Heart Healthy Blog by Boston Heart

Playing the Hand You’re Dealt: Genetics vs. Lifestyle Choices

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Feb 23, 2017 10:01:00 AM

I recently read about a new Healthy Lifestyle study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.1  When a top medical journal reports such a study it tends to strongly influence the way doctors and other experts think about the value of “Lifestyle Medicine.” I’m excited to declare that the new findings strongly support the critically important role of healthy lifestyle habits for preventing premature cardiovascular disease, especially in people with an increased “genetic risk.”

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

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

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

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

A Healthy Waist is Less than Half Your Height

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD on Sep 8, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Leonardo da Vinci’s globally recognized illustration “Vitruvian Man”, created around 1490 AD, is an inspirational reminder that human bodies are amazingly symmetrical, beautiful and functional. For example, human arm span is the same length as body height, forming a square in his illustration. At the center of a circle, circumscribed by outstretched arms and legs, is the navel. The navel is also located at the “golden ratio” point along the human body. The golden ratio, a measure of symmetry and natural beauty famous among mathematicians and architects (symbolized by the Greek letter phi), can be found throughout the body when analyzing the lengths of related body parts, body dimensions, and facial features. In fact, symmetry and special ratios can be found throughout the natural world, and in the physical laws of nature and the universe.

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

How a Coach Can Help You Reach Your Health Goals

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Sep 1, 2016 11:00:00 AM

September is National Cholesterol Education Month.  It’s a great time to check out your cholesterol numbers – and if need be – to get them under control. If it turns out you need help lowering your cholesterol levels your healthcare provider may recommend a medication, however, don’t overlook the impact lifestyle changes can have on your health.  You may be able to lower your cholesterol levels through diet and exercise—working with a health coach is a great way to make long lasting lifestyle changes sustainable.  Here are some of the many benefits to working with a health coach:

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Men's Health, Alternatives to Medication, Women's Health

Should You be Taking CoQ10?

Posted by Peggy G. Daly, ND, FNP-BC, FNMM, ABAAHP, MBA on Jul 28, 2016 2:39:04 PM

CO…what???  That’s a common response when I ask a patient to start taking Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone (or in activated form ubiquinol)!  Yes CoQ10 has a funny name but your body needs it to produce energy in every cell. 

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

5 Ways to Increase Your Hidden Superhero (HDL Cholesterol)

Posted by Michael Dansinger, MD & Kristy Consalvo, MBA on Jul 14, 2016 11:20:00 AM

Have you ever felt you have a superpower inside of you? Well, you do! Every single one of us does—it’s our High Density Lipoprotein (HDL).  What makes HDL a superpower? HDL particles in the blood- helps to clear out excess cholesterol from your arteries helping to reduce your risk of forming a blockage which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.1

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

5 Facts About Dietary Cholesterol

Posted by Joi Gleason, RD, LDN, CHWC on Feb 25, 2016 11:25:00 AM


After years of avoiding steak, eggs and ice cream as part your quest for maintaining good cholesterol levels, now you are finding yourself ready to indulge.  Are the new guidelines too good to be true?  Consider these 5 undisputable facts before you add more butter to your bread.

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Topics: Food and Nutrition, Latest Science, Alternatives to Medication