- 1 What are Cardiovascular Diseases and how do they change with age?
- 1.1 What are the most frequent cardiovascular diseases in the elderly and what are the links with the aging process?
- 1.1.1 1. Hypertension – High Blood Pressure:
- 1.1.2 2. Arrhythmias – Irregular Heart Beat
- 1.1.3 3. Coronary Artery Disease
- 1.1.4 4. Acute Heart Failure
- 1.2 What are the underlying changes that promote cardiovascular diseases in the elderly?
- 1.3 Our recommended Natural Supplements to help prevent cardiovascular disease in older people – Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- 1.4 How can you get Fatty Omegas through your diet?
- 1.5 Conclusion
- 1.6 F.A.Q’s about Cardiovascular Health and Heart Disease
- 1.6.1 How can heart disease be prevented at any age?
- 1.6.2 Which fruit is best for the heart?
- 1.6.3 What foods should you avoid if you have heart problems?
- 1.6.4 At what age does heart disease begin?
- 1.6.5 How long does it take heart disease to develop?
- 1.6.6 What’s the best exercise for your heart?
- 1.6.7 How long do you have to exercise in order to impact your heart?
- 1.6.8 Can I maintain a high quality of life while having heart disease?
- 1.1 What are the most frequent cardiovascular diseases in the elderly and what are the links with the aging process?
What are Cardiovascular Diseases and how do they change with age?
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the #1 cause of death in western society, with cancer being a close second. The longer you live, the more likely it is that you will develop some form of disease involving the cardiovascular system – which collectively refers to the heart and blood vessels.
This blog post discusses how to prevent CVD as you age and what symptoms to watch for, particularly in older people, that may herald the presence of cardiovascular disease.
The ageing and elderly population are particularly susceptible to CVD. Age is an independent risk factor for CVD in adults, which is compounded by additional factors, including frailty, obesity, and diabetes.
These factors are known to complicate and enhance cardiac risk during the advanced decades of life. Sex (ie, gender) is another potential risk variable, given that older females have proven to be at a greater risk for CVD than age-matched men.
Despite certain differences, the risks associated with CVD increase with age for both men and women.
In women, this corresponds to an overall decline in sex hormones, primarily estrogen and testosterone. Despite this, hormone replacement therapies have been largely shown to not improve outcomes in older patients and may also increase the risks of cardiac events in older adults.
Solutions remain elusive.
For many, it’s an apparent fact of life — the longer we live, the more likely it is that we will develop some form of heart disease. Cardiovascular conditions are most common among those over 40 years of age, as defined by the presence of high blood pressure, atherosclerotic coronary artery or peripheral vascular disease, stroke, or congestive heart failure.
Nevertheless, we are also witnessing the largest cohorts of centenarians (age >100) and super-centenarians (age >110) in recorded history.
These individuals have no chronic disease, teaching us that chronic diseases CAN be avoided and this is essential for extraordinary longevity.
In this blog post, we will discuss how to prevent cardiovascular disease as you age and some early signs suggesting that cardiovascular disease has developed that warrant further investigation. Clearly, it is in our best interest to control our risk factors and minimize the impact of any established disease, towards living life to the fullest with the greatest longevity and quality of life.
We now know that cardiovascular diseases are much more common as you age. Here we discuss the specific conditions that are actually linked to ageing.
1. Hypertension – High Blood Pressure:
Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. It can lead to severe health complications and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and sometimes death.
The systolic reading of 130 mmHg refers to the pressure as the heart pumps blood around the body. The diastolic reading of 80 mmHg refers to the pressure as the heart relaxes and refills with blood. When blood pressure consistently measures above this threshold, hypertension is said to be present, and medications are now indicated to lower blood pressure. Maintaining normal blood pressure is critically important to ensure the heart and arteries remain healthy over time.
