Browsing Posts in Heart Disease

Heart disease is America’s number one killer. More than 910,000 people die from heart disease each year which means the chances you or someone you love could die from heart disease are significantly high. However, research concerned with preventing heart disease has discovered that taking fatty fish oil supplements may actually decrease your chances of getting certain kinds of heart disease.

What Are Fatty Fish Oil Supplements

Fatty fish oil supplements are those made from those cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. These fish contain high Omega-3 fatty acids which are known to contribute to heart health and may be the best way of preventing heart disease.

How Fish Oil Supplements Prevents Heart Disease

According to the American Heart Association the Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty fish oil decreases arrhythmia which is the cause of sudden heart attack death. It also decreases the amount of triglycerides your liver produces which can cause plaque buildup in the arteries. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish can also lower blood pressure which is a contributing factor in congestive heart failure.

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Studies have shown that eating fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week or taking daily fatty fish supplements can not only work in preventing heart problems but, may also help those already suffering from poor heart health live longer and healthier lives. However, not all fish oil supplements are the same and there are some things you should look for when choosing these supplements.

What to Look For In Good Fish Oil Supplement

Fatty fish oil supplement run in price from about $5.00 to $30.00 per bottle but, price should not be a determining factor. There are as many high- priced supplements that will do little for your health as are low- priced ones. There are also low- priced supplements that may give you exactly what you need.

The two biggest things you want to know when purchasing one of these supplements is the specific species of fish that the oil comes from to ensure that the oil comes from fish high in Omega 3 fatty acids and a guarantee that the fish the oil came from was toxin free. Some fish contain mercury and other heavy metals that can harm your health rather than helping it so you need to know that the supplement you are taking is safe.

Conclusion

While there is no guarantee that everyone who takes fish oil supplements high in omega-3 fatty acids will live their lives free of any heart disease these supplements can increase your chances of preventing heart disease.

If you have high cholesterol, the easiest way to keep it in check is through developing the right diet, but how do you know what the best foods for lowering cholesterol are? When you are trying to figure out what dietary changes you need to make to improve your cholesterol, the most important elements to focus on are your fat and fiber intake.

Bad fats can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood stream, but good fats and fiber will reduce it.

The Bad Fat: Saturated Fats and Trans-Fatty Acids

  • Saturated fats are the fats you find mainly in meat, dairy, and most processed foods. They are unhealthy fats that raise your cholesterol levels and therefore your risk of heart disease. They are also bad for your overall health and have been known to exacerbate, or even cause, other degenerative diseases.
  • Trans-fatty acids are an especially bad type of fat. These are man-made fats that are produced by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil, and they are found mainly in fried foods like french fries and donuts. These fats are incredibly bad for your cholesterol levels and should be avoided as much as possible.

Good Fat: Unsaturated Fats and Omega-3

Unsaturated fat, however, is considered to be “good” fat, although it should still be consumed in moderation. Unsaturated fats are generally split into two main categories: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

 

  • Monounsaturated fats are most commonly found in nuts, avocados, and olive, peanut, and canola oils. Polyunsaturated fats are usually found in vegetable and plant oils, such as corn, sunflower, and soy. Both of these unsaturated fats are healthy in moderation and can protect against heart disease by lowering the bad cholesterol in your body and boosting the good kind.
  • An important type of polyunsaturated fat is Omega-3. This fatty acid, found mainly in fish, has an outstanding ability to improve your cholesterol levels. For this reason, fish is one of the best foods for lowering cholesterol. Try to make fish your main course as a substitute for red meat and chicken, which are high in saturated fats.

 

Fat is a main source of energy for our bodies and a necessary component of our diets, but only in moderation. Overall, your dietary fat intake should not exceed 35% of your daily diet, and most of this should be “good” fat, that is, unsaturated fats. Your intake of saturated fats should be kept at less than 10% of your daily diet, if possible.

