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Optimism and Heart Health, Dark Chocolate and Blood Pressure, 5 Lesser-Known Heart Attack and Stroke Risks

admin - August 31, 2012

Friday Roundup:


How Happiness Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Happiness keeps you healthy - Life Line ScreeningBeing happy isn’t just good for your mind—it’s good for your heart, too. Recent studies confirm the positive link between optimism and a healthy heart.

We already know that sadness and anxiety can have a negative impact on the heart, but these recent studies focus on the positive-side of the issue. Increased levels of happiness and optimism have been found to lower levels of heart disease risk.

After researchers reviewed over 200 studies investigating this link between optimism and heart health, they discovered that individuals with higher levels of happiness, hope, optimism and satisfaction had reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.

So how can you strive for more happiness and less anxiety or stress? Taking part in more of the healthy activities that make you happy or bring you satisfaction, being around people who are positive influences, avoiding negativity and negative thoughts and making simple lifestyle changes to better take care of your body are just a few options.

Research has also shown that exercise releases cortisol and endorphins that can boost happiness and feel-good energy. So not only will your friends and family be glad that you’re happy, your body (especially your heart) will too.

Do you have serious heart disease risk factors? Consider learning more about the preventive health screenings offered by Life Line Screening that provide valuable peace of mind. Schedule your heart screening today.

To read the full article on heart health and happiness, view this link:


Dark Chocolate May Lower Blood Pressure

Think chocolate is bad for you? Studies show dark chocolate may actually benefit your body.Dark Chocolate and Lower Blood Pressure - Life Line Screening

Researchers analyzed 20 studies with results that showed eating dark chocolate lowered the participants’ blood pressure levels. The reason is because nitric oxide, a chemical released by the flavanols in cocoa, relaxes blood vessels and therefore makes it easier for blood to flow. Dark chocolate is recommended over milk chocolate because it contains higher amounts of cocoa.

The amount of cocoa consumed by participants ranged from 3g to 105g per day per participant. The cocoa consumption resulted in a 2-3mmHg reduction in blood pressure over a time period of two weeks.

This small reduction could be more beneficial if studied over longer periods of time. High blood pressure is linked to 54 percent of strokes and 47 percent of coronary heart disease worldwide.

“Although we don’t yet have evidence for any sustained decrease in blood pressure, the small reduction we saw over the short term might complement other treatment options and might contribute to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” lead researcher Karin Ried of the National Institute of Integrative Medicine in Australia said in a BBC news article.

There are healthier ways to lower blood pressure as well, including eating foods like beans, apricots, blackberries and applies which also contain flavanols without the fat and sugars found in chocolate.

High blood pressure increases your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. If you have high blood pressure and are therefore at an increased risk for these conditions, learn more about the health screenings from Life Line Screening today.

To read the full article on dark chocolate and blood pressure, view this link:


5 Lesser-Known Heart Attack and Stroke Risks

We’ve posted many articles on what raises or lowers heart attack and stroke risk, but below we’ve rounded up some lesser-known risks that could up your odds of having a stroke or heart attack.

1. Snoring: More snoring leads to possible obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) which is a sleep disorder that can raise heart attack or stroke risk. If you snore, wake up at night for no reason and have bouts of daytime drowsiness, talk to your doctor.

2. Watching TV: People who watch TV more than four hours per day have more than twice the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Limit your TV time to no more than two hours a day to avoid this risk increase.

3. Vitamin D deficiency: For those who have low levels of vitamin D, the risk of heart attack or stroke doubles. Get enough of this vitamin by sitting in the sun (with sunscreen, of course), drinking no more than two glasses of wine per day or eating more foods like fish and eggs.

4. Migraines: For women who experience visual disturbances (such as flashing lights) accompanied by migraines at least once a week, the risk of stroke or heart attack quadruples. This type of headache is linked to patent foramen ovale (PFO), a condition that consists of a hole between the heart’s two upper chambers that can lead to blood clots. By not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, this threat can be reduced.

5. Gum disease: People with gum disease are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to people with healthy gums. Why? The bacteria that cause gum disease can also damage blood vessels. The next time you go to the dentist, ask them to check your gums.

Do you have one of the risk factors mentioned above? Explore all the benefits of having a preventive health screening now before the unthinkable happens. Learn more about Life Line Screening now.

To read more lesser-known heart attack and stroke risks, view this link:


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