Hypertension results from age-related loss of elasticity or stiffening of the arterial walls. This occurs with ageing because it is often the result of abnormal blood chemistry or chronic conditions, including high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes, which develop over decades. While hypertension exists in epic proportions among those of advanced age, elevated blood pressure is becoming more common in those less than 50 years of age – a direct consequence of our more sedentary lifestyles and consumption of processed foods.
How does the incident rate change with age?
The prevalence of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), heart failure, and stroke, increases from about 40% in men and women 40-59 years of age, to 70-75% in persons 60-79 years of age, and to 79-86% among those aged 80 years or older.
How does Hypertension change in people who have other medical conditions?
Hypertension is a prominent member of the “metabolic syndrome”, which represents a cluster of conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. This association illustrates the tight relationship between hypertension and other medical conditions in predisposing to heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. The syndrome increases a person’s risk for heart attack and stroke, which may be the first manifestations of coronary artery or peripheral vascular disease. Aside from a large waist circumference, most of the disorders associated with metabolic syndrome have no symptoms. Symptoms will develop when this perfect storm of risk factors progresses to over disease, causing vascular pain, chest pain, heart attacks, with symptoms of heart failure including fatigue, malaise, swelling of the extremities, and shortness of breath. By predisposing to diabetes, hypertension also contributes to the complications of diabetes, including blindness and painful neuropathies.
What are some common symptoms of Hypertension (high blood pressure)?
The most common symptoms of high blood pressure are:
One of the most sinister qualities of hypertension is that there are typically no associated symptoms. The presence of deadly hypertension may go undetected because the individual with hypertension feels nothing.
That said, there are a number of subtle signs and symptoms that may be attributable to high blood pressure. These include headache, dizziness or fainting; chest pain and breathlessness when doing physical activity that is normally well-tolerated (like climbing the stairs); difficulty in sleeping due to frequent urination at night.
In general, if you experience a new symptom that represents a definite change from your baseline, however subtle that may be, it is worth reporting to your doctor.
This may be a sign that something much more important is actually wrong! This may be the time for an extensive workup, which may include home blood pressure measurements, and echocardiogram and stress testing, as well as blood work.
Ask for a referral to a reputable cardiologist. I believe the majority of individuals with cardiac risk factors deserve a thorough cardiac workup, which a cardiologist can best provide.
If there is no evidence of heart disease now, your early workup will serve as an important baseline for comparison later in life.
What are the best ways to handle or prevent hypertension?
Many of the same lifestyle habits that will help prevent cardiovascular disease will also help lower blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, (see our list of top exercises for cardiovascular health), and avoiding smoking are just some examples. A healthy diet is best defined as a plant-based whole food diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. The Blue Zones have taught us that the healthiest populations eat plenty of beans and a small handful of mixed nuts & seeds daily. See our instructional videos on YouTube.com/JamesKnellerMD for preparing a heart-healthy breakfast incorporating seeds and mixed grains, as well as a heart-healthy soup that ensures you are eating plenty of beans and vegetables everyday.
The Ultimate Energy Breakfast – How to have a fast, easy, and power packed start to your day
With these outstanding habits, the battle against heart disease is yours to lose!
Dairy should be completely avoided. If you’re having a hard time giving up dairy completely, then limit yourself to a serving of skim milk or Greek yogurt once daily. White meat such as chicken or fish is acceptable one per week, and a serving of red meat is permissible once per month.
It’s best to discuss significant diet changes with your doctor. Some medications are particularly sensitive to your diet, such as warfarin (Coumadin), and dose adjustments may be needed.
Overwhelming though, your doctor will applaud your diet and exercise reforms, and determination to stop smoking. If you haven’t yet kicked the smoking habit, there are now many resources available to help you.
“Stop Smoking” programs should be available in your community.
Subliminal messaging (for example, www.realsubliminal.com) or hypnosis can be effective, and your doctor may prescribe medications such as the nicotine patch, Chantix (Varenicline), or Zyban (Bupropion)
2. Arrhythmias – Irregular Heart Beat
Arrhythmias are another form of heart disease that can increase in likeliness as you age. Arrhythmias are medical conditions where the heart’s rate goes too fast, slows down, or beats erratically.
