If you’re trying to lose weight or control your blood glucose levels, you’re likely looking for ways to cut your intake of refined sugar. Artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, sucralose, and xylitol, are a popular replacement for refined sugar.
However, there’s always been controversy around the potential harm these sweeteners can cause in the long run. For instance, long-term consumption can make an individual more susceptible to type 2 diabetes and weight gain. That, in turn, can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
A recent study by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research substantiates that claim. The report, published in The BMJ, found a higher rate of cardiovascular disease events in participants who consumed higher levels of artificial sweeteners.
A Closer Look at the Study
The study involving more than 170,000 French citizens commenced in 2009 with participants aged 18 years and older. The average age of the participants was 42 years, and a majority of them were females.
The researchers regularly collected information about the participants’ dietary habits, including their consumption of artificial sweeteners. Nearly 37% of participants used such sweeteners and consumed 42.46 mg/day on average.
The artificial sweeteners consumed by the participants included the following:
Steviol glycosides (and more)
At the end of the study, the researchers uncovered a direct correlation between the intake of artificial sweeteners and the risk of heart-related ailments. Higher consumers of such sweeteners had a 9% higher incidence of cardiovascular diseases and an 18% higher incidence of cerebrovascular diseases.
While aspartame was associated with an increased risk of strokes, acesulfame potassium and sucralose were linked with a higher risk of coronary heart disease.
What Does That Mean For You?
The recent study of French nationals echoes previous claims about the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners. Long-term consumption of these sweeteners can be detrimental to your cardiac health.
However, that doesn’t mean you should completely steer clear of them. Occasional intake within the permissible limits won’t pose any threat to you. The recommended limit depends on your body weight and the type of sweeteners.
If you’re looking to lose weight, get your blood sugar under control, or embrace healthy eating habits, your best bet is to consult a certified nutritionist. Also, it’s a good idea to consider natural alternatives to refined sugar. These include allulose and stevia.
Additionally, consider staying away from processed and packaged foods. Many of these items contain artificial sweeteners. Also, they don’t have a high nutritional value and could increase your cholesterol levels.
Regular consumption of artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose can have an adverse effect on your heart. They increase your risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, and other ailments.
If you’re looking for ways to minimize your refined sugar intake, consider natural alternatives like stevia. Also, consult a doctor or nutritionist to understand the side effects of different refined sugar replacements.
Dr. C Raghu is an eminent cardiologist with decades of experience. He’s helped countless patients lead healthier lives. If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with a cardiovascular ailment, feel free to reach out to Dr. Raghu today.
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Artificial Sweeteners and the Risk of Heart Disease – Blog
Doctors devise a customized treatment plan when a patient is diagnosed with a cardiac ailment. Typically, treatment for heart diseases includes a combination of medicines, lifestyle changes, and in some cases, surgery.
One of the most commonly prescribed medicines for heart-related ailments is aspirin. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the use of aspirin for heart disease and analyze its pros and cons. Let’s get started.
What Is Aspirin?
Aspirin is one of the most widely used over-the-counter drugs in the world. It comes in several forms, but the most common way to take it is as a pill. It belongs to a specific class of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Besides being an effective anti-inflammatory medication and pain reliever, aspirin has anticoagulant properties. That means it can help prevent heart disease and stroke when taken regularly over time.
Aspirin works by preventing blood clots from forming in blood vessels through its effects on platelets, which are cells that help blood clot. There is some controversy about whether or not you should take aspirin to prevent heart disease, given its potential side effects (such as stomach ulcers and bleeding).
But if your physician recommends it as part of your overall treatment plan, it may be worth considering.
How Aspirin Helps Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes, and Death
Aspirin’s ability to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular death stems from its effects on several pathways in the body. The drug helps to prevent blood clots by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX).
COX is responsible for producing prostaglandins, which cause inflammation and pain. By reducing the production of these substances, aspirin also lowers blood pressure and reduces inflammation in the body.
Additionally, aspirin is an antiplatelet drug that helps prevent blood clotting by preventing platelets from sticking together. That means taking aspirin regularly can help keep your heart healthy by reducing the chances of a stroke or heart attack caused by a blood clot forming inside your arteries or veins.
