Tag: American Heart Association

The Importance Of Cholesterol Ratios

Cholesterol ratios can be useful in the prediction of heart disease. Ratios show us the whole picture rather than just one number. A “total cholesterol” gives one number and doesn’t provide information about each individual type of cholesterol that makes up the total cholesterol value.

One type of cholesterol is considered to be good the HDL cholesterol (or high-density lipoprotein). This type of cholesterol transports cholesterol from the arteries and tissues back to the liver.

LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is considered to be the “bad” cholesterol as it is transported from the liver to the rest of the body, and at elevated levels it can deposit cholesterol in arteries.

Total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio

The total cholesterol HDL ratio (Total / HDL) is calculated by dividing total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol. i.e.
Total cholesterol/HDL Ratio = [Total Cholesterol/HDL Cholesterol]

A desirable ratio is 5:1 or under. According to the American Heart Association the optimum total / HDL cholesterol ratio should be 3.5:1.

If the ratio is higher, then the risk of heart disease is greater. A low HDL cholesterol and high total cholesterol value increases the total/HDL cholesterol ratio. If a person is found to have a higher reading, they can then take measures to lower the ratio.

On the other hand the lower ratios are more ideal and predict a lower heart disease risk. A high HDL cholesterol will reduce the ratio. This is healthier for us because HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol.

LDL/HDL ratio

The LDL/HDL Ratio is calculated by dividing the LDL cholesterol value by the HDL cholesterol value. i.e.
LDL/HDL ratio = [LDL Cholesterol / HDL Cholesterol]

The more direct ratio of LDL/HDL is considered more helpful by some healthcare professionals, who see is as more of a “pure” ratio than that of the total/HDL ratio.

Regardless of whether the LDL/HDL or total/HDL cholesterol ratio is used, cholesterol ratios as a whole provide more insight into heart disease risk than a total cholesterol value alone. Many health professionals these days are taking cholesterol ratios into account for predicting heart disease risk in patients.

Tips to improve cholesterol ratios

1. Avoid trans fat. Trans fat increase LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce HDL (good) cholesterol.
2. Minimise saturated fats. These fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol.
3. Increase dietary fibre, particularly soluble or viscous fibres which can reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
4. Consider the use of plant sterol fortified food products (2-3g per day is ideal).
5. Consume omega 3 fats on a daily basis.
6. Choose poly and monounsaturated fats in place of saturated fats.
7. Obtain adequate amounts of exercise (which can increase HDL and reduce LDL cholesterol). Check with your Doctor before starting any new exercise regime, to ensure it is safe to do so.

Heart Disease Natural Home Remedy With Omega-3 Fatty Acids And Diet

It is widely recognized that the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, EPA and ALA, are vital nutrients. Medical literature contains volumes of research data that underscore the advantages of omega-3 fatty acids as a natural home remedy for preventing and combating heart disease. Omega-3s have demonstrated their ability to lower pulse pressure, improve the regulation of blood pressure, improve levels of lipids, reduce inflammation, prevent the accumulation of arterial plaque and lower the possibility of sudden death by heart attack. Because of these proven advantages, the American Heart Association suggests having two servings of fatty fish each week. However, this is not the healthiest method for getting our omega-3 dose.

Are Fish the Best Source of Omega-3s?

The first thing to consider is that fish, especially fatty fish, are contaminated with mercury and dioxin. This is so problematic that pregnant women are advised not to eat fish in order to prevent damage to the baby’s brain from mercury poisoning. Fish are high in cholesterol (cholesterol comes only from animal products). Many persons experience problems in digesting oils from fish because they easily become rancid and have an unpleasant fishy taste. Fish oils that have been purified are one solution to this. However, the elevated demand for fish oils is putting our ocean fish at risk. An excellent alternative to fish oil is flax seed oil and it is plant based. Supplemental algae-based DHA is yet another option. Both of these omega-3 sources offer one of the best natural home remedies for heart disease.

Omega-3s Are More Than a Natural Heart Disease Remedy – These Are Some of the Additional Advantages:

1. They are essential for nursing and pregnant women as well as children to promote healthy fetal and childhood vision and brain development.

2. A number of studies on animals have demonstrated that omega-3s have curative and preventative effect on Parkinson’s disease.

3. The occurrence of depression is reduced.

4. Memory is improved and risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is decreased.

Some Things You Can Do To Get Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Due to the fact that a limited quantity of ALA is converted to EPA and even a smaller amount to DHA, one can take a DHA supplement that is derived from algae. Include plant derived sources of omega-3s in your diet such as ground flax seeds, cold pressed flax seed oil, walnuts, hempseeds and chia seeds. You can add one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to your diet every day.

Heart Disease and Inflammation

It has been shown by medical research that the cause of most heart attacks is not from hardened plaque deposits. Heart attacks are caused by inflammation throughout the vascular system. Small pustules form and erupt which, in turn, cause a clot which then breaks loose causing the heart attack. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body including the cardio-vascular system. The ultimate cure and prevention of heart disease is diet. A plant based diet which avoids processed foods such as oil, sugar and white flour, will actually reverse heart disease. A number of studies have demonstrated this including work by Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. John McDougall – both are MDs. For more information on curing and preventing heart disease with diet and other natural home remedies go to Heart Disease Natural Home Remedies.

