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Category Archives: Health

Robotic Heart Surgery

Today, robotically assisted heart surgery has changed the way certain heart surgeries are being performed.

Robotic heart surgery, also called closed-chest heart surgery, is a type of minimally invasive heart surgery that allows cardiac surgeons to perform complex heart operations through a smaller opening. The surgery also helps decrease surgical stress and minimizes blood loss, as well as offers patients a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery.

In this technically advanced heart surgery, the cardiac surgeons use a specially designed surgical robotic system which consists three parts- a console, robotic arms and an instrument tower containing tiny camera.

While performing the surgery, the surgeon sits at the computer console to remotely control thin robotic arms outfitted with surgical equipment and a tiny camera (endoscope) through which the surgeons view a three-dimensional image of the area being operated on.

The robotic arms mimic the surgeon’s hand, wrists, and finger movements as the surgeon controls them remotely from the system console.

The da Vinci machine, built by Intuitive Surgical Inc., and the Zeus Surgical System, by Computer Motion, California, USA, are the two surgical robotic systems that are currently used in place of hand-operating instruments.

Robotically Assisted Heart Surgery Procedures

The cardiac conditions that can be treated with the use of robotic assistance include:

Endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
Totally endoscopic coronary artery bypass grafting (TECAB)
Tricuspid valve repair and replacement
Mitral valve repair or replacement
Combined mitral and tricuspid valve surgery
Atrial septal defect (ASD)
Atrial myxoma and thrombi
Patent foramen ovale (PFO) repair
Removal of cardiac tumors
Lead placement on the surface of the left ventricle during a biventricular pacemaker
Ablation for the treatment of atrial fibrillation
Cardiac and thoracic tumors
Mediastinal mass excision
Epicardial lead placement

Benefits

Less post-operative pains
Substantially smaller and less-traumatic incisions
Less scarring
Reduced trauma to the body
Low risk of wound infection
Eliminates the need for splitting the breastbone (sternum) and spreading the ribs
Reduced blood loss and fewer transfusions
Shorter hospital stays (3 to 5 days)
Faster recovery and quicker return to daily activities and lifestyles

Heart Bypass Recovery

1 – The need for bed rest and minimization of stress. This period may take anywhere from a week to four weeks depending on the health of the patient before the surgery and how the surgery goes. The loss of blood from the procedure will mean that the body is anemic and this will cause the patient to tire easily during the initial days of bypass recovery period, so bed rest is compulsory and important.

2 – Infection prevention. Heart bypass is a major procedure requiring a number of incisions and stitches. The risk of infection is very real and proper wound care is absolutely essential to ensure complete recovery. For this, the services of a private nurse may be necessary to ensure that the wound is regularly cleaned, the gauge regularly replaced, and the medication regularly administered to promote healing in the shortest possible time.

3 – Heart health. The heart of the patient should not be subjected to any extra physical work early on in the heart bypass surgery recovery period. The heart will not be strong enough to handle the increased flow of blood and the increased heart rate during this period. Thus, absolute care must be taken to manage the patient’s condition, never allowing them to do much physical exertion until about 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery.

4 – Physical exercise. Once all the incisions have properly healed, it is time to re-condition the heart so it can deal with the normal stresses of everyday living. To do this, patients should have regular walking exercises out on the street or on a treadmill. However, the level of physical intensity should be kept at a minimum at first and then only gradually increased as the patient gains more physical strength. It is very important to watch the routine to be certain exercise is done but kept within reasonable boundaries.

All about Bradycardia

If a person experiences any of the above symptoms, he or she should seek medical advice as soon as possible, since bradycardia can cause the following complications:

• Stokes-Adams attacks – periodic loss of consciousness. Such faints are followed by general muscle spasms, the pulse becomes too slow or undetectable, skin cover becomes very pale and breathing – deep;
• Sudden cardiac arrest;
• Arterial hypertension or unstable blood pressure;
• Coronary heart disease, effort or rest (unstable) angina pectoris;
• Development of chronic circulatory failure.

