Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Heart Diseases - Causes, Symptoms, Types, Prevention & Treatment of Heart Diseases

Beside cancer, heart disease kills more than 2,000 Americans everyday. Approximately 60 million Americans have heart disease.

I. Causes of Heart Diseases
There are many causes of heart diseases. Most of heart diseases are caused by high blood pressure contributes to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and eventually arterial blockage or anything that serves to damage the inner lining of blood vessels and impedes the transportation of oxygen and nutrition to the heart can be defined as a risk of heart disease.

II Symptoms of Heart diseases

Here are some early indication of heart disease symptoms:

1. Leg cramps during walking
Leg cramps during exercise might be caused by dehydration. It is important to drink a lot of fluid during exercise. Leg cramps occur when the muscle suddenly and forcefully contracts. The most common muscles to contract in this manner are muscles that cross two joints. Leg cramps during walking might be an indication of heart disease caused by arteries in your leg being clogged up by cholesterol in result of not enough oxygen being delivered to the cells in your leg.

2. Chest pain
Chest pain is caused by blood vessels in the heart temporarily being blocked up. It is also caused by inadequate oxygen supply to the heart muscle or coronary . The persistence of chest pain would be an early indication of heart diseases.

3. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath (dyspnea) is the major symptom of the left ventricular insufficiency. People with shortness of breath are four times more likely to die from a heart disease related cause than individuals without any symptoms.

4. Headaches
People see sparkling zigzag lines or loss of vision before a migraine attack may be at particular risk of future cardiovascular problems. Generally headaches do not cause heart diseases but a sudden, explosive onset of great pain might be.

5. Dizziness
Dizziness can have many causes including low blood count, low iron in the blood stream and other blood disorders, dehydration, and viral illnesses. Since there are many different conditions that can produce these symptoms, anybody experiencing episodes of severe headaches or dizziness ought to be checked by your doctor.

6. Palpitations
Palpitations is an extremely common symptom of heart disease. Palpitations are skips in the heart beats and irregular heart beats.

7. Loss of consciousness
It is a common symptom, most people pass out at least once in their lives. However, sometimes loss of consciousness indicates a dangerous or even life-threatening condition such as heart disease so when loss of consciousness occurs it is important to figure out the cause.

There are many more symptoms such as fatigue, memory defects, and changes in skin tone and temperature.

III. Types of Heart Diseases

The heart is a four chambered, hollow muscle and double acting pump that is located in the chest between the lungs. Heart diseases caused by high blood pressure contributes to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and eventually arterial blockage.
There are some major types of heart diseases:

1. Type of heart disease affecting heart chambers

As we mention in the previous article, the heart is a four chambered hollow muscle and double acting pump that is located in the chest between the lungs. Heart diseases caused by high blood pressure contributes to hardening of the arteries. High levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) build up in the arteries as a result of uncontrolled diet with high levels of saturated fat and trans fat. All these add to the formation of atherosclerosis lesions and eventually arterial blockage.
In this article, we will discuss heart disease affecting the heart chambers.

Heart failure is caused by the heart not pumping as much blood as it should and so the body does not get as much blood and oxygen that it needs. The malfunctioning of the heart chambers are due to damage caused by narrowed or blocked arteries leading to the muscle of your heart.

There are 4 heart chambers as follow:

* The right atrium
* The left atrium
* The right ventricle
* The left ventricle.

Heart diseases affect the heart chambers include:

A. Congestive heart failure
Heart failure is caused by the heart not pumping as much blood as it should and so the body does not get as much blood and oxygen that it needs. The malfunctioning of the heart chambers are due to damage caused by narrowed or blocked arteries leading to the muscle of your heart.

a) Diastolic dysfunction:
The contraction function is normal but there's impaired relaxation of the heart, impairing its ability to fill with blood causing the blood returning to the heart to accumulate in the lungs or veins.

b) Systolic dysfunction:
The relaxing function is normal but there's impaired contraction of the heart causing the heart to not pump out as much blood that is returned to it as it normally does as a result of more blood remaining in the lower chambers of the heart.

B. Pulmonary heart disease
Pulmonary heart disease is caused by an enlarged right ventricle. It is known as heart disease resulting from a lung disorder where the blood flowing into the lungs is slowed or blocked causing increased lung pressure. The right side of the heart has to pump harder to push against the increased pressure and this can lead to enlargement of the right ventricle.

2. Heart Disease affecting heart muscles
In the case of heart diseases affecting heart muscles, the heart muscles are stiff, increasing the amount of pressure required to expand for blood to flow into the heart or the narrowing of the passage as a result of obstructing blood flow out of the heart.
Heart diseases affecting heart muscles include:

A. Cardiomyopathy
Heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn't work as well as it should. There may be multiple causes such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, artery diseases or congenital heart defects.

a) Dilated cardiomyopathy
The heart cavity is enlarged and stretched. Blood flows more slowly through an enlarged heart, causing formation of blood clots as a result of clots sticking to the inner lining of the heart, breaking off the right ventricle into the pulmonary circulation in the lung or being dislodged and carried into the body's circulation to form emboli .

b) Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
The wall between the two ventricles becomes enlarged, obstructing the blood flow from the left ventricle. Sometimes the thickened wall distorts one leaflet of the mitral valve, causing it to leak. The symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and angina pectoris.

c) Restrictive cardiomyopathy
The ventricles becomes excessively rigid, so it's harder for the ventricles to fill with blood between heartbeats. The symptoms of restrictive cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, swollen hands and feet.

B. Myocarditis Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscles or the weaken of the heart muscles. The symptoms of myocarditis include fever, chest pains, congestive heart failure and palpitation.

3. Heart disease affecting heart valves

Heart diseases affecting heart valves occur when the mitral valve in the heart narrows, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood from the left atrium into the ventricle.

Here are some types of heart disease affecting heart valves:
a. Mitral Stenosis
Mitral Stenosis is a heart valve disorder that involves a narrowing or blockage of the opening of the mitral valve causing the volume and pressure of blood in the left atrium increases.

b. Mitral valves regurgitation
Mitral regurgitation is the heart disease in which your heart's mitral valve doesn't close tightly causing the blood to be unable to move through the heart efficiently. Symptoms of mitral valve regurgitation are fatigue and shortness of breath.

c. Mitral valves prolapse
In mitral valve prolapse, one or both leaflets of the valve are too large resulting in uneven closure of the valve during each heartbeat. Symptoms of mitral valves prolapse are palpitation, shortness of breath, dizzy, fatigue and chest pains.

d. Aortic Stenosis
With aging, protein collagen of the valve leaflets are destroyed and calcium is deposited on the leaflets causing scarring, thickening, and stenosis of the valve therefore increasing the wear and tear on the valve leaflets resulting in the symptoms and heart problems of aortic stenosis.

e. Aortic regurgitation
Aortic regurgitation is the leaking of the aortic valve of the heart that causes blood to flow in the reverse direction during ventricular diastole, from the aorta into the left ventricle. Symptoms of aortic regurgitation include fatigue or weakness, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitation and irregular heart beats.

f. Tricuspid stenosis
Tricuspid stenosis is the narrowing of the orifice of the tricuspid valve of the heart causing increased resistance to blood flow through the valve. Symptoms of tricuspid stenosis include fatigue, enlarged liver, abdominal swelling, neck discomfort and leg and ankle swelling.

g. Tricuspid regurgitation.
Tricuspid regurgitation is the failure of the right ventricular causing blood to leak back through the tricuspid valve from the right ventricle into the right atrium of the heart. Symptoms of tricuspid regurgitation include leg and ankle swelling and swelling in the abdomen.

