469720?1388149949
Lee Kirksey, MD  
Male
Cleveland , OH

Specialties: Peripheral Arterial Disease, PAD

Interests: vascular, specialist, treatment options
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Red Meat- A Heart Attack Waiting!!

Apr 09, 2009 - 20 comments
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heart attack risk

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Cholesterol



78617?1374263151
The findings appear in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine.

Over 10 years, eating the equivalent of a quarter-pound hamburger daily gave men in the study a 22 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 27 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease. That's compared to those who ate the least red meat, just 5 ounces per week.

A recently published study in the Archives of Internal Medicine confirmed what an increasing number of studies show.
Individuals who eat a diet high in animal fats like hamburger and processed meats like cold cuts, hot dogs and bacon have a greater risk of heart attack. It is not rocket science to suggest that if one eats a large amount of cholesterol-the body cannot rid itself of all of that fat. As a person who grew up in the midwest on meat and potatoes- I understand that this information may not be welcome news.  However, I think despite what the powerful meat industry tells us, the writing is on the wall. Eat meat in moderation and ones chance of living longer is increased.

Here are some exerpts from the study

Women who ate large amounts of red meat had a 20 percent higher risk of dying of cancer and a 50 percent higher risk of dying of heart disease than women who ate less.

For processed meats, the increased risks for large quantities were slightly lower overall than for red meat. The researchers compared deaths in the people with the highest intakes to deaths in people with the lowest to calculate the increased risk.

People whose diets contained more white meat like chicken and fish had lower risks of death.

The researchers surveyed more than 545,000 people, ages 50 to 71 years old, on their eating habits, then followed them for 10 years. There were more than 70,000 deaths during that time.

So put down the steak and grab yourself a chicken breast or fresh water salmon. Your heart will thank you later

www.personalwellnesswheel.com

DVT Awareness Month

Mar 07, 2009 - 14 comments
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dvt

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blood clot

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leg pain

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Chest Pain

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SHORTNESS OF BREATH

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pe

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embolu

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Pulmonary

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Heart Attack

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Stroke

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Lung

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Blood

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clots

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risk factor

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treatments

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treatment



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March is DVT (Deep Venous Thromboses) awareness month. A time to educate and inform the public about the risk factors, prevention, identification and treatment of this preventable and potentially fatal process. DVT, simply put, is a blood clot that develops in a deep vein of the body. The most harmful consequence of the development of DVT is that pieces of the clot can break off and migrate to the heart or lungs causing acute difficulty breathing and overwhelming stress on the heart. The following lists some of the commonly asked questions

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep vein thrombosis, commonly referred to as "DVT", occurs when a blood clot, or thrombus, develops in the large veins of the legs or pelvic area. Some DVT’s may cause no pain, whereas others can be quite painful. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, the majority of DVT’s are not life threatening. However, a blood clot that forms in the invisible "deep veins" can be an immediate threat to your life, as compared to a clot that forms in the visible "superficial" veins, the ones beneath your skin. A clot that forms in the large, deep veins is more likely to break free and travel through the vein. It is then called an embolus. When an embolus travels from the legs or pelvic areas and lodges in a lung artery, the condition is known as a "pulmonary embolism," or PE, a potentially fatal condition if not immediately diagnosed and treated.

What are the causes of DVT?
Generally, a DVT is caused by a combination of two or three underlying conditions:

slow or sluggish blood flow through a deep vein
a tendency for a person’s blood to clot quickly
irritation or inflammation of the inner lining of the vein.
There are a variety of settings in which this clotting process can occur. First, individuals on bed rest (such as during or after a surgical procedure or medical illness, such as heart attack or stroke), or confined and unable to walk (such as during prolonged air or car travel) are common settings. It can occur in certain families in whom there is a history of parents or siblings who have suffered from prior blood clots. It can also occur in individuals whom active cancer or its treatment may predispose the blood to clotting.