If left untreated these types of rhythms can lead to death and other serious health problems such as stroke by increasing your risk for blood clots in arteries supplying oxygen-rich (oxygenated) blood needed throughout different parts of the body.
Common arrhythmias that accompany cardiovascular disease — atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.
The heart is a mechanical pump that is electrically activated.
Limited blood flow to the heart, and structural changes in the main pumping chambers of the heart (ventricles) can be electrically destabilizing, predisposing to abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice.
5% of the population over age 65, and 10% over age 85% have experienced AFib.
AFib is a highly disorganized rhythm that occurs in the top chambers of the heart (atria), where electrical activation can exceed 400 beats per minute. This results in rapid but irregular electrical activation of the ventricles, which allows us to diagnose AFib with a 12-lead ECG.
Atrial fibrillation may be episodic, where any one event lasts <7 days (paroxysmal AFib) or may be present the majority of the time (>7 days, persistent AFib). AFib causes symptoms known as palpitations, which arises from the irregularity of the heart rhythm.
Most commonly, AFib is only experienced as fatigue. AFib is dangerous in that it allows blood clots to form in the atria, which may then be pumped to the brain causing stroke.
Both the irregularity and rapid rates of atrial fibrillation may result in congestive heart failure (CHF), as ventricular function deteriorates over time. AFib may develop as a result of any sustained local (within the heart) or systemic (throughout the body) stress on the heart.
For example, systemic inflammation arising from an inflammatory state (ie, exposure to toxins, food impurities, fried food with trans fats, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, etc), which is repeatedly injuring atrial tissue, resulting in fibrosis deposition.
Such processes are electrically destabilizing, allowing AFib to develop. Hypertension represents another means by which a systemic condition (high blood pressure) can result in local (within the heart) structural changes that are electrically destabilizing and predispose to AFib.
When blood pressure is poorly controlled, the heart must generate high pressures to push blood through stiffened arteries. The high pressures are transmitted throughout the heart, and the atria stretch and dilate under this stress, causing electrical instability that results in AFib.
Leaky heart valves (such as mitral regurgitation), similarly predispose to AFib by exposing the atria to pressures. Other common conditions associated with AFib include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, obesity, and psychological stress.
Strategic approaches to treating AFib can be broadly divided into “rate control” vs “rhythm control” approaches. With rate control, the objective is simply to slow down the rapid overall heart rate caused by AFib. This may be achieved with medications such as metoprolol, diltiazem, amiodarone, and digoxin.
A rhythm control strategy seeks to restore normal rhythm within the atria. This may be accomplished with anti-arrhythmic drugs including flecainide or propafenone (best for paroxysmal AFib, provided there is no ischemic heart disease and left ventricular function is preserved), or sotalol and dofetilide (best for persistent AFib, provided renal function is adequate).
Amiodarone is safe in the presence of ischemic heart disease or advanced renal insufficiency, and may be used for both rate and rhythm control. The potential for longterm toxicity makes amiodarone a medication of last resort.
For both paroxysmal and persistent forms of AFib, blood thinning medications are essential to protect against stroke. These are indicated for patients with age >65 years and at least one other risk factor (hypertension, diabetes, vascular disease, female sex).
In years past, the only option was warfarin (Coumadin). Warfarin requires regular blood monitoring to ensure levels are adequate, and is sensitive to changes in diet (particularly green leafy vegetables). We are now fortunate to have the direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), which include rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis), and dabigatran (Pradaxa). These agents do not require blood monitoring and are not affected by changes in diet.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is also responsible for life-threatening arrhythmias arising from the ventricles, including ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VFib). When blockages develop in the arteries of the heart, regions of ventricular muscle become ischemic, meaning they are suffering from a lack of adequate oxygen.
