you should try to curb those tendencies to do your heart a favor in the long run.

Nab A New Hobby

A great way to chronically destress is to take up something that keeps the hands and mind busy like wood working, coloring, painting, playing an instrument or knitting. When you find yourself frustrated or stressed, pick up your hobby where you left off last to help chill out.

Pump it Up

Getting your heart rate higher than its norm each day will help get your blood circulating more efficiently, and in turn help condition your whole system. Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly will help put you in a better position to stave off heart disease or other chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

Thanks for visiting DocChat, stay tuned for the rest of our heart healthy tips next!


9 Neat Facts About Your Circulatory System

We’ve been taking a look at the inner workings of the body’s vital organs and systems, and while we looked at facts about the human heart, we wanted to delve deeper into the circulatory system next:

  1. Your blood vessels, if laid end to end, could wrap around the earth twice.
  2. There are over 5 million cells in just one drop of your blood!
  3. Tight squeeze – red blood cells must travel single file style because they are nearly as large as the capillaries they roam through!
  4. The average human has about 75 heartbeats a minute.
  5. Bradycardia is a condition whereby the heart beats much slower than average (it could potentially be dangerous).
  6. Tachycardia is the opposite condition whereby the heartrate is consistently elevated to around or above 100 beats per minute.
  7. It takes about 20 seconds for blood to complete a circulation around the body.
  8. Red blood cells make about 250,000 trips around the body before they die.
  9. Human blood has no color until hemoglobin does its thing.

Check out these interesting facts about your skin next! Thanks for visiting DocChat, remember our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you with any of your medical inquiries!

10 Mind-Bending Facts About Your Heart

We’ve been looking at some of interesting facts about each of the body’s organs, up next is the amazing human heart:

  1. According to the Cleveland clinic, heart disease was found in 3,000-year-old mummies!
  2. The adult heart is nearly the size of two human fists.
  3. Every day your heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood through the body’s intricate vessel system!
  4. You’d have to let a water faucet running full force for about 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped through your body over the course of your lifetime.
  5. If your heart was hooked up to oxygen, it could continue to pump even outside of your body! Cool…but creepy.
  6. The heart supplies blood to nearly 75 trillion cells (all except those in the cornea)!
  7. You’re statistically more likely to have a heart attack on a Monday morning than any other time!
  8. There really is possible to die of a “broken heart”, as extreme grieving upon losing a loved one can lead to extreme stress and a shock to your system, which has actually caused people to have a heart attack.
  9. The four chambers of the heart are: the left and right atria and the left and right ventricles.
  10. People aren’t joking when they say laughter is the best medicine – when you giggle, the lining in the walls of your blood vessels relax, which increases your blood flow for nearly an hour after your hearty laugh! So, laughing really is good for your heart.

Your heart is a complex, delicate organ, so take good care of it with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise! Thanks for visiting DocChat! Check feel free to check out our other amazing fact sheets on your lungs, liver, brain and skin next!