The Facts on Heart Attacks

Your heart is surrounded with an intricate network of coronary arteries that supply blood, rich in oxygen, to the muscle deep within your chest.  When the arteries are suddenly blocked, stopping the flow of blood to the heart, the oxygen-deprived muscle is damaged and a heart attack occurs. 

Each year, 500,000 Americans die from heart attacks.  That’s one every minute in this country.  While heart attacks may be sudden and intense, and appear to come without warning, the body may have actually been providing clues long before the cardiac event occurred.

The Signs—Know How To Read Them

Many people don’t recognize the signs of a heart attack until it’s too late.  Learning how to detect the symptoms of cardiac distress could save your life—or the life of a loved one.

Signs and symptoms include:

Angina:  Sometimes mistaken as indigestion or heartburn, angina involves pressure or discomfort in the center of the chest.  This can also present as heaviness or numbness, tightness, pressure, burning, aching or squeezing.  Some individuals report feeling a sensation of fullness as well.  These symptoms may be intermittent leading up to a heart attack.

Discomfort or Pain in the Upper Body:  Many people experience discomfort or pain in the upper regions of the body, such as the back, neck, jaw, shoulder or stomach.  The sensations may come and go several times before or during an actual cardiac event however.

Shortness of Breath and Fatigue:  These may be signs there is stress on the heart that can begin months before a heart attack occurs.  Sometimes this may be combined with chest pain or discomfort as well.

Excessive Sweating or “Breaking Out in a Cold Sweat”:  When your heart works harder to pump blood through clogged arteries, your body reacts by sweating to maintain a lower temperature.  This can be an indication of an impending heart attack.

Nausea, Vomiting, Indigestion: Vomiting, indigestion, or nausea-like symptoms are common before a heart attack.  Many people dismiss these symptoms as normal because adults in middle age suffer many gastrointestinal difficulties in general.

Unfamiliar Dizziness:  This may be a signal that part of the heart muscle is dying due to heart attack.

Extreme Weakness or Anxiety:  Feelings of extreme fatigue or weakness within the body, or anxiety may actually precede a heart attack.  (A lack of oxygen due to heart disease may account for feelings of anxiety).   

Rapid or Irregular Heartbeat:  Weeks, even months before a heart attack occurs, a sudden, rapid or irregular heartbeat may begin to present in individuals at risk.

Differences Between Men and Women—While both genders will suffer from chest pain and discomfort, women are more likely to experience other symptoms such as upper body pain, nausea, and shortness of breath.

Stress Yourself—Stress Your Heart

Everyone on the planet experiences stress.  A small amount is necessary to motivate us to make changes in our lives and react properly to our environment.  Too much stress can cause a whole host of medical problems however.  These may include stomach problems such as, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and ulcers, or migraines and neck aches.  While each of us may experience tension in different ways, stress that has not been appropriately dealt with can boil over and can contribute to heart disease that may lead to heart attack.

What’s the connection?—Prolonged or sudden stress leads to physiological changes in the body.  These may include: 

Reduced Blood Flow To The Heart: This causes the heart to beat irregularly and may promote blood clotting.  If you have plaque built up in the arteries already, you may experience chest pain.  Over a prolonged period, the lining of the blood vessels can become damaged making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis.

High Blood Pressure:  The “fight or flight response” that is triggered by stressful situations, causes adrenaline and cortisol to flood the body.   These hormones make the heart beat faster, constricting blood vessels to move more blood to the body’s core.  This in turn, raises blood pressure.

High blood pressure may create conditions that lead to a heart attack.  It can cause scarring in the arteries that fill up with plaque.  These become prone to blood clots that may block the flow of blood to the heart.  The heart arteries may become thicker and harder as a result of high blood pressure as well.  When the blood supply to the heart is cutoff, a heart attack occurs.  The part of the heart that is oxygen-starved begins to die.  The longer the coronary arteries remain blocked, the greater the damage to the heart muscle.

