Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Men’s Health Week 2021

June 15, 2021 5 min read

This Men’s Health Week, we wanted to discuss an issue close to our hearts – cardiovascular disease or ‘CVD’. ‘Cardiovascular disease’ (CVD) is a term used to describe conditions affecting the heart and blood vessels. Ischemic heart disease (which is a type of CVD) is the top killer of men in Australia, killing 40% more males than females (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020). 

Heart Attack vs Angina 

The difference between a heart attack and angina really comes down to the preservation of heart tissue. The heart is a muscle and therefore needs a continuous supply of blood and oxygen to generate enough energy to pump blood around the body. When this blood flow and oxygen supply is disrupted, usually due to narrowing of the arteries, this places the heart muscle at risk. 

Angina is chest pain caused by a partial blockage to a blood vessel supplying the heart. Since the blockage is partial, the tissue is still receiving some oxygen, and can continue to function. Untreated, angina can progress to a ‘heart attack’. 

A heart attack occurs when there is a complete disruption of blood flow through the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle. If the blockage remains untreated, this causes the heart cells to die. Heart cells cannot regenerate and leave behind scar tissue. This leaves a ‘dead weight’ and other heart cells must work harder to pump blood around the body. As a result, these muscle cells increase in size to compensate for the increased load. This also increases the oxygen needs of heart cells and places more strain on the system, increasing the risk of another heart attack. 

Targeting Your Risk Factors 

Getting on top of your heart health early is key to preventing heart attacks. It really comes down to knowing your risk factors and being proactive. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of developing CVD: 

  • Get a heart health check. If you’re over 45 years old (or 30 if your Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander), book an appointment for a ‘heart health check’ with your doctor. The doctor will look at your risk factors to determine your probability of heaving a heart attack. Some we can control- like our waistlines, and other we can’t- like our family history. They’ll make sure you’re on track for good heart health and help you manage some of your risk factors. 
  • Increase your physical activity. Physical inactivity contributes to 11% of the burden of cardiovascular disease (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017). Exercise is a powerful tool which improves the overall function of the cardiovascular system, causing adaptations that allow your heart to better respond to stress. Fitter people tend to have lower heart rates and higher pumping volumes with each beat, meaning the load on the heart is reduced. Conversely, lower fitness levels correspond with higher resting heart rates, which requires more energy to sustain. The current recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, plus 2 sessions of weight training. This can be broken up into 30 minutes bouts, or 3 ten-minute bouts 5 days a week. 
  • Losing some kg’s. Being obese increases your risk of having a heart attack as it places strain on the heart muscle to get the nutrients around the body. Overweight and obesity also places you at risk of other conditions such as diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and joint issues.  
  • Overhauling your diet. As they say ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. Eating a ‘heart healthy diet’ means consuming ‘good’ fats and reducing your salt and sugar intake. Healthy fats, like those contained in fish and nuts, actually protect your arteries but carrying off the ‘bad’ fats, which infiltrate your arteries to be excreted. Reducing your salt intake also reduces your blood pressure. 
  • Get on top of your blood pressure. Hypertension is a silent killer and is the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2018). 1.2 x more men than women have high blood pressure, and many more living with hypertension without knowing it. Chronic high blood pressure not only places strain on the heart, but physically damages the arteries. The artery walls become ‘wounded’ and inflammation ensues, which thickens and calcifies the artery wall. Chronic high blood pressure can also cause the artery to leak and rupture.  
  • Control your cholesterol. ‘Bad’ fats stick to your artery walls producing plaques and narrowing the arteries. Exercising regularly and maintaining a diet low in saturated fats (like those in fried food) are important ways to combat heart disease.  
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco smoking does chemical damage to your arteries, leading to inflammation and narrowing of the arteries. It can also contribute to peripheral artery disease, which affects the blood circulating to your arms and legs and can cause nerve damage, leading to the loss of sensation. 

80% of cardiovascular disease is preventable (American Heart Association, n.d.) and reducing your risk factors is the best way to stop heart attacks. If you’re interested in calculating your CVD risk (and over 35 years old), get checked by your doctor and use the CVD risk calculator - http://www.cvdcheck.org.au/calculator/. It is important to look after your heart. It is the only one you have. Show your heart some love & get heart-healthy! 

The Origins of Abundant Element® 

As a society we are aware of the advantages of being in the best possible health, to live long healthy lives without ailment or morbidity. Most of us have heard about the “Blue Zones” where many people live to be over a hundred years old.  People living in “Blue Zones” eat fresh, healthy food and they have lower stress levels as a result of their strong social network of family and friends.  

The interesting fact about ‘Blue Zone’ people is that they live long lives relatively free of diseases associated with inflammation, the same inflammation that is responsible for a whole host of chronic conditions killing us today. Inflammatory diseases known to shorten life expectancy include psoriasis, diabetes, gout, heart disease, osteoarthritis- although there are more. By reducing the inflammation in our bodies, we effectively increase the chances of living a longer healthy life. 

Abundant Element is naturally sourced and is based on the composition of Deep Ocean Water. Deep Sea Water is used in many societies for its health promoting, anti-inflammatory properties [1]. Research on Deep Sea Water shows promising effects on a variety of chronic diseases [2]. 

Our lives are busy, stressful, and far from being simple. Compounded with an unhealthy lifestyle, poor food choices and lack of exercise and we leave our bodies susceptible to inflammation. 

 Here’s to health! Try Abundant Element, for less than $1 a day. 

References 

Australian Chronic Disease prevention Alliance – Australian Absolute Cardiovascular disease risk calculator http://www.cvdcheck.org.au/calculator/ 

America heart association-  https://www.heart.org/en/get-involved/advocate/federal-priorities/cdc-prevention-programs#:~:text=An%20estimated%2080%25%20of%20cardiovascular,nearly%20%241%20billion%20a%20day. 

https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/health-professional-tools/Interactive-Heart-Map-Australia 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Causes of Death 2019, cat. no. 3303.0, October  

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016, National Health Survey 2014-15, Data customised using TableBuilder  

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation 2018, Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) Results, Global Burden of Disease collective Network, Seattle, available from http://ghdx.healthdata.org/gbd-results-tool 

 


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