This is electrically destabilizing, and may result in VFib – where rates of heart muscle activation may exceed 300 beats per minute, and contractions become totally ineffective. Without the ability to pump blood to the body (especially the brain), VFib results in death within minutes, unless someone is available to perform CPR until a defibrillator arrives, and succeeds in shocking the heart back into normal rhythm.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT) most frequently arises in the setting of scar, which classically occurs following a myocardial infarction (“heart attack”), during which a region of heart muscle infarcts (or dies) due to sudden loss of blood flow.
This commonly occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms within an artery that is already partially occluded by atherosclerotic plaque, causing a sudden and complete loss of blood flow, resulting in tissue death downstream from the clot.
The infarcted muscle is subsequently replaced by scar tissue, which causes electrical aberrations that may result in sustained VT. Scar may also result from inflammatory processes, which result in muscle injury that is followed by tissue fibrosis.
Treatment for VT includes maximizing blood flow to the affected tissue, using anti-arrhythmic to suppress VT (ie, sotalol, amiodarone, lidocaine, mexiletine). Both sustained VT and survival of a VFib arrest warrant implantation of an internal cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), which may treat future episodes using anti-tachycardia pacing or by delivering a defibrillating shock.
What are some common symptoms of Arrhythmias?
Some common symptoms associated with arrhythmias include palpitations; fainting spells (syncope) that occur without warning, and feeling faint or dizzy without actual collapse (pre-syncope). Faints caused by a cardiac arrhythmia need to be distinguished from those due to an imbalance within the autonomic nervous system (vasovagal syncope), which can occur upon rising from a sitting position quickly, especially if you have been standing up longer than 30 minutes at a time –- these symptoms result from orthostatic hypotension, where the blood vessels are unable to constrict fast enough to provide blood pressure support for the transition from sitting to standing.
This type of faint is frequently diagnosed using a tilt table test and may be treated using a combination of muscle-building exercises, salt tablets and hydration, compression stockings, or vasoconstricting medications such as midodrine.
How can you help prevent irregular heart rhythms, such as AFib?
The most effective preventative measures for an irregular heart rhythms such as AFib include maintain a healthy weight and normal blood pressure while avoiding cardio-toxic habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol intake.
Similarly, avoid inflammatory states caused refined sugar, processed foods, and fried foods is key. Inflammatory medical conditions must also be controlled, including arthritis, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and tissue injury such as open sores.
Best to adhere to a plant-based diet (such as the Mediterranean diet, discussed below) with plenty of raw fruits and vegetables. It is also important to minimize psychological stress and practice relaxation techniques, such as meditation, or adherence to a faith community.
When diagnosed with an arrhythmia, learn the symptoms! This may be as obvious as the feeling of palpitations, or a subtle as a pervasive fatigue. If you take anti-arrhythmic medications, have an implanted pacemaker or ICD, or take blood thinning medications, it is wise to carrying an ID card warning emergency responders. This will help expedite safe and appropriate care in the setting of an emergency.
3. Coronary Artery Disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) most often refers to coronary artery disease – atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty plaques) in the arteries supplying blood to the heart. It is the leading cause of death in America now, and expected to reach epidemic proportions in the decades to come.
Common symptoms of Coronary Artery Disease (coronary heart disease)
Symptoms from coronary artery disease develop when the atherosclerotic lesions in the walls of the heart grow within the lumen of the blood vessels, limiting the blood supply to the heart muscle during periods of exertion. Common symptoms from obstructive CAD include chest pain, shortness of breath during exertion, and congestive heart failure. Chest pain is classically felt as a tightness or pressure sensation in the left chest, which may radiate into the left arm, jaw, or back. This pain is worsened by exertion and relieved by rest. Atypical symptoms such as a soreness or sharp pains may also represent obstructive CAD, particularly in women.
How to prevent Coronary Artery Disease?