High Cholesterol:  During times of high stress the brain’s hypothalamus generates cortisol and adrenaline for instant energy.  When cortisol produces more sugar than the body can use, the excess gets converted to fatty acids and cholesterol that remain in the blood. Too much LDL (bad) cholesterol can accumulate in the artery walls, preventing blood to flow freely to the heart.  When a blockage occurs, a heart attack results.

Obesity—The Weight of the Matter

About 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese.  This puts them at great risk for many health conditions including heart attacks.  Obese individuals may have higher cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and type-II diabetes.  While each of these conditions alone can be a contributing factor to heart attack, together, they increase the chances greatly. 

You are considered obese if your body weight is 20% more than it should be, or if your Body Mass Index is at 30 or above. 

A large waist, (greater than 35 inches for women, or 40 inches for men) in addition to a high BMI puts individuals at an even greater risk for a heart attack.


  • Raises blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Lowers “good” HDL cholesterol
  • Increases blood pressure
  • Induces type II diabetes
  • Increases risk for heart disease and harms the blood vessel system

According to the American Heart Association, a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese and should be treated.

Lower Your Blood Pressure—Lower Your Risk for Heart Attack

Roughly two-thirds of adults over the age of 65 have high blood pressure.  Levels ranging above 140/90 mmHg are considered high.  Blood pressure between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHg is considered prehypertension. 

High blood pressure can damage the arteries causing them to thicken and harden over time.  Because they can become prone to blood clotting, the heart is at higher risk for heart attack.      

How To Lower Blood Pressure On Your Own

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Adopt a sensible eating plan, low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Get plenty of physical exercise.
  • Achieve activity goals by walking in place or driving whenever possible, doing chores, shopping, and errands.
  • Reduce sodium intake.  Add spices such as garlic and onion to flavor food instead.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation.  Alcohol adds calories to the diet and also raises blood pressure.
  • Use Prescription drugs as directed.  Follow physician’s specific instructions
  • Adopt healthy lifestyle changes in addition to medication.

Blood Pressure, Statin and Cholesterol Drugs – Items to Consider

We are going to get right in to a topic that I think is extremely important to many of individuals because so many of you are on statin drugs. We have new warnings out about statin drugs this week about its role in helping people develop diabetes, Type 2 diabetes after they’ve been on statin drugs for a period of time.

First of all, let’s set the record straight about something else here that is been near and dear to my heart for many, many years. I’ve consistently covered that high cholesterol is not the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. Matter of fact, the studies that have been done involving statin drugs and lowering cholesterol show that there is no increase in life expectancy nor is there a decrease in heart attack and stroke risks for healthy people taking statin drugs just because they have high LDL or bad cholesterol. Did you know that?

The only place that these cholesterol drugs really show a benefit is in people that have already had a history of the first heart attack or stroke. Prior to that, no real benefit. Make sure that you’re clear about that. There are numerous side effects that people endure when they take statin drugs. Liver problems. There is an interference of the manufacture of CoQ10 which is responsible for energy production within the body. There is a problem that can occur with muscle tissue breaking down from statin drugs, nerve damage, cognitive brain related impairment such as memory loss, forgetfulness, and confusion associated with statin drug use. Possible increased risk of cancer and heart failure with long term use, increased risk of muscle damage caused by exercise and also a reducer exercise capacity in those that take statin drugs; worsening energy levels; and an increased risk of obesity and insulin interference with the use of statin drugs.

In the event you don’t know what some of these statin drug names are, here’s a few of them: Lovastatin, Crestor, Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol, Zocor. Many of these you have seen advertised on TV and promoted by the drug companies over the years. Now, it seems that as these patents are expiring on cholesterol drugs, we see more and more studies coming out telling us that cholesterol really is not the issue. Really? Why have we been dosing people with these statin drugs all these years? Because that’s what was the lockstep story between big pharma and your local doctor, unfortunately. There are still a lot of doctors out there that are brainwashed about this whole statin story.

