Breathe for a Healthy Heart: Exercises to Increase Cardiovascular Health

Breathing is something everyone does everyday. However, most adults do not breathe correctly. As people move from child to adult, they subconsciously begin to breathe shallower. Deep breathing exercise increases oxygen intake, helping the blood to circulate better and carry more of that oxygen to other organs throughout the body.

It is all about the oxygen. Insufficient oxygen causes the body to become tired, tense, and more susceptible to illness. Organs that do not have enough oxygen will operate sluggishly and inadequately.

How Does Breathing Exercises Increase Heart Health?

  • Lowers Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is one of the main enemies of the heart.
  • Alleviates stress.
  • Increases physical energy that promotes heart healthy physical exercise.

How to do Breathing Exercises

The Relaxing Breath or 4-7-8 exercise is an ancient yogic breathing exercise that is practiced by the most famous of natural health promoters. Dr. Andrew Weil, a long standing natural health guru, has promoted this type of exercise for decades.

When doing this exercise, remember it is not how fast or slow it is done at first, it is the 4-7-8 ratio that counts. The count of each part of the exercise can be adjusted to how long an individual can hold their breath. Ideally, once a person gets the hang of the exercise, they will be able to do the counts: 4 inhales, 7 hold 8 exhale; relaxed and slowly.

How to do the 4-7-8 exercise:

  1. Place your tongue on the alveolar ridge of the mouth. That is the ridge between the front teeth and the roof of the mouth. Keep the tongue there during the exercise.
  2. Exhale completely through the mouth. This will make a whooshing sound.
  3. To begin the cycle: close the mouth; breathe in quietly through the nose for a count of 4.
  4. Hold the breath for a count of 7.
  5. Exhale through the mouth for a count of 8. This completes the cycle.
  6. Repeat for a total of four breath cycles. Do this exercise two times per day.

Deep breathing exercise will help retrain the body to breathe correctly. This naturally produces more energy and stamina. This is also called, abdominal or belly breathing.

How to do deep breathing exercise:

  1. Sit or stand straight, using good posture.
  2. Breathe in through the nose, making sure that the tummy, not the chest, extends out as if very full.
  3. Exhale completely through the mouth. This complete one breath cycle.
  4. Repeat the breath cycle 4 or 5 times, two times a day.

Doing these exercises twice a day for 21 days will form a habit of correct and healthy breathing. Individuals who change the way they breathe; deep verses shallow, will notice an increase in energy and a decrease in fatigue.

The increased oxygen will help all the vital organs, including the heart, to work smoothly and at optimal performance.

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Health Information Technology: One of the Fastest Growing Career Options

When patients see a health care provider such as physician, dentist, chiropractor, or nurse practitioner, a written document is filed detailing the purpose and outcomes.

This documentation is placed in the patient’s chart and is available for the practitioner to review at the next visit. This provides for continuity of care in the event that another health professional in that office sees the patient as well as refreshes the same practitioner’s memory about the care he/she has provided for the patient.

Results from laboratory tests, X-rays, other diagnostic tests as well as a list of medications or treatments prescribed are also contained in the chart. In addition to this information, the chart will also contain any paperwork the patient completes, such as a family medical history, insurance information and consents for treatment, authorization to share information, and so on.

New Office New Chart

If the patient sees another health care provider, such as a specialist recommended by the primary care practitioner, a new chart is created and most often there is no integration of the information with the other physician’s chart. If the patient is hospitalized, another chart is created. Each health professional creates a new chart or file for the patient and often has to reinvent the wheel to get a complete picture of the patient’s health history.

If the patient obtains medications from several different pharmacies, there is not a complete profile available at any of them. This sometimes results in medication errors from issues such as duplication of medications, or unknown medication interactions.

Oversight Not a Reality

Patients who have primary care providers who are willing and able to oversee the total care of a patient will have records sent from all sources of care each time they see another provider and review them. This is cumbersome, time consuming, and not reimbursable. In reality it does not happen often.

Most patients are not versed in medical terminology. Often they barely understand a diagnosis or treatment. Some things may seem totally insignificant and are forgotten, such as a visit to the Urgent Care for a virus or to the ER for a sprained ankle, and the information doesn’t get passed on to the primary care professional. A complication that could stem back to this illness or injury may never be connected.

Quality Improvement

In the interest of improving medical care, the establishment of electronic medical records (EMR) has become a hot issue and part of the health care reform debate. In order to create and maintain effective records, there has to be standardization procedures. Codes need to be applied to diagnoses and other information so that the records can be meshed.

The software in the physician’s office has to be able to communicate with the software the dentist uses, the eye doctor uses, the surgeon uses, the oncologist uses and the cardiologist uses or it is useless. It also has to be secure so that the patient’s information isn’t accidentally broadcast to those who have no need to know.

Health IT Growing Rapidly

This has opened up and broadened the scope of information technology in the health field. Health care IT (HIT) is one of the most rapidly growing career fields. HIT offers many diverse opportunities from medical records coding and management in a small medical office to a huge hospital or medical corporation.

Another opportunity involves data collection and management of diseases such as for tumor registries. Teaching physicians and other health care professionals how to use their system to record and retrieve data is a related option, as is maintenance of the hardware and software systems.