The best way to prevent coronary artery disease is to control your risk factors for developing coronary atherosclerosis. Common risk factors include high blood pressure, diabetes, psychological stress, and exposure to oxidative stress – which may be in the form of pollution, smog, household and industrial chemicals, food additives with refined sugars and flour, and tobacco. Such exposures cause our LDL cholesterol to become oxidized, and far more capable of forming deposits in the lining of our blood vessels.
But proper eating can be tricky. Working with a registered dietician or nutritionist can be invaluable. Such experts will help you with food selection and preparation. They will help identify your unhealthy habits and patterns that are leaving you vulnerable to the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. This is particularly important as we enter our 5th and 6th decades of life. Concerning symptoms must also be investigated. A good doctor will refer to a cardiologist, who may then use stress tests, ultrasound (echocardiography) to assess overall heart function, and EKGs to assess for and irregularities in the heart’s electrical system. When non-invasive testing suggests the presence of cardiovascular disease, cardiac catheterization with coronary angiography should be performed to assess for fatty deposits obstructing the flow of blood through the major arteries of the heart. It may be necessary to perform revascularization either with stent placement or bypass surgery.
Proper diet, along with other healthy habits, can be highly beneficial in preventing or slowing the progression of coronary disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends certain foods to avoid: – too much salt, sugar, and alcohol; red meat more than once a month or high-cholesterol food like whole eggs (two per week max) for adults ages 50+ who have heart problems*
A Mediterranean diet is recommended for those seeking a heart healthy diet strategy. In essence, a Mediterranean diet is a plant based diet incorporating a large variety of vegetables and fruits, while including plenty of beans and a daily serving of nuts, while limiting red meats to once per month and white meats to once per week, with virtually no dairy. Fats are from plant sources such as avocadoes and extra-virgin olive oil. The Mediterranean diet has been studied extensively and validated as a heart-healthy diet. To see the ideal Mediterranean Diet, click here.
4. Acute Heart Failure
While the development of cardiovascular disease is typically a gradual process that develops over years, we must remember that the heart can also fail rapidly (acutely). Everyone is vulnerable and it is important to recognize the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately. Causes of acute heart failure include common viruses that attack the heart muscle, severe infections, allergic reactions, blood clots in the lungs, alcohol abuse, the use of certain medications or any illness that affects the whole body. *The American Heart Association (AHA) states that hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common cause in adults (accounting for about half of cases), which is most frequently the result of sustained high blood pressure. This again puts hypertension squarely in the center of common conditions that can devastate our health and shorten our years.
We have discussed coronary artery disease in great detail. While clogged arteries can precipitate heart failure, this usually happens more gradually, and is therefore not a major cause of acute heart failure. If a heart attack occurs in this content, then the long process of plaque buildup can quickly transition to large territories of infarcted (dead) heart muscle which then can lead to acute heart failure.
Common symptoms of Acute Heart Failure:
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when exerting or laying down.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Swelling (edema) in the legs, feet, and ankles.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat.
- Reduced ability to exercise due to rapid fatigue
- Persistent cough or wheezing with white or pink blood-tinged phlegm.
- Increased need to urinate at night.
It is vital that you see a physician as soon as possible when such symptoms develop or are getting worse. If patients feel well enough, it is acceptable to be seen in the office by a cardiologist. Otherwise, either present to the emergency department or call 9-1-1. It’s important to remember that mortality rates for heart failure are 50% within the next 5 years. If an episode of decompensated heart failure results in hospital admission, then the mortality rate climbs to 50% within 1 year. The importance of vigilance with heart failure therapies to protect the heart and facilitate recovery cannot be over-emphasized
How can you help prevent acute heart failure?
Acute heart failure usually develops in the setting of predisposing underlying structural heart disease – a decline in function of the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart), or abnormal thickness of the left ventricular walls (hypertrophy). Often these changes occur in conjunction with valve abnormalities, such as a narrowing (stenosis) of a valve orifice preventing the forward flow of blood, or leaking of the valves (regurgitation) which also reduces overall cardiac output.
