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Welcome to Heart Disease Risk (dot info)

January 14, 20130 Comments


Allow me to introduce myself and share a bit about why I created this site…


A day at the spa – or even an hour could do more than make you feel better…

December 17, 20120 Comments
reducing blood pressure

Reducing blood pressure with essential oils. (Image courtesy Tara Angkor Hotel)

Close your eyes and picture the aromatics you associate with a visit to the spa. Know which I’m talking about? Now consider this – those aromatics may do much more than just add to the ambiance. New research reported by Natural Holistic Health and originally in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology indicate the essential oils used in aromatherapy are helpful in reducing blood pressure and heart rate.

Reducing Blood Pressure

Based upon the data, reducing blood pressure is exactly what we should be doing! Interestingly, exposure to aromatics for more than an hour reversed the positive effects observed in the study. The study was performed in spas in Taiwan, using aromatics from aromatic plants.

One hundred healthy, non-smoking men and women who worked in spas were exposed three times per week to aromatic oils for periods of two hours per session. The essential details are as follows:

During this time and on each visit three repeated measurements — resting heart rate, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) — were taken from each spa worker in the study room, a small space measuring 4 metres in height by 3.5 m in length and 3.2 m in width. Before each participant entered the study room, 100% pure bergamot essential oil was vaporized for 1 hour.

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The results were statistically significant. For up to an hour, positive impacts were noted. After 45 minutes, systolic blood pressure had decreased by an average of over 2 points and heart rate by over 2 beats per minute. After 60 minutes, the benefits reversed and prolonged exposure to essential oils may actually be detrimental to your health. One caution noted by the researchers is the unknown effect of essential oils on the pulmonary system.

Summarizing, when it comes to reducing blood pressure, essential oils in moderation – defined as a few times a week for up to one hour of exposure appear to help and likely do not impact your lungs. Know someone who likes to (or needs to) relax? Share this article with them today! Care to share? Space is provided below.


Plants and reducing blood pressure

December 12, 20120 Comments
reducing blood pressure

Reducing Blood Pressure – and two plants YOU want to know about. (Image courtesy: HealthAliciousNess)

Working at reducing blood pressure? Congratulations! This article may provide some very helpful information. Originally posted in VegNews Daily and all about…

Reducing Blood Pressure

Two recent studies conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide and the National Institute of Integrative Medicine based in Australia, and researchers at the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine have found health benefits in two specific plants – specifically garlic and flaxseed rich baked goods. The topic? Plants that have powerful properties for reducing blood pressure.

The Australian study found that two daily supplements in the amount of 480mg of aged garlic extract produced a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. The result? A reduced risk of cardiovascular disease of up to 40%.

The Canadian study looked at flaxseed. Their findings? Find baked goods (bagels, muffins, etc.) rich in flaxseed (at least 30 grams), and your risk of heart attack and stroke is reduced by a whopping 50%!

When it comes to reducing blood pressure, it appears we now have two new “best friends” – flaxseed and garlic. The health benefits of garlic have been long well known. When it comes to flaxseed, look for this ingredient to become more common in baked goods, and to accelerate its appearance, ask for it at your local bakery. You are cautioned to ask about the other ingredients however found in baked goods. Some are sensitive to gluten; and many baked goods are quite rich in calories. These aspects of baked goods may overshadow the benefits of ingesting flaxseed. For this reason, you may want to look for other ways to ingest flaxseed. WebMD has a great article on flaxseed. talks about flaxseeds benefits, where you can add it to your diet and also has a few cautions worth reading! In summary, flaxseed looks like a great thing, but as with anything new in your diet, add in moderation and know the whole story. Care to share? Use the space below and use the share buttons provided.


About your heart disease risk… keep an eye on your magnesium

December 11, 20120 Comments
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Magnesium and heart disease risk. What you MUST know. (image courtesy sleepyneko)

We’re going to talk about heart disease risk, but, allow me first to share a few tidbits I learned as I studied and later taught Chemistry. Yes, chemistry can be a complex topic, and I’m not going to make your eyes glaze over – I promise! But, since we are basically made up of elements and chemicals, a few moments may help pave the way in this article.

