Stroke Prevention Centers on Two Key Factors!

Stroke Prevention Centers on Two FactorsLearning how to address two key factors could make a big difference in stroke prevention. Since stroke is the number one cause of adult disability and the third leading cause of death in the United States, addressing this issue of stroke prevention could be the difference between life or death and permanent disability or significant recovery. 

The health of your cardiovascular system is just as important to brain health as it is to heart health. If you have a blockage in one of the arteries of the heart we call it a heart attack. If that same blockage occurs in the brain it’s a stroke.  

In reviewing both the uncontrollable and controllable risk factors for a stroke, it’s quiet clear that the health of your endothelium and its ability to properly produce nitric oxide can play a critical role in stroke prevention. 

Why? 

Because the number one risk factor for a stroke is high blood pressure and the blockage that causes the stroke is many times related to a blood clot. 

Address These Two Risk Factors for Stroke Prevention! 

High blood pressure increases your stroke risk 4-6 times. It’s the number one risk factor for a stroke and you have the power to positively impact this area. Addressing this issue alone would make a major impact on stroke prevention. 

According to the American Heart Association’s website 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic strokes. An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot forms in the bloodstream. This blood clot then lodges within an artery of the brain causing a blockage. This blockage reduces the necessary blood flow to that section of the brain leading to damage or death to those brain cells. The amount of damage determines the severity of the stroke.  

As you can see by these two specific factors, stroke prevention really centers on addressing high blood pressure and reducing the potential for the formation of blood clots. Your body does this naturally through nitric oxide. 

Nitric Oxide is Key to Stroke Prevention! 

The 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three American researchers who discovered how the endothelium (which lines all of your cardiovascular system) produces a gas called nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine. Outside your body nitric oxide is considered an environmental pollutant. Inside your body nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of your entire cardiovascular system.  

A signaling molecule helps a specific event to occur. Without signaling molecules certain events cannot take place. Regarding your cardiovascular system, nitric oxide causes three very specific events or reactions to occur. They are: 

  1. Nitric oxide keeps blood platelet cells from sticking together. This helps to prevent blood clots from occurring in the vascular system, thereby reducing the risk for strokes and heart attacks. 
  2. Nitric oxide is your body’s most powerful vasodilator to relax the smooth muscle of your vascular wall to properly control blood pressure. This improves blood flow and directly addresses the number one risk factor for strokes. Additionally, your endothelium is a critical component in the regulation of your blood pressure by controlling the response of your vascular wall to the changing pressures within your cardiovascular system. 
  3. Nitric oxide, when at therapeutic levels in the bloodstream, can repair damage to the endothelium and seems to be associated with the body’s ability to reverse and eliminate plaque formations. Plaque formations, which typically result when the endothelium is damaged, cause the inside of your vascular system to narrow, which can lead to high blood pressure and the increased risk for blockages. 

Nobel Laureate in Medicine, Dr. Louis J. Ignarro refers to nitric oxide as “the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.” Learning how to naturally heal and nourish your endothelium to help it properly produce therapeutic levels of nitric oxide could be a huge factor in stroke prevention. 

Learn How to Nourish Your Endothelium for Stroke Prevention! 

The easiest and fastest way to nourish your endothelium for improved nitric oxide production is to use a properly formulated nutritional supplement. Even Dr. Oz is now talking about the importance of nutritional supplementation for improved cardiovascular function. Unfortunately, Dr. Oz only talks about the amino acid L-Arginine and leaves out another critical amino acid, as well as the necessary quantities needed to achieve a therapeutic effect. 

There is a lot that could be said in this section but let me summarize the basics on how to nourish your endothelium: 

  1. L-Arginine – This amino acid is critical because it is what your endothelium uses to create nitric oxide. However, you need to consume 4-6 grams of L-arginine at one time to be able to achieve a therapeutic increase in nitric oxide. 
  2. L-Citrulline – This amino acid is considered by vascular researchers to be just as importance as L-Arginine. You need to consume 200 to 1000 mg to have a therapeutic effect. The reason why L-Citrulline is so important is that it recycles L-Arginine to turbo charge the production of nitric oxide over a longer period of time. Additionally, L-Citrulline provides an alternative pathway for the production of nitric oxide when the enzyme arginase is present. Arginase destroys L-Arginine and some population groups such as African Americans have larger quantities of arginine in their bloodstream. This can negatively effect nitric oxide production if L-Citrulline is not part of their diet. 
  3. Various Antioxidants – Whenever your body produces energy through aerobic respiration free radicals are formed. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cellular damage. Free radicals will also negatively effect nitric oxide to limit its signaling and healing capacities. Antioxidants are molecules that can stabilize free radicals to prevent cellular damage and their negative effects on nitric oxide.  

It is estimated that 750,000 Americans will experience a stroke this year. Yet according to the National Stroke Association “… 80% of strokes are preventable!” While they list other methods for stroke prevention I hope this information will help you to see and understand the importance of a healthy endothelium and its ability to properly produce therapeutic levels of nitric oxide. This really is a viable way for stroke prevention as well as improved cardiovascular function. 

