How Are Heart Disease and Stroke Related?
Heart disease and stroke are related in several ways. Probably the best way to understand the relationship between these two debilitating and dangerous conditions is to first define them. A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular insult or CVI, occurs when blood does not flow to your brain properly. This results in the death of several of your brain cells. The effect is that different parts of your brain begin to function improperly, which sometimes results in the typical stroke symptom of lacking feeling on one side of your body.
Cardiovascular disease or CVD, known by many as heart disease, is actually a group of diseases. They may affect either your blood vessels or your heart, and stroke, hypertension, atrial fibrillation and endocarditis are some common heart diseases. In the case of stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD) and ischemic heart disease (IHD), atherosclerosis is involved at some level.
What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a fancy medical way of saying that your artery walls are becoming too thick. The thicker they get, the more restricted your blood flow, and this can lead to many of the heart diseases just mentioned, including stroke. Atherosclerosis is also referred to as arteriosclerotic vascular disease or ASVD, and is often caused by an accumulation of white blood cells.
Atherosclerosis can be caused by any number of conditions or behaviors. If you suffer from a poor diet and nutrition, eating few fruits, vegetables and whole grains and a lot of processed, fatty foods, this could lead to obesity and high blood pressure. Those are 2 leading causes of atherosclerosis, which can contribute to stroke and heart disease.
Doctors have also found that a very sedentary lifestyle accompanied by little exercise, smoking, high blood cholesterol, excessive alcohol consumption and diabetes can all lead to the thickening of your artery walls.
The Simplest Prevention for Stroke and Heart Disease
The easiest way to lower your chances or even prevent the development of heart disease or experiencing a stroke is through proper diet and exercise. When you eat sensibly (less salt, sugar, fried and fast foods, more fruits, whole grains and vegetables), your body automatically takes care of itself. The same is true with exercise, which helps regulate a healthy blood flow and oxygen movement throughout your body.
Those two preventive measures for stroke and heart disease also help boost your immune system. This means that your body is better prepared to fight all diseases and infections, not just those which attack your heart and blood flow. Especially if you have a history of heart problems in your family, start eating smart today. Exercise 3 to 5 times a week, standing and walking instead of sitting whenever you can. The benefits will be a longer, healthier life, and you may be able to avoid any type of heart condition altogether.
What Are Your Chances of Developing Heart Disease?
Your chances of developing heart disease comes down to the number of risk factors you have for it. The more factors, the higher chance of getting it. Let’s take a look at 10 of the common risk factors of heart disease:
If you have a propensity toward high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, it may be genetic-related but even so, all three are controllable with the proper diet, exercise and medication. Keeping them in check will lower your chances of contracting heart disease, however, you first have to know your numbers.
How does your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar stack up against the standards for each bodily vital? By getting an annual health check-up, not only will you know your numbers, but your healthcare provider can prescribe treatment to get any of your high numbers back where they should be.
As far as the risk factors of smoking, overweight, being sedentary and eating an unhealthy diet, all of these are also completely within your control. There are several programs available at your local pharmacy to help you overcome smoking, but none of them will work unless you are mentally prepared to quit.
And once you become more active through exercising and eating a healthy diet, the weight you want to lose will start coming off. Here again, losing weight, exercising and eating healthy are things you have to want to do to improve your health and longevity … not the things others would like you to do.
As long as you are at the doctor getting checked out, ask for your doctor’s advice on quitting smoking, losing weight, getting more exercise and eating a more healthy diet. All you need is the will and a plan to overcome them and those risk factors will be at or close to zero.
With all of the risk factors except the last three in your control, you have greatly reduced your risk of heart disease and lowered your chances of having a heart-related event. While you can’t control the last three factors, you can have an effect on the other seven.
Start taking the steps to lower your risk of heart disease today. Tomorrow may be too late to get a second chance.
8 Most Common Risk Factors for Heart Disease
Certain lifestyle behaviors, habits and physical conditions can raise your risk of contracting heart disease. That is because they affect your cholesterol, natural blood flow, circulatory system and/or your heart directly and negatively. Coronary artery disease, heart failure, hypertension and a host of other dangerous and deadly afflictions are more common in people that display particular risk factors.