4. Heart disease affecting coronary arteries and coronary veins

The malfunctioning of the heart may be due to damage caused by narrowed or blocked arteries leading to the muscle of your heart as well as blood backing up in the veins. Types of heart disease that affect the coronary arteries and veins include:

A. Angina pectoris
Angina pectoris occurs when the heart muscle doesn't get as much blood oxygen as it needs. Here are 3 types of angina pectoris:
a) Stable angina
Stable angina is chest pain or discomfort that typically occurs with activity or stress due to oxygen deficiency in the blood muscles and usually follows a predictable pattern. Symptom of stable angina include chest pain, tightness, pressure, indigestion feeling and pain in the upper neck and arm.

b) Unstable angina
Unstable angina is caused by blockage of the blood flow to the heart. Without blood and the oxygen, part of the heart starts to die. Symptoms of unstable angina include pain spread down the left shoulder and arm to the back, jaw, neck, or right arm, discomfort of chest and chest pressure.

c) Variant angina also known as coronary artery spasm
Caused by the narrowing of the coronary arteries. This is caused by the contraction of the smooth muscle tissue in the vessel walls. Symptoms of variant angina include increasing of heart rate, pressure and chest pain.

B. Heart attacks known as myocardial infarction or MI
Heart attacks caused by plaque rupture with thrombus formation in a coronary vessel, resulting in an acute reduction of blood supply to a portion of the myocardium. Symptoms of MI include a squeezing sensation of the chest, sweating, nausea and vomiting, upper back pain and arm pain.

C. Heart disease also known as coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease
Caused by arteries hardening and narrowing, cutting off blood flow to the heart muscle and resulting in heart attack. Symptoms of heart disease include shortness of breath, chest pains on exertion, palpitation, dizziness and fainting.

D. Atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and to other parts of your body. Atherosclerosis is caused by plaques that rupture in result of blood clots that block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body. Atherosclerosis has no symptom or warning sign.

E. Silent ischemia.
Ischemia is a condition in which the blood flow is restricted to a part of the body caused by narrowing of heart arteries. Silent ischemia means people have ischemia without pain. There is also no warning sign before heart attack.

5. Heart disease affecting heart lining
Rheumatic heart disease results from inflammation of the heart lining when too much fluid builds up in the lungs leading to pulmonary congestion. It is due to failure of the heart to remove fluid from the lung circulation resulting in shortness of breath, coughing up blood, pale skin and excessive sweating. Heart disease resulting from inflammation of either the endocardium or pericardium is called heart disease affecting heart lining.

Endocardium is the inner layer of the heart. It consists of epithelial tissue and connective tissue. Pericardium is the fluid filled sac that surrounds the heart and the proximal ends of the aorta, vena vava and the pulmonary artery.

a. Endocarditis
Endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the endocardium is caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream and settling on the inside of the heart, usually on the heart valves that consists of epithelial tissue and connective tissue. It is the most common heart disease in people who have a damaged, diseased, or artificial heart valve. Symptoms of endocarditis include fever, chilling, fatigue, aching joint muscles, night sweats, shortness of breath, change in temperature and a persistent cough.

b. Pericardium
Pericarditis is the inflammation of the pericardium. It is caused by infection of the pericardium which is the thin, tough bag-like membrane surrounding the heart. The pericardium also prevents the heart from over expanding when blood volume increases. Symptoms of pericarditis include chest pain, mild fever, weakness, fatigue, coughing, hiccups, and muscle aches.

6. Heart disease affecting electrical system
The electrical system within the heart is responsible for ensuring the heart beats correctly so that blood can be transported to the cells throughout our body. Any malfunction of the electrical system in the heart causes a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat. The electrical system within the heart is responsible for ensuring that the heart beats correctly so that blood can be transported throughout our the body. Any malfunction of the electrical system in the heart malfunction can cause a fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat.

Types of heart disease that affect the electrical system are known as arrhythmias. They can cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. These types of heart disease include:

a. Sinus tachycardia
Sinus tachycardia occurs when the sinus rhythm is faster than 100 beats per minute therefore it increases myocardial oxygen demand and reduces coronary blood flow, thus precipitating an ischemia heart or valvular disease.

b. Sinus bradycardia
Sinus bradycardia occurs when a decrease of cardiac output results in regular but unusually slow heart beat less than 60 beats per minute. Symptoms of sinus bradycardia includes a feeling of weightlessness of the head, dizziness, low blood pressure, vertigo, and syncope.

c. Atrial fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rhythm that starts in the upper parts (atria) of the heart causing irregular beating between the atria and the lower parts (ventricles) of the heart. The lower parts may beat fast and without a regular rhythm. Symptoms of atrial fibrillation include dizziness, light-headedness, shortness of breath, chest pain and irregular heart beat.

d. Atrial flutter
Atrial flutter is an abnormal heart rhythm that occurs in the atria of the heart causing abnormalities and diseases of the heart. Symptoms of atrial flutter includes shortness of breath, chest pains, anxiety and palpitation.

e. Supraventricular tachycardia
Supraventricular tachycardia is described as rapid heart rate originating above the ventricles, or lower chambers of the heart causing a rapid pulse of 140-250 beats per minute. Symptoms of supraventricular tachycardia include palpitations, light-headedness, and chest pains.

f. Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia
Paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia is described as an occasional rapid heart rate. Symptoms can come on suddenly and may go away without treatment. They can last a few minutes or 1-2 days.

g. Ventricular tachycardia
Ventricular tachycardia is described as a fast heart rhythm that originates in one of the ventricles of the heart . This is a potentially life-threatening arrhythmia because it may lead to ventricular fibrillation and/or sudden death. Symptoms of ventricular tachycardia include light headedness, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and chest pains.

h.Ventricular fibrillation
Ventricular fibrillation is a condition in which the heart's electrical activity becomes disordered causing the heart's lower chambers to contract in a rapid, unsynchronized way resulting in little heart pumps or no blood at all, resulting in death if left untreated after in 5 minutes.

There are many heart diseases affecting electrical system such as premature arterial contractions, wolf parkinson, etc.

7. Congenital heart disease
There are several heart diseases that people are born with. Congenital heart diseases are caused by a persistence in the fetal connection between arterial and venous circulation. Congenital heart diseases affect any part of the heart such as heart muscle, valves, and blood vessels. Congenital heart disease refers to a problem with the heart's structure and function due to abnormal heart development before birth.Every year over 30,000 babies are born with some type of congenital heart defect in US alone. Congenital heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. Some congenital heart diseases can be treated with medication alone, while others require one or more surgeries.

