Category Archives: cardiovascular diseases

Higher consumption of sugary beverages linked with increased risk of mortality – Harvard

The more sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) people consumed, the greater their risk of premature death—particularly death from cardiovascular disease, and to a lesser extent from cancer, according to a large long-term study of U.S. men and women. The risk of early death linked with drinking SSBs was more pronounced among women.

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The study, led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also found that drinking one artificially sweetened beverage (ASB) per day instead of a sugary one lowered the risk of premature death. But drinking four or more ASBs per day was associated with increased risk of mortality in women.

The study was published in the journal Circulation.

“Our results provide further support to limit intake of SSBs and to replace them with other beverages, preferably water, to improve overall health and longevity,” said Vasanti Malik, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition and lead author of the study. Continue reading

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Filed under cancer, cardiovascular diseases, soft drinks, sugary soft drinks

Eating Red and Processed Meats, Even in Small Amounts, May Increase Death Risk

In my 30’s I was a vegetarian who still ate fish and chicken. In those days I was doing tons of yoga and had no trouble keeping my weight down. I also felt great, of course, I was in my 30’s so why wouldn’t I? I thought this study from Loma Linda University was very enlightening.

A new study out of Loma Linda University Health suggests that eating red and processed meats — even in small amounts — may increase the risk of death from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease.

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Saeed Mastour Alshahrani, the lead author of the study and a doctoral student at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, said the research fills an important gap left by previous studies that looked at relatively higher levels of red meat intake and compared them with low intakes. Continue reading

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Filed under cancer, cardiovascular diseases, processed meats, red meats

Fat storage depends on genes – Study

Whether you are pear-shaped or apple shaped depends a lot on your genes it seems.

A recent study from Uppsala University has found that whether you store your fat around the trunk or in other parts of your body is highly influenced by genetic factors and that this effect is present predominantly in women and to a much lower extent in men. In the study, which is published in Nature Communications, the researchers measured how fat was distributed in nearly 360,000 voluntary participants.

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“We know that women and men tend to store fat differently — women have the ability to more easily store fat on the hips and legs, while men tend to accumulate fat around the abdomen to a higher extent,” says lead author Mathias Rask-Andersen, Ph.D. and postdoctoral researcher at the department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology at Uppsala University. “This has been attributed to the effects of sex hormones such as estrogen. But the molecular mechanisms that control this phenomenon are fairly unknown.”

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Filed under apple shape, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, fat storage, pear shape

No limit to benefits of cardio exercise – Study

How many times have I written eat less; move more; live longer. Now comes the Cleveland Clinic with a study that virtually says those very words – only better.

Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic fitness.

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Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 2014, to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. The paper was published  in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.

The study found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality, with no limit on the positive effects of aerobic fitness.  Extreme aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest benefit, particularly in older patients (70 and older) and in those with hypertension.

“Aerobic fitness is something that most patients can control. And we found in our study there is no limit to how much exercise is too much,” said Wael Jaber, M.D., Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and senior author of the study.  “Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels.” Continue reading

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Filed under cardio exercise, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, Exercise, exercise benefits, smoking, Smoking dangers

It’s official – spending time outside is good for you – Study

One of my favorite songs as a kid in the 1940’s was “Don’t fence me in.”
Here are some of the lyrics:
Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above
Don’t fence me in
Let me ride through the wide open country that I love
Don’t fence me in

It appears I still feel that way, particularly when it comes to exercise. Working out in the health club really turns me off.

A new report reveals that exposure to green space reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.

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Populations with higher levels of green space exposure are also more likely to report good overall health – according to global data involving more than 290 million people. Continue reading

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Filed under blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, Exercise, exercise benefits, high blood pressure, stress, stress reduction

New review highlights benefits of plant-based diets for heart health

There seems to be a lot of pro-plant based diet info coming out of late. The old ‘meat and potatoes’ diets we grew up on in the ’50’s are being viewed in some doubt. Attitudes change as we learn more about health benefits. While I don’t mean to equate smoking with eating meat, I remember when my first wife was pregnant with our daughter in the 1960’s she said she was going to quit smoking till the baby was born. I thought that seemed really extreme at the time. These days no sane mom-to-be would consider ‘lighting up.’

