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.

Certain Carbohydrates Increase Heart Disease Risk!

Heart DiseaseThere is a new published study that sheds additional light on carbohydrates and heart disease in men and women. At least in Italian men and women. It’s entitled Dietary Glycemic Load and Index and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in a Large Italian Cohort.” The study was published in the 4/12/2010 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Dr. Sabina Sieri was the study leader, and she made the following statement:

High consumption of carbohydrate from high-glycemic foods, rather than overall quantity of carbohydrate consumed, appears to influence the risk of developing heart disease in women.”

If you click on the study title you can read the full text but here is a quick overview of this study.

  • Women who ate the most “high-glycemic” carbohydrates had twice the risk of heart disease then those who ate the least.

  • The type of carbohydrate consumed showed no significant differences for cardiovascular disease in men.

Men are most likely cheering.

Women are most likely cursing.

But before you get too far in your celebration or disgust, we need to take a closer look at this study. Why? Because it is not all good news for men and not all bad news for women.

Let’s start with the men first because they’re ready to go watch TV, eat some corn chips, and wash it down with a sports drink. This study looked at the effects of Glycemic Load and Glycemic Index on increasing the risk for heart disease.

Basically, Glycemic Load and Index look at how quickly the food that you eat is converted to sugar to cause spikes in your blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar levels cause oxidative stress or damage to the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system. This leads to a host of cardiovascular health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, hardening of the arteries, and erectile dysfunction to name just a few.

While this study showed no additional increase in risk for cardiovascular disease for men it does not mean that they were not already at risk. Your food choices play a significant role in your overall health and do, in fact, affect your cardiovascular system. As Dr. Sieri points out,

It’s a good idea for people to choose foods with a lower glycemic index over higher ones.”

This was true for women. It wasn’t the total carbohydrates consumed that was a problem for women. It was the type of carbohydrate they consumed that doubled their risk for heart disease. As women have adopted more of a lifestyle, in both eating and work habits, associated with men, they have also seen an increase in cardiovascular disease. An increase that has now allowed heart disease to become an even greater risk to the health of women than breast cancer and all other cancers combined.

So, the good news for women is to watch the type of carbohydrate that you eat. Choose “good” or “low-glycemic” carbohydrates that do not cause spikes in your blood sugar levels.

To help you better understand the Glycemic Index, please click on the article A Glycemic Index Chart Can Improve Your Health!” This article will help you better understand this whole issue and how to make better food choices. Food choices that can have a significant impact on reducing your risk for heart disease as well as diabetes and a host of other blood sugar related illnesses that can damage your body.

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 contained in this article about 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.

11 Action Steps on How to Prevent a Stroke!

StrokeMany people look at a stroke as a brain problem.  In reality it’s a cardiovascular problem that can have deadly consequences.  For Americans, stroke is the number one cause of adult disability.  Thus, learning how to prevent a stroke will have a positive impact on decreasing its harmful effect on our community.

As pointed out in a previous article, it’s estimated that 750,000 Americans will experience a stroke this year.  Of this number, 160,000 will die.  The rest will forever have their lives changed in significant and profound ways.

For our African American friends, they are twice as likely to die from a stroke as Caucasians. The rate of having their first stroke is almost doubled.  One half of all African American women will die from either a stroke or heart disease.  For those with sickle cell anemia, 11% will have experienced a stroke by the age of 20.

All of this is pretty depressing until you understand that, according to the National Stroke Association,

“… 80% of strokes are preventable!”

Everyone is at risk for a stroke but everyone also has the power to reduce this risk.  This article will empower you with 11 action steps to help you learn how to prevent a stroke.  So, let’s get started.

Risk Factors For Stroke:  Uncontrollable vs. Controllable!

There are some uncontrollable risk factors for stroke like:  age, gender, race, family history and a previous stroke or TIA. Now, before we examine how to prevent a stroke, I would like to make some observations about two of these uncontrollable risk factors.

