Posts Tagged ‘heart health’

Millie Cooper Honored by American Heart Association

February 9, 2016 2 comments

Every 34 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event. Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives than all forms of cancer combined.  According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute! Additionally, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

Millie Cooper, known as the “First Lady of Aerobics,” was recently honored with the Sandi Haddock Impact Award at the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon in Dallas thanks to her global efforts to promote physical activity and healthy habits.  Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth H. Cooper, are longtime supporters of the American Heart Association and major advocates of living healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease.

Go Red Luncheon Family Crop

From left to right: Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, Millie Cooper, T.J. Estes, Berkley Estes, Angie Cooper and Dr. Tyler Cooper

At the February 4 luncheon, close to 1,300 attendees heard from heart attack survivor Elissa Taylor, a Dallas-area mother who in 2015 had a heart attack at age 39. Her message to women is to take care of yourself, slow down, see your doctor and know the warning signs of a heart attack (which are different in women than in men).

Additionally, Lori Greiner of Shark Tank and QVC-TV paralleled business success with living healthy lifestyles. She explained the importance of women taking control of their health, not being afraid to ask questions and working hard to be healthy, safe and there for their loved ones.

Go Red Luncheon Lori

The phrase “Go Red” is a call to action for women to understand the risk of heart disease and stroke and actively work to keep their bodies healthy in order to prevent a cardiac event.  Remember…

G – Get Your Numbers

O – Own Your Lifestyle

R – Raise Your Voice

E – Educate Your Family

D – Donate

To learn more about the Go Red for Women campaign, click here. To see more photos from the event, visit the Cooper Aerobics Facebook page.

Heart Health Boosting Foods

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

This month we celebrate heart health. There are many powerful foods that deliver big benefits to reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are a few super-stars that you may want to incorporate into your routine. All of these foods are loaded with heart-protective components that will keep your heart strong and pumping.

This fatty fish ranks high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats may reduce inflammation throughout the body which can cause damage to your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. These healthy fats may also lower cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and risk for heart failure. Try to eat fatty fish, like salmon, two to three times a week.

These berries are bursting with antioxidants, specifically the phytonutrient polyphenol. Anti-oxidants are potent substances that reduce inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease, along with other chronic diseases. Add blueberries to yogurt or smoothies. Frozen blueberries are just as nutritionally packed as fresh!

Everyone loves avocados! These fruits are packed with mono-unsaturated fat that bumps up your good HDL cholesterol and lowers risk of heart disease. Recent research shows a link between consuming avocados daily and reducing bad LDL cholesterol. Avocados also contain vitamin B 6 and folic acid which are also beneficial to your heart. Enjoy avocados in salads or as a sandwich spread instead of mayo several times a week.

Walnuts contain a wealth of omega-3 fats in the world of nuts. If you’re not a fan of salmon or other fatty fish, this is a great way to fit these fats into your diet. Walnuts also contain vitamin E which is an antioxidant that may protect your heart. Enjoy walnuts on salads or as a crunchy snack. Try to eat nuts at least 3 times a week- 4 or five times is even better!

Oatmeal is good news for your heart. The type of soluble fiber in oats, beta-glucans, forms a gooey mass in your stomach, trapping cholesterol and transporting it out of the body before it can get absorbed into your blood, thus lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. It takes about 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal (equal to ¾ cups dry) to get the maximum benefit. Try to eat oatmeal several times a week. Top with blueberries and walnuts- two other star foods on the list!

For information on nutrition consultations at Cooper Clinic visit or call 972.560.2655.

Join Drs. Cooper in the 2014 Dallas Heart Walk

Since 1970, Cooper Aerobics’ mission has been preventive medicine, saving thousands of lives by identifying early signs of heart disease. Sharing the mission to improve heart health and end cardiovascular disease and stroke, we’re proud to support American Heart Association.

Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Kenneth Cooper began the first Dallas Heart Walk with only 450 walkers. The Dallas Heart Walk is now the largest in the nation, with more than 60,000 walkers last year. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Dr. Kenneth Cooper will lead this year’s walk on Sept. 13 as Honorary Chairman with son, Dr. Tyler Cooper as the 2012-2014 Board President of the Dallas Division of the American Heart Association. Watch the video below with Drs. Cooper and other community leaders honoring the anniversary.

In addition to Dr. Tyler Cooper’s role as Board President, he has personally pledged to fundraise $250,000 and has taken on the role as the Inspired Giving Chair of the Executive Cabinet for the Dallas Heart Walk in honor of his dad’s generous contributions over the years. In this role, Dr. Tyler Cooper has encouraged many influential business leaders in the community to personally contribute to the 2014 Dallas Heart Walk to achieve the goal of $5.5 million.