The Necessity of Fiber

If you are trying to find the best foods for lowering cholesterol, look no further than your produce section. Not only do fruit and vegetables often contain the good, unsaturated form of fat, but they also contain another essential cholesterol reducer: fiber.

Almost all fruits, vegetables, and grain products contain at least some fiber, but the best foods for lowering your cholesterol are legumes, citrus fruits, and oats. These foods are rich in soluble fiber, a subcategory of fiber that is especially good for fighting cholesterol.

Soluble fiber works by reducing the re-absorption of bile salts into your intestines, which in turn causes the liver to create more bile. Bile salts are produced using cholesterol, so the more bile salts your liver produces, the more cholesterol it uses up. This of course reduces the amount of cholesterol in your blood stream.

In summary, if you want to lower your cholesterol and keep your circulatory system healthy, then fruit, vegetables, fish, and grains should make up a much larger portion of your diet than red meat, dairy, and processed foods. Just try to remember to stay away from saturated fats and trans-fatty acids, and to gravitate more towards unsaturated fats and fiber. With this basic guideline in mind you will have a much easier time determining what the best foods for lowering cholesterol are.

High cholesterol may not be the most critical variable in the development of arterial plaque and ultimately the sole cause of heart disease. Studies have proven that just because you have high cholesterol levels you are not automatically at risk for coronary heart disease. Interestingly enough, if you have low LDL you may still be at high risk for heart disease as arteriosclerosis can still form when cholesterol levels are low.

The basic MISCONCEPTION that your cholesterol level is solely responsible for heart attack risk is becoming more and more accepted.

So where is all our heart disease coming from if not from dreaded cholesterol, and what steps can we take to prevent it?

Medical research has proven that blood vessels that are damaged are at a much higher risk of arterial clogging regardless of your overall cholesterol level. Actually, plaque will only stick to arteries that have been damaged.

So what is damaging our arteries and causing this sticky life threatening plaque buildup?

All the evidence points to inflammation as the ROOT cause for arterial damage leading to plaque buildup, not just a high or low cholesterol level.

Inflammation is caused when your blood sugar spikes; the rapid rise in blood sugar occurs when you eat that big piece of cake or a few sugar donuts. Elevated blood sugar causes a biochemical reaction in your cells that causes increased and chronic inflammation. Inflammation, in small doses is good; it’s a natural reaction to rid your system of germs and other harmful invaders. The problem is when your blood sugar is constantly elevated the inflammation process continues regardless of the presence of harmful substances in your system and starts to attack healthy arterial tissue.

Imagine your naturally smooth interior arterial linings being scrubbed with a brillo pad; what was once a smooth blood vessel becomes a rough surface that will easily trap any plaque buildup as it flows your arterial network.

What Simple Steps Can You Take To Lower Your Risk For Arterial Damage?

One simple and very effective recommendation to lower your risk for coronary disease is to eliminate foods that cause rapid blood sugar spikes. You need to cut way back on sugar and simple carbohydrates first and foremost as these will do the most damage over time.

This sounds simple in theory but most of us will need to really analyze what we eat and commit to some changes.

Here is a short list of foods that really spike blood sugar: Breads, carrots, cereals processed with added sugar, corn, French fries, French toast, fruit juices, mangos, pancakes, papaya, pasta, peas, popcorn, white potatoes, white rice, sugar, waffles.

Cholesterol and food

One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that food is packed with cholesterol. Very little cholesterol is actually found in foods. The main culprits are eggs, offal and shellfish.

What is important is the type of fat in the food you choose. Once inside the body, the liver turns this fat into cholesterol.

Knowing your cholesterol level is not enough to tell you your personal risk of heart disease. You also need to know about lipoproteins. These are special molecules that carry or transport cholesterol around the body.

There are three main types:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – this carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells and can cause harmful build-up of cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – this takes cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it is either broken down or excreted
  • Triglycerides

The greatest danger is when someone has high levels of LDL cholesterol and trigylcerides, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.