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Vegetarian, especially vegan, diets are associated with better cardiovascular health, according to a new review published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases.

Researchers with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine looked at multiple clinical trials and observational studies and found strong and consistent evidence that plant-based dietary patterns can prevent and reverse atherosclerosis and decrease other markers of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, including blood pressure, blood lipids, and weight. Continue reading

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Filed under blocked arteries, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, cholesterol, good weight loss foods, HDL Cholesterol, hypertension, LDL Cholesterol, weight loss

Exercise increases brain size, new research finds

Here is another source of the same facts I have been reporting in this blog for some years now. Your brain gets as much benefit from your cardiovascular exercise as your body.

Aerobic exercise can improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age, a new Australian-led study has found.

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In a first of its kind international collaboration, researchers from NICM and the Division of Psychology and Mental Health at the University of Manchester in the UK examined the effects of aerobic exercise on a region of the brain called the hippocampus, which is critical for memory and other brain functions.

Brain health decreases with age, with the average brain shrinking by approximately five per cent per decade after the age of 40.

Studies in mice and rats have consistently shown that physical exercise increases the size of the hippocampus but until now evidence in humans has been inconsistent. (my emphasis)

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Filed under aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, cardio exercise, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, Healthy brain

How Do We CREATE (CAUSE) Disease And Dysfunction?

This is a perfect description of the phrase “organic machines” which I use to describe our bodies.

Please check my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further on this.

Tony

All About Healthy Choices

lived-700x476Most people think of disease as something we “CATCH.” The flu, chicken pox, sinus infections, are a few examples. Then there are diseases that are non communicable like diabetes, obesity and cancer. Dysfunction is a term that applies to the loss of muscle, vital organs (ex. heart, liver, gastrointestinal tract, etc…) joint, tendon or ligament function. These are the basic causes of health complications we contend with that affect the quality of life we live.

Many of you probably think of disease and dysfunction as a “NORMAL” aging process. It is commonly believed that “LUCK” determines who will suffer disease and dysfunction and who will remain healthy.

It is because of this FALSE BELIEF that I write this article!

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screen-shot-2013-06-11-at-9-23-22-am-500Creating disease doesn’t mean placing your head in a vat of viruses and breathing deeply. It means CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT within the BODY and MIND that is so weak…

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Filed under cardiovascular diseases, chronic disease, coronary heart disease, Exercise, exercise and brain health, nutrition

Recreational, commuter biking lower cardiovascular disease risk – AHA

As an enthusiastic bicycle rider and supporter of the exercise, I was really pleased to see the results of the American Heart Association studies. Here is a summary:

    •    People who bike regularly, either recreationally or as a way to commute, appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular illness, according to studies conducted in Denmark and Sweden.
    •    Middle-aged and older Danes who took up biking and stuck with it had a 26 percent lower risk of developing coronary artery disease, compared with non-bikers.
    •    In Sweden, those who regularly biked to work were less likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and obesity — key risk factors for cardiovascular illness.

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Here I am riding on Chicago’s Northerly Island in my retirement.

People who bike regularly, either for pleasure or as a way to commute, appear to have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to two separate studies published simultaneously in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation and Journal of the American Heart Association, the AHA/ASA’s Open Access Journal. Continue reading

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Filed under American Heart Association, biking, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, commuter biking, regular bike riding

Harvard study sheds light on dairy fat cardiovascular disease risk

Because  low fat diets were the rage for a while, people have become confused about the value and necessity of including fats in their diets. I love coconut oil, a saturated fat. I eat it every day and have a Page of information – Coconut Oil – Why you should include it in your diet on it.

