Heart Matters

πŸ’•photo credit: Cocoamoni πŸ’•

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for about 1/3 of all deaths, according to the World Health Organization. This frightening stat has been attributed to high blood pressure, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL), diabetes, smoking & secondhand smoke exposure, obesity, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.Β  A small percentage of us inherit genes that predispose us to the disease. But the great majority of us put ourselves at risk due to lifestyle choices.

Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, in his important book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty, writes that cell membranes require water to hold them together.  When the body is not sufficiently hydrated, cells produce cholesterol to take care of the job.  This, he says, can contribute to high cholesterol, which often correlates with heart disease.  (Just one of the myriad of reasons that proper hydration is so vital.)

Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, is a surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. After decades of performing operations on patients with heart disease, he began researching preventative measures.  Now, Dr. Esselstyn, no longer working as a surgeon, heads the Esselstyn Heart Disease Program at Cleveland Clinic, where he counsels on lifestyle choices (that) contribute to the development and progression of cardiovascular disease and how to slow or reverse it.  His primary recommendation is plant-based eating.  Within 12 weeks of committing to his program, patients’ symptoms have diminished or disappeared, and within a few months, angiograms have shown a widening of the coronary arteries β€” a reversal of heart disease.

Dr. Dean Ornish is another physician who has developed a program for reversing heart disease via lifestyle measures.  His program has been so successful that it is covered by patients’ Medicare benefits.  According to Dr. Ornish, it is the combined effect of four lifestyle elements that make the transformative difference: nutrition, fitness, stress management, and love & support. 

Love and support, you say?  Really?  A meta-analysis on Frontiers in Psychology reports on 1,187 studies done with more than 1,458 million participants on the roles of love and social support in health and longevity.  Their importance, the write-up concludes, is equivalent to that documented for other risk factors such as smoking or obesity.  Amazing, wouldn’t you say?

Dr. Zach Bush, my favorite triple-board certified physician, on the heart page of his website, shares information on the role of chronic inflammation in heart disease.  Those with chronic inflammatory diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, COPD, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders (most of which can be improved or reversed with lifestyle changes, according to many sources) are shown to have an elevated risk of developing heart disease. Further, lack of exercise, poor diet, lack of sleep, and stress are associated with chronic systemic inflammation and an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  

I think most of us believe that heart disease starts later in life, or at the earliest, in young adults.  That was my assumption until a few years ago.  But in the early 1950’s, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported on research that had been done on the autopsied bodies of 300 Americans killed in the Korean War.  Almost 80% had visible evidence of coronary atherosclerosis, and some of them had artery blockage of 90%.  The average age of these soldiers was 22.  Related studies are reported in an article shared on the US National Library of Medicine indicating that the beginnings of heart disease shows in children as young as 1 month of age.  And according to Dr. Michael Greger in his NY Times Bestselling book How Not to Die, Italian researchers who examined the arteries of miscarriages and premies that died shortly after birth report that the arteries of fetuses whose mothers had high LDL levels were likely to contain arterial lesions.  Therefore, beyond prevention, we should work to reverse the heart disease (we) very likely already have, Dr. Greger writes.

The choices you make each day create your lifestyle, and your lifestyle often dictates your tendency toward cardiovascular disease.  Take time to consider the foods you eat, your sleep, water intake, physical activity, stress management, and social support, and make changes as needed.  Don’t put yourself at risk for dying from a largely preventable disease.

Blessings for Healthy Choices,

Lisa

The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

69 thoughts on “Heart Matters

  1. Thanks Lisa! Wow! Great information. Nothing like good info to excite me and encourage me to hydrate, the one main thing I’m not good enough at!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I am always in awe of how comprehensive you are in your posts and offer food for thought Lisa. Love the title of the book You Are Not Sick, You Are Thirsty! Truly an essential post that everyone can benefit from.

    Love Dean Ornish but he is way too strict for me and hard to adhere to. Does he still maintain 10-15 percent fat?