What are healthy levels?

The average total cholesterol level in the UK is 5.5mmol/l for men and 5.6mmol/l for women.

In recent years, we have come to realise that to decide whether an individual’s cholesterol levels are dangerous, these levels need to be considered in the light of the person’s overall risk of heart disease.

It is the balance of different types of lipoproteins, rather than the overall total cholesterol level, that matters.

This overall risk is determined by a combination of factors, including age, gender and family history of heart disease, as well as is overweight, whether someone smokes, has high blood pressure or has diabetes.

The higher the risk of heart disease, the greater the need to get your cholesterol levels down.

But what constitutes a healthy cholesterol level is open to debate, even among doctors.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and Department of Health cholesterol guidelines, are:

  • Total cholesterol – less than 5.0mmol/l
  • LDL cholesterol – less than 3.0mmol/l

However, the Joint British Societies recommend different limits for people who have, or are at risk of, coronary heart disease:

  • Total cholesterol – less than 4.0mmol/l
  • LDL cholesterol – less than 2.0mmol/l

How Do You Control Cholesterol Levels?

The first steps in treating high cholesterol levels are:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Healthy eating

The latter means cutting down on fats and replacing saturated fats with unsaturated alternatives. There are also some foods that may help to lower levels, such as garlic, soya and oats.

After taking steps to lower cholesterol, lipid-lowering drugs should be used.

If you search online and look for the best articles on heart disease, you may get confused and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of articles you find. However, all articles on heart disease have something in common – they usually focus on providing information about heart disease and expert opinion on what you should do to combat this deadly disease.

This article is different from a lot of the articles on heart disease as it aims to impart crucial and valuable information about this deadly disease with advice and guidance on the best ways on how to treat, reverse, and even prevent it.

Millions of people all over the world suffer from heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease, which is the most prevalent form of heart disease, affecting more than 14 million people in the US alone.

What causes these types of heart conditions?

If you have a high level of cholesterol, this means that you are at a high risk of developing certain heart related conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease.

High cholesterol is a primary risk factor for heart disease as it targets and affects the arteries in the body. When your LDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol) become elevated, a substance called plaque will begin to form in the walls and inner linings of your arteries.

As time passes, more and more plaque will accumulate which will eventually lead to blockages and clogging in your arteries.

If the arteries that lead to your brain and heart become clogged or blocked, then these organs will become deprived of life sustaining oxygenated blood. The outcome for you will be a stroke, heart attack and possibly premature death.

Not all articles on heart disease focus on high cholesterol, mainly because there are prescription medications that the medical profession and the pharmaceutical companies would have you believe deal successfully with the problem.

What they don’t tell you though is that these medications, called statins, only target LDL cholesterol and have little to no effect on HDL or triglycerides. But more worrying than that, they have dangerous and potentially lethal side effects, such as memory loss, muscle weakness, kidney and liver damage and possible heart failure.

HDL cholesterol is very important and you can still develop heart disease if your HDL cholesterol levels become too low. This is because this is the good, heart protective cholesterol, and it works by removing excess amounts of LDL cholesterol from your system, slowing down the development of plaque in your arteries.

What a lot of articles on heart disease leave out is that you can actually manage your cholesterol levels naturally, which, if done correctly, will target the whole of cholesterol – LDL, HDL and triglycerides.

The three core areas you need to focus on are – diet, exercise and supplementation.

Eating a healthy diet, low on fat and cholesterol, and full of soluble fibre and Omega 3, will lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing HDL.

Exercise is a fantastic way to raise HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL at the same time.

Never underestimate the power of high quality natural supplements. Supplements containing only natural ingredients, impeccably sourced and in the correct quantities, will provide your body with the ability to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increase HDL, increase energy levels, clean and clear your arteries and improve your overall cardiovascular health.

You can continue to review hundreds of articles on heart disease that will provide you with information on various aspects of the disease, or you can take action and focus on protecting yourself against one of the leading killer disease of our time.

