Heart Attack – Acute Myocardial Infarction

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A heart attack, or myocardial infarction (MI), is permanent damage to the heart muscle. “Myo” means muscle, “cardial” refers to the heart, and “infarction” means death of tissue due to lack of blood supply.

What Happens During a Heart Attack?

The heart muscle requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood to nourish it. The coronary arteries provide the heart with this critical blood supply. If you have coronary artery disease, those arteries become narrow and blood cannot flow as well as they should. Fatty matter, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells build up within the arteries to form plaques of different sizes. The plaque deposits are hard on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside.

When the plaque is hard, the outer shell cracks (plaque rupture), platelets (disc-shaped particles in the blood that aid clotting) come to the area, and blood clots form around the plaque. If a blood clot totally blocks the artery, the heart muscle becomes “starved” for oxygen. Within a short time, death of heart muscle cells occurs, causing permanent damage. This is a heart attack.

While it is unusual, a heart attack can also be caused by a spasm of a coronary artery. During a coronary spasm, the coronary arteries restrict or spasm on and off, reducing blood supply to the heart muscle (ischemia). It may occur at rest, and can even occur in people without significant coronary artery disease.

Each coronary artery supplies blood to a region of heart muscle. The amount of damage to the heart muscle depends on the size of the area supplied by the blocked artery and the time between injury and treatment.

July 11, 2017

Don’t throw out old, sprouting garlic – it has heart-healthy antioxidants

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“Sprouted” garlic — old garlic bulbs with bright green shoots emerging from the cloves — is considered to be past its prime and usually ends up in the garbage can. But scientists are reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that this type of garlic has even more heart-healthy antioxidant activity than its fresher counterparts.

Jong-Sang Kim and colleagues note that people have used garlic for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Today, people still celebrate its healthful benefits. Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements is touted as a natural way to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart disease risk. It even may boost the immune system and help fight cancer. But those benefits are for fresh, raw garlic. Sprouted garlic has received much less attention. When seedlings grow into green plants, they make many new compounds, including those that protect the young plant against pathogens. Kim’s group reasoned that the same thing might be happening when green shoots grow from old heads of garlic. Other studies have shown that sprouted beans and grains have increased antioxidant activity, so the team set out to see if the same is true for garlic.

They found that garlic sprouted for five days had higher antioxidant activity than fresher, younger bulbs, and it had different metabolites, suggesting that it also makes different substances. Extracts from this garlic even protected cells in a laboratory dish from certain types of damage. “Therefore, sprouting may be a useful way to improve the antioxidant potential of garlic,” they conclude.

April 26, 2017

Smoking Vs Vaping…choosing the lesser of the two evils

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Smoking Vs Vaping…choosing the lesser of the two evils

Vaping is often seen as a safe or safer alternative to smoking. It is also relatively new to the market, only hitting the mainstream over the past decade or so. Because it hasn’t been a part of the public consciousness for as long as cigarette smoking, there is a lot that people and even smokers do not understand about it. Here, we will compare a few different aspects of the two habits Vaping VS Smoking to help people get a better understanding of how they are similar and where they differ, and whether one is safer than the other or not.

Smoking vs Vaping – This is How They Impact Your Body

In the vaping vs. smoking standoff, most people believe it’s the case where the lesser of the two evils wins. But is vaping really an evil that falls in the same category as smoking? The answer becomes clear when you take look at how each of them affects human body:

Smoking:

In addition to tar – which is a collective term for various particles that have a wide variety of carcinogens – the smoke of tobacco cigarettes contains thousands of harmful chemicals, at least 70 of which have been proven to be cancer-causing agents. When these chemicals enter your body, they impact every organ they come in contact with, and several organs they don’t even come in direct contact with.It’s an established fact that smoking can cause all sorts of diseases, from minor health issues like a cough to lethal disorders like lung cancer and heart diseases. In fact, smoking tobacco is the biggest avoidable cause of death around the globe. According to Cancer.org, smoking kills about six million people around the world every single year, with at least 30% of the deaths caused by cancer and other lethal diseases as a result of smoking.

Vaping:

While  many people claim there are several potential health risks that vaping can cause, the biggest proven harm e-cigarettes can cause is dependence, as most e-liquids contain nicotine. Can we even compare this with the likes of cancer and heart attack? So far, no scientific study has given any solid proof that vaping can have life-threatening consequences like smoking.

The only notable study that tried to paint a scary picture of vaping was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, back in early 2015. The study showed that when someone vapes at very high temperatures, a chemical called Formaldehyde – a known carcinogen which is actually a degradation product of propylene glycol – can be produced and inhaled. However, the same study also showed that when vaping is done at moderately high temperatures, no traces of Formaldehyde were found. And ironically, nobody wants the bad burnt taste or aftertaste that’s produced when you vape at ridiculously high temperature. In other words, this study, which has been manipulated by many for personal gains, actually removes the stigma attached to vaping.However, since vaping caught the spotlight only in the mid-2000s, there is not enough data on the long-term effects of vaping. Hopefully, more researches and studies will offer better understating of how vaping affects our body.