  • Age. Although you have no control over your chronological age, you do have the ability to reduce your biological age. One of my readers recently shared with me that he has been making some gradual changes in his eating and exercise habits.  These changes have resulted in him losing over 10 pounds.  He now has greater energy and stamina for his daily work activities as well as his recreational endeavors.  Even though his chronological age will keep moving forward, he has begun the process of improving his biological age.  Each person has the ability to make positive lifestyle changes that can significantly improve their overall health and wellness while reducing their risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.  The key is to concentrate on improving the health of your endothelial cells and their ability to produce nitric oxide.
  • Family History. If someone in your family has had a stroke, then you are at a higher risk for a stroke.  Part of this could be genetics.  Part of your family history could be lifestyle.  You have no control over the genetics but you certainly have control over your lifestyle. You have the power to change the eating, drinking, smoking, and lifestyle choices that contributed to your family member’s stroke.  The 11 action steps in this article will help you break this cycle.

Even though there are 5 uncontrollable risk factors, the good news is that there are 8 controllable risk factors that give you a high degree of control; control that can help you learn how to prevent a stroke!  They are:

  • Control High Blood Pressure.
  • Control Heart Disease especially Artial Fibrillation.
  • Stop Smoking.
  • Control Alcohol Consumption.
  • Control Your Cholesterol.
  • Control Your Diabetes.
  • Control Your Weight Through Diet, Exercise, and Nutrition.
  • Check for Other Circulatory Problems.

I talk about these 8 controllable risk factors in the article “African Americans and Stroke!” We will also take them up in the following 11 steps.

11 Steps That May Reduce Your Stroke Risk!

These 11 steps will help you learn how to prevent a stroke. Some of these steps will be pretty clear and easy to implement.  Others will require you to make a lifestyle choice.  It’s our daily choices that end up determining our overall health.

Step 1 – Go See A Qualified Physician. If you do not know what your blood pressure reading is, what your cholesterol level is, or where your blood sugar level is at, then you must get these benchmarks measured as soon as possible.  These are the big three in learning how to prevent a stroke. Also, have your physician check your heart and circulatory system especially the carotid arteries.

Step 2 – Make Sure Your Blood Pressure is under 120/80. Anything over 120/80 is of concern and anything over 140/90 is a red flag to take action. It’s the #1 risk factor for a stroke because high blood pressure increases your stroke risk 4-6 times.  This makes learning how to control your blood pressure a critical factor in learning how to prevent a stroke.

Step 3 – Make Sure Your Cholesterol Level is under 200. Anything over 200 is of concern and anything over 240 is a red flag to take action.

Step 4 – Make Sure You Are Not A Diabetic. Diabetes is not something to play around with.  Not only does it increase your risk for stroke but it also affects so many other organs in your body.  Most of the damage is due to oxidative stress on the endothelial cells and the resulting poor blood flow to the organs.

Step 5 – Control Your Weight. If you’re overweight by 30 pounds or more, then you need to make some positive changes in your eating patterns.  I’m not talking about going on a diet.  Diets don’t work! Most people have dieted their way to their current overweight condition.  The article “The Secret to Weight Loss! can assist you in implementing some simple keys; keys that can make a major impact on your weight and overall health.  Additionally, by controlling your weight you can also help lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol level, and better control your blood sugar.

Step 6 – Increase Your Fiber Intake! At best the typical American is only getting 50% of the needed fiber in their diet.  Proper fiber intake may reduce 3 of the risks for stroke:  cholesterol, diabetes, and overweight/obesity. This step is so important that I have prepared a special article entitled, “Fiber and Cholesterol Reduction!” There is also a guide entitled, “Fiber, Cholesterol and Other Heath Benefits!” This guide identifies foods that will add more fiber to your diet.  This is an important step in learning how to prevent stroke.

Step 7 – Increase Your Water Intake. Proper water intake is fundamental to good health and proper weight management.  Use this simple rule of thumb.   You need 8 ounce of water for every 15 pounds of body weight. Coke, coffee, and other doctored beverages don’t count.  Only pure water!

Step 8 – Stop Smoking! You know this is a nasty habit.  Not only does smoking affect your lungs but it also affects your heart, pulmonary arteries, liver and several other systems.  Once you stop smoking, your risk from this activity will drop significantly within two years.