Many of us know that calcium is at the heart of our bones and their structure, but a quick look at the Periodic Table of the Elements reveals calcium is in a family (vertical column) of elements known collectively as the “alkaline earths”. Just above calcium, its smaller cousin is magnesium. As it turns out, magnesium is also readily absorbed into our bone structure (this is true of other members of the alkaline earth family as well).

Why is magnesium important? According to, the most important bone mineral is magnesium because it activates alkaline phosphatase, the enzyme required to ensure optimal bone cell activity, as well as a strong bone matrix. It is vitally important to understand that calcium and magnesium are in an endless and dynamic dance within our cells.

The key is to keep magnesium and calcium in balance. Imbalance can lead to heart disease and much more. Magnesium is also recognized as an anti-inflammatory – you can think of this as a good thing. Natural news continues to point out –

Medicine is also beginning to see a common basis of magnesium deficiency in heart disease. When all the dust settles on research for high cholesterol, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, Mitral Valve Prolapse (MVP), Post Ventricular Contractions (PVCs), any kind of ischemia, myocardial infarct and sudden cardiac death, what they All have in common is that magnesium deficiency is the precursor to All of these cardiac conditions. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

Heart Disease Risk

Magnesium is required to produce ATP (the energy molecule). Without it, the heart can not do its job. Stress causes a reduction in magnesium – and since magnesium regulates calcium, calcium is impacted as well when there is a deficiency of magnesium. And…the author of the naturalnews article argues we ingest entirely too much calcium and not enough magnesium. We are not going to make a specific recommendation for a magnesium supplement, but if magnesium rich foods (seaweed, spinach, black beans, broccoli, etc.) are not a part of your diet every day, you may wish to find a good natural supplement – and in turn reduce your heart disease risk.


We set the stage for high blood pressure in our youth

December 10, 20120 Comments
core causes of high blood pressure

Core causes of high blood pressure – and how to reduce your risk (easily) Image courtesy: Mike Licht

Too much salt intake is one of the core causes of high blood pressure. And reducing our intake of salt (sodium) is a core goal of the FDA. This according to a recent article in Healthline. The big push is to reduce “hidden sodium”.

“The biggest misconception about sodium is that most people think that you aren’t eating salt as long as you are not adding it to your food with the saltshaker,” says Alexandra Kaplan, M.S. and R.D. at the Montefiore Medical Center. “In fact, more than 75 percent of the sodium that we consume comes from processed and packaged foods. Salt is used to preserve foods and provide texture, so it is a common additive.”

In a world where heart disease is the number one killer and high blood pressure is closely associated with it, we need to monitor our salt intake. According to the FDA, daily intake should not exceed 2400mg and if you’re obese or have other health issues, you may need to limit your intake to 1500mg. (See an M.D. to see if you “fit the profile” to require a lesser intake.

Core Causes of High Blood Pressure

The problem emerges when we consider all the processed foods we eat. The FDA has identified the “salty six” processed foods.

  • Deli Meats – up to 200mg PER SLICE! (think again before you order that smoked turkey sandwich!)
  • Pizza – each ingredient is LOADED with sodium!
  • Bread – since we tend to eat so much, it adds up AND pastries are often LOADED with sodium (read labels!)
  • Sandwiches – contain from both deli meats and bread groups – think before you eat it!
  • Canned Soup – some cans contain up to 1000mg in just 1 can! Again – read the label, even those advertising “reduced sodium” may be “not so much”
  • poultry – we’re talking about pre-cooked and packaged chicken – read before you buy!

Clearly too much sodium is a core cause of high blood pressure. In a nation (world?) where many of us CAN lower our sodium intake, this article might help many to know exactly what to focus upon to reduce sodium intake. Share this article and please DO feel free to add to it.



You may love cheese, but does cheese love you?

December 7, 20120 Comments


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Cheese and its connection to high blood pressure (Image courtesy: Prettyinprint reports cheese may be fueling an “epidemic” of high blood pressure.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is often a precursor to or accompanied by heart disease. And… cheese in some cases has more sodium than some commonly recognized junk foods!

