Deepak Chopra, MD
Surely you've heard the bad news about trans fats. New York City has banned their use in restaurants. Many state governments have taken action to limit their consumption and use in mass-produced foods. And health experts around the world agree that their presence in foods should be reduced to trace amounts, if not eliminated. Why does this kind of fat inspire dire health warnings and legal action?
Chances are, you will never have a heart attack. If you know your family history of heart disease, keep track of your blood pressure, and stick to healthful habits, your miraculous cardiovascular system should sustain you through a long, productive life. But there's always the possibility that you or someone close to you will feel the early warning signs of a heart attack.
Have you had enough of winter? Are you ready for the golden days of spring and summer? The shorter days from December to March can bring the curtain down on our moods and well-being. Some people experience a distinct form of depression in winter, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The disorder is rooted in the interplay between our natural circadian rhythms, the brain chemical melatonin, and the warmth and light of the sun.
Your blood vessels are the body's superhighway. Blood races through more than 50,000 miles of vessels, delivering nutrients to cells and hauling waste products away from them. One of the blood's most vital passengers is oxygen. Oxygen binds to hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, and is carried to cells throughout the body. Anemia occurs when hemoglobin does not carry enough oxygen to cells. There are several possible causes.
The kidneys are the hubs of the body's plumbing system. In any plumbing system, a steady supply of water keeps the whole operation flowing. In the kidneys, waste products carried by the blood are filtered out and converted into urine, which is sent on its way to the urinary bladder. There, it is stored until it is eliminated.
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sneaky invader. Genital HPV, pictured above, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S., yet most of the people who have it have no idea that they been exposed. More than 40 types of HPV can be spread through sexual contact. Approximately 20 million Americans are infected with the virus right now.
Every January, millions of Americans resolve to exercise with renewed dedication and vigor. Whether you are starting a new fitness program, or fine-tuning your current workouts, thoughtful planning will help you get more benefits from exercise.
Here comes 2011! More than 40% of American adults make a resolution to change their ways each year. It may not surprise you to learn that fewer than half keep their promises to themselves for longer than 6 months. Our habits are hard to break, but it's not impossible. To change your life, you have to change your mind. The neural pathways, highlighted in the image, above of an actual brain, carry messages that guide every move we make. Each action that affects our health, from sleeping to exercising to eating the right amount, involves the interplay of specific brain chemicals with other systems of the body. With a clear mission and a lot of resolve, you can break bad health habits. When you do, your amazing brain will adapt to—and reinforce—your new, better decisions.
Every time your heart beats, its power propels blood through your arteries as it begins its journey to the rest of your body. Your blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against your arteries with each beat. When your doctor measures your blood pressure, the reading is made up of two numbers. The first is called systolic pressure. It is the pressure while the heart is contracting. The second, smaller number is called the diastolic pressure. That’s the pressure against the arteries when your heart is at rest. (The numbers represent pressure units in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg.) So a normal blood pressure reading of 120 mmHg systolic and 80 mmHg diastolic is expressed as “120 over 80.” Both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure are important indicators of your cardiovascular health. Your risk of heart attack, stroke and other ailments rises with your blood pressure reading. The American Heart Association reports that about 69 percent of people who have a first heart attack and 77 percent who have a first stroke turn out to have blood pressure higher than 140 over 90. And when high blood pressure, or hypertension, combines with high cholesterol, the risks skyrocket.
Learn more about the importance of your blood pressure readings:
Brought to you by Deepak Chopra, MD, Alexander Tsiaras, and TheVisualMD.com