How Many People Die From Heart Disease – The Numbers May Surprise You

When asking how many people die from heart disease most people know some do, but may not have a grasp on the true scope of the problem. The main culprit in these figures is a heart attack, which generally occurs when blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off. When this happens it is only a matter of minutes until oxygen deprived heart cells begin to die. The longer the elapsed time between the coronary event and restoring blood flow the greater the damage.

According to the American Heart Association, approximately 785,000 Americans have their first heart attack each year with an additional 470,000 experiencing a recurrent heart attack. That equals a staggering 1,255,000 Americans each year falling prey to a heart attack.

But the question we are asking is how many people die from heart disease (heart attack) and that number is approximately 632,000. Broken down as a percentage that is one out of every four disease related deaths in the United States are attributed to heart disease. Out of all the types of heart disease coronary heart disease accounted for two out of every three of these.

Certainly, these are shocking numbers and their financial impact on the American economy is substantial, eclipsing the 3 billion dollars a year mark according to recent estimates. Now that we know how many people die from heart disease the most logical next question is why?

There are many different factors that contribute to these numbers but perhaps the three most obvious are inactivity, diet, and cigarette or pipe smoking.

For many the idea that inactivity could be the evil wizard behind the curtain of coronary death may come as a surprise. According for the Center For Disease Control approximately 4 out of every 10 people who have heart disease are also inactive. When you think about it you have to admit it makes a lot of sense. As we get older we may become less and less active. We no longer feel the need to exercise vigorously to attract a mate, find a date, or to interact with new friends. Instead we sit around and watch television, focus on work, spend time with our kids, or surf the net looking new games to play or participate in social networking. It is simply a matter of our priorities changing over time.

Diet is also another factor that is a major contributing factor as for how many people die from heart disease. As Americans we love a hearty high fat breakfasts, fast foods, high fat desserts, and deep fried specialties. According to AHA a heart healthy diet should consist of no more than 7 percent of total calories coming from saturated fat, and now more than 30 percent of total calories form overall fat. Considering that cheese contains 27 percent saturated and luncheon meats are somewhere from 10 to 30 percent it is easy to see how we might fall a little short of these lofty goals.

Perhaps out of all the risk factors cigarette and/or pipe smoking are two of the worst. One out of five people with heart disease are smokers. Smoking causes arteries to constrict lessening blood flow to the heart. Smoking also reduces the amount of protective HDL cholesterol and increases the amount of harmful LDL cholesterol.

What else? Other risk factors are being overweight, stress, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

In summary, how many people die of from heart disease should cause for you to drop that cheeseburger in the middle of big bite and run to the nearest salad or vegetable shop! Additionally, research suggests that by taking steps to modify diet, exercising 5 days a week, saying no to smoking, and adding a natural cholesterol reduction supplement a person can substantially reduce their chances of becoming just another heart attack death statistic.

Young Men At Risk For High Blood Pressure

CHICAGO (AP) Younger men should be just as concerned about high blood pressure as middle-aged and older men because it puts them at significant risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes later in life, a study found.

The findings suggest that prevention should begin in childhood, said Dr. Martha Daviglus, one of the study’s authors and a professor at the Northwestern University Medical School.

The study, in Monday’s issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, is significant because most previous research focused on middle-aged and older men and most screening and treatment guidelines have been based on those findings, Daviglus said.

The study, based on data collected on 10,874 Chicago men ages 18-39 who were studied from 1967 to ’73 and then followed for an average of 25 years, is the most comprehensive yet on the long-term effects of high blood pressure in young men, said Daviglus, of the university’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

Almost 62% of those studied had high-normal blood pressure or stage 1 hypertension. High-normal is a reading of 130-139 (systolic pressure) over 85-89 (diastolic pressure) and stage 1 hypertension is 140-159 over 90-99, Daviglus said. Optimal blood pressure is below 120 over 80 and normal is 120-129 over 80-85, she said.

After 25 years, 197 of the men had died of coronary heart disease, 257 of cardiovascular disease and 759 of all causes some of which might also be attributed to high blood pressure because other diseases, such as renal and kidney diseases, are affected by high blood pressure, Daviglus said.
Life expectancy was shortened by 2.2 years for men with high-normal blood pressure and by 4.1 years for those with stage 1 hypertension.
Men with high-normal blood pressure had a 34% higher risk of dying from coronary heart disease, and those with stage 1 hypertension had a 50% higher risk of dying of coronary heart disease, Daviglus said.

“When you’re young, you never believe you’re going to have heart disease,” she said. “But if we educate young people and show them the data that yes, this is really going to affect you they may change their lifestyle.”
She said many doctors do not prescribe medication to treat high blood pressure in young men because of concerns about potential side effects of long-term drug use. But she said the study may indicate that some men need to begin medication earlier. Also, young men should be screened for blood pressure and doctors should stress lifestyle changes early, she said.
The finding that many young men had elevated blood pressure shows that prevention should begin in childhood by encouraging diets with more fruits and vegetables and less salt, and more exercise, she said.

Dr. David A. Meyerson, a Johns Hopkins cardiologist and spokesman for the American Heart Association who was not involved in the research, said the study provided important proof about the need for early prevention.
“The study affirms our strongly held belief that a population-wide effort for health promotion and disease prevention by lifestyle modification should begin early in life and be continued lifelong,” said Meyerson. “Lifestyle modification for most is painless and, if started early, can dramatically reduce disease in the future.”

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