High Blood Pressure

Did you know???

Cheddar is very high in sodium and… feta and halloumi have MORE salt than an equivalent amount of seawater!

According to Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) chairman Graham MacGregor, Professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfson Institute,

“We urge the government to stop dragging its heels and set new, lower, targets for cheese manufacturers to work towards. Even small reductions will have large health benefits. For every one gram reduction in population salt intake, we can prevent 12,000 heart attacks, stroke and heart failure, half of which would have been fatal.”

Cheese is also high in saturated fat. In fact, I have pointed out to many friends that much of what we know about the “benefits of cheese” comes from the dairy industry itself! Talk about putting the wolf in charge of the hen-house! So… when you consider these FACTS – that cheese is high in sodium and saturated fats, should it receive the “status” that many give it in our society?

If you search for it, there are low and no salt cheeses out there, but of course the ultimate question is “will you like how they taste?” After all, we have been “raised” on a salty-pallet!

If you are friends with a “deli king”, you may want to share this article with that person (or those persons!) Let them know that slice of american, swiss or cheddar may NOT be the healthiest thing on their sandwich! If you would like to “add your two cents” to this article, please do feel free to use the space provided below.



Why are diabetics at a greater risk of heart disease?

December 5, 20120 Comments
risk of heart disease

The connection between diabetes and your risk of heart disease

When it comes to our populations risk of heart disease, diabetics are at significantly greater risk. A reasonable question to ask is “Why?”  – Simple enough to ask, eh? The following video titled “Diabetes and Heart Disease” provides some great insights.

Risk of Heart Disease

You’re about to gain some insights into the life of Janet Rutledge, a home health patient. Janet is a diabetic. You’ll learn how she monitors her blood chemistry in an effort to manage her condition. The video correctly points out that few afflicted with diabetes actually die of diabetes itself. It is the complications, often in the area of heart disease where a life ending event occurs.

You will also hear from Dr. Steven Lee, a cardiologist who explains the connection between diabetes and heart disease – a connection that lies in the damage excess sugar in the blood stream does to blood vessels.

As pointed out in the video, careful monitoring will help diabetics avoid the onset of heart disease, and for those where it has started, its progression can be slowed or even arrested. Part of the preventive care is monitoring lipid levels – both HDL and LDL lipids, with the goal of raising HDL’s and lowering LDL’s.

Videos such as this from the Lee Memorial Health Center in Ft. Myers, Fl. provide valuable information to all – especially those who already have diabetes. If you are living a lifestyle that can lead to diabetes – overweight, sedentary, too many processed foods… STOP! It is never too late (until…)! We all want to live as full a life as possible and should not wish to spend our senior years in a slow decline where activities we used to enjoy are no longer possible. So, whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes or even heart disease, you can reduce your risk of heart disease – or further damage. Learn the steps required, and share this article with all whom you care for and care about! Got a story to share? Please use the space provided below.



Is middle age a risk factor for heart disease?

December 4, 20120 Comments
risk factor for heart disease

Should middle age be considered a risk factor for heart disease?

Is simply being middle aged a risk factor for heart disease?

It shouldn’t be! In fact, there isn’t really a good reason that heart disease should be the #1 killer in our nation today and in fact across much of the developed world.

In the video you’re about to see Dr. Joe of DrJoeTV shares an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association that talks about living free of heart disease even if you just “get started” preventing heart disease when you’re in mid-life.

Dr. Joe is speaking to YOU even if you have diabetes. He points out that the true enemy is inflammation. Dr. Joe then goes onto explain what the real focus is on now (and it is NOT cholesterol)!


Risk factor for heart disease

The good news as Dr. Joe points out is its much easier than we thought to reduce our risk factors for heart disease. You will find lots of great insights and advice throughout our blog here at Heart Disease Risk – and inflammation truly is a foe worth fighting. How? Get out and exercise! Just a little at first, but set a goal of 150 minutes each week – perhaps as little as 3 fifty minute sessions, or 4 forty minute sessions. Be moderate, no one expects you to run a marathon! In fact, that may not be so good – at least early on. Your author is 54, I just spent 5 days in a ski clinic – intense – and then checked my blood pressure last evening, 117/73…and I probably have a good 50 pounds to shed as well! So, it CAN be done. Share this news with everyone you care for – especially those who are “in the prime of their life” and are truly ready to enjoy middle-age.