When such conditions are present, it’s important to receive treatment from a competent cardiologist, and to be compliant with prescribed medications. Common medications for heart failure include beta blockers (metoprolol, carvedilol), ACE inhibitors (Lisinopril, enalapril), aldosterone antagonists (spironolactone), Newer classes of medications which are also highly affective include a neprilysin inhibitor to prevent the breakdown of naturally occurring natriuretic peptides, thereby facilitating diuresis [peeing] (sacubitril/valsartan [Entresto]), the SGLT1 inhibitors (empagliflozin [Jardiance] or dapagliflozin [Farxiga]) in heart failure patients with and without diabetes, respectively.
If heart failure is due to coronary artery disease, daily aspirin, as well as a statin (atorvastatin, rosuvastatin), possibly with bempedoic acid and ezetimibe [Nexlizet] for additional LDL lowering, and icosapent ethyl [Vascepa], which provides the essential omega-3 fatty acid EPA, proven to reduce heart attack, stroke, and progression of coronary artery disease in the setting of high triglycerides – but with benefit that likely applies to a larger subset of patients.
In addition to a proper medication regimen, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vitally important. Strive to maintain a normal body weight (defined as body mass index [BMI] <25 kg/m2) and blood pressure less than 130/80 mmHg. Cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking is best to manage body weight and lower blood pressure, however an exercise program combining cardio and weight training is best for total body composition. Eating a balanced diet that is high in fiber with limited sodium (salt) is also very effective in maintaining low blood pressure, however a well-rounded plant-based diet such as the Mediterranean diet is best for overall health in the long run as we have discussed.
Furthermore, an appropriate supplement regimen can be very helpful in the setting of heart failure. JamesKnellerMD has built on the findings of Dr. Stephen Sinatra, metabolic cardiologist, in recommending supplements that supply heart muscle energy support – many of our followers and patients have felt markedly improved after taking this combination of supplements.
To see the full supplement package, click here now.
What are the underlying changes that promote cardiovascular diseases in the elderly?
While there is much we can do to offset the effects of aging, certain age-related changes are inevitable. Even if body weight remains stable, lean tissue is gradually replaced by fat. The diets of the elderly become less well rounded, as appetites diminish and food preparation becomes overly simplistic – opening the door to subtle malnutrition. Diet changes and lack of activity contribute to bone demineralization and osteoporosis, which is often overlooked for much too long.
While age is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, with coronary artery disease leading to heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease leading to decline in kidney function and hypertension, the heart’s of the elderly also demonstrate a failure to relax (diastolic dysfunction) – which causes symptoms of shortness of breath (dyspnea). Effective treatment for diastolic dysfunction has been especially elusive.
Concerning prevention, are there specific aspects for the elderly person?
We are now appreciating the role of specialized fats in supporting the optimal function of our cells and organs, particularly the heart and our blood vessels. These specialized fats are known as the omegas, named for their molecular structure.
While Omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 are all prevalent in our diets, the omega-3s are by far the most important. Maintaining and adequate balance between Omega-3 and Omega-6 is essential for our health, which is ideally 1:1 although 1:2-4 is acceptable, most Westerners are far less balanced, with ratios of 1:10 to 1:30.
Normalizing Omega-3:Omega-6 ratios in our blood and tissues is likely to slow the process of ageing, however, how is this best accomplished?
To test your Omega balance, and get started taking fully natural Omegas, click here > Omega Oils
And on the therapeutic side?
Foods rich in Omega-3s include walnuts and avocadoes, as well as fish oil, which represents a combination of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicospentaenoic acid (EPA). While both DHA and EPA are known to be heart healthy, studies seeking to establish the cardiovascular benefit of fish oil have been largely disappointing. Finally, in March 2020, the REDUCE-IT trial demonstrated that supplement preparations of just EPA (Vascepa®), dosed at 4 grams daily, lowered the occurrence of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, cardiovascular death, and coronary revascularization or hospitalizations for cardiac chest pain in a statistically important way.