Take a look at the following 8 most common risk factors for heart disease. Displaying 1 of the following characteristics might not be need for concern. But if you recognize 2 or more of the following heart danger signs listed below, a quick trip to your doctor to discuss your coronary and cardiovascular health is definitely in order.
A history of cardiovascular problems in your family
Cardiovascular issues in some situations can be directly linked to your ancestry. But practicing a heart healthy lifestyle has been proven to stop and even reverse a negative cardiovascular impact caused by heredity in many cases.
Advanced age (55+ years of age)
Every decade after you turn 55, your risk of suffering a stroke doubles. Exercise, proper diet, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest helps combat your risk effectively.
Ethnic origin in some cases
If you enjoy proud Asian or African ancestry, you are naturally predisposed to a higher than normal risk of heart disease, heart attack and hypertension. Take proactive steps to live a heart healthy lifestyle.
Abnormal blood lipid levels
Low levels of good cholesterol and high levels of low-density lipoprotein contribute to a dramatically higher risk of suffering a stroke, heart attack or contracting heart disease. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to check your blood lipid levels. A healthy diet and exercise can return your lipid levels to normal.
This is definitely one heart disease risk factor that you have control over. Whether chewing tobacco or smoking, you suffer a dramatically increased risk of all cardiovascular diseases. Passive smoking (secondhand smoke) is also a heart disease risk factor.
Lack of physical activity
If you suffer from a sedentary lifestyle with little physical activity, you immediately increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. Get up and get moving.
Obese individuals suffer from one of the major risks of cardiovascular disease. Being grossly overweight also raises your odds of developing type II diabetes, which is another risk factor that can predict heart disease.
Enjoying just 1 or 2 beers, glasses of wine or alcoholic drinks a day, 3 to 5 days a week, can actually help reduce your risk of contracting heart disease. Step above those levels and you run the risk of damaging heart muscle, and increasing your odds of suffering a negative cardiovascular event.
I just read an interesting story about how drinking your daily dose of grapefruit can boost your heart health however when I see that the study was part funded by a grant froma grant from the Florida Department of Citrus I get somewhat sceptical.
Anyway here’s an excerpt of that story as iyt appeared in the English Express so you can make up your own mind:
Grapefruit juice can boost the health of your heart
A DAILY glass of grapefruit juice keeps blood vessels healthy and could protect against heart disease, a study shows.
Half a pint a day enough to improve circulation.
Scientists believe flavanones, health-boosting chemicals found in citrus fruits, are responsible for the benefits.
The findings, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest regular grapefruit juice consumption could play a vital part in warding off heart disease – Britain’s biggest killer.
Around 73,000 people a year in the UK die from heart-related illnesses.
Eating a diet rich in fruit has long been known to have a protective effect.
But there has been less research on precisely what it is in citrus fruits that helps to sustain a healthy heart.
Researchers at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research at Clermont-Ferrand, France, recruited 48 healthy women aged between 50 and 65 – one of the highest risk groups for heart disease.
Half the group was given a daily quota of 340 millilitres – roughly half a pint – of grapefruit juice packed with flavanones and the rest an identical-looking drink but with no flavanones.
After a few months the two groups then swapped over..
Funny they don’t mention that here but I suppose fresh grapefruit juice will undoubtedly be a whole better than the stuff you can buy in a botlle.
Here’s a very interesting article from Johns Hopkins Medicine, part of the integrated global health enterprise and one of the leading health care systems in the United States which also includes the Johns Hopkins university school of medicine and the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
And here’s the good news: You don’t need to cut out all fat from your diet to eat in a heart-healthy way. But according to recent thinking, say Johns Hopkins researchers, you do need to know your good fats from the not-so-good kinds.
Fats and Your Food: Striking a Heart-Smart Balance
Fat has become a bad word in heart health, but it’s more complicated than that. While it’s true that carrying extra body fat is bad for you, the types of fats that come from different foods are not all the same. Your body needs dietary fats in order to function. And the new thinking is that trying to cut out all fats from your diet may actually be contributing to obesity.