Pathological bradycardia can be the symptom of the following:
• Hypothyroidism – reduced production of thyroid hormones;
• Cardiovascular disorders like myocardial infarction, endocarditis or myocarditis;
• Acute intoxication (lead, pesticides, nicotine, narcotic substances);
• Traumatic brain injury, increased intracranial pressure;
• Infections such as typhoid, viral hepatitis, sepsis;
• Side effect of certain medications, for example, beta-blockers, cardiac glycosides, etc.

However, regardless of the cause of bradycardia, disturbed function of the sinus node (it means it cannot synthesize electrical impulses with the rate over 60 bpm) or inadequate spread of the impulses through the conduction pathways lie at the heart of this condition.

Preventive measures of bradycardia may include control and management of blood pressure and heart rate, healthy diet (reduced fat and salt consumption), smoking cessation and adequate alcohol consumption, maintenance of the work-rest regimen, fresh air, and regular physical activity. Annual medical check-ups will help to detect and cure any type of bradycardia.

Here are the basic principles of bradycardia treatment:
• If the heart rate is less than 60 bpm but no diseases of the cardiovascular system or other body organs are found, it’s enough to apply preventive measures;
• The treatment of an underlying disease that provokes bradycardia;
• Change in the medications that can cause bradycardia;
• Severe bradycardia (heart rate less than 40 beats per minute) that leads to the development of heart failure can require a surgery to implant a pacemaker.

Hidden Dangers of Alcohol

Alcohol does a number on the liver, but do you know why? A healthy liver can process about 1 oz of alcohol per hour. The rest of the alcohol goes through your system and is ‘stored’ in other parts until the liver can metabolize it. This storage can cause serious problems, such as muscle pain, arthritis pain, heart failure and brain injury.

The liver is a very important organ and while it is consumed with the processing of the alcohol, it cannot do what it is supposed to. One of the chief concerns is that medications are not processed in due time. Any back up of medication in the system can cause the medication to be more effective. So, if you are taking a medication to reduce your heart rate, taking alcohol with it can cause your heart to slow further. Plus, with alcohol being a depressant, the medications can turn fatal quickly.

The toxic by-products and additives are also not processed while the liver is consumed with alcohol. These toxic additives, like preservatives, colorings and artificial sugars, then are stored in fat tissue. Because our body knows it will poison itself if that fat tissue is used for energy, you are unable to lose that fat tissue no matter how hard you exercise. Thus, alcohol makes you fatter.

Over time, the alcohol starts to destroy the liver itself. This is why heavy drinkers often die of liver disease. When the liver begins to degrade, its ability to process fat and chemicals decreases. These fats and chemicals are stored in the body, particularly in the liver and fat cells. The liver swells and fat tissue swells and drinks obtain the ‘beer gut’. Even casual drinks begin to see this effect.

Drinkers often develop diabetes. This is because one of the pathways for the processing of alcohol turns the alcohol into sugar. It’s similar to drinking a soda. In addition, drinkers often have poor diets. With the onset of diabetes, the alcohol processing is slowed. Any complications from diabetes is increased, such as blindness and amputation.

Different descent can play a factor as well. People of Asian descent are better able to process alcohol, but pay the price because the toxic by-products build up far quicker than the body’s ability to process them. Caucasians face the challenge of not breaking the alcohol down as quickly, so it remains in the system longer.

Clogged Arteries

Arteries Clogging– As mentioned when the arteries are healthy their walls are very smooth which allows blood to flow freely and without any problems. The problem starts when materials inside the body become lodged on the interior walls of the arteries causing them to block the passageway of the blood circulating throughout the body. The material blocking the arteries is called plaque and it can slow down the passage of blood or in some cases block it altogether.

What causes Arterial Plaque– What causes the build-up of materials inside the arteries that can block the passage of blood? Plaque is actually made up of different kinds of materials that can be found inside the circulating in the blood. These materials include fibrin, fat, cholesterol, calcium and waste materials that have been removed from cells.

Arterial plaque build-up can be made worse by the fact that the cells on your arterial wall will react to the build-up by secreting additional substances that can add to the build-up and hasten the blocking of the passage of blood. As the blockage of the arteries worsens a condition called atherosclerosis is developed where the arteries narrows down and deteriorate. This condition is hastened by the presence of the following materials in the blood:

Bad Cholesterol– There are two types of cholesterol, good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Bad cholesterol is a major contributing factor in the development of arterial plaque and so when there is a higher level of it than good cholesterol then you can be sure that the arteries will soon start to develop atherosclerosis.