This has lead to the guideline recommendation for EPA supplementation with Vascepa for patients with established coronary disease. Of course the REDUCE-IT trial raises important questions about the potential for EPA to enhance cardiovascular health while preventing coronary disease. Certainly more studies are needed to explore these possibilities.
Our recommended Natural Supplements to help prevent cardiovascular disease in older people – Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are proven to have a strong impact on Cardiovascular Disease as you age. These types of supplements are especially important if you have elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, as they can lower your risk for a heart attack.
They also help to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress within the body that helps to protect blood vessels, which may also prevent coronary blockages! The importance of Omega-3s is now at the forefront of cardiovascular medicine, with the demonstration that an analogue of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a major form of Omega-3 found in cold water fish, is highly beneficial for patients with established atherosclerosis or with multiple risk factors for coronary disease.
This analogue, termed icosapent ethyl (Vascepa®), is dosed at 2 grams twice daily (4 grams/day total), and is formally indicated as an adjunct to maximally tolerated statin therapy to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization and unstable angina requiring hospitalization in adult patients with elevated triglyceride (TG) levels (≥150 mg/dL) and established cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus and 2 or more additional risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3s are something we all must take seriously! Even those not meeting the criteria for Vascepa should consider an Omega-3 rebalancing program, as provided by Zinzino (discussed below). It behooves everyone to get on top of the Omega-3 issue!
Beneficial Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Heart
A few studies have shown that frequent consumption of fatty fish oils reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. The results have shown that regular consumption of fatty fish can lead to almost one-half the risk of death from coronary heart disease and almost one-third the risk of death from a heart attack than those who seldom or never consumed fish.
How can you get Fatty Omegas through your diet?
Omega-fatty acids are abundant in fatty seafood, such as salmon and sardines; grass-fed (pastured) meat products like beef liver which have been shown to contain up to 12% omega-three fats versus only about .06 % from the average grain feed cow.
In addition to Omega – Lecithin has also proven effective if taken daily for the prevention of cardiovascular disease by aiding with cholesterol management while providing a protective effect against arterial damage that could lead towards heart attack issues later on down life’s road!
Where is the best place to get Omega Oils?
The place that I recommend is from the Omega Revolution. The Omega Revolution is a distributor of some of the highest grade Omega Oils that can be found on the market today. Click here to see what The Omega Revolution has to offer.
Their oils are made up of a premium blend containing natural wild fish oil, high in Omega-3 (EPA + DHA), olive polyphenols, and Vitamin D3. Their BalanceOil helps protect cells from rusting (oxidation) and adjusts the body’s Omega-6:3 balance, supporting normal brain function, heart function, and the immune system.
How does cardiovascular disease impact COVID-19?
COVID-19 infection impacts all organs structurally and functionally. Persisting symptoms in patients recovering COVID-19 are common and can be detected in nearly 90% of patients beyond 60 days from the original diagnosis. The most common symptoms are fatigue, dyspnea, joint pain, chest pain, cough, insomnia and headache.
Given the well-documented involvement of the circulatory system in COVID-19, including small, moderate and large-sized veins and arteries, coupled with a robust immune response resulting in local and systemic inflammatory responses, one would anticipate a substantial negative impact of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system, with a prolonged recovery period and potentially long-term cardiovascular effects.
Potential adverse effects include heart failure, life-threatening arrhythmias, sudden cardiac death, impaired myocardial flow reserve from microvascular injury, coronary artery and aorta aneurysm formation, hypertension, labile heart rate and blood pressure responses to activity, accelerated atherosclerosis and both venous and arterial thromboembolic disease.
Indeed, events during the acute phase of disease, including those that are clinically unsuspected and undiagnosed will increase the risk for recurring events. How do we contain the damage caused by COVID-19 in the immediate term and how will future events be prevented? Cardiovascular injury from COVID-19 is certainly a threat to our health, long term quality of life and ultimate longevity.
