February is American Heart Month and Vitopia wants to help you improve your cardiovascular health!
Consider the following statistics from the CDC:
- About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
- Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.
- Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
Despite all the medical advances, heart disease is still our #1 killer.
Understanding Heart Disease:
For decades, you have been told the five risk factors linked to almost all cases of heart disease are: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes mellitus, and smoking. You have been told that if you just keep these 5 risk factors in check you have nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately, heart disease is not a single entity. It is a complex, chronic disease with many diverse causes. It involves constant interactions among genetics, environment, and lifestyle that make each individual unique.
To prevent heart disease, we must understand the pathways that are of greatest concern. These include:
- Oxidative stress
- Vascular autoimmunity
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Obesity and increased body fat
Additionally, we now understand heart disease begins in the arteries, more specifically, in the endothelium. The endothelium is the point of contact between blood and the artery and is only one cell layer deep. If the endothelium is damaged you will find yourself on the road to numerous ailments including heart disease, even if you are thin, a nonsmoker, and have great cholesterol levels and low blood pressure.
Signs of Heart Disease:
By now, we all know the signs and symptoms of heart disease. However, we want to take a functional medicine approach by going well beyond traditional signs and symptoms and looking at markers to assess metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, autoimmunity, dyslipidemia, and endothelial health.
Root Cause Healing:
As you have seen by now, coronary heart disease is a complex, multifaceted disease. Given heat disease is your #1 threat, this should be your primary area of focus for a long healthy life.
I would like to leave you with a few steps you can take right away to improve heart health. These include:
- Eat as close to a whole-foods, plant based diet as possible. This includes incorporating plenty of green vegetables in your daily diet. An easy way to do this is by making green smoothies.
- Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. This can be as simple as walking.
- Avoid smoking.
- Keep blood pressure in check.
- Keep blood sugar at healthy levels. Studies have shown that people with fasting blood sugar levels of 100-125mg/dl have nearly a 300% increased risk of heart disease than people with a level below 79 mg/dl. Optimal fasting blood sugar should be close to 80 mg/dl.
- Manage stress levels
- Make sure Iron levels are not elevated. High iron levels can create oxidative stress and damage blood vessels.
We've put together a product bundle specifically for American Heart Month! The products included are designed to help with healthy heart function and you can read more about them below. Click the button to view the Healthy Heart Bundle
- Kyolic Reserve (Aged Garlic Extract) – There are over 750 peer-reviewed studies showing the benefits of aged garlic extract on everything from cardiovascular function to cognitive function. Given that heart disease is our number one risk for premature death, this is a supplement essentially everyone should be taking.
- CoEnzymeQ10 (CoQ10) – This is a natural antioxidant made by the body. It is beneficial to the heart in many ways. Unfortunately, CoQ10 levels drop as we age. To make matters even worse, there is a long list of drugs that deplete CoQ10, including statins. It is recommended you take at least 100mg of a highly absorbable form and at least 200mg daily if you have any form of heart disease or take a statin medication.
- Neo-40 – This is a great product for increasing Nitric Oxide in the body. Nitric Oxide helps with healthy blood pressure levels, cardiovascular and heart health, improved circulation, and healthy arterial function. Nitric oxide levels naturally decrease after age 40, so this is a valuable supplement for those over 40 years of age.
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