Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

Holiday Stress.  How to Keep Your Cool… and Your Heart Health

Posted by Erin Langbein, RD, LD on Dec 1, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Did you know that the winter months, particularly December, have the highest incidents of heart attacks?1  While this could be attributed to the time of year and overindulgence, emotional stress is also believed to be a major factor.  Stress is your mind-body response to the thrills and challenges of the world around you. It can come and go quickly (acute stress). Stress can also drag on for years and feel like intense anxiety (chronic stress). When you’re stressed, your body jumpstarts the “fight or flight” response as a reaction to perceived danger. Before you even have a chance to mentally process what’s happening, your body is preparing to enter a fist fight with a shark, or send you running from a spider.

While you can’t eliminate all causes of stress in your life, you can better understand your mind-body response and how to handle it.

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Topics: Wellness, Men's Health, Alternatives to Medication, Women's Health

Why Exercise is So Important for Diabetics

Posted by Chad Knutson, RD, CDN, CDE, CSCS on Nov 28, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Exercise can play a key role in managing diabetes in several different ways such as improved glucose uptake, improved insulin sensitivity, and increased glucose tolerance. The American Diabetes Association recommends those with prediabetes or diabetes get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 90 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. Ideally, this is at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. Let’s look more closely at how exercise can help manage pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Wellness, Alternatives to Medication

Cooking with Thanksgiving Leftovers- In the Kitchen with Caitlin

Posted by Caitlin Quinn Dunn, MS, RD, LDN on Nov 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Welcome to In the Kitchen with Caitlin, a blog where I take you through ways to use ingredients to create healthy and delicious meals.  With the holiday season fast approaching, I wanted to write a Thanksgiving blog, but with a twist.  I could write about ways to make a healthier dinner, but we’ve done that before!  What I haven’t ever done is explored healthier ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers.  So that’s what I’m doing today!  While many people view Thanksgiving as an unhealthy holiday filled with rich gravy, starchy vegetables, and creamy casseroles, the basics of the meal are lean protein and vegetables.  My intention for this blog is to highlight the healthy portions of the meal and walk you through two ways to use those ingredients to create satisfying meals to get you back on track after the big day has passed.  The recipes featured today are shepherd’s pie and turkey and wild rice soup.  

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Topics: Food and Nutrition

Quitting Tobacco – Practice Makes Perfect

Posted by Dominique Adair, MS, RD, CLS, TTS on Nov 17, 2016 10:30:00 AM


As it is Great American Smokeout Day, it is important to raise awareness that people trying to quit smoking often feel a lot of shame around failed attempts.  Reframing multiple quit attempts as practice for eventual success instead of submission to multiple failures can have an enlightening effect on someone trying to quit.  Understanding these challenges and some tobacco myths and half-truths can help people get closer to quitting smoking for good.

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Topics: Expert Support, Men's Health, Empowerment, Women's Health

Giving Thanks For “Diabetes Reversal”

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Nov 10, 2016 11:35:00 AM

November is National Diabetes Month, and with Thanksgiving just ahead I’d like to express my gratitude to my patients with diabetes and prediabetes. I am tremendously fortunate to have had the privilege of working with thousands of people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes throughout my 20+ years of medical practice. Every week I see patients at the Diabetes Reversal Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and serve as the Medical Director for the Boston Heart Lifestyle Program serving thousands of patients with type 2 diabetes and related risk factors. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve as a diabetes expert for WebMD, including 5 great years leading the WebMD Diabetes Community.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Success Stories

6 Steps to Starting a Weight Loss Program that is Sustainable

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Oct 27, 2016 11:30:00 AM


The quote by Lao Tzu, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is often associated with making lifestyle changes.   This connection is appropriate as it can be extremely difficult to change lifelong habits that may have contributed to obesity, ill health and disease risk. Tzu also instills a sense of hope that one single step is a beginning for change and that changing old habits is a journey and not something achievable overnight. 

Weight loss is most likely the best lifestyle medicine for reducing heart disease risk because it can lead to a lower blood pressure and improved diagnostic test results related to heart disease.1  Weight loss is also important for reducing risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome because excess fat on the body can lead to insulin resistance and higher blood sugars.  Since being overweight (over “fat”) plays a prominent role as a risk factor for the most common chronic diseases, it makes sense to begin the journey to better health by losing weight. 

Begin your weight loss journey with one of these six steps.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Wellness, Alternatives to Medication

What You Should Be Eating... But Likely Aren't

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Oct 13, 2016 11:38:00 AM

“Don’t eat this, don’t eat that.” This seems to be the most popular way to give diet advice. But, why not
turn this around and give advice by suggesting “Eat this, eat that, and here’s why.” It’s time to focus on
what foods are best to eat to achieve an overall healthy diet that can help keep your heart healthy and
your cholesterol levels in check.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Men's Health, Women's Health

Twitter Language Predicts Heart Disease Risk

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Sep 29, 2016 11:30:00 AM


This amazing study published in 20151, demonstrated that heart disease rates in a community could be predicted quite well just by looking at how positively or negatively people were expressing themselves toward others. Using anonymous data analysis, millions of Twitter phrases were used to measure the degree of positivity and negativity expressed in various counties throughout the U.S. Researchers looked for expressions of anger, frustration, and discontent, as well as expressions of happiness, and positivity. For example, the frequency of phrases that included angry curse words was particularly predictive of high rates of heart disease deaths in the same community. On the other hand, high rates of positive or optimistic phrases or words, such as “great” or “wonderful”, predicted lower death rates.

This “community attitude rating” as I will call it, was such a strong predictor of heart disease death rates, that it outperformed any other prediction measure the researchers could find. Regardless of the mix of age, ethnicity, gender, income, education or other demographics, the “community attitude rating” was the clear winner. Twitter language was even more predictive of heart disease death rates than rates of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity in a community.

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Topics: About Stroke, Diabetes and CVD, Men's Health, Women's Health

4 Ways to Get Healthy Arteries and a Healthy Heart

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Sep 22, 2016 11:29:00 AM


 ©2015 Boston Heart Diagnostics Corporation. All rights reserved.

National cholesterol education month is a great time to review why controlling blood cholesterol levels is so important to keeping a healthy heart.  Several major risk factors for heart disease have long been identified and when present together create a perfect storm that can wreak havoc in the lining of the arteries of your heart. When cells of the lining of an artery become damaged, openings are created.  It is this initial damage that allows the excess cholesterol in your blood to enter the lining of the artery and grow into plaque. Overtime, worsening plaque narrows or blocks blood flow and can lead to a heart attack.  Preventing damage to the lining of arteries is the key to avoiding heart disease, but also to avoiding a recurring event if you already have heart disease.  Here are 4 steps you can take toward maintaining healthy arteries and a healthy heart. 

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Topics: Men's Health, Alternatives to Medication, Women's Health

How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Posted by Caroline Hoffman, MS, RD, CDE on Sep 15, 2016 11:14:00 AM

Recent headlines suggest the sugar industry may have influenced researchers to publish articles to minimize the effects of sugar on heart health and instead, shift the attention to saturated fat as the culprit for heart disease1.  Today, the scientific industry is looking more closely at sugar, in fact, in January the U.S. Dietary Guidelines were released with a new recommendation to consume less than 10% of your calories from added sugars.    So what do these guidelines mean for your diet and how can you reduce your sugar intake?

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Latest Science, Men's Health, Women's Health