If you’re a woman over 30 who smokes and takes high-estrogen birth-control pills your risk for a stroke is 22 times more likely than the average non-smoker!

Step 9 – Learn STR. Smile, Talk, Raise could save your life and the life of a loved one!  I’ve designed a special “Stroke Warning Sign – The STR Poster!” that you can download and print off. Share it with family, friends, and neighbors.  Ask your barber, hair stylist, and local merchant to display it in a prominent place for as many as possible to see.  Please help educate our entire community. Together our quick response could be the difference between life or death, permanent disability or significant recovery.

Step 10 – Utilize Integrative L-arginine / L-citrulline Supplementation. Your endothelial cells line all of your cardiovascular system.  They have a total surface volume equal to approximately 4 tennis courts.  They also have a tremendous influence over the health of the cardiovascular system.  Unfortunately, your endothelial cells are damaged by oxidative stresses caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and high blood sugar levels.  This damage reduces their ability to properly produce nitric oxide which is critical to cardiovascular health.

By using a proven L-arginine / L-citrulline supplement you can help prevent and reverse this oxidative stress to the endothelial cells.  You can also improve their ability to produce nitric oxide which is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system.  This is extremely important for the African American community.

Genetic research has uncovered a significant genetic variance that directly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in many people of African descent.  African Americans produce too much of an enzyme called arginase.  In the bloodstream, arginase destroys the amino acid L-Arginine so that it’s no longer available for the production of nitric oxide. This can lead to weakened or damaged blood vessels and significantly increase the risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke.

I recommend ProArgi-9 Plus since it has been clinical shown to improve the cardiovascular system and help to heal and reverse the damage to the endothelial cells allowing them to properly produce nitric oxide.

Step 11 – Control Your Alcohol Consumption. For most, moderate drinking doesn’t affect their risk for stroke.  “Moderate” drinking means limiting your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day.  By definition, a “moderate” drink is 1.5 oz. of hard liquor, 4 oz. of wine, or 12 oz. of beer.  However, drinking more than 2 drinks per day may increase your stroke risk by 50%.

Conclusion

I hope these 11 Steps will be a direct benefit in helping you learn how to prevent a stroke. I’ve given you some very specific steps.  These steps can start you on the path towards reducing your risk for stroke while improving your overall health and wellness.  As you continue to read articles and gain information, you will be learning how to make other positive changes in your life.

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 contained in this article about stroke 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.

African Americans and Cardiovascular Disease!

African American DoctorCardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people worldwide.  Unfortunately, it’s even worse for the African American community.  There are several reasons for this and hopefully this article will help begin the process of changing this sad reality.   To address these reasons I’ve broken this article into three parts:  The Bad News, Several Underlining Causes, and Steps to Decrease Your Risk! 

The Bad News! 

It’s important for you to understand the depth of cardiovascular disease confronting the African American community.  Below is a brief summary of the ailments that directly affect African Americans:  

  • Diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes has grown to epidemic proportions in the United States.  People with diabetes have a greater risk for stroke, heart disease and circulatory issues.  Most diabetes-related deaths are due to cardiovascular disease.  Twice as many African Americans will develop diabetes when compared to the Caucasian community. 
  • Erectile Dysfunction.  Erectile dysfunction affects 50% of the male population over the age 40 and is even greater in the African American community. 
  • Heart Disease.  African American women in the age range of 25-44 have a 2.5 times greater risk of coronary heart disease and African American men have a 1.5 times greater risk than the Caucasian community. 
  • High Blood Pressure.  The number one risk factor for stroke is high blood pressure, and 1 out of every 3 African Americans suffers from this ailment.  The American Heart Association estimates that 28% of African American adults and more than 66% of African Americans over the age of 60 have high blood pressure.  
  • High Cholesterol Levels.  High blood cholesterol is a significant risk factor for heart disease.  Unfortunately 50% of African American men and 54% of women have too much cholesterol circulating in their blood stream. 
  • Sickle Cell Anemia.  It’s estimated that one in 12 African Americans has sickle cell trait and one out of every 400 births have sickle cell anemia. 
  • Stroke.  African Americans are twice as likely to die from a stroke as Caucasians.  The rate of having their first stroke is almost doubled that of Caucasians.  One half of all African American women will die from either a stroke or heart disease.  For those with sickle cell anemia, 11% will have experienced a stroke by the age of 20.  

