Reducing High Blood Pressure – Canton, OH

Handling high blood pressure is a key component of managing heart disease. High blood pressure puts an extra strain on the heart. While medication and other medical interventions may be necessary to manage blood pressure, there are steps patients can take at home to reduce the risks and their dependence on medication. How to Reduce High Blood Pressure: Keeping Fit Diet and exercise are critical components of the overall heart health plan. Talk to your doctor about engaging in moderate aerobic exercise for 60-90 minutes each day. A solid fitness routine and a healthy nutritional plan will help support heart health and reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Along with a strong fitness plan, diet is important. Alcohol and excessive sodium should be avoided. Cholesterol should be checked regularly and managed to avoid putting strain on the heart. While high cholesterol isn’t always associated with high blood pressure, the two sometimes occur together. Put out the Cigarettes Smoking carries many obvious dangers. Each cigarette raises the blood pressure, and heavy or “chain” smokers tend to face a much higher incidence of dangerously high blood pressure. Just 20 minutes after finishing a cigarette, blood pressure drops to normal. The risk of heart disease is cut in half after just one year of quitting. Kicking the habit can add years to your life. Talk to your doctor about cessation techniques that may work for you. Limit Alcohol and Stress Alcohol intake and stress are both factors in high blood pressure. Ironically, a single glass of wine or beer per day can actually lower blood pressure. It’s excessive intake that causes...

How Weight Affects Heart Health- Canton, OH

Your body weight is influenced by the energy intake from food and the energy spent by physical activity. There are three typical ranges of body weight: underweight, healthy, and overweight. These three levels have different implications for your heart health. Heart Health If You Are Overweight If you are prone to fat around your midsection, you have a greater chance of developing fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Basically, even if you are not overweight, you may still be at an increased risk for heart disease based on the size of your waist. Here are some heart problems that overweight or wide-waisted individuals may experience: Coronary Heart Disease High cholesterol High blood pressure Heart rate irregularities Heart Health If You Are Underweight If you are underweight, your body weight is below the healthy weight for your age and height. It can be defined as a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. Being underweight does not mean that you are healthy. If you are below weight for your height and age, you could be missing essential vitamins, minerals and other key nutrients. This can put you at risk for nutritional deficiencies and other problems such as anemia or heart rate abnormalities. The Heathy Range You are within healthy range if your weight is in proportion to your height. The appropriate way to find your healthy range is by using a weight – height chart or by calculating your Body Mass Index [BMI]. If you are a healthy weight, eat right, and exercise regularly, you will have less risk of developing heart disease. Dr. Ciuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to...

5 Heart Healthy Tips- Canton, OH

Keeping your heart healthy is essential if you want prevent or lower your risk of heart disease. With small adjustments to your daily life, you can ensure that your heart and the rest of your body stays healthy. Here are 5 tips to keep your heart healthy: Avoid smoking and tobacco. Cigarettes and tobacco are some of the worst things for your body. In fact, smoking is one of the ways you can get heart disease. Tobacco contains certain chemicals that can cause your arteries to get smaller with all the plague building up inside them. This condition is called atherosclerosis and can cause other problems like heart attacks. Exercise. It’s recommended that you exercise for about half an hour for a majority of the days in the week. Maintaining a regular exercising schedule can do wonders for your risk of heart disease. When you exercise, you should work to get your heart pumping. It doesn’t have to be hard exercise, it just has to be something like walking the dog, doing some chores, or going on a bike ride to get yourself off the couch and moving around. Eat healthy. Diet is essential to maintaining a healthy heart. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat foods are a great place to start for food that keeps your risk of heart disease low.  Keep your weight at a healthy level. Excess weight can heighten your risk of heart disease. Not only does it make your heart work harder, but being overweight can also cause other problems like diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Get enough rest. Not...