Aspirin Use for Primary Prevention
Aspirin can be used to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease in at-risk patients. This is known as primary prevention. According to the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Institute, a low dose (75 to 100 mg/day) of aspirin can help with the primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases among at-risk adults in the age group of 40 to 70 years. However, if you have a bleeding disorder, aspirin may not be the best fit for you.
Aspirin Use for Secondary Prevention
Besides protecting at-risk patients, aspirin can also be given to patients who’ve suffered a heart attack or stroke, received a coronary angioplasty, or undergone a coronary bypass. The anticoagulant properties of aspirin help minimize the risk of cardiovascular events in the future. This is known as secondary prevention.
Risks Associated With Taking Aspirin
The most common side effects of aspirin are related to the stomach and intestines. Prolonged use can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach ulcers. That, in turn, can cause abdominal cramping, pain, and indigestion.
Should You Take Aspirin to Prevent Heart Disease?
Your doctor is in the best position to decide whether you should take aspirin for your cardiac health. You’ll benefit from taking aspirin if you have a history of heart attacks or strokes. However, you should consult your doctor for the proper dosage and duration of treatment.
Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor. Aspirin is classified as Pregnancy Category B by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That means it is safe for use during pregnancy in animal studies and causes in humans. However, data are limited, so consult with your doctor before taking aspirin while pregnant.
It’s worth noting that aspirin is a blood thinner and can cause bleeding and bruising. You shouldn’t take it with other blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), heparin, clopidogrel (Plavix), theophylline (Theo-Dur), or dipyridamole (Persantine).
Aspirin you should avoid aspirin if you have the following:
A bleeding disorder or are taking other medications that increase your risk of bleeding
Ulcers on your stomach or duodenum
If you have been diagnosed with heart failure or other cardiac ailments, your doctor may recommend aspirin therapy to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. It’s an anticoagulant that prevents the formation of blood clots. Make sure you talk to your doctor about the potential risks and side effects.
Dr. C Raghu is an accomplished cardiologist who’s been practicing for decades. If you have concerns about taking aspirin for heart disease, feel free to consult Dr. Raghu today.
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Aspirin for the Prevention of Heart Disease – Blog
Many people have heart disease, but not all of them know it. Doctors use a variety of tests to identify cardiac ailments and their underlying causes. Coronary angiography is one of the most common diagnostic tests that doctors use.
While it’s considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure, coronary angiography comes with a few risks. You can read more about the potential risks and complications in our previous blog.
The good news is that you can avoid side effects with proper care after the procedure. If you’ve recently had coronary angiography or are going through one soon, here is what you need to do after the procedure:
Avoid Heavy Physical Activity
It’s important to rest after coronary angiography. Avoid lifting heavy objects or resuming your exercise routine right after the procedure. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and let your body and mind relax for at least a week after angiography. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure when to hit the gym or start exercising.
Embrace Healthy Habits
Avoid cigarettes for at least a few days if you are a smoker. Smoking can cause spasms in the coronary arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke after your angiography. Also, avoid alcohol consumption, and make sure you eat a balanced diet.
If you are a coffee drinker or have high blood pressure, avoiding all caffeine products (coffee, tea) and salt for several days following your procedure may be a good idea. The most important thing is to listen carefully to what your doctor tells you about caring after coronary angiography to avoid any other complications during recovery or later down the road.
Be Careful About Removing the Bandage
A crucial step to caring after coronary angiography is to avoid removing the bandage until the morning of the second day after the procedure. Also, you should not remove it yourself. Let someone else help you remove it. You must consult your doctor or nurse before removing the bandage.
Expect Soreness and Pain for a Few Days
Your arm or leg (where the catheter was inserted) might feel sore for a few days following a coronary angiogram. The discomfort you feel is usually caused by the catheter or dye used for the test.
The catheter may have been left in place too long, leading to irritation and inflammation. Or it could be a reaction to the dye that was used to take images of your arteries during the procedure. It can also happen if you’re allergic to any component of either one.
