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The Myriad Benefits of Fish Oil

July 17, 2014 News Comments Off on The Myriad Benefits of Fish Oil

The myriad benefits of fish oil

VitalOils1000Consumers face a dizzying array of products and claims in the dietary supplement aisle — but a little knowledge can go a long way in helping chart a healthy lifestyle.

One of the more popular supplements, fish oil, is promoted as preventive or therapeutic for myriad ailments from hardening of the arteries to Alzheimer’s disease. Although the jury is still out on some claimed benefits, many in the scientific and medical communities agree the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are legitimate tools for improving health.

Understanding exactly what fish oil is, how it might help you, and how to differentiate among the forms offered, will help you make the best choice when adding this nutrient to your health care regimen.

What is fish oil?

Derived from fatty tissues, fish oil contains substances that can be either helpful or harmful. The healthful ones include omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The harmful fish oils contain dioxins and furans, according to Dr. Seth Baum, nationally recognized cholesterol expert and founder of Preventive Cardiology in Boca Raton.

What does fish oil do?

The National Institutes states that fish oil is effective at reducing the levels of triglycerides in your blood. High triglyceride levels can contribute to coronary heart disease. Fish oil also is likely effective at decreasing heart disease, according to the NIH — and the American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fish per week for everyone, and five servings for those with heart disease. In addition, fish oil is possibly effective at preventing or treating over 25 other diseases and conditions, according to the NIH. These include:

High blood pressure
Poor blood cholesterol
Rheumatoid arthritis
Menstrual pain
Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in children
Stroke
Osteoporosis
Alzheimer’s disease
Atherosclerosis Kidney problems
Psoriasis
Obesity
Asthma
Age-related eye disease
Bipolar disorder

4 steps to get the best fish oil

Although the fish oil marketplace has dozens of companies claiming their product is exactly what you need, it’s easy to be deceived into purchasing an inferior and possibly ineffective supplement, Baum warns. “The labels on fish oil products can be misleading and it’s important to know how to read a supplement label to get the best and purest product possible,” he says.

Baum advises consumers to take these steps when reading fish oil supplement labels.

1. Read the nutrition information on the back label. Labels can be misleading, such as those that tout 1,000 milligrams of fish oil per serving. The American Heart Association recommends 1,000 milligrams of fish oil-derived omega-3s each day, which is not the same as 1,000 milligrams of fish oil. Fish oil products contain different levels of omega-3; many fish oil capsules actually contain less than 300 milligrams of omega-3.

2. Look at the number of servings on the label. Some fish oil supplements list their servings as one, two or three tablets or capsules. One fish oil product might require you to take just a single pill to get 1,000 milligrams of omega-3, while another product might require you to take far more. Not only can that get expensive, but the more pills you need to take, the less pure and more fattening the fish oil is, Baum says.

3. Look at the number of milligrams of the omega-3 fats (DHA and EPA) a single serving contains. One fish oil supplement might provide 750 milligrams of DHA and 250 mg of EPA in a single softgel, giving you the 1,000 milligrams of omega-3 you’re seeking. Another might provide only 600 milligrams of DHA and EPA in a single serving that consists of two tablets. This means you’ll need to take four tablets to get your 1,000 milligrams of omega-3. That also means the fish oil is less pure and might contain more unhealthy fats and even contaminants, Baum says.

4. Look for enteric-coated pills. Enteric coating prevents softgels from dissolving in your stomach, enabling them to be digested in the small intestine, preventing “fish burps.”

— Steve Milano, Tribune Brand Publishing

Talking to Your Doctor About Your Cholesterol

September 29, 2014 News Comments Off on Talking to Your Doctor About Your Cholesterol

Talking to your doctor about your cholesterol

Most people know that high cholesterol can be a killer, particularly the LDL or “bad” cholesterol that clogs arteries and causes heart attacks. If you receive abnormally high LDL results after a cholesterol check, how should you talk to your doctor about it?

Dr. Josh Knowles, faculty member at the Stanford School of Medicine, and a cholesterol specialist, recommends asking how the problem will be treated, how the results will be  measured, and how long it should take to lower your cholesterol. “You should ask them to explain what the numbers mean,” he says.

