by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Heart disease is the number #1 killer of men and women. It is responsible for 41% of all deaths, outweighing other common causes of death including cancer, accidents, and AIDS. Heart disease affects more women than men though women may be more likely to recover from the disease than their male counterparts. Even in this world of modern medicine, one person dies from heart disease every 33 seconds. This page will help you reduce your heart disease risks naturally.
What it Heart Disease?
Heart disease is a blanket term used to describe any chronic problem with the heart.
Examples of heart disease include:
- Angina – This occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen. Common symptoms of angina include chest tightness and pain.
- Cardiac Arrhythmia – Irregular heartbeat affects many people and may indicate a magnesium deficiency.
- Congenital Heart Disease – Congenital heart disease is a type of heart condition that begins at birth. Blockages, holes in the heart, and insufficient oxygen supply can cause lifelong health challenges.
- Coronary Artery Disease – This occurs when plaque deposits narrow the arteries surrounding the heart, resulting in loss of oxygen to the heart.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy – If coronary artery disease is allowed to progress unchecked, it can develop into dilated cardiomyopathy. The heart becomes dilated due to lack of proper blood flow and can greatly increase your chances of dying from a heart attack.
- Myocardial Infarction – Otherwise known as a “heart attack”, this occurs when a blood clot develops in one of the coronary arteries, blocking blood flow.
- Heart Failure – Heart failure is closely associated with high blood pressure and can make the heart too weak and stiff to pump blood effectively.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – This is a common heart disorder that affects athletes. It is characterized by a thickening of the left ventricle wall, which makes it difficult for blood to leave the heart and circulate to the rest of the body.
- Mitral Valve Regurgitation – When the heart valve doesn’t close as tightly as it should, it can cause pumped blood to backflow into the heart. This can cause feelings of fatigue and weakness as the body starves for oxygen.
- Mitral Valve Prolapse – Mitral valve prolapse is a common type of heart disease whereby the left atrium and ventricle do not close properly. It often has few symptoms associated with it, which can make it difficult to detect.
- Pulmonary Stenosis – In pulmonary stenosis, the right ventricle of the heart is too tight, which causes it to have to work very hard to pump blood to the lungs. The blood is less oxygen-rich, which can cause skin to turn blue.
Heart Disease Risk Factors
In order to reduce heart disease risks, it’s important to understand how heart disease develops. Some risk factors you can help and some you can’t do much about. Risk factors such as age, ethnicity, genetics, and menopause are uncontrollable. However, there are lifestyle factors that can be changed in order to decrease your risk for developing cardiac disease.
- Smoking – Smoking is one of the top risk factors associated with heart disease. The dangerous chemicals in cigarettes do damage to every cell of your body and can damage the function of your heart and lungs.
- High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure causes thickening in the heart’s ventricles, greatly increasing your risk of heart attack.
- Sedentary Lifestyle – According to Mike Adams of Natural News.com, a sedentary lifestyle may be worse for your heart than smoking! Human beings are not meant to sit around doing nothing. Our bodies are built to move. Your heart muscle, just like any other muscle, needs regular exercise to function at its best.
- Obesity – The American Heart Association sites obesity as a common contributing factor to the development of heart disease. If you’re overweight, chances are, you’re not getting the exercise you need and your heart muscle isn’t being used like it should be. Obesity also contributes to hypertension and weakened arteries.
- Type II Diabetes – If you have type II diabetes and it’s not kept under control, your chances of developing heart disease greatly increases.
- Poor Diet – Eating a poor diet can contribute to a host of serious health problems ranging from heart disease to cancer. If your diet is filled with processed and fast food, it can interfere with your metabolic system, which can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.
- Chronic Stress and Anger – Chronic stress and anger can lead to an overproduction of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to insulin irregularities, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, and heart disease.
What You Need to Know About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
I am not a big fan of cholesterol lowering prescriptions. It is my feeling that they are over used, and about 95% of patients on them could control their cholesterol with the correct diet, supplements and exercise. Some patients are genetically predisposed to elevated cholesterol and need to be on them.
Prescription cholesterol medications, especially the “statins” like Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor and Pravachol, come with a long list of potential side effects. We need cholesterol for many body reactions so we can’t live without it. But, like salt (which we also can’t live without), many of us get more cholesterol than we need.
I recommend the American Heart Association’s guidelines: Total Cholesterol 200 mg./dl or less, LDL(“the bad”) Cholesterol 100 mg./dl or less and HDL (“the good”) Cholesterol 40 mg./dl or higher. Triglycerides should be below 150 mg./dl. I also recommend a Cardio CRP of less than 3 mg./Liter.
Cardio CRP measures inflammation in the arteries. The less inflammation in the walls of the arteries means there is less chance the cholesterol will be able to accumulate on the walls of the arteries throughout your body. The good news is that the same thing you do to lower your cholesterol will lower your Cardio CRP….correct diet, supplements and exercise!
