Take Steps To Reduce Heart Risks

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic

Amarillo, TX –

From the National Institutes of Health –


February is American Heart Month—a time to reflect on the sobering fact that heart disease remains the number one killer of both women and men in the United States. The good news is you have the power to protect and improve your heart health.

NIH and other government agencies have been working to advance our understanding of heart disease so that people can live longer, healthier lives. Research has found that you can lower your risk for heart disease simply by adopting sensible health habits.

To protect your heart, the first step is to learn your own personal risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors are conditions or habits that make you more likely to develop a disease. Risk factors can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse.

Certain risk factors—like getting older or having a family history of heart disease—can’t be changed. But you do have control over some important risk factors such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, excess weight, diabetes and physical inactivity.
Many people have more than one risk factor. To safeguard your heart, it’s best to lower or eliminate as many as you can because they tend to “gang up” and worsen each other’s effects.

A large NIH-supported study published last month underscores the importance of managing your risk factors. Scientists found that middle-aged adults with one or more elevated risk factors, such as high blood pressure, were much more likely to have a heart attack or other major heart-related event during their remaining lifetime than people with optimal levels of risk factors.

“For example, women with at least 2 major risk factors were 3 times as likely to die from cardiovascular disease as women with none or 1 risk factor,” says Dr. Susan B. Shurin, acting director of NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “You can and should make a difference in your heart health by understanding and addressing your personal risk.”

To tackle your heart risk factors, it helps to know your numbers. Ask your health care provider to measure your blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Then determine if your weight is in the healthy range.

The higher your cholesterol level, the greater your risk for heart disease or heart attack. High blood cholesterol itself doesn’t cause symptoms, so you can’t know if your cholesterol is too high unless you have it tested. Routine blood tests can show your overall cholesterol level and separate levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, HDL (“good”) cholesterol and triglycerides. All of these blood measurements are linked to your heart health.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is another major risk factor for heart disease, as well as for stroke. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because, like high cholesterol, it usually has no symptoms. Blood pressure is always reported as 2 numbers, and any numbers above 120/80 mmHg raise your risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Scientific evidence is strong that controlling high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure prevents cardiac events such as heart attacks,” says Dr. Michael Lauer, a heart disease specialist at NIH.

Your weight is another important number to know. To find out if you need to lose weight to reduce your risk of heart disease, you’ll need to calculate your body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height). This NIH web page can help: www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm. A BMI between 25 and 29.9 means that you’re overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher means obesity.

Next, take out a tape measure. A waist measurement of more than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men raises the risk of heart disease and other serious health conditions. Fortunately, even a small weight loss (between 5% and 10% of your current weight) can help lower your risk.

NIH has many tools available to help you aim for a healthy weight, including physical activity tips and a menu planner. To learn more, visit http://healthyweight.nhlbi.nih.gov/.
A heart-healthy diet includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as well as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Try to avoid saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt) and added sugar. NIH’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diets both promote healthy eating. U.S. News & World Report named TLC and DASH the top 2 overall diets for 2012.

Regular physical activity is another powerful way to reduce your risk of heart-related problems and enjoy a host of other health benefits. To make physical activity a pleasure rather than a chore, choose activities you enjoy. Take a brisk walk, play ball, lift light weights, dance or garden. Even taking the stairs instead of an elevator can make a difference.

“At least 2 and a half hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes—a winner on multiple counts,” says Dr. Diane Bild, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at NIH.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your blood sugar, or glucose, under control. About two-thirds of people with diabetes die of heart or blood vessel disease. If you’re at risk for diabetes, modest changes in diet and level of physical activity can often prevent or delay its development.

If you happen to be a smoker, the best thing you can do for your heart is stop. People who smoke are up to 6 times more likely to suffer a heart attack than nonsmokers. The risk of heart attack increases with the number of cigarettes smoked each day.

The good news is that quitting smoking will immediately begin to reduce your risk, and the benefit in reduced risk will continue to increase over time. Just one year after you stop smoking, your risk will have dropped by more than half.

Beyond controlling your risk factors, you should be alert to certain symptoms and get checked by a doctor. Common signals that something‘s wrong with your heart include angina—pain in the chest, shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back—as well as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat or palpitations (arrhythmia) and fatigue.Be aware that the symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. If you’ve already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same if you have another one.

Finally, don’t forget that you can influence your loved ones’ heart health by setting an example. Do you have children, grandchildren or other young people who look up to you? If you follow a heart-healthy lifestyle, it’s more likely that they will, too.  Because heart disease begins in childhood, one of the best things you can do for those you love is to help children build strong bodies and healthy habits.