If you found this information helpful then please share this on Facebook and Twitter. You can also contact me directly if you have questions or need a recommendation for a high quality nutritional supplement that can help to properly nourish your endothelium for improved nitric oxide production. 

Together we can work to save a million lives by helping to educate others about endothelial cell health and how therapeutic levels of nitric oxide can directly address two of the greatest risk factors for stroke prevention.

Dan Hammer 

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.  

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about stroke prevention has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Heart Disease Costs to Skyrocket!

According to the American Heart Association (January 24, 2011) heart disease costs are expected to triple in the next 20 years. This means that heart disease costs in the United States are projected to go from 273 billion to 818 billion. To put this into perspective this cost is equivalent to the 800 billion dollar TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) legislation pushed through Congress to help bail out the banks, insurance, and auto companies.  

For many Americans, TARP was a symbol of big government at its worst. For me, this projected increase in heart disease costs is a symbol of American health care at its worst. To help you understand what I’m going to say, please listen to this NBC News video discussing this issue of skyrocketing heart disease costs: 

http://topics.healthvideo.com/m/37359428/heart-disease-costs-to-skyrocket.htm#q=Heart+Disease+Costs+to+Skyrocket 

As this video points out the projected heart disease costs could change if new treatment programs are found. To further highlight this I like to share the following quote from Dr. Paul Heidenreich, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford Medical School and chair of the American Heart Association panel who issued this policy statement on heart disease costs: 

The burden of heart disease and stroke on the U.S. Health care system will be substantial and will limit our ability to care for the U.S. population unless we can take steps now to prevent cardiovascular disease.” 

The issue that upsets me the most is this idea that we have to discover some pharmaceutical treatment program to solve this crisis. The reality is: 

We Can Prevent Heart Disease Costs NOW!  

There are preventative steps that are natural and can make a substantial difference in reducing the risk for all forms of cardiovascular disease allowing us to make a major dent in heart disease costs. These preventative steps have Nobel Prize Winning Science from Dr. Louis J. Ignarro and cutting edge vascular research from Stanford Medical School through Dr. John Cooke.  

Heart Disease Costs Could be Substantially Reduced by a Natural Treatment Program That Already Exists! 

In 1998 the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to three American researchers who discovered how your endothelium, which lines all of your cardiovascular system, converts the amino acid L-arginine into nitric oxide – the master signaling molecule of your entire cardiovascular system. Dr. Ignarro refers to nitric oxide as “the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.”  

To help you understand the magnitude of the existing cardiovascular problem let me share the following statistics: 

  • Currently, 36.9 percent of Americans have some type of heart disease (high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart failure, stroke, and other conditions.)
  • By 2030 this number is expected to rise to 40.5 percent of the population.
  • The biggest increases are thought to be in heart failure (up 25 percent) and stroke (up 24.9 percent). 

You will note that in the above statistics all are affected by the health of your endothelium and its ability to properly produce nitric oxide. Here is why this is so important. Nitric oxide plays three critical roles in cardiovascular health and function. They are: 

  1. Nitric oxide keeps blood platelet cells from sticking together to prevent blockages that can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
  2. Nitric oxide is your body’s most powerful vasodilator to relax the smooth muscle of your vascular wall to properly regulate your blood pressure.
  3. Nitric oxide, when in sufficient quantities in the blood stream, repairs ongoing damage to the endothelial cells and can effectively reverse existing damage from plaque formations. 

As you can see, proper nitric oxide production achieved through the healthy function of your endothelium directly addresses most of the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease. You can directly repair and nourish your endothelium for improved nitric oxide production and do it naturally. 

Heart Disease Costs Could be Substantially Reduced With Existing Science! 

The American Heart Association continued their line of thinking with the following statement: 

Effective prevention strategies are needed if we are to limit the growing burden

of cardiovascular disease.”  

I’m here to tell you that those “effective prevention strategies” already exist. They are natural strategies that combine two amino acids in L-arginine and L-citrulline with a synergistic blend of antioxidants and nutrients that can help improve the function of the endothelium and turbo charge the effects of nitric oxide on cardiovascular health. This natural strategy can significantly reduce heart disease costs, substantially reduce cardiovascular risk factors, improve the quality of life for those with current cardiovascular issues, and prevent future generations from developing heart disease. 

Commenting on the American Heart Association’s policy statement, Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California (Los Angles) had this to say: 

Population-based strategies are urgently needed to improve cardiovascular health, prevent or delay the onset of cardiovascular disease, and help to address the projected rise in expenditures. Implementing effective health promotion and cardiovascular disease prevention needs to become a national priority.” 

I need your help to spread the word. I need your help to make this a national priority. I need your help to promote this information on Twitter and Facebook and other social platforms so that we can partner in this process to drastically reduce heart disease costs.  

