Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Heart Health

Over the last 50 years heart disease has risen to be the number one killer of Americans, taking the lives of over 750,000 people each year and that doesn't include people who struggle with heart disease and have not passed away (yet). While cardiovascular disease is a general term that covers heart issues such as:  heart attack, stroke and other disorders of the heart and blood vessel system, heart disease refers only to the diseases of the heart and blood vessel system within the heart.  Cardiovascular diseases are the leading health problem in the Western world.  To urge Americans to join the battle against these diseases, since 1963 Congress has required the President to proclaim February "American Heart Month."  The CDC website says:  "The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk. Additionally, knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack are crucial to the most positive outcomes after having a heart attack." 

A brief summary of known risk factors of present or possible cardiovascular problems:
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease, especially a type of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) called atrial fibrillation
  • Smoking and other tobacco use, including second hand smoke exposure
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity 
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity

 All of these risk factors are well within our control.  Remember, only 20% of our health is determined by our genes and the remaining 80% is up to us.  Because cardiovascular disease is something that will likely affect us or our loved ones, it is important that we take charge of our health and these risk factors in order to live healthier lives, today and tomorrow.  

Here are some heart health recommendations: 
  • Make sure your diet is well balanced and contains plenty of fiber.  The average Western diet does not contain even half of the recommend daily amounts of fiber.  Fiber has been associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Include garlic in your daily routine.  Studies have also shown that garlic promotes cardiovascular health by helping to maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels when included with a diet low in fat and cholesterol.
  • Include Omega-3 essential fatty acids in your daily routine.  These have been shown to be great  cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune function, neurology, inflammation and more. 
  • Regular physical activity is important too.  30 minutes a day of simple walking should be the minimum daily physical activity and remember, it all adds up.  So take the stairs instead of the elevator, take the dog for a walk, go for a bike ride with the kids or start a regular exercise routine with a friend.  The overall health impact of physical activity is incredible!
  • Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for heart health.  Studies show that Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for heart diseases and stroke.  Vita-Lea is a superb multi-vitamin/multi-mineral that has extra Vitamin D.
  • Every cell in the body needs coenzyme Q10 to create energy. A healthy heart has an especially high demand for CoQ10. As an antioxidant, it also helps prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation.
  • Learn to manage stress in a healthy way and help your body recover from stressful periods in life. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Obesity is a risk factor for a whole variety of unhealthy conditions.
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels.  If you discover that your cholesterol levels are higher than they should be, there are natural alternatives that work well that you can consider before (or while) taking statin drugs.
  • Because our food production has become so industrialized, it is important to take a food based mulit-vitamin and mulit-mineral supplement every day.  There are two different supplements that are highly recommended:  Vitalizer, which provides the best spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-aging phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics, and Vita-Lea which provides 23 essential vitamins and minerals at clinically proven levels for optimal health and is part of the Vitalizer package.

Now is the best time to begin to implement heart healthy habits into your life.  It's never too late to start!  It is important that each of us begin to take charge of our own health and a healthy heart makes a healthy you!

February is American Heart Month
Heart Conditions

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