Knowles explains that there are general guidelines for cholesterol numbers, but everyone has different risk factors for heart disease, including family history.

Unfortunately, cholesterol management is not as simple as many people think. High cholesterol can’t always be fixed with a Lipitor prescription and a low fat diet.

If your doctor puts you on cholesterol-lowering drugs and they don’t achieve the desired results over time, it could be a red flag that something else is amiss.

For example, there is a genetic mutation called familial hypercholesterolemia, which makes a person resistant to cholesterol lowering drugs. People with FH have a much greater chance of having an early heart attack, according to the FH Foundation.

“FH is vastly underdiagnosed and underappreciated as a cause of heart disease,” Knowles says. “We estimate that fewer than 10 percent of patients who have it have been diagnosed.”

According to the FH Foundation, about 1 in 300 people could have the genetic mutation that causes FH, which they inherit from one parent or both.

FH impacts the way your liver processes cholesterol and its ability to remove it from your blood. There is no cure for FH, but it can be managed.

“The good news is, if we can diagnose it and treat it, patients can live just as long as everybody else,” Knowles says.

There is nothing wrong with asking your doctor about the possibility of your having FH, particularly if you have a relative who has it, or if you or they had a heart attack before age 60.

If your doctor is unfamiliar with FH, you can seek out a local specialist through the FH Foundation at thefhfoundation.com.

“FH should be suspected if LDL cholesterol is over 190 in untreated patients,” Knowles says. “They should be examined for FH and aggressively treated. It should also trigger the screening of all relatives of the patient. If they are not identified, they are like ticking time bombs.”

Neweleen Feldmar, 64, of Highland Beach, is someone who did not get the proper diagnosis and treatment of her cholesterol and her FH until it was almost too late.

“When I was 35 years old I had blood work done at a company I worked for and my cholesterol was 387, but they never told me what to do about it,” she says. (240 is twice the risk of the desirable level, according to the American Heart Association.)

“Even when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 48, no one ever mentioned cholesterol. Finally, when I was 50, I had a checkup and was told I had a cholesterol problem. I was put on Lipitor, but found out I was allergic to statin drugs. Then I had a heart attack in 2010 resulting in a triple bypass. The cardiologist put me on Zocor. Every visit he kept increasing the amount with little result.”

Eventually, Feldmar heard about Dr. Seth Baum, a cholesterol and FH specialist in Boca Raton, Florida. He diagnosed Feldmar with FH and began treating her with a combination of drugs, fish oil supplements and apheresis—a process that cleans the blood of LDL cholesterol in a dialysis-type treatment.

It is working for her. “I was in the hospital six times last year and have not been admitted at all this year,” Feldmar says. “I try to eat properly, and I take a fish oil supplement. I have apheresis every two weeks. And I’ve worked with a nurse practitioner to lose 28 pounds, with 40 more to go.”

As Feldmar found out, asking questions and finding the right doctor to treat her cholesterol made all the difference and saved her life and possibly the lives of her children, two of whom have high cholesterol. She now volunteers part time for the FH Foundation as a patient advocate.

She recently attended a gathering for FH patients and, sadly, was one of the oldest ones there. “One man was diagnosed at 6 years old,” Feldmar says. “When you’re young, you can do something about it.”

Knowles points out that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all adults have their cholesterol checked at age 20 if they have risk factors for heart disease, such as a family history. If they don’t have other risk factors, the Task Force recommends, men have their cholesterol checked by age 35, and women by age 45. In addition, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends every child age 8-11 get a baseline cholesterol check. This is partly because FH is starting to be more widely recognized, and starts in the womb, Knowles says. According to Dr. Baum, The National Lipid Association recommends that everyone have their cholesterol checked by age eleven. For family members of FH patients, the suggestion is more stringent; such children should be checked at two years old.

“This is a winnable battle,” Knowles says. “If doctors look for it, they’ll find it.”