Having a recent major surgical procedure, especially a hip and knee orthopedic surgeries or those requiring prolonged bed rest, predispose the blood to clotting. Irritation or inflammation occurs when a leg vein is injured by a major accident or medical procedure.

Also, there are specific medical conditions that may increase your risk of developing a DVT via these three mechanisms, such as congestive heart failure, severe obesity, chronic respiratory failure, a history of smoking, varicose veins, pregnancy and estrogen treatment. If you are concerned that you may be at risk due to any of these conditions, please consult with your physician.


Helpful Ways to Avoid Medical Errors

Feb 20, 2009 - 20 comments
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medical errors

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Heart Attack

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Stroke

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medication errors

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dept of health

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philadelphia

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pennsylvania

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university of pennsylvania



64177?1257533851
I sit on an advisory board for our state that focuses on medical errors. Medical errors can occur in many forms including  prescribing medications in people with allergies, wrong dosages, wrong site surgery and many others. Most of the problems occur do to systems errors more so than do to the incompetence of a single individuals.

I recently had surgery on my ankle and I was quite concerned with this issue. I thought it might be helpful to post some ways that a patient or family member of a patient might be able to minimize the chance of a medical error occuring

What Can You Do? Be Involved in Your Health Care

1.   The single most important way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team.
That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. Some specific tips, based on the latest scientific evidence about what works best, follow.

Medicines
2.   Make sure that all of your doctors know about everything you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and dietary supplements such as vitamins and herbs.
At least once a year, bring all of your medicines and supplements with you to your doctor. "Brown bagging" your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. It can also help your doctor keep your records up to date, which can help you get better quality care.

3.   Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines.
This can help you avoid getting a medicine that can harm you.

4.   When your doctor writes you a prescription, make sure you can read it.
If you can't read your doctor's handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either.

5.   Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand—both when your medicines are prescribed and when you receive them.
What is the medicine for?
How am I supposed to take it, and for how long?
What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur?
Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?

6.   When you pick up your medicine from the pharmacy, ask: Is this the medicine that my doctor prescribed?
A study by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences found that 88 percent of medicine errors involved the wrong drug or the wrong dose.

7.   If you have any questions about the directions on your medicine labels, ask.
Medicine labels can be hard to understand. For example, ask if "four doses daily" means taking a dose every 6 hours around the clock or just during regular waking hours.

8.   Ask your pharmacist for the best device to measure your liquid medicine. Also, ask questions if you're not sure how to use it.
Research shows that many people do not understand the right way to measure liquid medicines. For example, many use household teaspoons, which often do not hold a true teaspoon of liquid. Special devices, like marked syringes, help people to measure the right dose. Being told how to use the devices helps even more.

9.   Ask for written information about the side effects your medicine could cause.
If you know what might happen, you will be better prepared if it does—or, if something unexpected happens instead. That way, you can report the problem right away and get help before it gets worse. A study found that written information about medicines can help patients recognize problem side effects and then give that information to their doctor or pharmacist.

Hospital Stays
10.   If you have a choice, choose a hospital at which many patients have the procedure or surgery you need.
Research shows that patients tend to have better results when they are treated in hospitals that have a great deal of experience with their condition.

11.   If you are in a hospital, consider asking all health care workers who have direct contact with you whether they have washed their hands.
Handwashing is an important way to prevent the spread of infections in hospitals. Yet, it is not done regularly or thoroughly enough. A recent study found that when patients checked whether health care workers washed their hands, the workers washed their hands more often and used more soap.

12.   When you are being discharged from the hospital, ask your doctor to explain the treatment plan you will use at home.
This includes learning about your medicines and finding out when you can get back to your regular activities. Research shows that at discharge time, doctors think their patients understand more than they really do about what they should or should not do when they return home.

Surgery
13.   If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.
Doing surgery at the wrong site (for example, operating on the left knee instead of the right) is rare. But even once is too often. The good news is that wrong-site surgery is 100 percent preventable. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons urges its members to sign their initials directly on the site to be operated on before the surgery.

Other Steps You Can Take
14.   Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
You have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care.