Here are some new data that you need to consider when we look at the statin drug story. If you’re on these drugs, I would highly encourage you to sit and have a heart to heart talk with your doctor about whether or not you really need to be on them. Again, if you have never had a diagnosis of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease in general, in other words, if all it is, is that you have some high LDL, bad cholesterol, then there really is no benefit to taking cholesterol medication. I don’t want you to be mislead. It will not prevent the first heart attack nor will it prevent the first stroke. I know that’s conflicting with probably what your doctor is telling you, but this is what’s in the data. This is the truth. If you’ve already had a heart attack and stroke, then there’s a possibility you need to be on these statin drugs. That’s the only place they show a benefit.

Dramatic rise in diabetes.

Here’s the biggest problem, one of the biggest problems we have going on in United States right now is this dramatic rise in diabetes. This recent study showed that after following 8,749 non-diabetic men from the ages of 45 to 73 with a six year follow-up in this study known as the metabolic syndrome in men study which was based in Finland, the result showed that there was a 46% increased risk for Type 2 diabetes after adjusting for all confounding factors. The patients taking the statin drugs also had a 24% decrease in insulin sensitivity. That’s a key marker in diabetes, by the way, and a 12% reduction in insulin secretion. In other words, their body slowed down the amount of insulin it was producing, and again, something that further leads us into diabetes. This could be one of the prime reasons that we see a rise in diabetes because millions and millions of Americans are taking these statin drugs every day. This could be very well be one of testosterone underlying problems to this whole story.

If you are on these medications, these statin drugs, you want to know about some of the natural remedies that you can use to help with cholesterol without these kinds of side effects, get into your local health and nutrition store. 

Hormonal Balancing – How To Balance Hormones Naturally

There is a new study out showing that there’s a very powerful antioxidant that is available called pycnogenol. Many of you have heard about this by now. It is an extract that comes from French Maritime pine trees, specifically pine bark extracts. Again, this comes out of France. New study that was published in the International Journal of Women’s Health showed that a three month trial, researchers gave a 100 milligrams of pycnogenol or a placebo to a group of 24 women who reported monthly menstrual pain.

Now, women taking the pycnogenol experienced significantly less pain and 27% of them in this group that received the pycnogenol were completely pain free by the end of the study. A couple of important points about this study. Number one, I want to point out, it was a three month study. This goes hand in hand with a recommendation I have said for many years here on Good News Naturally. Anytime that you’re going to try something for your health, let’s say it is something you may be taking to help with cholesterol balance or, in this case, this is an antioxidant called pycnogenol, to be helping with menstrual cramps and PMS issues, give it ample time to work. In this case, they did three months.

Anything that you are going to apply to help with hormone balancing, give it ample time to work, and it’s the same thing, same thought process needs to be applied to things you may be taking for joint health, for brain health, for heart health. Maybe your blood pressure is sneaking up on you and you have settled in on some things that you want to take and some things you’re going to do for blood pressure. Make sure you give these things ample time to work. Three months is a good window of time to do that. I can tell you also that in many studies we see, that that’s a good indication that there’s benefit at three months, but the longer you do it, there’s actually even greater benefit down the road, especially when we talk about joint health, specifically.

The longer you’re on these types of supplements, the better they will show to work. In this case, we have a situation where a lot of women suffer with these menstrual cramps and other hormone issues throughout their lifetime. A lot of women end up with a lot of highs and lows throughout their years of having to deal with these cycles in and out, in and out, in and out, month in month out. This pycnogenol, this antioxidant, does represent a way to be helpful with these menstrual cramps. I want to remind you that I’ve also reported previously that pycnogenol has been studied in menopausal symptoms. Not only do we see it working in PMS, in menstrual cramp issues, but we also find the studies indicate that it does help with hot flashes and night sweats in menopausal women. That was a previous study with pycnogenol.

What else can be done? Here’s the thing that you want to really understand about this whole hormone balancing thing. That’s this. Environmentally, all of us are being bombarded by a lot of what they call xenoestrogens or environmental estrogen compounds that are affecting our endocrine system. They come from plastics. They can come from health and beauty care items, the various shampoos, soaps, conditioners, body lotions, makeup, things like that all have these common environmental ingredients in there that can disrupt your endocrine system leading you down a pathway throughout your lifetime of having what’s known as estrogen dominance.

