Posts Tagged - ‘heart disease’

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Heart Disease is No.1 Killer of Women

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Many people believe cancer is the most deadly threat to women, but the No.1 killer is actually heart disease. Women over age 55 are at a greater risk as are those with close family member who had heart disease at an early age. However women are increasingly becoming at risk at younger ages.

All women can take steps to prevent heart disease by making healthy lifestyle changes. Having health insurance is key for preventative treatment. Receiving regular checkups and physicals and talking about heart health with your doctor can save lives.

According to the National Institute of Health, 80 percent of midlife women (ages 40 to 60) still have one or more of the modifiable risk factors — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, and smoking. Sixty percent of younger women, ages 20-39, have one or more of these risk factors. Recent data show high rates of overweight/obesity in younger women, which may lead to higher rates of heart disease in later years.

Symptoms of heart disease for women are different than they are for men. It can be hard to classify common symptoms. Health professionals say, in the past, women who were having massive heart attacks felt as if all they needed to do was burp and it would get better. It fools everyone. The best advice for women is if you’re feeling bad enough to think that something’s wrong and it’s persistent and it continues to make you feel worse — women still feel some kind of chest discomfort and some type of shortness of breath — you should go to the emergency room.

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Salt Cutback Challenge for US

Friday, January 29th, 2010

If the entire country, would commit to cutting back on a bit of salt, the number of heart attacks and strokes in the US would decrease considerably.

A new study by the New England Journal of Medicine says heart disease could decline by up to 13 percent if adults could just slash their daily salt intake by 3 grams, or about 1,200 milligrams of sodium. New cases of heart disease and the number of strokes could also be expected to decline, by up to 11 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

Even a reduction in daily salt intake of just 1 gram (or about 400 milligrams of sodium) would produce “large declines” in the rates of cardiovascular events, according to the study. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which triples your risk of developing heart disease, whatever your age.

“Just targeting slightly lower salt intake would have some benefit for everyone in the U.S.,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, an epidemiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is the ideal type of intervention for those interested in public health to get behind, because the effects would be so dramatic.”

The study suggests that food manufacturers would need to be the primary target of the projected reduction in salt intake, since processed foods — and not the salt in your salt shaker — account for between 75 to 80 percent of American salt consumption.

Families are buying foods at the grocery store which are already loaded with unhealthy amounts of salt. Items such as ready meals, sauces, baked beans and pizza are just some of the foods with hidden salt. Almost everyone uses the foods even if they make most of their food from scratch. Consuming foods that are high in salt has a negative affect on your overall health and causes your medical insurance to go up. Americans make more than 72 million doctor visits every year for treatment and management of cardiovascular diseases, and medical insurance companies often increase everyone’s health insurance premiums to cover the cost.

Experts also say a quarter million deaths from strokes could be prevented if Americans start consuming less salt. The death statistics of eating too much salt is not the only burden; healthcare cost are also extraordinarily high. According the the Center for Disease Control, heart disease and stroke in the United States, including health care expenditures and lost productivity from deaths and disability, was projected to be more than $475 billion last year.

There are certainly initiatives the entire country can make to improve everyone’s health. In the meantime, there are lots of simple ways to reduce the amount of salt you eat which will in turn improve your health and also save money with health insurance plans from companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and United Health Care. Here are a few tips to help you cut back on salt intake:

  • If you’re choosing a ready meal or a ready-made pasta sauce, compare different types and choose the one that is lower in salt.
  • Try not to add salt automatically when you’re cooking or about to eat. Often people only use salt out of habit.
  • Buy reduced salt or low sodium whenever you can in meats and other foods.
  • Use herbs, spices, and salt-free seasoning blends in cooking and at the table.
  • Cut back on frozen dinners, pizza, packaged mixes, canned soups or broths, and salad dressings — these often have a lot of sodium
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