The bottom line is, it’s never too late to take steps to protect your heart. It’s also never too early. Start today to keep your heart strong. Talk to your doctor about your risk and to create an action plan. Love your heart.

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For more information about reducing heart risks, or about becoming a patient at ADC, visit our website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube Channel.


Research: When Watched And Cheered, Workers Wash Hands More [NY Times Health]


Prevention: Cameras Can Help Ensure Hand Washing

Published: February 6, 2012

Just 6.5 percent of workers on average washed their hands within 10 seconds of entering or leaving a room.

There is a simple and effective way of getting hospital workers to wash their hands consistently: Watch them wash, and then congratulate them for having done so.

Employees at a Long Island hospital installed cameras with views of every hand-washing sink and hand sanitizer in an intensive care unit. For 16 weeks, without collecting identifying personal information, they monitored workers as they entered and left patient rooms. The results were reported last month in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

All the workers knew about the cameras, but the results were not encouraging. Just 6.5 percent of workers on average washed their hands within 10 seconds of entering or leaving a room.

But then the researchers installed light-emitting diode boards in the hallway of the I.C.U. announcing the compliance rates, with a little added cheerleading: “Great Shift!!” when things were going well, or “Keep It Up” when some improvement was needed.

During the 16 weeks after the installation of the signs, compliance rates jumped to 81.6 percent, and for the next 18 months the average rate was 87.9 percent.

“People’s behavior does change when they’re being watched,” said the lead author, Dr. Bruce F. Farber, chief of infectious disease at North Shore University Hospital. “This changed the culture. It’s now three years later, and people are washing their hands at dramatically higher rates.”

The Hidden Crisis: Driver Sleep Apnea, By Henry Goldberg, M.D. with Mark Berger, M.D.

The Sleep Center at ADC

Driver Sleep Apnea: a Hidden Crisis

By Henry Goldberg, M.D.
with Mark Berger, M.D.

Sleep apnea syndrome is a serious and sometimes fatal condition that is far more common than generally known. Because its symptoms include drowsiness, sleep apnea is of particular concern for an industry that relies on wide-awake truck drivers.

A sleep apnea study conducted with drivers employed by a major carrier is about to be published by Mark Berger, M.D., who contributed to this essay and whose specialty is this syndrome. The study looked at the incidence and costs related to sleep apnea among commercial drivers.

Sleep apnea syndrome affects at least 5% of the adult population in the United States and its incidence is significantly higher in commercial drivers. It is estimated that 25% to 30% of that population has the disease.

Sleep apnea is caused by complete, or near-complete, obstruction of the upper airway by redundant tissue and/or relaxed musculature just above the vocal cords. Its exact cause is unknown, but it is more common in overweight individuals. These obstructions to an individual’s air flow during sleep can cause snoring, gasping breaths, abrupt awakening, daytime sleepiness and, most troubling, can cause the person to stop breathing.

Upper airway obstructions can occur scores of times per hour of sleep and each obstruction can last from many seconds to more than one minute in duration. These events produce frequent disruptions of the normal sleep cycle and quality of sleep, as well as profound drops in blood oxygen levels. People with untreated sleep-disordered breathing are excessively sleepy and are at risk for accidents, elevated blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and other adverse health conditions — and in severe cases, death.

Recently, 2,342 respondents to a questionnaire distributed
to a random sample of 3,268 Australian commercial vehicle drivers revealed that more than half (59.6%) had sleep-disordered breathing and 15.8% had obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Twenty-four percent of drivers had excessive sleepiness. One major risk factor for sleep apnea is being of the male gender; a second is an increased body mass index, which indicates overweight.

Various studies have found that drivers with sleep apnea have two to seven times the accident rate of drivers without sleep apnea.

Large truck crashes are expensive. Beyond the immeasurable costs of loss of life and permanent injury, the average cost per large truck crash involving a fatality in 1999 was $3.54 million. The average cost for a crash with injury was $217,005.

Moreover, fatigue-related accidents are beginning to be treated more seriously in courts of law. For example, in early 2001, a Florida judge sentenced a trucker to 15 years in prison for falling asleep at the wheel and killing three people.

At the federal level, Annette Sandberg, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, stated at a recent conference on truck and bus safety that her agency plans to focus future regulations on driver health.

