Category Archives: heart attack

The most important meal of the day knows that everyone in our community has heard their parents, grandparents and caregivers repeat any number of statements regarding their eating habits when they were children. You remember them … “Eat your vegetables, they’re good for you,” “Drink your milk so you have strong bones,” “Eat your carrots, they’re good for your eyesight,” and “You have to eat breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day.” Turns out they were absolutely right and we repeat those statements to our own children today.

Now there’s new information that provides more insight into why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day – and it has to do with more than giving us the energy we need to get through the morning thinking clearly and performing at our best.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health has just been published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation. The results found an association between skipping breakfast and a higher risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease.

For their study the researchers analyzed food frequency questionnaires completed by 26,902 male health professionals aged between 45 and 82 years and tracked their health for 16 years from 1992 to 2008. The men were free of heart disease and cancer at the start of the study.

Over the follow-up, 1,572 men experienced non-fatal heart attacks or died of coronary heart disease. When they analyzed the data the researchers found men who said they did not have breakfast had a 27% higher risk of heart attack or death from coronary heart disease than men who said they ate breakfast. The men who said they skipped breakfast tended to be younger, single, smokers, who worked full time, did not do much exercise and drank more alcohol.

Researchers noted that the results suggest that eating habits may affect risk of coronary heart disease through pathways associated with traditional risk factors.

The study reinforces previous research and sends a message to make sure we don’t skip breakfast. Eating a healthy meal at the beginning of the day is linked to a lower risk of heart attacks. knows that there are so many great ideas for a healthy breakfast from whole grain toast, to oatmeal to a good quality granola or organic cold cereal. We can add nuts, berries, bananas, peaches …or any other fruit. Breakfast is an easy meal to keep interesting and flavorful, without unhealthy ingredients. So let’s get creative for ourselves and our kids! And the next time we tell them that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we won’t just be helping them stay focused in school, we’ll be helping develop a habit that will help to keep their hearts healthy throughout their lives!

Too much sugar spells trouble for your heart understands that there are so many health concerns that come from the consumption of excessive amounts of sugar. It’s so important for all of us to remember that the bulk of our sugar consumption isn’t coming from the sugar bowls on our kitchen tables, but rather the processed foods on our grocery store shelves. The obesity epidemic and the rise in the instances of diabetes are just a few of the things we’re already aware of that can be traced to the unnecessary amount of sugar in most American diets.

Today we read new information we wanted to share with you that’s really rather eye-opening. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have revealed that consuming too much sugar can greatly increase the risk of heart failure.

This study follows previous research out of the Emory University School of Medicine and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that people consuming high levels of added sugar from processed foods and beverages are more likely to have higher heart disease risk factors.

This new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association states that just one molecule of glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P) can lead to improper function of the heart. G6P builds up when people consume too much sugar and starch and causes severe stress to the heart.

Preclinical trials were conducted in animals and then researchers tested tissue from patients who had a piece of their heart muscle removed in order to have a left ventricle assist device placed. Results of both the clinical trials and the tissue studies revealed that G6P can cause significant heart damage. It was noted that those who have high blood pressure and other conditions already have their hearts under stress. When excess sugar is introduced into the situation, it can severely worsen that stress causing major injury to the heart.

The CDC reports that more than 5 million people suffer from heart failure in the United states every year. Half of those who are diagnosed with the condition die within one year of diagnosis and there are over half a million new cases diagnosed each year.

This new research underscores the importance of remaining aware of the amount of sugar we consume. Pointing directly to the possibility of additional and serious dangers from the over-consumption of sugar, the study can certainly motivate us all to become even more vigilant about the avoidance of added sugar in our diets. has always been an advocate of cooking fresh, healthy foods from the ingredients we choose ourselves. While picking up what’s quick and convenient might seem like a good idea at times, our hearts will thank us for the additional effort involved – and the reduction of sugar in our diets.

Vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease is aware that there are many dedicated vegetarians in our community. We’re also aware of the rise in the recommendation of plant-based diets for heart disease patients. Today, however, we read some very interesting information regarding the risk of heart disease for vegetarians vs. the remainder of the population.

The University of Oxford recently released a new study showing that the risk of hospitalization or death from heart disease is 32% lower for vegetarians than people who eat meat and fish.

It’s the largest cause of death in the developed world. Tens of thousands die from heart disease each year. And the results of this newest study suggest that a vegetarian diet could significantly reduce the risk of developing coronary disease.

This is the largest study conducted in the United Kingdom that looked at rates of heart disease between vegetarians and non-vegetarians. It involved almost 45,000 participants from England and Scotland who were enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. 34% of the participants were vegetarians.

The results of the study are very clear. The risk of heart disease for vegetarians is about one third lower than for non-vegetarians. The researchers conducting the study accounted for influencing factors like age, alcohol consumption, exercise, smoking, and education.

Participants completed questionnaires regarding their health and lifestyle when they joined. Detailed questions on diet and exercise as well as other factors affecting health such as smoking and alcohol consumption were included. Almost 20,000 participants also had their blood pressures recorded, and gave blood samples for cholesterol testing.
The volunteers were followed until 2009. During that time, 1235 of the participants were diagnosed with heart disease. 169 participants died and another 1066 were hospitalized.
The vegetarians participating in the study had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels than the non-vegetarians. Researchers attribute this to be the primary reason for their decreased risk of heart disease. They also had lower body mass indices (BMI) and less instances of diabetes.

The study’s results confirm the concept that diet is key to the prevention of heart disease and expands on prior studies that have focused on the influence of vegetarian diets on our health. knows that the vegetarians in our community will be happy to learn that their chosen lifestyle is likely to hold great health benefits. We also encourage the remainder of our community to remain committed to maintaining a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean protein sources. Every day we are learning more and more about how the foods we eat influence our health and longevity. Eat well. Stay well.

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Strawberries and Blueberries are kind to your heart is always thrilled to hear about how food can have positive effects on our health. For us, it’s always been about how our diet can affect our well-being. Our community members know how we feel about packaged, prepared foods and artificial, controversial ingredients. Today, we want to share with you some news about some simple fruits that might actually make a world of difference to your cardiovascular health.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States and the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom conducted a study among over 90,000 women between the ages 25 and 42. The women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years.

During the study, 405 heart attacks occurred. Those women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32% reduction in their risk of heart attack compared to women who ate the berries once a month or less. This was true even for women who ate an otherwise healthy diet rich in fruit and other vegetables.

Women who ate at least three servings of blueberries and strawberries each week had fewer heart attacks than those who did not incorporate these fruits into their diets at the same levels. Blueberries and strawberries contain high levels of compounds that have cardiovascular benefits.

Dietary flavonoids are found in high levels in both blueberries and strawberries. In addition, they are contained in grapes, wine, blackberries, and eggplant. Flavonoids have acknowledged cardiovascular benefits. In addition, there is a sub-class of flavonoids – anthocyanins – that might help to dilate arteries and counter the effects of plaque build up in the vascular system.

The reason the researchers focused on blueberries and strawberries was pretty simple. These are the most often eaten berries in the United States. Because of this, the researchers acknowledged that it’s possible that other foods might produce the same effect. has always been a proponent of the American Heart Association’s advice regarding eating a balanced diet that includes berries as part of a plan that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. We encourage our community members to remain conscious and colorful in their food choices. We understand that variety in our diets will not only keep eating interesting, but healthy as well. A little green, a little orange, a little red, a little purple might very well go a long way for your heart – as well as your taste buds. It’s also more appealing to the eye … and we all have to see our food before we eat it. If you like what you see, you really are more likely to enjoy the meal. We don’t live in a one-dimensional world. Our plates should reflect that … taste, color, texture. Strawberries and blueberries for heart health can add a wealth of dimension to our plates.

