Are you able to walk for miles on a treadmill, but can barely ascend a few flights of stairs? I explain to Marty Gonzalez, KRON 4 Morning News Weekend anchor, why stair climbing is so different from walking — and how it not only benefits your life but your sex life as well.😉
Stair Climbing vs. Walking
Stair climbing improves cardiorespiratory fitness. It is officially classed as a “vigorous” form of exercise. Stair climbing is a more POWERFUL form of walking because it:
Stair Climbing and Sex
Researchers in Canada monitored healthy male volunteers averaging age 64 while they walked, lifted weights, or climbed stairs. Stair climbing was the most demanding. Stair climbing was:
- Twice as taxing as brisk walking on level ground.
- 50% harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights.
- Faster at attaining peak exertion than walking (thus, explains the “huffing and puffing” going upstairs).
How to Stair Climb Your Way to a Longer Life and Stop Middle-Age Weight Gain
Continue reading “KRON 4 | Stair Climbing, Sex and Heart Attacks”
Ever wonder what your blood pressure numbers mean? Here’s an explanation using a water faucet and pipe to demonstrate. And now there’s a THIRD pressure that’s important to your overall health and is worth monitoring as well.
What’s Your Pulse Pressure?
Pulse pressure is the numeric difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Predictor of Heart Attacks and Cardiovascular Disease
A resting pulse pressure in sitting position in healthy adults is about 30-40 mm Hg. For adults over age 60, especially men, a pulse pressure higher than 60 can be a useful predictor of heart attacks or other cardiovascular disease.
- A greater pulse pressure indicates that your vessels are stiffer and more damaged.
- If the aorta becomes rigid, such as from atherosclerosis, a.k.a., “hardening of the arteries”, your pulse pressure would be very high.
- Per a meta-analysis of several studies of 8,000 elderly subjects, the combined results found that a 10-point increase in pulse pressure increased the risk of major cardiovascular complications and mortality by nearly 20%.
NOTE: A low pulse pressure (i.e., 25 mm Hg or less) may mean aortic valve stenosis or congestive heart failure where a low volume of blood is ejected per beat.
Causes of Arterial Stiffness
The most important cause of an elevated pulse pressure is arterial stiffening, in particular, stiffness of the aorta (the largest artery in the body). Arteries stiffen with age, just like tissues in your skin, lungs, heart, tendons, and joints, due to:
- Degeneration of elastin fibers
- Stiffer collagen
- Fatty deposits damaging the arterial walls and resulting in them being less elastic (atherosclerosis)
Results of Arterial Stiffness
- Your heart enlarges. When arteries stiffen and lose their elasticity, your heart must contract more forcefully with each heart beat in order for your blood to circulate adequately. The extra work that your heart must perform can lead to physical changes in the musculature of your heart (e.g., size and shape), specifically the lower chambers (the ventricles). It’s just like how your biceps get bigger that occurs when you exercise them harder.
- You’re prone to irregular heart beats (cardiac arrhythmias). If the remodeling also affects the upper chambers (the atria), it can disrupt the electrical pathways that generate the signals telling your heart when to contract.
- You’re at a higher risk of a heart attack and stroke. The cause of most cardiovascular events and cerebrovascular accidents is the growth and eventual rupture of arterial plaques.
Which Is the Better Pulse Pressure?
160/120 mm Hg OR 110/70 mm Hg? (The pulse pressure in each pair = 40 mm Hg.)
Higher systolic and diastolic pairs imply higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease
Can Atherosclerosis (Coronary Artery Disease) Be Reversed?
Continue reading “KRON 4 | Heart Attack Predictor: A Third Blood Pressure You Need to Know”
If you sit for long stretches of time, are you doomed to live a shorter life? Is a standing desk the answer? Find out the health effects of and solutions to over-sitting and over-standing.
The Pitfalls of Sitting
- Studies have found that long hours of sitting are linked to heart failure and disability risk, and shortens life expectancy.
- Research has shown that sitting all day reduces the breakdown of fat and increases fat retention.
The Pitfalls of Standing
- There may be negative health effects from sitting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that standing is the solution and a standing desk is the answer.
