Every night, nearly 18 million Americans will experience
unhealthy breathing patterns, starting and stopping as they sleep through the
In fact, 80 percent of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea cases
will go undiagnosed, leading to a number of physical and emotional health
Among the most common health complications that sleep apnea
can cause are extreme stress, fatigue and depression. However, it may surprise
you that, when left untreated, evidence suggests that sleep apnea and heart disease are linked, leading to high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, stroke and
other cardiovascular problems.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is defined as interrupted or shallow breathing that can last between 10 and 20 seconds, occurring up to as many as hundreds of times a night. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, happening when the soft tissues in the back of a person’s throat relax and block the airway to cause loud snoring throughout the night.
What are Sleep Apnea Risk Factors?
Sleep apnea affects a range of people – both children and adults. However, if you fall into one or more of the following categories, your risk for obstructive sleep apnea may be higher:
- 65 years of age or older
- Family history of sleep apnea
- Aftrican-American, Hispanic or Pacific Islander
- A smoker
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can be hard to detect because most symptoms occur at night, when a person is fast asleep. Contact your doctor if you notice that you or your partner is demonstrating loud snoring, choking or gasping for breath during sleep. Other signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Morning headaches
- Memory and/or attention problems
- Frequent urination during nighttime
- Extreme daytime fatigue and sleepiness
- Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking up
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease
Sleeping five hours or less each night significantly raises the risk of developing high blood pressure in adults. Getting enough sleep is important to your health, and might be helpful in warding off high blood pressure, which can lead to a number of other problems, including heart and kidney disease and stroke.
Sleep Apnea is a Matter of the Heart for UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
In partnership with UnityPoint Health – Des Moines and The
Iowa Clinic, the West Lakes Sleep Center is deeply rooted in Central Iowa as the area’s first
state-of-the-art sleep center. If you think
you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, or know of someone else who
might be, consider scheduling a sleep study to help
diagnose and treat your sleep disorder and avoid the harmful effects that a bad
night’s sleep can have on your health, including heart disease. For more information and to learn
if a sleep study is the right option for you, please contact us at (515) 875 –
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men
and women today. Among the most serious heart disease risk factors is high LDL
or “bad” cholesterol levels.
Though some types of cholesterol are good for your
health, LDL cholesterol is a source of the artery-clogging plaque that can lead
to life-threatening heart disease such as heart attack and stroke.
Fortunately, your cholesterol levels are a largely
controllable heart disease risk factor. If you are one of the 100 million
Americans currently living with high cholesterol (above 200 mg/DL), follow
these five tips to decrease your risk for heart problems in the future:
1. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight, even by as little as a few extra pounds,
can contribute to higher cholesterol levels in both men and women. With the
approval of a doctor, start out by making a goal to lose 5 to 10 percent of
your body weight. Achieving this goal
through proper diet and exercise can significantly reduce cholesterol levels
and, therefore, the risk for developing heart disease.
2. Make Healthy Food Choices
An important aspect of lowering your bad cholesterol levels and raising your good cholesterol levels is developing a healthy diet. Stay away from concentrated sources of cholesterol, such as organ meats, egg yolks and whole milk products, as well as saturated fat and trans fat. Instead, opt for a balanced diet that includes the following heart-healthy foods and nutrients:
- Healthy Fats
- Whole Grains
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
3. Aim for 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise
Exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the
blood to the liver, where the cholesterol is either converted to bile for
digestion or excreted. Thus, the more you exercise, the more LDL your
body removes. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day to make heart-healthy
physical activities, such as biking, running and brisk walking, a part of your
4. Quit or Don't Start Smoking
You already know that smoking leads to a number of serious
health risks, such as lung cancer and heart disease, but it may surprise you
that smoking can also have a negative effect on your cholesterol. In fact,
studies show that quitting tobacco can raise your good cholesterol by as much
as 10 percent. So, if you don’t smoke already, don’t start. If you are a
smoker, contact your doctor to find the support and resources necessary to quit.
