Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, with approximately 600,000 deaths a year, in the USA, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Risk factors include elevated LDL (low density cholesterol) and triglycerides, low levels of HDL, (the protective high density cholesterol), increased platelet stickiness and clumping (aggregation), atherosclerosis, hypertension, inflammation, and high levels of homocysteine. Life style factors that increase risk include a poor diet that is high in saturated fats, smoking, a sedentary life devoid of exercise, and obesity a condition that raises inflammatory factors.
Hypertension, which occurs when the blood pressure in your arteries is too high, can lead to blood vessel diseases such as strokes, heart attacks, and leg pain caused during walking. As it does not cause any symptoms until the damage is already done, it is important to occasionally have your blood pressure checked. Although it is sometimes necessary to use medications to keep your blood pressure under control, this can often also be done naturally. In my experience, the best approach is to use medications to initially bring your blood pressure under control. Once it is normalized, natural therapies can often keep your blood pressure at a healthy level and allow you to wean off the medications.
Inflammation is at the core of heart disease
Excess body fat can lead to a host of heart diseases. Veins and arteries become more compromised, and blood vessels in legs and micro-capillaries in eyes can wear out three times faster in overweight individuals. There is also an increased risk of high blood pressure with each additional pound of fat.1
The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan That WillWritten by Stephen T Sinatra, MD
For decades, government health agencies and the long-arm of the pharmaceutical industry’s PR machine have inundated the public about the horrors of high cholesterol and saturated fat. Cholesterol and fat have been tarred and feathered as the perpetrators of heart disease.
I strongly differ with the establishment message and in my newest book, The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won’t Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan That Will (Fair Winds Press), I explain how you have been misled. The book, co-authored with well-known nutritional expert Jonny Bowden, PhD, is packed with powerful research, expert opinions, and combined clinical experience that paints a whole different picture.
February is Heart Health month, which includes Valentine’s Day (the most important day for our hearts!). The Heart and Stroke Foundation and many other organizations are doing their best to raise awareness and empower individuals to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Since heart disease is the number one killer in North America supporting the cardiovascular system can save a lot of lives.
In this month’s column we will cover the most important aspects you need to know about how the cardiovascular system works. Knowing this information can help you keep the entire cardiovascular system healthy and prevent disease.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the most common interference with healthy aging and long life in the modern world. Here are a number of proactive ideas and tips to help you prevent the problems associated with heart disease. The triad of primary risk factors is smoking (nicotine addiction), high blood pressure, and inflammation*. Even if your parents had high cholesterol or early heart disease, you can override, or at least delay, these influences with a proactive, healthy lifestyle.
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that guys who drank five or more glasses of water had only a 46 percent chance of having a fatal heart attack, and women had only 59 percent risk, compared to people who drank two or less glasses of water daily.
It gets even better (or worse, depending on how you look at it). Women who drank two or less glasses of something other than water—such as tea, a soft drink, or juice — had a 147 percent greater risk for a fatal heart attack than women who drank five or more glasses of water. (Guys, you had a 46 percent greater risk if you skipped the water for another drink.) Now, if those stats confuse you, I’ll sum it up: drink more water and reduce your risk for a heart attack.
A recent British Medical Journal (BMJ) review1 of studies including over 100,000 patients showed that arthritis medications called NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) dramatically increased heart attack death risk. Now another study, called the INVEST study,2 with over 22,000 patients has confirmed this problem.
The good news? Natural herbal remedies can be far more effective than medications—without the safety risks and at lower cost.
A recent meta-analysis in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that magnesium could help reduce blood pressure.
Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire analyzed 22 studies that involved 1,173 people total to understand how magnesium affects blood pressure. Each of these studies supplemented anywhere from 120 mg to nearly a gram of magnesium, and lasted anywhere from three to 24 weeks.
Editor's Note: If you are interested in more information on Statin drugs and/or cholesterol please take the time to listen to Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Dr. Jonny Bowden on their new bestselling book "The Great Cholesterol Myth." John Barson, our online editor and radio host, interviews both authors on this life-saving topic.
Cholesterol-lowering statin medications like Lipitor® and Crestor® have been the #1 prescribed class of drugs in the U.S. for years. More than 215 million prescriptions add $14 billion to drug company coffers every year. A recent report from the government’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that an astounding 25 percent of Americans aged 45 and older take statins, compared to only 2 percent in 1994. ( The drugs came on the market in 1987.)