Nutrigenomics A New Way To Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in most countries in the world, especially in the United States. It is also projected that in 2020, heart disease and stroke will be the leading cause of death and disability of people around the world.

Contrary to our old belief that cardiovascular disease can only affect the stressed, over-weight, middle-aged men; studies show that it is now prevalent among men, women and children regardless of their age, race and ethnic groups. According to Dr Robert Beaglehole, WHO Director of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, “Today, men, women and children are at risk and 80% of the burden is in low- and middle-income countries.

Heart disease and stroke not only take lives, but also cause an enormous economic burden.” This only shows that children are now adopting unhealthy lifestyles. Thus, awareness and education are necessary precautions for heart disease and stroke prevention. Educating people about the effect of food and nutrients to the body would greatly help them to live healthy lives. This will also open there mind that achieving good health need not be expensive. They only need to know what nutrients are needed in their body to improve its immunity against diseases and nutrigenomics will help them understand this.

Cardiovascular disease occurs when our cardiovascular system, -heart, arteries, and veins- malfunctions due to genetic and environmental factors. Atherosclerosis, the building up of fatty substance like cholesterol to the arterial wall, is the underlying cause of this disease. Other cardiovascular diseases include aneurysm, angina, stroke, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction or heart attack, and many others. It was discovered that the process of atherosclerosis starts as early as childhood and eventually develop in to a disease as the child matures.

Tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition are the causes of cardiovascular disease. There is substantial evidence that links diet to the development of heart disease. Dr. Richard M. Fleming identified in his book, “The Healthy Heart Program”, several dietary factors that can lower the risk of heart disease such as reducing saturated fat intakes, reducing consumption of sugary and processed foods, reducing homocysteine levels by supplementation with Vitamins B6 and B12, and folic acid, higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, and cutting back on foods such as red meat, dairy products, poultry and eggs.

This only proves that nutrition plays a vital role in the prevention of this disease. The application of nutrigenomics in relation to cardiovascular disease is a vital tool in improving the patients’ awareness on how unhealthy foods destroy our body’s natural protection against this heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is treatable and reversible. The therapy for this disease includes alteration in patient’s diet, physical activity, and medical treatments. However, genetic variations produce different responses from patients. This is because each individual has different sensitivity and susceptibility to the disease. Thus, it is important to test the patients to find out their genetic makeup in order to optimize the efficacy of the therapies employed to them.

Researchers and nutrition specialists believe that analyzing the individual nutritional needs and tailoring the food according their genotype will greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disorder to people. Studies show the influence of the genetic makeup to the responsiveness or lack of it to dietary factors.

Nutrigenomics aims to develop functional foods that will provide people’s individual nutritional needs by demonstrating how food nutrients affect health and how health foods affect health. Though this field of science is still in its early stages, nutrition specialists have seen its potential for the advancement of health and nutrition technology to combat cardiovascular disease.

Anxiety And Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are a consciousness of irregular, strong, or rapid heartbeat. Anxiety is a state of worry and nervousness caused by anticipation of future events, usually accompanied by nausea, heart palpitations, chest pain, and breathlessness. Anxiety and heart palpitations often occur simultaneously.

When your anxiety gets much worse and feels on a constant basis, you may have developed an anxiety disorder. Symptoms of anxiety will vary for each different types of anxiety disorder. Some common physical signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder are hot flashes, chills, sweating, shortness of breath, insomnia, headache, muscle tension, heart palpitations, abdominal discomfort, trembling, chest pain, lump in the throat and frequent urination. Emotional and psychological symptoms of an anxiety disorder include dread, uneasiness, avoidance, irritability, difficulty concentrating, nervousness, extreme fear and obsessive behaviors.

Almost everyone with an anxiety disorder will experience some degree of heart palpitations. Anxiety heart palpitations are considered one of the most annoying symptoms of anxiety since this pounding heartbeat can cause you to feel like you are going to die or your heart is stop beating. In many cases, however, heart palpitations are not dangerous and do not indicate a health problem.

If the heart palpitations cause is anxiety then it can be controlled with an anxiety medication. But you must talk with your doctor first to determine if the palpitations are being caused by anxiety, or another medical condition. Remember though, anxiety drugs are only a temporary solution, you definitely don’t want to take these drugs for more than 6 months. You need to find out the root of your situation and fix it. If you don’t, your anxiety will come back again and you will go through the same spiral over and over.

