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Blocking Inflammation to Prevent Heart Attacks

In the biggest advance in knowledge about the prevention of heart attacks since the discovery of statins, researchers at Harvard Medical School have shown that blocking inflammation helps to prevent heart attacks and cancers.

Heart Attack Prevention

The majority of heart attacks are caused by unhealthful lifestyles, not by genetic defects. Statins remain the major choice of preventative drug, but everyone should realize that many studies show that lifestyle changes are probably more effective than statins in preventing heart attacks.

Exercisers Have More Stable Plaques

Two recent breakthrough studies give the best explanation yet of how exercise helps to prevent heart attacks. Competitive older endurance athletes may have more plaques in their arteries than non-exercisers, but they have the type of plaques that are far less likely to break off and cause heart attacks.

Blood Pressure During and After Exercise

Your blood pressure usually rises as soon as you start to exercise and drops a little bit while you exercise at the same intensity. However, as you continue to increase the intensity of exercise, your blood pressure usually rises higher and higher.

Red Yeast Rice Pills

People who take red yeast rice pills to lower their cholesterol levels may not be getting their expected protection against suffering a heart attack. North Americans spend an estimated 40 million dollars a year on these pills.

Alcohol and Heart Attacks

Moderate drinking does not appear to prevent heart attacks. An analysis of 45 studies of relationships between heart attacks and alcohol consumption reports that the studies that associated moderate drinking with reduced heart attack rates are flawed.

NSAIDs May Increase Heart Attack Risk

Millions of people take over-the-counter NSAID pain medicines when they have a headache, fever, chills, joint pain or various other aches and pains. A new study shows that NSAIDs are associated with increased risk for heart attacks.

Heart-Healthy Diet

Several recent articles provide new data on which foods are associated with both your health and your longevity., including a major statistical analysis of the association between diet quality and rates of death from the cardiometabolic diseases (heart disease, strokes and type II diabetes).

Irregular Heartbeats in Older Athletes and Exercisers

Most researchers believe that exercise helps to strengthen the heart and protect it from disease, but about twenty years ago, doctors noted that some men over 80 who competed in cross country ski races longer than 100 kilometers (60 miles) were at increased risk for an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.

Aspirin’s Benefits from Plants

Today's aspirin is a manufactured copy of the salicylic acid from willow bark plus acytl chloride (acetylsalicylic acid). The bark of willow trees has been used medicinally for more than 5000 years. Doctors have known for more than 200 years that salicylates in plants can prevent clotting

Statins, Low Vitamin D and Muscle Pain

Many people who take statin drugs complain of muscle pain and muscle damage. A new study associates this statin-induced muscle pain with low blood levels of vitamin D (Atherosclerosis, 11/22/2016). An eight–week randomized, double–blind crossover trial of a statin drug (simvastatin, 20 mg/day) on 120 patients who had previously complained of muscle pain from...

How Soluble Fiber Helps to Prevent Heart Attacks

Forty percent of deaths in the United States are from heart disease, which kills more than 400,000 people each year. Soluble fiber (from beans, oats, peas, barley, nuts, fruits and vegetables) reduces high blood levels of Low-Density Cholesterol (LDL), one of the strongest predictors of heart attack risk

Muscle Pain from Statins

Up to 75 percent of people who are prescribed statins stop taking them within two years, and 65 percent of those patients reported that they stopped because of side effects, primarily muscle pain.

Irregular Heartbeats in Lifelong Exercisers

Many studies show that a lifetime of vigorous exercise makes the heart stronger and healthier and does not harm it. However, a few studies that got a lot of media attention suggested that chronic intense exercise can damage the heart to cause irregular heartbeats. Now a new study of elite lifetime endurance athletes has found no evidence of irregular heartbeats from damage to the right ventricular heart chamber

Belly Fat Predicts a Heart Attack

You are at high risk for a premature death if you can pinch more than three inches in your belly. Even people who are not overweight are at high risk for a heart attack and diabetes if they store most of their fat in the belly instead of in the buttocks, hips and thighs.

Heart Attacks and Cancers Share the Same Risk Factors

Once a year for 10 years, 6,814 people received Coronary Artery Calcium Score tests using X rays to measure the amount of plaques in their arteries, to predict their chances for suffering a heart attack (Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Imaging, December 2015). The participants were ages 45-84 and free of heart disease at the beginning of the study. The results showed that those with persistent coronary calcium scores of zero were at very low risk for heart disease.

