Episode 48

full
Published on:

30th Apr 2024

Crucial Connection: Loneliness, Fasting Glucose, Menopause and Heart Health

**Alert! The name of this podcast is changing on June 4th to Open Heart Surgery with Boots! Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss the announcement. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter!**

Boots brings you heart news that caught her eye for the month of April in a new monthly segment! Let Boots know what you want to hear more of or less of by sending her an email boots@theheartchamberpodcast.com

Risk of heart disease rises sharply in women after menopause, study - Times of India (indiatimes.com)

Artificial intelligence shows that social isolation impacts cardiovascular age and mortality rate - Mayo Clinic

4-year-old who received new heart after waiting 1,025 days goes home from hospital - ABC News

Research uncovers hidden link between heart attacks and cancer - ISRAEL21c

Blake Hospital performs first minimally invasive mitral valve repair (mysuncoast.com)

Longitudinal blood glucose level and increased silent myocardial infarction: a pooled analysis of four cohort studies | Cardiovascular Diabetology | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)

Boots Knighton has been an educator since the late 1990s in all facets of education including high school science, middle school mathematics, elementary reading, college level ecology, ski instruction, backpacking, and experiential education. Her greatest teacher has been her heart thanks to a surprise diagnosis in 2020 (during the pandemic) of three different congenital heart defects. She is now thriving after her open-heart surgery on January 15, 2021 and is on a mission to raise awareness through her podcast, The Heart Chamber: patient stories of open-heart surgery and recovery, that heart surgery can be an incredible opportunity to begin again in life and live life wide open.


How to connect with Boots

Email: Boots@theheartchamberpodcast.com

Instagram: @openheartsurgerywithboots or @boots.knighton

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/boots-knighton

Boots Knighton

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Transcript

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Boots Knighton [:

Hello. Welcome to another episode of the heart chamber. I am your host, Boots Knighton. And today and at the end of every month, I am now gonna be bringing you news that caught my eye in the heart health world. So let's get right to it. Welcome to the Heart Chamber, hope, inspiration, and healing conversations on open heart surgery. I am your host, Boots Knighton. If you are a heart patient, a caregiver, a Heart care provider, a healer, or are just looking for open hearted living, this podcast is for you.

Boots Knighton [:

To make sure you are in rhythm with the heart chamber, be sure to subscribe or follow wherever you are listening to this episode. While you're listening today, think of someone who may appreciate this information. The number one way people learn about a podcast is through a friend. Don't you want to be the reason someone you know gained gained this heartfelt information? And if you haven't already, follow me on Instagram, 2 different places, at Boots Knighton Heart chamber podcast. You can also find me on LinkedIn as well as Facebook. But enough with the directions. Without further delay, let's get to this week's episode. Now, all the articles that I found or caught my attention this month, I will be hyperlinking in the show notes for your reference.

Boots Knighton [:

So this first one really caught my eye because I am 46 years old, and I have quite a few friends now who are either in perimenopause, menopause, or postmenopausal. So I found this first article particularly important, and it's from Times of India. It highlights a study that was presented at the American College of Cardiology's annual scientific session. And so I know this has already been covered in several other news outlets, but this article happened to come into my email. And so, basically, the gist of the study is that women postmenopausal women have a higher increase or higher incidence or risk of heart attack or other cardiac issues because the decline of estrogen in postmenopause contributes significantly to altering fat storage, blood clotting, and calcium buildup in the blood vessels. And so this is extremely concerning for women. Now I do wanna say that this study only had a sample size of 579 women, which is like a drop in the ocean as far as the amount of women available for a sample size. But it is interesting to see that even with the sample size, they noticed a large increase in women whose cardiac calcium score and a cardiac MRI, it went up significantly.

Boots Knighton [:

And so be thinking about maintaining a heart healthy diet, getting your regular exercise, obviously, stop smoking if you haven't, and then stress management through activities like yoga and meditation. They all play a major role in reducing heart disease risk. The next article really caught my eye. This one only supported my strong belief that my community and my husband and my family were so instrumental in me recovering well from heart surgery, as well as I recently broke my leg 5 months ago. And my surgeon continues to say that I am healing the fastest he's ever seen anyone heal. And one of the contributors to that is my incredible support network. This article also supports my decision to start this podcast because I know that I am so lucky to have what I have, and I wanna give it away. And one of the purposes of this podcast is to provide you community, which I will be talking more about that soon, about how I wanna start a community around this podcast.

Boots Knighton [:

But I also wanna be that voice for you as from one heart patient to another to provide you that sense that you're not alone and that we're all in this together and that you don't have to go through a cardiac event alone. So this article is out of the Mayo Clinic. They used artificial intelligence to show that social isolation impacts cardiovascular age and mortality rate. Really fascinating article. Again, I'll have this highlighted or hyperlinked in the show Boots. But like, one of the American Heart Association likes to use a social determinants of health screening, which addresses biological factors in patients. And so stress and physical activity are well recognized in that social determinants of health screening, but they wanted to see if there was need for more to be considered. So the Mayo Clinic wanted to start this investigation into the impact of social isolation on cardiac health, particularly the aging process.

