There is growing concern about the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Canada. Statistics Canada reports approximately 70,000 heart attacks each year, or one heart attack every seven minutes. This data is very disturbing as heart disease is largely preventable.
Canadians aged 20 to 45 typically tune out when it comes to the subject of CVD. They assume it is a condition of “older” people, something to be worried about later in life. Not so.
The December 2013 CANHEART Health Index illustrates that nothing could be further from the truth: 90% of Canadians are in poor cardiovascular health!
This report summarized trends in cardiovascular health factors and behaviours, such as smoking, physical activity, diet, weight, diabetes and hypertension. The research team concluded that 90% of Canadians over age 20 have at least one risk factor for CVD, while 40% have three or more risk factors.
Heart disease starts early in life. Today, we have a better understanding of risk factors and that provides a unique opportunity for prevention. If people in their 20s start taking the right steps today, they could play a part in averting what appears to be a coming epidemic.
Cardiac events commonly occur when arterial plaque dislodges and forms a clot, which can commonly cause cardiac arrest, stroke or sudden cardiac death. A group from the Harvard School of Public Health has shown that people with the highest circulating levels of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, known as DHA and EPA, have an 80% reduction in sudden cardiac death compared to those people with the lowest levels of circulating omega-3.
Why do omega-3 essential fatty acids make a difference? Because they increase arterial stability, reduce arterial debris and discourage arterial thickening. Omega-3s also lower blood pressure, keep arteries flexible and improve cardiac function.
Years of clinical practice have influenced my belief that Omega-3 fish oils play a critical role in improving heart health. To demonstrate the preventive value, I recently conducted a pilot study with men and women aged 25 to 47. At the beginning, we measured the blood levels of each subject using Omega Score testing, which isolates the amount of EPA+DHA in the blood. Nearly half the participants were significantly deficient in EPA+DHA, which is associated with a high risk of sudden cardiac death.
For 30 days, each participant took one capsule a day of either Jamieson Omega COMPLETETM Super Krill Oil 1,000 mg or Jamieson Omega COMPLETETM 100% Wild Salmon Oil 1,000 mg. Over the course of one month, the EPA+DHA levels for all participants increased significantly. In addition, the majority of at-risk participants for sudden cardiac death moved to low risk.
This finding is significant. You can reduce your lifetime risk of heart disease by simply taking an omega-3 supplement every day.
February is Heart Month. It’s time for you and your loved ones to connect the dots and make heart health a priority.
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