Saturday, August 26, 2017

Which Diet Could Prevent Heart Disease?

Heart disease is the number one killers globally. People who are smokers, overweight or obese, have diabetes, high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. To prevent heart disease, one should not only have more physical activities but also follow a heart-healthy diet. 

When it comes to heart-healthy diets, there are so many different varieties, for instance, low-fat diets, low-carb diets, Mediterranean diets, and many others. When facing so many alternatives, people may find it hard to decide which diet should they adopt.

Following a heart-healthy diet may, however, not be as confusing as one may image. First of all, let us look at some of the diets.

Carb (carbohydrate) is one of the 3 macronutrients (the other 2 are protein and fat). Main purpose of carbs is to provide energy. Most carbs get broken down or transformed into glucose that can be used as energy. Carbs can also be turned into fat (stored energy) for later use.

Among carbs, there are whole and refined carbs. Being unprocessed, whole carbs contain the fiber found naturally in the food (vegetables, whole fruit, legumes, potatoes and whole grains). Refined carbs, on the other hand, have been processed and had the natural fiber stripped out. Good examples of refined carbs include sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice.

Numerous studies show that refined carb consumption is associated with health problems like obesity and Type-2 diabetes but hundreds of studies have also reported that eating high-fiber carbs like vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains could lead to improved metabolic health and a lower risk of disease. Likewise, scientists have found that some fats are actually good for the body, for instance, omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, the contemporary dietary recommendations from proponents of the low-carb diets and the low-fat diets increasingly resemble each other.

The renowned Mediterranean Diet, a diet incorporates the traditional healthy living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, can be viewed at a compromise between low-fat and low-carb. Despite some variations by region, a typical Mediterranean diet involves eating plenty of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta (wholegrains varieties), plenty of fruit and vegetables, some fish, less meat, and choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil. A 2013 study found that people following a Mediterranean diet had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

It is not necessary to strictly follow any of the diets mentioned. A heart-healthy diet can simply be one that people eat only enough calories to keep a healthy weight, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, use wholegrain breads and pastas, eat omega-3 rich fish, chicken and legumes as primary protein source, eat less red meats, and of course, avoid trans fats and processed foods. Limiting alcohol intake and eating some nuts may help improve the heart-healthy diet, too.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - SCAD A Typical Heart Attack Striking Mostly Females

Unlike a more typical heart attack caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries, a SCAD heart attack starts with a tear in an artery. The tear blocks the artery and blood flow to the heart, leading to a heart attack. Victims of SCAD are often thin, appear heathy, and have no risk factors like smoking and diabetes. More at:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is Fish The Only Source Of Omega3 Fat For Heart Disease Prevention?

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage the blood vessels and lead to heart disease and strokes. 

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) that can lead to sudden death, decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and lower blood pressure (slightly). Hence, omega-3 fatty acids are not only essential for the brain and nervous system function properly but also good for heart disease prevention.

When talking about omega-3 fatty acids, people usually think of fish. Being a good source of protein, fish are some of the richest sources of 2 forms of omega-3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fatty fish, such as salmon, lake trout, halibut, herring, sardines and tuna, contain the most omega-3 fatty acids.

Despite of the health benefits of fish, people should not eat too much fish. This is because most fish come from ocean, and many parts of the ocean are contaminated by pollution. Some types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), dioxins and other environmental contaminants. Consumption too much of these fish may be harmful for the body.

According to health experts, the risk of getting too much mercury or other contaminations from fish is generally outweighed by the health benefits that omega-3 fatty acids have if people consume fish in moderation. That is why the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating 2 servings of fish every week for adults. A serving size is 3.5 ounces (99 grams).

Eating a variety of fish will generally help minimize any potentially adverse effects due to environmental pollutants. 5 of the most commonly eaten fish or shellfish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Avoid eating shark, swordfish, king Mackerel, or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury. Nevertheless, any fish can be unhealthy depending on how it is prepared. For example, broiling or baking fish is a healthier option than is deep-frying.

For people who do not like or are sensitive to fish, there are other non-fish options. Plants like flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans and spinach do contain high omega-3 fatty acids. These plants create alpha-linolenic acid (ALA. Although human body can convert ALA to DHA or EPA as needed, fish are probably still the best source of omega-3s. 

Meanwhile, there are health supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids. However, the evidence of heart-healthy benefits from eating these foods is not as strong as it is from eating fish.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Heart Disease Prevention - Is Health Anxiety A Risk Factor For Heart Disease?

Research shows that anxiety disorders generally may help trigger or worsen cardiovascular disease. A recent study, however, found that healthy people who have health anxiety may be linked to development of heart disease, too. Find out more about their relationship by clicking the following link:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Does Panic Attack Differ From Heart Attack?

Heart attack is a serious condition that occurs as a result of coronary heart disease. It requires immediate medical attention, otherwise the victim might end up with disability or even death. Panic attack, on the other hand, is a form of anxiety that is triggered by a stressful event, and it poses no immediate danger.

Both attacks have very similar symptoms making it difficult for anyone to differentiate. However, they are some key differences. For instance, both attack sufferers can have intense chest pain. Chest pain associated with an actual heart attack is often described as crushing. The feeling may radiate into the rest of the chest, arms, back, neck, and even teeth. Chest pain during a panic attack tends to feel more localized. It is more limited to a certain area of the chest.

Meanwhile, the symptoms are more likely to surprise one with a sudden onset in a panic attack. Symptoms typically only last around 10 minutes. A heart attack may start with minor discomfort, and builds up into severe pain over a few minutes. It can last up to a couple of hours. A 5- to 10-minute of deep, active breathing should loosen up the tightened chest, and the panic attack will slowly start to subside. If after 5-minutes of breathing, the body has not shown any signs of improvement, then it may be a heart attack. 

Nausea may occur in both heart attack and panic attack. It is more common for heart attack sufferers to end up vomiting though it can rarely occur in some panic attack victims, too. People with panic attack may have an intense feeling of fear or anxiety, and they are more likely to have hyperventilation.

It is less common for those with panic attack to faint, but victims of heart attack can always experience lightheadedness or even lose consciousness. Panic attack usually starts in the younger ages, and heart attack tends to happen to those with ill health, who are obese and those in the elderly.

A heart attack can actually lead to a panic attack due to the fear and anxiety but a panic attack cannot cause heart attack. Nevertheless, if one has an underlying heart issue, panic attack may stress the body and can aggravate an existing heart condition. So, people who have an existing heart condition should talk to their doctor if they are experiencing panic attack.

Diagnosis of panic attack patients include a psychological evaluation using questionnaires or consultations with a psychiatrist. But doctors must first rule out a heart attack, stroke or asthma attack before a panic disorder can be considered. Treatment for panic attack can be carried out through a combination of drugs and therapy. Patients on medication often show marked improvement. Therapy that involves challenging unhelpful thoughts or relaxation techniques like breathing exercises can also help.