Achondroplasia: A Form of Dwarfism

Acondroplasia is a rare genetic disorder characterized by short stature.

Acondroplasia features include disproportionate stature. This basically means that the arms and legs are relatively small when compared to the torso (body). The size disadvantage acondroplasia patients have is more observable in the upper legs and arms (proximal).

Additional signs include a prominent forehead (frontal bone), a prominent jaw, and a flat or depressed region between the eyes. On occasion, there is overcrowding of teeth, and the upper and lower dentition have bad alignment. The disease occurs in all races with equal incidence in women and men. Achondroplasia attacks one in 25,000 to one in 40,000 people.

The lower extremities of a patient with achondroplasia almost always turns bowed, and occasionally the elbow joint can’t be straightened out completely. The arms are short and stumpy and the feet can be small, flat and wide.

Causes of Achondroplasia

A chemical modification within a single gene results in achondroplasia. It does not arise from anything the parents have practiced during or prior to childbirth. Achondroplasia starts from an autosomal dominate condition. What this means is a new chromosomal mutation or genetic alteration began to take place at the time of conception.

The disease may also be communicated from one generation to the next; 9 out of 10 babies born with this illness have average-sized mothers and fathers. If one adult has the disease, there is a fifty percent probability their baby will inherit a copy of the gene. If the mother and father both have the disease there is a twenty-five percent chance the baby will have a dominant gene factor and a seventy-five percent possibility of a single achondroplasia gene. This gene is referred to as FGFR3 (fibroblast growth factor).

Other Illnesses Related to Achondroplasia

Babies with this disease have an inclination towards middle-ear infections. This may occur until 5 or 6 years of life, and it may be owing to abnormal draining from the “pipe” that leads from the middle part of the ear to the throat (pharynx). Respiratory troubles can happen in babies and children, due to constricted nasal openings.

An individual with achondroplasia will have the same life expectancy as an individual without the disease. Hydrocephalus (water in the central nervous system) can also occur in certain instances of achondroplasia.

Kids with achondroplasia may successfully reach motor milestones of growth, but differently and more gradually than youngsters without the disease. For example the baby with achondroplasia might take much longer to sit up than a baby who does not have the disease – but there could always be exceptions.

What Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need? Vaccinations and the Symptoms of Canine Infectious Diseases

Vaccination is a crucial step in the health care of your dog to prevent Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Kennel Cough.

Most people know the importance of having their puppy vaccinated. Here are some details about canine diseases commonly vaccinated against in Australia. In addition to these diseases, some countries also vaccinate against Rabies, Leptospirosis, and Coronavirus etc. Not all vaccinations (apart from Rabies) are necessary and may depend on factors, such as pet health and the area you live in. Please see your local Veterinarian for further information. Here are 4 common diseases that should be vaccinated against:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Kennel Cough (Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease)

What is Canine Distemper?

Canine Distemper is an infectious viral disease (related to measles) that has a high morbidity rate and depending on factors including patient and the treatment provided, has a varying mortality rate. There is a risk for any dog to contract distemper, however, more susceptible are dogs between 3-9 months of age.

Distemper virus is shed in faeces, urine, vomit, saliva and nasal and ocular discharge. It is most commonly transferred by contact with an infected dog via inhalation of droplets or aerosol.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Pyrexia (fever)
  • Tonsillitis
  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of pharynx/sore throat)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of body condition
  • Hyperkeratosis of nose and footpads (thickening of skin)

What is Canine Hepatitis?

Canine Hepatitis is another infectious disease and affects the liver, lymph nodes and vascular endothelium (layer of cells of the cardiovascular system that regulates the transport of blood). Mortality is high with sudden deaths common in neonatal (newborn) puppies, which may not show clinical signs.

The virus is shed in faeces, urine and saliva and transmission is via dog-to-dog contact or contact with infected faeces/urine.

Symptoms can include:

  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Pyrexia
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Abdominal pain

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus is an infectious disease that causes myocarditis (inflammation of heart tissue) in puppies and acute gastroenteritis (stomach/intestine inflammation) in puppies and adults.

Parvovirus is shed in faeces and contact with contaminated faeces is the main source of transmission. Because Parvovirus is resilient, it can remain viable off the host for up to a year, facilitating its spread. It can also be transmitted through dog-to-dog contact.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (containing blood)
  • Dehydration
  • Shock
  • Death (within a short time if not treated)

What is Kennel Cough?

Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease commonly known as Kennel Cough is a highly infectious disease and, as its name suggests, often occurs where dogs are kept together such as kennels or animal shelters.

It is transmitted via dog-to-dog contact via inhalation and is not life threatening like the previous viruses discussed, but still very uncomfortable for your dog and on occasion, the infection can last for months.

Symptoms can include:

  • Dry cough
  • Frequent coughing
  • Retching
  • Vomiting
  • Nasal discharge

How Often Should I Vaccinate?

This can vary slightly from vet to vet, but generally your puppy will need 3 vaccinations at the following intervals:

  • 6 weeks
  • 8-10 weeks
  • 10 – 12 weeks/14 weeks (depending on when the previous vaccination was administered)

The reason your puppy needs 3 vaccinations is because it is impossible to determine when the immunity the puppy received from its mother will ‘run out’. After your puppy has had its 3 vaccinations, it will require ongoing annual boosters, as this will build a good immune response.