5. Visit Your Doctor Frequently
Frequent visits with your primary care physician are
an essential part of regulating and maintaining your health over time –
especially when it comes to your cholesterol. Not only is your doctor able to
give insight into your current health, but he or she is also there to recommend
specific medications to take in order to improve your cholesterol and heart health.
Do you know what your cholesterol levels mean?
Some health experts recommend that people over the age of 20
years old should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five
years. Schedule an appointment with UnityPoint Health – Des Moines to receive a
complete lipidpanel for same-day results and explanation of your levels of cholesterol,
LDL AND HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. For more information and to start
working towards your heart-healthy future, please contact us today.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with
family to celebrate, but it is also a time of indulging in unhealthy foods that can have a domino effect on our heart health.
This Thanksgiving, set the right tone for a healthy holiday season ahead by making heart-smart decisions at the dinner table. UnityPoint Health – Des Moines has ten simple tips to follow in order to have a satisfying and heart healthy Thanksgiving.
1. Prepare Yourself
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the holidays
is skipping a meal to arrive hungry. Instead, opt for a small snack a few hours
before the meal to prevent over-eating. Heart healthy snacks include a cup of berries,
a bowl of oatmeal or a handful of unsalted nuts.
2. Find Ways to Be Active
Take a break from the football games and parades on television to engage in physical activity. Round up the family for a friendly game of football in your backyard or take a walk around the block to enjoy one of the last few days of fall. Make it fun and enjoyable by viewing it as a family activity instead of just exercise.
3. Use Fresh Ingredients
Canned and frozen foods tend to contain high levels of sodium that can lead to dangerous levels of bad cholesterol. Visit the Downtown Des Moines Winter Famers’ Market
to pick up fresh, locally grown ingredients for a healthy spin on you some of your old favorites.
4. Make Heart Healthy Substitutions
As you prepare the Thanksgiving meal this year, make simple
alterations to your traditional recipes to have a big impact on your family’s
health. A heart healthy diet includes low sodium, sugar and fat intake, so
reduce the amount of salt, sugar and butter with which you cook. Instead,
consider cooking with spices, agave nectar and olive oil for a similar effect.
5. Bring a Healthy Side Dish
If you will be dining as a guest this Thanksgiving, the menu
may out of your control. Offering to bring a side dish is a good way to thank
your host and sneak in a heart healthy option. Salads, grilled vegetables and
sweet potatoes make a delicious and nutritious addition to any meal.
6. Watch Your Intake
Just because you are eating healthy this holiday doesn’t
mean you have to skip out on all of your Thanksgiving favorites – just avoid
dishes with high fructose corn syrup, trans fat and high levels of sodium.
These items include canned cranberry sauces, buttery biscuits, certain
casseroles and pie crusts.
7. Control Your Portion Sizes
Too much of a good thing can be harmful to your heart –
especially when it comes to food. Portion control will play an important role
in making sure you have a heart healthy Thanksgiving. Start out with smaller
serving sizes and wait ten to twenty minutes before deciding if you need more.
8. Engage in Good Conversation
Enjoying good conversation during a meal will allow you to
catch up with family members as well as slow down and eat less. As you give
your body a chance to digest, you will feel fuller and be less likely to over
9. Offer to Help Clean Up
Not only is offering to help clean up helpful, but it is also
a useful way to limit the amount of snacking you do after the meal. With
everything cleared off of the table, you may feel less tempted to consume more
food despite already being full.
10. Share the Leftovers
If you are hosting this year’s Thanksgiving celebration,
chances are that you have enough leftovers to last you until Christmas. Split
up the leftovers amongst your guests to keep them out of sign and out of mind. Your
health will thank you!
Stay Heart Healthy with UnityPoint Heath - Des Moines
Though UnityPoint Health – Des Moines is here to make sure
you have a healthy and safe
Thanksgiving, we are committed to helping you stay heart healthy year round. From cardiac
rehabilitation and pulmonary
care to vascular
disease and prevention,
we are here to take care of you no matter what life throws your way. For more information on how your health can
benefit from our expert heart care, please contact us today!