After all, virtually every product that comes out these days has “anti-oxidant” plastered all over it. Why? Researchers have discovered that stress can be countered by anti-oxidants, so why not?

But there’s another term you need to know: free radicals. What are free radicals? They are technically atoms, molecules, or ions with unpaired electrons with an open shell configuration. They are a natural byproduct of normal essential metabolic processes in the human body; they can also be derived from external sources such as exposure to X-rays, ozone, cigarette smoking, air pollutants and industrial chemicals.

According to Dr. Joe McCord, of Duke University, the human body typically produces 3 hundred septillion (3 followed by 26 0’s) free radicals per day. They tend to be highly chemically reactive – they “steal” electrons from other molecules, and can damage all components of the cell, including proteins, lipids, and DNA.

Free radicals also cause oxidative stress. It is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and a biological system’s ability to readily detoxify these reactive substances or to repair the resulting damage. There are over 70,000 published studies establishing oxidative stress as a major contributing cause of over 200 diseases, including: heart disease, atherosclerosis, cancer, arthritis, lung disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer, and autoimmune diseases.

The body has its own mechanisms for dealing with all this. There are specific enzymes that act as catalysts for a series of chemical reactions whereby these harmful elements are transformed into non-harmful molecules.

So, what’s the myth?

The myth is that direct anti-oxidants like vitamins C and E, which detoxify free radicals on a one to one basis – where one molecule of the antioxidant neutralizes a single free radical – is the answer. And that by eating these foods we’re doing all we can. But, as mentioned, there are 300 septillion free radicals created in the body every day. There is no possible way one could ingest a sufficient quantity of antioxidants to have a measurable impact on the level of oxidative stress in the body!

Recognizing this, the market is now flooded with drinks, and other anti-oxidant remedies to ward off disease. But it’s like a gnat fighting an elephant! Is there another way? There is a breakthrough “gene activator” called Protandim that shows great potential. Developed after 40 years of work in labs, one pill can neutralize the same amount of free radicals that 200 glasses of wine would equal.

We’re on the threshold of the promise of new science that can combat anti aging, disease, and chronic ailments. They’re well worth investigating.

The health benefits of Omega 3 essential fatty acids are well-known and well documented. The fact that we no longer get the Omega 3 fatty acids from our daily diets is also a known fact. Omega 6 fatty acids are also used by the body. What is not common knowledge is the proper ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats and their importance to our overall health?

Essential fatty acids are fats that are not produced by the human body. They are required for good health so they must come from our daily diets. In the American culture getting the proper ratio of fats from our daily diets is almost a thing of the past.

First what is the proper ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats for a person’s daily intake? The two fats must be consumed in balanced proportions to maintain good health. Healthy ratios of these fats where n-6 and n-3 are described as from 1:1 to 1:4 and modern studies have shown our bodies need more Omega 3 than Omega 6.

In our daily diets getting the proper ratio of fats is no longer possible for most people. The main reason for this is because Omega 3 comes mainly from fish. Fish consumption is down by 70 to 80% thanks to the scare of too much mercury for consumption. Of course there are many other reasons like the depletion of fish stocks also.

What also used to be a good secondary source of Omega 3 was meat from game and farm animals. In the past the ratio was maintained from meats. But today this is no longer true because we no longer eat game and the diets of farm animals has changed from grass to grains. Grass produced higher Omega 3 fatty acids in farm raised animals but today this is no longer true. Grains fed farm animals are high in Omega 6 fats.

The typical Western diet fat ratio between to two is 10:1 and in some cases as far off as 30:1. Everything we eat is loaded with Omega 6 as you can see from some of the ratios of fats we consume. Once again the ratio of n-6 to n-3 fatty acids: Common oils listed are canola 2:1, corn oil 46:1, cottonseed 0:1, grape seed oil 0:1, and peanut oil 0:1. Except for some trace amounts of n-3 there is almost none.