Cigarette Smoke– Smoke from cigarette contains a lot of toxins and chemicals that can cause atherosclerosis. This is the reason why smoking is a major contributing factor in the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Electric Hypersensitivty

Concurrent with this situation I developed a condition called AFIB, atrial fibrillation. In effect my heart would lose it’s rhythm and race, slow down, add extra beats and I would always know when this was happening as I’d get a feeling in my chest. AFIB can be a serious condition because if the condition persists for prolonged periods of time blood clots can form and cause a stroke. While living in Toronto until 2003 my condition was closely monitored by an excellent cardiologist from Sunnybrook Medical Centre. There were several emergency trips to the hospital, usually around 5:00am in the morning when my afib attacks always seemed to occur… but I was always lucky as my heart always seemed to have the ability to regain sinus rhythm without the need for medical intervention.

In 2003 We moved to Waterloo Ontario and I found what I thought was a good cardiologist as he came from the Ottawa Heart Institute. One of the first things he did was to put me on an antiarrhythmic drug called Amiodarone. I took this drug for four years and while I still had occasional afib attacks they were less frequent.

In the fall of 2006 I decided to take a part time job back in broadcasting as a reporter/news anchor. Around Christmas time I began experiencing a fullness in my throat, the inability to clear my throat and I began to have symptoms that affected my ability to work in broadcasting. One morning while I was shaving I noticed my throat appeared as if there was something the size of a tennis ball lodged in it. I immediately made an appointment to see the cardiologist and his response to me was that there was nothing wrong.

By March of 2007 I had dropped more than twenty five pounds, was unable to sleep at night due to the pounding sound of my irregular heart beat in my ears. These attacks scared me as they were now lasting for hours. This was something new.

I ended up in the emergency ward at one of the local hospitals. Many of the symptoms I was having resembled a heart attack. But fortunately for me that wasn’t the case… I was in hyperthyroid storm… My thyroid was overloaded with iodine and in fact was so bloated that radiographic images were almost impossible to be taken as there was little or no place for the radioactive isotope to be absorbed into the thyroid.

My wife told me that literally overnight I had transformed from a basically healthy male adult to having the appearance of a frail old man. The intervention of an endocrinologist saved my life and by the late fall miraculously I was almost back to normal having gained back most of the weight I had lost. The miracle in all of this is that my thyroid which I was told was destroyed and that I’d have to take hormones for the rest of my life, started functioning normally again. This whole experience had been caused by a rare allergy I had to the drug Amiodarone.

Had my cardiologist truly listened to me and done a proper job of examining me when I saw him in January of 2007, I would have never had to go through this life threatening experience. Throughout all of this ordeal I sought out information on the causes of AFIB. A lot of the information I read said that things like caffeine could cause it. So I eliminated all the possible triggers I could. But still the afib persisted.

Throughout the 1990’s and into the 2000’s I had worked for a few big consumer electronics companies and was quite often sitting in an office setting under bright fluorescent lighting. I would suffer from low energy, headaches, palpitations, shortness of breath and an overall feeling of uneasiness. I had the fluorescent lights above my desk removed at one company and placed a small lamp on my desk.

Within a day the headaches and lethargy disappeared. I found this quite interesting. The other thing I clued into was that when working on the old tube computer monitors I used to get head and eye aches. Upon further examination I discovered these symptoms only occurred when the refresh rate of the monitor was at 60HZ. By simply raising the refresh rate to 72hz the symptoms disappeared.

Was I on to something here?… If I was… I didn’t truly understand what I had stumbled on.

Throughout all of the stints I have had working in the consumer electronics industry that started in the early 1990’s and continued on through 2009, I never clued into the fact that all the technologies I was selling, like cordless phones, cell phones, televisions, radios, all had one thing in common. They all emitted radiation in some form or another and I was immersed in this world not only through work but by embracing the technologies in my home.