— By Lisa Jevens, Tribune Brand Publishing

High Cholesterol, Family Style

June 18, 2014 News Comments Off on High Cholesterol, Family Style

Familial hypercholesterolemia – unfortunately, it may be all in the family

By Steve Milano, Tribune Brand Publishing

If you’re close to your parents, chances are there are many things they’ve passed on to you that you’ve taken to heart — and possibly one you hope they haven’t.

If you’ve got poor blood cholesterol levels and you and your doctor have struggled to control them, you might have familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), which is passed from parents to children. Your ethnicity can also increase your chances of inheriting the condition, with South African Ashkenazi Jews, Christian Lebanese, French Canadians among those at increased risk.

FH causes high levels of LDL (low-density lipoproteins, or “bad” cholesterol) in the blood, which leads to severely elevated risk for coronary heart disease. It affects people from birth and can cause early heart attacks (before age 40). Often, FH patients don’t respond adequately to common cholesterol treatments and remedies.

FH affects about one in 200 to 300 people, and according to the FH Foundation is one of the most underdiagnosed and undertreated diseases of the 21st century. As many as 90 percent of people with FH don’t know they have it. You can inherit a mutation in one or more of three key cholesterol controlling genes from your mother, father or both, explains Dr. Seth J. Baum, nationally recognized cholesterol expert and founder of Preventive Cardiology in Boca Raton, Florida. “Most people with FH receive the disorder from only one parent. If you receive genetic mutations from both parents, which is very rare, you might have a far more difficult time dealing with the condition,” says Dr. Baum, who serves on the FH Foundation board of directors.

According to the National Institutes of Health, physical signs in severe FH cases can include fatty skin deposits on your hands, elbows, knees, ankles and eyes; cholesterol deposits on your eyelids and around your cornea; and chest pain — even at a young age.

Work with your doctor

If you’ve been struggling to deal with your cholesterol levels or suspect a family member or friend may have a problem, contact your doctor to determine if you have FH. Your doctor can give you a thorough evaluation to look for physical and familial warning signs. Your family health history can be an indicator of FH, such as whether relatives suffer early onset heart disease and have consistently high LDL levels.

Your doctor might prescribe a number of lifestyle and behavior changes to deal with the condition, including, but not limited to:

  • Reducing your intake of saturated fats (found primarily in animal products)
  • Cutting back on foods with high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, such as eggs and certain cuts of meats and poultry
  • Taking a high-potency fish oil supplement
  •  Adding regular aerobic and resistance exercise to your weekly routine If these steps don’t help after several months, your doctor will likely prescribe medicines, including statins, to treat the condition. This can be a problem for women planning to become pregnant, who will need to stop these medicines even though cholesterol levels often rise as much as 50 percent during pregnancy.

Visiting a specialist

If the remedies your doctor recommends don’t work, you might need to consult with a lipid (cholesterol) specialist for LDL apheresis or other more specialized and appropriate medication therapy. LDL apheresis is a well-tolerated every-other-week blood cleansing treatment similar to dialysis (but much less stressful on the body) that takes about two hours, and might reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 75 percent.

There are only about 70 LDL apheresis centers in the United States, with Preventive Cardiology being the only one located in Boca Raton, Fla. and all of Southeast Florida.

Share the good news

Undiagnosed and untreated FH can significantly increase the risk of a heart attack before age 40. With early diagnosis, proper diet, regular aerobic exercise and the right treatment, people with FH can decrease their risk for coronary heart disease and lead normal, healthy lives.

Most physicians are not cholesterol experts and many are unfamiliar with FH. If you think you might have FH, talk to your doctor.

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July 2, 2012 Comments Off on Home

Heart Disease Prevention & Complex Lipid Disorder Management in Boca Raton, FL

Our Mission is to Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes, Stents and Bypass Surgery.

Additionally We Always Strive to be THE Florida Resource for Diagnosing and Treating Complex Cholesterol Disorders.

 

Preventive Cardiology Inc, (PCI) is the only practice in South Florida and one of the few practices in the nation that specializes in truly comprehensive cardiovascular prevention and lipid management.