Earlier this summer, Cooper Aerobics teammates (employees) kicked off fundraising efforts with a pep rally. View photos here. We’ve currently fundraised $66,577 and are on our way to reaching our goal of $100,000. Support the Cooper Aerobics Team by making a donation here and join our team to walk with us on Sept. 13.

Donate to the Cooper Aerobics’ Heart Walk Team | Join the Cooper Aerobics’ Heart Walk Team

Does Sitting Too Much Affect Your Heart Health?

There is a new area of science looking specifically at the harms of physical inactivity or sedentary behavior, which is not necessarily the inverse of benefits of physical activity, according to Nina Radford, MD, Cardiologist and Director of Clinical Research at Cooper Clinic.

Most of the data suggests that if you spend too much time sitting, you’re more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. The more time you spend sitting, the more weight you gain, the more your waist circumference increases, your blood sugar rises and cholesterol profile worsens.

Improve Your Heart Health
There are several conventional recommendations to people who sit long periods of time each day. Some of these suggestions include:

  • Get up once an hour and take a walk.
  • Stand while on the phone or opening mail.
  • Rather than emailing a colleague who works down the hall, walk down the hall to speak to them instead.
  • At lunch, take some time to walk around your building or around the block.

While these suggestions can’t hurt, there’s a bigger picture we have to look at, says Dr. Radford. Being sedentary isn’t only about sitting at your desk at work. It’s a sedentary lifestyle that is truly dangerous. People who are sedentary get less moderate physical activity and may have worse diet patterns.

New research shows that someone who is physically fit and makes regular exercise a priority, but who has a desk job, has fewer risk factors for heart disease than someone who has a desk job and is not physically fit.

“There is a new idea that if you sit at your desk all day, going to the gym at night won’t help, but that is not necessarily the case,” says Dr. Radford.

Researchers at The Cooper Institute have found that the adverse effects of time spent sitting are less pronounced the more fit you are.

“The notion that you can’t undo the ravages of a sedentary lifestyle by exercising every day is a bad public health message and the data doesn’t convincingly demonstrate that,” says Dr. Radford

So what does Dr. Radford recommend? Be generally active and get an annual physcial exam. Make it a priority to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. If you do have to sit long periods of time, get up and move around as much as possible, but the real emphasis is on living an otherwise active lifestyle.

Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) Scan at Cooper Clinic

April 4, 2014 1 comment

Did you know Cooper Clinic patients who regularly get an annual exam live 13 years longer than the average male and seven years longer than the average female? Read about each of the six components of the comprehensive exam to learn why. If you haven’t seen the first three posts, get caught up!

  1. Medical Exam & Counseling
  2. Laboratory Analysis
  3. Cardiovascular Screening
  4. Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) Scan
  5. Skin Cancer Screening
  6. Nutrition Consultation

Taking the cardio screening a step further, look inside at the health of your heart’s arteries with an MDCT scan. Calcification of the coronary arteries is a risk factor for developing heart disease and having a stroke.

Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) Scan

An MDCT scan is an upper torso scan (between the shoulders and hip bones) that detects buildup in the heart’s arteries. The scan also evaluates the lungs and abdominal organs. Depending on the clinical history, this scan is commonly performed in men after age 40 and in women after age 50 and is repeated if clinically indicated thereafter.

Why do you need an MDCT scan? For your heart.

Among other things, the MDCT scanner can detect the presence of calcification in the coronary arteries or “CAC”. The amount of CAC is measured and converted to a score called a CAC score, also known as the Agatston score. Many studies have demonstrated that the more calcification detected, the risk of atherosclerosis in the heart arteries and the higher the risk of having future cardiovascular disease events. Learn more about CAC scores here.

Clinically significant amounts of atherosclerosis, frequently an indication for more aggressive risk factor management, is often defined by a CAC score ≥100 or a high score for someone your age and gender. A CAC score ≥400 may suggest the need for further diagnostic evaluation depending on the presence of other clinical symptoms or factors.

CAC is not uncommon in adults. A study from the National Institutes of Health evaluating CAC measured in 3,238 white adults in age groups ranging from 45 to 75 years of age found that 32 percent of women and 52.9 percent of men had some evidence of calcified plaque. CAC can even be detected in patients who are otherwise low risk when using traditional risk factors. For example, they have normal and/or cholesterol and don’t smoke.

Atherosclerosis that is not yet calcified (called “soft” plaque) is not detected by the MDCT scan. Thus, the absence of coronary calcification does not mean that the arteries are totally normal; however, the absence of CAC confers a very low risk for future cardiovascular events.

Why do you need an MDCT scan? For your lungs.

The MDCT scan is also a good tool for evaluating the presence of lung disease, specifically at early detection of lung cancers.

It is now recommended that even in the absence of worrisome symptoms (such as chronic cough), current or former smokers with significant smoking history receive low-dose CT scans to screen for lung cancer. These recommendations follow the publication of results from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) in 2011, which found reduced deaths from lung cancer among patients who received a low-dose CT screening compared with those given chest X-rays.

Chest X-rays are not recommended for lung cancer screening because they often do not demonstrate a lung cancer until it is far advanced. If you have been a longtime smoker and you have a normal chest X-ray, you should not assume that you are lung cancer free.

Combining the latest scientific technology with an unparalleled level of personal care and attention, Cooper Clinic delivers a truly unique patient experience. The MDCT scan is performed in a matter of minutes and is noninvasive. Unlike some clinics that make patients wait days or even weeks for results—results to celebrate or results that could change everything—Cooper Clinic provides all results the same day, many times within hours. That gives you time to review the information and discuss next steps with your Cooper Clinic physician.

To request an appointment or to receive more information from Cooper Clinic, click here.

Start a New Walking Program

To show your support of American Heart Association, take a walk and share your photos on social media with #AHALaceUp.

To show your support of American Heart Association, take a walk and share your photos on social media with #AHALaceUp.

Recent studies have shown an increase of inactive adults in the United States. This is a problem when you consider that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease. But, it’s a problem that can be fixed.

Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day, five days a week not only provides heart health benefits, but it reduces the risk of all death by all causes by 58 percent.

To conquer inactivity and celebrate National Walking Day, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer April Swales offers advice on how you can start a walking program. Follow these tips to a fit, healthy self.

Getting Started
If you are going from a sedentary lifestyle to a regular walking routine, begin with short walks for a limited amount of time. For instance, start by walking for ten minutes at a time and work your way up from that time period.

Stepping It Up
One shoe does not fit all. Before beginning a new walking program, it is valuable to invest in a good pair of walking or running shoes.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can visit stores like RunOn or Luke’s Locker to have a specialist analyze your foot and the way that you step. From that point, they can fit you with a shoe that complements your foot’s shape and pronation.

Going the Distance
Rather than focusing on the distance traveled, think about how long you have actually spent walking. You do not want to increase your distance too quickly because it could result in negative side effects. Instead, each day add on a few more minutes to your walking routine.

Fit in Hydration
It is important to stay hydrated during your workouts. Water is important for every single cell function in your body. Staying hydrated will keep your body functioning as it should, so you can make the most out of every workout.

Adding Intensity
Once you reach an intermediate level of fitness, you can begin to take your workouts up a notch. You can add intensity by warming up with dynamic stretches, keep a challenging pace or adding interval training to your walking workout.

Find a Walking Path
The American Heart Association has created a list of walking paths. From parks to shopping malls, check out this list of American Heart Association-designed walking paths across the country. And when you’re traveling, you can find a local path to take and keep on your route to healthy living.

Walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health, and it is the simplest way to start and continue a fitness journey. Look for ways to incorporate more walking into your day, whether it’s parking the car father away from your destination or going for a family walk after dinner.

For more information on Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, click here or call 972.233.4832.

Treadmill Stress Test at Cooper Clinic

March 24, 2014 4 comments

Did you know that more than 100,000 patients have done the treadmill stress test at Cooper Clinic? A few weeks ago we began a blog series to dive into each of the six components of Cooper Clinic’s comprehensive preventive exam. To get caught up, read about the first two components.

  1. Medical Exam & Counseling
  2. Laboratory Analysis
  3. Cardiovascular Screening
  4. Multidetector Computed Tomography (MDCT) Scan
  5. Skin Cancer Screening
  6. Nutrition Consultation

Component #3: Cardiovascular Screening

Since Cooper Clinic opened in 1970, we have used the treadmill stress test to help detect heart artery blockages and assess patients’ overall risk of developing heart disease in the future. Dr. Cooper was the first physician in Dallas to routinely use the treadmill stress test for this purpose. And since then our research has proven the importance of having this test done annually.

The stress test is a standardized walking or cycling test used to determine cardiovascular fitness, assess functional capacity and the conduction system of the heart and identify possible underlying coronary artery disease. Before, during and after the stress test, the electrocardiogram (EKG) is monitored continuously and blood pressure is measured frequently to assess the cardiovascular response to exercise.

On the Treadmill

At Cooper Clinic we use a modified Balke treadmill protocol for the treadmill stress test. With this protocol, the treadmill speed remains at 3.3 mph. We increase the work of the heart by adding elevation.

  • First minute—Zero percent elevation
  • Second minute—Two percent elevation
  • Third minute—Three percent elevation

After the second minute, we increase the elevation by one percent for each minute up to a maximal incline of 25 percent. As you can imagine, that is a pretty steep hill! For those few individuals who can exercise beyond 25 minutes, the incline stays at 25 percent and then the speed increases 0.2 mph/minute until exhaustion. We use this protocol rather than the Bruce protocol, which is used in most cardiology offices for the diagnosis of coronary blockages. Why? Because the Balke treadmill protocol has a more gradual increase in cardiac workload so that even our most unfit patients can participate to provide the data to write an exercise prescription.

How Performance Provides Results

Patients will often ask, ‘how long do I need to walk on the treadmill?’ In order to obtain an adequate test for the diagnosis of coronary blockages, a patient should reach a heart rate of at least 85 percent of their predicted maximal heart rate. The predicted maximal heart rate is estimated using the equation “220 minus age”. For example, if you are 50 years old, your predicted maximal heart rate is 220-50 or 170 beats per minute. However, we often exercise patients beyond this threshold value of 85 percent of predicted maximal heart rate because we stop the treadmill based on the patient’s exertion level rather than a predetermined heart rate. For many of our very fit patients, if we stopped the test when their heart rate reached 85 percent of their predicted maximal heart rate, we would have a result that didn’t reflect how hard they work when they exercise and we couldn’t create a realistic exercise prescription for them.

Scientifically Proven

A recent study from Cooper Clinic involving 25,642 individuals followed for 7.2 years, showed that in addition to assessing changes on the EKG during a stress test, other non-EKG measures helped predict the risk of death from all causes or from cardiovascular disease. Including:

  • Functional capacity (how long you exercised on the treadmill)
  • Resting heart rate
  • If the heart rate increased appropriately during exercise
  • How fast the heart rate recovered after exercise

Unlike its use in other settings, the treadmill stress test at Cooper Clinic is used as an objective way to measure fitness. Sure, we can ask you how often you exercise; we can ask you how hard you work during exercise, but nothing provides a real measure of fitness like your performance on the treadmill.

In 1989, a landmark paper from The Cooper Institute 501(c)(3) nonprofit examined 10,224 men and 3,120 women who had undergone fitness (treadmill) testing. After a follow-up of slightly more than eight years, research showed the risk of death from any cause decreased as fitness increased in both men and women. In addition, cardiovascular and cancer death rates were lower among the higher fit individuals.

Since that time, numerous scientific publications from The Cooper Institute have demonstrated the benefits of being fit and the risks of being unfit:

  • Men who maintained or improved their fitness were less likely to die from anything or from cardiovascular disease versus the unfit men who remained unfit over time.
  • The health benefits of fitness include reduced risk for developing risk factors for heart disease including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • The risk of low fitness approaches the risk of smoking.
  • Being fit reduces the risk of stroke and depression.
  • Being fit reduces the risk of dying from lung and gastrointestinal cancers.

Most recently, The Cooper Institute has shown that fitness at mid-life (average age in the upper 40s) impacts health—including the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease—and is a predictor of health care costs in later life. The average follow-up was between 24-26 years.

Given the proven health benefits of fitness, most experts recommend that a fitness evaluation should be part of routine preventive care as an independent “vital sign” that can be directly modified by routine physical activity. At Cooper Clinic, we do exactly that. Once we measure your fitness, we can use that information to create an individualized exercise prescription to improve your fitness or keep you fit.

To learn more about the treadmill stress test at Cooper Clinic, click here.

Nuts and Bolts About Coconut Nutrition

CoconutThere’s a lot of chatter about coconut these days. Many new products containing coconut are lining grocery store shelves, from coconut milk and water to flavored yogurts and frozen desserts. Some popular doctors, celebrities and diets tout the health benefits, but for now more reliable scientific research is needed before drawing any real conclusions.

Health Claims for Coconut Oil:

There are multiple health claims regarding the benefits of coconut oil, including promoting weight loss and improving heart health. One study looked at women ages 20-40 years of age who supplemented their diet with coconut oil. The results showed a decrease in abdominal fat. The participants were also given dietary and exercise advice so it is hard to prove how much of an effect the coconut oil had on their fat loss. As for improving cholesterol and heart health, there are a few studies that looked at coconut oil and found the combination of fatty acids in this oil improved the “good” HDL cholesterol, but on the flip side it raised the “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Where Coconut Oil Fits Into the Total Fat Equation:

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, dietary fat from both healthy, (unsaturated) fat and unhealthy (saturated and trans) fat sources should make up no more than 35 percent of your daily calories. Some healthy fats include peanut butter, nuts, avocados, olive and canola oil. Some unhealthy fats are found in high fat meat and animal products, full fat dairy foods and oils such as palm and coconut oil and foods prepared from these oils.

Cooper Clinic recommends for a 2,000 calorie a day diet less than seven percent of total calories come from saturated fat. That equates to 16-22 grams of saturated fat a day. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 12 grams of saturated fat which is a big chunk of your saturated fat allotment! Most popular food products (see list below) are proportionately high in saturated fat to total fat. Even small amounts of either unsaturated or saturated fats are calorie-dense so accounting for the portion is a key factor. If you choose to include small amounts of coconut products in your diet, keep in mind how they fit into the total amount of your saturated fat budget. As with all foods, stick with moderation.

Comparing Coconut Products:

  • Coconut oil: 1 tablespoon contains about 120 calories, 13.5 grams total fat and 12 grams saturated fat.
  • Canned coconut milk: ½ cup serving contains about 220 calories, 24 grams total fat and 21 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut milk (So Delicious®, Original): 1 cup contains 80 calories, 5 grams total fat and 5 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut Greek yogurt: 6 oz. contains 140 calories, 4.5 grams total fat and 3.5 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut water: 1 cup contains about 45 calories, 0.5 grams total fat and 0.4 grams saturated fat.
  • Coconut milk dessert (So Delicious®, vanilla, no sugar added): 1 cup contains 200 calories, 16 grams total fat and 14 grams saturated fat.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services or to schedule a nutrition consultation, click here or call 972.560.2655.

Heart Disease: What’s Your Risk?

The topic of heart disease has been top-of-mind lately with several high-profile people experiencing cardiac events. Unfortunately these cases are not isolated. This year 635,000 Americans will have their first heart attack or die from coronary disease. Many of these deaths are preventable.

When stories such as these are highlighted in the news it tends to make us re-examine our own health. One of the challenges of managing heart disease is that in many cases there are no warning  symptoms before the occurrence of sudden death or symptoms of heart disease can be subtle says Nina Radford, MD, Director of Clinical Research and a cardiologist at Cooper Clinic.

Are you at risk for developing heart disease?

Dr. Radford is an advocate of knowing and minimizing your risk factors for heart disease. But how do you know if you’re at risk?  Dr. Radford suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you smoke? Twenty percent of Americans still smoke despite well-described health risks associated with cigarette use. Throwing out your cigarettes is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your heart disease risk.
  • Are you overweight or obese? Almost two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese. Start by simply stepping on the scale to get an objective measure of your weight.
  • Do you have high blood pressure? One third of all Americans do.  Your risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you age. This is an easy risk factor to measure with a simple blood pressure cuff.
  • Do you have diabetes or elevated blood sugar? Almost 10 percent of adults have diabetes and another 38 percent have pre-diabetes. This can be diagnosed with a simple blood test to check blood sugar levels.
  • Do you have elevated cholesterol? About 15 percent of all adults have total cholesterol levels > 240 mg/dL.  High cholesterol can be diagnosed with a simple blood test known as a cholesterol profile.

How do you know if you already have heart disease?

Chances are, if you are a man 50 years or older or a woman 60 years or older, you may already have plaque build-up in your heart arteries. Many patients may have modest or moderate amounts of coronary artery atherosclerosis or plaque and with excellent control of risk factors, may never develop symptoms of clinical heart disease.

Other patients may develop symptoms of coronary heart disease that may be fairly easy to recognize such as feeling as if they have “an elephant sitting on their chest” making them short of breath, sick to their stomach and sweaty. Or the symptoms may be subtle such as feeling lightheaded with activity, experiencing reduced exercise tolerance or generalized fatigue.

The critical issue with the development of possible cardiac symptoms is having them evaluated urgently.

Your healthcare provider can help you understand and manage your risk of heart disease. It’s important that you schedule a comprehensive annual preventive exam and take a proactive approach to your heart health and your health in general.

If you’re interested in preventive exam at Cooper Clinic call 972.560.2667 or visit our website.

Heart Disease: Using Nutrition to Take Control

August 9, 2013 4 comments

Our daily nutrition choices can go a long way in reducing our risk of heart disease.  In this video, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian, Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD shows us practical and simple ways to make heart healthy choices at each meal. Her tips include adding good choices to our diet, like fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and reducing foods like cheese and butters. Making even one of these changes on a daily basis can make a significant difference in protecting your heart for the future.

For more health tips from dietitians at Cooper Clinic, visit our website.