Tag Archives: Heart disease

Heart Health Begins in Childhood

HeartHealthChildhoodJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

The development of heart disease is a lifelong process that increases slowly and steadily, and then rises sharply as we age. Often diagnosed later in life, new research suggests that atherosclerosis, plaque buildup on artery walls, can begin in childhood, supporting the belief that cardiovascular disease manifests very early in life, decades before a heart attack might occur. As prevention is often the key to good health, parents of young children, adolescents and teens can take preventative steps early on to modify risk factors and avoid or minimize the risks of heart problems in adulthood.

Harvard Health Publications notes that with atherosclerosis beginning in youth, a 50-year old American male has a one-in-two risk of developing heart disease during his remaining years. However, a man who has no risk factors, who has normal cholesterol, normal blood pressure, maintains a healthy weight, and doesn’t smoke or have diabetes has a “remarkably low 5% risk of developing cardiovascular disease by age 95, and can expect to live 11 years longer than a man with two or more risk factors and a 69% chance of heart disease.”

The role of vitamin D:

In adults, evidence shows that low levels of vitamin D are linked to cardiovascular disease, as well as obesity, hypertension and diabetes. In Toronto, Canada, an ongoing collaborative program, involving researchers and pediatricians at St. Michael’s Hospital and The Hospital for Sick Children, monitors well visits of over 5000 children from birth through adolescence. With the goal of optimizing growth and development, and identifying links between early childhood and adult health, researchers and pediatricians look to implement solutions for common health problems that can lead to life-long health problems, including heart disease, obesity and micronutrient deficiencies. In children, researchers have found a “statistically significant association” between higher vitamin D levels and lower levels of artery clogging LDL cholesterol, suggesting sufficient vitamin D in early life may aid in reducing cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood.

Lifestyle factors:

Per the American Heart Association, one in three American children and teens are overweight or obese, resulting in a wide range of health problems that were not seen before adulthood just a few decades ago. Risk factors, including hypertension, high cholesterol levels and type 2 diabetes, as well as obesity related depression and low self-esteem, often follow children into adulthood, significantly increasing cardiovascular disease prevalence and shortening life expectancy. Identifying children at risk for developing heart disease with regular blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, along with healthy lifestyle early interventions of improved diet, increased physical activity, and weight loss, can help to prevent heart issues later in life and support long-term health and longevity.

Smoking is a major contributor to heart disease, and unlike genetically high cholesterol or high blood pressure, smoking is a controllable risk factor. Statistics show most adult smokers began smoking in high school, and that most teens who take up smoking have parents who smoke. Fortunately, many teens find smoking unhealthy and are avoiding what can become a lifelong addictive habit. Research shows that teens who finish high school smoke-free are not likely to start.

By a large measure, parents can influence their children’s behavior by encouraging healthy eating and regular aerobic activity, as well as discouraging teen smoking and setting a good example by not smoking themselves. A high fiber, balanced and varied heart healthy diet encourages a lifetime of healthy eating. It’s very important that children grow up knowing that in adulthood, they will be largely responsible for their own health and wellbeing. As atherosclerosis begins early in life, prevention should begin early as well.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other quality supplements to support children and teens health and wellness:

Childrens Formula...ON SALE Children’s Formula Life Extension Mix™ by Life Extension – These kid-friendly chewables provide essential vitamins and minerals, plus phytonutrients, amino acids, phospholipids and probiotics in support of healthy development. Specifically formulated for children aged four and older. Natural berry and vanilla flavoring.

Vitamin D3 Gummies...ON SALE Vitamin D3 Gummies for Kids by Nordic Naturals – One daily serving provides 400 IU of vitamin D3, 100% of the daily value for children aged four and older. This highly absorbable vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol provides safe and effective support for healthy childhood development. Natural fruit flavor and vegetable color. Gluten and dairy free, Non-GMO formulation.

Junior NutrientsJunior Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations – This complete hypo-allergenic, bioavailable multivitamin, mineral chelate and trace element formula is designed to support overall health for children over age four through the teenage years. Small capsules for easy swallowing.

Ultra Preventive...Ultra Preventative® Kids Orange by Douglas Laboratories – This great tasting chewable provides a full spectrum of bioavailable vitamins, minerals and trace elements, along with additional vitamin D3, in support of healthy growth and development. Gluten, soy and dairy free, hypoallergenic formulation. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

Does the road to heart health start in childhood? http://www.texasheart.org/HIC/Topics/HSmart/children_risk_factors.cfm
Arteriosclerosis/Atherosclerosis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/home/ovc-20167019
Prevention of Heart Disease Starts in Childhood. http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=prevention-of-heart-disease-starts-in-childhood-1-2073
Does heart disease begin in childhood? https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150715155323.htm
Overweight in Children. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ChildhoodObesity/Overweight-in-Children_UCM_304054_Article.jsp
Obese Children Have Greater Risk for Adult Heart Disease. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/03/obese-children-have-greater-risk-for-adult-heart-disease/
TARGet Kids The origins of good health. http://www.sickkids.ca/paediatricmedicine/research-activities/targetkids/index.html
Premature heart disease. http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/premature-heart-disease


Heart Healthy Strategies

Heart Healthy StrategiesJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

As age is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease, one reality of aging may be the realization that we need to pay more attention to cardiovascular fitness. In the U.S., heart disease is a major cause of disability and the number one cause of death. Prevention involves not just avoidance of serious heart health issues, but also includes circumventing lifestyle limitations, which might include high blood pressure, shortness of breath, fatigue or physical limitations. To reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease, lifestyle management strategies such as avoidance of smoking, limited alcohol consumption, stress reduction, restricted sodium intake, heart-healthy eating, and frequent moderate exercise are often highly recommended.

While blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels are important in measuring heart health, chronic inflammation also puts your health at risk. Clinical studies have shown a compelling relationship between inflammation markers and the risk of future cardiac events. Chronic inflammation can potentially damage artery linings and contribute to the growth of artery clogging plaque formations. Taking steps to reduce smoldering, systemic inflammation can limit the damaging effects on the heart. Fortunately, the same lifestyle strategies that reduce cardiovascular risks, also reduce inflammation.

An anti-inflammatory diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, and maintaining a healthy weight are at the top of the list, as fat cells, especially those located in the abdomen, are like little inflammation factories that produce inflammatory proteins. In other words, fat cells are not inert; they play an active role in harming the body through a pro-inflammatory response. The most powerful way to reduce inflammation is through diet and the loss of excess weight. In general terms, barring genetic factors, your overall health largely depends on your own lifestyle choices, as many age-related diseases are preventable.

Supplements, in combination with healthy, nutrient dense foods and exercise, can ensure you are getting the full daily recommendations of vitamins and minerals in support of overall and cardiac health. Key areas for cardiovascular wellness include blood pressure maintenance, controlling blood lipid and blood sugar levels and stress management. The effective use of dietary supplements can provide support as you endeavor to maintain cardiac vitality.

Omega-3 fatty acids – Thought by many to be the most beneficial for protecting heart health, omega-3’s also help to reduce inflammation and support healthy blood pressure.

Coenzyme Q10 – As a very important nutrient for healthy heart function, CoQ10, and its reduced form ubiquinol, supports the heart muscle and contributes to healthy circulation and blood pressure.

Phytosterols – These naturally occurring compounds found in plant cell membranes are structurally similar to the body’s cholesterol. As a result, they compete with cholesterol for absorption in the digestive tract, which helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. The fiber found in plant foods has also been shown to lower blood cholesterol.

Astaxanthin – In addition to its powerful antioxidant and pain relieving benefits, astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory. By reducing inflammatory compounds, astaxanthin helps to reduce the risks of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.

Lycopene – Studies show that lycopene helps to boost the body’s natural antioxidant defenses protecting against DNA cell damage. Additionally, lycopene is believed to be cardio-protective for its inflammation and blood pressure reduction benefits.

In addition to adopting the recommended healthy lifestyles guidelines, here are some unique supplements that will aid you in your quest for cardiac and overall wellness:

CardioCardio by NovaHue – This clinically supported complex contains patented standardized tomato extract plus a proprietary blend of 5 relevant phytosterols in support of heart health, a healthy circulatory system and maintenance of blood pressure already within the normal range.
Lycopene by Progressive Labs – As an effective free radical scavenging antioxidant, Lycopene may help to reduce the risks of heart and other age-related degenerative disease by lowering oxidized LDL cholesterol.
Astaxanthin 4 mg
Astaxanthin 4 mg by Pure Encapsulations – Derived from Hawaiian microalgae cultivated under pristine conditions, this powerful antioxidant supports the skin, macula, joints, immune and cardiovascular wellness.
Ubiquinol-QH (201899)
Ubiquinol-QH (201899) by Douglas Laboratories – This biologically reduced form of CoQ10 supports antioxidant, energy and cardiovascular function.
Plant Sterols
Plant Sterols by Ortho Molecular – Designed to provide support for healthy cholesterol levels, this product contains plant sterol esters for natural cardiovascular support.


The Mysterious Human Heart

WebBy Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Metaphorically, the heart is the center of our emotional being.  Literally, the heart is a fascinating fist shaped, blood-filled pump that is central to life itself.  The human heart beats approximately 72 beats per minute, 100,000 times a day, 40 million beats per year and clocks in up to 3 billion beats in an average lifetime without ever stopping to rest.  The heart works ceaselessly, pumping life-sustaining blood through a 60,000 mile long network of vessels to keep every cell supplied with fresh nutrients and oxygen, while clearing away harmful waste matter.  The heart is made of cardiac muscle, which works involuntarily, and as we go about our day, we may just take our heartbeats for granted.   

Given the heart’s many life sustaining functions, it seems wise to take care of it.  Yet, heart disease has risen steadily over the last century largely due to changes in diet and lifestyle.  Some changes in the heart and blood vessels are normal as we age, but over time disease can cause serious damage.  Heart disease causes nearly 700,000 deaths of American men and women each year, making it the leading cause of death in the United States.  The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health, has established the factors that increase your risk of developing heart disease.  The more factors you have, the greater your risks.  However, the effort you put into controlling one factor will have a positive impact on other risk factors.  For example, losing weight helps to lower blood pressure.  Here’s a closer look at which factors are uncontrollable and which you can change. 

Risk factors you can’t change:

  • Your age – Over age 45 for men and over age 55 for women
  • Family history of heart disease

Risk factors you can change:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity

Let’s take a closer look:

Smoking – Cigarette smokers are four times as likely to develop congestive heart disease than non-smokers, are twice as likely to have a stroke, and ten times more likely to have peripheral vascular disease.  If you are a man and you continue to smoke, your life may be shortened by more than 13 years and if you are a woman who smokes, your life may be reduced by nearly 15 years.  If you want to increase your life span, make the choice to stop smoking. 

High blood pressureHigh blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke and  is the number one risk factor for congestive heart failure.  You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. 

High blood cholesterol – The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your chances of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.  High blood cholesterol does not cause symptoms, so it’s important to know what your numbers are, as reducing high levels lessens your risks of dying of heart disease. 

ObesityObesity not only increases your risk of heart disease, it also causes changes in the structure and function of the heart.  The more you weigh, the harder your heart has to pump, causing the heart muscle to stretch and thicken.  This thickening of the heart muscle makes it more difficult for the heart to squeeze and relax with each heartbeat.  Over time, heart failure may result.  To lower these risks, lose weight if you need to and then maintain a healthy weight. 

Diabetes –  Type 2 diabetes mellitus substantially increases the lifetime risk of developing and dying from heart failure.  With diabetes, the linings of the blood vessels thicken making it more difficult for blood to flow.  When blood flow is impaired, heart problems or stroke can occur.  If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, paying close attention to your diet, exercising, and controlling your weight, blood pressure and blood sugar can often slow down or prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease

Physical inactivity – Regular exercise has a favorable effect on many of the established risk factors for cardiovascular disease.  Exercise promotes weight reduction, can help reduce blood pressure, and can favorably affect cholesterol levels.  In diabetics, exercise positively affects the body’s ability to use insulin and control blood glucose levels.  The effect of continued moderate exercise on overall cardiovascular risk when combined with other lifestyle modifications such as proper nutrition and smoking cessation can be very significant. 

Vessel Care by MetagenicsThis comprehensive formula helps to maintain healthy homocysteine levels and supports overall cardiovascular health. 

Perfusia Plus (SA526) by Thorne ResearchThis product contains sustained-release L-arginine plus nutrient and botanical co-factors that support optimal blood flow and vascular health. 

CoQ-Zyme 30 by Biotics Research –  This significantly bioavailable CoQ 10 supports heart and skeletal muscles and immune function.  This product supports increased oxygenation required for cardiac stress, high blood pressure and diabetes.