That’s quite a list of ailments affecting African Americans.  If you look closely at all seven health issues you will see that the common denominator is your cardiovascular system.     

The key for reducing your health risk for these cardiovascular diseases is to make sure your cardiovascular system is as healthy as possible.  This article will provide several steps to address this but before we do you need to understand some of the underlining causes of why cardiovascular disease is so prevalent in the African American community. 

Several Underlining Causes! 

Within your cardiovascular system there is one particular essential amino acid, one critical signaling molecule, one critical cellular structure and one detrimental enzyme that directly impact its overall health.  They are: 

  • L-arginine – Key Essential Amino Acid
  • Nitric Oxide – Key Signaling Molecule
  • Endothelial Cells – Key Cellular Structure
  • Arginase – Key Detrimental Enzyme 

The first three keys of L-arginine, nitric oxide and endothelial cells are interrelated so we will examine them as a whole.  The endothelial cells form the interior lining of all your blood vessels.  These cells ultimately determine your cardiovascular health.  One function of these endothelial cells is to take the essential amino acid L-arginine and convert it into the signaling molecule nitric oxide.  Very simply, you couldn’t live without nitric oxide! 

Nitric oxide is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system.  It regulates blood vessel tone and flexibility.  Its production is completely dependent upon the health of your endothelial cells and an adequate supply of the essential amino acid L-arginine.  Here are some of the benefits of nitric oxide: 

  • Nitric oxide regulates the muscle tone of blood vessels to have a major impact on controlling blood pressure.  This directly relates to high blood pressure.
  • Nitric oxide causes penile erections by dilating blood vessels.  This directly relates to erectile dysfunction.
  • Nitric oxide prevents blood platelet cells from grouping together in a clot.  This minimizes blockages in the blood vessels to reduce the risk for heart attacks, strokes and complications from sickle cell anemia.
  • Nitric oxide promotes vascular reparative mechanisms and is one of the keys to reversing atherosclerosis.  This helps to reduce the damage caused by high cholesterol levels and assists in preventing the vascular complications of diabetes. 

Nitric oxide is literally involved in all cells to help keep you fit and healthy.  It’s important to understand that this interrelationship between the endothelial cells, L-arginine and nitric oxide production is common for all races.  

What is not common is a genetic polymorphism inherent to the African American population.  This genetic polymorphism causes African Americans to have higher levels of an enzyme called arginase in their blood stream.  Arginase destroys L-arginine which is the main ingredient for creating nitric oxide in the body. 

For the African American community, nitric oxide production is compromised on both sides of the equation!

On the front end, the enzyme arginase destroys L-arginine which interferes with the production of nitric oxide.  On the back end, the health of your endothelial cells determines how much of the remaining L-arginine can be converted to nitric oxide.  Unfortunately, your endothelial cells are damaged by high blood pressure, high sugar levels, high cholesterol, smoking, and oxidative stress.  This damage reduces the production of nitric oxide which compounds the problem and increases the risk for cardiovascular disease. 

Steps to Decrease Your Risk! 

Given the above information there are several important steps to decreasing your risk for cardiovascular disease.      

Step 1 – Monitor your blood pressure.  High blood pressure damages your endothelial cells.  If you do not know what your blood pressure is then you need to go to your doctor’s office, local pharmacy or health clinic and get your blood pressure taken.  If you have high blood pressure, then you need to take steps to bring it back into a normal range.  This is your first and most important step.  It’s so important that the Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program was established to exclusively address the issue of high blood pressure on a national level.  For more information on participating barbershops, go to http://www.blackbarbershop.org/ .

Step 2 – Monitor your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  High sugar and cholesterol levels damage your endothelial cells.  Diet is extremely important for both of these areas.  One simple but highly effective step to stabilize your blood sugar levels and help your body naturally reduce its cholesterol levels is to increase your fiber intake.  Including dry beans or legumes into your diet is a quick and delicious way to increase your fiber intake. In fact studies have shown that consuming dry beans four times or more per week, compared with less than once a week, lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 22 percent. 