Boots Knighton [:

We're hearing a lot about the aging process, but, I mean, everyone seems to have, like, these anti agingness or reverse aging that. But the Mayo Clinic actually honed in on the cardiac aging process. So they explore the connection, they meaning the Mayo Clinic cardiovascular medicine researchers. So they explore the connection between social isolation and biological aging using artificial intelligence enabled electrocardiography. Now that is a mouthful. They also evaluated the association of social isolation with all cause mortality. And then that provided the cardiac age estimate based on the electrocardiogram record. Now their sample size was much, much larger than the previous study I mentioned in this episode.

Boots Knighton [:

So this sample size looked at 280,000 adults who received outpatient care at the Mayo Clinic between June of 2019 March 2022. This large group had 50.9% women, and it's also notable that 86.3% of the study was considered nonhispanic white. So even though it was a large sample size and it was basically even men versus women, We're still not fully there for a sample size. I'd like to see more diversity, but at least it's a larger sample size. So they performed a social isolation assessment, and then the participants, you know, answered all the questions, and then they had a 12 lead ECG within 1 year of completing the questionnaire. And a higher social network index score showed a stronger social network. And here's where it gets really interesting. The results found slower cardiac aging in patients with a higher social network index score.

Boots Knighton [:

In more socially isolated patients, the heart age estimation was higher than the calendar age with more than 2 years of deviation. So here's a quote from the study. Our analysis showed that the observed association is independent of a patient's biological condition, such as preexisting cardiovascular disease. We also found that highly isolated patients have a nearly 47% higher risk of death compared with those who are socially engaged. That is so concerning to me as a heart patient. When I'm not recording and I'm just thinking about this podcast and when I'm thinking about my role in the world, the first thing that I always think about when I'm checking my intentions of doing this podcast, I'm working on a book for heart patients right now. My biggest driver is I think of the heart patients who don't have a network or who maybe live in a really rural part of the world or just struggle with mental health because mental health does go along with cardiac issues. I mean, it's tough.

Boots Knighton [:

The main point of my podcast and putting myself out in the world is I want to be that fellow heart patient in your life who provides you support. And so reading this article, it just emphasized my reasons and quickened my pace to finish my book and get it into your hands. And I have this saying that I I keep thinking in my mind, which is I don't want any heart patient to feel alone, and I wanna start a movement of no Heart, unhugged. And so this article supports my purpose. Okay. Moving on to the next one. This one was really interesting. This article is from Israel 21c.org.

Boots Knighton [:

Okay? And the title of this article, research uncovers hidden link between heart attacks and cancer. What the heck? Now, a lot of us have likely had a heart attack or we have had heart attack symptoms. I had an NSTEMI heart attack just in December after I broke my leg. My heart just couldn't handle the stress. It was really, really minor. So I'm hoping that I didn't create little bubbles. What I mean by little bubbles? Well, researchers in Israel say they've now understand why patients who have suffered a heart attack are more likely to develop cancer. Well, crap.

Boots Knighton [:

I tell you, this life of ours, we are really delicate meat suits. That's what I thought when I read this article. So the researchers from Tel Aviv University believe that tiny bubbles released by the recovering heart actually promote the growth of cancer cells throughout the body. So they tested their theory on animals, and they found that using drugs to inhibit the release of these bubbles, which they call small extracellular vesicles or SEVs slow the growth of cancerous cells. My goodness. So a medical and research student working on the project said that the heart releases more of these tiny bubbles than usual into the bloodstream after an attack. So they move through the cardiovascular system and eventually reach the tumor or precancerous cell tissue where they directly promote the growth of certain tumors. So I interpret that as, like, we all have tumors or precancerous tissue growing in our bodies, but that's what, you know, apoptosis is for.

Boots Knighton [:

We do have mechanisms in our body that help kill tumors that are supposed to be in our bodies. And so that usually happens at night. It's a whole physiological process that's really cool and interesting, but it sounds like these little tiny bubbles can get to these tissues that aren't healthy for us and actually activate them. So following an injury, I'm quoting now from the study, following an injury in the heart muscle and the deterioration to heart failure, these tiny bubbles contain growth factors and small nucleic acid molecules that promote cell division. Oh, man. So we just need to be mindful of that. I mean, I try not to get fearful when I read articles like this. It just only emphasizes the importance of taking care of ourself, eating well, getting exercise.

Boots Knighton [:

Obviously, don't smoke. Do all the things you can to care for your body, and, hopefully, that this doesn't come to fruition. And knowledge is power. You don't have to be a victim to your genetics. You don't have to be a victim to what happens to you. You are in the driver's seat of your health. Boots, hey, now you know, and it's also just a super interesting study. Alright.