May 31st 2011 was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. This was the day the World Health Organization reversed its position on whether or not non ionizing radiation from wireless technologies could affect the health of people. Previously the WHO said there was no effect but on May 31 they did a 180 degree turn and stated the following:

Lyon, France, May 31, 2011 The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain Cancer associated with wireless phone use. I immediately started reading and researching and calling people, asking questions and despite the announcement from the WHO, the level of denial was stronger than ever as to whether this electrosmog that we are immersed in everywhere could affect our health.

It seems the scientific community which doesn’t have a vested interest monetarily in this huge issue says we need to be careful and do more research and follow people form more than ten years as cancer in most cases has a long latency period. And the telecom Industry, to this moment continues to deny there is a potential problem, touting studies they have paid for that are riddled with vagueness, testing inconsistencies and the major problem being they haven’t followed test subjects for much more than ten years.

They don’t want to talk about where the statistics go when people are followed beyond ten years because it is scary. Never in the history of mankind has a technology been in the hands of everyone, young and old… a technology that has never been tested for long term safety as to it’s effect on our bioelectric bodies.

We are electric… all around us are different frequencies… some good… some bad… but as more and more research continues to be compiled… we are learning more with each passing day.

Improve Cholesterol Levels Naturally

Hypercholesterolemia is one of the major health threats in our modern society. If you are suffering hypercholesterolemia, here are four ways to improve your cholesterol level naturally and to balance your blood levels of cholesterol.

  • Daily Exercise

Obviously, daily exercise will help you lose weight, thus reducing the fats in your body that has cholesterol. In addition, daily exercise stimulates the enzymes that transport fat to the liver, thus converted to bile and partly excreted.

  • Taking more fiber

Fiber generally eliminates cholesterol naturally. Cholesterol sticks on the fiber in the intestine, thus not reabsorbed back into the body, but eliminated. To lower cholesterol naturally, take foods rich in fiber like apples, broccoli, beans, cabbage etc.

  • Reduce stress

Stress causes inflammation and is a major cause of hypercholesterolemia that you should strive to eliminate. It heightens the fat buildup in the arteries, thus high blood pressure. You can therefore lower cholesterol naturally through reducing stress. Reduce stress through relaxation exercises, meditation or identify what stresses you have in life and look for ways to reduce them.

  • A controlled diet

The major area your health expert will want you to focus on is diet and do away with foods high in cholesterol content. There are numerous diets you can follow to lower and improve cholesterol naturally. I won’t go into them here because as the internet has thousands of choices. Unless you are specific about what you want from your new diet. You may not get the results you desire.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic Care… it works

According to Dr. George Bakris M.D. the director of the University of Chicago Hypertension Center “Not only does chiropractic work, we saw no side effects and no problems”. He was referring a study from 2007 in the Journal of Human Hypertension. According to this 8 week, 50 patient study with early stage high blood pressure, Chiropractic adjustments were more effective in lowering blood pressure then two medication combined. 25 patients were specifically adjusted which caused their blood pressure to be significantly lower compared to the 25 patients who received “sham” adjustments. X-rays on the 25 patients who had the true adjustments showed that the procedure realigned the Atlas Vertebra. This is the circular shaped bone at the top of the spine. One average the these patients saw a drop in systolic blood pressure of 14mm Hg and an average drop in diastolic blood pressure of 8mm Hg. Out of the 50 patients, none took blood pressure medication during the study.

Dr. Bakris was quoted saying that “When the statistician brought me the data, I actually didn’t believe it. It was way to good to be true.” His statistician said, “I didn’t believe it either, but we checked for everything and there it was.” Spinal subluxation at the Atlas level is known to interfere with the activity of the Medulla Oblongata, also known as the brainstem and control center for blood pressure. The study suggested that injury to the neck earlier in life can affect blood flow in the arteries at the base of the skull. Makes sense yes? Specific adjustments of the Atlas naturally allow the body to receive and send proper communication to the brain ensuring it can recognize conditions such as high blood pressure and regulate them accordingly and naturally as it should.