Is vaping safer than smoking?

There’s an ongoing debate on whether vaping is safe or not, and if it is an effective smoking cessation method or not.

According to a report sponsored by UK’s Department of Health and published by Public Health England – a prestigious group of highly qualified scientists, researchers and public health professionals – electronic cigarettes are at least 95 percent safer than tobacco cigarettes. The report also recognizes their potential as a viable approach to quitting smoking.

In the US, however, electronic cigarettes are looked upon nearly as evil a product as tobacco cigarettes. Quite interestingly, the American Heart Association (AHA) took a rather cautious stance in contrary to the popular belief in the country. In the 20-page statement published in 2014, the AHA suggested that e-cigs are less hazardous than tobacco cigarettes, and vaping can actually help smokers quit. Here’s a small section copied from the report:

“E-cigarettes either do not contain or have lower levels of several tobacco-derived harmful and potentially harmful constituents compared with cigarettes and smokeless tobacco… [e-cigarettes] present an opportunity for harm reduction if smokers use them as substitutes for cigarettes.”

Vaping vs Smoking – A Head-to-Head Comparison on all Fronts

Health and Safety

Vaping is still dangerous, and many vaporizers employ a liquid known as e-liquid or e-juice that contains nicotine, but usually not in the high concentrations that represent in cigarettes. The biggest change in safety comes from the way the product is produced and delivered. In smoking, the contents (usually tobacco and about 4,000 other ingredients) are combusted. They are lit and they burn and the smoke is inhaled by the user.

This also creates secondhand smoke which causes numerous health problems on its own. Overall, it is a very unhealthy situation, and that combustion creates a lot of the carcinogens present in cigarette smoke.

In vaping you usually don’t have that. You have to say “usually” because not all vaporizers manage to heat their product without combusting it. But once you eliminate the combustion, you do make the product safer. Instead of smoke, you would be inhaling vapor or steam. It’s likely much safer, but you are still inhaling a lot of chemicals that aren’t very good for you.

Availability

Cigarettes are pretty much everywhere. You can find them at the grocery, the gas station, online and in many of the shops you frequent. They have been a part of public use for so long that most people just accept that they are there.

Vaporizers are a little harder to come by. Back in the olden days of vaporizer sales, you could only find them in mall kiosks and mail-order catalogs. Now they have a huge presence online, and you can even find them in some markets and many tobacco and vaporizer specialty stores.

But you will have a much harder time finding vaporizers and their assorted product lines than you would find cigarettes and smoking paraphernalia. As vaping becomes more popular, it is increasingly easy to find them.

Legal Status

Here is where the debate between the two really heats up. Cigarettes have been banned in some form or another ever since they appeared. They were first banned on airlines, then in government buildings and later in pretty much every public location. Some states have looser restrictions than others, but for the most part, if you are in a public space, you either have to find a designated smoking area or just wait to smoke until you get home.

Vaping is a bit more complex, but it is slowly going the way of cigarettes as far as public tolerance. While those who vape claim that the secondhand vapor is not as dangerous as secondhand smoke, the research behind such claims is not conclusive. The public often perceives vaping as the same thing. It appears like smoke is emanating from the vaporizers, so non-smokers feel like they may be in danger while vaporizers are in use around them.

What this has meant for those who vape is that the use of vaporizers is slowly being outlawed in public places, city by city. These bans don’t seem to ever lift, so unless new research is discovered it is likely that the bans will continue until vaping is just as prohibited a smoking is.

Cost Effectiveness

When we compare smoking vs vaping in terms of cash you have to spend, vaping comes out as a clear winner. Although there are many cheaper options, the very best, high-end vaporizers can cost somewhere around $250. After that, all you need to buy is your favorite e-liquid, and almost all e-liquids come at a nominal cost. As for cigarettes, let’s suppose you’re a pack-a-day smoker, your monthly cost will be somewhere around $300 depending on where you live. So, in the long run, you’ll be saving big bucks by switching to vaping.

Social acceptance

Vapor doesn’t smell bad like smoke, neither it discolors your teeth or makes your breath smell bad. In fact, vapor usually smells good like candy or vanilla, depending on the e-liquid. So, with e-cigs, you don’t have to slip out of a gathering, your office, or even your own living room to smoke. Vaping is obviously more socially accepted, but before vaping in public places, make sure you know the local laws as several states don’t allow it.

Conclusion

E-cigarettes are clear winners, in almost every aspect. We will have to wait for a few more years to know the true long-term effects of vaping, but now it seems that they potentially can be a safer alternative to smoking than smoking. However, when you vape to fulfill your cravings, make sure you don’t break any laws or disturb other people. Moreover, most e-liquids contain some percentage of nicotine, which can be dangerous if ingested. Therefore, always keep your vaping gear away from pets and children.

 

 

 

 

March 31, 2017