Step 3 – Stop smoking!  Smoking damages your endothelial cells.  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.  

Step 4 – Increase L-arginine intake!  In addition to protecting your endothelial cells, you need to get an adequate intake of the essential amino acid L-arginine which is found in foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, and other protein sources.  Most people take in enough L-arginine to meet basic bodily needs.  However, when your diet is poor and/or your stress level is high, then this essential amino acid will be lacking.  Couple this with the enzyme arginase that destroys L-arginine and the potential risk for cardiovascular disease is increased. 

Step 5 – Use L-citrulline to bypass Arginase!  Your body will convert the amino acid L-citrulline into L-arginine to help maintain its production of nitric oxide.  This process also helps to bypass the arginase enzyme since it has no effect on L-citrulline.  Having a good supply of L-citrulline provides the body with a 24 to 36 hour window in the production of nitric oxide.  This is important for all population groups but it’s critically important for African Americans especially those with sickle cell anemia.  Unfortunately, L-citrulline is not prevalent in most foods we eat.  Thus, supplementation is usually required. 

Step 6 – Consider ProArgi-9 Plus!  There is a clinically proven nutritional supplement called ProArgi-9 Plus which has the ability to bring in the proper balance of L-arginine and L-citrulline.  This product also combines other heart healthy ingredients to significantly improve the health of the endothelial cells and their ability to properly produce nitric oxide.  The most recent validation for this product is the remarkable results obtain for 33 congestive heart failure patients in the High Desert Heart Institute study.  

Conclusion

You have the power to directly improve the health of your endothelial cells to significantly reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.  And, for those with sickle cell anemia, you can help to reduce your symptoms.  It all centers on helping your endothelial cells function optimally, with an above average supply of L-arginine, and a way to bypass the arginase enzyme so that nitric oxide is properly produced.  Improved production of nitric oxide is critical to helping African Americans decrease their risk for cardiovascular 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 contain 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.

Hormone Replacement Therapy!

 

Confusion About the Risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy! 

Nurse2Once again confusion has entered the world of hormone replacement therapy.  I bring this up in a heart disease blog because the type of treatment for menopausal symptoms can have an effect on cardiovascular health.  

The latest confusion comes out of an article from ThirdAge which I will link to below.  The article focuses on Dr. Shelley Salpeter and her colleagues at Santa Clara Medical Center in California.  They examined 19 studies involving 16,283 women with a mean age of 55 years.  Dr. Salpeter and her colleagues found that hormone replacement therapy was associated with a 27 percent reduction in relative mortality risk and an absolute risk reduction of around 1 percent.   

Their collective research is published in the American Journal of Medicine.  They felt it was important to address the concerns raised by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study that showed postmenopausal women over 63 years of age had an increased risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and blood clotting due to hormone replacement therapy.  Dr. Salpeter felt that the WHI results were poorly interpreted especially as they applied to younger women.  Quoting from the ThirdAge article: 

“Available evidence indicates that hormone therapy in younger postmenopausal women increases the risk of breast cancer and pulmonary embolism, and reduces risk of cardiovascular events, colon cancer, and hip fracture.  The total mortality benefit for younger women seen in the randomized trials and observational studies indicates that the reduction in deaths from coronary heart disease, fracture and colon cancer outweighed the increase in deaths from breast cancer, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.” 

So What Does This Mean? 

It means risk / reward.  It means risk using hormone replacement therapy to help with menopausal symptoms and be rewarded with the potential for less coronary heart disease, fractures and colon cancer while increasing your risk for breast cancer, stroke, and pulmonary embolism.  Since the absolute risk for death has only a 1 percentage difference let’s not be overly concerned since the short term health benefits outweigh the negatives; especially since 12xs more women die from heart disease then from breast cancer. 

My question is:  Why not a reward / reward option!  Instead of making conventional hormone replacement therapy the first option why not the last option!  Why not work with a qualified health professional to look for natural and effective alternatives to peri menopausal and menopausal symptoms?  Why not apply that some consultive approach with your health professional for cardiovascular solutions?

