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Supporting the Hardest Working Muscle In Your Body – Your Heart (Health Letter – February 2012)

Letter from Shaklee Health Sciences,

Dr. Jamie McManus MD, FAAFP Chairman,
Medical Affairs, Health Sciences and Education

Abbreviated by Nadya Tatsch

heart health

Your heart – it beats on average 100,000 times a day and pumps the equivalent of 2,000 gallons of blood each day. Imagine what a
workhorse our hearts must be! So vital to our life and yet not well taken care of by most of us. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming close to a million lives each year. Over 30 million Americans live with the burden of heart disease; 60 million Americans have been diagnosed with hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease.

While traditionally considered a “man’s disease,”heart disease has become a serious health challenge for women as well. Cardiovascular disease kills over 500,000 women each year, more than the next seven causes of death combined. To give you a perspective, 1 in every 2.5 women will die of heart disease and stroke, compared to 1 in every 30 women who will die from breast cancer. What may be the most important information is that heart disease in women presents with different symptoms and physicians tend to under-diagnose the disease in women. In fact, more than half of women who die of coronary heart disease have either had no classic symptoms, or have been misdiagnosed as anxiety, stress or musculoskeletal disorders. Part of the challenge comes from the fact that coronary artery disease in women tends to present with symptoms like shortness of breath or fatigue rather than the classic “crushing” substernal pain that is more typical in men. Research conducted by NIH with 515 women surprisingly revealed that fewer than
30% of women reported having chest pain or discomfort prior to their heart attacks, and 43% reported have no chest pain at all during any phase of the attack. The most common symptoms they reported were unusual fatigue, sleep disturbances and shortness of breath. So, whether you are male or female, today is the day to put your heart health on the radar screen.

So, let’s talk about what you can do. First of all, let’s assess your risk and then determine what you can do to lower your risks. Yes, there is much you can do to hopefully prevent a catastrophic event from happening to you down the road!

The seven major risk factors for coronary artery disease are:

  1. Family history
  2. Obesity
  3. Hypertension
  4. Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
  5. Type 2 Diabetes
  6. Smoking
  7. Sedentary lifestyle

Well, only one of these risk factors is not in your control. You cannot change your family history, but knowledge is good –so, if your family tree includes heart attacks, strokes and diabetes, it behooves you to look at the other 6 risk factors — because these are all modifiable risks that you have control over! Knowing your risk factors is the first step in preventing heart disease. Once you know your risk factors, you can begin to take the steps needed to reducing your chances of developing heart disease.

First, some general diet and lifestyle guidelines to support your healthy heart:

  1. Lose weight. For the 2 out of every 3 Americans who are overweight or obese, losing weight is your first priority for lowering your risk of heart disease. Even modest weight loss can significantly improve blood cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (See Shaklee Cinch Weight Loss Program)
  2. Eat a balanced diet with nutritious foods from all food groups, but especially concentrate on nutrient rich fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber whole grain foods. Plant foods are rich in nutrients and low in calories. Limit intake of alcohol and sodium. (See Shaklee Cinnamon Apple Fiber bars)
  3. Eat oily fish rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. The AHA recommends that individuals with heart disease should consider an additional supplement of 1000 mg EPA and DHA, and those with high triglycerides consider two to four grams EPA + DHA daily in consultation with a physician. (See Shaklee Omega Guard)
  4. Ensure your nutritional intake of heart-healthy B vitamins, including folic acid, B6 and B12, vitamin D, antioxidants such as vitamin E, and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) which is well studied for its effects on heart muscle function. (See Shaklee
    Essential Nutrition
    )
  5. Reduce intake of nutrient-poor foods including sugary soft drinks, sweets, and processed salty snack foods. These foods typically provide very little vitamin, mineral, dietary fiber, or phytonutrient value, yet often provide unnecessary and unhealthy calories from excess sugar and fats, including saturated and trans fats. If you already have high cholesterol, consider natural cholesterol reduction complex that can be taken along medication. It slowly wins off medication until the medication is not needed any more. Cholesterol Reduction Complex is a proprietary formula with clinically proven ingredients that help prevent absorption of cholesterol and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. It is made with a powerful blend of sterols and stanols, which are found naturally in plants, fruits, vegetables, and grains. It’s often reported that Cholesterol Reduction Complex also lowers blood pressure.
  6. Exercise. Expend at least as many calories as you take in. Regular physical activity is critical for achieving and managing a healthy weight, and to achieve cardiovascular fitness. Strive for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. (See Shaklee Cinch Weight Loss Program)
  7. Take time to De-stress. There’s no denying we live in a stressful world, and most of us experience stress on a daily basis. Whether it is physical or emotional stress, your body reacts in the same way: it sets off its “fight or flight” response. As a result, stress hormones are released, increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and blood glucose in attempt to provide our body with an increased energy supply. Over time, this chronic stress response wreaks havoc—slowing digestion, weakening immune function and increasing the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions. So take time to de-stress your life. Start by getting more sleep. Incorporate relaxation and deep-breathing techniques into your daily routine. Your heart will love you for it.
  8. And of course, don’t smoke.

heart health

American Heart Month is our nation’s annual reminder to take care of the most important and perhaps most neglected organ in the human body. After all, our hearts beat 100,000 times a day and never have the luxury of a day away from the office. Celebrate and pay tribute to your healthy heart with a balanced, nutritious diet and regular exercise! At Shaklee, we continue to believe in and will continue to communicate our message that a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle should be a year-round, life-long effort, today and forever.

~~~~~

The American Heart Association launched its nationwide movement “Go Red For Women” in 2004 to raise women’s awareness of their risk for heart disease and to help them take action to reduce their risk. Shaklee supports this effort to link the color red and the red dress with the ability all women have to improve their heart health and live stronger, longer lives. For more information on the Go Red for Women movement, visit www.goredforwomen.org.

~~~~~

Letter from Shaklee
Health Sciences,

Dr. Jamie McManus MD, FAAFP Chairman,
Medical Affairs, Health Sciences and Education

Abbreviated by Nadya
Tatsch

Supporting the Hardest Muscle (Health Letter – February 2012) (.pdf)

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