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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Watching Dr Oz 2/1/12: Warning Signs of Heart Disease in Women, Easy Test for Heart Disease Risk, Simple Heart Health Home Test, 28-Day Plan for the Heart, 15-Minute Heart Healthy Meal

The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: February 1, 2012
Inside Dr. Oz's O.R.: 5 Warning Signs of the #1 Killer of Women
  • Know the warning signs for heart disease in women
  • Dr. Oz discusses an easy test for heart disease risks
  • Home test to determine vein flexibility
  • Dr. Oz's 28-day plan for heart health
  • 15-minute heart healthy meal

Over 26 years and more than 5,000 operations, Dr. Oz wants to stop women for ending up on the operating table. One-quarter of his patients are women. Today's Dr. Oz Show is all about heart health. Find out how healthy your heart is and learn how to support heart health.

Stay up-to-date with Watching Dr Oz:


Inside Dr. Oz's O.R.: 5 Warning Signs of the #1 Killer of Women

Dr. Oz, in full scrubs in the operating room, says women are concerned about the fat on their thighs and he's worried about fat on their heart. For the first time ever on The Dr. Oz Show, cameras are in the operating room while Dr. Oz preforms bypass surgery on a 64-year-old woman.

[This segment left me a bit squeamish. Open-heart surgery up-close and bloody!]

A healthy vein was harvested from the patients leg to bypass the damaged areas of the heart. She had a heart attack previously that left viable damage on her heart. During the surgery, her heart is stopped, a puncture is made in the aorta to establish a graph of the new vein heart. After an hour of no beat, the heart was restarted but there was no beat. Dr. Oz poked the heart to get it beating. After many tense seconds the heart finally began to beat. Scary!

Dr. Oz: Recognize the Warning Signs

Five patients, most in their 40's and one not yet 30, joined Dr. Oz to share their experience with heart surgery. Each of the women experienced at least one of the warning signs but ignored them until it was almost too late.

Dr. Oz Heart Warning Sign #1: Jaw, Neck and Shoulder Pain

She took a multivitamin and felt like it got stuck in throat. Later, the pain began to radiate down her chest, through the arms, and then onto her back. Ironically, she had been trained in CPR and knew that arm pain was a classic sign of a heart attack.
Her husband is a fire officer with FDNY and recognized that she was in cardiac arrest. He immediately took her to the ER. If he hadn't she says she would have ignored the signs and died.
How do you know the difference between simply pain and pain that could be a heart attack?
Symptoms may be signs of a heart attack if:
  • You cannot pinpoint the pain
  • Pain lasting more than a minute

Dr. Oz Heart Warning Sign #2: Nausea, Indigestion, and Stomach Pain

Sara said she experienced nausea and indigestion. Meeting with a cardiologist, the doctor determined that she was having an aneurysm of the aorta. Dr. Oz explained that when women die of a heart attack, doctors will commonly look at their stomach to see if there are antacids present. Warning signs of a heart attack can show up as discomfort in the stomach.

How can you tell if it's a bad stomach ache or a heart attack? Dr. Oz says that if the discomfort is beneath the rib cage then it's just a stomach ache.

Symptoms may be signs of a heart attack if:
  • Pain is above the breast bone
  • Pain doesn't go away with an antacid or food

Dr. Oz Heart Warning Sign #3: Shortness of Breath

The next guest shared that she would become out of breath in normal activity. Her daily walk through the train station would leave her breathless. Dr. Oz says a simple test of heart health is to talk while you're walking. If you lose your breath then it could be a sign of a heart attack.