When you have estrogen dominance, you typically have more problems with things like PMS, you have greater difficulties with perimenopause, and you definitely have greater problems with menopause years. Some of the other side effects or things that can happen to women, and this is just a quick snapshot of some of the things of estrogen dominance: fibroids, endometriosis, irregular bleeding, fibrocystic breast tissue, lack of libido, skin issues, and it goes on and on and on.

There are some great balancing herbs out there that you can use. One of the formulas I’ve recommended for many years is called Femtrol, F as in Frank, E-M-T-R-O-L. Two key ingredients here are vitex and dong quai. These two herbs have got a phenomenal history of benefit in helping women balance hormones. This can be taken from the time a young lady starts menses all the way through into perimenopause years. It takes that timeline into consideration. I also recommend something called EstroSense. This EstroSene formula is very good for balancing and detoxifying excess estrogen that can build up in a woman’s body over the years.

Lastly, I’m going to warn you ladies and tell you once again, do not allow yourself to be constipated for more than a couple of days. That is your body’s way of getting rid of this excess estrogen. If you’re constipated regularly, you are adding to the problem of this estrogen dominance because that excess estrogen will get recycled and recycled and recycled causing more and more problems. A lot of experts believe this is a lot of where the belly fat comes from too is this excess estrogen. If you need help with the constipation side of this, cleansing, fibers, probiotics, getting plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. You go, girl. That’s right. We want to make sure you’re going every day because that’s your body’s way of taking out the trash and making sure things are excreted out of your body properly. Addition to that, just briefly, multivitamin and some extra B complex vitamins are very helpful in hormone situations.

Heart Health—Your Life Depends on It

Heart Health—Your Life Depends on It

Every 40 seconds, a heart-related condition claims the life of another American.  In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the nation, killing over 375,000 people each year.  According to the American Heart Association, identifying the seven risk factors that directly affect heart health and taking steps to correct unhealthy lifestyles and habits can prevent many of those deaths.  Once changes are made, the risks of heart disease and heart-related conditions can be reduced considerably.

7 Key Risk Factors for heart conditions include:

  • Smoking
  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Diet
  • Overweight/obesity
  • Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Blood sugar/Diabetes

Heart Disease—A Common Enemy

Heart disease is a broad term that covers many types of heart-related conditions including, Coronary Artery Disease, (CAD that can lead to heart attack), heart failure, angina, and heart arrhythmias.

Coronary Artery Disease is the most common heart disease in the United States however, caused by plaque build-up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.  The plaque that comes from cholesterol in the bloodstream narrows the arteries over time, blocking the flow of blood to the heart.  When the heart gets less blood than it needs, individuals can experience chest pains, called angina.  This can even lead to heart failure if left untreated long enough.  Sometimes the heart can develop an irregular heartbeat, or heart arrhythmia as a direct result of plaque build up as well.  When plaque clogs the artery walls blocking blood flow altogether, or breaks off and clogs arteries, a heart attack occurs.

Heart Conditions—Life Altering And Life Threatening

Many heart conditions may be treated or managed over the course of a lifetime including, heart failure, arrhythmia or heart valve problems.   According to the Centers for Disease Control however, about one in every four people die in this country due to heart disease every year.  Many of these deaths are due to stroke or heart attack.

Heart Failure

When we hear the term “heart failure” we likely assume that the heart is no longer working. This is not the case.  Heart failure refers to the fact that the heart is not working as efficiently as it should be.  Because the heart supplies cells with oxygen and blood carrying nutrients, the body becomes fatigued and cannot function properly when it isn’t pumping at one hundred percent.  While heart failure is a progressive, chronic condition many people manage it successfully under a physician’s care.


A heart “arrhythmia” involves a change to the normal rhythms of the heart.   Electrical impulses from the sinoatrial node may force the heart to beat irregularly—too fast, too slow, or erratically.  This causes the heart to pump blood in an ineffective manner.  A heart arrhythmia can be brief and harmless, or long-term and life threatening. This can lead to the eventual shutdown or damage of the lungs, brain, or other organs.  Many people will lead normal lives after the implantation of a pacemaker to regulate electrical impulses, however.