It would also help if you learned to relax a little, heart palpitations during an anxiety attack are very normal. Worrying about having a heart attack will only put additional stress and intensify the symptoms of the anxiety attack. Try deep breathing exercises and meditation. Get complete medical tests for any underlying heart disease if this can alleviate your worry of heart attack during an anxiety attack.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, tobacco, cocaine, etc. which can worsen heart palpitations. Focus on your breathing, rather than your racing heart, will alleviate the stress and also decrease your heart rate. Seek professional helps if you are uncertain about the causes of your anxiety. They can also help you sort things out.

Therapy, medication, breathing exercises and meditation can all help alleviate signs and symptoms of an anxiety disorder including anxiety heart palpitations especially when used together. Regular exercise and healthy diet is also very helpful to lighten symptoms of anxiety and heart palpitations.

Acai Berry With Heart Medications

Can acai berry mend a broken heart? If the broken heart pertains to a heart disease that continues to be one of the leading causes of deaths, acai may help tame it before it becomes a full blown killer.

Heart diseases encompass a variety of conditions relating to the cardiovascular system. It may involve the ability of your heart to pump out blood, its valves, your blood vessels, and more instances that compromise the function of your heart.

Below are some of the most common heart conditions that warrant urgent attention:

Myocardial Infarction or heart attack
It happens when the cells of the heart die due to the disruption of its blood supply. The formation of cholesterol plaques contributes a great deal to the blockage of the coronary blood vessels. When the blood flow is compromised, there is no delivery of oxygen to the tissues, leading to cell death.

Hypertension or high blood pressure
When it requires more force to get the blood flowing, you get a high blood pressure. It makes the heart work harder to pump blood effectively to all organs in the body. Hypertension can be due to other coexisting diseases such as diabetes, kidney problems, arteriosclerosis, etc. Genetics play a significant role in primary hypertension.

Arteriosclerosis
It involves the blood vessels, particularly the arteries, and its ability to deliver blood to the organs. The arteries in this case have hardened due to the build up of plaques from fatty substances. This makes the vessels less flexible which makes it harder for blood to flow. When the plaques break apart, they travel in the bloodstream towards smaller arteries, where they may cause a complete blockage. This is how it contributes to heart attacks, stroke, and common heart conditions.

High Cholesterol
Chlolesterol makes up a part of the bodys lipids. It is vital to the structure of cells, and in the production of hormones and energy. When the levels go up, it creates problems in the blood vessels. The arteries are hardened and blocked. In turn, the blood pressure rises just to be able to push adequate blood for delivery to the organs. When the heart doesnt receive adequate amount of blood supply, heart attack can occur.

Heart Failure
The heart functions to pump blood into the body. When it fails, it doesnt mean that it has stopped beating. It just lost its ability to function efficiently, affecting all organs in the long run. The blood goes back to the lungs instead of pushing it forward. Breathing becomes laborious. Fluid accumulates in the dependent portions of the body like the feet.

How Can Acai Save You From A Broken Heart?

Acai berry (Euterpe oleracea), a superfood from the Amazon, offers hope for those with heart problems.

Acai is rich in fatty acids, giving it the oily feel. It contains 2 essential fatty acids called Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) and Omega 9 (Oleic acid). The Omega 6 is a polyunsaturated essential fatty acid that lowers both LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) levels. The Omega 9, which is a monounsaturated, essential fatty acid, helps lower only the LDL, while maintaining a good level of HDL.

Acai is also unusually rich in beta-sitosterol, which is a phytosterol that competes with dietary cholesterol for absorption, hence reducing blood cholesterol. The high fiber content of acai berries may likewise reduce bad cholesterol levels.

The dark pigmentation of acai is attributed to anthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants. Even in trace amounts, anthocyanins effectively protect against LDL oxidation. The anti-oxidant properties of acai help heal the cell membranes and linings of arterial wall and help protect the integrity of smaller blood vessels. This prevents the development of arteriosclerosis and the subsequent increase in blood pressure.

Free radicals can speed up the process of arteriosclerosis and aggravate ischemia (the lack of oxygen supply to an organ). With the rich anti-oxidant content of acai, the damaging effects of the free radicals are taken cared of.

Be careful when choosing among the many acai supplements available in the market. The juice form uses other ingredients and preservatives, with only little concentration of acai. It has undergone the irradiation which is something you may want to avoid. The pill form, on the other hand, contains 100% acai, without preservatives. It has not undergone any procedures known to harm your health.

