…but most people recover. Broken Heart Syndrome is a genuine medical condition, usually brought on in healthy people by sudden and surprising events such as death of a loved one, or losing one’s true love to another. In Broken Heart Syndrome, there is no evidence of a heart attack or a blocked artery—and yet the patient’s heart doesn’t function properly, causing symptoms identical to those suffered during heart attacks. Scientists believe it is caused by a sudden rush of hormones. Doctors see about 30,000 cases of Broken Heart Syndrome every year in the United States. Thankfully, it rarely results in death.
Having strong social relationships is good for your health. Studies on men have found that those who have multiple friendships are less likely to suffer from heart disease. While not clearly verified by science, it could be that having friends and an active social life reduces stress, which in turn is good news for your heart. To find out more about stress and how you can easily detect and manage it, check out http://www.sweetwaterhrv.com. Beat Healthy!
Eating chicken, other types of poultry and some kinds of fish—specifically the dark meat portions—may help to protect women with high cholesterol from developing heart disease, according to a study done by the Langone Medical Center of New York University. The magic ingredient is taurine, found in dark-meat poultry and some fish. The study of more than 14,000 women found that those with high serum levels of taurine were 60% less likely to develop or die from congestive heart disease. Who wants the drumstick?
A recent study confirms what we probably knew already: the tendency to heart disease runs in families. An international study of about 30,000 adults showed that having a parent that had a heart attack in their 40s or younger made it two-and-a-half times more likely that their offspring would have a heart attack. The risk is six times higher if both parents had heart attacks before age 50. (See http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/news/heart-attacks-are-all-in-the-family.aspx for more info on the study.)
While genetics may be a determinant in heart health, the good news is that lifestyle can help to combat the genes you were handed at birth. Regular exercise, good nutrition, lowering stress, and reducing weight can all help to keep your heart working well. A key vital sign to heart health (and stress) is heart rate variability. To download a short PDF explaining HRV and stress, go to http://beathealthy.com/education/stressandhrv.pdf.
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a critical vital sign that can predict a number of different disease states, including heart attack and probably recovery from heart attack—but it’s not one of the things your doctor measures (at least our doctor doesn’t). You know your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Why don’t you know your HRV levels? To download a short PDF explaining HRV, go to http://beathealthy.com/education/hrvbackground.pdf
Stephen Boyle of Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina says that people who are cynical, suspicious of other people and their motives, are 25% more likely to develop heart disease. Boyle postulates that distrust of others creates greater stress and hostility, which can cause spikes in an immune-system protein called C3 that has been linked with various diseases, including diabetes. The participants (more than 300 Vietnam War veterans) with higher scores on hostility showed an increase in these proteins, while the non-hostile men showed no such increase.
The more we learn about ourselves, our world and the universe, the more we see that everything is connected to everything else. We once viewed systems as machines that could be taken apart piece by piece to understand how they worked. The problem is that when you study a piece of a system in isolation, it may not behave as it does in within the system as a whole.
We are finding this is particularly true in nutrition. Many people take vitamin and mineral supplements to assure they get all the nutrition they need to stay healthy. But recent studies have shown that nutritional supplements do not have the same benefits as nutrients derived from eating food. In February 2009, a study by the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) on 161,808 postmenopausal women concluded that those who took multivitamins did not have a lower death rate than others and were just as likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancers of the lung, colon/rectum, breast, and endometrium—those most common in women.
It is likely that in natural foods, there are many interrelationships between the nutrients and micronutrients that act to provide protection against disease. We can’t take these apart and still derive the same benefits. Whole, fresh foods are our best bet for living a healthy life.