The Heart Healthy News Brief: October 6 to 12, 2014

Compiled and edited by Elizabeth Klein, MPhil


Good fats can help conquer heart disease

good-fatsIf you have heart disease or have heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you may be told to lower the fat in your diet. You may think that fat is something that should be avoided in a heart healthy diet, but quite the opposite is true. Some fats, such as those found in olive oil, nuts, avocado, and fatty fish, are good fats that can benefit a heart healthy diet. Although studies are in the early stages, it has been found that oleate, a compound in olive oil, can help the heart beat stronger and pump blood better. Therefore, be sure to add some “good” fats in your diet today for better heart health.
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Taking bad fats out of diet is not enough to reduce disease risk

saturated-fatsConsuming saturated fats, or “bad” fats, can increase your risk of heart disease over time by causing blood vessels to become clogged and hardened. It is suggested that you should limit saturated fats in your diet to be more heart healthy. However, a recent study found that taking “bad” fats out of the diet is not enough to reduce heart disease risk. In order to lower heart disease risk, any “bad” fats taken out of the diet should be replaced with “good” fats, or unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be found in foods such as nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, flaxseed, and avocado, are heart healthy and can reduce heart disease risk over time.
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A strong support system can produce heart healthy outcomes

patient-supportA recent study looking at young adults and women one month and one year after they had a heart attack showed that those with social support had healthier outcomes. Those adults that did not have family or friends to provide social or financial support after they had a heart attack had lower quality of life. Without social support, these adults were more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and had higher blood pressure and depression. Therefore, being heart healthy is not just about eating healthy, staying active, and taking medicines. A heart healthy lifestyle is also about having a strong group of friends and family around to give you the support, advice, and other resources you need to get and stay heart healthy for life.
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Stress may increase disease risk in the obese

job stressEvery day you may encounter stress of some kind. Sitting in traffic, having a bad day at work, or being tight on cash can all cause stress. Being obese, or being 30 lbs or more over the normal weight for your height, can also put stress on the body and can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions. A recent study found that those obese adults that were faced with stress on a repeated basis had double the risk of getting hardened arteries, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease than lean people faced with the same repeated stress. Therefore, since you cannot prevent all stress from happening, eat healthy and stay active so you can get to a healthier weight and lower your risk of chronic disease.
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Poor coping strategies can lead to mental health issues after a stroke

high-stress-jobs-diabetesHaving a stroke can be a stressful event in anyone’s life. Not only does a stroke place stress on the body, but the lifestyle changes required for someone to prevent another stroke can cause mental and emotional stress. Those adults that had a mini stroke, or a stroke that does not cause permanent brain damage, had a one-third chance of getting PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can cause fear of another traumatic event, high anxiety levels, and an overall lower quality of life. Therefore, in addition to a heart healthy diet and an active lifestyle, post-stroke patients should also seek help for coping with their stress and anxiety in a healthy way. If post-stroke patients are better able to deal with the effects the stroke has had on their life, than they will be better equipped to prevent another stroke.
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