Can I Take Acai Together with my Heart Medications?

With early prevention, acai can lessen your need for expensive heart medications. However, if maintenance drugs should be used, no data has been found as to the drug-drug or drug-food interactions with acai and the common heart conditions.

Be cautious when taking medications containing anti-coagulants or blood thinners because acai contains vitamin k, which exerts the opposite effect.

Potassium is abundant in acai, so you might as well be careful with drugs reacting to potassium:
ACE-inhibitors which are used for the treatment of hypertension. Examples are captopril, enalapril, lisinopril. Potassium levels may increase further with ACE inhibitors especially those with diminished kidney function.
Potassium-sparing diuretics like spironolactone, triamterene, or amiloride may increase potassium levels in the blood.
Heparin which is a blood thinner, used for the prevention of heart attacks. Potassium levels may be further increased with concomitant use of acai, aside from with the antagonistic effect of vitamin K present in acai.
Beta blockers such as metoprolol and propranolol that are used to treat high blood pressure can potentially increase blood potassium levels when mixed with acai.

The high amount of calcium in acai may create potential reactions with certain medications:
Beta-blockers. Calcium may interfere with the blood levels of beta-blockers and vice versa.
Calcium-channel blockers are a class of anti-hypertensives. Calcium may reverse the therapeutic effects of calcium-channel blockers, although studies are conflicting.
Digoxin is used to treat irregular heart rhythms. Calcium may make this drug ineffective.
Anti-cholesterol drug, particularly bile acid sequestrants such as cholestyramine, colestipol, and colesevelam, may interfere with calcium absorption and increase loss of calcium in the urine.

Anti-oxidants in general, are not advised to be taken along with most chemotherapeutic agents that act by producing free radicals to kill the tumor.

There are no documented effects of the above drugs interacting with acai berry supplements, only possible risks. Nonetheless, caution must be taken to avoid untoward reactions.

Fish Oil And Heart Disease

Scientific research results of fish oil and cholesterol control support the suggestion that a dietary supplement of quality fish oil may improve levels of good cholesterol, and possibly slightly lower bad cholesterol.

As a matter of fact, organizations like the American Heart Association and Food and Drug Administration, have disclosed statements that indicated the benefits that the fish oil can offer to improve heart disease condition.

The most beneficial effect may be found in the particular kind of omega-3 present in fish oil supplements. In a 2000 study, over a thousand men were studied and those who had the highest levels of the omega-3 known as DHA, abundant in fish oil.

There is also evidence that omega 3 fatty acids lower cholesterol levels and control blood pressure. Some studies are being done that suggest that fish oil can boost good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol (LDL).

HDL cholesterol helps in reducing the fatty deposits in arteries. And since fish oils help in increasing the level of good cholesterol, this is one of the reasons why fish oil is very beneficial in heart disease prevention.

Apart from cholesterol, your triglycerides levels also play a significant role when it comes to estimating heart disease risk. In case you don’t know, triglycerides are fatty substance that circulate in the bloodstream.

Fish oil is unarguably the best source of Omega 3s, DHA and EPA. The exceptional anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil offer a lot of health benefits for various health problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis, heart disease, pains and aches, etc.

Without HDL, cholesterol will just gradually keep accumulating in, and clogging up, your arteries. This will kill the flow of blood to your heart, starve it of oxygen and lead to, among other possible outcomes, a heart attack.

If you have high blood pressure of hypertension, taking an omega-3 supplement rich in omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce blood pressure.

Deficiencies in omega-3s have also been linking to many behavioral conditions such as ADD, ADHD, depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflammation is one of the major causes of heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease. And the worst part about it is that it comes with no symptoms, meaning that it’s almost impossible to know whether it’s a problem for you.

EPA and DHA are naturally found in cold water fish and the body cannot produce these, therefore you need to obtain them for either eating the above mentioned fish or take a naturally good fish oil supplement.

And it’s not just cholesterol levels that are improved, there is now a wide range of medical conditions that are known to be improved with the higher intake of Omega 3 fats.

It is true that the connection between fish oil and heart disease is beneficial to you; however, it is recommended that you take supplements instead of eating lots of fish because of the problem of contaminants.

Fish oil and heart disease, the two definitely do not go together. Researchers from all around the world are now telling us that fish oil helps to invigorate your brain and your body even if you are young or old.