Symptoms may be signs of a heart attack if:
  • Experience shortness of breath during normal activity
  • Trouble talking while walking

Dr. Oz Heart Warning Sign #4: Dizziness and/or Lightheadedness

Dr. Oz says this is the easiest heart attack symptom to miss. Kim, Dr. Oz's own patient, said she often experienced shortness of breath and sometimes lightheaded. She thought she was just going to fast through life with too much stress. One morning she woke up with her heart racing which was not normal and not a panic attack.. Her husband understood the symptoms were serious and took her to the ER.
Dr. Oz explained that dizziness occurs when the blood pressure drops too low but could be more serious if these other symptoms are also present.
Symptoms may be signs of a heart attack if:
Dizzy or lightheaded along with other warning signs/chest pains
Dizziness or lightheadedness does not go away when sitting down

Dr. Oz Heart Warning Sign #5: Unusual Fatigue

Michelle, at 27 is the youngest of the women on stage, has already undergone heart surgery. She is a going to school for cardiac ultrasound where a fellow student conducted an ultrasound and saw a problem. Michelle needed open heart surgery. She never imagined it was possible at her age to have heart issues.

Dr. Oz explained that fatigue is the most common warning sign of a heart attack yet there are many reasons that could cause fatigue. Surprisingly, 70% of women experience fatigue in days or weeks leading up to heart attack.

Is is lack of sleep, fighting off a cold or virus, side-effect of a medication, or over doing it, or could it be a heart attack?

Symptoms may be signs of a heart attack if:
  • Unable to perform easy activities – if carrying the groceries last week was easy and this week it's difficult

Dr. Oz took Michelle over to an EKG to check her heart. Michelle shared that she was self-conscious about her heart surgery scar. Dr. Oz gave her encouragement, without that scar she wouldn't be here, it's a badge of honor.

Only you have the power to prevent the number one killer of women, says Dr. Oz, you don't have to wait for these symptoms. Read on...

Dr. Oz Best Test to Predict Heart Disease

Dr. Oz says the CRP test, or C-Reactive Protein Test, measures inflammation in the body and can be a better predictor of heart health and heart disease risks than a cholesterol test. And CRP can be life saving. Every member of Dr. Oz's audience had a C-Reactive Protein test.

Dr. Oz showed an animation of yellow plaque in arteries. Plaque can grow then rupture causing an open wound in the artery. Inflammation builds and the body responds by creating a scab to cover the wound but the scab, or clot, also closes down the artery limiting, and in many cases, completely blocking blood flow. The speed of a clot forming is what kills people.

Through a demonstration, Dr. Oz showed how the blood flow in the arteries can be blocked by plaque. A clean artery allows blood to flow elegantly. With plaque in the artery blood is slowed but not blocked. Inflamed plaque blocks the flow completely.

Inflammation changes how we view heart disease, says Dr. Oz, and the CRP test gives clues to the risks of heart disease.

The Numbers
Dr. Oz explained the number scale used to measure inflammation in the body through the CRP test.
  • Less then 1 is the lowest risk
  • 1 and 3 indicates an average risk
  • Over three is the highest risk category indicating three times the risk of heart disease and four times the risk of dying from a heart attack.
If you're pregnant, using contraceptives, experiencing a cold these issues could elevate the readings.
Dr. Oz had a score of 0.3 – the picture of heart health. [We would expect no less, right?]

Robin, Dr. Oz's assistant for the segment, had a score of 4.54. She said she should consider going back into the army and run more. The results made Robin feel sad but she's not surprised. Robin said she knows she can make changes to lower that number.

One in four women have elevated CRP levels and 42% of the audience had an elevated CRP. Corrine, in the audience, shared her CRP results: 5.95. She says cookies and cake could be the cause along with stress. She's grateful for today's show, sharing that she has some of the symptoms discussed previously.

Dr. Oz Simple Home Test for Heart Health

To test the flexibility of your arteries, Dr. Oz says to touch your toes. Stand up, bend over, and touch your toes. The further you can reach down, the more flexible your arteries. Can't get to the toes? Dr. Oz says to practice stretching and in one week you can improve your flexibility.

Lynn could only get to her ankles, she was invited to assist. Dr. Oz showed a tissue sample of a healthy aorta that was flexible, like cooked pasta. As blood flows through the arteries the vessel relax to encourage blood flow. Reduced flexibility leads to a reduction in blood flow and an increase in heart disease risks.