The causes of congenital heart diseases of newborns at birth may be in result from poorly controlled blood sugar levels in women having diabetes during pregnancy, some hereditary factors that play a role in congenital heart disease, excessive intake of alcohol and side affects of some drugs during pregnancy.

Congenital heart disease is often divided into two types: cyanotic which is caused by a lack of oxygen and non-cyanotic.

A. Cyanotic
Cyanosis is a blue coloration of the skin due to a lack of oxygen generated in blood vessels near the skin surface. It occurs when the oxygen level in the arterial blood falls below 85-90%.
The below lists are the most common of cyanotic congenital heart diseases:
a)Tetralogy of fallot
Tetralogy of fallot is a condition of several congenital defects that occur when the heart does not develop normally. It is the most common cynaotic heart defect and a common cause of blue baby syndrome.

b)Transportation of the great vessels
Transportation of the great vessels is the most common cyanotic congenital heart disease. Transposition of the great vessels is a congenital heart defect in which the 2 major vessels that carry blood away from the aorta and the pulmonary artery of the heart are switched. Symptoms of transportation of the great vessels include blueness of the skin, shortness of breath and poor feeding.

c)Tricuspid atresia
In tricuspid atresia there is no tricuspid valve so no blood can flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle. Symptoms of tricuspid atresia include blue tinge to the skin and lips, shortness of breath, slow growth and poor feeding.

d)Total anomalous pulmonary venous return
Total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR) is a rare congenital heart defect that causes cyanosis or blueness. Symptoms of total anomalous pulmonary venous return include poor feeding, poor growth, respiratory infections and blue skin.

e)Truncus arteriosus
Truncus arteriosus is characterized by a large ventricular septal defect over which a large, single great vessel arises. Symptoms of truncus arteriosus include blue coloring of the skin, poor feeding, poor growth and shortness of breath.

B. Non-cyanotic
Non-cyanotic heart defects are more common because of higher survival rates.
The below lists are the most common of non-cyanotic congenital heart diseases:
a)Ventricular septal defect
Ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall between the right and left ventricles of the heart causing right and left ventricles to work harder, pumping a greater volume of blood than they normally would in result of failure of the left ventricle. Symptoms of ventricular septal defect include very fast heartbeats, sweating, poor feeding, poor weight gain and pallor.

b)Atrial septal defect
Atrial septal defect is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of your heart causing freshly oxygenated blood to flow from the left upper chamber of the heart into the right upper chamber of the heart. Symptoms of atrial septal defect include shortness of breath, fatigue and heart palpitations or skipped beats.

c)Coarctation of aorta
Coarctation of aorta is a narrowing of the aorta between the upper-body artery branches and the branches to the lower body causing your heart to pump harder to force blood through the narrow part of your aorta. Symptoms of coarctation of aorta include pale skin, shortness of breath and heavy sweating.

There are many more types of non-cyanotic such as pulmonic stenosis, patent ductus arteriorus, and atrioventricular cana. These problems may occur alone or together. Most congenital heart diseases occur as an isolated defect and is not associated with other diseases.

8. Other Types of Heart Diseases

In this article, we will discuss other types of heart diseases that can affect any part of the heart including the following:

*A cardiac tumor can be either malignant or benign

A) Benign tumors
a. Myxoma
Myxoma is a cardiac benign tumor. It is the most common tumor inside of cavities of the heart and most of them occur in the left atrium of the heart obstructing the normal flow of blood within the chambers of the heart. Symptoms of Myxoma include paroxysmal dyspnea, weight loss, feverhemoptysis, lightheadedness and sudden death.

b. Rhabdomyomas
Most of rhabdomyomas occur in children or infants and are associated with tuberous sclerosis. It develops in the myocardium or the endocardium and accounts for about one out of every five tumors that originate in the heart causing obstruction of blood flow, valvular insufficiency, and cardiac arrhythmias. Symptoms of rhabdomyomas include palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath, and nausea.

c. Fibromas
Fibromas develop in the myocardium or the endocardium. These tumors are composed of fibrous or connective tissue and tend to occur on the valves of the heart and may be related to inflammation. Other than seeing or feeling the fibroma, there are no usual symptoms.

d. Teratomas of the pericardium
It is often attached to the base of the great vessels, usually occurring in infants. They are rarer than cysts or lipomas, usually causes no symptoms.

B) Malignant tumors
Malignant tumors that originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the heart are more common than ones that originate in the heart. Malignant heart tumors can originate from any heart tissue. They occur mostly in children.

a. Angiosarcomas
Angiosarcomas account for about a third of all malignant heart tumors and usually start on the right side of the heart. The cause of angiosarcomas is usually unknown and symptoms of angiosarcomas differ according to the location of the tumour. Often symptoms of the disease are not apparent until the tumour is well advanced.

b. Fibrosarcomas
Fibrosarcomas occur as a soft-tissue mass or as a primary or secondary bone tumor. The 2 main types of fibrosarcoma of bone are
i) Primary fibrosarcoma is a fibroblastic malignancy that produces variable amounts of collagen
ii) Secondary fibrosarcoma of bone arises from a preexisting lesion or after radiotherapy to an area of bone or soft tissue. Symptoms of fibrosarcomas include broken bone, pain, swelling, lump found under skin or bone, frequent urination and urinary obstruction.

c. Rhabdomyosarcomas
Rhabdomyosarcomas are a cancer made up of cells that normally develop into skeletal muscles of the body and are also more common in children. They usually have some type of chromosome abnormality in the cells of the tumor, which are responsible for the tumor formation. Symptoms of rhabdomyosarcomas include bleeding from the nose, vagina, rectum, throat and tingling, numbness, and pain.

d.) Liposarcomas
Liposarcoma normally appears as a slowly enlarging, painless, nonulcerated submucosal mass in a middle-aged person. Symptoms include palpation, weakness, limitation of motion weight loss, fatigue, and lassitude.

*Sudden cardiac death
The victim may or may not have diagnosis of heart diseases, and the death is totally unexpected. Sudden cardiac death is a result from abrupt loss of heart function. The cause of sudden cardiac dealth might be a result of coronary heart disease.

* Hypertensive heart disease
Hypertensive heart disease are caused by high blood pressure that increases the work load of the heart. Overtime the muscles of the heart become thick in result of an enlarged left ventricle and decreased blood pump from the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, swelling in the feet, ankles, or abdomen, fatigue, irregular pulse, nausea and frequent urination at night.

IV. Heart Diseases- Prevention and Treatment

Anything that serves to damage the inner lining of blood vessels and impedes the transportation of oxygen and nutrition to the heart can be defined as a risk of heart disease.
Unhealthy diet is a major cause of heart diseases resulting in the buildup of cholesterol and fat in the inner wall of arteries that narrows the arteries, impedes the circulation and eventually causes heart attacks.

