Sunday, March 5, 2017


Lets Talk Heart

                                  "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows
                                               the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23

     I had hoped to launch my blog during February which is known as cardiovascular awareness month. Cardiovascular disease is a Western civilization disease. It is 100% preventable and reversible. To understand this people have to first understand some basic facts about the heart.

- Average adult heart beats 72 times a minute and 100,000 times a day
- It beats on average 3,600,000 a year
- It beats 2.5 billion times during a lifetime
- The average heart weighs about 11 ounces
- It pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood a day over 60,000 miles and to give you some idea of how much this is it means that it would be as if a kitchen faucet was turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime
- Everyday the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles
- In a lifetime driving 20 miles a day would be like driving to the moon and back
- The heart is electric and can continue to beat even when separated from the body as long as it has an adequate blood supply of 02 (Oxygen)
- The fetal heart rate beats approximately two times as fast as an adults heart at about 100 beats per minute
- By the time a fetus is 12 weeks old the heart pumps an amazing 60 pints of blood per day
- The heart pumps blood to almost all of the body's 75 trillion cells. It is only the corneas that do not receive any blood supply.
- An adult heart has about 4 to 5 quarts of blood in circulation that is pumped to all the tissues and to and from the lungs in about 1 minute while beating 75 times per minute
- The heart is made up of its own cardiovascular highway that carries the blood through the following outlets: arteries, veins and capillaries

When the heart is not able to function properly due to disease it affects the entire system of bodily functioning.

- Aneurysms - a weak spot in the wall of the artery
- Arteriosclerosis - the thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries
- Atherosclerosis - a narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque deposits
- Varicose veins - problems with the valves that stops the blood from running backwards
- HTN (hypertension) - abnormally high blood pressure that over time can lead to heart disease
- Heart disease - a lack of blood supply to the heart caused by narrowed arteries

In looking at the above illnesses of the heart every single one of them can be prevented by diet.  To understand this it is helpful to understand the blood vessels and how they communicate with the heart and how the heart communicates with the rest of the body. 

In order for the heart to work correctly it's blood vessels or what I call the highways of the heart  must also work correctly. When they are unable to carry the blood efficiently this leads to complications of the heart that leads to heart disease. These blood vessels are largely
affected by nutrition. Have you ever heard of the old saying,
"You are what you eat?" Well, you literally are what you eat.

Blood vessels are really quite miraculous to consider. Just the fact that if laid out end to end they would stretch 60,000 miles is unreal to think about. They have their very own communication system.  Like rubber bands they stretch and constrict which is known as vasodilation and vasoconstriction. This occurs so that they are always responding to the changing demand of needed blood supply. They perform these actions in response to what is going on in the body and then send blood to wherever it is needed the most. If the blood vessels lose their ability to perform this action then the condition known as arteriosclerosis occurs. People may say, well big deal, what does that mean? Here is what  I tell them,  imagine a set of different sized straws and then imagine that they have just completed running a three mile race in 90 degree heat. When they get to the finish line they are dying of thirst and they grab an iced down water bottle out of a large cooler. They are just about to gulp down their first swig when they are told they can only drink it with a straw that is the size of a coffee stirrer. Can you imagine how they would feel? I am pretty sure it is the same way your heart, the pump for your body, feels when your vessels need to widen to allow blood to flow fast and free in order to get to crucial organs that need to perform their jobs. It must be a frantic and anxious feeling. This puts extra strain on the heart by working it harder to try and force blood to the organs that need it. After prolonged abuse of the heart like this it ultimately can result in what is known as congestive heart failure. When the heart can no longer pump adequate blood flow to the organs it leads to systemic bodily disease which includes:  
Heart Like a Pump
- Kidney disease that can lead to what we call in medical terms ESRD = end stage renal disease which requires that patients go on a machine three times a week for several hours that pulls all the blood from the body and filters out all the body's toxins that the kidneys are no longer able to filter out. The annual cost for this is about $200,000 without complications.
- Impaired eyesight due to the blood vessels behind the eye being so tiny just like those of  the kidneys. This is why these two organs are two of the first organs to suffer damage and disease.

- Neuropathy which is a nerve condition in which the person's nerves are damaged and numbness and tingling with loss of sensation occurs. (The drugs prescribed for this are commonly Gabapentin and Lyrica which cause weight gain and feeling of fatigue which worsens an already horrible problem and creates a vicious cycle).
- Poor wound healing which means if a person with neuropathy steps on something sharp and cuts their foot and doesn't feel it the chance for the development an infection is very high. These infections are much harder to resolve due to a lack of oxygenated blood reaching the infected area to promote healing. Often times this leads to very costly treatments known as wound therapy and wound vacuums.  If these treatments fail then amputations become necessary.
- Heart attacks which lead to time in the hospital, time off work, extra financial burdens, extra family stress, etc.
- Chest pain known as angina
- CVA known as cerebral vascular accident which I must note that this name cracks me up because it is no accident that your brain is not getting enough oxygen but is because of a repetitive poor diet lacking proper nutrition. Without proper nutrition your blood vessels are unable to do their God appointed job which is to carry adequate blood supply to vital organs like the brain.
- Diabetes
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Cognitive inabilities
- Fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- The list is endless.........