Together we can work to save a million lives by helping to educate others about natural and clinically proven methods to repair and nourish the endothelium for improved nitric oxide production. Please join me by subscribing to my newsletter and sharing this vital information. Please click on this link for a clinically proven product that addresses endothelial cell health, which enables the endothelium to properly produce nitric oxide.  

Dan Hammer 

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.  

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about heart disease costs has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

10 Major Risk Factors for Heart Disease!

Heart DiseaseFor the United States it is estimated that heart disease causes approximately 1.2 million heart attacks per year. More than 40 percent of those initial heart attacks will result in death. According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular disease results in 17.5 million deaths worldwide. Heart disease is the single greatest cause of death in both the United States and the world accounting for over half of all deaths.

Given this stark reality it is important to clearly know your major risk factors. According to the American Heart Association, there are 10 leading risk factors for heart disease. They are:

  • Age – According to mortuary tables, more than 83% of the people who die from heart disease are 65 or older.
  • Race – If you are African Americans, Mexican American, American Indian, native Hawaiian or Asian American then your risk is higher than the Caucasian community.
  • Sex – Men have both a greater risk of heart attack and having it at an earlier age than women. However, after menopause a woman’s death rate increases but not to the level of men.
  • Family History – There is a close association for heart disease if your parents or close relatives have some form of heart disease. The real question is whether it is genetic or lifestyle.
  • Smoking – Your risk for developing heart disease is two to four times greater than those who do not smoke.
  • High Blood Pressure – One out of every three Americans have high blood pressure. Not only does it increase your risk for heart attacks and kidney failure but it is the number one risk factor for stroke.
  • High Cholesterol – As your blood cholesterol increases so does your risk for heart disease. 
  • Diabetes – This disease seriously increases your risk for heart disease since approximately 65% of people with diabetes die from some form of cardiovascular disease. 
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – The greater your inactivity the greater your risk. 
  • Overweight/Obesity – There is a direct correlation with excess body fat, especially fat around the midsection, and the increased risk for heart disease and stroke even if there are no additional risk factors.     

4 Risk Factors of Heart Disease You Have No Control Over!

Age, race, sex, and family history are considered to be risk factors that you have no control over. While you can’t change any of them, I believe you can limit their effects on heart disease. For example:

Age – There can be a significant difference between your chronological age and your biological age. You can take steps to slow down the aging process and even turn back the biological age clock. My website www.Aging-No-More.com provides practical and effective ways to age youthfully.

Race – Certain population groups, like African Americans, have a much higher risk for heart disease than other groups. Part of this is lifestyle choices and part of this is genetics. Lifestyle choices can be changed and some genetic factors can be moderated to reduce your risk.

Sex – At one time men clearly dominated the area of heart disease. Not any more. Women have caught up with men. The rate of death for women from heart disease is 12 times that of breast cancer. So, is it gender or lifestyle that contributes to the risk of heart disease?

Family History – If your family history is because of genetics, then there is not much you can do except concentrate on the 6 key risk factors that you have control over. If your family history is because of lifestyle, then you have a tremendous opportunity to change this; which brings us to the rest of this article.

6 Major Risk Factors of Heart Disease That You Can Control!

I’ve ranked these 6 major risk factors for heart disease based on what I believe are the most important to address first. They are:

High Blood Pressure This is the most important area to gain control over. If you do not know what your current blood pressure reading is or if you have not had your blood pressure taken in the last 6 months, then get to a local pharmacist, health clinic, or qualified medical professional. Have them take your blood pressure. This will be your base line and will help to determine what your next step should be.

Your blood pressure will be given to you in two numbers such as 110/70 mm Hg. Your systolic number is the first and highest number. If this number is 140 or above then you have high blood pressure! Your diastolic number is the second and lowest number. If this number is 90 or above then you have high blood pressure! And, if both numbers are above 140/90 then you have high blood pressure. The higher above this threshold the greater your health risk.

High blood pressure will damage your heart and your endothelial cells. Your endothelial cells are critical to cardiovascular health. They also play a major role in controlling your blood pressure because they produce a molecule called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide regulates the muscle tone of your blood vessels. The article 7 Natural Steps to Take the Hyper out of Hypertension! will provide you with some simple but key natural adjustments to help you control your blood pressure.

Smoking – I debated whether to place this first or second on the list. Smoking is equal to or greater than high blood pressure. But monitoring and controlling your blood pressure is certainly a lot easier for a person than to stop smoking. For this reason alone I put high blood pressure as the first and most important risk to address. Next is smoking.

Most people equate smoking with cancer. While this association is true smoking is also the number one risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that 40% of all cardiovascular deaths are due to smoking.

The carcinogenic components in tobacco damage the endothelial cells that line the walls of your arteries. This affects your body’s ability to produce nitric oxide, which in turn affects your blood pressure. The carbon monoxide from the burned tobacco interferes with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. This increases your heart rate and can raise your systolic blood pressure. Smoking also constricts the blood vessels in your arms and legs. This increases the resistance to blood flow, which causes your diastolic blood pressure to increase.