Until recently, when you visited the dairy aisle, chances are you headed straight for the blue carton of milk—the skim milk that is. But recent buzz about dairy fat may cause shoppers to pause in front of the oft-shunned red carton of whole milk or other full-fat dairy products, as research suggests that their relationship to heart health is more complex than was once believed. While most studies to date have focused on the association between dairy fat and cardiovascular risk factors, few have examined the relationship to actual onset of cardiovascular disease.

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Filed under cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, Fats, healthy fats, saturated fats

Coffee drinkers have better arteries – Tufts

Drinking three to five cups a day linked to lower risk of arterial plaque.

I enjoy coffee and have some every morning. I drink decaf because I don’t like to introduce unhealthy chemicals like caffeine into my system. That’s just me. I am not trying to proselytize here, just get the facts down, because the latest from the Tufts Health Letter interested me as a coffee drinker and blogger who covers health.

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“Scientists may now better understand at least one way in which coffee could help to protect against cardiovascular disease. A large new Korean study reports that people drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 41% less likely to show signs of coronary artery calcium than non-coffee drinkers. This calcification is an early indicator of the artery-clogging plaques (atherosclerosis) that cause coronary artery disease, which afflicts nearly 16 million Americans.  Continue reading

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Filed under cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, coffee

Heart Disease Prevention Tool Shows Promise – Harvard

Yesterday I posted an item headed “Health and Fitness Ideas.” I concluded it with the statement, “I wish more people would focus on living a healthy life rather than just dropping some unwanted pounds. The first way is positive and long lasting. The second is superficial and most of the time doesn’t result in permanent weight loss.”

I think this news story from Harvard follows right on from that post. I recommend that you take their Healthy Heart Score test at the link provided below.

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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and a healthy lifestyle is key to prevention. But the prevalence of healthy behaviors among U.S. adults is low. Current prevention strategies focus mainly on controlling CVD risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension with medication—as opposed to preventing them in the first place.

Now, new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that a tool developed at the School two years ago—the Healthy Heart Score— could be a useful tool for doctors to promote healthy behaviors in their patients, according to lead author Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, Harvard Chan research fellow.

The Healthy Heart Score—which measures nine key lifestyle risk factors for CVD such as smoking, high body mass index, and low physical activity—is known to effectively predict the 20-year risk of CVD in adulthood. But it hasn’t been known if the score is also associated with CVD risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. Continue reading

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Filed under cardiovascular diseases, Harvard, Uncategorized

What About When You Can’t Exercise?

I had periodontal surgery yesterday. The procedure took just short of an hour and I left the office with stitches inside my mouth and packing over them. I also exited with a full page print out of “Post Operative Care Following Periodontal Surgery.” The operation was over, but the experience will extend for at least a week. The number two instruction on the sheet read, “Avoid strenuous activity, including aerobic exercise for the first few days…”

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I know that a lot of people don’t exercise on a daily or even a weekly basis, but exercise in the form of riding my bicycle is a part of my daily life. I am sitting here, granted I am low on energy, but I just looked out my window and watched my fellow cyclists riding on the bike path below. I could feel a void in my day.

When I saw the restriction on aerobic activity, I thought it would be a good day to catch up on my yoga, but that seems to qualify as strenuous activity, so that is out, too.

While bike riding is aerobic exercise, that is not the reason I ride every day. I look forward to my daily rides because they are fun. I love to ride. There is a sensuous thrill to the wind blowing over my face and the sensation of rolling across the pavement driven by the strength of my legs. I have included the picture of Albert Einstein riding his bike because it is one of my favorite posters. It hangs in my living room and demonstrates exactly how I feel when I ride my bike.

It’s not just that I can’t exercise today. I can’t enjoy the fun of riding today … and maybe tomorrow, too.

Besides writing this post, I have some housekeeping projects I can tackle and there is always an errand I can run not to mention several books I have been meaning to dive in to over the past month. If I walk at a reasonable pace on the errands, I can enjoy that without breaking the stricture on aerobic exercise. Indeed, I consider walking to be the ugly stepsister of the exercise world, so all is not lost. You can read my post on Why you should walk more.