 

Led by the President Elect of The American Society for Preventive Cardiology (ASPC), the practice uses cutting edge and scientifically validated modalities to identify vascular disease risk as well as “subclinical disease” even before it has caused symptoms. Advanced cholesterol and lipoprotein tests, forward-looking blood biomarkers, precise carotid artery wall examination, and the most advanced coronary artery scanner, in conjunction with a meticulous history and physical examination help us render accurate diagnoses and make open-minded, cutting edge clinical recommendations. We always aim to prevent a “first” cardiovascular event. If, however, a patient has already sustained a heart attack or required a stent for example, we do our very best to help him or her avoid ever experiencing another one.

 

When problems are identified, they are met with the caring use of detailed dietary and exercise advice, coupled with the appropriate use of pharmacologic therapies when indicated. Our strong conviction is that all decisions should be made after careful and comprehensive discussions between patient and doctor. Patient-centered medicine is unquestionably the PCI way.

 

For the management of the most complex lipid disorders, LDL apheresis can be employed. LDL apheresis is a blood cleansing technique available in only 60-70 centers in the nation. Dr. Baum runs one of the three Florida centers. He uses the FDA-approved Kaneka Liposorber® LA-15 for this procedure.

 

Located in Boca Raton and run by Dr. Seth J. Baum, PCI is the place in South Florida for complete and caring Cardiovascular Disease Prevention.
Contact us here for more information.

Meet Dr. Baum

Dr. Seth J. BaumDr. Baum has a practice in Boca Raton, Florida that is devoted predominantly to Preventive Cardiology and Lipidology.

 

Read More

 

The Myriad Benefits of Fish Oil

Consumers face a dizzying array of products and claims in the dietary supplement aisle — but a little knowledge can go a long way in helping chart a healthy lifestyle.

 

Read the Article


Habits to Help Lower Bad Cholesterol

September 10, 2014 News Comments Off on Habits to Help Lower Bad Cholesterol

Keeping LDL-Cholesterol in it’s Place: Healthy Habits to Try

There are a number of ways to stay healthy and lower “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. Some of us have lived our lives the same way for a long time and because of our habits, choices and lifestyle, we carry some very high LDL cholesterol numbers. At this point, we all know that LDL cholesterol is not good for us (I hope), and we also understand that it is best to keep LDL levels low. However, how do you go about exchanging your bad habits for good habits?

Eating Right

Although changing your eating habits won’t happen overnight, it’s important to start somewhere. There are many misconceptions regarding what is good or bad for your cholesterol when it comes to food. It’s important to assess your diet overall to determine where your biggest cholesterol problems are coming from. Once you’ve figured out your sources of bad cholesterol, it’s important to find proper replacements. It’s also imperative to monitor the portions you are eating. Big portions often translate into big waistlines. Healthful and lean cuts of protein and protein alternatives are a great way to replace heavy meats in your diet. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is also a great way to satiate your hunger, eat smart and keep your bad cholesterol down. Eating a healthful diet doesn’t mean getting rid of fats altogether, either. It’s important to get the right fats to raise your “good” (HDL) cholesterol and enhance your overall health. Some examples of healthful fat sources are fish, foods with olive oil, and nuts.

Exercise Counts!

Many of us live a rather sedentary lifestyle, and most of the time not by choice. Most jobs these days are comprised of sitting at a desk for a long period of time. This makes it hard for most people to get up and move around during the day. It gets even more complicated when our busy lives get in the way of getting the daily exercise that we need. However, there are a number of smart choices that you can make every day to start getting more active. The more active you are, the more likely that you can help lower your LDL cholesterol number. It’s important to get up and move throughout the day, even just for a walk around the office. It’s also important to make time for more formal exercise, even if it is simply taking the dog for a walk or briskly walking laps around a local mall.

Making the Right Choices

Relaxation is also a vital ingredient for optimal health. Everyone likes to relax in different ways. For some people this means having a few drinks or a cigarette after work. These choices are clearly not healthful and can be contributing to a rise in “bad” cholesterol, a drop in good cholesterol, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. Cutting down on the alcohol and quitting smoking are steps in the right direction when it comes to improving your cholesterol, as well as bolstering your overall health. Please remember, it’s important to consult with a physician before starting any diet or exercise program. Medical advice should not be inferred from this article.