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Heart Healthy Recommendations

Did you know that heart disease in women have surpassed heart disease and heart attacks in men? Why? Did you know that so many women are asymptomatic when it comes to feeling a heart attack coming on? What are the reasons women are having these attacks? What are the symptoms women should be looking for? We need to get the word out!

And it is not only women! Look at our young athletes who are succumbing to heart issues. Why?

"During the embryonic period, a fetus's brain and spinal cord form first followed by its very principal organ, the heart. From that point on, the heart starts its life-long work with a dedicated loyalty for the body as it becomes one of the major organs regulating overall health, quality and longevity of human life. However, due to a number of reasons, cardiovascular dis-ease has become one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. killing one person every four hours. In the U.S, heart related dis-ease factors for almost 30% of the combined death toll for the entire nation. By 2030, almost 23.6 million people will die from CVDs, mainly from heart disease and stroke. These are projected to remain the single leading causes of death.
Many improper lifestyles such as inactivity, obesity, genetics, cigarette smoking, high lipid numbers, high blood pressure, etc. have been known as major risk factors that lend to these life-threatening cardiovascular problems. Increased BP is actually clinically recognized as one of the highest causes for over 30% of all heart-related problems.
Preventive practices are the best choices for protecting this delicate organ from aforementioned risk factors.

  1. Water
  1. It helps to sustain blood volumes while retaining energy levels.
  2. Water helps the body get rid of excess sodium that could cause the accumulation of liquids.
  3. We are mostly composed of water and believe it or not, most ofare actually dehydrated to a greater or lesser degree.  
  4. Epidemiological studies of obesity have documented a modest association with risk of CVD, especially in younger age groups
  5. Increased intra-abdominal fat, or waist circumference, is probably related to a constellation of risk factors, the so-called insulin resistance syndrome.
  6. Higher levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein and fibrinogen are important markers for cardiovascular issues.
  7. Sleep apnea is a major factor to consider in obesity. This dysfunction may be associated with the release of the cytokines tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6.
  8. Circulating estrogens increase with body weight. The relation between HRT and incidence of CVD is similar at all levels of BMI.
  1. Weight management
  1. Diabetes
  1. Insulin resistance is associated with a constellation of metabolic abnormalities, including obesity, diabetes, dyslipoproteinemia, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
  2. Oxidative stress has been shown to be the pathogenic mechanism linking insulin resistance with dysfunction of both beta cells and endothelium, eventually leading to overt diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  3. Insulin resistance typically precedes the onset of type 2 diabetes and is commonly accompanied by other cardiovascular risk factors: dyslipidemia, hypertension, and prothrombotic factors.
  4. Hypertension is associated with an increase in oxidative stress and the activity of pro-oxidant enzymes.
  5. Oxidative stress can inactivate the vasodilation signal nitric oxide (NO) by converting it into the peroxynitrite free radical.
  6. Vitamin D has several direct and indirect effects on cardiovascular health.
  7. It contributes to the maintenance of blood pressure by suppressing the production of renin in the kidneys (lowering angiotensin II production) (Li 2003).
  8. Low Vitamin D status is associated with suppression of the parathyroid hormone and pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are both associated with cardiovascular disease.
  9. The endothelial cells, which line the insides of blood vessels, have receptors for vitamin D, which suggests a direct effect of vitamin D on vascular metabolism.
  1. Blood Pressure Regulation/Kidney function
  1. Vitamin D Status

The recommendations for dietary intake for the prevention of CVD may require modification. The following areas are being considered: increasing monounsaturated fatty acids to replace saturated fatty acids; the role of water in obesity; the role of high energy density in obesity; and the role of meal replacements, diet supplements, vitamin and mineral supplements, and macronutrients.

©Terri Oberto 2012

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