I realize that this is a nasty habit that is extremely hard to break. Part of the process is having a motivation greater than the habit. If your very life isn’t motivation enough, then maybe for the men your sex life is! Your endothelial cells control your nitric oxide production. Your nitric oxide levels control an erection. No nitric oxide no sex! Every puff on your cigarette is destroying your endothelial cells, which lowers your nitric oxide level and reduces your chances of having good sex.

Overweight/Obesity – The health risks from being overweight and/or obese have now equaled, and some feel overtaken, the health risks from smoking. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 66% of adults age 20 years and over are overweight with 32% clinically obese. That means that 2 out of every 3 people you meet are going to be overweight with half of them being obese. With this dangerous rise in excess fat weight there has been a rise in high blood pressure and an epidemic increase in diabetes.

Because so many people have tried and failed at dieting, they see this category as hopeless. Diets are by their very nature restrictive and unproductive for long term weight loss. So stop trying to diet. Learn how to apply weight management techniques that can have a profound effect on your health and blood pressure. Most people are only 250 calories per day away from stopping their weight gain. That’s the difference between a can of regular soda versus a glass of water. Or, a large order of French fries versus a small order of French fries. The article The Secret to Weight Loss!” can help you in this area.

Diabetes – The greater your percent body fat, the more out of balance your hormonal level will be and the harder it will be for your body to stabilize its blood sugar levels. Most people who get a good handle on their weight and their dietary choices will see a drastic improvement in their blood sugar levels to help prevent type II diabetes. This is not to say that diabetes by itself is not a health risk that shouldn’t be addressed except through diet. What I am saying is that the majority of those with adult onset type II diabetes could prevent and/or reverse the process if they lost the fat and ate a diet that supported the health of their body rather than satisfying their cravings.

Also, high blood sugar levels cause oxidative stress or damage to the endothelial cells. This results in most of the complications associated with diabetes. I’m preparing a series of videos to help you understand this area. Learning how to properly repair and nourish your endothelial cells to improve their ability to produce nitric oxide – the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system – is key to preventing heart disease for diabetics.

High Cholesterol – There are two main types of cholesterol that you and your doctor should be concerned about. Your total cholesterol reading is a composite of these two. They are high density cholesterol or HDL and low density cholesterol or LDL. Of the total cholesterol reading the LDL will be the higher amount. Unfortunately your LDL is what also harms your cardiovascular system. Your goal is to lower your bad cholesterol which is your LDL and raise the level of your good cholesterol which is your HDL.

Your LDL cholesterol damages the intercellular junctions between the endothelial cells allowing deposits to build up. This causes the smooth and flexible lining of your blood vessels to become rough and hard leading to the disease commonly called arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis. As this process continues over time, the deposits or plaques become larger which narrows the interior of the blood vessel making it harder for blood to pass through. This increases resistance to blood flow, which can cause your blood pressure to increase.

The narrowing of your blood vessels also causes blood turbulence that can lead to the formation of blood clots. These blood clots, if large enough or if they pass through too narrow of an opening, can eventually lodge themselves in a blood vessel causing a blockage. When this happens in the heart we call it a heart attack. When it happens in the brain it is called a stroke.

A simple, but profound method to control your cholesterol is to make sure you consume an adequate amount of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, dry beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Soluble fiber not only lowers LDL cholesterol but also raises HDL cholesterol. One study examined this relationship between soluble fiber and the risk of heart disease. This study included 9,632 men and women over a 19 year period. It showed that consuming dry beans four times or more per week, compared with less than once a week, lowered the risk of heart disease by 22 percent.

Sedentary Lifestyle – You were designed to move and exercise. Properly applied exercise will strengthen your heart muscle, increase the diameter of the coronary arteries and improve your lung function. As the heart muscle is strengthened it usually improves the efficiency of its contraction. This results in a greater volume of blood being pushed out of the heart to improve blood flow.

Exercise can also improve capillary function and help to build additional capillary beds. This decreases resistance to blood flow to help lower your diastolic blood pressure. Most studies show that at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity done 3 to 5 days per week can have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health. If you are not currently exercising then please check with a qualified health professional before starting your exercise program.

Conclusion About Your Risk Factors For Heart Disease!

Your ability to reduce your risk factors for heart disease is a lot greater than what you may have previously thought. In today’s world of pharmaceutical advertising people get the general impression that they need to see their doctor for the right kind of pill to solve their health issue. This is not to say that medication doesn’t have an important application to your overall health. However, your food and lifestyle choices have more to do with your health and the quality of your life than any other factor. It is why your lifestyle choices can have such a profound effect on restoring your health and helping you reduce your risk factors for heart disease.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about the 10 major risks factors for heart disease has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis – Treatment Programs!