1. Prevention and Treatment of Heart Disease with Diet

To prevent heart diseases, your daily diet should contain:
a) Fiber
Fiber can be soluble or insoluble. As we mentioned in a previous article, soluble fiber can lower your LDL and raise your HDL cholesterol while insoluble fiber has no effect on cholesterol but promotes regular bowel movements. The intake of fatty foods causes the liver to release bile into the intestines to break down the fat.

b) Reduce intake of saturated fat and trans fat
We know that saturated and trans fat are toxins causing cholesterol to build up in the arteries damaging the arterial wall and narrows the arterial passage in result of poor circulation and oxygen transportation to our body in result of high blood pressure as the heart has to work harder than normal in order to provide enough nutrition to the body`s cells. Eventually, the heart will fail and result in heart diseases. It is recommended that you reduce the intake of animal fat and increase the intake of cold water fish which is the best sources of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that can help your cholesterol levels as well as lowering your blood pressure.

c). Diet high in complex carbohydrates
Vegetables, fruits, some beans and grains contain high amounts of plant pigments known as flavonoids that provide healthy protection against heart diseases. Unfortunately study shows that diets high in complex carbohydrate may increase the release of too much insulin to respond to carbohydrates in the diet. The type and amount of carbohydrate foods may need individual monitoring.

d). Drink half of your body weight of water or juices in ounces
If you weigh 160 pounds then you are require to drink 80 ounces of water or juices to prevent the cells in our body to become dehydrated. Maintaining normal function of our body's cells is a healthy way to normalize high blood pressure.

2. Prevention and Treatment of Heart Disease with natural remedies

Beside foods and herbs, nutritional supplements also play an important role in preventing heart diseases and stroke. Here are some nutritional supplements which have proven record in treating heart diseases:

a. L-Arginine
L-Arginine helps to increase the production of nitric oxide in our body, this has an anti-angina and anti-stress effect upon the arteries enabling the muscles in the arterial walls to relax. L-Arginine also helps to prevent the build up of plaque on the arterial walls. L- Arginne taken either orally or intravenously has been found to prevent and reverse atherosclerosis, improving the functional status of heart failure and increasing blood flow in heart disease patients.

b. L- Carnitine
L-Carnitine working with vitamin E will help the body to recover quickly from fatigue. L-Carnitine helps the body convert fatty acids into energy, which is used primarily for muscular activities throughout the body. When working with vitamin E, L-carnitine will help the body to recover quickly from fatigue and combat heart diseases.

c. Lecithin
Lecithin supplies the body with needed inositol, choline and phosphatidyl choline that help to maintain healthy arteries. Lecithin also helps to reduce plaque in the arteries, lower blood pressure and ameliorate angina pectoris.

d. Niacin
Niacin a B3 vitamin, helps decreases blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides which may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Niacin can only be taken under medical supervision because of it's side effects.

e. Selenium
Selenium deficiency will cause increase in high blood pressure.

f. Taurine
Taurine is an amino acid that acts as an antioxidant helping to fortify cardiac contraction and enhance the outflow of blood from the heart. Intake of taurine will reduce the risk of congestive heart failure and arteriosclerosis.

g. Calcium and potassium
Calcium and potassium deficiency may result in heart palpitation.

h. Magnesium
Magnesium helps to improve blood circulation by permitting the muscles in the arterial wall to rest.

i. Lutein
Lutein is one of the carotenoids, yellow and orange pigments found in many fruits and vegetables. Lutein supplementation has already been proven in helping prevent muscular degeneration, the most common cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly. Study shows that increased dietary intake of lutein may protect against the development of early atherosclerosis. It also helps explain why diets rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of heart diseases.

j. Flax seeds
Flax seeds contain high amounts of alpha-linoenic acid that helps to lower high blood pressure and the risk of stroke. Eating too much flax seeds will cause gas to build up if you are not used to it.

k. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba helps to to make blood less sticky and prevents blood clotting and stroke. Unlike aspirin, Ginkgo biloba will not cause upset stomach and internal bleeding. Also, Ginkgo biloba can improve blood circulation. Be sure not to take Ginkgo seeds because they are toxic and can cause seizures.

l. Cayenne
Cayenne stimulates blood flow, and strengthens the heart's metabolism. It also helps to improve blood circulation as well as the digestive and immune systems. Cayenne contains high amounts of beta-carotene, cobalt, essential fatty acids, niacin and zinc that helps circulatory stimulation, blood purification, detoxification and fatigue.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Warning - Ignore Heart Disease At Your Peril!

The Heart Disease Hit List
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* FACT - Heart disease is the biggest killer in the western world, and has been for more than a century.
* FACT - Heart disease related deaths account for more than a third of deaths.
* FACT - A large percentage of heart attack victims die before they reach hospital.
* FACT - The first sign of heart disease that many heart attack victims notice is sudden excruciating pain followed by death.

Shocked yet? You should be! In-fact we all should be. Many people ignore the occasional chest pain, the twinge in the arm or shoulders after a meal etc, and take no interest in reversing heart disease. Feeling safe in the knowledge that if they have a heart problem they'll go to the hospital and get fixed up; maybe take steps toward reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes if the doc says so. Sounds like a good plan huh? Unfortunately as the above statistics clearly show, the plan can fail with tragic consequences, which could be avoided by reversing heart disease through a change of lifestyle.

Reversing heart disease should be of prime importance to every adult in the western world. Poor lifestyle and complacency are sadly all too closely linked to the heart disease death rate. Check out the chilling statistics and you'll find that the heart disease death rates are similar in every western country, and yet the majority of people are still complacent about the dangers associated with this silent killer.

The main risk factors are:

* High Blood Pressure
* High Cholesterol
* Obesity
* Smoking
* Sedentary Lifestyle
* Stress

Combine a few, or perhaps all of these risk factors and you have a lethal time-bomb ticking away inside of you, with prevention being the best solution by reversing heart disease through lifestyle changes. Most of the major risk factors are silent. They must be sought actively, and much of the responsibility for their detection, and reversing heart disease lies with each of us as individuals. Regular checkups are particularly necessary if there is a family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.

There has been a slight decline in the death rate from heart disease over the last two decades as a portion of the population has heeded the warning and taken steps to modify their lifestyle to reduce the risk factors and thus reversing heart disease that would otherwise have progressed within their bodies. Despite this decline however, the death rate is still far too high.

Another worrying problem is the high obesity rate among the young population today and its associated health problems, of which heart disease is only one. Many nutritionists and scientist believe this generation of adults will be among the first to outlive their children, a terrible thought for any parent. This highlights the importance of reversing heart disease factors for ourselves as well as our children through education and encouraging the whole family to get involved in making positive changes to diet and lifestyle.

As with many other degenerative diseases of our society, heart disease is best prevented; rather than trying to gamble on surviving your first wakeup call. Heart disease prevention is best approached by taking steps toward reversing heart disease gradually and always under a doctor's supervision. Educating yourself is also a smart course of action for reversing heart disease and specialist information will always have significantly more effective results. Heart disease is no joke; it's a matter of life and death!

