Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with approximately 500,000 mortalities each year. Approximately every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and approximately every minute, someone will die of one.
It is the NUMBER ONE cause of death for MEN and WOMEN. In most cases, it is a preventable disease. Millions of people could reduce heart disease and stroke risks through simple dietary modifications, including a reduction in the intake of refined sugars and grains, the reduction of salt and saturated fats, and the elimination of trans fatty acids. Millions more could reduce their risks of heart disease by the proper use of bioidentical hormones, healthy eating, weight management and exercise.
Several factors are associated with cardiovascular ailments, including endothelial dysfunction, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, and plaque formation. Furthermore, a decline in estrogen levels among postmenopausal women dramatically increases cardiovascular risks, while low levels of testosterone can greatly increase cardiovascular risks in men.
How can you protect your heart? Reducing the presence of cardiovascular risk factors may prevent the development of heart disease. Heart health can be boosted through nutrition, exercise, balanced hormones, and greater antioxidant intake.
This email informational will address the ways you can protect your HEART. These include hormone replacement, the adequate intake of heart-protective nutrients, and exercise training tips that strengthen the heart. We will also offer comments from Dr. Neal Rouzier, a leading age-management physician regarding estrogen’s cardiovascular benefits.
*Hormone Replacement Therapy: Restore Hormones to Protect Your Heart
As we age, hormone levels decline dramatically leading to many cardiovascular risk factors. Hormone deficiencies can lead to accelerated aging and greater heart disease risks. Restoring hormones can improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, regulate endothelial and arterial function, and assist insulin sensitivity.
*Estradiol. Postmenopausal women have a higher risk of heart attacks, when compared to younger women, because their bodies stop producing estrogen. Estradiol, the most potent form of estrogen produced in the ovaries, regulates the amount of cholesterol generated in the liver. It helps to raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). Furthermore, estradiol assists the regulation of endothelial cells and reduces inflammation.
*Progesterone. While conventional progestin treatments (MPA – medroxyprogesterone acetate) have been linked to increased heart attack and stroke risks, micronized progesterone (natural) safely regulates cholesterol levels to improve cardiovascular function. Micronized progesterone can relieve vasomotor symptoms in menopausal women without affecting inflammatory markers and prothrombotic activity.
*Testosterone. Testosterone deficiencies have been related to an increased risk of heart disease among men and women. Low testosterone levels may lead to blood pressure and cholesterol imbalances, as well as blood clot proliferation. Restoring testosterone levels can aid blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and assist thrombotic activity. When testosterone decreases, HDL levels decline and triglyceride levels increase. Furthermore, the heart has a difficult time pumping blood to and from the heart.
Estrogen – Harnessing Heart Disease by Neal Rouzier, M.D.
Many women who avoid hormone replacement because they are afraid of its risks are on a headlong journey toward heart complications.
*Too many women are not reaping the benefits of natural hormone replacement therapy. Specifically, estrogen’s heart-healthy attributes were discovered over forty years ago. Women taking estrogen can cut their risk of heart disease by 50 percent. Without estrogen to fine-tune the complex workings of the heart, vessels harden, plaque forms, and heart disease becomes the dominant force which will ultimately kill 60% of women.
In matters of the heart, estrogen replacement therapy has illustrated an impressive track record – so impressive both the American Health Association and the American College of Cardiology have issued guidelines recommending physicians take into account the use of estrogen replacement therapy as a means to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease.
Several years ago, a study known as the Women’s Health Initiative demonstrated an increased risk of heart disease and stroke when estrogen and progestins were used in older women. This does not apply to women taking bio identical hormones or to women who start hormone supplementation at menopause. Since the WHI trials, all other studies demonstrate a reduced risk of stroke and heart disease.
Heart disease in no longer a male-dominated disease. It is the most formidable enemy a middle-aged woman will face. Fortunately, it can be fought by replacing hormones, including estrogen, to optimal levels which were considered protective in premenopausal years.
By: NBH, Director of Education & Research, NBH Lifetime Health
NBH Lifetime Health, March 1, 2011