What is Aortic Stenosis?- Canton, OH

Aortic stenosis is narrowing of the aortic valve, impeding delivery of blood from the heart to the body. When the degree of narrowing becomes significant enough to impede the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the arteries, heart problems develop. Causes of Aortic Stenosis In adults, three conditions are known to cause aortic stenosis: progressive wear and tear of a bicuspid valve present since birth (congenital), wear and tear of the aortic valve in the elderly, and scarring of the aortic valve due to rheumatic fever as a child or young adult. Bicuspid aortic valve is the most common cause of aortic stenosis in patients under age 65. Symptoms The major symptoms are: chest pain (angina), fainting (syncope), and shortness of breath (due to heart failure). In a low percentage of the patients with aortic stenosis, the first symptom is sudden death, usually during strenuous exertion. Chest pain is the first symptom in one-third of patients and eventually occurs in one-half of patients with aortic stenosis. Fainting (syncope) related to aortic stenosis is usually associated with exertion or excitement. Initially, shortness of breath occurs only during activity. As the disease progresses, shortness of breath occurs at rest. Treatments Echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization are important tests in diagnosing and evaluating severity of aortic stenosis. Patients with aortic stenosis who have symptoms may require surgical heart valve replacement. Patients with aortic stenosis are usually given antibiotics prior to any procedures which might introduce bacteria into the bloodstream, such as dental procedures and surgeries. Dr. Ciuffo and the Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program Dr. Ciuffo is dedicated to helping...

Minimally Invasive Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) Repairs- Canton, OH

Healthy hearts have a wall that separates the right and left sides. An atrial septal defect occurs when there is a hole in this wall. This hole can cause problems with blood flow through the heart and body. ASD is not that common: only 0.6% of all babies are born with a hole in their heart wall. However, the consequences of this defect can be deadly. Symptoms ASD can cause newborns to have trouble breathing. This, in turn, leads to other issues like malnourishment, irreversible lung circulation damage, other complications and eventually death. It is very important to recognize this pathology and treat it before it is too late. Treatments There are several different ways to treat ASD. Surgical Therapy. When the atrial septal defect is small, it can sometimes close on its own. However, if the hole is large, it can cause severe symptoms. Minimally invasive atrial septal defect repairs can be performed to restore the normal anatomy for good. The surgery involves a tiny 2″ incision on the chest wall. Dr. Ciuffo will close the ASD with a suture line or a patch of the patient’s own tissue. Minimally invasive patients can benefit from having a very small scar, significantly less pain, and a quick recovery compared to other methods. Medical Therapy. For newborns with a small atrial septal defect with no symptoms, a pediatric cardiologist will most likely observe the patient and wait for the atrial septal defect to close on its own. If this does occur, the baby will have regular physical examinations and echocardiograms. Catheter Therapy. In some cases, the ASD can be closed with a catheter....

Surgery Without Blood Transfusion- Canton, OH

There are several reasons why you might choose to have bloodless heart surgery. Be it a health, religious, or other type of concern, you or a loved one won’t have to have a blood transfusion during your surgery. Additionally, the surgery is minimally invasive and leaves little scarring. The Surgery There are a few methods used to avoid blood transfusions at Dr. Chiuffo’s office:  Extra Corporeal Circulation (the heart-lung machine) with or without blood storage. The entire blood volume can be kept in circulation at all times, in compliance with the principles and beliefs of the Jehovah’s witness community. Beating Heart Surgery technique for coronary artery bypass. It avoids using the heart-lung machine and helps us maintain a better ability to coagulate and stop bleeding after surgery. Blood Salvage. A “cell saver” machine that filters and returns the patient’s blood to his/her own circulation. A closed circulation loop with no storage can be maintained at all times. Intraoperative hemodilution: some of the patient’s own blood can be removed prior to surgery and replaced with fluid. After surgery, the patient’s blood, is re-circulated into the patient’s body with the advantage of fresh, intact coagulation properties (not used in Jehovah’s witnesses because the blood needs to be stored out of the circulation for an hour or two) Careful cell saver recycling and rinsing of any blood absorbed in surgical pads and gauze during surgery. Many surgeons unfortunately do not pay much attention to what happens to those blood soaked surgical pads. A surgical gauze pad can absorb up 300 ml of blood which could be lost with the rest of the disposables if an effort to recover it is not routinely made. A considerable amount of blood can...