Critical Facts About Heart Disease Prevention

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America. An estimated 81 million American adults, or more than 1 in 3, have one or more types of cardiovascular disease, including:http://www.sparkpe.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/medical-complications-obesity.gif

* high blood pressure,
* atherosclerosis (build up of cholesterol, fat, and fibrous tissue in the walls of the arteries),
* coronary heart disease - narrowing of the arteries to the heart muscle, reducing blood supply to the heart, and resulting in angina pectoris (chest pain) and myocardial infarction (heart attack),
* heart failure, and
* stroke (interruption of blood supply to the brain).

For more than two decades, cholesterol has been vilified as the culprit for heart disease. You have been told by doctors and the media to keep your cholesterol as low as possible. Consequently, a low-fat diet is endorsed and foods like eggs and animal (saturated) fats that are high in cholesterol are banished.

In reality, cholesterol is vital for your body. It is found not only in your bloodstream, but also in every cell in your body, where it helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids for fat digestion. Moreover, cholesterol is essential for your memory and brain function.

Eating foods high in cholesterol does not simply translate to high blood cholesterol. In reality, one of cholesterol's roles is to repair injuries. When the liver receives signals that there is damage in the lining of the arteries, it transports cholesterol to the area to do the repair work. High levels of cholesterol often indicate that you have sustained much damage.

So what causes damage in the lining of arteries in the first place? Latest research shows that insulin and leptin resistance are the strong causal link to such damage leading to cardiovascular disease. Insulin and leptin resistance is the result of eating too much sugar and refined carbs over an extended period of time.

In this case, how come so many doctors are still prescribing cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) to their patients? What are the side effects of statins and are they truly effective in lowering your risk of heart disease? Read on to learn more.

High blood cholesterol does not necessarily mean that you have a higher risk of heart disease. Find out how to assess your heart disease risk from your blood test results.

Finally, like other degenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease is mostly preventable by good dietary and lifestyle habits. Learn ways to naturally lower your risk of heart disease.

Is cholesterol The Cause Of Heart Disease?

75% of the cholesterol in your bloodstream comes from what your liver is manufacturing and distributing. That's why the cholesterol that you eat plays little role in determining your cholesterol levels in the blood.

The cholesterol that's being made by the liver and deposited in your arteries is called LDL (the "bad" cholesterol), and the cholesterol that's being taken away from the arteries back to the liver is called HDL (the "good" cholesterol). The reason cholesterol is taken back to the liver is that it can be conserved and recycled for future use.

One function of cholesterol is to keep your cell membranes from falling apart; it acts like a super glue. When the lining of your arteries are damaged, inflammation occurs, just like when you cut your finger. The liver is notified to send cholesterol to the damaged site to do repair work. This is a deliberate process that takes place in order for your body to produce new, healthy cells.

A common problem is that there is damage occurring in your body on a regular basis. In this case, you have chronic inflammation, which leads to accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries (called plaque) and an increased risk for high blood pressure and heart attacks.

Hundreds of scientific studies have now linked insulin and leptin resistance, caused by eating too much sugar and white carbs, to damage in the lining of arteries and cardiovascular disease. That's why people with diabetes (a disease characterized by insulin and leptin resistance) have a much higher risk of heart disease than people with normal blood sugar levels.

To make things worse, insulin and leptin resistance also result in a greater number of small, dense LDL cholesterol (as opposed to bigger and less dense LDL) which can squeeze between the cell lining inside the arteries and get stuck, potentially oxidize (turn rancid), and cause more inflammation and plaque formation.

Are Statins The Cure For Heart Disease?

If you have high cholesterol, it means that you have chronic inflammation in the body. The cholesterol is there to help your body heal and repair.

By taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, yes, you are lowering your cholesterol levels and reducing plaque buildup in your arteries but you are not addressing why your body needs to produce the extra cholesterol in the first place. Besides, with less cholesterol to do the repair work, how do you heal the damage in the lining of the arteries?

Statin drugs have proliferated in the market. In America, it is the second most common class of medications prescribed, after antidepressants. Many doctors prescribe them to lower their patients' cholesterol, not understanding that they are only dealing with the symptoms but not the underlying disease.

In addition, they are exposing their patients to a series of major side effects, including:

* muscle and tendon problems,
* cognitive impairment, including memory loss,
* depressed immune function,
* pancreas or liver dysfunction,
* sexual dysfunction, and
* cataracts.

Statins also lower your CoQ10, which is an antioxidant that mops up free radicals and a biochemical that transfers energy from food to your cells to be used for the work of staying alive and healthy. Statins, by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production, also blocks the same pathway by which CoQ10 is produced.

The loss of CoQ10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which further damage your DNA and accelerate aging. The heart is usually the first to feel the statin-associated CoQ10 depletion because of its extremely high energy demands. The longer you are on the drug, the more complications you may have. These can range from chronic fatigue to cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) and congestive heart failure.

Hence, if you are on statins, you need to supplement with CoQ10. If you are over 40, you should take the reduced version called ubiquinol as your body is less efficient in converting it. Unfortunately, most doctors don't tell you this.

Given all these unpleasant side effects, are statins really effective in lowering your risk of heart disease? Many studies show that the result is inconclusive for people who have not had a heart attack.

Even BusinessWeek did a story on this topic in the January 17, 2008 issue. It reports that in Pfizer's own newspaper ad for Lipitor, the drug company boasts that Lipitor reduces heart attacks by 36%. But there is an asterisk next to it and in smaller print underneath, it says: "In a large clinical study, 3% of patients taking a sugar pill or placebo had a heart attack compared to 2% of patients taking Lipitor."

What this means is that for every 100 people who took Lipitor over the test period, 3 people
who were on placebos had heart attacks, versus 2 people on Lipitor. Not a significant achievement to brag about!

Other studies on Zetia and Vytorin (which is a combination of Zetia and Zocor) also fail to show that the drugs reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes.

Therefore, unless you have already had a heart attack, were born with a genetic defect called familial hypercholesterolemia, or are high in heart disease risk factors (see below), you should carefully weigh the risks and benefits before taking statins.

Alternatively, you may consider taking niacin (vitamin B3) to raise your HDL, and lower small, dense LDL and triglycerides (fats in blood). The major side effect of high-dose niacin is flushing of the skin and itching. Unfortunately, the non-flush niacin that's available in the market seems to be ineffective for this purpose.

Make sure the niacin is nicotinic acid and not other related forms as they are not as effective. Start with 500 mg of sustained release niacin every other day and slowly work up to 2 grams per day to minimize side effects such as upset stomach, headache, and dizziness.

Take niacin with a big meal like dinner and 2 glasses of water to reduce the hot flush. Sometimes, it is necessary to take an uncoated aspirin 30 minutes before taking the niacin. Also, don't drink alcohol or hot fluids around the time of the dose.

Do not take niacin if you have chronic liver disease, diabetes, or peptic ulcer. Always consult with your physician before taking high-dose niacin.