How to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
Reducing the risks of death from heart disease can be as simple as making some diet and lifestyle changes.
Here is what I recommend for my patients:
- Dietary Changes
Cleaning up your diet is your first defense against developing any type of disease. Processed foods have no nutritional value. They’re designed to make you feel full for a short while until your blood sugar drops like a stone and you want more food. Fast food is designed to be addictive so you’ll buy more. It’s not made to nourish you.
In order to avoid developing heart disease and other chronic health conditions, it’s important to eat a diet rich in nutrients. This includes organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, dairy products, and healthy fats. Healthy fats include butter (it’s much better for you than margarine), coconut oil, avocado, walnut, and olive oil.
- Lifestyle Changes
The best lifestyle change you can make to decrease your risk of developing heart disease is to quit smoking. The second is taking good care of your health but getting up off the couch and getting active. Don’t feel like you have to kill yourself at the gym to stave off heart disease. Walking, hiking, swimming, and yoga are all great ways to get out and get active without overdoing it.
Adding good-quality supplements to your diet can also help you prevent heart disease and stroke.
Here’s what I recommend for my patients:
Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamin
Unlike store-bought supplements, which often contain dangerous additives and preservatives, Diamond Nutritional’s Foundation Vitamin is a whole-food vitamin with no chemical ingredients. This is real nutrition your body can actually absorb!
Foundation’s ingredients include:
- Vitamin A – 7,500 IU
- Vitamin C – 500 mg
- Vitamin D3 – 500 IU
- Vitamin E – 100 IU
- Vitamin K – 50 mcg
- Thiamine – 25 mg
- Riboflavin – 25 mg
- Niacin – 25 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 38 mg
- Folic Acid – 400 mcg
- Vitamin B12 – 500 mcg
- Biotin – 200 mcg
- Panthothenic Acid – 150 mg
- Calcium – 100 mg
- Iodine – 113 mcg
- Magnesium – 200 mg
- Zinc – 10 mg
- Selenium – 100 mcg
- Copper – 1 mg
- Manganese – 2.5 mg
- Chromium – 200 mcg
- Molybdenum – 25 mcg
- Potassium – 50 mg
- Choline Bitartrate USP – 50 mg
- Inositol – 50 mg
- Mixed Tocopherols – 50 mg
- Lipoic Acid – 25 mg
- N-Acetyl-Cysteine USP – 25 mg
- Rutin – 25 mg
- Lutein – 3 mg
- Boron – 1.5 mg
- Lycopene – 1 mg
- Vanadyl Sulfate Hydrate – 1 mg
Diamond Nutritional’s Balanced Omega Formula
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to fighting inflammation and maintaining heart health. Unfortunately, most store-bought fish oils do not contain the necessary amounts of EPA and DHA to make the difference your body needs.
Many products may claim to contain 1,000 mg. or 1,200 mg. on the front label, but on the back label the EPA and DHA may only add up to 300 mg. or so. The rest are nothing but fillers. Diamond Nutritional’s Balanced Omega Formula contains nothing 100% molecularly distilled fish oil for powerful, heart-healing nutrition!
Diamond Nutritional’s Heart Support Formula
A support formula made just for the heart is ideal for those who struggle with heart issues as well as those who wish to emphasize prevention. Our formula contains a synergistic blend of ingredients designed to protect and improve heart health.
These ingredients include:
- Hawthorne Extract – Strengthens the heart while improve blood circulation and reducing blood pressure.
- Taurine, L-Carnitine – Balances calcium and potassium in muscle cells, which helps support the heart muscle and helps it pump stronger.
- Quercetin – Reduces blood pressure naturally and decreases chronic inflammation.
Magnesium and Vitamin D3
For my heart patients, I recommend adding magnesium and vitamin D3. Both protect against chronic inflammation and while vitamin D3 supports immune system health, magnesium calms the stressed mind and improves overall health. It also can help prevent irregular heartbeats.
Vitamin D3 deficiency is the most common vitamin deficiency in the world today. Though most conventional physicians will tell you 200-400 IUs of vitamin D3 is more than enough, recent evidence has suggested most people need far more than that to achieve optimum health. For my patients, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Vitamin D3 5,000 IUs. This formula contains no artificial ingredients and comes in easy-to-swallow capsules.
Though there are plenty of magnesium supplements on the market, I recommend Diamond Nutritional’s Chelated Magnesium. Chelated magnesium works best because it contains some of the smallest minerals available, making it more bio-available to the body. Each serving contains 59% of your daily value of this essential mineral!
Preventing heart disease means lowering your heart disease risks the right way. Changing your diet, getting out and exercising, and adding a few quality supplements may be all you need to keep your ticker working long enough to blow out 100 candles on your birthday cake!