Opening a Woman’s Heart

| July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

If you’re listening to “programming”,you may have the idea that more women die of breast cancer than heart disease. That is dead wrong. Women are 9 times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.The usual suspects of obesity,high blood sugar,low thyroid levels,sedentary lifestyle and smoking play the same role as in men. However,women have some different considerations that mandate different strategies for preventing death from heart disease (“heart disease” is a misnomer as the actual problem is usually in the blood vessels rather than the heart muscle or heart valves. This is an important distinction as this same blood vessel disease causes strokes. Use the same strategies below to prevent strokes as I will discuss for “heart disease”)

One important distinction in looking at “heart disease” in men vs women is how blood vessels get sick. There are 2 basic forms of blood vessel disease. One, is structural,the other is functional. Structural disease appears in the form of plaque build-up. When critters levels get high,the immune system responds with its war against critters-inflammation. One consequence of inflammation is the build-up of plaque. We see this most commonly as the build-up of dental plaque on teeth. This is a containment process to keep critters from moving to different areas of the body. In the brain,plaque build-ups are related to Alzheimer’s disease. A similar walling off process causes lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast disease),uterine fibroids,and endometriosis. The reason these conditions are lessened by iodine replacement is because iodine is a potent critter killer. Every woman should be taking an iodine supplement. If plaque builds up in the inner walls of arteries,there can come a point where the plaque erupts into the space where blood is flowing (see picture of plaque build-up in artery). This will cause a blood clot to form which can cut off circulation to the heart (or brain). When heart muscle is deprived of blood and oxygen,it can go into a seizure called “ventricular fibrillation”. During this seizure episode,the heart is unable to adequately pump blood to the brain (omega-3 fats found in fish and black seed oils prevent ventricular fibrillation). This is what kills you. The purpose of CPR is to keep blood/oxygen flowing to the brain. Pumping the chest is more important than doing the breaths.

The other type of blood vessel disease is functional. Normally,blood vessels should be able to alternatively open and close to regulate blood flow. Blood vessels open when more blood is needed in a certain area. They can close in order to shunt more blood from one place to another. When you stand up quickly,blood vessels must close to keep blood flowing to your brain rather than your feet. If this doesn’t happen,you get light headed. The opening of blood vessels is apparent to maintain penile erections. If blood vessels can’t be maintained open and filled with blood,men will fail to have erections strong enough for intercourse . Similarly,if blood vessels are unable to maintain patency,high blood pressure will develop. The chemical responsible for keeping blood pressure low and erections strong is nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is normally produced by healthy cells that line the wall of arteries (vascular endothelial cells). These cells are damaged by,you guessed it,inflammation. They are also destroyed by chemicals in cigarette smoke.

Men are the model for heart disease as it is understood by most doctors and lay people. The artery blockage>chest pain>”heart attack” scenario is the paradigm most doctors are working from. So,when there is chest pain a study is done (heart catheterization) searching for the blockage. If its found,its treated by putting in a stent to open the artery back up or by creating a detour around the blockage using a vein from somewhere else in the body (by-pass surgery). The problem this paradigm causes is that in women,blood vessel disease is often functional rather than structural. Blood vessel disease in women will be due to vascular endothelial cells failing to produce nitric oxide. When heart catheterization is done,women will be told their arteries are “normal” because no plaque build-up is seen. This medical neglect is one reason death from “heart disease” in men has precipitously dropped while women still have a high rate of death from “heart disease”.(“Medical neglect” sounds like a strong indictment. Its not. The WISE study,done back in the mid ’90’s, alerted doctors to the fact that women have what is termed “microvascular disease” or disease of the small blood vessels that does not show up on conventional testing. You can’t put stents in small vessels. No money to be made treating microvascular disease. I know you are surprised).

Sooooo,why do women get “heart disease” differently from men. Anytime you see differences in pathology between men and women,suspect hormones. Men and women both produce the same hormones. However,we produce them at different amounts and we have different receptor populations for hormones. Men,for instance,have more receptors for testosterone on our muscles. Given the same exercise and the same amount of testosterone,men will usually produce more muscle. Women produce more estrogens. Estrogens are the radar hormones. They also cause production of acetylcholine,the memory chemical. Women will usually have a more sensitive radar for picking up information from the 6 senses. It will seem like “men don’t get it” because we really don’t. Being sensitive to sensory input can be a doubled edged sword,however, if you don’t know how to interpret it. Women will tend to bring up more “what ifs” that can prevent them from moving forward. Another factor in the pharmacology of estrogens is that they are antioxidants. Women normally do not develop clinical “heart disease” until after menopause,when estrogen levels fall. Once the antioxidant protection of estrogens is lost,arterial plaque will start to form in the heart and brain. Estrogens also stimulate the production of nitric oxide. After menopause,women produce less nitric oxide in their arteries. This leads to functional microvascular disease. Heart doctors make a mint on menopausal women coming in for symptoms that mimic “heart disease” in men-chest pain,shortness of breath,irregular heart beats,fatigue with exertion,panic attacks etc. $100,000 will be spent on testing and you’ll hear “Everything is normal”.

Sooooo,how do women prevent blood vessel disease-structural and functional? You know the obvious. Smoking is playing Russian Roulette with most tissues in your body. Keep critter levels down by following the BALI Eaing Plan. If thyroid levels are low,replace thyroid hormone with natural thyroid replacement (Eco Thyroid or Armour Thyroid). Thyroid hormone controls critters,opens blood vessels,lowers cholesterol, and controls the strength of the heart beat. What you may not be aware of is the importance of comprehensive bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. Its critical that women find a doctor who will evaluate and address all hormonal deficiencies. Low estrogen levels put you at risk for small vessel disease leading to true heart disease (congestive heart failure,abnormal heart rhythms),dementia,stroke,and Alzheimer’s from brain oxidation and inability to produce acetylcholine.

All smoke from the same fire.

Doctors look at the big blood vessels,not the tiny ones.

See how the architecture of the arteries looks like that in the Swiss chard? The tiny branches (capillaries) are as important as the big blood vessels.

Large arteries get structural disease. Small arteries get functional disease.

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Category: Heart Health, Women's Health

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