In most cases, the pain and soreness should subside after a few days. If the pain persists or the arm/leg becomes numb, it’s a good idea to reach out to your doctor. Also, if you have a fever or trouble breathing, call your doctor right away.
If you are bleeding from the incision site, apply direct pressure with a gauze dressing until the bleeding stops. Don’t remove the dressing unless instructed by medical staff at the hospital.
Coronary angiography is a safe and effective procedure that can give you a better understanding of your heart health. If you follow your doctor’s instructions, you’ll be on the road to recovery in no time.
Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist who has treated thousands of patients with cardiac ailments. If you have any concerns or questions about coronary angiography, feel free to reach out to Dr. Raghu today.
The heart is a vital organ that supplies blood to the muscles and tissues and keeps your body running. In our previous articles, we’ve discussed common conditions that affect the heart, such as congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Take a look at our blog for more information.
While much is discussed about these common ailments, other conditions like patent foramen ovale (or PFO) can also affect the heart. So, what exactly is PFO? And how does it affect your cardiac health? In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of this lesser-known condition.
What is Patent Foramen Ovale?
Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is a hole in the heart that can be congenital or acquired. The foramen ovale is a flap-like opening between the heart’s upper chambers. It usually closes within three to six months after birth and becomes a part of your heart’s septum.
But if that doesn’t happen, you may have a PFO. In most cases, a PFO is present at birth (congenital). However, one can also develop it as an adult due to injury, infection, or inflammation of the tissue around the heart (acquired).
Should You Be Worried About Patent Foramen Ovale?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale, you’re likely wondering if it poses a threat to your cardiac health. Fortunately, this condition is usually asymptomatic and does not require treatment. However, it can be a risk factor for stroke and heart attack in some people.
PFO can also be the underlying cause of other conditions, such as:
That makes it crucial to stay in touch with your doctor and monitor your heart health to keep these conditions at bay.
Signs and Symptoms of PFO
If you’re lucky, a PFO will cause no noticeable symptoms. However, if it results in a drop in your blood oxygen levels, you may experience a variety of symptoms, including:
Chest pain (angina)
Shortness of breath
Fatigue or weakness that does not go away with rest
What Are the Treatment Options for Patent Foramen Ovale?
Treatment options for a PFO include:
Device closure procedure, is necessary only for patients who have had a stroke or heart attack caused by the condition
Anticoagulant or antiplatelet medication for those with a complex morphology PFO
Watchful waiting if you have no symptoms (that means you will be monitored regularly for any problems caused by your condition)
If you experience symptoms, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or medication as treatment options.
Now you know what a patent foramen ovale is and why it’s so important to get checked out if you have symptoms. If you are diagnosed with a PFO, your doctor may recommend treatment based on your symptoms and medical history. That said, PFO does not always require treatment. Some people have been living with it for years without any issues at all.
Dr. C Raghu is an eminent cardiologist who specializes in interventional cardiology. If you or anyone you know has been diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale, feel free to consult Dr. Raghu to explore your treatment options.
It’s worth noting that commonly used diagnostic tests like coronary angiography rely on a procedure called cardiac catheterization. In this blog, we’ll discuss the procedures in greater detail to help you understand the benefits and risks.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure in which doctors insert a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into your heart through an artery.
What Is Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure that uses a thin tube (called a catheter) to examine the heart and blood vessels. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or arm. Thereafter, it’s advanced through the blood vessels and into the heart to measure pressures within different chambers of your heart.
The test lets doctors see if there’s any blockage in the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart. Also, they can assess whether the cardiac muscles and valves are in proper working condition. Also, it may be used to insert wires (called stents) in coronary arteries if they become narrow due to plaque buildup or after an injury.
To perform balloon angioplasty, the doctor inflates a tiny balloon at one end of the catheter inside one of the blocked coronary arteries. It creates more space for oxygen-rich blood flow through your coronary arteries and helps improve symptoms like chest pain caused by a heart attack.
How Does Cardiac Catheterization Work?
