Increase Vitamin D to Lower Heart Disease Risk

Could something as simple as taking a vitamin lower or even eliminate your risk of heart disease? The results of two research studies indicate that the answer is “Yes.”

In the first study, researchers followed 9,400 patients for a year. The participants had low Vitamin D levels at the beginning of the 12-month period. By the end of the study, 47 percent of the group who had increased their Vitamin D levels had also lowered their risk of heart disease.

The second study was much larger in scale, with 31,000 patients participating. They were divided into three groups for tracking purposes. In each of the groups, the patients who increased their levels of Vitamin D to 43 nanograms/mL of blood had lower rates for the following health conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure

A “normal” level of Vitamin D in the blood was considered 30 nanograms/mL. Now, researchers have discovered that this level is too low. Heidi May, Ph.D., a cardiovascular clinical epidemiologist at Murray, Utah’s Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, the study’s author, stated, “Giving physicians a higher level to look for gives them one more tool in identifying patients at-risk and offering them better treatment.”vitamins and diet supplements

A person who is concerned about his or her Vitamin D levels can see their doctor for a blood test to measure the current level. If the results show the levels are low, Vitamin D supplements can be taken. Since Vitamin D is also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin,” increasing time spent out of doors can give the levels a boost. Sunscreen should always be worn before going outside, especially during times when the sun’s rays are at their most intense. This is between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun is positioned directly overhead in the sky.

Women’s Health Suffers When Doctors Ignore Heart Disease Symptoms

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, many doctors are failing to give their female patients the kind of information and treatment they need for these disorders. Even when presented with symptoms of heart disease, all too often doctors fail to make the connection and offer appropriate interventions and treatment. When a woman is taken to a community hospital in the United States with symptoms of heart disease, often treatment given doesn’t follow the guidelines set out for these health problems. In contrast, a man who is admitted to hospital with the same symptoms will likely receive the following kinds of treatments:

  • Aspirin
  • Angioplasty procedures
  • Beta blockers
  • Medications to break up clots
  • Surgery to improve blood flow to the heart

The sad fact is that women who are admitted to hospital after suffering a STEMI (ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction), which is a serious heart attack, are more likely to die as a result than men are.

Doctors need to adopt a different mindset when it comes to treating heart disease in women. Instead of discounting the symptoms they see, medical personnel need to consider that if the symptoms point to heart disease, then they need to provide treatment for that condition.

This is not an impossible task for North American doctors; physicians in Israel have adopted a more aggressive policy when it comes to treating women for heart disease. As a result, the gap in mortality rates between men and women due to heart disease in that country has closed.

According to the American Heart Association, 455,000 women lost their lives due to heart disease in 2006. It’s disturbing to think that many of these fatalities could be prevented if the women were given more appropriate treatment.

Doctors Can Help to Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease can be prevented if women are given the information they need to stay healthy. Doctors, who are on the front lines of health care, can and should be telling their female patients to take care of their health by doing the following:

  • Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly
  • Having their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked as part of their annual health checkup

If high cholesterol and/or blood pressure is detected, then the doctor can offer treatments for the condition. Medications may be prescribed, and the woman will need to follow up with her doctor on a regular basis to keep her condition monitored closely.

Educate Yourself About Heart Disease

The key to staying healthy is to take charge of your own health. Learn as much as you can about heart disease and the risk factors associated with this condition. When you visit your doctor for your healthcare needs, make a point of bringing up heart disease if he or she doesn’t address it.

Ask about what you can do to stay healthy, and follow your doctor’s suggestions. This advice is especially important if there is a family history of cardiovascular problems, since your risk goes up in that situation.

Healthy Hearts for Longer Lives

Welcome to the HeartMart blog. The Heartmart website is chock full of information about heart health, heart conditions, heart-healthy diets, and much more.

Our goal here at HeartMart is to keep you informed about new medications being used to treat heart conditions, as well as the latest advances in surgical procedures. If it’s in the news and relevant to the subject of heart health, you will find it right here.

The Heartmart blog will cover the following topics:

  • Cardiovascular exercise
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Cholesterol
  • Diet supplements
  • Heart conditions
  • Heart disease
  • Heart drugs
  • Heart disease facts
  • Heart health products
  • Heart healthy diet
  • Heart procedures
  • Medical news
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Weight loss

We want to hear from you, too. If there is a topic that isn’t being covered that you would like to learn more about, please let us know and we will add it to our list to address in future posts.

You can look forward to new content being posted here every week, so be sure to bookmark this page and come back to visit often.