Heart disease is still the primary cause of death and disability, and today it is largely preventable. “Largely preventable” means that lifestyle choices play a major factor. It can be difficult to effect lasting lifestyle changes, though – I would encourage you to check our recent blog on akrasia to learn more about why people make choices that aren’t in their own best interest. Our thinking is that if you understand which part of your brain is not helping you to move your health forward, you might have better success in making meaningful changes.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an umbrella term that describes both heart disease and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. (stroke takes the # 3 spot), and the number one killer of both men and women. 1 in 5 men and women have one or more types of CVD. Still 60% of women believe that cancer is their greatest health risk.
As bad as sudden death from stroke or heart disease can be, in my opinion long-term disability from these conditions is worse. CVD can affect every area of life, including the ability to perform basic activities of daily living. Everyone has activities that are important to them. It would be helpful to think about what is important to you and think of how your life would change if these were not in your repertoire anymore. Maybe you like to cook, take walks, paint or play music. How much would your quality of life be impacted if you couldn’t do these meaningful activities?
It is thought that the risk of CVD can be reduced by up to 80% by maintaining your proper weight, avoiding smoking, following a prudent diet, participating in regular exercise and using supplements that make sense for your particular physiology.
Does reducing CVD make that much of a difference, though? It has been estimated that life expectancy would increase 7 – 10 years if all major forms of CVD were eliminated. Of course, there are greater benefits in reducing disability as well.
Many factors contribute to the formation of CVD. Barry Sears did a lot of writing about this topic in the ’90s and advocated a “zone diet.” He developed a system in order to keep himself alive, as the men in his family tended to die from heart disease before the age of 50. His research led him to adopt a 40-30-30 diet (describing the percentages of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in each meal, with the actual amount of total food also being controlled). Following this type of diet can really help you optimize your HDL and LDL and their ratios. To learn more about this approach, I would encourage you to read a Sears Zone Diet.
Wouldn’t it be better to just take a pill? Statin sales exceed $10 billion per year. That’s over $30 a year for each man, woman and child in the U.S. It seems that every day, there’s a new study touting some additional benefit of statins, such as helping with macular degeneration or treating heart problems in young people, for example. The drug companies keep scrambling to find other uses for statin drugs.
Lots of debris is washing up on the proverbial shore from people who have sailed off in that direction, however. One dangerous issue is the rampant denial by medically trained professionals about the negative effects of statins: fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, back pain, stomach pain, muscle pain, joint pain, arthritis, urinary tract infections, and sensory peripheral neuropathy (caused by damage to the myelin sheath). Usually it’s left to the patient or an observant family member to connect the drug treatment with the dangerous effects.
What happens if a person develops peripheral neuropathy that affects the soles of their feet? They find they can’t go out and walk, so there goes an important exercise option that the body needs to stay healthy. Of course, a doctor then sends this person to a neurologist who probably prescribes Neurontin without talking about the sudden onset of the neuropathy a few weeks after beginning statin treatment. Maybe this person’s willpower declines as their quality of life is impacted and their diet worsens.
Fatigue and muscle aches and pains are associated with interference with energy production pathways that include the blocking of coenzyme Q-10 or CoQ-10. EVERYBODY taking statins should be supplementing with CoQ-10, probably 100mg or more each day.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) deserve special attention. In the elderly, the cardinal signs of a UTI that a younger person would probably experience like burning, pressure sensation and low grade fever are often absent. As the infection progresses, a person can show confusion, agitation, hallucinations and poor motor skills and/or dizziness. These important symptoms are often written off as dementia or early onset Alzheimer’s. Watch for sudden onset cognition changes, especially if the person is on a statin or is diabetic.
Another troubling possible side effect of statins is memory loss. There are numerous reports of declines in memory among statin patients. If you think about it, a few key traits are really important to being a human being and memory is one of them. More troubling still: some of this memory decline can persist after the statins are discontinued, unless you can find a way to repair the damage.
At OVitaminPro, we want you to be free of cardiovascular disease. We can offer supportive supplements like Karuna CoQ-10, BetterGenix Cholestgenix, Cardiovascular Research Tcotrienols, for example. Remember: even the best supplement regimen plays a supporting role to other lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise.