Mammogram for your heart

With the booming popularity of "64-slice CT scans", there's a lot of mis-information about what these tests provide.

These tests are essentially heart scans with added x-ray dye injected to see the insides of the arteries. However, to accomplish this, a large quantity of radiation is required. In addition, the test is not quantitative, that is, it is not a precise measure that can be repeated year after year.

It is okay to have a 64-slice CT coronary angiogram. It is NOT okay to have one every year. That's too much radiation. However, a heart scan can be repeated every year, if necessary, to track progression or regression. Once stabilization (zero change) or reduction is achieved, then you're done (unless your life takes a major change, like a 20 lb weight gain).

The tried-and-true CT heart scan is the gold standard--easy, inexpensive, precise, and repeatable. Not true for 64-slice angiograms.
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Cureality App Review: Breathe Sync

Cureality App Review: Breathe Sync



Biofeedback is a wonderful, natural way to gain control over multiple physiological phenomena, a means of tapping into your body’s internal resources. You can, for instance, use biofeedback to reduce anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, and achieve a sense of well-being that does not involve drugs, side-effects, or even much cost.

Biofeedback simply means that you are tracking some observable physiologic phenomenon—heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure—and trying to consciously access control over it. One very successful method is that of bringing the beat-to-beat variation in heart rate into synchrony with the respiratory cycle. In day-to-day life, the heart beat is usually completely out of sync with respiration. Bring it into synchrony and interesting things happen: you experience a feeling of peace and calm, while many healthy phenomena develop.

A company called HeartMath has applied this principle through their personal computer-driven device that plugs into the USB port of your computer and monitors your heart rate with a device clipped on your earlobe. You then regulate breathing and follow the instructions provided and feedback is obtained on whether you are achieving synchrony, or what they call “coherence.” As the user becomes more effective in achieving coherence over time, positive physiological and emotional effects develop. HeartMath has been shown, for instance, to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, morning cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and helps people deal with chronic pain. Downside of the HeartMath process: a $249 price tag for the earlobe-USB device.

But this is the age of emerging smartphone apps, including those applied to health. Smartphone apps are perfect for health monitoring. They are especially changing how we engage in biofeedback. An app called Breathe Sync is available that tracks heart rate using the camera’s flash on the phone. By tracking heart rate and providing visual instruction on breathing pattern, the program generates a Wellness Quotient, WQ, similar to HeartMath’s coherence scoring system. Difference: Breathe Sync is portable and a heck of a lot less costly. I paid $9.99, more than I’ve paid for any other mainstream smartphone application, but a bargain compared to the HeartMath device cost.

One glitch is that you need to not be running any other programs in the background, such as your GPS, else you will have pauses in the Breathe Sync program, negating the value of your WQ. Beyond this, the app functions reliably and can help you achieve the health goals of biofeedback with so much less hassle and greater effectiveness than the older methods.

If you are looking for a biofeedback system that provides advantage in gaining control over metabolic health, while also providing a wonderful method of relaxation, Breathe Sync, I believe, is the go-to app right now.
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