According to heartfoundation.org, every 33 seconds someone in the US dies from it.
It has achieved its number one status by a longshot too—currently more people die of heart disease than of AIDS and all cancers combined.
Plus it’s been estimated that by the year 2020, heart disease will be the leading cause of death in the entire world.
Nothing to take lightly.
Let’s take a look at exactly what “heart disease” means, how far we’ve come with measures to help fight it, as well as take a look at some little-known factors that can make a big difference between having a healthy ticker or adding to the statistic pool.
Heart disease 101
The term "heart disease" is very broad and sometimes confuses people.
Doctors frequently use the term "heart disease" to describe atherosclerosis, which is when your arteries get plaque buildup, harden and eventually the flow of blood can be impaired.
Atherosclerosis usually occurs in your larger (wider) blood vessels, so many people don't realize they have a problem until their artery is 90% blocked or more!
Here are other terms that fall under the "heart disease" umbrella:
1- Thrombosis: This is when you have atherosclerosis and a piece of a clot breaks off, travels to a skinnier artery and completely blocks the flow of blood. As a result, the nearby tissue or organ that depends on that blood flow can die.
2- Heart attack (aka myocardial infarction): This is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Your heart requires a steady supply of blood containing oxygen and other nutrients, and when it doesn't get what it needs, it starts to die VERY quickly…and so can you.
3- Stroke (aka cerebral vascular accident, or CVA): This is when a blockage occurs in the blood vessels that feed the brain (the carotid arteries). When the supply of blood is shut off, nerves in your brain start dying almost immediately. This is why strokes can lead to such devastating impairments as loss of movement, speech, memory or various other bodily functions.
4- Angina pectoris: This is a squeezing, pressure-like chest pain usually caused by insufficient blood flow and oxygen to the heart.
5- Arrhythmia: Your heartbeat is governed by a series of electrical impulses. If these signals get disrupted, your heart chambers can start contracting in the wrong sequence. As a result, your heart's ability to pump blood through your body can be impaired.
6- Congestive heart failure (aka CHF): This means your heart has weakened to the point where it cannot pump enough blood for your body's needs.
7- Congenital heart disease: This is when you are born with a heart defect or abnormality.
What we’ve done so far
In addition to the obvious routes of cholesterol-lowering or blood thinning medications and surgical procedures such as bypass or angioplasty, most health organizations and medical professionals have also been beating the drum about lifestyle changes to help lower your risk of heart disease.
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Get regular exercise
- Have a healthy diet that’s low in trans-fats, saturated fats and salt
- Limit your alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per day
- Take an aspirin a day if you’re at risk
- Take fish oil supplements
But in spite of our ever-increasing medication options, surgical advances and even lifestyle recommendations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) our heart disease prevalence rate (meaning the percent of people who have it) has stayed pretty constant from 1999 to 2009.
So—since those numbers should be going down but aren’t, we’re clearly missing some pieces of the puzzle along the way.
And one of those pieces that is emerging as a significant player in the prevention of heart disease is…
The role of crucial nutrients
Nutrients drive every single cell, process and organ system in your body, and that includes how well your heart and blood vessels are able to carry out their jobs.
So it only follows that if you are lacking in any nutrients that are especially important to the health of your cardiovascular system, your heart disease risk could be going through the roof and you may not even know it.
Here are some of the nutrient superstars in terms of strong heart and blood vessel health:
Zinc has been shown to help lower the levels of C-reactive protein in the body.
C-reactive protein is a compound that, when elevated, indicates either inflammatory or free radical damage is occurring within the blood vessels in a way that contributes to cardiovascular disease.
Zinc is an essential component of superoxide dismustase (SOD), which is an antioxidant made by your body to combat free radicals.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that can reduce the impact of stressors on your cardiovascular system.
It partners with calcium (which is a muscle contractor) to regulate your heart rate, among other things.
But when you are low in magnesium, your muscles (including the heart) are not relaxing as they should. That can lead to high blood pressure and subsequent damage to your artery walls.
Vitamins B6, B12 and folate (aka folic acid)
This trio of B Vitamins is like the Three Musketeers when it comes to protecting you against the dangerous effects of homocysteine buildup in your blood.
Now most people have heard about a problem with homocysteine but aren’t really sure what it is or why it’s not good…so here’s a brief explanation:
Homocysteine is a sulfur amino acid that is derived from your digestion of animal proteins. It does serve valid functions in your body—it’s used to build and maintain your tissues, and also to build up protective mechanisms in your inner artery walls called GAGs (glycosaminoglycans).
But I’s also a very abrasive molecule which can cause damage to your artery walls if there’s too much of it in your blood.
Normally your body controls the amount of homocysteine in your blood with B Vitamins. Vitamins B12 and folate convert about 50% of the excess homocysteine into methionine (a harmless amino acid) and the other 50% is converted by Vitamin B6 into cysteine, another benign amino acid.
But when you are lacking in these crucial B vitamins, the homocysteine conversion cannot properly take place. As a result, homocysteine can build up in your blood, and you can suffer the resulting artery damage.
The good news
The good news is, every single heart health-supporting nutrient I've mentioned above is in Dr.Salerno’s Cardio Factor!
In addition to the ones I've cited above, the superior formula in Cardio Factor
- Trimethylglycine--a vitamin-like substance that helps with homocysteine conversion.
- Choline and riboflavin (vitamin B2)—other members of the B-complex group of nutrients that help with homocysteine conversion.
- Serine--an amino acid that helps build and maintain all the muscles in the body, including the heart.
- N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)--an amino acid that helps to boost your body’s level of glutathione, which is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Don’t stop there!
Supplements like Cardio Factor are fantastic to help stack the deck in your favor and prevent heart disease, but don’t think they give you a green light to eat like garbage.
Because if you think you’re out of the woods by taking supplements and don’t bother having a healthy diet, not only will you likely negate all the benefits of your supplements, but you can very well be increasing your risk of heart disease and other diseases, as well as packing on the pounds to boot.
But never fear, my friend, because a healthy diet can be both nutritious AND delicious.
When you follow the Great Taste No Pain system, that is.
Great Taste No Pain teaches you all of the dangers of a not-so-stellar diet and gives you the real story on hot topics such as trans-fats, saturated fats, refined carbs and processed foods.
Plus it gives you a collection of scrumptious recipes featuring wholesome real foods that will soon become your family’s favorites.
Eating for better health (including heart health) NEVER tasted so good!
Unfortunately, heart disease is not going away any time soon, despite our best efforts with treatment advances and lifestyle recommendations being trumpeted from the rooftops.
So it’s crucial to look at ALL possibilities behind the heart disease epidemic and do whatever you can to help prevent your number from coming up in the heart disease lottery.
Put the power of nutrition in your arsenal to help your fight against heart disease.
It just may make all the difference in the world for you.
To your health,
PS: Always be sure to let your doctor or healthcare provider know what supplements you are taking.