How to lower your blood pressure – trick your brain!

December 3, 20120 Comments
how to lower your blood pressure

How to lower your blood pressure – a dramatic breakthrough!

How to lower your blood pressure. Something millions of Americans wonder about, and now thanks to a Minnesota firm, CVRx there is a new and innovative solution – one that tricks your brain to “deciding” to lower blood pressure.

How to lower your blood pressure

Millions suffer from high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). This silent killer is often a precursor to or is associated with heart disease. Since one-third of our population dies from heart disease and stroke, any solution that is minimally invasive, and relies upon the bodies own restorative abilities is something worth noting.

CVRx reports in the Star Tribune business section this device has great potential. According to CEO Nadim Yared,

“Its implantable pacemaker-type device stimulates pressure sensors in the carotid arteries — essentially fooling the brain into lowering blood pressure. The system is minimally invasive, adjustable and reversible — and the results from it are dramatic. It’s a beautiful system because, at the end of the day, we do not decide how to lower blood pressure,” he said. “We let the brain decide.”

Called the Barostim neo device, it is currently approved for hypertension treatment in Europe and is undergoing FDA trials here in the USA as it awaits FDA approval.

The Barostim Neo apparantly works like a thermostat. It is implanted near the collar bone and its effects are reversible. It works by stimulating “baroreceptors” that tell the brain to lower blood pressure.


Yared said patients in the Barostim neo studies have averaged a systolic pressure of 183; the device lowered the pressure of about half those patients to below 140.

Consider what it normally takes to lower blood pressure by more than 40 points. These results seem exciting! Since one in three adult Americans suffer from high blood pressure, this should be greeted as welcome news by many. Know someone who needs to hear this information and has perhaps been wondering “how to lower  your blood pressure“, share this article with them. If you have thoughts to add, please do so in the space provided below.


Your kidneys – providing a path to a healthier heart

December 1, 20120 Comments
who is at risk for heart disease

Who is at risk for heart disease? The holidays, your kidneys, and some common sense advice… (Image courtesy Prescila Darre)

Who is at risk for heart disease? 

Well, we all are… BUT – you can reduce your risk for heart disease by taking care of your kidneys!

Dr. Esther Lee, of Wicked Local Plymouth shares some tips. Most are generally common sense and will contribute to your overall health as well. As I read her article I did learn a thing or two myself.

First, lets consider the “connection” between your kidneys and your heart. Dr. Lee points out kidney disease will allow the buildup of wastes in the blood which can lead to heart disease (along with anemia and bone disease.)

Who is at risk for heart disease?

The next logical question to ask is how do we keep our kidneys healthy?

Dr. Lee offers the following suggestions:

· Keep blood pressure below 130/80 mm/HG.

· Stay in your target cholesterol range.

· Eat less salt and salt substitutes.

· Eat health foods.

· Stay physically active.

· Take your medications as prescribed.

If you have diabetes, take these steps, too.

· Meet blood sugar targets as often as you can.

· Have an A1C test at least twice a year, but ideally up to four times a year. An A1C test measure the average level of blood sugar over the past three months.

Of all of the above, I found the A1C test “new”. As Dr. Lee recommends, it is clearly a good idea to get some blood work done at least every 6 months. She recommends this for diabetics only, however remember there are millions with diabetes who are UNdiagnosed! According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2011, nearly 26 million Americans had diabetes, and of those, 7 million did not know it! Consider this statistic when you decide whether you need the A1C test.

As we are in the heart of the “holiday season”, take a moment to consider your kidneys and for that matter your overall health! If you have any doubt, get tested; and even if you do not, Dr. Lee’s suggestions “just make sense”. Make time to exercise each week (at least 2.5 hours per week), eat the high sugar and fats in moderation only, and do share this news with someone you care about as when we ask “who is at risk for heart disease“, the most basic answer is “we all are.”


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