Heart Risks That May Surprise You

Lowering your risk of heart disease is one of the most important things on which to focus. Most people with heart disease are symptom free and unaware they have a problem before they experience a potentially fatal event.

The most common suggestions are to quit smoking, get regular exercise, reduce stress and treat high blood pressure. Staying away from sugar, trans-fats and inflammation-causing foods is also essential.  There are other less known factors that may extend your life.

This discussion will cover the topics of Sleep Apnea, Low Vitamin D Levels and Periodontal Disease and their direct roles in heart disease risk. These factors are entirely within your control.

Risk Factors Over Which You Have No Control:

  • Blood type: Type A (+5%), Type B (+11%) and Type AB (+23%) show increased risk compared to Type O.
  • Menopause prior to age 46; or surgical menopause with ovaries removed.
  • Women who were physically abused as children have increased risks.
  • 80% of heart attacks occur after age 65.

What You Can Affect:

  • Untreated sleep apnea
  • Vitamin D deficiency (below the healthy range of 50-100 ng/ml.)
  • Periodontal disease
  • High waist-to-hip ratio; excess abdominal fat
  • Shift work increases heart attack risk by 23% due to interference with the body’s circadian rhythm.
  • High red blood cell count
  • Black-Americans have higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity, inactivity, diabetes, Sickle-cell anemia, Vitamin D deficiency and many other known risk factors leading to higher rates of heart attack and stroke compared to whites.
  • Hispanic Americans are killed by cardiovascular disease more than all forms of cancer combined. Latinos are more likely than whites to be overweight or obese, diabetic and to be inactive. More preventative measures and education are required.

Diagnosing Sleep Apnea

Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems and can put you at an increased risk for: heart failure, arrhythmias, gastroesophageal reflux disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart attack. If you think sleep apnea may be a problem, discuss it with your doctor or schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist immediately.

  • Loud, chronic snoring (some with sleep apnea don’t snore, but it’s rare)
  • Frequent pauses in breathing
  • Tired, moody, depressed and/or irritable despite being in bed for eight hours
  • Overweight or obese
  • High blood pressure
  • Wake up regularly with a headache

Vitamin D3 is a Top Priority

Vitamin D is too important to ignore. It is an essential steroid hormone that is made in the skin in response to sunlight. We suggest you use caution when taking vitamin D3 supplements in high doses. Taking too much at a time can lead to hypercalcemia and bone loss, which is why it’s imperative to have your blood tested regularly. It is now understood that Vitamin D plays an important role in every system of our bodies– without exception. Death by every cause is shown to decrease with optimal Vitamin D blood levels. Ask for the 25(OH)D test, which is the only test that will tell you if you’re getting adequate vitamin D.

Ideally, we should expose bare skin (no sunscreen) to direct mid-day sunlight at least three times per week– 10 to 20 minutes is plenty for light skinned people; darker skinned people need more time in the sun. This amount of exposure can make the equivalent of 10,000 iu. Vitamin D is made when UVB rays interact with the cholesterol in your skin, so don’t wash the exposed skin with soap within 24 hours post-exposure or you will wash off most of the vitamin D you just made.

Windows block UVB rays, so sun exposure through a window won’t make vitamin D. Instead, harmful UVA rays can penetrate windows, so avoid sitting near a window with the sun pouring in.

Important to Remember:

Since this is a fat soluble vitamin, always take Vitamin D supplements during a meal containing fish oil, grass-fed butter, flax oil, walnut oil, avocado or other high quality fat. Vitamin F (healthy fat) works together with vitamin D. Insufficient good fats in the diet may lead to hair loss, hives, eczema, edema, dry eyes, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels, dry skin, brittle nails, obesity and more.  Supplementing vitamin D3 without consuming adequate good fats at the same time can make these problems worse!

Contraindications for D3 Supplementation

If your kidneys are impaired do not supplement with vitamin D3 without your doctor’s oversight. Healthy kidneys contain vitamin D receptors and play an essential role in converting it into its active form. But when kidneys fail this ability is lost and calcium and phosphorus levels in blood can become dangerously high.

People diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis, TB or histoplasmosis should only take supplemental vitamin D with oversight by a physician. If you have been diagnosed with osteomalacia, osteopenia or osteoporosis you are advised to work with your physician to raise your vitamin D levels. Taking too high a dose of supplemental vitamin D3 (over 800 iu/day) may lead to more bone loss. Taking too much vitamin D can be as harmful to bones as too little. You can order a home test for vitamin D3 here:

 https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/testing-for-vitamin-d/

Signs of Low Vitamin D Levels:

  • You are over 50- older skin makes much less Vitamin D than young skin.
  • You spend little time outdoors, wear sunscreen or live north of 37 degrees latitude
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic pain
  • Tiredness and reduced endurance
  • Constant respiratory problems
  • Depression
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic infections
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Sweaty head
  • Cardiovascular disease; congestive heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Crankiness
  • Dark skin
  • 85% of us are likely to have lower than optimal Vitamin D levels

A Hair Mineral Analysis can give you an idea of the calcium mobilization in your body and expose your risks for potential heart attack or stroke. The HMA report will provide suggestions to reduce your risks, and is a valuable tool for learning the status of your overall health. http://hma.biri.org

Periodontal Disease Warning Signs

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums or other pain in the mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Abscesses– Pus between the gums and teeth
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way the teeth fit together when one bites down
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

A recent study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation showed that people with presence of gum disease have increased risk for heart attack. In fact, they appear to be 49% more likely to have a heart attack than those without gum disease.

This is hypothesized to be due to bacteria in the mouth traveling to blood vessels leading to increased inflammation. Always inform your dentist of medications you are taking because they may have adverse effects that directly influence oral health.

To live as full and healthy a life as possible it is essential to pay close attention to the factors that you can control. Please don’t pretend all is well until you experience a permanently heart-damaging event. Take charge of your health today!

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Healthy Habits® is here to support you to stay vitally healthy in order to live your happiest and most satisfying life. Thank you for sharing our articles and information with your loved ones. We pride ourselves on being a quality resource for you and your family.

Vitamin D Supplementation Suggestions:

Age Daily Dosage
Below 5 35 units per pound per day
Age 5 – 10 2500 units
Adults 4000-5000 units
Pregnant Women 8000 units

 

References:

https://www.davita.com/kidney-disease/diet-and-nutrition/diet-basics/vitamin-d-and-chronic-kidney-disease/e/5326

http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2017/02/the-surprising-link-between-periodontal-disease-and-heart-health-what-dental-professionals-need-to-know.html

http://www.your-heart-health.com/en-US/heart-disease-facts/black-americans.html

http://www.your-heart-health.com/en-US/heart-disease-facts/hispanic-americans.html

http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/125/20/2520

https://www.ada.org/en/science-research/science-in-the-news/new-periodontal-disease-and-cardiovascular-disease

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypervitaminosis_D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iatYZxyoEkU

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