How To Cure Fear Of Intimacy After A Heart Attack

A recently released study indicates that individuals who have sex regularly before a heart attack are hesitant to resume intimacy so after recovering – especially if they don’t have a conversation about it with their physicians.

In a survey of heart attack patients, only about 50 percent of men and 33 percent of women said their heart specialist discussed when it would be safe to resume sex before they were discharged from the hospital. The study also revealed that only about 2 out of every 5 men and 20 percent of women reported any discussion about the issue with a doctor in the year after their event .

The study also showed that the frequency of sexual activity declined for both genders in the year after a heart attack.

After making adjustments for multiple variables, researchers found that men were 30% more likely and women were about 40% more likely to report a reduction in sexual activity when their cardiologists failed to discuss sex with them after their heart attack.

One of the lead researchers, Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, said “We found that one important difference between people who did and did not resume sexual activity after a heart attack was whether their doctor discussed the issue with them at the time of hospital discharge.”

Most people can safely resume normal sexual activity within a few weeks of having an uncomplicated heart attack, as long as they feel up to it and are able to engage in other moderate activities.

But many patients are worried that attempting sex will trigger another heart attack and even when the patient isn’t concerned, their partners sometimes are.

The actual risk, however, is actually very low, according to Murray A. Mittleman, MD, of Harvard Medical School. But Dr. Mittleman also warns that “Exercise is very important following a heart attack for all sorts of reasons, and this is one more. Exercise virtually eliminates the risk of having a heart attack associated with sexual activity.”

A Conversation With Your Doctor Is Important

The latest study included almost 1200 men and close to 600 women who were surveyed one month and then one year after having a heart attack. The average age of the men was 59 and the average age of the women was 61.

Patients hospitalized for a heart attack who had a conversation with their doctors about sex were more likely to resume having sex again during the following 12 months.

Lindau says doctors are reluctant to talk about sex with patients who have heart health issues, especially if those patients are older. They sometimes assume, often incorrectly, that there is no need to talk about it.

Patients also tend to be anxious about loss of libido or sexual satisfaction caused by depression or heart medicine are typical concerns among heart disease patients.

Medicines And Drugs Used In Disorders Of The Joints

Ibuprofen (Brufen)

This is a milder anti-inflammatory drug causing less irritation of the stomach and other adverse effects. This drug is available in combination with paracetamol as well as dextropropoxyphene. It is widely used to relieve pain and inflammation of the joints and muscles, mild to moderate pain of menstrual cramps, dental surgery, and athletic injuries as sprains and strains. The recommended daily dosage is 1,200 to 1,600 mg to be given in 3 to 4 divided parts.

Precautions

It should be taken after meals.

Those allergic to aspirin, are likely to be allergic to this drug also.

It should not be taken by patients of peptic ulcer, or liver or kidney disease.

It should be used cautiously by patients of asthma. It has been reported to cause bronchoconstriction. It is also not recommended for those suffering from hypertension or heart disease.

If symptoms of allergic reaction occur, stop the drug and consult the doctor.

Naproxan (Naprogyn, Artragen), Naproxan Sodium (Xenobid)

Naproxan is effective and relatively less toxic. Besides that the duration of its action is longer. The drug can be taken in a dose of 125 to 250 mg, two times a day with meals. The adverse effects of this drug are the same as those of ibuprofen.

Mefenamic Acid (Meftal)

Mefenamic acid has properties like those of aspirin and can cause gastro-intestinal side effects including severe diarrhoea in some cases. Mefenamic acid is taken in a dose of 250 to 500 mg, three times a day.

Ketoprofen (Ostofen, Profenid)

This is a newer drug and supposed to be more effective than ibuprofen, but can cause all the side-effects as ibuprofen. The recommended daily dose of ketoprofen is 50mg, 2 to 3 times a day.

Flurbiprofen (Arflur)

This drug is given in a dose of 100 mg, twice a day. This drug is less irritant to the stomach than the drugs described earlier. The most common adverse effect is a headache. In rare cases it may cause skin rash and bone marrow depression.

Ketorolac Tromethamine (Ketorol)

It is more effective when used for short-term (5 days) management of pain of moderate severe intensity. Its initial dose is 30 to 6Q mg IM (intramuscular), to be followed by 15 to 30 mg every 6 hours.

Diclofenac Sodium (Voveran, Relaxyl, Flexyl, Diclomol)

This is a potent anti-inflammatory drug but has a short duration of action. Its sustained release preparation YOYERAN-SR (100 mg) is given once daily. Its adverse effects OCCur in about 20 per cent of the patients in the form of distress in the stomach. In some patients it may cause gastric ulceration.

