Thursday, September 23, 2010

Slow down how fast your arteries age

Another great article to share with you. This is from my Nutrition Action Health Letter. October 2010 issue, with a bit of my own views as well.

As we get older, though, the springs start to stiffen and our arteries start to lose their ability to expand when they need to. And that can mean an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and cognitive decline.

The good news: WE can slow down how fast our arteries age.
Thank you!!!!

How do we know whether our arteries are stiffening and if our artery walls are in poor shape? We don't! It's not something that can be measured at the doctor's office ( though that may change in the not too distant future). Getting direct measurements from artery walls is even a challenge for researchers.

For arterial stiffness, a patient lies down while electrodes are placed on the skin along two arteries. A device records how fast it takes for a pulse to travel between two points ( pulse wave velocity). The greater the velocity, the stiffer the artery. ( Since stiff arteries can't expand well, they pinch the blood flow and send it shooting through at a faster speed).

The findings are showing that lifestyle factors that cause arterial stiffening and endothelial dysfunction are the same ones that can help slow them down or even prevent them.

Regular aerobic exercise may have the greatest effect on arterial stiffness. When comparing older adults who do regular aerobic exercise with older adults who don't, you see that the exercisers have more-compliant arteries and less stiffening.

One Meal's Damage:
If a meal that's high in saturated fat can impair your arteries within hours, imagine the havoc that the fattest restaurant meals can cause.
After the June 2009 "Xtreme Eating" article highlighted some of the nation's highest-calorie restaurant dishes, ABC News decided to see for itself what the meals did to people's arteries.
The network sent Yunji de Nies, a young reporter and Jon Garcia, her producer, to Robert Vogel's lab at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, where they had their blood vessels tested both before and after eating some of the restaurant dishes featured.
The two intrepid journalists each ate a three-course lunch: a deep fried macaroni and cheese appetizer from The Cheesecake Factory, and Applebee's bacon cheeseburger wrapped in a quesadilla, and a giant cookie smothered in ice cream from Uno Chicago Grill. The toll: an astounding 6,190 calories and 17 grams of saturated fat.
Two hours later, lab test showed the beating the arteries were taking. The producer's blood discolored with fat, and the young healthy reporter's endothelial function was impaired enough that you could actually hear the difference as sensors picked up her narrowed arteries' struggle to keep blood flowing.
"One meal can affect the health of your arteries," Vogel told the journalists.
To view the ABC News segment, go to:

Well, I have to tell you that a lot of us think this, oh it is just one meal, have it in moderation, what damage is it going to do? Well, for me the proof is here now, I may never eat all that in one meal, but I know many that do, or some of us may just have the burger. Just think about how many times a week/week/year you are eating these kinds of foods. All this food at one time can cause damage and some of this food way to often will cause damage.

The Bottom Line:
If your arteries are stiff and their lining is impaired, you could be setting the stage for cardiovascular disease cognitive decline.
To make your arteries more supple:
. Get regular aerobic exercise
. cut back on sodium and saturated fat
. eat a diet that's packed with fruits and vegetables
. eat two servings of seafood a week
. exercise and watch calories to lose or avoid gaining excess visceral belly fat

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