- Standing has “side effects” and a variable height desk is not appropriate for everyone. Prolonged standing at work can actually be bad for your health.
- Per a 2005 study in Denmark, long bouts of standing can lead to a higher risk for being hospitalized for varicose veins in the legs (swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins and damaged valves).
When Standing May Not Be Healthier
It may be inappropriate for the following people to stand at their desks if they have:
When Standing May Not Work at Work
Sitting requires less energy (about 20% less) than standing and helps keep the body stable, so certain tasks are better performed while sitting down, such as those requiring: Continue reading “KRON 4 | How to Survive a Sedentary Job”
VIDEO: You may think you’re one of the lucky ones who can eat unlimited bags of chips and other troves of salt; and yet, it doesn’t affect your blood pressure. But according to research published in the American College of Cardiology, excess sodium can adversely affect other target organs even if you don’t have hypertension.
Studies show elevated sodium levels can cause the inner lining of blood vessels (called the endothelium) to “malfunction”. The following occurs as a result:
- Vessels stiffen. Arteries that become less elastic and lose their contractility (ability to fully contract and relax) make it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Eventually, the heart wears out (heart failure).
- Vessels become sticky. Think of the lining of your blood vessels as being slick like Teflon. An unhealthy endothelium is sticky like Velcro and causes plaque to attach. Plaque builds up in the brain too — leading to Alzheimer’s.
- The body breeds dangerous inflammation. Inflammation may cause plaque inside blood vessels to crack, rupture, and dislodge from arterial walls. The body responds like with any other injury by causing blood to clot. Clots clog up vessel freeways and block blood flow to the heart (heart attack) or brain (stroke). Inflammation is also the key reason behind why heart attacks are more likely to occur after getting the flu.
NOTE: Eating too much sugar can have the same effect on the endothelium as an excessive intake of sodium.
Research found that elevated sodium levels may increase the wall thickness of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle). This thickening can lead to cardiac issues, such as:
- Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
- Heart attack
- Sudden cardiac arrest (sudden loss of heart function)
- Heart failure (inability of the heart to pump enough blood throughout the body)
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for this muscle tissue enlargement, but it was also found in healthy people with NORMAL blood pressure who consumed high amounts of sodium.
Healthy kidneys remove extra fluid and waste from the blood. Studies found that a high Continue reading “KRON 4 | Salt Affects More Than Blood Pressure”
VIDEO: Did you know that winter is prime heart attack season and heart attacks are the No. 1 killer of women? February is American Heart Month and marks the time to raise awareness about heart disease and how you can prevent it. Over 600,000 Americans die of heart disease every year — that’s one in every four deaths. Weekend anchor Marty Gonzalez on “KRON 4 Morning News Weekend” and I cover a topic that EVERY woman needs to know. Please pass it on to your beloved females.
- Stay warm if you’re an older adult. Wear layers. The elderly are especially at risk because they have less body fat and a diminished ability to sense temperature. Wind, rain, and snow also steal body heat.
- Be wary of snow shoveling especially if you’re not a regular exerciser, have heart disease, or have a chronic medical condition. Snow can be HEAVY. Shoveling is a vigorous activity and can put strain on your heart.
- Cover your mouth and nose. Wearing a scarf allows the air to naturally get warmed before it enters your body, and thus, won’t be such a shock to your heart and lungs. (This is especially critical for the elderly, people with heart disease risk factors or have a cardiac history.)
- Drink water — not alcohol. Water is an insulator and retains body heat.
- Flu can cause inflammation of vital organs and result in multiple organ failure.
- Inflammation may cause the plaque inside blood vessels to crack, rupture, and dislodge which could result in a blockage within an artery.
- When you have the flu, the heart may need to work harder to pump blood through the lungs (which are inflamed from the infection), thus increasing the stress place on the heart.
- Myocarditis, the inflammation and destruction of the heart muscle tissue, can be caused by the flu and lead to rapid heart failure.
- A Circulation study showed that 43% of women do NOT experience acute chest pain at all during a heart attack which is a hallmark sign in men.
Major Symptoms in Women During a Heart Attack
Continue reading “KRON 4 | Why Heart Attacks are the #1 Killer of Women”