Read more about the study here:

Healthy diet and heart disease … a little prevention goes a long way

As a major advocate of healthy, conscious eating, actively looks for new information and research regarding how conscious consuming affects our health and well being. We were happy to find this information today coming out of McMaster University.

32,000 cardiovascular patients, on average in their 60s, living in 40 different countries were followed to discover whether or not following a heart healthy diet consisting of fish, fruits and vegetables would reduce their chances of recurrent heart attacks or strokes.

It turns out they found a significant and positive effect when patients included a heart healthy diet along with traditional preventive therapies. In fact, of the 32,000 patients studied, there was a 35 percent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular death, a 14 percent reduction in the risk for new heart attacks, a 28 percent reduction the risk for congestive heart failure and a 19 percent reduction in the risk for strokes.

The patients participating were surveyed for how often they consumed different categories of food in the past year, including fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, nuts, poultry, meat and fish. In addition, they were asked about personal lifestyle choices including exercise and smoking. A healthy diet was considered to be high in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts in addition to a higher consumption of fish than meat or poultry.

Researchers found that those patients who reported consuming the heart-healthy diet defined received additional benefits over and above those provided by taking their regular cardiovascular medications. These patients experienced a significant reduction of cardiovascular related events.

The study that noted that some heart patients believe that because their prescribed medications are working to lower their blood pressure and cholesterol, their diet isn’t an important factor in their disease. Every year, more than 20 million people around the work survive heart attack and stroke and while it’s true that their prescribed drug treatments do work to lower their risk of additional events, this study links the addition of a heart-healthy diet to better outcomes.

It’s thought that this is the first research that has focused on the impact of healthy eating for cardiovascular patients who are taking medications to combat the possibility of future heart attacks, stroke or death. The concept of a physician’s advice to heart patients being expanded to include healthy diet improvement is really pretty simple. is encouraged that this study and, hopefully future research, will promote the heart-healthy diet as more than just a preventative measure for avoiding cardiovascular problems, but as an actual treatment for those who have been afflicted with heart disease. Some small changes in diet could result in healthier, happier and longer lives for millions.

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Omega-3s vs. mercury … more information on fish and heart health has been following some recent news regarding the consumption of fish and fish oil supplements. Long touted as helpful in combating heart disease, information that was released a few short weeks ago seemed to dispel the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

But today, a new study coming out of a Swedish University seems to point to a different conclusion. More specifically, the study actually weighed the risks of the mercury content in fish against the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids rich in some fish.

There are some fish that do contain pollutants that we don’t want included in our diets. Mercury is one of those pollutants and the levels of mercury present in fish varies between species. Mercury has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, while the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids has been believed to decrease the risk of that same disease. So these scientists focused their study on getting the facts on where we should be regarding our fish consumption.

We know that fish, in general, is a healthy food. It is generally a healthier protein source that most meats and, until a few weeks ago, folks understood that the omega-3 fatty acids contained in some fish was beneficial for heart health.

Researchers involved in this new study explored the risk of heart attack and its relationship to omega-3 fatty acids and mercury by studying the people who consume them regularly. They did this by measuring the levels of both from blood and hair samples from a group of participants that had previously participated in health research. Those who had heart attacks after their initial medical exams were compared with those who had not.

While, in fact, mercury levels were linked to a higher likelihood of heart attack, omega-3 fatty acids did appear to be related to decreased risk. And, the increased incidence of heart attack from mercury levels was found at only high levels discovered in the body. In addition, it was also linked to lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids. So, very high levels of mercury in the systems of people with very low levels of omega-3s were linked to elevated risk of heart attack. The researchers concluded that it is important for consumers to maintain a balance between both the beneficial and the In other words, what is important is the balance between healthful and harmful when consuming fish.