ArteriosclerosisAccording to the American Heart Association, arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis account for nearly 75% of all deaths from heart disease! To have a significant impact on reducing the number one killer of people worldwide, it would make sense to focus on treatment programs that address these cardiovascular diseases.

As I gathered data for this article many of the websites made the following comment – “The exact cause of arteriosclerosis is not known.”

This author would like to disagree with that statement.


The exact cause of arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis is known!

It is damage to the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system, which reduces their ability to properly produce nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system. Nitric oxide is key to cardiovascular health. According to Dr. Louis J. Ignarro, the 1998 Nobel Laureate in Medicine,

NO – as it is known by chemists – is produced by the body specifically to help keep arteries and veins free of the plaque that causes stroke and to maintain normal blood pressure by relaxing the arteries, thereby regulating the rate of blood flow and preventing coronaries. Nitric oxide is the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.”

If you look closely at Dr. Ignarro’s statement you will notice the following significant phrase: “. . . specifically to help keep arteries and veins free of the plaque that causes stroke. . .” Plaque formation is at the heart of atherosclerosis. Calcification of these plaque formations lead to arteriosclerosis.

The “natural cardiovascular wonder drug” Dr. Ignarro was referring to is nitric oxide, which is produced by the endothelial cells from two important amino acids: L-arginine and L-citrulline. Nitric oxide can specifically prevent both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. Many researchers would also suggest that the proper production of nitric oxide, by your endothelial cells, can reverse both of these cardiovascular diseases.

The following is a review of many of the treatment programs for arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. These treatment programs can be broken down into two major categories: self-care at home and medical treatment. The overall goals of these treatment programs are to reduce symptoms and prevent the progression of the disease so that potential blockages can be prevented. But, the question remains:

Is there a better treatment program and can it actually reverse arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis?”

We’ll examine this after we look at the standard treatment programs usually recommended to patients diagnosed with arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.

Self-Care at Home Treatment Programs!

Self-care treatment programs typically mean lifestyle changes. Let’s look at each of these lifestyle changes in relationship to their effects on the endothelial cells and the production of nitric oxide:

  1. Eat food that is low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol. This is a big topic but in its simplest terms LDL cholesterol (Bad Cholesterol) can damage your endothelial cells leading to plaque formations.

  2. Restrict salt intake especially if you have high blood pressure. Again this is a big topic because it only focuses on one mineral: sodium. Also important to this equation is potassium, magnesium, and calcium for proper cardiovascular metabolism.

  3. Increase the consumption of high fiber foods especially vegetables and fruits. High fiber foods help to absorb bile salts that your body uses in digestion. Your liver manufactures bile from cholesterol. Thus, high fiber foods are a natural way to reduce LDL cholesterol, which reduces the potential damage they can cause to your endothelial cells. Also, vegetables and fruits have little sodium but are high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which helps maintain proper cardiovascular metabolism.

  4. Quit smoking. This habit has major effects on your cardiovascular system, especially your endothelial cells. Nicotine damages endothelial cells. Cigarette smoking decreases “Good” cholesterol that helps to protect your endothelial cells and increases the “Bad” cholesterol that damages your endothelial cells. The carbon monoxide produced from cigarette smoking also damages endothelial cells and can facilitate plaque formation. Plus, smoking constricts arteries leading to an increased risk of blockages.

  5. Lose weight if overweight or obese. Fat cells absorb and store Vitamin D. Vitamin D inhibits vascular calcification. Vascular calcification is at the heart of arteriosclerosis. Thus, losing weight releases needed Vitamin D back into your system and improves your body’s ability to utilize Vitamin D to reduce multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

  6. Mild to moderate exercise under the supervision of a health care provider. Exercise increases blood flow. Increased blood flow stimulates the endothelial cells to produce nitric oxide.

  7. Maintain normal blood glucose (sugar) levels. When blood glucose is above the normal range it causes oxidative stress to the endothelial cells resulting in damage and a reduction in nitric oxide production.

Medical Treatment Programs

Medical treatment programs usually center on prescription drugs, surgical procedures, or a combination of both to either reduce the risk or repair existing damage to the vascular system. While this list is not exhaustive it does include many of the more prominent treatment programs. Let’s look at each in relationship to the endothelial cells and nitric oxide production.

  1. Taking drugs to normalize blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage the endothelial cells. Yet, learning how to naturally nourish your endothelial cells to improve their ability to produce nitric oxide can also normalize blood pressure but without the side effects of medications.

  2. Taking drugs to normalize blood sugar levels. This is especially important for those with diabetes. But, equally important is having in place a nutritional program that will help to repair the damage high blood sugar can cause the endothelial cells.

  3. Taking drugs to lower lipid levels. Statin drugs are the most commonly used lipid-lowering drugs because they effectively interfere with the production of cholesterol by your liver. Unfortunately, they also interfere with the creation of Co-Q10 which is extremely important for heart health and overall energy production. The main purpose of statin drugs is to keep LDL Cholesterol or Bad Cholesterol from damaging the endothelial cells. The proper production of nitric oxide can also repair this damage and keep the “Bad” cholesterol from creating damage in the first place.

