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Posts Tagged ‘heart disease’

Are You Following the Right Diet for Your Heart?

February 16, 2015

When it comes to taking care of your cardiovascular health, make sure your heart is in the right place.
More than fifty percent of Americans have dieted within the past year in an effort to improve their overall hear health, but are those diets doing the best they can for your heart? The only diet that has been proven to improve cardiovascular health is the Mediterranean diet, but very few people have adopted this method.

So why aren’t more people following this? Unhealthy choices that we make are from all of the confusing “fad” diets that exist, and the convenience of unhealthy foods.

Confusion About Dieting

There are plenty of diets that all say different messaging. Some focus on cutting out carbs, while others insist that fat is the unhealthy aspect in our diets.

However, not all fat is bad fat. Olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fat, is a staple in the Mediterranean diet.

The PREDIMED study found that for people at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events by 30 percent.

Convenience Foods Make Heart Health Inconvenient

While we may want to follow a heart healthy diet, we often stray from our diet for convenience reasons. Whether it’s grabbing something on the run, or making a quick visit to the vending machine at work, unhealthy foods are all around us.

Change Your Diet

After you cut through the clutter, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Finding ways to substitute healthier, Mediterranean style foods for unhealthier ones is actually very easy to do. A Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, fish, fruit, nuts, olive oil, lesser amounts of meat, and moderate wine consumption as well as consumption of whole grains. Repeatedly this combination of foods has shown to protect the heart and arteries.

Benefits of Soy Protein for Heart Health

September 18, 2014

Do you eat soy products? If you’re a woman, be sure to include them into your diet for a healthy heart. The key is to start eating soy early in life.

According to research from Wake Forest School of Medicine found that lifelong consumption produces the least atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries.

Most of the protein consumed in the United States comes from animal sources, and contributes to heart disease. Even eating a diet high in soy products early in life, but switching to a Western diet later in life contributes to just as much atherosclerosis as a lifelong Western diet.

In the study, conducted on monkeys, those who were fed soy and those that switched to a soy diet had better cholesterol levels than those who ate animal protein. However, those that ate a lifelong soy diet had a much lower proportion of complicated plaque in their arteries.

While there may be myths saying that soy is dangerous for your heart, soy actually does your heart good. In addition to helping prevent atherosclerosis, soy products can help young adults lower their blood pressure. Whole soy foods have high levels of protein and fiber which can help reduce bad cholesterol.

Where to Find Soy
If you want to incorporate soy into your diet, avoid eating soy burgers and energy bars since they are processed forms of soy. When soy is processed, its nutrients are stripped away.

Instead opt for fresh soy milk, edamame, tofu and fermented soy foods.


Other Ways to Protect Your Heart

At Life Line Screening, we believe that the power of prevention is essential to a long and healthy life, especially when it comes to your heart. We offer a heart disease screening that includes the following:

  • Complete Lipid Panel Screening (High Choelsterol)
  • C-reactive Protein Screening
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
  • Glucose Screening
  • High Blood Pressure Screening

If you have any warning signs or if you know that you have some of the risk factors associated with an increased risk of heart problems, you may want to consider heart disease screening.  If you are unaware of potential risk factors please read the list here.

Life Line Screening provides preventive health screenings for heart disease to help those at risk detect problems before they lead to life-threatening consequences. Learning where you stand with your heart health is the best way to work towards a healthier life.

Dangers of a High Salt Diet

September 11, 2014

Think you’ve managed to avoid salt in your diet? Think again. Even if you don’t sprinkle a little extra salt on your meals, it’s sneaking into your diet from other foods you eat.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, consuming too much salt is responsible for 1.6 million cardiovascular-related deaths annually. The World Health Organization has a maximum of 2,000 mg of sodium per day, and when that limit is exceeded, the effects can be devastating.


What’s the Danger?

If you consume a large amount of sodium, it increases blood pressure which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, mainly heart disease and stroke.

Many people eat more than twice as much salt as they should, with the average person in the United States eating around 3.95g of sodium each day. In the U.S. alone, around 58,000 cardiovascular deaths each year can be attributed to a high sodium intake.


Cut Your Intake to Reduce Your Risk

So if you aren’t dumping salt onto your plate, where does the sodium come from? Around 75% of the excess sodium consumed comes from processed and pre-prepared foods. Canned soups, rice mixes and frozen pizzas can have up to 1,000 mg of salt per serving, which is half of the daily recommended intake.

Going out to eat can also be a dangerous game. Restaurant meals can have more than enough salt in them to account for the whole day’s recommended intake.

Your best bet? Eating home cooked meals with fresh ingredients. Fill your diet with wholesome foods like low-fat dairy, lean protein, fruits, vegetables and legumes. Use plenty of fresh herbs and spices instead of salt to add in extra flavor.


Reducing Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

While avoiding salt can help reduce your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, there are other risk factors that you can modify. Be sure to follow a regular exercise routine, quit smoking, and lowering high cholesterol are just a few.

Other risk factors can’t be changed including gender, age and family history. At Life Line Screening, we offer preventive health screenings to individuals who do not present symptoms of a disease, but may be at risk simply due to age and family history. Learn more about our screening options that can help you assess your personal risk for cardiovascular disease including stroke and heart disease.

Gene Linked to Heart Attack Risk

April 3, 2014


Researchers from the University of Michigan and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology conducted a study  that used gene scanning processes to detect genes variations that are connected to certain diseases. The approach involved observing how variations influenced the way proteins act, and because of this method they were able to discover a gene that directly relates to heart attack risk.

The study used information from 5,600 Norwegians who had health information stored in a biobank. The focus of the researchers was on variations in genes that cause a change in protein function. The end result was cataloging 80,000 variants. From these variants, they narrowed the results down to 10 which had previously been related to blood lipid levels and cholesterol.

Honing in on a specific DNA strand that is controls blood lipid levels, they discovered gene TM6FS2. A percentage of study participants who carried a variation of the gene had healthier blood lipids and a lower overall risk for heart attack. If the gene is overexpressed or completely silent, heart attack risk increases.


Other Heart Attack Risks

Another recent study  conducted by researchers at Harvard showed that a heart attack risk is higher after an anger outburst for 2 hours after the episode. After an outburst the risk of a heart attack increases 5 times, risk of stroke raises by three times in addition to abnormal heartbeat or ventricular arrhythmia. (The risk per person also depends on how often anger outbursts occur, and their own personal risk factors.)

Other risk factors for heart attack and heart disease include family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, diabetes and elevated C-reactive protein levels.


 Reducing Your Risk

The first step to reducing your risk for heart attack and heart disease is to know where you currently stand. We offer five different heart disease screenings to assess specific risk factors. Look up screening events near you, or schedule an appointment online today.

Adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle are also recommended to reduce risk factors. Incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, with some muscle strengthening exercises. Cut out saturated fats and foods that are high in sodium, as they negatively impact health.


Eat Your Heart Out the Healthy Way [Infographic]

February 15, 2014

Your heart works hard to keep your body working and in motion, so it’s only fair that you help it out along the way. In honor of Heart Month, we’ve put together an infographic guide to help you eat your way to a healthy heart. These heart-friendly foods and tips have plenty of health benefits that will go straight to your heart!


Looking for more ways to keep your heart healthy? Schedule a heart disease screening with us online today.


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