Heart disease causes more than one in every three deaths in the United States, and each year over 800,000 people die from this condition. These numbers are staggering because heart disease is a condition that can be prevented most of the time by leading a healthy lifestyle. Here are 10 things you can do to help decrease your chances of developing heart disease.
A Healthy Weight for a Healthy Heart
A large 10-year study found that half of all fatal heart disease cases and a quarter of all non-fatal cases are linked to being overweight and having a high body mass index (BMI) or large waist. However, BMI, which gauges weight in relation to height, is only a crude way to judge obesity-related heart disease risk. It does not measure where fat is on your body or how muscular you might be. Athletes and completely out-of-shape people can have similar BMI scores, for instance. Previous research has demonstrated that a potbelly is a better predictor of heart trouble than total weight.
If you're not sure if you have a healthy waist circumference, a general guide is:
For men, between 37 and 40 inches is overweight, and more than 40 inches is obese
For women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight, and more than 34.6 inches is obese
Either way, if you’re overweight, obese or have excess belly fat, there's no better way to trim fat than eating a healthy diet AND exercising regularly.
Exercise: A MUST for Your Heart
Exercise not only lowers inflammation in your body but is also one of the best weapons to fight visceral fat, which is linked to heart disease. Remember, you can be thin, underweight, and still have dangerous visceral fat around your organs. If you are thin but rarely exercise, this may be you. Exercise can drastically reduce any visceral fat, making it metabolically younger. So ask us for exercise tips.
How to Keep Your Blood Pressure Healthy:
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of stroke. It is hazardous because hypertension often has no warning signs or symptoms and is widespread. According to an editorial in the Lancet, the risk of becoming hypertensive is greater than 90 percent for individuals in developed countries. Some of the main causes of hypertension include lifestyle factors you have total control over, primarily related to your insulin levels (for example, eating a high-grain and high-sugar diet and not exercising).
Fasting Insulin Levels: An Important Risk Factor for Heart Disease
Any meal or snack high in unhealthy carbohydrates like sugar and refined grains generates a rapid rise in blood glucose and then insulin to compensate for the rise in blood sugar. The insulin released from eating too many carbohydrates promotes fat. It makes it more difficult for your body to lose fat, and excess weight, particularly around your belly, is one of the major contributors to heart disease. Further, studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 30% higher risk of having coronary heart disease. Normal fasting blood glucose is below 100 mg/dl, but for optimal health, it should be closer to 80. Reducing your intake of grains, including corn-based foods, and all sweets and potatoes will help to lower your blood glucose if it is elevated.
Make Certain Your Iron Levels are Not Elevated
Iron can be a very potent oxidative stress, so if you have excess iron levels, you can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease. You should monitor your ferritin levels and ensure they are not much above 80ng. Donating blood is the simplest way to lower them if they are elevated. If that is impossible, you can have therapeutic phlebotomy that will effectively eliminate the excess iron from your body. Remember, heart disease is one of the easiest diseases to prevent and avoid, but you must be proactive to do this. Many people don't realize that heart disease's most common symptom is sudden death, not chest pain or shortness of breath. There are often no warning signs, so knowing and monitoring your risk factors is critical.
Manage Your Stress Levels with Healthy Emotional Outlets
One of the most common contributing factors to heart disease is unresolved emotional stress. Anger, stress, guilt, sadness - any emotion that doesn’t make you feel good - can lead to heart attacks, obesity, and strokes. Even the best diet in the world will not likely overcome the damage created by lingering emotional stress. Further, when your body is under stress, your cortisol levels rise. And when your cortisol is chronically elevated, you'll tend to gain weight around your midsection, which further increases your heart disease risk. While you cannot eliminate stress, you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting that can cause serious disruption in many of your body's important systems. Using techniques such as Chiropractic and daily affirmations can reprogram your body's reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life.
What is a Healthy Cholesterol Level?
Your total cholesterol level is just about worthless in determining your risk for heart disease unless it is close to 300 or higher, so I disagree with the AHA’s recommendation on cholesterol levels. Your fasting insulin level is a far better predictor of heart disease. You need to know that cholesterol is not the CAUSE of heart disease. If you become overly concerned with trying to lower your cholesterol level to some set number, you will be completely missing the real problem. I have seen several people with over 250 who were at low heart disease risk due to their HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:
Your HDL/Cholesterol ratio
Your Triglyceride/HDL ratios
HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent. Below 10 percent, it's a significant indicator of risk for heart disease. You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2.
A Heart-Healthy Diet
A healthy diet for your heart should be based on your nutritional type and include plenty of fresh, organic (and preferably biodynamic) foods, at least one-third of which should be raw. Additionally, ensure you're getting plenty of animal-based omega-3 fats, such as those from krill oil, as they are phenomenal for your heart.
Optimize Your Vitamin D Level
Studies show that people with the lowest average vitamin D levels had a 124 percent greater risk of dying from all causes and a 378 percent greater risk of dying from a heart problem! Those are massively increased risks. Risks that could have been avoided simply by optimizing your vitamin D intake and levels. Further, researchers from Finland also showed that when compared with the participants with the highest vitamin D, those with the lowest levels had a 25 percent higher risk of dying from heart disease or stroke. And when only stroke was looked at, those with the lowest levels had twice the risk as those with the highest. A previous study even found women who take vitamin D supplements lower their risk of death from heart disease by one-third. It's also been suggested that the more sunlight you get, the better your cardiovascular health will be, as there are a number of physiological mechanisms triggered by vitamin D production through sunlight exposure that act to fight heart disease, such as:
An increase in your body's natural anti-inflammatory cytokines
The suppression of vascular calcification
The inhibition of vascular smooth muscle growth
A Chiropractic lifestyle allows the nervous system and body to function at optimal levels free of interference and subluxation. According to the Palmer Chiropractic College, regular chiropractic adjustments may prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, alleviate pain and support the cardiovascular stage.
ACTION: Identify 1 actionable tip from this blog/article to start implementing now.
Your Douglas County Chiropractic Team
Health Revolution Chiropractic
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