To help education you on both sides of the menopausal equation I’ve a couple of links below: 

http://www.thirdage.com/menopause/hrt-reduces-mortality-risk-in-50s – This links you to the actual article from ThirdAge in case I’ve misinterpreted the information. 

http://www.amjmed.com/article/PIIS0002934309006664/fulltext – This links you to Dr. Salpeter’s actual research article posted on The American Journal of Medicine’s website. 

Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes! – One of the symptoms of peri menopause and menopause is hot flashes and learning how to effectively use natural remedies can be a Godsend for women. 

What Causes Night Sweats! – This links to another one of my articles.  For many, night sweats are even worse than hot flashes so learning what causes them and how to stop them can do wonders for your overall health. 

The two articles will also provide additional links to help educate you on http://no-more-heart-disease.com/hot-flashes-and-night-sweats/potential solutions to menopausal symptoms[/intlink]

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.

Cure for Hot Flashes!

 

Can the Cure for Hot Flashes be a Cardiovascular Health Issue? 

Natural RemediesYou may be wondering why a blog on heart disease would contain a post on the cure for hot flashes.  The answer lies in the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study.  This study was launched in 1991 and included 161,808 generally healthy postmenopausal women.  It was designed to be a major 15-year research program to address the most common causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in this category of women. 

The clinical trials were designed to test the effects of hormone therapy, diet, and calcium and vitamin D supplements on heart disease, bone health, and breast and colorectal cancer. 

The study was stopped in 2002 because the results of the study strongly suggested that conventional hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms increased the risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and http://no-more-heart-disease.com/aspirin-or-nitric-oxide/blood clotting[/intlink] in women.  Three direct health issues that involve the cardiovascular system. 

This caused a surge in women looking for natural remedies for peri menopause and menopausal symptoms.  Remedies that would protect themselves but also help relive symptoms like hot flashes!  This surge created a tremendous amount of confusion which still persists today.  

To help address this issue I’ve two articles you can link to. 

Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes! – This article will address one of the most annoying of all the menopausal symptoms which is hot flashes.  Learning how to effectively use natural remedies for hot flashes can be a Godsend for women who are experiencing this embarrassing and debilitating problem. 

http://no-more-heart-disease.com/hot-flashes-and-night-sweats/Get Rid of Your Hot Flashes and Night Sweats Once and for All![/intlink] – This short video and information sheet contains my wife Sherry’s story.  How we addressed one health issue of http://no-more-heart-disease.com/nitric-oxide-and-blood-pressure/high blood pressure[/intlink] and in the process also completely eliminate her hot flashes and night sweats.  If this video and information speaks to you, then I would invite you to join our group. 

It’s estimated that 80% of women today experience some type of menopausal symptom resulting from hormonal imbalance.  Depending upon your method of treatment, this could also have a potential affect on your cardiovascular system.  Hopefully, these two articles will help educate you so that when you work with a qualified health professional you can design a program that improves your heart health while providing you with a cure for hot flashes. 

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.

Ask Dr. Mao, Calcium, Heart Disease and Nitric Oxide!

On Friday, October 30, 2009 Dr. Mao (Dr. Maoshing Ni) posted an article on Yahoo Health entitled “What Soft Drinks are Doing to Your Body.”  Dr. Mao posted some very good information and if you click on the above title it will link you to the actual article. 

Two particular items really stood out for me because they have HUGE RAMIFICATIONS for heart disease and your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide – the master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system.  This is what Dr. Mao posted:

“Carbonation depletes calcium
Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis.

Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.”

Both phosphoric acid and caffeine have a direct effect on depleting the body’s calcium.  Dr. Mao relates this to increasing your risk for osteoporosis.  While this is true what he doesn’t talk about is how this directly affects your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide. 

There are many critical elements to your health and your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide is one of them.  Your endothelial cells produce Nitric Oxide from the essential amino acid L-arginine by the enzymatic action of Nitric Oxide Synthase or NOS.  The activity of the NOS enzymes are calcium dependent.  When phosphoric acid depletes blood calcium it directly affects the NOS enzymes’ ability to produce Nitric Oxide. 