We must take every precaution to avoid infection with COVID-19. This means plenty of hand washing, wearing masks around anyone with unknown COVID-19 vaccination status or exposure history, and getting vaccinated! We are still left with the fact that none of these precautions provide absolute protection.
There are even plenty of examples of vaccinated individuals getting sick with COVID-19. For everyone at JamesKnellerMD, COVID-19 is a call to personal health mastery.
The healthiest version of you will fare the best against COVID-19. We believe the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to improve your health. Strive for health mastery!
This means a diet rooted in the principles of the “Blue Zones”, with properly filtered and energized water, an exercise program that is developing your lean body mass, and personalized supplement regimen. These changes should quickly be followed by objective changes in our health profile, including correction of specific nutrient deficiencies and Omega-3/Omega-6 ratios in our blood, and lengthening of telomeres of our DNA.
Telomere lengthening is an index of the integrity of our DNA, which generally deteriorates with ageing. Maintaining healthy DNA is critical to slowing the ageing process – because when our DNA begins transcribing garbage proteins, what we see in the mirror eventually reflects this.
In conclusion, the best way to prevent cardiovascular disease is to take care of your cardiovascular health, and the best way to do that is by adhering to a heart healthy diet while getting regular exercise. The key to success is to keep the main thing – diet and exercise.
But as we have discussed, our world is increasingly complex – we live with pollution, pesticides, genetically modified foods, and highly processed foods. Automation has taken away the need for many of the purposeful movements that used to be necessary just to function in life.
With the challenges have come wonderful opportunities. We are free to grow our own gardens, and organic produce is clearly labelled and still reasonably priced.
We can also subscribe to supplement programs that are tailored to our health profile, or formulated to target specific nutrient deficiencies. We can drink properly filtered, alkalinized, and energized water. There are more free resources to guide our exercise than ever before.
YouTube has become the personal trainer for untold millions. You can do the same (check out “Evolve Functional Fitness Workouts” and “Caroline Girvan” on YouTube). What’s more, we can objectively measure the improvements in your health profile – correction of specific nutrient deficiencies, rebalancing of omega-3/omega-6 ratios in your bloodstream, and DNA integrity with lengthening of your telomeres. Does this sound good? Follow JamesKnellerMD across all social media platforms, and get ready for change.
F.A.Q’s about Cardiovascular Health and Heart Disease
How can heart disease be prevented at any age?
Heart disease can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well and getting enough exercise.
Which fruit is best for the heart?
One of the best fruits to increase your heart health is the banana. Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that can help regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease
What foods should you avoid if you have heart problems?
If you have heart problems, it is best to avoid food with high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol as well. These include butter or whole milk products like cream cheese; fatty meats such as sugars too!
At what age does heart disease begin?
Heart disease typically begins when you are in your 40s or 50, but it can begin as early as 20.
At-risk individuals include those who have diabetes and/or hypertension (high blood pressure) along with a family history of the disease; smokers over age 45 without other heart risk factors such as high cholesterol levels.
How long does it take heart disease to develop?
Heart disease will develop differently for each individual. However, the likelihood of developing heart disease is greater with age. Usually, it takes many years to develop heart disease, but chronic and genetic conditions do exist, so it is important to know that it can happen fairly quickly in certain high-risk individuals.
What’s the best exercise for your heart?
In general, it is safe to say that aerobic training has the largest benefit for maintaining a healthy heart. However, the truth of the matter is, the best exercise is one that you are able to do consistently.
How long do you have to exercise in order to impact your heart?
Research has found that 45 minutes of exercise three times a week can show changes in the heart and cardiovascular system.
Can I maintain a high quality of life while having heart disease?
Yes, there are many treatments available that can slow the progression of heart disease. There is no cure for it but if you take care and eat healthy as well as exercise then your quality of life will be high!