Are you a candidate for a coronary?

My father had a quadruple bypass at age 62. So every ache and pain anywhere near my chest has me double-checking that my will is updated.

I have good reason to be ruffled. Cardiovascular disease — including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure — is the #1 killer in the United States.

Omega-3 TG

It’s more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. CVD costs this country more than $315 billion each year, including the cost of healthcare services, medications and lost productivity. 1

Are you at risk? Let’s take a look at some of the ways you might be upping your chances for this deadly disease.

You (or your friends) light up

Cigarette smokers are 2-4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. And, for every cigarette you smoke per day, the risk of a nonfatal heart attack rises by almost 6%.

Even exposure to secondhand smoke poses a serious health hazard.

Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke are up to 30% more likely to develop heart disease.

If you smoke, quit now. Within 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse will return to normal, and your circulation will improve.

Within 8 hours, your blood-oxygen levels will start to increase, and your chance of a heart attack will start to fall.

And within 5 years, your risk of a heart attack will fall to about half that of a pack-a-day smoker.

And remember, you’re never too old to quit. Among smokers who quit at age 66, men gained up to 2 years of life, while women gained up to almost 4 years.

You toss and turn

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that those who sleep fewer than 6 hours (or more than 10) reported a higher prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes.2

To get the right amount of your requisite zzzs:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Use your bed only for sleeping or sex.
  • Don’t toss and turn in bed. If you can’t fall asleep, move to another room.
  • Lay off the alcohol and caffeine.
  • Get some exercise, but not too close to bedtime.

You brush off your family history

Although 96% of people believe that family history is important for their own health, less than 30% have collected health information from their relatives to develop a family health history.

If your dad had a heart attack before the age of 50, your risk is double that of the average person. If your mom had an attack under age 60, it raises your risk by 70%.

So collect your family history and go over it with your doctor.

You fear fish

Fish, especially fatty fish, contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of unsaturated fat that helps promote a healthy inflammatory response that can protect blood vessels and support your heart health.

Fish high in omega-3s include salmon, anchovies, bluefish, sardines and tuna. If you don’t like fish, or if you’re afraid of the mercury in fish, you can also get some omega-3s in DHA-enriched eggs, walnuts and ground flaxseed.

Or try RealDose Super Critical Omega-3 TG. It provides you with a concentrated 2.4 grams of omega-3s per day in the superior triglyceride (TG) form.

You skip flossing

man-flossing

Several studies have found that people with gum disease are up to twice as likely to have heart disease. Researchers theorize that inflammation in the gums creates an easy path for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and create havoc on the heart.

Protecting your heart is one more good reason to heed your dentist’s wise advice: Brush and floss daily, and schedule a checkup at least twice a year.

How about you? Are you concerned that you’ll succumb to heart disease? Do you have any of the risk factors I talked about? Are you doing anything about it? I’d love to hear.

Steven Sisskind, M.D.
Steven Sisskind, M.D.

1. Go AS, Mozaffarian D, Roger VL, et al.; American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2014 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2014;129(3):e28-e292. Epub 2013 Dec 18. PMID: 24352519.

2. Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Croft JB. Sleep duration and chronic diseases among U.S. adults age 45 years and older: evidence from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Sleep. 2013;36(10):1421-7. PMID: 24082301.

3. Persson GR, Persson RE. Cardiovascular disease and periodontitis: an update on the associations and risk. J Clin Periodontol. 2008;35(8 Suppl):362-79. PMID: 18724863.

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10 comments

  1. I weighed 225 pounds and smoked i had high blood pressure and high colesterole and my good colesterole was low so my doctor told me to take two tablets of fish oil .so i did i was 39. Desided to lose weight i lost over 100 pounds got down to 145 pounds my blood pressure went back to normal but not sure about my colesterole my next step was smoking i developed severe stress and anxiety and at 42 i had a stroke wrecked my car and lucky to be alive . .what do you think caused my stroke my neuroligest thinks it was the stress and anxiety

    • Hi Tammy,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! Your commitment and discipline to lose weight and make the change to a healthier lifestyle is admirable! Though stress and anxiety may not directly result to a stroke, it can cause your blood pressure to rise. High Blood pressure is one of the risk factors of heart disease as is a consistently elevated cholesterol level. However, as I am not completely familiar of your medical history, I cannot say for certain if those are the only ones you should be worried about or be on the lookout for.