Additionally, the NOS enzymes are pH dependent and work best in slightly alkaline (basic) conditions.  Phosphoric acid causes a change in pH to the acidic side.  This means that the phosphoric acid found in almost all dark colas causes a depletion of blood calcium and a change in blood pH.  These two factors directly affect the effectiveness and the efficiency of the NOS enzymes resulting in a decreased production of Nitric Oxide.  This has the potential to increase the risks for a wide range of health issues especially those related to the cardiovascular system. 

Two Additional Factors That Have a Nitric Oxide Connection!

Nitric Oxide is a very powerful free radicalWhen unregulated it can cause oxidative stress leading to tissue damage and death!  Your immune system uses Nitric Oxide to destroy pathogens.  As Dr. Mao points out one of the consequences of a large consumption of soft drinks is the depression of the immune system especially a decrease in white blood cell count.  This weakens your body’s ability to fight disease and elevates your risk for several types of cancer. 

Additionally, elevated blood glucose levels increase the formation of Advanced Glycation End products commonly referred to as AGEs.  As you age your structural proteins are damaged by a process known as glycation.  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 and in particular with atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis damages the vascular system especially the endothelial cells.  This damage reduces your body’s ability to properly produce Nitric Oxide.

Every time you consume a dark cola you’re creating an environment that can impact your body’s ability to produce Nitric Oxide.  Whether it is a reduction in available calcium, an acidic change in blood pH, or damage to the endothelial cells from Advanced Glycation End products, you risk loosing the positive impact Nitric Oxide can have on your cardiovascular health and your overall wellness.

The following articles from my www.Aging-No-More.com website will provide you with some additional information about the negative impact dark colas can have on your overall health:

The Dark Cola Drink Versus Water!

Is High Fructose Corn Syrup Good or Bad for You?

How Advanced Glycation End Products Cause You to AGE!

I hope the information from Dr. Mao as well as the additional insights from this post and linked articles will help you understand how destructive soft drinks, especially dark colas, can be to your cardiovascular system and overall wellness.  If you found this information valuable, then please share it with others.

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.

Update on the Groundbreaking Heart Disease Study!

Nurse2This is an update on the groundbreaking heart disease study that occurred at the High Desert Heart Institute located in Victorville, California.  The participants were patients who were in the Congestive Heart Failure Unit.  Each participant was “at the maximum of pharmacological and medical management.”  Although the results have not yet been published, the following 18 minute interview with Dan SwinDell is remarkable.  In it he talks about how this groundbreaking study came about, how medically challenged the participants were, the exact protocol used for taking ProArgi-9 Plus, and some general trending statements about the results of the study.

Click Here to Listen to Dan SwinDell Provide Further Details About This Groundbreaking Heart Disease Study at the High Desert Heart Institute!

I found it extremely interesting that Dr. Siva Arunasalam, the Founder and Director of the High Desert Heart Institute, is now using a ProArgi-9 Plus protocol in treating patients at the institute.  As new information is released about this study, I will make sure that the readers of this blog will get the full details.

If you’re interested in how effective this clinical study was then listen to Angelo Cici’s testimony and how this clinical study saved his life!

Together we can 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.

Liz’s Heart Disease Testimony!

NurseHeart disease can take many different forms.  For Liz Cassitas, a mom and cardiac care nurse, is took the form of bradycardia.  Bradycardia is a slow heart rate usually defined as less than 60 beats per minute.  A heart rate less than 60 beats per minute is not unusual for highly trained athletes but it is unusual for normal adults. 

Liz had an extremely low heart rate and was put into the cardiac care unit at the same hospital at which she works.  Although it was recommended that she have a pacemaker put in to regulate her heart beat, Liz refused.  After being released from the hospital a neighbor of hers recommended a product called ProArgi-9 Plus.  This is the product that is at the heart of the groundbreaking study just recently completed at the High Desert Heart Institute.

The following 14 minute interview is Liz Cassitas sharing her testimony and how the ProArgi-9 Plus helped to address several health issues:

Click Here to Listen as Liz Cassitas Shares Her Emotional Testimony!

