Heart Disease is the number one killer of North American men and women today
American men and women are at a considerable risk of developing heart disease now more than ever. It is estimated that more than 82% of men and women are at a high risk of developing heart disease and suffering from a heart attack and stroke. Now, this is incredible when you consider that at the beginning of the 20th century, this was a very uncommon cause of death. Of course, you could say that people did not live long enough back then, or they were more likely to die of infectious disease, but the fact remains that people also consumed much more fish in that era. As future generations began to reduce the consumption of fish and began consuming more beef, the vilification of cholesterols and fats, the rates of heart disease shot up.
One of the best ways to live longer and improve your overall quality of life is to reduce your likelihood of developing heart disease. If we could eliminate heart disease tomorrow, the average life expectancy could increase by roughly ten years. And remember that just because you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, it does not mean that there are certain things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing heart disease significantly.
We need to first look at the underlying cause of heart disease - a decrease in blood flow to the heart and an increase of inflammation in the arteries. Both of these causes result from the increased production of “bad” eicosanoids. This is mainly caused by the overconsumption of inflammatory Omega-6 and a sedentary lifestyle. So instead of putting your faith in some major surgery or new drug treatment, why not simply modify some aspect of your diet and lifestyle.
There are four leading causes of a heart attack.
- Clot Formation
- Plaque instability
- Electrical Chaos (sudden death)
None of these causes have a direct correlation with elevated cholesterol levels, but they all have a direct link to excessive production of bad eicosanoids. In fact, 50% of people hospitalized for heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels, and 25% of people who develop heart disease have no traditional risk factors.
Several factors are linked between high “bad” eicosanoid levels and fatal heart attacks. Excessive levels of bad eicosanoids can increase the likelihood of platelets clumping and forming a clot. These circulating cells (platelets) rush to the site a wound a clump together, causing blood to clot and preventing you from bleeding to death. Too much production of “bad” eicosanoids in the body tricks the platelets into thinking there’s a wound in your arteries, causing the platelets to clump in the wrong places and eventually decreasing blood flow to your heart.
These “bad” eicosanoids are also primary mediatory of inflammation at a molecular level, increasing the risk of arthroscopic plaque rupturing and breaking off. When this plaque breaks off, platelets can recognize this as wounds and cause more arterial plaque to build, eventually causing the artery to completely block and cutting off blood supply and oxygen to the heart. This can cause heart cells to die, leading to an eventual heart attack.
The very same “bad” eicosanoids are also responsible for vasospasms. A vasospasm is a potentially fatal heart cramp or “charley horse” that prevents blood flow to the heart. These “bad” eicosanoids act as powerful constrictors of your arteries, and when too many are produced, it can lead to a vasospasm heart attack. This same action occurs during a headache, which results from blood flow being constricted to the brain. Aspiring or other OTC’s are effective in alleviating headaches because they work by decreasing the production of “bad” eicosanoids and increasing blood flow. A high EPA product can have a similar effect when taken consistently, and there are no potentially harmful effects, as stomach bleeding and ulcers.
An overproduction of bad eicosanoids can also lead to a fatal heart attack caused by chaotic electric rhythms in the heart. The heart is a large muscle that works by having all of its cells contracting and relaxing at the same time to pump blood effectively. This synchronized rhythm is controlled by an electrical current that spreads over the heart muscle to maintain this vital symphony. Too many bad eicosanoids can interfere with the heart's current, leading to uncoordinated rhythm and eventual malfunction, eventually causing the heart to fail and preventing blood flow
None of the described forms of heart attack mention elevated levels of cholesterol, so why do we keep focusing on this. We Prescribe millions of people stating drugs and potentially focus on the wrong areas or predicators. Drug prescription and use will lend some benefit and have their place, but perhaps we need to focus on reducing the overproduction of “bad” eicosanoids. High-dose fish oil concentrated in EPA has not only been proven effective in lowering your risk of heart disease, but you can also control inflammation and improve several other areas of health. If paired with dietary changes and life changes, this could have an incredible overall impact on your health. Remember that even if you have heart disease in your family and believe this to be hereditary, know that only 20% of your outcome is predicated here and that you control 80%. You have the power and control to manage your faith, and a quality Omega-3 is one of the most beneficial places you can start.
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