      That said, getting a good night’s sleep along with the recommended diet and exercise, you will be able to not just lower your blood pressure levels but also ease some of your anxiety and stress. You can also try incorporating some meditation techniques to help clear your mind and relax. Something as simple as slow deep breaths can do wonders in calming and getting your centered. I hope this helps! I congratulate you on your weight loss and do hope your progress continues! Have a healthy day!

  2. This article scared the hell out of me. I an 59, female, with a family hx of CVD, My dad had his first AMI at age 38, My triglycerides were 1000 before I started meds, I’m on cholesterol and high BP meds, and I’m diabetic. My sugars run in the 140’s usually, so I am going to ask my family physician If I can increase my metformin to 1000 mg bid. Any suggestions?
    Please help!

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Shirley,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing our thoughts with us! A strong family history of Cardiovascular disease will make you vulnerable but adapting a healthy lifestyle will decrease your risk of developing the disease. That said, I do encourage you to work closely with your personal doctor in order to better control your Blood Sugar level. He or she, being familiar with your medical history, is at a better position to offer suggestions and changes which will not only help you lower your glucose levels but also do it in a safe manner. Have a healthy day!

  3. I have had some fairly significant cavities for a couple of years, but was unwilling to submit to standard dental treatment. I got Nagel’s information on curing tooth decay. I’m not exactly following his program, but I added some practices of my own. First, I would suck on a Spry xylitol mint. This helps prevent bacteria in the mouth from getting into the teeth and wreaking havoc. Then I would swish goat kefir in my mouth to restore good bacteria. I also swish water with EmergenC to provide minerals for rebuilding enamel. Finally, I put a drop of kudzu extract in each cavity. Kudzu is a plant that is loaded with plant stem cells, and they encourage the production of stem cells in the human. In addition, I take CoQ10, ubiquinol, high dose, which keeps my gums healthy. The result? My cavities are filling in with hard enamel. It doesn’t take long to cover any holes that go through the tooth to the nerve (and unless they do, infection into the system isn’t a possibility). It took about two weeks for this to grow enough to cover the nerves. Spry mints also stop pain. I am continuing this treatment, and although the pace at which enamel is being restored has declined, it is still ongoing. I think for a person my age (70), it will take about three months for them to heal completely, if they continue to progress as they are. And of course, I’m trying to avoid sugar and starches, though I do eat a little. I hope this information is helpful.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Pat,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your great idea with us! Yes, your treatment is indeed very helpful and hopefully, will touch lives out there as well. I look forward to hearing more of your great ideas! Have a healthy day!

  4. Thank you so much for this information, i am concerned about my Son, he is 33 and has his annual check up do every year, it’s been twice in the last 3 years that his MD has mentioned that his blood pressure is high, he has not recommended any medication fortunately its not that bad, yet I want to offer supplements. Would you consider B Vitamin to help? And the Omega 3? I would appreciate some orientation on this matter so very much, he means the world to me. Thanks a lot

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Teresa,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! Yes, Omega 3 supplements will help lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and inflammation. However, I do strongly advise that your son first speak to his doctor before getting started on the fish oil supplements. The reason being, while we are certain of the positive effects of Omega 3 fish oil, there may be underlying conditions that could possibly affect your son and put his health at risk. That said, Vitamin B supplements and fish oil, play a complimentary role with one another and could possibly help alleviate chronic inflammation such as joint pains and soreness. Hope this helps! Have a healthy day!

  5. Please send me a copy of this paper from your ad:
    Liu Y, Wheaton AG, Chapman DP, Croft JB. Sleep duration and chronic diseases among U.S. adults age 45 years and older: evidence from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Sleep. 2013;36(10):1421-7. PMID: 24082301.

    Thanks, Martin

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