In 1900, heart disease was the fourth leading cause of death. It accounted for less than ten percent of the deaths in the United States. Twenty years ago, heart disease was the number one cause of death and affects over thirty percent of our population. Life expectancy in 1900 was 47.3 years. Nowadays it is approaching 80 years of age.
Inflammation is needed for healing. It is natural. The immune system responds to injuries and foreign bacteria, viruses, and fungi. We see redness, swelling, heat, pain and sometimes immobility when our bodies are fighting foreign invaders or injury.
However, at the cellular level, chronic low-level inflammation typically shows no symptoms. Stress, bacterial imbalance, diet, toxins, allergies, hormone imbalance, infections, insulin imbalance, lifestyle (obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol, etc.), prescription medicines and other factors cause chronic low-level inflammation.
Chronic low-level inflammation is the cause of nearly every disease. Inflammation is avoidable and treatable. I use the c-reactive protein (CRP) test to determine the overall level of inflammation in my body. I order it as an extra blood test on my annual physical. It doesn’t tell you where you have inflammation, but it does tell you from a macro perspective whether you have a problem or not.
Inflammation in the heart is seen as damage to the interior linings of the blood vessels and arteries. Continuous exposure to cellular wastes leads to atherosclerosis. Our bodies degrade over time. As we age we make less and less of certain chemicals that protect us. Nitric acid is one of them. As we make less nitric acid, atherosclerosis becomes more prevalent.
Dietary deficiencies in vitamins B-12, B-6, and folate (B-9) cause homocysteine levels to rise. Homocysteine is normally found in our blood. It is an amino acid. However, high levels of homocysteine become inflammatory, especially in the heart. Continuous high levels of insulin cause inflammation in the brain, heart and other organs.
What can you do? Here are ten things to improve heart health. Adhere to a lifestyle that is healthy. Eliminate smoking. Lose weight if you are overweight. Reduce sugar and carbohydrates. Exercise more. Include more fruits and vegetables in your food choices. Reduce excessive consumption of alcohol and other addictive substances. Perform stress reduction techniques daily. Ensure you are getting balanced nutrition. Reduce toxin exposure (air, water, and personal care products).
If you are under physician’s care, please consult your doctor. There may be adverse problems with your medications if you make changes to your lifestyle.