Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, with coronary heart disease (CHD), the most common type, killing over 382,000 people each year.
Over 805,000 Americans suffer some type of heart attack on an annual basis according to the CDC's statistics on heart disease, and of those, 605,000 are first-time heart attacks compared with 200,000 second-time sufferers.
Many people recover from heart attacks and go on to live productive, fulfilling lives, but heart attacks may take a serious toll on human health, even long after they occur.
Heart attacks can also lead to, or be associated with other conditions according to the Cleveland Clinic, including:
- Heart failure
- Heart valve problems
- Sudden cardiac arrest
- Depression and anxiety
- Blood pressure related issues
- Arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
- Ventricular septal defects or free wall ruptures
Women tend to recover better from heart attacks, especially younger women under the age of 45.
Considering these and the many other negative effects, costs, traumas and difficulties associated with heart attacks, prevention against having a heart attack is by far the best defense.
Heart Attack Risk Grows As We Age
According to a 2010 study, the incidence of heart attacks is seven times more likely in people ages 65-74 than those aged 35-44.
Once someone reaches age 80 and above, a two-to-three fold increase occurs, compared with people aged 65-69.
Another study of over 322,000 people found the following rates of heart attacks with obstructive coronary artery disease (MI-CAD) and heart attack with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA) combined:
Over 50: 18%
Heart attacks predominantly affect older people, but that doesn't mean that people younger than 50 are out of the woods.
According to Dr. Ron Blankstein, a preventable cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, heart attacks appear to be on the rise among younger people.
"It used to be incredibly rare to see anyone under age 40 come in with a heart attack," he said according to EverydayHealth.com.
A review presented by the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific session in 2019 found that the number of adults under 40 having heart attacks rose every year between 2006 and 2016.
Also in 2019, 3552 heart transplants were performed in the United States, the highest amount of all-time.
The good news according to Dr. Blankstein is that the majority of heart attacks happen in cases with underlying risk factors that can be completely prevented or treated.
The Three Pillars of Outstanding Heart Health
Heart health is complex, but the following three aspects are among the most important ways to prevent heart disease and support a healthy heart.
Healthy Cholesterol - Blood cholesterol is a waxy substance similar to fat that is produced by your liver. This type of cholesterol is essential for health, as it is used for producing hormones and digesting fatty foods.
Cholesterol is produced in the body, but it is recommended by many doctors to consume dietary cholesterol in moderation, according to the CDC.
Dietary cholesterol is found in animal-based foods such as meat, seafood, butter, poultry, eggs, cheese and other dairy products.
There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as "bad" cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good" cholesterol.
The former type can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries if you eat too much of it, and may result in heart attack or stroke.
Improving your cholesterol levels through diet and supplementation can help reduce your risk for these devastating cardiac events.
Triglycerides - Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood that your body converts to energy.
These are useful for your health, but high levels can be damaging.
Some ways to lower triglycerides into the healthy range include avoiding processed foods, adding more fiber to your daily routine, eating less saturated fat, and avoiding trans fats.
Blood Pressure - This is defined as the measure of the pressure or force that blood causes inside your arteries. Arteries disseminate oxygen and nutrients throughout the body so it can function properly.
The heart typically pumps 60 to 100 times a minute, 24 hours a day.
When blood pressure becomes too high, you may be at risk for cardiovascular disease(s).
Other high blood pressure risks include: family history, being black, being age 60 or over, having high cholesterol, not exercising enough, smoking, having diabetes, obesity, using birth control pills, and having a high salt diet.
Improving Risk Factors Through Diet and Lifestyle
As mentioned by Dr. Blankstein, improved heart health and heart attack prevention are possible through dietary and lifestyle changes.
The simplest way to improve starting today is to change your diet in the following ways:
- Reduce saturated fats
- Increase soluble fiber
- Eliminate trans fats
- Eat foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
- Add whey protein to your diet. Studies show it can improve cholesterol and reduce weight.
- Add heart healthy spices such as garlic, dill, nutmeg, parsley, paprika and oregano
- Eat more nuts and seeds
Exercise is also an important factor.
Every person is different, so experiment with different workouts, sports, and activities to find which ones fit you best. Examples of heart-healthy exercises include weight training, walking, hiking, running, jogging, tennis, basketball, soccer, and yoga.
Next, avoid smoking. Smoking is listed as a cause of heart disease and may cause circulation problems, diabetes, upper respiratory difficulties and other health problems.
If you do drink alcohol, drink it in moderation. Too much alcohol can cause many health problems.
Oftentimes, people drink alcohol, or smoke, to reduce stress. Utilizing exercise instead will improve your health instead of harming it.
Another way to destress is to take time out to laugh. Taking life too seriously can cause issues, so be sure to unwind with 20 minutes of comedy each day, and to make time for people who make you smile.
Oral hygiene is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of whole body and heart health. The mouth can be a breeding ground for bad bacteria that may cause heart problems, so be sure to floss, brush twice per day, and practice oil pulling, which involves swishing around coconut oil or similar oils with bacteria-killing herbs like peppermint and clove for at least 5-10 minutes like a mouthwash.
Finally, taking the right supplements can help provide your heart with the nutrients it needs to function at peak health and efficiency.
The healthiest supplements for heart health include:
- Soluble fiber. Taking fiber in supplement form ensures you will get enough.
- Niacin. This B vitamin cleans your arteries, helping to reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels by up to 50%.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, especially from fish oil.
- Nitric oxide. Our bodies produce less of this crucial heart protective, blood flow enhancing substance as we age. Beet root extract is one of the best ways to achieve healthy levels.
- CoQ10. This enzyme may aid recovery in people who've had heart or bypass surgeries. It lowers blood pressure and improves heart health considerably.
- Grape seed extract. It helps with high cholesterol and swelling.
- Vitamin K. It slows the progression of calcification of heart valves and the vascular system.
When taken together, these nutrients, enzymes and vitamins combine to support a healthy heart from the inside-out, reducing your risk of disease and improving your quality of exercise, energy, and your life itself as a result.
Taken separately, these nutrients add up to nearly $200.00 total.
That's why the Heart & Vascular Health from Healthycell was created.
This blend is scientifically formulated with all of the above nutrients at a fraction of the cost, along with others to support ideal, lifelong heart health.
It contains nutrients that support the three main pillars of heart health in one gel pack: healthy triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol support.
Try Healthycell's Heart & Vascular Health, available in February 2023, and don't forget to implement these tips in your daily life for a healthier and stronger heart.