The Omega 6 fats are loaded in everything even our plant-based food sources. Other are mainly n-6 such as sunflower oil, sesame oil and soy oil are primarily of the n-6 variety.

Vegetable oils are also cheap which is why they are used in most all processed food. It is no wonder the West takes in far more of the n-6 than the n-3 fats. The health implications lead to exposing the population to many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, various inflammatory diseases like arthritis.

So what is the answer to getting the ratio back in the correct range of 1:1 to 4:1 to maintain good health? One answer would be to start including lots of cold water wild fish not the farm raised to our diets. Or start taking a quality fish oil supplement on a regular basis. The single best method of getting the right ratio is from fish oil supplements.

People suffering from high cholesterol levels are in a perennial battle to find the right foods to eat. The vast majority of processed foods available in the retail industry will not really suit their requirements and they will have to really dig around to find foods that will help their lower their cholesterol levels or at least keep them in check.

This article will give you a list of some foods that might achieve that purpose for them.

• Oatmeal or Oat bran – This easy to prepare breakfast will provide your body with fiber which will reduce cholesterol absorption in the blood stream. They have been known to reduce LDL cholesterol or the bad cholesterol in your body. You can make this breakfast tasty by adding some fruit such as bananas which will add even more cholesterol fighting fiber to it.

• Fish – Try to include some fish in your weekly diet. More particularly, look for fish that is high in Omega 3 fatty acids that reduce the risk of heart attacks and blocks in the arteries. Fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are Mackerel, Herring, Salmon, Halibut and Sardines. It is also important that you cook the fish in a healthy way which means that you should not deep fry it. Baking or broiling is a much better option.

• Nuts – Any type of nut such as walnut, almonds or peanuts have been known to keep the arteries clog free and reduce cholesterol levels. Eat plain nuts and also restrict your intake to just a handful in a day as nuts are usually very high in calorie count. If you do not want to eat nuts separately, break them up and include them in a salad or other healthy meals as a topping.

• Olive oil – Olive oil is great for the body because it not only lowers the bad cholesterol in your body, it does it while leaving the good cholesterol intact. Try to substitute butter or other cooking oils that you might be using with olive oil as it will immediately have an impact on your cholesterol levels.

• Sterols and Stanols – You will find various foods such as yoghurt, margarine and orange juice that have been fortified with sterols and stanols, substances naturally found in plants. These substances reduce bad cholesterol levels by as much as 10% in your body. Just 2 grams of this substance a day is enough to reduce your bad cholesterol quite significantly.

Diet can make a huge difference in your overall health. Why don’t you hear more about it? The medical and pharmaceutical professions don’t make much money on eating right. Take control of your health. Eat your way to health.

Lowering your cholesterol is achievable, it’s practical and it’s a smart thing to do. Regardless of whether or not you have a problem, it’s still smart to understand what it is, how it works and why it can be troublesome.

Cholesterol is defined in essentially four different ways. There is LDL, VLDL, HDL and Triglycerides. LDL stands for low density lipoproteins. It’s present in our body naturally and is produced by our liver, but it can also be found in the foods we eat. Foods such as eggs, dairy and meat all have levels of cholesterol.

LDL is the bad boy on the block. It’s the one that causes all the trouble. LDL can cause nasty plaque to build up on your arteries walls. This then means you heart can’t get as much of that oxygen rich blood where it needs to go. It can actually go so far as to block the arteries.
That can lead to heart attack and stroke. Both are rather disagreeable conditions that will negatively impact your way of life and potentially bring it to a rather abrupt end.

Thats not to say that it’s entirely bad. Our body needs it for various different functions but the problem arises when we have too much of it, LDL specifically, in our system. This leads us to the causes.
Some people are prone to the condition due to hereditary factors. Some peoples bodies just produce too much.