Liz’s testimony is a powerful story of what can happen when the endothelial cells are properly nourished so that they can produce Nitric Oxide which is the master signaling molecule of the cardiovascular system.  If you watched the American Health Journal’s feature on Dr. Louis Ignarro he points out that when you improve the blood flow to your organs, thru proper Nitric Oxide production, they respond favorably. 

It’s what Liz experienced.  Her heart rate returned to normal, her bowel movements returned to normal, her cholesterol levels returned to normal, her arthritis become a non-issue, and she lost 28 pounds.  Not only was Liz able to get off many of her medications but she saw a huge savings in her pocketbook.  It positively changed her life and her health.  As I always caution, if you decide to become proactive with your health by implementing natural supplements, then work with a qualified medical professional.

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.

Dr. Louis Ignarro – Nobel Prize Laureate

Preventing and Reversing Cardiovascular Disease thru Nitric Oxide!

In 1998 Dr. Louis Ignarro shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine with two other American scientists for the discovery of Nitric Oxide and how it is the master signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system.  Dr. Ignarro has over 30 years of research in Nitric Oxide.  He firmly believes that Nitric Oxide can both prevent as well as reverse cardiovascular disease. 

How important is preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both the United States and the world.  Over 60 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease.  Heart disease is 12 times more deadly to women than breast cancer.  As you can see by these statistics preventing and reversing cardiovascular disease could make a huge impact on life expectancies especially if it was your own life.

The American Health Journal produced a 30 minute feature on Dr. Ignarro and his work with Nitric Oxide.  This feature can be found on YouTube.  Whoever posted this feature divided it into 3 parts and misspelled Dr. Ignarro’s name (Ignarrao instead of Ignarro).  I wanted to bring all three parts into one blog post.    

The information is excellent.  In Dr. Ignarro’s own words he will tell you how Nitric Oxide and the amino acid L-Arginine can prevent and reverse heart disease naturally to age proof your cardiovascular system.    

Part 1 – Please be patient with the first 45 seconds since it contains a promo for Western University and the lead in to the American Health Journal.  As Dr. Ignarro is introduced, he takes us back to when he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine.  After he shares his feelings about this high honor Dr. Ignarro talks about Nitric Oxide.  How it lowers blood pressure, prevents strokes and heart attacks, improves blood flow to the organs, acts as a vasodilator, protects against coronary artery disease, lowers bad cholesterol levels, and is the body’s natural way to protect against heart disease.  This video abruptly ends and is picked up in Part 2.  Total time is 8:58.

Part 2 – Dr. Ignarro’s completes his discussion about how the body uses the essential amino acid L-arginine to product Nitric Oxide.  How a deficiency in Nitric Oxide is really a deficiency in L-arginine.  Then Dr. Andrew Myers is introduced and he discusses how the endothelial cells regulate the production of Nitric Oxide.  Dr. Ignarro returns to discuss all the different benefits of Nitric Oxide such as keeping the blood vessels healthy, preventing blood clots, maintaining blood pressure, maintaining the normal balance between HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol), and the necessity of Nitric Oxide for the prevention of erectile dysfunctionThe segment that I found most interesting was how Nitric Oxide facilitates memory and learning.  Dr. Ignarro even discusses how Nitric Oxide can restore memory and help in Alzheimer’s disease.  Total time is 9:06.

Part 3 – For some reason the sound is a bit off in this segment so please don’t let it distract you.  Dr. Ignarro discusses the importance of diet and vitamins especially the antioxidants found in garlic and green tea.  He talks about the importance of exercise and how exercise has been shown to boost or stimulate Nitric Oxide production.  And, he concludes by talking about his book NO More Heart Disease and how he tried to communicate the science of Nitric Oxide at a level everyone could understand and apply.  Total time is 8:50.

Dr. Ignarro’s Passion!

As you can see and hear from these three videos Dr. Ignarro passionately believes that Nitric Oxide can prevent and reverse heart disease.  He firmly believes that Nitric Oxide is the body’s natural way to protect against cardiovascular disease and without side effects.  Dr. Ignarro and I both share a common goal.  That goal is to educate as many people as possible on the health benefits of an effective L-arginine/Nitric Oxide protocol so that they can work with their physician to help prevent and/or reverse heart disease.

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.