What Is Heart Disease?

Learn the facts about heart disease — and find out how to prevent it.

Your Guide to a Healthy Heart

This year, more than 1 million Americans will have a heart attack or stroke, making heart disease the leading cause of death in men and women in this country. Luckily, taking a preventive approach can help you lower your risk and keep your heart strong and healthy for years to come. Arm yourself with this life-saving information and expert advice on heart health.

The term “heart disease” encompasses a number of health conditions, including valve and rhythm problems, but, as George Rodgers, MD, a clinical cardiologist at the Austin Heart Cardiology Group and chairman of the Governors of the American College of Cardiology explains, “when we’re talking about heart disease, in America really we’re talking about atherosclerosis, or the tendency to form plaque in the arteries.” Atherosclerosis is also sometimes called coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease can also cause angina — chest pressure or tightness associated with shortness of breath that occurs during exercise — and it is the leading cause of heart attacks.

Who Gets Heart Disease?

Heart disease affects men and women alike, though men usually develop the disease earlier than their female counterparts — men in their early 60s and 70s, women, on average, around 10 years later. The later onset in women is thought to be due to the protective effects of the hormone estrogen, which women have in abundance through their childbearing years and which gradually declines after menopause.

What Causes Heart Disease?

“Heart disease is caused by an inflammatory process that is the result of a number of different factors,” says Dr. Rodgers. Some of the biggest culprits are cholesterol, nicotine from smoking cigarettes, LDL particles from cholesterol, and high levels of glucose (blood sugar). All of these irritants can inflame the delicate lining of the arteries. In response to the inflammation, the arteries start to form plaque. “It’s kind of like the same idea as that little grain of sand that gets inside the oyster shell and then the oyster forms a pearl around it,” Rodgers explains. “Our body’s defense against these little irritating things is to form this plaque, this tissue.”

A heart attack occurs when that plaque becomes so inflamed that it ruptures, breaking off and forming a clot that blocks the artery and cuts off the blood flow to the heart. “In about 50 percent of the cases, that blockage leads to a fatal rhythm problem and they die suddenly,” says Rodgers. “The other 50 percent of the cases need to be rushed to the hospital for treatment. We give them a drug to dissolve that clot, angioplasty to open up that artery, or surgery.”

How Can Heart Disease Be Reversed or Prevented?

“The best way to prevent heart disease is by eating a great diet: high in Omega-3 fish oils, low in trans fats and the bad fats, with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and no fried, greasy foods,” Rodgers advises. “Also, aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a week and maintain as close to an ideal body weight as you can.”

“Reversing the disease is tougher,” Rodgers continues, “but people who really get really strict with their diet and exercise and do all the right lifestyle things can shrink plaque. They may not be able to completely erase it, but as long as you prevent the progression and stabilize the plaque so it’s no longer inflamed and not likely to rupture, then you’ve really accomplished a lot. Of course, there’s some genetic predisposition to heart disease. But I don’t think it’s inevitable — even though heart disease kills 40% of Americans, I don’t think it’s an inevitability of humanity.”

Heart Attack

Chest pain may be the classic symptom of a heart attack, but there are many other possible heart attack symptoms.

Some people experience arm pain, nausea, or trouble breathing, for example, and others have such mild symptoms that they don’t recognize them as such. The bottom line is that if you suspect your symptoms, or someone else’s, may indicate a heart attack, get to a doctor and have it checked out quickly.

Source: Everyday Health

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Foods To Slow Aging

Foolproof Food Combos to Slow Down Aging

By now, you probably have a good sense of what you should be eating and what you should avoid. But did you know that when you eat certain healthy foods together, they can become even more powerful than when eaten on their own? Here, Dr. Oz unveils 4 foolproof food combinations to boost your health and slow down aging.

Chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your body, both externally and on a cellular level, making you age faster than you should. Exciting new findings about how certain food combinations can actually slow aging by reducing cellular inflammation, allowing you to look and feel better than ever.

Foolproof Combo to Prevent Cell Damage: Pink Grapefruit and Avocado

Grapefruits are great on their own: They’re rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been shown to reduce inflammation and prevent cell damage. But when you pair grapefruit with avocado, the avocado’s healthy fats actually help increase lycopene absorption, making it more available for your body to use.

Try eating the grapefruit and avocado combo 1-2 times a week, using about half of each. Incorporate them into your meals by cooking citrus-glazed shrimp tacos with avocado and grapefruit for a zesty, creamy treat, or simply toss them together in a salad.

