Fish Oil and Heart Disease
I am a naturopathic physician with nearly 20 years of experience developing breakthrough nutritional products.I also have extensive television and radio experience and have lectured widely to health professionals, the military and the public on all aspects of natural health.
Dr Myers, an expert who holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine
Stephen Fry in my surgery during the making of the BBC TV program
Me with Lord Bragg, accepting my "Champion of the Year" award
After graduating, I was recognised as being the 'best young neurosurgeon in Britain'
According to National Statistics online, nearly 15% of the population of the UK are suffering or have suffered from a cardiac health event in their lifetimes. That means that for every 100 people in the room, about 15 of them will have a heart attack or suffer from a coronary disease. Interestingly enough, this statistic includes both men and women, with men only having a slight advantage over the women in terms of number of cases. Even with all we know about heart disease and how to prevent it, it seems that there is so much more to learn.
What is Heart Disease?
The heart is the muscle in the body that allows for transportation of materials throughout the body. When a person takes in food, these meals are broken down by the digestive system in order to be accessible for functions in the body. As the food is broken down into nutrients, these nutrients are then transported into the blood stream in order to get to the right areas of the body. When the heart pumps, it moves these blood cells around to the extremities and then when it contracts, it pulls the blood into itself by means of the veins in order to push that blood into the body into the arteries. When the heart is unable to function properly, this process can not take place.
There are a number of reasons and names for the idea of heart disease. At its simplest definition, heart disease is when the heart is damaged or just unable to work as it should. This can be a hereditary and congenital condition, like in the instance of a valve problem. A patient can have this from birth and never need to have anything done to repair it, while other patients need to have this fixed in order to make sure that heart works properly.
Heart disease can be grouped into being caused by heredity, lifestyle or by a defect or injury. Hereditary factors like a predisposition to high cholesterol can cause troubles like heart attacks and myocardial infarction. Then again, if a patient takes in too much cholesterol and fat into their diet, they can also increase their risk for heart disease.
The heart disease cases that cause troubles for patients will have conditions like hardening of the arteries, blockages of the vessels, and a narrowing/widening of these passageways for the blood. When the vessels become too blocked, blood can not get to the heart, resulting in heart damage and death.
What are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?
The real concern when it comes to heart disease is that there may be few, if any, symptoms at first. A patient may have completely normal lab results as well as no noticeable physical symptoms. In more advanced cases, the cholesterol levels will be high, the LDL levels will be high, and HDL levels will be low. Blood pressure readings may increase and the patient may report mild chest pain and tightness. Some patients even report troubles with breathing during activity. The heart rate may be higher as has become more difficult for the heart to do the same job on a lower number of beats per minute.
In an emergent condition, the symptoms would be an increased heart rate, crushing chest pain, and possibly nausea. Others report that they had a raised temperature and sweating, as well as left arm weakness.
How Can Fish Oil Help?
According to recent studies done at Harvard Medical University, fish oil seems to be able to prevent heart disease. With its anti-inflammatory properties, fish oil seems to allow the body to repair smaller damage spots before they become too problematic. There have also been previous studies linking the idea of using fish oil and lowering bad cholesterol as well as increasing good cholesterol. The essential fatty acids in fish oil help the body process the cholesterol and other toxins in the body before they build up in the liver and cause damage.
Where Can You Find Fish Oil Sources?
Understandably so, fish oil can be found in its purest form in oily fishes. Fish choices like salmon, herring, kipper, and mackerel all contain high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that can help to protect the heart from heart disease. In addition, there are studies being done now that indicate that fish oil might be able to help in the repair of damage from previous concerns with heart disease and heart attacks. In countries with a high fish consumption, the prevalence of heart disease is much lower, even with the high smoking rates (as in Japan, for example).
While there are many studies that are questioning the use of fish oil in the treatment and prevention of heart disease, it’s clear that there is some connection. Since the body can not make this essential fatty acid on its own, adding a supplement to the diet can not be a hard decision to make.
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