“There’s been a big shift in thinking about what makes a healthy diet,” says Kerry Stewart, Ed.D., a professor of medicine in the cardiology division at The Johns Hopkins University. Research at Johns Hopkins and elsewhere shows that cutting out dietary fat alone doesn’t have much of an impact on reducing cholesterol levels. “People need fat, carbohydrates and protein—the major macronutrients—for good, balanced health,” Stewart says.
One key to heart health is the type of fat you eat. All fats contain the same number of calories—9 calories per gram. But the three main types have different effects in the body.
Do you ever get nervous about your heart health? I definitely do especially since I’m somewhat overweight, don’t have perfect blood pressure levels and probably not exercising enough.
But how do you define Heart Disease? Read below how John Bisognano (md.phd ) who’s a preventive cardiologist and director of outpatient cardiology care sums, lays it out for us:
People often equate heart disease with heart attacks, but they’re not one and the same. While heart attacks occur because of heart disease, heart disease is a broad term for many conditions that can raise your risk of stroke or heart failure.
1. Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when plaque (cholesterol and fat deposits) builds up in the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The plaque causes arteries to narrow, slowing or preventing the flow of blood. When our hearts don’t get enough blood, the resulting pain is called angina. If the artery is completely blocked, it can cause a heart attack.
Many times people learn they have this condition after they’ve experienced a heart attack. Doctors assess your risk of CAD by checking cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels and reviewing your family’s history of heart disease. If you’re at risk, your physician will likely prescribe inexpensive medications to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, and closely monitor your condition.
Tests to check for CAD include electrocardiogram (EKG), exercise stress test, chest x-ray, angiogram and cardiac catheterization.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a silent disease. One in five Americans have it and don’t know it. That’s why doctors make a habit of using the arm cuff to check our patients’ levels as often as we can, looking closely at both the top and bottom numbers. This is important because when the force of blood pressing against the walls of your arteries is elevated, it raises the heart’s workload and can cause serious damage to the arteries as well as the heart…
How many hours of sleep do you put in? I always try for a minimum of 7 hours and since the alarm goes off at 6am I need to be in bed by 11pm.This doesn’t bother me at all for when you get up at 6 you’ll be quite tired 17 hours later.
Anyway have a look at this interesting story about how a lack of sleep can have a serious effect on your heart health too!
Poor Sleep Can Harm Your Heart Health, Too
Bad news for those who don’t catch enough Z’s on a nightly basis: Poor sleep increases the likelihood that you’ll suffer a heart attack or stroke.
Valery Gafarov, a professor of cardiology at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, shared the findings of his recent study at a medical conference on Monday. The results, he said, highlight how poor sleep should be considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in addition to smoking, inactivity and an unhealthy diet.
Sleep deprivation currently affects more than one third of both men and women in the United States, contributing to health problems like obesity, diabetes, memory loss and even cancer. And now we have further evidence that heart health is also jeopardized by failing to rest well each day.
Gafarov’s research, which was a part of the World Health Organization program Multinational Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease, used a representative sample of 657 men between the ages of 25 and 64 to investigate the relationship between poor sleep and their long-term risk of stroke or heart attack. The study began in 1994, using the Jenkins Sleep Scale to assess participants’ sleep quality. The ratings “very bad,” “bad,” and “poor” were qualifiers for sleep disorders. Gafarov then monitored each subject over the next 14 years, recording any cases of myocardial infarction during that time.
“Until now,” he said at the conference, “there has not been a population based cohort study examining the impact of sleep disorders on the development of a heart attack or stroke.”
Here’s the link to the original article:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/19/poor-sleep-affects-heart-health_n_7598126.html
The US Food and Drug Administration has a terrible reputation when it comes to protecting the consumer’s best health interest but now finally decided to do something about the hydrogenated oils following decades of protest from heath advocates
One wonders how it will last before they will start doing something about gmo’s and the worst big food company on the planet Monsanto (don’t hold your breath)
US to eliminate trans fats from food supply over heart disease concerns
US Food and Drug Administration to remove partially hydrogenated oils more than a year after it said it would and after decades of lobbying by health advocates
The US Food and Drug Administration will all but eliminate partially hydrogenated oils from the food supply by 2018, it announced on Tuesday, almost a year and a half after the agency first announced its intention to do so.
