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
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.
Vigorous Exercise Won’t Hurt a Healthy Heart
Some recent research articles seem to warn people not to exercise too long or too hard, but the overwhelming scientific and epidemiological evidence is that vigorous exercise strengthens a healthy heart and helps to prevent heart disease. Elite endurance athletes who exercise long hours each day outlive their less-active peers, as do Tour de France cyclists. However, three studies raise the possibility that extreme exercise such as running a marathon could possibly increase risk for heart problems, particularly in people who are not adequately trained for their events.
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.
Exercise Helps People with Heart Disease
A recent study shows that stable angina patients who exercise are less likely to die from heart attacks. Stable angina means that you may or may not have chest discomfort or pain at rest, but pain occurs or worsens when you exert yourself.
Beta Blocker Side Effects
Research shows that some beta blockers and diuretics that are prescribed to control high blood pressure can cause high blood sugar levels, weight gain, tiredness and impotence
High HDL Cholesterol May Not Protect You from a Heart Attack
Several recent studies show that high levels of HDL cholesterol are not always associated with preventing heart attacks. Today, doctors depend far more on the results of your LDL cholesterol test and how much plaque you have in your arteries.
Restrict Added Sugars to Reduce Heart Attack Risk
People who are at high risk for suffering a heart attack because they have a genetic factor that causes high LDL (bad) cholesterol should be treated with severe restriction of added sugars and all refined carbohydrates. The same advice should be given to people who are at increased risk for heart attacks for any reason.
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...
Excess Weight Linked to Larger Plaques
Being overweight is associated with having larger plaques in the arteries leading to the heart and a marked increase and progression of these arterial plaques that cause heart attacks, even if a person does not have the risk factors that predict increased risk for diabetes and heart attacks.
Less Salt, More Potassium to Help Prevent Heart Attacks
A review of six major studies that measured salt intake by the amount of salt in the urine found that a high salt intake is associated with significantly increased risk for suffering heart attacks and strokes. This review is extremely dependable because it measured salt intake directly by how much salt and potassium was secreted in a person’s urine each day, and did not depend on a patient's memory.
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.
Deceptive Headlines about Exercise and Heart Attacks
"You Can Exercise Yourself to Death, Says New Study" was the headline in The New York Post on October 17, 2017. Headlines like that are likely to discourage people from exercising and thus to shorten their lives.
Excess Belly Fat Increases Heart Attack Risk Even If You Are Not Overweight
The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that a high waist circumference among individuals with normal weight appears to be a more reliable predictor of risk for heart attacks than just being overweight. The AHA recommends using the ratio of waist circumference to body height or the waist-to-hip ratio to warn about increased heart attack risk.
Lifestyle Changes to Lower Blood Pressure
A study of 14,392 individuals with high blood pressure, followed for 5-10 years, found that those who adopted a healthful lifestyle along with taking medication had a much lower risk for suffering heart attacks and lived significantly longer than those who treated their high blood pressure just with drugs.
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.
Fish Oil Pills Have Not Been Shown to Prevent Heart Attacks
Studies this month show that neither taking omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in fish oil pills nor eating fish reduce the risk for heart attacks, September 16, 2016). A review of studies in the world's scientific literature agrees that taking fish oil pills does not prevent heart attacks.
Inflammation Tests More Effective than Cholesterol Tests as Predictors of Heart Attacks
An analysis of three large studies of people taking statins found that a blood test for inflammation levels was better than tests of cholesterol levels for predicting future heart attacks). More than 30,000 participants were given CRP (c-reactive protein test that measures inflammation) and cholesterol tests, and the researchers found that CRP was a stronger predictor for risk of future cardiovascular events and deaths than the cholesterol assessment (LDL).
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.
Statin Guidelines Flawed
The American College of Cardiology (ACC), the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) proposed guidelines for prescribing statin drugs to prevent heart attacks. The old rule was to prescribe statins whenever a person's bad LDL cholesterol is greater than 100 mg/dL
Stents and Bypass Surgery
Virtually all doctors agree that stents can save lives if used within three hours of the start of a heart attack. However, there is no good evidence that stents prevent heart attacks in people who have chest pain during exercise. The ORBITA study showed that in patients with medically-treated heart pain and severe heart artery blockage, stents did not increase exercise time more than a placebo procedure.
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
Gluten Lowers Cholesterol
Before you jump on the bandwagon of avoiding gluten, consider its benefits as well as potential problems. People who are gluten-intolerant should avoid wheat, barley, rye and probably oats (because of potential cross-contamination). Your doctor can do tests to see whether you are one of the small minority who need to avoid gluten. Otherwise, consider a study from the University of Toronto which showed that a high-gluten diet helps to lower oxidized LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid.
Oxycholesterol and Cholesterol
Most of the chemicals in your body and in your food are safe, but when many chemicals in your body and foods are oxidized and converted to their oxidized forms they become harmful. Cholesterol is pure and safe for arteries. The cholesterol in fresh meat, fish, eggs and milk is safe. In fact, it functions as an antioxidant that protects your arteries.
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
Supplements Don’t Lower Cholesterol
A study of supplements that claim to lower cholesterol followed 199 patients at the Cleveland Clinic for 28 days. Participants were given either a supplement (fish oil pills, red yeast rice, cinnamon, garlic, turmeric or plant sterols), a statin drug (rosuvastatin, brand name Crestor, 5 mg/day) or a placebo.
Arteriosclerosis is Reversible
More than forty years ago, Dr. Robert Wissler of the University of Chicago showed that arteriosclerosis is reversible in animals. Since then, hundreds of papers have shown that it is reversible in humans, even those who have already had heart attacks.
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
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.
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,...