Plaques in Arteries are Reversible

Almost anyone can get rid of plaques in their arteries, even if they have already had a heart attack or already have severe narrowing in the arteries leading to your heart. However, you have to do far more than just take drugs. The formation of plaques in arteries that eventually leads to heart attacks and strokes comes from chemical processes that start in the liver. Plaques can be reversed by changes in diet, exercise, weight, environmental exposures and medications.

Angina: Chest Pain During Exercise

If you have pain in your chest, jaw, arm, or neck when you exercise, you could have angina, which is pain caused by reduced blood flow through narrowed arteries leading to your heart. You should check with a doctor as soon as possible. Symptoms of angina can also include feeling lightheaded, over-tired, short of breath or nauseated

Reduce Heart Attack Risk with Vegetable Oils

Thirty percent of all deaths in the world are due to heart disease. The authors of a new study, covering 3.8 billion people in 186 countries, believe that there would be a great reduction in heart attack deaths if people increased their intake of the healthful vegetable unsaturated fats,

Triglyceride/HDL Ratio Predicts Heart Attacks, Diabetes

Two blood tests that are done during routine physical exams can be used to predict whether you are at increased risk for a heart attack. It's called the triglyceride/HDL ratio, calculated by dividing your triglycerides number by your HDL number.

Angioplasty’s Questionable Results

Angioplasty may not boost survival for heart disease patients. A 15-year follow-up shows that those who have had angioplasties do not live longer than those who received just medication. This supports other studies that have shown that some angioplasties should not have been done

Statin Side Effects

Statins are widely used to help prevent heart attacks, but a new study shows that the same process that causes this class of drugs to reduce heart attack risk can also increase memory loss, muscle problems, joint pains and diabetes (American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology, July 29, 2015). Progression to a Heart Attack Susceptibility...

High-Plant Diet Lowers Blood Pressure

More than 90 percent of North Americans will develop high blood pressure. A new study shows that a diet high in potassium appears to protect teenagers from high blood pressure in adulthood, while a low-salt diet has no effect (JAMA Pediatr, June 2015;169(6):560-568). A high-potassium and low-salt diet is achieved by eating mostly plants,...

Irregular Heartbeats in Senior Athletes and Exercisers

Fit people are less likely to suffer a particular form of irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation, and a regular exercise program reduces a person's chances of developing atrial fibrillation Extreme endurance exercisers such as bicycle racers, cross country skiers and long-distance runners who compete into their 40s and beyond may be at increased risk for atrial fibrillation

The Hidden Cause of Many Heart Attacks

More than 40 percent of people who have had heart attacks are diabetic and these patients are the ones who are most likely to die from their heart attacks (Lancet, 2002; 359: 2140-44). Three tests are commonly used to diagnose diabetes: fasting blood sugar, blood sugar level two hours after eating, and HbA1c, a measurement of how much sugar is attached to cells.

Added Sugars Linked to High Blood Pressure

A new review of studies on sugar-added foods shows that people who take in 10-25 percent of their calories from sugared beverages and foods suffer a 30 percent higher risk for heart attacks, compared with people who take less than ten percent of calories from added sugars.

Predict Your Heart Attack Risk

Heart attacks are usually caused by an unhealthful lifestyle and are prevented far more effectively by lifestyle changes than by drugs. A healthful lifestyle can prevent more than 80 percent of heart attacks

Reducing Alcohol Intake May Help to Prevent Heart Attacks

Contrary to what you may have heard previously, it now appears that any amount of alcohol can be harmful. Researchers reviewed more than 50 studies involving more than 260,000 people and concluded that reducing alcohol consumption helps to prevent heart attacks, whether a person is a light, moderate or heavy drinker

Too Many Stents

In the last ten years, seven million North Americans have spent more than $110 billion to have stents put into the arteries leading to their hearts and the vast majority probably should not have had this surgical procedure in the first place.

My SHOW ME! Diet

If your doctor has told you that you have high blood pressure or that your cholesterol or triglycerides are too high, ask him or her for your numbers. If would like to find out whether you are one of the 80 percent of people who can control high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides with diet alone, follow my SHOW ME! Diet for just two weeks. Then have your doctor re-check your cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. You'll probably also find that you have lost several pounds.