  4. Aspirin inhibits sticky platelets cells from forming a blood clot. Nitric oxide also keeps blood platelet cells from sticking together but without the potential risk for bleeding.

  5. Balloon angioplasty. To open blocked or narrowed vascular vessels a balloon-tipped catheter is inserted into the body. When the narrowed vascular area is reached the balloon is inflated to press the plaque deposit against the vascular wall. This procedure is designed to increase the diameter of the affected area to improve blood flow. The concern is that the balloon procedure will damage the endothelial cells creating a stimulus for additional scarring and plaque formation. This procedure treats a symptom but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

  6. Stenting. Following angioplasty a metal tube called a stent will be placed in the vascular area to help keep it open. The stent acts as a scaffold to support the vascular wall. To prevent additional complications from the endothelium and blood clotting on the metal surface, patient are asked to take specific drugs. Again, this procedure treats a symptom but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

  7. Bypass surgery. This surgical procedure uses arteries or veins from other areas of the person’s body to bypass the blocked vascular area to improve blood flow. Again, this procedure treats the life-threatening event but doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

All of these treatment programs are important. Most of the self-care at home treatment programs help to protect and nourish the endothelial cells. Most of the medical treatment programs limit additional damage to the endothelial cells or are used to correct a problematic area of the vascular system. No one is questioning the proper use in helping to reduce risk and/or save a person’s life from the arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.

But, the question still remains is:

Is there a better treatment program and can it actually reverse arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis?”

The answer is “YES!”

It all centers on nourishing and repairing the endothelial cells to improve their ability to properly product nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system or what Dr. Ignarro refers to as “the body’s natural cardiovascular wonder drug.” We’ll explore this in future articles.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan@agingnomore.com

630-936-8079

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis contained in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis – General Overview!

AtherosclerosisThere is a lot of confusion between arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis but one thing is certain, combined they account for nearly 75% of all deaths from heart disease! This unpleasant statistic comes from the American Heart Association 2004 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update. In the United States alone, approximately 1.5 million heart attacks occur annually.

The vast majority of these heart attacks are

caused by complications associated with

arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis.


Most people are familiar with heart attacks or strokes. You likely have a family member or friend who either suffers from the consequences of one or has died due to one. Because of this a great deal of emphasis is placed on preventing heart attacks and strokes. While this is important, the real emphasis should be put upon preventing arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis because they are the underlying cause of heart attacks and strokes.

To best address this problem we need to clearly define arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis commonly refers to those diseases in which the arterial wall thickens and loses its elasticity. Atherosclerosis is one of those diseases. More specifically atherosclerosis refers to the formation of plaque-like deposits consisting of cholesterol and other substances on the arterial walls. These deposits become hardened by fibrous tissue and calcification. This can lead to arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. For simplicity the following definitions will be used:

  • Arteriosclerosis is any disease process that leads to the abnormal thickening and hardening of the arterial walls.

  • Atherosclerosis is the disease process that causes plaque formations to develop on the interior surface of the arterial walls.

Both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis cause problems and complication to blood flow. Arteriosclerosis reduces the elasticity of the vascular wall leading to high blood pressure. Atherosclerosis reduces the interior space of the artery leading to reduced blood flow. Reduced blood flow reduces the ability of your cardiovascular system to deliver needed oxygen and nutrients as well as remove waste products from cellular respiration. This then affects the organs’ ability to function optimally.

The most common arteries affected are those in the brain, heart, kidneys, abdominal aorta, carotid artery, and legs. This can then lead to a whole host of symptoms like leg pain, muscular weakness, numbness, cramps, dizziness, chest pain, poor wound healing, and erectile dysfunction.

As atherosclerosis progresses in its narrowing of the arterial space it not only reduces blood flow but it also increases the potential for blood clots to form as well as plaque-like deposits breaking off. This can then cause complete blockages resulting in the common life-threatening diseases we call heart attacks and strokes.

Both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis are progressive diseases. This means that they didn’t develop over a short period of time like an infection but they develop over a long period of time. For many in the United States, this disease process can start in early childhood and progressively become more severe as the person ages.

Risk Factors That Can Lead to Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis!

There are certain risk factors that contribute to the development of both arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. These risk factors are commonly categorized as “those that can be changed” and “those that cannot”. Here are the risk factors that can be changed:

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol commonly referred to as “Bad Cholesterol”

  • Cigarette smoking

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Lack of exercise

  • Western diet, which is excessive in saturated fat from meat, dairy products, eggs, and fast food combined with an inadequate intake in fruits, vegetables, and fish.

These are the risk factors that cannot be changed:

  • Advancing age

  • Being male unless you are a women who has reached menopause.

  • Have a family history of heart disease and stroke especially if it’s based on genetics.

  • African American since this population group has a historically high degree of high blood pressure and diabetes leading to premature stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and death.