Heart Valve Problems

Heart valve problems can affect individuals gradually over time, or develop after certain illnesses such as, rheumatic fever or infective endocarditis. Valves can sometimes be too tight due to a condition known as “stenosis” that does not allow enough blood flow into the main pumping chamber of the heart. In other cases, leaky valves referred to as, “regurgitant valves” allow blood to flow back through the valves, causing the heart to work much harder to pump the same amount of blood.

Symptoms of valve disease can include chest pain, fatigue, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath.  Heart valve problems are generally treatable through surgery.  If left untreated however, they can be life threatening.

Heart Attack

Every 34 seconds, a heart attack occurs in the United States.  When blood flow to the heart muscle is interrupted, vital oxygen and nutrients necessary to keep it alive can’t reach it.  When damage occurs as a result of this starvation, a heart attack results.  This happens because coronary arteries that carry blood to the heart muscle become blocked from the sticky substance known as “plaque”.  This is created from fat and cholesterol.  Plaque can break off and blood clots can form around it, seriously blocking arteries.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Under ordinary physical activity, the following could be symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Excessive fatigue—fatigue beyond the usual amount
  • Heart Palpitations—feelings or sensations that the heart is beating too fast

or missing a beat

  • Dyspnea—difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain—pain or discomfort in the chest from an increase in activity

High Blood Pressure—Costs and Consequences

While 80 million U.S. adults reportedly have high blood pressure, the costs to our healthcare system are staggering, and the consequences to our health can be life threatening.  In the latest figures, gathered by the Centers For Disease Control, over 46 billion dollars was spent in 2011 alone in services, medication and missed days of work because of it.

High blood pressure gone unchecked can seriously damage the arteries, heart and other major organs in the body.  Over time the arteries stretch with the high pressure of blood flowing through them.  When the systolic pressure rises above 180 or the diastolic pressure rises above 110, it is critical to seek emergency medical treatment.

Health consequences of untreated high blood pressure may include:

High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney disease if you have other risk factors such as:

The Cholesterol Concern

Contrary to what you might have heard, cholesterol itself is not all bad.  In fact, cholesterol is necessary for cell walls to produce vitamin D, hormones, and bile acids to digest fat.  This wax-like substance is vital for life, but only in limited amounts.  The liver produces cholesterol, and it is also found in certain cholesterol rich foods, such as poultry, meat, and full-fat dairy.  Too much cholesterol can cause plaque to form in the arteries, blocking blood flow to the heart, and a heart attack can occur.  If clots form and restrict blood to the brain, it could result in a stroke.

Heart Disease—Prevention Practices

There are a number of lifestyle changes individuals can make to decrease the risk of heart disease.  Much of what we do on a daily basis is habit and can be modified to make us healthier. 


Smokers who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack than individuals who have never smoked.  Smokers are also at greater risk for coronary heart disease.  This includes exposure to second-hand smoke. 

High cholesterol

As cholesterol numbers rise, so does the risk of coronary heart disease.

Total Cholesterol: This should remain below 180

Low-density-lipoprotein or (LDL) cholesterol is bad cholesterol

Lower LDL levels are good for heart health 

High-density-lipoprotein or (HDL) cholesterol is good cholesterol


Triglyceride is a type of fat in the blood and varies by age and gender.  This is stored for energy between meals when the body doesn’t need it right away. High triglyceride levels in addition to low HDL cholesterol, (or high LDL cholesterol) can cause atherosclerosis, or fat to build up in artery walls.  This will increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.

High blood pressure

High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder and thickens the muscle itself.  It also increases the risk for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and congestive heart failure.

Physical inactivity

Inactivity puts individuals at risk for coronary heart disease.  Moderate, long-term physical activity can help reduce cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.


Excess body fat, especially if it is around the waist increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Extra weight makes the heart work harder, because blood pressure is higher.  Weight also raises cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well.


Diabetes increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, especially if blood sugar goes uncontrolled.  Statistically, 65% or more of diabetics die from a blood vessel related or heart disease.