The second tissue sample was a diseased artery. Lynn described it as bacon that you've burned. Either she's really hungry or she's trying to say it's stiff without any flexibility. Dr. Oz described it as uncooked pasta, brittle and easily broken.

Stretching the arteries in the legs with toe touches, holding for 20 seconds, can increase artery flexibility by as much as 23% says Dr. Oz.

Dr. Oz encourages everyone to stretch 30 minutes a day a few times a week, totaling about 90 minutes per week, for heart health. Click here for heart healthy stretches on

Dr. Oz 28-Day Plan to Prevent a Heart Attack

Dr. Oz designed a 28-day plan for women to reduce heart attack risks.

Week 1: Eat for Your Heart
Incorporate these three foods into your diet to support heart health.  
  1. Sriracha – a mixture of garlic and red chili peppers to support healthy blood pressure.
  2. Kidney beans – high in omega-3's they help the heart maintain a correct rhythm.
  3. Sweet potatoes – rich in antioxidants, the color tells you it's a key food for heart health.
Week 2: Drink for Your Heart
Adding these drinks to your daily routine will support healthy blood pressure levels.  
  1. Black currant juice.
  2. Beet juice: the juice tastes just like beets with a lighter flavor. Mix with water or sparkling water.
Week 3: Call for Less Stress
He has said it several times before, social interaction reduces stress so Dr. Oz includes reaching out to friends to reduce stress. It's important to set aside social time for overall health.  
  1. Phone a friend 2 tines a week.
  2. No calls during meals
Week 4: Shop for Your Heart at the Pharmacy
Stacia Woodcock, Pharm.D with Walgreen's, said the pharmacy department is not just about medications. She explains that Walgreen's puts a focus on prevention and early diagnosis. Pharmacists are trained and ready to help customers prevent heart disease.

During the month of February, 30,000 Pharmacists across the country are at the ready to provide free blood pressure testing.

With this service, Wallgreen's provides:
  1. A follow up call from a pharmacist if your blood pressure is out of range; and ,
  2. A donation to the American Heart Association for every blood pressure test administered in the month of February, up to $100,000.
In addition to getting a blood pressure reading, Dr. Oz wants you to shop for three products to support heart health.  
  • Fish oil which provides heart healthy omega-3's
  • CoQ10
  • Low dose aspirin, Dr. Oz recommends taking 2 daily. Talk to your doctor before starting aspirin therapy
Dr. Oz Heart Healthy 15-Minute Meal

Aaron McCargo, Jr. host of Big Daddy's House on The Food Network, joined Dr. Oz to put together a quick meal of sweet potatoes, sriracha, and kidney beans for heart health.
In 15-minutes Big Daddy's Chicken Sriracha Stir Fry can be what's for dinner at under 500 calories per serving!

Dr. Oz Bonus Tip!

Konjack root can help support healthy levels of LDL cholesterol.

Place your vote for this week's quiz
and return on Saturday for the answer.
Thank you for making Watching Dr Oz a success!


  1. Dr Oz, I went to my Dr today and asked about the CRP test. I was told that my insurance company would not pay for it. She could order it but I would have to pay for the test. Can you tell me how much this test would cost and why insurance company's will not pay for it.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I am not Dr. Oz nor do I have any connection with him. I am also not a doctor.

    If your doctor told you the test could be ordered then your doctor sould be able to tell you the cost. Tests range in price depending on the lab used, location, doctors office, etc.

    If your insurance company said they won't cover the test, then I would encourage you to contact your insurance company to find out why they don't cover this particular test and ask if there is a way to appeal that decision.

    Good luck!

  3. I asked my Dr. for the CRP test, and he said you mean CPR?? He did not know what the test was, and I did not get it. Any comments?

    1. Hi Anonymous, CRP stands for C-Reactive Protein. You could try explaining to your what CRP stands for and perhaps that would help your doctor to better understand what test you're looking for.