How To Assess Your Risk Of Heart Disease

Except for people whose total cholesterol is 340 or higher, your cholesterol number is not necessarily the most accurate measure of heart disease risk. The following are indicators from your blood test results that provide a better assessment of your risk:

* HDL/Total Cholesterol - ideally, this ratio should be above 0.24.
* Triglyceride/HDL - ideally, this ratio should be below 2.Triglycerides tend to rise from eating too much sugar and refined carbs, being physically inactive, smoking, excessive drinking, and being overweight or obese. Elevated levels increase heart disease risk.
* Small, dense LDL - a high number is linked to a higher risk.
* Homocysteine - too much of this amino acid in the blood is associated with buildup of plaque in arteries and tendency to form clots.
* C-Reactive Protein (CRP) - a marker for chronic inflammation in the body.

Small, dense LDL, homocysteine, and CRP are not part of your typical blood cholesterol tests. You have to specifically request for these additional tests.

Please note that some people with high cholesterol may not have a high risk of heart disease and should definitely not be taking statins. On the other hand, some people with low cholesterol are actually at risk for heart disease. The next section discusses ways to prevent heart disease through heart-healthy dietary and lifestyle habits.

How To Naturally Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease

The goal here is not to reduce your cholesterol as low as it can go because cholesterol, as explained, serves some very important functions in the body. Rather, you want to avoid chronic inflammation which raises your risk of heart disease as well as many other degenerative diseases.

* Optimize your insulin levels. 75% of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which in turn, is influenced by your insulin levels. Sugar, through a process called glycation, causes damage in the lining of your arteries. Therefore, if your HDL/Total Cholesterol ratio is too low, your should aim to eliminate sugar, fruits, and grains from your diet. Then, gradually reintroduce a small amount of fruits and whole grains when your cholesterol improves.
* Make sure you get plenty of high quality, mercury-free fish oil. It contains omega-3 fats which help cut down inflammation, lower your total cholesterol and trigylcerides and increase your HDL cholesterol. Studies show that fish omega-3 is just as effective as low-dose aspirin in preventing heart disease, without any long-term side effects of the drug.
* Avoid oxidized fats or trans fats. Stay away from refined vegetable oils which are high in polyunsaturated fats. These fats are easily damaged and oxidized during high heat processing or cooking. Oxidized fats are characterized by the presence of free radicals that cause inflammation in the body. Do not use canola, corn, soy, safflower, or sunflower oils. Be aware that they are commonly used in fast foods, restaurants, and processed foods.
* Avoid charring your meats.
* Eat right for your Metabolic Type. Protein types tend to require more fat and protein (in particular, red and dark meats) and less carbs than the Mixed and Carb types. By eating the right proportions of fat, protein, and carbs for your body, it will be like giving an engine the right mix of fuel to run in the most efficient manner. If you want to find out your Metabolic Type and the best foods for your specific body, please contact me.
* Heart-healthy fats include olive oil, coconut oil, organic dairy products (butter, cream, cheese, etc.), organic free-range eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.
* Optimize your vitamin D levels at 50-70 ng/ml. Research studies find that vitamin D deficiency is associated with stiffening of the arteries, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
* Reduce your homocysteine levels. Folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and choline are nutrients that lower homocysteine. These nutrients are found mostly in eggs, meats, and green leafy vegetables.
* Check your thyroid. Poor thyroid function (hypothyroidism) often results in high cholesterol levels. Low thyroid function can be due to a diet high in sugar and low in fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Use natural sea salt, not the refined iodized salt, for a balanced intake of minerals.
* Exercise daily. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and blood flow throughout your body. Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can improve your cardiovascular health.
* Drop the excess weight. Carrying extra pounds increases your risk of heart disease. Even a little weight reduction will raise your HDL levels.
* Avoid smoking. Smoking constricts your blood vessels and raises your risk of heart attacks.
* Don't drink alcohol excessively. Limit to one drink a day.
* Address the sources of stress in your life. Reduce them or learn ways to cope with them.
* Get plenty of restorative sleep every night.

5 Common Types of Heart Disease

There are many types of heart disease, but this article will explore five types that are common to happen. Hopefully, this article can add your knowledge concerning this leading cause of death disease.

#1 Congenital heart disease

There is a fallacy of thinking that many people do when they believe that all heart diseases are brought about by outside factors or that it needs some periods of time for the disease to build up. This is, of course, not true as one of the most common types is congenital heart disease.

The term congenital or hereditary heart disease refers to heart disease which is passed down through the family, and this is considered as being a congenital type as it is principally inevitable and unpreventable. If you have an account of early heart problem in your family then you also are at danger for congenital heart disease.

The most first-degree family members that you have who have endured from heart problem, such as your mother, father, brother, sister and so on, in particular those who experienced it at a younger age, the higher your risk of getting it as well.

Although congenital heart disease can be caused by many factors, some of them are actually preventable. For example if heart problem is clustering in your family, then it may just be because of the way that your family lives, including unhealthy practices such as poor diet, little or no exercise, and smoking. All of these aspects can contribute to heart problem and can create the sequence of congenital heart disease.

# 2 Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure is when the heart does not pump adequate blood to the other organs in the body. Congestive heart failure can often result from heart problem and constricted arteries. Congestive heart failure results in a heart which works a lot less efficiently than it should and can make further problems. Symptoms regularly consist of swelling and edema, shortness of breath, and kidney problems which in turn can lead to mysterious weight gain. Even elevated blood pressure and alcohol abuse can lead to congestive heart failure.

A patient may be examined for congestive heart failure if they have suffered from heart problem in the past, are alcoholic, have a family history of heart problems or show one or all of the symptoms that are caused by congestive heart failure. There are choices of examinations that aid a doctor in diagnosing this heart crisis. Treatment should begin without delay, starting with changes to diet and exercise, as patients should abolish salt from the diet altogether and sternly limit their fluid intake. Further treatment should be done by a professional.

#3 Coronary heart disease

Coronary heart disease is the most frequent type of heart problem of all, and is also the leading reason of heart attacks. Coronary heart disease is a term that refers to damage to the heart that happens because its blood supply is decreased, and what happens here is that fatty deposits build up on the linings of the blood vessels that provide the heart muscles with blood, resulting in them narrowing. This narrowing decreases the blood supply to the heart muscles and causes pain that is identified as angina.

There are a few factors which are considered as being responsible causes of coronary heart disease. One in particular is high cholesterol that can increase fat concentration in your blood and create the building up of fatty deposits. Another one of the major factors of coronary heart disease is cigarette and tobacco smoke, as a smoker's risk of getting heart problem is two times that of a nonsmoker, and studies have actually revealed that after five years of quitting smoking, the risk of developing heart problem is the same as that of someone who had never smoked in their life.

#4 Pulmonary heart disease

Pulmonary heart disease is a disease that comes from a lung, or pulmonary, disorder, or a complication of lung problems where the blood flow into the lungs is slowed or even totally blocked, resulting in increased pressure on the lungs. There are a number of different symptoms that typically come with pulmonary heart disease, such as shortness of breath, syncope, dyspnoea, and chest pain.

It is a state which is often misdiagnosed, and has frequently progressed to late stages by the time that it is actually correctly diagnosed. It has been previously chronic and untreatable with a poor survival rate. However, there are now numerous new treatments which are accessible which have extensively improved the overall prognosis of this disease.

