Friday, February 27, 2009

Health Tips for February 27

Health Tip: Understanding Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is a group of factors that combine to increase a person's risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other diseases, including stroke.

The American Heart Association offers this list of criteria for metabolic syndrome:

  • Excess fat around the abdomen.
  • High triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Difficulty processing insulin.
  • High levels of fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 in the blood.
  • High blood levels of C-reactive protein.

Health Tip: Preparing for a Stress Test

If your doctor has prescribed an exercise stress test to monitor how your heart performs during activity, there are a few things you should do before the test.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers these suggestions to help you prepare:

  • For at least three hours prior to the stress test, don't eat or smoke. And don't drink anything that contains alcohol or caffeine.
  • Do not use Viagra within 24 hours of the test. Nitroglycerin (sometimes given during a stress test) may interact with Viagra, resulting in a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
  • Unless your doctor has instructed otherwise, take all of your other medications as you normally would.
  • You'll be exercising during the test, so wear appropriate clothing, including comfortable shoes or sneakers and loose workout clothes.
  • For the test itself, electrodes that monitor your heart's activity will be applied to your chest, and you will pedal, walk or run on a machine while your heart rate is monitored.

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