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How to Maintain Heart Health

Cardiovascular health refers to the health of your heart and all the blood vessels throughout your body. Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, many of which are related to atherosclerosis. Atheros

2017-07-12 14:55:56

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Cardiovascular Disease 

Cardiovascular health refers to the health of your heart and all the blood vessels throughout your body. Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels, many of which are related to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when there is a build up of plaque along the walls of the artery resulting in a narrowing of that artery. This makes it harder for blood to flow through that area and if it becomes completely blocked, it can stop blood flow, which is what causes a heart attack or stroke. 



What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when one of the blood vessels that supplies blood to the heart itself, becomes blocked. Without blood flowing to that area of the heart, oxygen and nutrients can’t be delivered to that area of the heart and the muscle will begin to die. Symptoms you may feel if you are experiencing a heart attack may include heavy chest pain, pain in your neck and arm, difficulty breathing, nausea, dizziness among others. 



What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel, which supplies the brain with blood and oxygen, becomes blocked. The brain tissue normally supplied by that vessel will begin to die off and the resulting symptoms will depend on what area of the brain is being affected. Often signs of stroke can be identified using the acronym F.A.S.T. 
F- Face drop 
A- Arm weakness
S- Speech Difficulties
T- Time to call 911


Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death throughout the world according to the World Health Organization, with 3 in every 10 deaths being a result of cardiovascular disease. Of the 17.5 million people that died world wide in 2012, 7.4 million people died of ischemic heart disease (heart attack) and 6.7 million people dies from stroke. While these numbers are overwhelmingly high, it is estimated that 90% of cardiovascular disease is preventable as many of the risk factors are modifiable.



What are the risk factors for developing heart disease?

Risk Factors that you don’t have control over:

Family History- if you have had a first degree relative who has had heart disease or stroke before the age of 55 years (for a male relative) or 65 years (for a female relative) your risk increases
Advancing Age- risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke doubles every decade after 55 years old
Gender- men have greater risk for heart disease than pre-menopausal women, as estrogen seems to be a protective factor. Once women past menopause there risk becomes similar to that of men
Ethnicity- people of African or Asian ancestry are at higher risk of developing heart disease than other racial groups.

While you can’t change the risk factors above there are many risk factors that can be modified or treated. These include:

 
Smoking
Physical Inactivity
Poor Diet/ Standard American Diet (SAD )
Being overweight
Alcohol consumption beyond 1-2 drinks per day
Diabetes
High blood pressure
High Cholesterol
High Stress
Social Isolation
Low Socio Economic Status
Certain medications (eg. Oral contraceptives)

 Having any of the above risk factors can put you at greater risk of developing heart disease. 



SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

1. See your doctor to have a check up and get advice on what to do about lowering your risk 
2. Start exercising daily
3. Quit smoking and avoid second hand smoke
4. Eat a whole foods, plant based diet and avoid sugar and processed foods
5. Limit your alcohol intake to less then 2 drinks a day
6. Find a way to decrease your stress- exercise, meditation, yoga, music
7. Connect with family and friends for support.
8. Take a supplement that supports overall health and provides herbs which have been shown to support the health of your cardiovascular system like Heartrition!



What are some of the ingredients that can help protect the cardiovascular system?


Chinese Hawthorn Fruit

Crataegus, also known as Hawthorn or May-Blossom is a small tree with white or pink flowers and red berries. The leaves, flowers and berries all contain a variety of bioflavonoid complexes, which appears to be what is primarily responsible for its actions on the cardiovascular system. While evidence of blood pressure lowering, lipid-lowering and other cardiovascular benefits exist, the use in chronic heart failure has shown perhaps the most significant benefit as crataegus appears to improve the contractions of the heart. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of crataegus will also act to protect the heart from oxidative damage. Finally crataegus helps decrease the ability of blood platelets to stick together, thus helping reducing the risk of blood clots. As this thins your blood it is important to let your doctor know you are taking this product as it can increase bleeding during surgery, similarly to many other pharmaceuticals and herbs. 

Garlic Bulb Powder 

Garlic has been used by many cultures for thousands of years as a medicinal herb for many issues. In modern times a large majority of the recent research on garlic has focused on the cardiovascular benefits. The main active ingredient in garlic is the allicin, which does not actually exist in garlic until it has been cut open or crushed. There is significant scientific literature that has demonstrated that garlic can reduce blood pressure, decrease cholesterol, prevent blood platelets from sticking together and forming a clot and increasing antioxidant status. These are all beneficial to anyone either suffering from any type of cardiovascular dysfunction or who may have significant risk factors to develop cardiovascular disease.

Grape Skin Extract 

A moderate amount of red wine consumption is thought to help protect the heart due to the presence of several polyphenols including malvidin, which is found in the skins of red grapes. Studies have shown that grape skin extract was able to induce vasodilation or relaxation of the arteries, which supply blood and oxygen to the heart and when they become blocked are the cause of heart attacks. Grape skin extract also showed in an animal study to be effective at protecting both the heart and the liver from damage due to high-saturated animal fat diet. 


Camellia Sinensis extract

Camellia sinensis is what most people know as green tea, which has long been known to have several health benefits mostly due to the high amount of active polyphenols present. Specifically related to heart disease, studies have shown that those who drink the most green had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease compared to the lowest consumers of green tea. A Japanese study involving over 40,000 participants, found that those who drank more than five cups of green tea had a significantly lower risk of death due to heart attack and stroke as well as a 16% lower risk of all cause death compared to people who drank less then one cup per day. 




References

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

Rababa'h AM, Altarabsheh SE, Haddad O, Deo SV, Obeidat Y, Al-Azzam S. Hawthorn Herb Increases the Risk of Bleeding after Cardiac Surgery: An Evidence-Based Approach. Heart Surg Forum. 2016 Aug 22;19(4):E175-9. 

Green tea may lower heart disease risk. Here's what studies have revealed about this popular beverage. Harv Heart Lett. 2012 Dec;23(4):7.

Charradi K, Mahmoudi M, Elkahoui S, Limam F, Aouani E. Grape seed and skin extract mitigates heart and liver oxidative damage induced by a high-fat diet in the rat: gender dependency. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Dec;91(12):1076-85. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2013-0225. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

Quintieri AM, Baldino N, Filice E, Seta L, Vitetti A, Tota B, De Cindio B, Cerra MC, Angelone T. Malvidin, a red wine polyphenol, modulates mammalian myocardial and coronary performance and protects the heart against ischemia/reperfusion injury. J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Jul;24(7):1221-31. 

Rastogi S, Pandey MM, Rawat AK. Traditional herbs: a remedy for cardiovascular disorders.
Phytomedicine. 2016 Oct 15;23(11):1082-9. 

Wang J, Xiong X, Feng B. Effect of crataegus usage in cardiovascular disease prevention: an evidence-based approach. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:149363. 

Tattelman E. Health effects of garlic. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Jul 1;72(1):103-6.

Varshney R, Budoff MJ. Garlic and Heart Disease. J Nutr. 2016 Feb;146(2):416S-421S. 


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