Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States with someone dying from a heart attack every 40 seconds. It’s the leading cause of death for African Americans, Caucasians, and Hispanics, while it is second to cancer for Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. About half of Americans have at least one heart disease risk factor including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking while diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, and alcohol use also put individuals at a higher risk. February is heart health month and it’s important to bring awareness to these astonishing numbers.
As a country, McDonalds is sadly more common than a fresh produce store making it not so shocking that America’s health is out of control. It’s time we take control of our health and make some lifestyle changes as a country. This can be made simple by adopting principals that are sustainable and easily incorporated into your lifestyle. Implementing a balanced nutrient rich diet, exercising regularly, managing stress, and limiting alcohol consumption are often the most recommended lifestyle changes to make when someone is at risk for heart attack. Magnesium is a mineral which can benefit heart health by helping with blood vessel function, blood pressure regulation, and normal heart contractions. Studies demonstrate that the lower your intake of magnesium, the greater your risk of cardiovascular disease. Stress, the standard American diet lacking in nutrients and prescription drugs (diuretics like high blood pressure medication) can deplete magnesium. Foods high in magnesium include fish, whole grains, leafy greens, bananas, seeds and nuts, tofu, apricots and figs. Cambiati currently sells several magnesium supplements that can fill in the gaps in your diet.
According to The Heart Foundation adopting a diet low in salt, saturated and trans-fats, and high in unsaturated fats (fish, avocado, olive oil, nuts) is considered a heart healthy diet. Supplements like Cambiati’s Pure Aomega Fish Oil is also a delicious and simple way to get a daily dose of heart healthy nutrients. The debate about whether coconut oil is detrimental or beneficial has also been a hot topic regarding heart health. Although coconut oil has saturated fat, research shows that fat found in coconut oil does not clog arteries which leads to heart disease. Another study showed that coconut oil helped people not only lose body fat and weight but decreased bad cholesterol by 15 percent.
For so long we’ve been told to stay clear of fat, when in fact chronic inflammation creates cholesterol on the arteries which leads to clogging. Chronic inflammation is caused by a lack of exercise, a diet high in sugar and carbs, heavy drinking and stress. A diet high in healthy fats and regular exercise helps combat this inflammation and not only helps prevent heart disease but several other deadly diseases. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention claims at 80% of deaths from heart disease can be prevented. In some cases, certain individuals are genetically predisposed to heart disease.
Recently celebrity trainer from The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper, suffered a heart attack at age 52 although he was the picture of health. The doctors found that high levels of lipoprotein, a fatty particle in the blood which can cause plaque on the arteries, was the reason for his heart attack. High levels of lipoprotein are more determined by genetics than lifestyle, as seen with fitness enthusiast Bob. Lipoprotein isn’t typically checked during doctor visits but can be requested which is especially important if you have a family member who died or suffered from a heart attack at a young age.
Health nuts aren’t the only population of individuals who are often overlooked when it comes to heart disease. If you think about it, when was the last time you saw a movie or TV show where a woman falls onto the ground having a heart attack? Usually it is an overweight, older, Caucasian male. However, since 1984 more women than men have died from heart disease making it more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. 1 out of 3 people who have heart attacks don’t have any chest pain, which is typical in women. A woman’s diagnosis of a heart attack usually goes unrecognized since the symptoms aren’t the “typical” signs that are ubiquitous with a heart attack. Symptoms for women include dizziness, loss of consciousness, nausea, shortness of breath, and pain in the upper body.
It is essential that we educate ourselves on the danger and prevalence of heart disease in our country and make simple changes to decrease the risk. Feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin? Call us to schedule a complimentary breakthrough session to get started on your journey to wellness.