As I gathered data for this article many of the websites made the following comment – “The exact cause of arteriosclerosis is not known.”

This author would like to disagree with that statement.

The exact cause of arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis is known!

It is damage to the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system which reduces their ability to properly produce nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system.

We will examine this statement and the standard treatment programs used for these cardiovascular diseases in our next article entitled “Arteriosclerosis and Atherosclerosis – Treatment Programs!”

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry, and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information about Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis contained in this article has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Added Sugar and Heart Disease – Is There a Link?

Sugar and CoffeeJust recently the American Heart Association issued guidelines regarding added sugar consumption.  Their recommendation is that women should consume no more then 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, and for men no more than 9 teaspoons per day.  Now before we look at the reasons why, you might be thinking:

 “I’m safely within the guidelines since I don’t add sugar to my coffee!”

I don’t want to burst your bubble but did you know that the average American will consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar each and every day. 

Not So Sweet Facts!

Over the last 20 years, the average yearly sugar consumption per person in the United States has gone from 26 pounds to 135 pounds.  Just before the start of the 20th century, the average consumption was only 5 pounds per person per year.  To put this into perspective, a typical bag of sugar sold in your grocery store is 5 pounds.  In 1890 that one bag would have lasted a person one year.  Today, that 5 pound bag only lasts for about 2 weeks!

Wait!  I know what you’re thinking!  That last 5 pound bag of sugar that you bought at the grocery store over a month ago is still sitting on your pantry shelve.  There is no way that you’re consuming all this sweet stuff!  Right!?  Wrong!!  What you’re forgetting to count are all the highly refined sugars in the foods you eat and drink.  You don’t see them because the food companies give them aliases like barley malt, corn syrup, dextrose, fruit juice concentrate, maltose, maple syrup, molasses, turbinado, fructose, glucose, corn sweetener and high-fructose corn syrup. 

I challenge you to open up your refrigerator and pantry and look at the nutritional facts posted on each food product.  The amount of sugar each product contains is listed under “Total Carbohydrates.”  Each teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams.  To determine how many teaspoons you are consuming all you have to do is divide the total grams by 4.  Your average soda will have somewhere between 27 to 30 grams of sugar per 8 ounces.  Your soda at 28 grams is equal to 7 teaspoons of sugar!

A 12 ounce serving of Gatorade has 22 grams or just slightly more than 5 teaspoons of sugar.  Even something as healthy as Yoplait’s Original 99% Fat Free yogurt has 27 grams of sugar per serving.  This is just slightly less than 7 teaspoons.  Possibly you would put one or two, maybe even 3 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, but surely not 7.  Yet this is exactly what you’re doing each and every day with some of the foods you eat and drink.  You may not directly eat that 5 pound bag in your pantry but you are consuming an equivalent amount of sugar through all the different foods and drinks you consume each and every day.

The Guideline is for Added Sugar!

It’s important to note that there is a difference in how the body handles naturally occurring sugars compared to added sugars.  Naturally occurring sugars are found in whole fruits, vegetables, and milk products.  The most common naturally occurring sugar is fructose which is found in fruits and vegetables.  Milk products contain the simple sugar lactose.  Added sugar is commonly found in candy, soda, sport drinks, fruit drinks, cakes, cookies, and pastries to name just a few. 

When the American Heart Association asks you to cut back on your sugar consumption they are not asking you to stop eating fruits and vegetables but those foods that have “empty calories.”  Foods with naturally occurring sugars deliver essential vitamins, minerals, and protective antioxidants to help keep you healthy and fight disease.  A can of Coke or Pepsi doesn’t deliver any vitamins, minerals or protective antioxidants; just “empty calories” that typically replace nutrient-rich foods that we need in our diet.

If the typical American woman consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day, then how can she reduce this to 6 teaspoons?  The easiest and fastest way is to target what you’re drinking.  As noted before the typical 8 ounce serving of soda contains 7 teaspoons of added sugar.  Most cans of soda are 12 ounces.  Exchanging that one can of soda for an equivalent amount of water would eliminate 10.5 teaspoons of added sugar.  If you drink two cans per day then replacing them both with water would help you easily meet this guideline.

Another effective tactic would be to limit processed foods and opt for fresh, whole, unpackaged, and unprocessed foods.  For example, I used to eat Yoplait’s Original 99% Fat Free yogurt but when I realized that each 6 ounce container had almost 7 teaspoons of sugar (most of which is from high-fructose corn syrup) I switched to fruit and whole-grained snacks.  As Elisa Zied, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and registered dietitian, pointed out, “you’ll not only save yourself from too much sugar, but you’ll also reduce the risk of overloading on sodium and fat and calories in general.”

Does Sugar Have a Direct Link to Cardiovascular Disease?

SugarWell, that depends on who you listen to.  The sugar industry will tell you that there is no direct link to heart disease.  Yet sugar is associated with cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, and high levels of C-reactive protein that can cause oxidative stress and inflammation to the vascular system. 