The other blood vessel condition that can lead to these same complications is atherosclerosis which is plaque build up in the vessels.  When plaque builds up in the vessels and looks like it does in the picture below then the same complications listed above ultimately occur if the condition is not addressed.

To help yourself eliminate these conditions how can you do that if you have no clue how to do so. Well let me explain. First, you must understand and accept that what you eat plays the most vital role and second your exercise routine plays the second most vital role.


Let's pretend that your body owns a factory that works for you inside of your body. The name of your factory is the "Heart Factory".  Within the factory, in order to produce your product of good heart health, you, as the CEO of the company, hire workers known as blood vessels. Your blood vessels are made up of different types of components needed to perform the production of heart health. One very important and crucial component is the endothelial lining which is composed of endothelial cells that make up the organ known as the endothelium. This organ lines all of your blood vessels throughout your body. It is a paper thin tissue lining that acts as a protective barrier for your blood vessels so that they can do their job effectively and efficiently producing great results of heart health. How do these endothelial cells do this? When they are healthy they promote the production of a really cool naturally occurring molecule known as nitric oxide.

Nitric Oxide is crucial to allowing your blood vessels to be able to perform vasodilation and prevent plaque build up. Remember, vasodilation promotes and enables the delivery of O2 (Oxygen) and nutrients to your body's cells. So now let's pretend that 1/2 of your workers, endothelial cells, eat the following diet:  1.) Excess Sugar 2.) Unhealthy Fats and 3.) Lots of Empty Calories. These workers rarely if ever eat a nutritious diet, never if rarely exercise and also have lots of stress which actually causes your blood vessels to constantly constrict making the heart's job a lot harder.

What happens? Well anyone who knows anything about business knows that your productivity margins are not going to look really promising. Unfortunately for your  "Heart Factory" production is headed in a downward spiral because 50% of your workers are not going to be able to produce enough NO to meet the customer's  (your) demand.

For the CEO of the "Heart Factory" I have GREAT news for you and your company! You can support that 50% or your work force but first two things must happen: 1.) Weight management through proper and common sense nutrition through a healthy diet. 2.) Regular exercise. 

- Let's talk, for a second, about what proper nutrition looks like. Proper nutrition consists of some pretty basic fundamentals aka building blocks: 1.) Decreased sugar 2.) Decreased unhealthy saturated fats and 3.) Decreased empty calories

IMAGINE: You are the CEO and you put your workers on a nutritious diet plan and an exercise plan. Now the 50% that was unhealthy and unable to produce NO for your factory is working effectively and efficiently and you have just doubled your output. WOW! I want to meet that CEO.

1.) It helps to create the protective barrier inside your blood vessels known as the endothelium (lining of the entire circulatory system from your heart to the smallest capillary) and when this lining in the blood vessels is compromised you get what I describe as open or unprotected areas in the vessels that are sticky like glue. The main culprit that prevents NO from being produced is SUGAR.
2.) After a high sugar diet destroys the endothelium and a person also eats a diet high in unhealthy saturated fats the fatty deposits sink like a rock in water while they are traveling in the blood through the vessels.  These deposits then stick to the vessel walls and you get plaque build up(ATHEROSCLEROSIS). This then leads to hypertension making your heart, the pump, have to work twice as hard against the blockage to get the blood where it needs to go. When it gets bad enough you will suffer what we call a heart attack literally translated an "attack on your heart". Through our diets we are choosing to either attack our heart or promote heart wellness. This is NOT as complicated as the science industry and the drug companies would have you believe.
3.) Without NO it also causes the blood vessels to lose it's ability to dilate meaning when the vessel needs to open wider to get blood through it, it can not do it (arteriosclerosis).

So why does any of this matter? Lets pretend that you are hiking through the woods and you see a bear, you will experience what we call in medical world, "fight of flight". Immediately your body tenses up in a built in protection mechanism and your blood vessels constrict.
So now pretend your blood vessels are getting smaller, you have plaque build up from a poor diet and also due to a poor diet your vessels have lost the elasticity to dilate to allow the blood to flow to your muscles to help you run  away. Unfortunately, all off this extra stress of seeing the bear is going to be the "vessel" that broke the camels back and before the bear can kill you your heart probably will.

This is a scenario of the perfect storm of what causes a heart attack which is totally preventable. It may not be a bear that ultimately causes your sickly heart system to come crashing down but a stressful job, a divorce, a stock market crash where you lose your life's savings, etc. This is why it is SO CRUCIAL to pay attention to what you eat, how much you exercise and how you manage your stress.

You have the power to control your own heart health destiny and therefore your wellness destiny. Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise. It all begins with you, your education and understanding of the basic facts of how your body works and how it is either positively or negatively impacted by what you eat or don't eat and whether or not you exercise and how well you control your stress.

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