The old ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ adage pops into mind. I will certainly fully enjoy the feeling of mounting my bike and taking off over the smooth pavement when I am free to ride again, possibly as soon as tomorrow.

Until then I will make do with the possibility of a walk later and other projects.

Count your blessings. Eat less; move more.

Tony

Post Post Script: After a light breakfast with my girlfriend, I walked the dog and wrote this post. Then I lay down and slept for two hours. I think the Post Operative Case sheet could have said, “Try and do aerobics or something strenuous …” because there is no way I had the energy for either.

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Filed under aerobics, biking, cardio exercise, cardiovascular diseases, Exercise, walking

Researchers Pinpoint Upper Safe Limit of Vitamin D Blood Levels

Good info on the rockstar of vitamins …

Cooking with Kathy Man

Researchers claim to have calculated for the first time, the upper safe limit of vitamin D levels, above which the associated risk for cardiovascular events or death raises significantly, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

There is increasing evidence that vitamin D plays a pivotal role in human physiology. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular events and mortality, but previous studies have found supplementation fails to decrease mortality or cardiovascular events, while other studies found only minor positive effects.

“The unpredictable results from previous studies may be due to the misconception that ‘the higher the better,’” said Yosef Dror, PhD, of Hebrew University in Rehovot, Israel, and lead author of the study. “Although our study did not directly test the impact of vitamin D supplementation, we believe our results suggest it may be possible that…

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New Understanding of Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Vegan, Vegetarian Diets

While carnitine is naturally occurring in red meats, including beef, venison, lamb, mutton, duck, and pork, it’s also a dietary supplement available in pill form and a common ingredient in energy drinks. With this new research in mind, Hazen cautions that more research needs to be done to examine the safety of chronic carnitine supplementation.

Cooking with Kathy Man

A compound abundant in red meat and added as a supplement to popular energy drinks has been found to promote atherosclerosis – or the hardening or clogging of the arteries – according to Cleveland Clinic research published online this week in the journal Nature Medicine.

The study shows that bacteria living in the human digestive tract metabolize the compound carnitine, turning it into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), a metabolite the researchers previously linked in a 2011 study to the promotion of atherosclerosis in humans. Further, the research finds that a diet high in carnitine promotes the growth of the bacteria that metabolize carnitine, compounding the problem by producing even more of the artery-clogging TMAO.

The research team was led by Stanley Hazen, MD, Ph D, Vice Chair of Translational Research for the Lerner Research Institute and section head of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation in the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute…

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Filed under cardio exercise, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular health, vegan, vegetarianism

Healthy Heart Screening – Costco Freebie

Regular readers know what a big fan I am of Costco. So, at first glance my going there today and walking out without buying anything may seem bizarre. However, I didn’t go to shop. They had a wonderful promotion on – Free Healthy Heart Screening. It ran from 10:00 AM to 2:00PM. No appointment needed.

Their brochure said, “Cardiovascular diseases rank as America’s #1 killer, claiming the lives of 40.6 % of more than 2.3 million people.
“* 60.8 million Americans have some form of Cardiovascular disease.
“* On average, someone in the U.S. suffers from a stroke every 53 seconds. That means about 600,000 people have a new or recurrent stroke each year.
“* You can reduce your risk. ”

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They also offered a consultation with the pharmacist after your screening.

Because I didn’t want to fast, I had the truncated screening – Total Cholesterol & HDL Cholesterol. If you fasted, you could get a full lipid panel, TC, HDL, LDL, Triglycerides TC/HDL ratio.

Here are my results: Blood Pressure: 119/58; Total Cholesterol: 173; HDL 78. My Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is 2.2 which, like the rest of my numbers is Low Risk. Continue reading

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Filed under cardiovascular diseases, cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, heart, heart disease, heart problems, Weight