    Thanks and here’s to healthy hearts… your mine and everyone reading! πŸ’–

    Liked by 2 people

  3. On Fri, Feb 18, 2022 at 10:09 AM Micro of the Macro wrote:

    > Lisa at Micro of the Macro posted: ” [image: πŸ’•]photo credit: Cocoamoni [image: > πŸ’•] Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, > accounting for about 1/3 of all deaths, according to the World Health > Organization. This frightening stat has been attributed to high blood > pressure, high” >

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am amazed at how inflammation plays a part in so many health challenges. Thank you, my friend, for helping to get the word out. No doubt you will help save lives.

        I saw Izzy’s picture. Give her some hugs from me.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I did mention it before … I was the coordinator at a heart support group at a big private hospital for 11 years. And the one thing we clearly noticed was that the patients became younger and younger.
    And according to our cardiologists … most of them were not family related, but due to how they lived their life – stress, unhealthy diet and no exercise. It just confirms what you wrote in your post here … our heart health can benefit a lot from the healthy choices we make. Thanks for the reminder Lisa πŸ’Œ.
    And as always, love your photo’s!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A wonderful article, Lisa. Love and support is so important to each of us. Often, we get confused, and think we are doing things on our own, yet just about every action we take involves someone that either loves us or is supporting us, or both! Enjoyed this read. Have a great Saturday! ☺️

    Like

      1. Yes! I am inspired and others also must have been inspired. Stay blessed always. We are together to do better for humankind, whatever be it knowledge sharing. Knowledge shared is knowledge gained.
        Your posts are classic. I will have to read more for gaining more knowledge and gaining confidence to live a happy life in this particular body of ARUN.😊
        RegardsπŸ™

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for all this good information, Lisa…and really good timing too. I’ve been thinking a lot about this subject and keep hearing that silent voice in my heart area to do a little research/testing. Reading this right now is just another affirmation that I need to listen.
    Hope you are well…thanks for all of your support!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Lisa, thank you fir visiting my blog. In return I found this article of yours very interesting. I have just started to drink water, never used to and I think my body was crying out for it! Thank you. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Of course! And thank you for stopping by my blog. I’m pleased to hear you’re better at hydrating now than before. In my estimation, it’s one of the very best things we can do for maintaining or improving health. Have a great week! 🌞

      Like

  8. As a runner, I am getting very concerned about the rise of heart issues especially noted in the European soccer divisions and now showing up here even in the younger aged athletes. People in their prime health are coming up with sports ending heart anomalies. Will see how this all plays out over time s more and more data points are collected and analyzed especially when the effects of experimental mRNA are understood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Brian, it is most concerning. From my studies, I am convinced that epigenetics (brought about by lifestyle choices) can override most of the genetic tendencies with which we’re born. A healthy lifestyle is not just about exercise, though; there are many facets. Have a great week! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I found this very informative. With little changes over a period of time, you can reverse nearly every affliction. Through love, of one’s physical well-being and love from others, the journey towards health can be a fun process that brings joy to life. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent post! I love that cat!!! πŸ™‚ Love and support are so important to good health. I did not know about the impact of hydration on your cholesterol. Thank you for sharing all this great information!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The stark negative diagnosis of the word heart failure is a highly motivating factor for me in taking care of my physical being as I get older. I feel my elderly mother does the very same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. All of your posts have so much good information. I love your last paragraph which sums everything up. πŸ™‚ It is easy to get distracted and not focus on each one of these elements to good health. And yet, all of them matter and work in unison. You do inspire others to increase their efforts toward a healthy lifestyle. You are doing us a ‘world of good’, and I thank you for that!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Linda, your kind comment warms my heart, thank you. Indeed, it is easy to lose focus of what’s most important for health. But coming back to it again and again can be the difference between living a long, healthy life and suffering from a disease that can cut life short. Have a great weekend, my friend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I hope you have a good weekend also! I am going to practice adding little healthy habits into my day. Reading your posts and really having a deeper understanding of things has helped me a lot. πŸ™‚ It is one thing when someone tells you things that you should do. It is another thing, when they take the time to explain to you why you should do them. You add so many in depth details…I keep learning something new!

    Liked by 1 person

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