Piroxicam (TOLDIN, PIROX)

It has a long duration of action and is given in a dose of 20 mg, once daily. The adverse effects are related to the stomach. It may also cause dizziness, headache, ringing in the ears, and skin rashes.

Note: The use of corticosteroids is discussed in the chapter on ‘Corticosteroids’, for nimesulide (Nimegesic) and other COX-2 inhibitors see chapter on ‘Pain Relievers’.

Combination Drugs

Hundreds of combinations of drugs containing pain-relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, sedatives, and corticosteroids are available in the market. These combinations are always more expensive and apparently less effective than the individual drugs. In our opinion, a patient should take the appropriate individual drug rather than expose himself to the hazards of several drugs together, and at the same time, avoid unnecessary expense.

Local Pain Relieving Preparations

A number of drugs are now available as local gels, creams, ointments and liniments (need rubbing) for relief of sport injuries, sprains and joints paints. These are given in the table given below.

It is believed that these preparations have local effects and lack significant effects on other body organs. It appears that tall claims are made for their effects by manufacturers. A simple oil of winter green (methyl salicylate), camphor in oil or warm/hot fomentation may also provide comparably equal relief. A slight massage can increase warmth and blood flow that also contribute to relief. Nevertheless they are useful in common joint disorders such as osteoarthritis, sprains, backache and pains arising from soft tissues sue as muscles and tendons. These should never be applied on broken skins, abrasions or tears.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Role of Disease Modifying Drugs.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which joints of fingers, wrist and foot are affected. If not treated then crippling deformities and restriction of movements may occur. In order to prevent these complications now a days different kind of drugs are used which attack the underlying root cause of immune disturbances. These drugs modify the course of disease and are called as Disease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs).

Ischaemic Heart Disease

The heart is one of the most important organs and is responsible for circulating blood to other organs. Ischaemic heart disease also referred to as myocardial Ischemic is a heart disease that affect the way how the blood goes to the heart. This illness occurs when there is a plaque build up that tightens the arteries from sending precious blood and oxygen to the heart. The heart becomes affected when there is not enough in the blood circulation to the heart muscle which injures the heart muscle. Ischaemic heart disease is recorded as one of the leading causes of death in the western hemisphere.
Ischaemic heart disease hardly show any signals in its initial stages however, different warning signs can materials based on the codition of the disease when it is diagnosed. Some the most common symptoms are acute chest pain and angina prectoris. Acute chest pain can be described as an extreme pain felt in chest and is treated as an emergency situation.
Angina precoris causes persons to feel chest pain behind the breast bone or slightly to the left of the chest, there may also be a crushing sensation, squeezing or heavy pressure moving towards to the jaw, back, shoulder or event the arms. This symptom also causes indigestion, dizziness, nausea, shortness of the breath. Its a possibility that angina precoris will not produce any of these signals even when in effect; this is known as silent ischaemia. Ischaemic Heart Disease can also produces heart failure gradually over time. Heavy coughing, shortness of breath with after lying down or while doing physical activities, fatigue, loss of appetite, irregular pulse, inflammation of the ankles and feet are all signs that a heart failure may be approaching.
There are certain particular habits that increase the possibility of you getting heart diseases. Persons who have particularly bad eating habits and suffer from obesity automatically increase their odds of being diagnosed with these heart disease. These situations produce high cholesterol levels that make the heart work excessively to keep up with the needs of the body and so leads to various heart diseases.
Individuals experiencing situation should practice healthy eating habits and working out for at least three times during the week and maintain your body weight. These habits can greatly reduce stress levels, massages the muscles and keeps the body in check. Individuals that suffer from insomnia, and dont work out are more likely to feel highly stressed. Cigarette smoking is also a major cause of heart diseases. If persons hope to reduce their chances of developing Ischaemic heart Disease, smoking will have to be eliminated. High tension levels can also lead to ischaemic heart disease,
Individuals who have experienced a stroke or heart attack or who have a hereditarily record of heart diseases or other disease like diabetes are more likely to experience a heart diseases. So Persons should take time to research their medical history and seek a heart specialist when needed to test the condition of their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They should also be very observant of what they eat. Individuals may require medications to regulate these conditions. In serious cases of Ischaemic heart Disease, operation may also be needed to treat ischaemic disease but the best remedy is prevention by exercising healthy lifestyle patterns.