#5 Rheumatic heart disease

Rheumatic heart disease frequently derives from strep throat infections. This can be a reason for alarm for many because strep throat, while often preventable, is a quite common condition that affects many people who do not treat a minor sore throat infection in time. However, there is no reason to be because rheumatic heart disease that comes from strep throat is fairly rare. Actually, the sheer volume of cases of rheumatic heart disease has decreased considerably since the 1960's.

If rheumatic fever, which happens due to chronic strep throat, is contracted and leads to rheumatic heart disease, the situation can be treated in a way that is much easier than the common treatments for other types of heart problem. This treatment usually involves taking cortisteroid anti-inflammatory medication to reverse any possible cardiac problems the fever might make. This does not rule out the risk for the requirement for more advanced treatment such as surgery, but it does signify the probability for a simple, yet effective treatment.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How To Live With Heart Disease

The agony of finding out that you may be suffering from some form of heart disease is usually traumatic. Your doctor has just received the laboratory test results for the battery of tests that you have completed during your recent checkup. From what the results indicate, if you do not stop eating all those fatty foods that you love so much, you are going to require bypass surgery very soon. Do not worry that your quality of life will get worse since there are modern treatment plans that get you on to the road of recovery as long as certain lifestyle changes are made.

Living With Heart Disease

The first consideration is the type of heart disease you are suffering from. Is your doctor tracking your cholesterol levels? Or, is it something a lot more serious? The severity of your heart condition will shed a great deal of light on the kind of lifestyle you can have and how it actually affects you.

If the type of heart disease is currently a very mild form, you should be able to keep a lid on it with medication. But for many people in a state of denial, they will refuse to or do not like taking their medication since they would be admitting to the fact that they are handling with their heart problems well.

So if you have heart medication to take for your condition and you are too stubborn to take it, understand the consequences of this action. Is it better to take a couple of pills on a daily basis or would you prefer to have to go to the extent of requiring heart surgery? Surely no one wants to undergo heart surgery. So think carefully before rejecting medication. It is a lot easier to deal with than other more complicated treatment methods.

Getting adequate amount of exercise on a regular basis is another facet of living with heart disease. If the heart disease in your case is of the more serious kind, you may not want to overtax yourself. If you sit still all day long you have a higher risk of getting blood clots. So get off your butt and get some exercise. Start with brisk walking over short distances and gradually build up.

There are some more difficult aspects to having heart problems. One of them is giving up delicious fatty food and desserts. But then again it all boils down to whether or not you would like to prolong your life. There are trade offs in all situations. Nowadays there are so many more options though. Just a few years ago we could not obtain half the low fat option foods that are available today. Not only are they delicious, they are also healthier options.

Your doctor will be able to provide you with information about heart diseases and the Internet has many reputable websites. Some of the heart health websites host forums where you can communicate with other people suffering from heart diseases.

Living with heart disease is really just about taking your prescribed medication, ensuring that you eat in a healthy manner and remaining active. With research you will find all the information you ever need to know to manage your condition better.

The Progress Of Heart Research

Due to the debilitating effects of various forms of heart diseases, medical technologists around the world are working towards developing more effective treatment methods through heart research.The search for knowledge about what heart problem really is and the pursuit of solutions to use to prevent and treat the disease is extremely vital. There are many companies and organizations that either conduct a research, or support the cause for heart research.

Heart Disease Research Organizations

The Research Center for Stroke and Heart Disease is a non-profit organization established to raise awareness of and find solutions for prevention of stroke and heart diseases. Its reach is worldwide and it concerns itself with all types of heart disease and stroke. The Research Center for Stroke and Heart Disease designs, implements and evaluates projects that educate people with regards to the risk factors for these illnesses and motivates them to practice good habits in the quest for reducing them.

The Research Center for Stroke and Heart Disease operates from Buffalo General Hospital. There are several full-time and part-time staff members and they make use of contractors who have a background in communications, health care management and computer programming for heart research. During the past ten years of their existence the Research Center for Stroke and Heart Disease has built a very good reputation.

Another heart research organization is the British Heart Foundation. This organization is considered to be the British nation's heart charity. The British Heart Foundation focuses in particular on three very important issues. They invest in pioneering heart disease research, support and care for heart patients and they provide essential information to assist people to reduce their risk of premature death from heart or circulatory related disease.

Harvard Medical School should also be mentioned. It is a center that concentrates its efforts on heart disease research. Harvard Medical School has been in the heart research arena for several decades. They have a vast amount to offer in terms of information and education regarding heart diseases: what it is, what its causes are, up-to-date research findings and many statistics.

Research into heart disease is the only solution that will help to clarify this disease throughout the world today. There is always hope that sometime, preferably in the near future, such research will show the way to completely avoid heart disease for everyone.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Overview Of Heart Disease

One of the most widely recognized causes of premature death worldwide today is heart disease. Although this may sound very depressing, the reality is that the incidence of premature deaths caused by heart disease has significantly declined in recent years. Although progress has been made in the treatment of heart disease, additional effort needs to be made to prevent this illness as much as possible. Heart disease often takes a toll on the sufferer's and his family's lives. Treating heart disease can also be very complicated, requiring specialized human resources, equipment and medication. The costs of such treatments are also very high. In summary, prevention is better than the cure. Let's now review the other factors.

Who Are At Risk?

People who have a family history of heart disease are probably the most at risk. So, bear in mind that if hereditary heart disease is prevalent in your family it would probably be a wise step to discuss this aspect with your doctor and to have regular annual appointments with him to check for potential problems. Be assured that if you do this, your chances of circumventing heart disease will be so much better.

Heart Disease Is A Leading Cause For Fatalities

Although more men are prone to heart disease than women, it is the most widely recognized cause of death in women. Strangely enough the observation that women live longer than men is also still true. Women therefore have to take certain measures to prevent the onset and development of heart disease.

Recognition Of The Problem Often Occurs Too Late

Doctors and specialists today, armed with improved technologies, are able to diagnose and treat heart disease more comprehensively than ever in the past. Unfortunately, by the time most people realize that they are suffering from heart disease, it would have escalated to an advanced stage that poses a treatment challenge for physicians. Often the onset of the illness only comes to light when the person has already been afflicted by a stroke or heart attack.

Of the many contributing factors of heart disease in people, smoking cigarettes is the most critical. Other factors such as elevated blood cholesterol levels as well as obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyles and diabetes heighten the incidence of heart disease. The person who does not deny these risk factors will have a better understanding and chance of survival should he or she be afflicted by some form of heart disease. Obviously it will mean making some necessary lifestyle changes.

Tremendous advances in medical technology have been made in many areas and also in terms of treatment protocols for sufferers of coronary heart disease. The development of drugs specifically designed to prevent heart attacks has increased and are readily available. Surgical techniques have advanced tremendously since the days of Dr. Chris Barnard and the first heart transplant. Both drug and surgery treatment protocols are designed for the elimination of heart problems and the restoration of proper heart function. The success of these developments is documented by the sharp decline of fatalities due to heart disease.