Boots Knighton [:

Next up, a hospital in Florida, the HCA, Florida Lake Hospital, performed its first transcatheter edge to air repair on a patient with mitral valve regurgitation. That is amazing. I've actually interviewed mitral valve open heart surgery patients on this podcast. And I know, particular, my friend Bill Wingate would be very happy to hear that they are now making advancements where you don't necessarily have to have open heart surgery to have a mitral valve regurgitation repair. This is huge. I wanna give a big clap to the Florida Blake Hospital for this. This next article is on fasting glucose and its effects on silent myocardial infarction. Sample size, 3,075 men and women aged between 70 79 years old at baseline.

Boots Knighton [:

45% are women. 33% of the men as identified as African American. All participants were randomly recruited as a sample of Medicare beneficiaries from 2 clinical centers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Memphis, Tennessee. This data was from the first four annual visits from 1997 to 2,001. And they used an ECG examination as a baseline in the beginning and at the end. So they looked at, was fasting glucose affecting the heart. And they found that the higher the fasting glucose, the greater the silent myocardial infarction risk. This article is worth reading.

Boots Knighton [:

Again, I'll have this hyperlink in the show Boots. But it just goes to show how important our fasting glucose is, our cholesterol, all these different things do affect the heart. I'll even go as far as saying different types of inflammation also affect the heart. This article is a little complicated and nuanced. It's definitely higher level reading. But I bring this to you today just to be mindful of watching your blood draws. Make sure that when you do have a blood draw that you don't just take your doctor's word for it. I want you to get into the driver's seat of your health care, And I want you to go to your portal and I want you to look at all these different values, including your fasting glucose.

Boots Knighton [:

Because if you're bumping up at the top of normal and if your doctor is just, like, quickly looking at your blood results and just see normal, normal, normal, normal, but you're, like, bumping at the top of this fasting glucose, that's when you need to do something about it. And you have to be your own advocate. And when I read this study, I thought to myself, this is really important. We can determine the outcome and the impacts on our health. So make sure you go and read the study. The next article that really just gave me so much hope, and I wanna end with this. And you might if you watch ABC News, you might have seen this on the news. A 4 year old in Texas at the Texas Children's Hospital received a new heart after waiting for 1,000 and 25 days.

Boots Knighton [:

That is incredible. I wanna get she and her family on this podcast. Now I hope I am saying her name right. Her name is Arctura Nowak. And Heart and your family, I'm sorry if I'm not pronouncing your name correctly, But she received a donor heart on March 29th. The month of April is donate a life month or donor month, donor awareness month, however way you wanna say it. And I just love that she got her new heart on March 29th and then got to go home, during the month of April after waiting for so long. And I love this quote from her.

Boots Knighton [:

She says, I like my new heart. And she says she looks forward to seeing the ducks and the turtles at the local park. That is incredible. So, Arctura, I wanna give you a big congratulations. And I just I'm clapping for you. I am clapping for And I just I'm clapping for you. I am clapping for the Texas Children's Hospital. We need more stories like this, and it is really incredible to see how the impact of being a donor can have on another person's life.

Boots Knighton [:

And so in closing today, I want to remind you that we do have a choice in how we serve others even after we die. And if you're able, if you feel comfortable, please sign up to be a donor. Make it known to your family that you wanna be a donor because you never know who you can help next even once you die. So that was my news brief. I will be doing this every month. I wanna hear from you. Was this helpful? Do you not wanna hear this? Don't hold back. My podcast is not for me.

Boots Knighton [:

It's for you, heart patients and caregivers and medical teams. We are all in this together. Please email me, boots at the heart Chamber podcast.com, and let me know what you wanna hear more of, what you wanna hear less of. And I also just wanna know how you're doing. Is this helping you? Please don't hold back. I love hearing from listeners. And if you have questions you want me to answer or if you want me to have a specific guest on, I wanna hear that too. So from my remodeled heart to yours, I love you.

Boots Knighton [:

I'll be back next week. Thank you for sharing a few heartbeats of your day with me today. Please be sure to follow or subscribe to this podcast wherever you are listening. Share with a friend who will value what we discussed. Go to either Apple Podcasts and write us a review or mark those stars on Spotify. I read these and your feedback is so encouraging and it also helps others find this podcast. Also, please feel free to drop me a note at boots@theheartchamberpodcast.com. I truly want to know how you're doing and if this podcast has been a source of hope, inspiration, and healing for you.

Boots Knighton [:

Again, I am your host, Boots Knighton, and thanks for listening. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday for another episode of The Heart Chamber.

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About the Podcast

Open Heart Surgery with Boots
A podcast for heart patients by a heart patient
Formerly called The Heart Chamber Podcast, Open Heart Surgery with Boots airs every Tuesday for conversations on open-heart surgery from the patient perspective. Boots Knighton explores the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual experiences of surgery with fellow heart patients and health care providers. This podcast aims to help patients feel less overwhelmed so you can get on with living your best life after surgery. You not only deserve to survive open-heart surgery, you deserve to THRIVE!
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