In this procedure, a doctor inserts the catheter into a blood vessel in your arm or groin. The catheter is guided through the blood vessels to the heart, where it’s used to look for blockages or other problems in the coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle.
Afterward, a dye is injected into your bloodstream from an intravenous (IV) line connected to your vein. It helps doctors see how well blood flows through different parts of your heart on X-rays taken during the procedure.
Why Do Doctors Use Cardiac Catheterization?
Cardiac catheterization can be used to diagnose or treat various heart ailments. It can help your doctor determine if your heart is getting enough blood and if there are any blockages in the arteries that supply blood to the rest of your body. Also, it can help identify any problems with the heart muscles and valves.
What Are the Risks of Cardiac Catheterization?
While the risk of complications from cardiac catheterization is low, there are some things you should know before your procedure. For example, you might also experience bleeding or bruising around where the cut was made.
The most severe risk is having a stroke due to excess pressure in the brain caused by increased blood flow due to plaque shaving off from arteries. Other risks include allergic reactions to dyes, bleeding at the puncture site where the catheter was inserted, and infection.
Cardiac catheterization is a standard procedure that can be done in a cath lab or hospital. It allows doctors to check for problems with your heart and blood vessels. Ask your doctor any questions about how long it will take and whether there are any risks associated with cardiac catheterization before scheduling an appointment for this test.
Dr. C Raghu is an accomplished cardiologist with decades of experience in interventional cardiology. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms of cardiac ailments, book an appointment with Dr. Raghu today.
Doctors use various diagnostic tests to assess cardiac health and diagnose conditions like coronary artery disease and heart failure. While a coronary angiogram is commonly used to identify these conditions, your doctor can prescribe other tests like CT coronary angiography.
In our previous blogs, you can read more about the use cases and risks of coronary angiography. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into CT coronary angiography and understand why it’s crucial for people with cardiac ailments.
What Is CT Coronary Angiography?
CT coronary angiography is a type of CT scan that uses special dyes to evaluate the heart’s blood vessels. It can detect blockages in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart. It can identify blockages that are too small for other methods, such as a regular angiogram or an electrocardiogram (ECG), to pick up.
A CT coronary angiography scan aims to find any abnormal areas in your coronary arteries that could be causing stenosis (narrowing) or occlusion (blockage). It helps doctors identify underlying heart-related ailments and determine the right course of treatment.
How Does CT Coronary Angiography Work?
The test is usually done in a hospital or clinic. To begin with, the doctor or radiologist will start an intravenous (IV) line to administer the contrast dye. As the contrast flows through your veins, it will appear on the scan as bright white areas on a black background. It’ll help the doctor see your heart and coronary arteries.
The test usually lasts about 30 minutes to one hour. The CT coronary angiogram procedure involves two scans: one with diastolic blood flow and another with systolic blood flow.
When Is CT Coronary Angiography Used?
CT coronary angiography is used to diagnose a heart attack and evaluate blood flow in the heart. Also, doctors use it to detect blockages in arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle.
What Are the Risks of CT Coronary Angiography?
While CT coronary angiography is a non-invasive and safe procedure, it can cause the following side effects:
You may have an allergic reaction to the contrast dye.
Your body will be exposed to high levels of radiation, which can increase your risk of developing cancer.
You might have to pay out of pocket because the test isn’t always covered by insurance.
You might experience more anxiety and stress if the scans indicate blockages in your arteries.
What Should I Expect When Having CT Coronary Angiography?
If you are planning to get a CT coronary angiography, you should be prepared for the following:
The radiologist will ask you to change into a hospital gown.
The radiologist will give you an injection of a contrast dye.
You will lie on a table, and the table will move into the CT scanner.
The scan is painless and takes about 20 minutes.
CT coronary angiography is a painless and safe test that can help determine if you have blocked arteries. If you have chest pain, you should consider getting the test done as soon as possible because it may save your life.
Dr. C Raghu is a renowned cardiologist with decades of experience. He specializes in interventional cardiology and has treated thousands of patients with cardiac ailments. If you or anyone you know is experiencing symptoms like chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations, etc., reach out to Dr. Raghu today.