Proper Blood Flow and Exercise

Small changes in you daily routine can make big differences in your health. Exercise can help you control your blood pressure and is vital to your health. Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger and with a stronger heart you pump more blood with less effort. If your heart works less, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure. Regular exercise is considered to be a least 30-60 min at a minimum of 4 days a week. This alone can lower your blood pressure and help you loose weight which in turn will also aid in lowering your blood pressure and increasing your health overall. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at a greater risk. According to the Mayo Clinic, Average American Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters) or 36 inches (91 cm) for Asian men. Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 cm) or 32 inch (81 cm) for Asian women.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Just like small changes in increased activity can have great effects, so can small changes in diet. Lowering your sugar intake is one of the most important changes. Change to a natural sugar substitute like Stevia or Lo Han. Please read up on the risks of other artificial sweeteners before changing to one of them. You can also use fresh fruit instead of canned fruit for sugar in meals or recipes calling for a bit of sweetness and try using spices instead of sugar to add flavor to your meal. Aim to reduce the amount of fruit drinks, soda, dairy desserts and candy you consume as well. If your goal is to avoid sugar be sure to limit your intake of fruits high in Fructose. Fructose (which is considered to be anything with sugar which obviously some fruits are very high in) has been found to promote metastasis in breast cancer, shows genotoxic effects on the colon, promotes a condition called intracranial atherosclerosis (a narrowing and hardening of the arteries in your skull), increases your risk for heart disease and feeds cancer. Ideally you want to avoid sugar/fructose, grains and processed foods. Eat more whole foods (organic if at all possible of anything you can) and switch your grains out for lots of veggies, a low to moderate amount of high quality protein (again organic, non-antibiotic, farm raised grass feed if at all possible) and healthy fats.

Some Causes of High Blood Pressure

Obesity also causes high blood pressure. Obesity is a growing problem in our western world. Excess fat squeezes the major blood vessels in the body which in turn causes hypertension.

Smoking contributes to hypertension. So, we should think of getting rid of our nicotine habit, if we have one. With every puff of smoke you take, your blood turns a little less red and a little blue, depriving your brain of the energy it needs to function properly.

Excessive and persistent alcohol intake can lead to higher blood pressure. Excessive drinking is defined by the medical literature as two or more drinks a day.

A sedentary lifestyle may be increasingly imposed on us by modern life’s demands and the wired world. We certainly sit a lot more than our ancestors did. And this is increasing our blood pressure and obesity rates at an alarming rate every year.

Insufficient or poor quality sleep can also contribute to high blood pressure. Sleeping in long enough to feel rested is not a luxury. It is an opportunity for the brain to rejuvenate itself and for the proper blood supply to reach our brains.

Persistent loneliness, high anxiety and depression can also cause hypertension. These conditions can impair our mind and the flow of the blood to our heart.

Excess stress can cause problems too. This is because when we are stressed our arteries get overworked and clots and clogs are possible over the long term.

Noise also can cause an increase in heart rate. This is especially the case for noise that is irritating to the ears.

Benefits Oatmeal

Oatmeal Alternatives

If you just can’t get yourself to consume oatmeal in one form or another, here’s a few other foods that are rich in soluble fiber.

– Lentils

– Apples

– Oranges

– Pears

– Strawberries

– Nuts

– Flaxseed

– Beans

– Blueberries

– Cucumbers

– Carrots

Types of Oatmeal

Yes there are different types of oatmeal. All of them have the same original material which is oats of course. It’s the way that they are processed and prepared that varies.

The healthiest is Steel Cut Oats. These are more expensive and harder to find. They are oats that are chopped into small pieces. They are chewier, which some people prefer. Steel Cut Oats have the lowest glycemic index of all the types.

Old fashioned oats are probably the most common. They are oats that are rolled into flattened pieces. They are a little quicker to cook than Steel Cut Oats.

Quick cooking oats are almost the same as old fashioned oats but they are pressed into thinner pieces to make cooking faster.

Instant oatmeal is not as healthy as the other types. In fact, some instant oatmeal contains added sugars and salt which can make them unhealthy. They’re convenient but simply not as good for you as the other types.

If you’re serious about lowering your cholesterol, try adding steel cut or old fashioned oats to your daily diet. It’s one great tasting idea that can make a difference!