Or they may produce too little of the good cholesterol or HDL. HDL stands for High Density Lipoproteins. This kind actually reduces the bad kind by breaking it down into other things. A problem as diagnosed by your doctor can be too little HDL. If there is enough good cholesterol in your system, the bad builds up to excessive levels and you have a problem just the same.

Fortunately there are a couple of different ways to control it. The first is medicine. If you have a problem, your doctor will prescribe something to control it and keep it in check. However, you need to do your part also. The second way to help reduce it, is to adjust your diet and pick the right foods to assist the medicine.

If you haven’t been diagnosed with a problem then understanding what to eat will help stave off any future issue. It may also affect how much of a certain drug you have to take. Your doctor will figure out how much to prescribe by looking at your risk factors.

A great way to make sure your levels are not being artificially affected is to stop smoking. If you smoke it will affect your cholesterol negatively. So stop. We all know how bad that habit is anyway.

Get out and get some exercise. Even moderate exercise, walking daily, can be a powerful weapon in the fight against high cholesterol. Exercise has some many benefits more us, it’s no surprise it can help with this also. You will feel better and look better. Most people also report that they sleep better with some exercise on a daily basis. Spend time with someone walking if possible. It provides motivation and companionship. Or take your dog. He needs to be walked too.

Reducing your alcohol intake, or eliminate it altogether. This will also yield many positives with regards to your heart health in general. Your liver and your other organs will function much better without it, or with limited amounts.

Making these few simple, but powerful changes in your life can have a far reaching effect on your health and an immediate impact on the LDL in your system. Making your heart happy will make you happy.

Cardiologists are internal medicine doctors that specialize in the human heart and pulmonary system. Strokes and diseases in these regions are very prevalent in modern day society for a variety of reasons. Internal medical specialists are also referred to as internists. This is not to be confused with “interns” who are MD’s in training. An internist is a highly skilled diagnostician that other physicians turn to for advice. These practitioners are very adept at sleuthing out answers to perplexing medical puzzles. They are also quite used to working in teams with other health care providers in order to give top quality care to their patients.

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Some of the reasons why individuals end up with strokes and heart disease include high-stress lifestyles, clogged arteries resulting from poor nutrition or genetic predisposition, and even untreated dental decay and gingivitis. A high-stress lifestyle causes the body to release hormones related to the “fight or flight” response. While this hormone is valuable if there is actually a reason to amp up, if it’s just a result of job pressures, money woes and traffic aggravation, it is a problem. When the body is in constant overdrive mode, the blood pumps faster and more furiously, which can cause overwork within the system. Diets that have a high component of saturated fat end up causing accumulation and clog within the veins and arteries. Dental work should be kept up with in order to keep teeth, gums and overall body health in good shape.

Some signs of heart attacks include the following red flags:

  • Discomfort in the center portion of the chest: This discomfort may remain constant or may come and go. It often feels painful, full and like a pressurized sensation. Some have described it as feeling like someone has squeezed their internal heartstrings.
  • Upper body pain: Other regions which may exhibit discomfort include the stomach, arms, back, neck and jawbones. This may happen at the same time as the chest pain or independently.
  • Inability to catch one’s breath: Sometimes a person has trouble catching their breath or experiences other types of breathing difficulties.
  • Nausea may occur: An upset stomach is not uncommon.
  • Sweating for no reason: A cold sweat may occur even when a person is not ill or in high temperatures.
  • Light-headed feeling: Dizziness may occur, as well.

Movies or television shows may give the impression that these attacks are sudden and obvious. This is simply not true. Many times the symptoms are more subtle and easier to miss. A victim may just think they aren’t feeling well.

Every individual should be monitored during routine physical examinations for blood pressure and appropriate rates of heartbeat. Having one’s cholesterol numbers checked are another way of monitoring what’s going on with cardiac issues.

Healthier low fat diets, regular exercise, lowering stress through meditation, yoga or even changing jobs has helped many individuals regain well being and lower their risks of cardiac difficulties. An appointment with a cardiologist should be able to answer any questions that a patient may have.