Foolproof Combo to Protect Your Eyes: Brussels Sprouts and Olive Oil

Lutein, found in Brussels sprouts, lowers the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, making it one of the most beneficial nutrients out there for your vision. When you add olive oil to the sprouts, the oil’s healthy fats enhance the amount of the lutein that your body can store and absorb, providing a combination that’s bursting with flavor and health benefits.

One delicious way to eat the combo the recommended 1-2 times per week is by making a brown rice bowl with caramelized Brussels sprouts. Use some minute-microwavable brown rice and sauté steamed Brussels sprouts in olive oil with turkey bacon. Combine and enjoy!

Foolproof Combo to Prevent Heart Disease: Apples and Chocolate

Keep your heart young with the anti-inflammatory compound found in apples called quercetin. Apple skins are loaded with it. You can boost your benefits even more by combining the apples with flavonoid-rich dark chocolate. Studies show that when you eat them together, the antioxidant-heavy duo significantly reduces your risk of heart disease and helps prevent blood clots.

For a tasty dessert, take a cue from fondue and dip apple slices in melted dark chocolate and some chopped nuts, then chill them in the fridge. It’s a great dessert that, in moderate portions, can be enjoyed daily!

Foolproof Combo to Keep Your Skin Young: Green Tea and Lemon

Green tea is naturally rich in catechin, a powerful antioxidant; by adding a splash of lemon juice, you’ll maximize catechin’s ability to keep your skin looking young. The vitamin C within the lemon juice slows the breakdown of the tea’s antioxidants, so more are readily available for your body to use. This delicious combo can be enjoyed daily, even up to a few times a day.

Irvingia: A Magic Pill?

Irvingia, an extract of the West African mango, has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes in Africa for many centuries. Recently, there have been a few studies on the use of this extract for weight loss. As an obese nation, we are chronically on the search for that magic pill which allows us to eat whatever we want while losing weight at the same time.

In the two randomized trials in overweight and obese humans using Irvingia, participants in the Irvingia group lost on average 5-10 pounds/month compared to the placebo group. Neither group made any lifestyle changes during the trial. They also noted that cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels improved significantly compared to the control group.

Sounds like a magic bullet to me! I tried it myself, and low and behold, in the first month of taking it (only once per day, mind you, instead of the recommended twice daily), I lost 7 pounds without making any changes in my usual healthy diet and exercise routine! I began recommending it to my patients who needed to lose weight, especially if they had high cholesterol and/or diabetes. The results have been slightly underwhelming. A few patients lost a few pounds, but it has not been the magic bullet I had hoped for. And with continued use, I have not lost any more weight.

That being said, it may be helpful for those needing to lose 5-10 pounds, and studies have shown no undesirable side effects. More independent studies likely need to be done by independent researchers (the two studies mentioned were performed by researchers with a vested interest in the company making the product). Keep your eyes and ears open for more information in the future!” Source: By Tanya Edwards, MD, M.Ed.

Eating Red Meat Increases Death

Red Meat Increases Death, Cancer and Heart Risk, Says Study

A diet high in red meat can shorten life expectancy, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School.

The study of more than 120,000 people suggested red meat increased the risk of death from cancer and heart problems.

Substituting red meat with fish, chicken or nuts lowered the risks, the authors said.

Experts advise to choose leaner cuts of red meat

The British Heart Foundation said red meat could still be eaten as part of a balanced diet.

The researchers analysed data from 37,698 men between 1986 and 2008 and 83,644 women between 1980 and 2008.

Dr Rosemary Leonard says the risks associated with eating a lot of red meat are “very clear”

They said adding an extra portion of unprocessed red meat to someone’s daily diet would increase the risk of death by 13%, of fatal cardiovascular disease by 18% and of cancer mortality by 10%. The figures for processed meat were higher, 20% for overall mortality, 21% for death from heart problems and 16% for cancer mortality.

The study said: “We found that a higher intake of red meat was associated with a significantly elevated risk of total, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality.

“This association was observed for unprocessed and processed red meat with a relatively greater risk for processed red meat.”

The researchers suggested that saturated fat from red meat may be behind the increased heart risk and the sodium used in processed meats may “increase cardiovascular disease risk through its effect on blood pressure”.

Victoria Taylor, a dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Red meat can still be eaten as part of a balanced diet, but go for the leaner cuts and use healthier cooking methods such as grilling.

“If you eat processed meats like bacon, ham, sausages or burgers several times a week, add variation to your diet by substituting these for other protein sources such as fish, poultry, beans or lentils.”

This article will be great news for Vegetarians who are against the killing and eating of Animals.