The Food and Drug Administration recently
announced that it will be taking the first steps towards eliminating most trans fat from food production because it is no longer recognized as a safe ingredient– especially for our hearts.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reducing trans fat consumption in the United States could prevent between 3,000 and 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths each year. To better understand this relationship, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines explains the troublesome truth about trans fat and your heart.
What is Trans Fat?
Trans fat, also known as partially hydrated oil, can be defined as the industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them solid. Since the 1950s, they have become a popular food preservative, giving foods a longer shelf life, more texture and added taste.
In fact, artificial trans fat can be found in many of our favorite high-fat
treats and snacks, such as:
- Fried foods
- Frozen pizzas
- Cakes and pies
- Cookies and pasteries
- Margerine, butter and shortening
- Coffee creamers
The Relationship Between Trans Fat & Heart Disease
We know that trans fats are “bad” fats, but how bad are they really? The answer to this question is really bad.
The problem with trans fat is that it raises your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lowers your good (HDL) cholesterol levels, which increases your risk for developing heart disease and stroke.
In order to lower your risk of developing heart complications in the future, it is recommended to keep consumption of artificial trans fat to a minimum. Avoid foods containing high levels of trans fat by checking their label. Instead, opt for a heart healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains and lean proteins.
UnityPoint Health - Des Moines Cares About Your Heart
Making simple lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your heart health – starting with your diet. In addition to our expert heart care
, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines is home to a knowledgeable Nutrition Center
that can work with you to find a healthy and balanced diet to reduce your chances of developing heart disease and stroke.
Whether you are preventing cardiovascular disease or have already experienced serious heart complications, we have the right care and resources to keep you heart healthy for longer. To learn more about how our nutritional and cardiovascular services can benefit your heart health, please contact us
Adults living with diabetes are two to
four times more likely to develop heart disease or stroke than adults without diabetes. In fact, heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death and disability among people with type 2 diabetes.
Though having diabetes or prediabetes puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, understanding their relationship and taking preventative measures are key to maintaining a healthy heart for life.
Understanding the Relationship between Diabetes and Heart Disease
People living with diabetes, especially type 2, are at high risk for developing coronary heart disease and stroke, but why? In addition to already being a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, diabetes can lead to a number of other health conditions that increase chances of developing serious, life-threatening heart complications. The majority of diabetics fall into one or more of the following heart disease risk factors:
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar levels
- High LDL (bad) cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Metabolic syndrome
Take Action! Preventing Diabetes and Heart Disease Starts Today.
Having diabetes in combination with other heart disease risk factors raises the likelihood that a person will fall victim to heart disease or stroke in his or her lifetime. However, by controlling these risk factors, people living with diabetes have a better chance of preventing or delaying heart complications in the long-run.
- Eat Heart Healthy – Include more heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet and limit your daily sodium intake.
- Exercise Daily – Incorporate 30 minutes of aerobic exercise into your routine. Biking, brisk walking, swimming and biking help to strengthen your heart.
- Stop Smoking – Quit or don’t start smoking. Smokers are two times more likely to develop heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Manage Stress – Stress increases blood pressure and heart rate, so take time to relax and rejuvenate.
- Monitor Health – Manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels to make sure they are healthy and take action if they are not. If you are living with diabetes, be sure to take the proper medications prescribed to you by a doctor.
- Visit the Doctor Regularly – Schedule a cardiac disease risk assessment to learn your personal risk for heart disease and stroke. Follow your physician’s advice for maintaining a healthy heart.
Stay Healthy with UnityPoint Health - Des Moines
Whether you are living with diabetes and trying to prevent heart disease or needing care after a heart attack or stroke, UnityPoint Health – Des Moines is here for you. We provide exceptional diabetes education and services
as well as outstanding cardiology
services– all with the main goal to keep you healthier for longer. If you or someone you know could benefit from our expertise in diabetes or heart care, please contact us today.