So our take away from this study is to choose our fish carefully, looking specifically for those that are lower in mercury while providing higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Here are a few varieties that fill that bill: shrimp, salmon, catfish, and pollock. Swordfish and tilefish have higher levels of mercury, and would be best left off the menu. invites you to read more:

7 heart attack symptoms that Women often overlook

appleheart looks into what signs Women may not want to avoid when it comes to their health and their heart’s. Conventional wisdom has it that heart attacks come out of the blue. We’re also trained to expect a heart attack to happen a certain way: The victim clutches his chest, writhes in pain, and collapses. But for women, it often doesn’t happen that way. Study after study shows heart attacks and heart disease are under-diagnosed in women, with the explanation being that they didn’t have symptoms.

But research shows that’s not the case. Women who’ve had heart attacks realize, looking back, that they experienced significant symptoms — they just didn’t recognize them as such.

In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 95 percent of women (that’s almost all!) who’d had heart attacks reported experiencing symptoms that were decidedly new or different from their previous experience a month or more before their attacks.

Even when a heart attack is occurring, women are often slow to realize what’s happening and call a doctor. The reason? Women’s heart attack symptoms are different than men’s. This failure to recognize heart attack signs in women has led to a grim statistic: Women are more likely to die from sudden cardiac death than men are, and two thirds of women who have a heart attack don’t recover completely.

To prevent a heart attack from sneaking up on you, watch for these 7 little-known signs of heart attack

The Top Little-Known Signs of Heart Attack

Fatigue. More than 70 percent of women in the NIH study reported extreme fatigue in the month or months prior to their heart attacks. This was not just your run-of-the-mill tiredness — the kind you can power through — this was an overwhelming fatigue that sidelined them from their usual schedules for a few days at a time.

Sleeplessness or Insomnia. Despite their fatigue, women who’ve had heart attacks remember experiencing unexplained inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the month before their heart attacks.

Anxiety and Stress. Stress has long been known to up the risk of heart attack. But what women report is the emotional experience; before their heart attacks they felt anxious, stressed, and keyed up, noticeably more than usual. Moments before or during a heart attack, many women report a feeling they describe as “impending doom;” they’re aware that something’s drastically wrong and they can’t cope, but they’re not sure what’s going on.

Indigestion or Nausea. Stomach pain, intestinal cramps, nausea, and digestive disruptions are another sign reported by women heart attack patients. Become familiar with your own digestive habits, and pay attention when anything seems out of whack. Note especially if your system seems upset and you haven’t eaten anything out of the ordinary.

Shortness of Breath. Of the women in the NIH study, more than 40 percent remembered experiencing this symptom. One of the comments the women made is that they noticed they couldn’t catch their breath while walking up the stairs or doing other daily tasks.

Flu-Like Symptoms. Clammy, sweaty skin, along with feeling lightheaded and weak, can lead women to wonder if they have the flu when, in fact, they’re having a heart attack.

Jaw, Ear, Neck, or Shoulder Pain. While pain and numbness in the chest, shoulder, and arm is a common sign of heart attack (at least, among men), women often don’t experience the pain this way. Instead, many women say they felt pain and a sensation of tightness running along their jaw and down the neck, and sometimes up to the ear, as well. The pain may extend down to the shoulder and arm–particularly on the left side–or it may feel like a backache or pulled muscle in the neck and back.

In addition to the symptoms they do have, women differ from men in another significant way — they may not experience many of the symptoms we traditionally associate with heart attacks. This, experts say, is a major reason why women’s heart attacks go unrecognized and untreated. Almost half of all women in the NIH study felt no chest pain, even during the heart attack itself. Numbness is another symptom women may not experience, experts say.

If your body is doing unusual things and you just don’t feel “right,” don’t wait. Go see your doctor and ask for a thorough work-up. And if you have any risk factors for cardiac disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or family history of heart disease, mention these to the doctor. Time is of the essence, so don’t count on medical staff to know your background or read your chart — tell them your risk factors right away, so your condition can be evaluated fully and completely.

Information provided by: Yahoo health