In the landmark Nurses’ Health Study those who consumed diets with a high glycemic load had a significantly higher risk for coronary heart disease.  Additionally, there are a number of studies that link dietary sugar with adverse changes in lipoproteins.  One such study, the Coronary Artery Risk Development In young Adults, shows a consistent inverse association between added sugar intake and HDL cholesterol concentrations.  This means that as you increase your added sugar consumption your HDL cholesterol levels decrease.  HDL cholesterol is your good cholesterol and provides protection to your cardiovascular system.  Thus, the goal is not to decrease this protective lipoprotein but to increase it. 

Two recent studies showed that the development of type 2 diabetes can be predicted based on the consumption of foods with high glycemic loads.  Any form of diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Part of the reason is the formation of Advanced Glycation End products or AGEs.  This process is an uncontrolled, non-enzymatic reaction between proteins and sugars to significantly alter the structure and function of proteins.  In this process a sugar molecule attaches itself to a protein molecule resulting in the formation of a non-functioning glycated protein structure. 

Research over the last 20 years has implicated AGEs in most of the diseases associated with aging such as cardiovascular disease.  Advanced Glycation End products are involved in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque and directly damage the endothelial cells that are necessary for nitric oxide production.  This damage to the blood vessels also increases the risk for high blood pressure, stroke, and erectile dysfunction.

A Not So Sweet Conclusion!

The sugar industry has spent a lot of money in the last year with TV and radio advertising trying to put a good spin on sugar especially high-fructose corn syrup.  The reality is that, outside of taste, sugar has no nutritional value other than to provide calories.  Foods containing added sugars usually displace whole foods and contribute to nutritional deficiencies.  Their “empty calories” have been a major contributing factor to the ever increasing issue of obesity for both adults and children.  There are enough valid studies to show that high sugar consumption lowers the good HDL cholesterol while increasing triglyceride levels to help accelerate atherosclerosis. 

But the most damaging effect of added sugar is the production of Advanced Glycation End products which threatens all your organs especially those that have high concentrations of collagen.  Collagen accounts for approximately one third of your body’s total protein.  It is found in skin, muscles, organs and vascular structures and provides elasticity and cohesion to these structures.  When properly controlled, proteins and sugars can interact without causing damage to the body.  But this control is lost when added sugars make up a significant portion of your diet.  It is why the American Heart Association has finally issued guidelines for daily added sugar.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam.  The information contain in this blogging website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

Is No More Heart Disease Possible?

Heart disease accounts for approximately 35% of all deaths.  It is estimated by the American Heart Association that 80 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease.  DoctorsIn researching and writing more than 100 articles for my Aging No More website, one very important theme keeps reoccurring. If you take the necessary steps to improve the health of your cardiovascular system, which includes your heart and circulatory system, you can:

Positively affect most of the health of your other organs and take significant steps to slow down the aging process!

So, the question remains – Is No More Heart Disease Possible?

Well, before I answer that question let’s look at two significant health issues and two remarkable health professionals:

Stroke – According to the National Stroke Association, “. . . 80 percent of strokes are preventable!” For the most part the only difference between a stroke and a heart attack is location. A stroke occurs in the brain where as a heart attack occurs in the heart. Wouldn’t it make sense that 80 percent of heart attacks are preventable?

Cancer – According to the 517 page World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research Expert Report, “5 to 10% of cancers result directly from inheriting genes associated with cancer.” This means that nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors account for the remaining 90 to 95% of cancers. Wouldn’t it make sense that nutrition, lifestyle and environmental factors would also play a significant role in heart disease?

Dr. Louis Ignarro – In 1998 Dr. Ignarro shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine with two other scientists for the discovery of Nitric Oxide and how it is the master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system. In 2008, the American Heart Association selected Dr. Ignarro as a 2008 Distinguished Scientist. Dr. Ignarro firmly believes that the proper use of Nitric Oxide (NO) can significantly improve the health of most cells and make a major impact on reducing the risk of heart disease.

Dr. J. Joseph Prendergast – Dr. Joe (as he prefers to call himself) is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism and has a very large patient population at the Endocrine Metabolic Medical Center in Palo Alto California. Dr. Joe is a pioneer in the potential of L-Arginine (the precursor for NO) to dramatically affect cardiovascular health. Of Dr. Joe’s large high-risk, patient population, over the last 17 years less than 1% have experienced a stroke or heart attack if they have followed his L-Arginine protocol.

Now back to our question: Is No More Heart Disease Possible?

No, but given the above information we can make a significant impact in making heart disease a very small problem rather than the number one killer that it currently is.  We spend millions of dollars every year on finding a cure when the most important cure is staring us in the face. It is prevention!

This website is designed to help equip you with useful and practical knowledge that, in conjunction with your physician, will empower you to reduce your risk and help to eliminate heart disease.

Until next time, join me in working to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam.  The information contain in this blogging website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.