Steps Forward In Dealing With Heart Disease

Many new preventive measures have been developed to reduce the problems associated with heart disease. In addition to the advances in medical treatment for people suffering from heart disease, public awareness for these illnesses has increased dramatically. People are educating themselves with regards to the good benefits of a healthy lifestyle, staying away from smoking and drugs and working out to a cardiovascular exercise routine that is specifically designed to exercise the heart to make it stronger.

This statement by no means indicates that heart disease is not a serious threat, or that heart disease can be circumvented with minor treatment programs. Not at all! Heart disease is a serious health condition the danger of which can never be underplayed. But it is interesting and important to realize that heart disease is no longer the death threat that it was in years gone by.

Check Ups Can Prevent Heart Problems

Regular examinations by the doctor will not prevent heart disease from happening, but these examinations may have a significant impact on your heath if they are able to nip a heart problem in the bud before it becomes serious. This makes sense with regards to any illness. Detecting heart disease early in its developmental stages can motivate the patient to obtain treatment as a matter of urgency. When treatment is received promptly, the higher the chances are to successfully treat the heart disease before it turns out to be life threatening. Because this is so important regular - at least annual - checkups are necessary for those who might be at risk for heart disease.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements - Discover the Best Nutrients to Enhance Heart Health

Many people are interested in learning more about heart disease and dietary supplements in order to educate themselves on preventive strategies against heart disease. However, before we delve into some of the best heart health supplements, let's highlight some important facts about this disease.

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease is the general term for diseases or conditions that affects the heart (cardio) or the blood vessels (vascular). As such, there are many different types of heart diseases. However, coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease.

Coronary artery disease means narrowing of the coronary arteries. It is caused by a process called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which is the gradual buildup of plague -- deposits made up of cholesterol, other fats, and calcium. Eventually, diminished blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to angina (chest pain). A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. In fact, coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. each year.

Moreover, many studies indicate that individuals with high cholesterol levels are much more likely to develop atherosclerosis than people that maintain low cholesterol levels. As such, many high cholesterol level sufferers seek information about heart disease and dietary supplements. In addition, it has been found that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine may be associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis.

Indeed, hearing words like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke is scary and, as such, many people search for information in regards to heart disease and dietary supplements to promote heart health. However, we believe before you can make an informed decision about health disease and dietary supplements, it's important to understand the risk factors associated with this condition, which is vital to your overall preventive strategies against heart disease. They include:

* High LDL "bad" cholesterol
* Low HDL "good" cholesterol
* Diabetes
* High blood pressure
* Tobacco
* Lack of exercise
* Unhealthy nutrition
* Overweight/Obesity
* Heavy alcohol intake
* Stress
* Family history
* Age
* Men

Needless to say, the first step in preventing or reducing your chances for heart disease is committing to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, aside from age, gender, and heredity, you have a great deal of power in controlling each of the aforementioned risk factors of heart disease.

With that being said, let's move on to heart disease and dietary supplements.

While it's important to understand that no dietary or herbal supplement will counteract a poor diet or the lack of exercise, it can be powerful components when used along with a heart healthy diet and a health enhancing lifestyle. Now, in regards to your heart health strategy and/or strategies against heart disease, you may want to address it having three main goals in mind and then use a combination of diet, exercise, and dietary and/or herbal supplements that works best for you. We believe that heart disease prevention must be addressed from several different perspectives since the disease results from a number of related "risk factors" and not from a single cause.

The three main goals for heart health are:

1. Opening Blood Vessels
2. Strengthening the Heart Muscle
3. Controlling Free Radical Damage -- Antioxidants


Supplements that Open Blood Vessels

Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements used for opening blood vessels, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Ginkgo biloba is well renowned for improving blood flow throughout the body, including the heart muscle. Ginkgo is also a powerhouse antioxidant and it appears to reduce blood stickiness, which lowers the risk of blood clots.

Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) that benefits heart health. Fish oil helps prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together, reducing the risk that blood clots will form. It has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides (blood fats) levels, and improve blood flow. Indeed, fish oil omega 3's are praised by many experts as being one of the best heart disease and dietary supplements, meaning it should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Policosanol -- Some studies have shown that policosanol can lower one's bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 20% and raise beneficial cholesterol (HDL) by 10%.

Guggulipid is prized for its ability to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels as well as high blood triglyceride levels. It has also shown to boost the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).

Vitamin B Complex, particularly vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid reduce levels of homocysteine.

Chromium is a mineral that plays a role in helping to manage cholesterol levels. In addition, it can help improve blood sugar control for diabetes sufferers.

Garlic is noted to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as slightly lower blood pressure. In addition, studies indicate that garlic can help reduce the likelihood of blood clots.

Other nutrients that help open blood vessels include: Niacin and Soy protein

Supplements that Strengthen the Heart Muscle

Our research indicates that when it comes to heart disease and dietary supplements to strengthen the heart muscle, the following are some of the best and, as such, may be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Magnesium -- This mineral plays a vital role in controlling muscle contraction and relaxation. It is also involved in regulating blood pressure (by relaxing blood vessels) and can help reduce the tendency of blood clotting.

Coenzyme Q10 is prized for its ability to strengthen the heart muscle and help prevent heart attacks and heart disease.

Hawthorn is a powerful heart tonic. It also strengthens the hearts pumping ability (muscle), helping the heart to beat more forcefully and efficiently.

Other possible heart muscle strengtheners include: L- Carnitine and Potassium

About Heart Disease and Dietary Supplements: Antioxidants

Antioxidants are believed to help prevent heart disease by fighting free radicals, substances that harm the body when left unchecked. These nutrients are on a constant search and destroy mission, fighting the continuous onslaught of free radicals. The following dietary supplements help fight free radicals and, as such, should be a part of your preventive strategies against heart disease.

Grape Seed Extract is a rich source of flavonoid compounds (oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs) that perform as potent antioxidants and powerful blood vessel strengtheners.

Green tea contains a particular group of potent antioxidants called polyphenols. Green tea also protects LDL cholesterol and blood vessel linings from oxidative damage.

Some other antioxidants noted to help with cardiovascular heart health include: Vitamins C and E, and Resveratrol

Precautions

Indeed, educating yourself about heart disease and dietary supplements is important. However, before you start any dietary supplement program for heart disease prevention or treatment, please make sure you discuss it with your physician.

Nutritional-Supplement-Educational-Centre's Opinion

We believe that you should consider, if possible, taking a comprehensive health heart product formulated by someone that is qualified to create such a supplement. Here are a few reasons why...

1. It could be very dangerous to your health to mix and match supplements and nutrients on your own.
2. A formulated heart health product using carefully selected ingredients can enhance their therapeutic benefits, often much better than taking a single herb or nutrient on its own.
3. Ratios of nutrients have to be balanced perfectly in order for it to be optimally effective.


Bottom Line:

Although we have provided you with some of the best heart health supplements, there are highly sophisticated Nutraceutical companies that have designed comprehensive heart health products from lowering cholesterol levels to promoting artery and heart health. Therefore, it's important to understand the how and why of what makes these comprehensive products useful -- an important factor in making an informed choice about heart disease and dietary supplements.