15.   Make sure that someone, such as your personal doctor, is in charge of your care.
This is especially important if you have many health problems or are in a hospital.

16.   Make sure that all health professionals involved in your care have important health information about you.
Do not assume that everyone knows everything they need to.

17.   Ask a family member or friend to be there with you and to be your advocate (someone who can help get things done and speak up for you if you can't).
Even if you think you don't need help now, you might need it later.

18.   Know that "more" is not always better.
It is a good idea to find out why a test or treatment is needed and how it can help you. You could be better off without it.

19.   If you have a test, don't assume that no news is good news.
Ask about the results.

20.   Learn about your condition and treatments by asking your doctor and nurse and by using other reliable sources.

Five Reliable (Surefire) ways to avoid Heart Disease in 2009

Jan 14, 2009 - 17 comments
Tags:

heart disease prevention

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Heart Attack

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high cholesterol

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Congestive Heart Failure

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stroke prevention

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Chest Pain

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heart diseases

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2009



53835?1240495106
Patients always ask how they can avoid getting heart disease. I could give you a million things that might work but in the interest of time, I thought of a list of five things that if everyone could do them-the incidence of heart disease would be much less. These are the goals that you should try to achieve. For a detailed program of ideas about how to go about accomplishing these goals, visit www.personalwellnesswheel.com or buy Your Guide to Optimal Health: Creating Your Personal Wellness Wheel on Amazon

1. Don't smoke or use tobacco products
When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,800 chemicals. Many of these can damage your heart and blood vessels, making them more vulnerable to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by constricting blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called "social smoking" — only smoking while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. Worse, this risk increases with age, especially over 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,800 chemicals. Many of these can damage your heart and blood vessels, making them more vulnerable to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes your heart work harder by constricting blood vessels and increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in your blood. This increases your blood pressure by forcing your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called "social smoking" — only smoking while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease.

Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. Worse, this risk increases with age, especially over 35.

The good news, though, is that when you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.

2. Get active
You already know that physical activity is good for you. But you may not realize just how good it is for you.

Regularly participating in moderately vigorous physical activity can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease by nearly a quarter. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

Regular physical activity helps prevent heart disease by increasing blood flow to your heart and strengthening your heart's contractions so that your heart pumps more blood with less effort. Physical activity also helps you control your weight and can reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may also be a factor in heart disease.

Federal guidelines recommend that you get at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts offer heart benefits, so if you can't meet those guidelines, don't give up. And remember that things like gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don't have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet
Consistently eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products can help protect your heart. Legumes, low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Limiting your intake of certain fats also is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels. Major sources of saturated fat include beef, butter, cheese, milk, and coconut and palm oils. There's growing evidence that trans fat may be worse than saturated fat because unlike saturated fat, it both raises your LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol. Sources of trans fat include deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines and crackers.

Heart-healthy eating isn't all about cutting back, though. Most people, for instance, need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day.

"There's a huge amount of data to suggest that fruits and vegetables are highly effective in preventing not just cardiovascular disease, but cancer and other diseases as well," Dr. Hayes says.

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish are a good natural source of omega-3s. However, pregnant women and women of childbearing age should avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish because they contain levels of mercury high enough to pose a danger to a developing fetus. But for most others, the health benefits of fish outweigh any risks associated with mercury. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.

Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. Above that, it becomes a health hazard.


4. Maintain a healthy weight
As you put on weight in adulthood, you gain mostly fatty tissue. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

How do you know if your weight is healthy? One way is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers your height and weight in determining whether you have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat.

BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

The BMI is a good but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference is also a useful tool to assess abdominal fat. In general, men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches. And women, in general, are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches.

Even small reductions in weight can be beneficial. Reducing your weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.



5. Get regular health screenings
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your cardiovascular system, including your heart. But without testing for them, you probably won't know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.

Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. You may need more frequent checks if your numbers aren't optimal or if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years. You may need more frequent testing if your numbers aren't optimal or if you have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.