Lahey Clinic Medical Center
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Peripheral Artery Disease
Health Tip: Heart Healthy Diet
Ask the Doctor
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  Summer 2009
Cardiovascular Health Center for Women

On Saturday, May 2, nearly 150 people came out to attend our Heart of a Woman event. The feedback we received was extremely positive, and we are happy attendees found the event to be informative and fun. We invite you to look at photos from the Heart of a Women Event here
Taking into account many of your helpful suggestions, we are now in the process of planning more women's heart health educational events, including our second Heart of a Women event in spring 2010! Our next e-newsletter will include details about a smaller event on nutrition and exercise to be offered this November. 
Read on to learn more about peripheral artery disease, the link between gum disease and heart disease, and how to eat heart healthy. Happy reading, and remember to take good heart care to heart!
The Lahey Cardiovascular Health Center for Women
Peripheral Artery Disease Front and Center
Heart HealthyFor many people, it begins as a cramp in the leg or a tight feeling in the calf. For others, the symptoms may be too subtle to notice.
But according to the American Heart Association, whether you experience symptoms or not, you could be one of the 8 to 12 million Americans living with a potentially dangerous condition known as peripheral artery disease (PAD).
Read full article
Getting to the Heart of a Healthful Diet
A heart-healthy lifestyle isn't about deprivation. It's about eating more-more fruits, more vegetables, more whole grains, and more unsaturated fats. When you focus on Healthy Food
putting more of these nutrient-rich foods in
your diet, there is naturally less room for the not-so-heart-friendly foods-those high in saturated fat and low in nutrients.
Healthy eating habits can help you reduce three of the major risk factors for heart attack:
  • High blood cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure
  • Excess body weight

So how does this translate into your grocery list and onto your dinner plate? To help you eat the heart healthy way, The American Heart Association has created some guidelines:

  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Choose five or more servings per day. Eat a variety of grain products, including whole grains. Choose six or more servings per day.
  • Include protein such as fat-free and low-fat milk products, fish, legumes (beans), skinless poultry, and lean meats.
  • Limit foods high in saturated fat,trans fat, and/or cholesterol, such as full-fat milk products, fatty meats, tropical oils, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, and egg yolks. Instead, choose foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol from the first three points above.
  • Choose fats with two grams or less saturated fat per serving, such as liquid and tub margarines, canola oil, and olive oil.
  • Limit your intake of foods high in calories or low in nutrition, including foods like soft drinks and candy that have a lot of sugars.
  • Aim to have less than 2400 milligrams of sodium per day.
  • Have no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
If you are interested in a consultation with one of our dietitians, please talk to your doctor about a referral. You should also check with your insurance provider to make certain such consultations are covered as part of your insurance plan.

Ask the Doctor: Is there a link between gum disease and heart disease?
Mom's constant reminders to brush your teeth may be helping your heart. Good oral hygiene aids in preventing plaque build-up that characterizes both cardiac and gum diseases. The exact mechanism that increases cardiovascular risk remains murky, but experts believe bacteria from chronic gum infection enter the bloodstream and cause white blood cells (which fight infections) to release inflammatory chemicals that create a build-up of fatty deposits and clots in the arteries. Frequent dental cleanings and improved oral hygiene are both associated with periodontal health, and periodontal health is linked with a lower incidence of coronary artery disease and stroke. Talk to your dentist about how to minimize your risk of gum disease, or how to reduce your risk for further damage.

Ask the Doctor invites you to submit your questions to [email protected]. All questions should be impersonal in nature, related to heart health and address topics others might want to know about as well. Due to the large volume of submissions expected, we will most likely be unable to answer every question. We will, however, answer as many questions as possible and post the questions and answers in future e-newsletters, as well as on our Web site at
Lahey's Cardiovascular Health Center for Women
We understand that women can have unique needs when it comes to matters of the heart. Although all of our physicians are highly qualified to meet those needs, sometimes, and for some patients, having a female doctor can make a difference. Our team of five female clinical cardiologists and one female cardiothoracic surgeon set Lahey apart in an era when, unfortunately, not many women are entering these specialties. So whether you're concerned about your risk of heart disease, dealing with a frightening heart arrhythmia, or in need of bypass surgery, we invite you to become familiar with us. Patients already diagnosed with a cardiac condition who are looking for a cardiologist or a second opinion can request an appointment by calling 1-877-LAHEY-96 (524-3996) or by emailing [email protected].