An ongoing study of a large U.S. longhaul truckload carrier already has produced startling, but not unexpected results. Working with Dr. Berger’s firm, the carrier has now implemented a program to rapidly identify and treat truckers with clinically significant sleep apnea.

Treatment is usually with a machine that delivers a constant flow of air through the nose. This produces continuous positive airway pressure — or CPAP — eliminating upper airway obstructions while the driver is asleep. Participating drivers are allowed to continue driving so long as they comply with the CPAP therapy.

Results of this ongoing program recently were presented at the 2005 International Symposium on Truck and Bus Safety and Security, in Alexandria, Va. Significant findings included:

• Of 348 drivers with sleep apnea, CPAP intervention resulted in a 47.8% (p<.0001) reduction per member, per month in health-care spending.

• There was a 73% reduction in preventable driving accidents in a subgroup of 225 full-time CPAP-treated drivers.

• The driver retention rate in CPAP-treated individuals was 2.29 times greater than the 2004 global corporate driver retention rate.

It is obvious that sleep apnea and related disorders contribute significantly to health-care and liability costs in the commercial trucking industry. Beyond the already cited and easily recognized losses from major motor vehicle accidents, other costs are incurred daily, but generally not recognized. Untreated sleep apnea is intimately linked with:

• Heart disease.
• High blood pressure and stroke.
• Obesity.
• Diabetes.
• Chronic pain syndrome.
• Reduced life expectancy.

Recent medical studies have shown an increased risk of cardiovascular complications and death in patients with at least moderate or severe sleep-disordered breathing. However, many people with sleep apnea and high blood pressure enjoy a substantial reduction in their blood pressure once their sleep apnea is treated.

Other studies show a close link between sleep deprivation, appetite, obesity and the development of diabetes.

The programs already under way to identify and treat sleep apnea will save lives and millions of dollars in liability costs. Commercial carriers embracing these issues should be commended for their efforts to reduce the risk of large-truck accidents without a federal mandate. These forward-thinking companies already are enjoying lower employee health-care costs and fewer accidents for drivers treated for sleep apnea and will receive further financial rewards through lower liability premiums.

Moreover, in a time when most carriers are keenly aware that good drivers are in short supply, they may find drivers are anxious to work for a company considerate of their

Henry Goldberg, M.D., is president of RAIR Technologies, Boca Raton, Fla. Mark Berger, M.D., is president of Precision Pulmonary Diagnostics, Houston.

© 2006 American Trucking Associations, Inc., TTNews.com

The Overnight Sleep Center Treatment


Congratulations to the ADC staff! Rewarded 3 Year Accreditation in PET (ICANL)

ADC has been granted a three-year term of accreditation in PET by the Intersociety Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL). Accreditation by the ICANL means that Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic, PA has undergone a thorough review of its operational and technical components by a panel of experts. The ICANL grants accreditation only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with national standards through a comprehensive application process including detailed case study review.

Certificate of Accreditation - ADC

You can read more about ICANL and the accreditation process at www.icanl.org.

Beyond the Research: Groundbreaking Innovations In Malaria Research.

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic Blog

Here at ADC, we strive to give you the most up-t0-date and important information. We share articles from around the world that highlight stories that change the world of medicine, one life at a time. Take a look at this incredible story from John’s Hopkins Research Center.

Dr. Peter Agre talks about the latest ground-breaking innovations in malaria research.

Amarillo Diagnostic Awarded AASM Accreditation

It’s official! Our sleep center has been re-accredited through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, again.

AASM Accreditation of Sleep Disorders Centers is a voluntary process for the assessment of sleep programs. By achieving accreditation, a sleep center demonstrates a commitment to the provision of quality diagnostic services and the longitudinal management of sleep patients.

AASM center accreditation reflects a commitment to ensure that sleep disorders patients receive the highest quality of care. In a growing number of states, accreditation is required for reimbursement of many sleep medicine services.

Since 1977, the AASM has accredited sleep facilities utilizing the AASM Standards for Accreditation of Sleep Disorders Centers. The continued quality of these requirements has made AASM center accreditation the gold standard by which the medical community and the public evaluate sleep medicine facilities.

AASM Accreditation and Patient Care

AASM Accreditation of Sleep Disorders Centers acts as an indicator to patients and referring physicians that a facility is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care. With more than 30 years as the leader in setting clinical standards in the field, the AASM has earned recognition as the authority in sleep and sleep center recognition.

Through regular review and revision of the AASM Standards of Accreditation of Sleep Disorders Centers, the AASM has ensured that these requirements continue to incorporate the latest advances in sleep medicine and meet the needs of patients and referring physicians.