“The FDA’s action on this major source of artificial trans fat demonstrates the agency’s commitment to the heart health of all Americans,” said the FDA’s acting commissioner Stephen Ostroff. “This action is expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.”
The FDA’s decision will not go into effect for three years. The agency said this will allow companies time to reformulate their products or apply for an exemption.
The decision comes after decades of lobbying by health advocates and scientists who say there is a scientific consensus that the artificial oils commonly called “trans fats” clog arteries and contribute to heart disease.
“There’s no real reason for having it in the food supply,” said Alice Lichtenstein, Gershoff professor of nutrition and science policy at Tufts University. “What we really want to do is provide the US population with the safest food supply possible.”
How could I miss this story, I mean like most people I’m rather fond of chocolate, dark chocolate actually, and now there’s this very serious study showing that eating chocolate on a daily basis can actually lower the risk of dying from heart disease by 25 per cent and the chance of suffering a stroke by 23 per cent.
I don’t need any more reasons to increase my daily consumption so as to improve my chances of avoiding a heart disease, do you?
“Two bars of chocolate a day ‘lowers risk of stroke and heart disease’
It is the ultimate comfort food which is known to produce the same chemical in the brain as falling in love.
But now scientists have shown that chocolate need no longer be a guilty pleasure after finding that eating up to two bars a day appears to protect against heart disease and stroke.
Although dark chocolate has long been known to have health benefits, the new study found that milk chocolate may also provide valuable nutrients which lower the chance of heart problems.
It is the latest research to highlight the value of the treat. Previously chocolate have been shown to reduce memory loss, prevent diabetes, reduce stress, protect the skin against sun damage and lower cholesterol.
To find out if it was beneficial for the heart researchers at the University of Aberdeen looked at the snacking habits of 21,000 people over 12 years.
They found that eating up to 100g of chocolate every day lowered the risk of dying from heart disease during that time by 25 per cent. The chance of suffering a stroke also fell by 23 per cent.
Professor Phyo Myint, Chair in Old Age Medicine at Aberdeen University, said: “Cumulative evidence suggests that higher chocolate intake is associated with a lower risk of future cardiovascular events”. ..
For those who’d like to start a chocolate diet you know where to go, don’t you?
For those who like drinking red wine (or like me, red, white and the occasional rosé) there’s good news, a recent study shows that you don’t have to buy the expensive stuff (unless that’s what you prefer) to get all the health benefits of the antioxidants which help fight inflammation and also to protect against heart disease.
Needless to say this isn’t going to make me drink less red wine..
Anyway here’s that story:
“You’re heading over to a friend’s house for dinner and you stop first to pick up a bottle of red wine. Will she think you’re cheap if you pick one up for under $10? Will she even notice the difference if it’s $22? You wouldn’t notice, but the last thing you want is for her to take a sip and realize you spent more on your mani than her hostess gift.
Great news: More than likely, the only way she’ll know you splurged is if you leave the receipt in the gift bag. At least that’s what a recent video from Vox.com has determined. The site had their staffers blindly taste wines from different price points, and they all actually preferred the cheapest wine. The video went on to discuss how even wine connoisseurs often can’t tell the difference in price.
So if it tastes just as good no matter how much you’re forking over, are you at least getting more of a health bang for your buck? Red wine boasts loads of health benefits—it contains antioxidants  like resveratrol and polyphenols, which help fight inflammation; it has been shown to protect against heart disease; and it has been shown to stave off decline in memory as you age. But a fancier merlot is not going to give you a stronger dose of those benefits, says Molly Kimball, R.D. For her, the question of whether expensive wine offers more health benefits is pretty cut and dry. “There’s not even a maybe. The price wouldn’t matter.” (Did you know Scientists Are Making Hangover-Free Wine ? We’ll take some of that, thanks.)”..