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Archive for February, 2013

February: Heart Health Awareness Month!

In honor of this month’s focus on Heart Health Awareness, I wanted to share with you about a very damaging, yet common condition in America today.

Healthy Heart

It’s known as Arteriosclerosis (or Atherosclerosis).

You have seen commercials on television referring to Arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD). This is a problem created in the body with the blood flow through the arteries. Arteries carry blood from the heart to various muscles and organs. When arteries become diseased they become narrowed or blocked this is called atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis. The most common complaint of people who have PAD is claudication.

Claudication is the pain in the calf or thigh muscle that occurs after walking. This pain may stop after a person rests for a while. Claudication occurs since not enough blood is flowing to a muscle because less blood is flowing through the artery that is supplying that particular muscle.

Claudication is also more likely with people who have atherosclerosis in other arteries. People with claudication may have had heart attacks or strokes. If you notice pain in your legs while walking please ask your doctor about your risk for PAD.

To check for claudication your doctor will check the pulses in the arteries or order testing in a lab. Another method of checking is to measure the blood pressure in the arms versus that in the legs. A drop in blood pressure may indicate a narrowing of the arteries. Surgery may also be an alternative to help treat symptoms of claudication.

Some of the risk factors linked to PAD include:

  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • cigarette smoking
  • older age

PAD and claudication are most easily treated with diet and exercise, and sometimes medicine. Stopping smoking is also recommended. A walking program is also very helpful. Walking 3 times per week for 30 or more minutes each time can help treat and prevent this disease. If you begin walking and the pain becomes too uncomfortable, stop and rest until the pain goes away; and then resume walking again until you have reached your goal.

Lifestyle changes can be tough to incorporate at first, as we all know “old habits die hard”. However, when you start to see and FEEL the drastic difference in you overall health, it will encourage you to keep at it!

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed

 

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What is Anemia?

Anemia occurs when blood does not have enough hemoglobin, according to WebMD. Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. Normocytic anemia is the most common type of anemia. Normocytic anemia can either be congenital or acquired. Meaning it could be something a person is born with or developed later in life. It usually starts slowly.

People with anemia typically get tiered easily, look pale and may feel dizzy or weak. Most often this type of anemia is found in routine blood tests.

Red Blood Cells

 

Anemia could also be caused by not having enough iron in the body. A number of factors can cause low iron: Lack of iron in the diet is mostly a problem for children and young women. Children who drink lots of milk and don’t eat enough iron rich foods and young women who follow diets are susceptible too. Growth spurts in children under 3 where their little bodies are growing so fast that the bodies are not able to keep up with the growth spurts. Pregnant women or those who are breast feeding need two times more iron than men. That’s why pregnant women may need to be tested for anemia and eat more iron rich foods. Blood loss is also a common reason for iron deficiency in adults. Heavy periods, internal bleeding, stomach ulcers, cancer or taking aspirin for a long time may cause bleeding in the stomach or intestines.

Therefore, it is important to check the reason for the anemia.

Anemia may have no symptoms OR some of these:

  • paleness
  • tiredness
  • shortness of breath during exercise
  • fast heartbeat
  • cold hands and feet
  • brittle nails
  • headaches

Some types of anemia can be prevented by diet by eating iron rich foods such as:
• Liver and other meats
• Seafood
• Dried fruits like apricots, raisins, and prunes
• Nuts
• Beans, such as lima beans
• Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
• Blackstrap molasses
• Whole grains
• Iron Fortified bread and cereals

Some foods block the absorption of iron. These include coffee, tea, egg yolks, milk, fiber, and soy protein.

If you suspect you may be anemic, call our office today at (757)-488-3333, and we can schedule a routine blood test to determine your iron level. With treatment, you will be feeling much better!

~Dr. Samir Abdelshaheed

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