Sleeping disorders affect work of police officers

Sleeping disorders often affect work of police officers

A new study finds that many police officers might be better at their jobs, if they had more and better sleep.

Researchers screened officers for sleeping disorders and found that 40% had at least one disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea or insomnia.

Those with sleeping disorders were 51% more likely to fall asleep while driving, 63% more likely to violate safety protocols, 43% more likely to make administrative errors, and 22% more likely to be injured on the job, compared to officers reporting no sleeping disorders.

People had more bad things to say, too, about police officers who happen to sleep poorly, with citizens filing 35% more complaints against those with sleeping disorders.

Nearly half of all police officers surveyed for the study reported having fallen asleep at least one time while driving, while one-quarter of all officers said that this happens once or twice a month.

“It’s an extraordinarily high number of sleeping disorders,” says Dr. Charles Czeisler, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The main message is that sleep disorders are very prevalent in the police and I’m sure the general population is not far behind.”

Obesity, explains Czeisler, is as essential to obstructive sleep apnea as location is to real estate, and that principle holds true in his study. About 34% of police officers reported being obese, and the same number suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, though some have one condition and not the other.

“The next step that we’re going to do is an even larger sample,” says Czeisler, “and find out if we can decrease these adverse consequences with screening, a treatment program, and education.”

Officers with obstructive sleep apnea also showed higher rates of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, emotional exhaustion, and anxiety disorders.

“We’ve learned a lot about sleep and sleep medicine. There’s an explosion of science in this field,” explains Dr. Michael Grandner, a researcher at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology in the Division of Sleep Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who is not associated with the study.

“But what this paper points out is that this isn’t translating to the field. It’d be interesting to see the cost-benefit analysis of investing in the police officer’s health.”

The 4,957 study participants were recruited from the Philadelphia Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. Of the participants, 82% were men, 85% were white, and 79% were overweight or obese.

New Study: Workouts Help Sleep Quality

Diet and exercise are the best cure for most sleep disorders

Diet and exercise will always be the best diagnosis a doctor can give you. Often, it’s the simple things that can help reduce your risk of Sleep Apnea, an increasingly common form of sleep deprivation that affects millions of Americans. Come visit the Clinic’s Sleep Center for more information regarding Sleep Apnea. Our world class medical staff has been helping victims of Sleep Apnea for decades.
Visit the Sleep Center website.
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People who regularly hit the gym sleep better and feel more alert during the day than those who are not as physically active, according to a new study.

The results showed that people who did 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week reported a 65-percent improvement in sleep quality.

“Physical activity may not just be good for the waistline and heart, but it also can help you sleep,” study researcher Brad Cardinal, professor of exercise science at Oregon State University, said in a statement.

Participants who worked out for at least 150 minutes also said that they felt less drowsy during the daytime, compared with those who were less physically active.

(People who got 150 minutes of exercise a week reported a 65-percent improvement in their sleep quality.)

Cardinal and his colleagues studied a nationally representative sample of more than 2,600 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85.

They study adds to the evidence showing that “regular physical activity may serve as a non-pharmaceutical alternative to improve sleep,” Cardinal said.

The study showed that the risk of often feeling overly sleepy during the day dropped by 65 percent for the more active participants.

The study authors noted that the national guideline that recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week was originally set to improve cardiovascular health, but their findings show that that level of exercise has other health benefits as well. Approximately 35 percent to 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have problems falling asleep or experience daytime sleepiness, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Too tired to workout?

The researchers also found that participants who met the physical activity guidelines were 68 percent less likely to experience leg cramps while sleeping, and 45 percent less likely to have difficulty concentrating when tired.

If you often experience daytime drowsiness, it may seem contradictory to spend even more of your lagging energy by going for a run or attending a Zumba class, but such physical exertion will actually make you feel more awake, according to the researchers.
“There are trade-offs. It may be easier when you are tired to skip the workout and go to sleep, but it may be beneficial for your long-term health to make the hard decision and get your exercise,” Cardinal said.

The study will be published in the December issue of the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity.

Pass it on: People who get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week sleep better and feel more alert during the day than those that are not as physically active.

Flu Season is here – Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic

2012 is quickly approaching. And with the new year, come new deductibles. So, be sure to take advantage of the rest of the year by scheduling your next appointment at Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic. Also, remember that cold weather can bring flu. Make your check up count by getting your flu shots.

Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic - The answer for flu season

Watch this: