Special for DiettoGo.com by Linda Miner RNC, CHN, CMTA
A few weeks ago my best friend's mother died suddenly at the age of 83. She got up in the middle of the night, seemingly to use the washroom, and dropped dead of a heart attack. There was no warning, no obvious signs and no history of heart disease and, luckily, no pain.
After the initial shock of her mother's death wore off, my friend suddenly realized that perhaps she too was at risk of developing heart disease. Based on current statistics, she has reason to be concerned.
Here are some thoughts to consider about heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death overall for men and women in the United States (651,696 deaths in 2005).
Age-adjusted death rates from heart disease have declined 38% from 1990 to 2006.
Prevalence of high blood pressure (hypertension) increases with age. Based on statistics from 2003-'06, 36% of men and women between the ages of 45-54 had hypertension, but those numbers jump dramatically after age 75 to 65% of men and 80% of women. Hypertension can lead to heart attack or stroke (the 3rd most common killer).
High blood pressure can be lowered by reducing sodium intake, avoiding processed and packaged foods. A whopping 77% of the sodium in our diet comes from processed and restaurant foods.
Avoiding hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats, and limiting sugar intake also helps.
Based on a U.S. Department of Agriculture study, 93% of Americans failed to meet the recommended daily consumption of 3 ounces of whole grains per day (based on a 2000 calorie diet).
There is growing evidence that people who do consume enough whole grains may reduce their risk of developing heart disease along with decreasing their risk of becoming overweight.
Major risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
The risk of heart disease drops dramatically when people lower their blood pressure (see above), lower cholesterol levels, stop smoking or never start, exercise regularly and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds and whole grains.
Linda Miner is a Registered Nutritionist specializing in Metabolic Typing. Linda works with clients to help them restore their health by re-establishing balance in the body. Through one-on-one coaching and an individualized food plan based on your unique characteristics, Linda can help you achieve Optimal Health. Learn more at www.iChange.com/LindaMiner