February is Heart Health Month

Your heart is an extremely hard-working machine. About 2,000 gallons of blood gets pumped through it as it beats about 100,000 times per day, which is why keeping it healthy is so important.

Each February, health organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA), the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) team up for American Heart Month to remind us that heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States.

Quitting smoking at any age will prolong your life

Dropping the smoking habit can add years to your life, even after you turn 60, according to new research in the New England Journal of Medicine. Younger smokers can gain a whole decade by quitting.

Researchers analyzed health data from more than 200,000 Americans. They calculated that smokers were at least three times more likely to die during the course of the study compared with people who had never smoked. Their deaths were most often caused by smoking-related ailments, including heart and lung disease. Overall, their odds of surviving to age 80 were half as good as for never-smokers.

However, the study saw significant benefits for those who quit. Giving up smoking between the ages of 35 and 44 was associated with a gain of nine years of life, and those who quit between 45 and 54 lived an extra six years.

While the U.S. smoking rate has declined to 19.3% among adults, there are still an estimated 45.3 million smokers in this country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette use is responsible for about 443,000 U.S. deaths each year.

Using the National Health Interview Survey, the researchers followed men and women in the U.S. between 1997 and 2004, categorizing them as smokers, those who had at least 100 cigarettes within their lifetime, former smokers, those who reported no smoking within the last five years, and never-smokers. Former smokers were held to the five-year rule in order to weed out those who were already in declining health because of potentially fatal smoking-related diseases.

The researchers checked death records in 2006 and found that 8,236 of the women and 7,479 of the men had died. By comparing mortality rates among the groups, the researchers calculated that women between the ages of 25 and 79 who were current smokers were three times more likely to die than women who never smoked. Among men in that age group, those who still smoked were 2.8 times more likely to die than never-smokers. The results were adjusted for age, education, body mass index and alcohol consumption, since smokers tended to be thinner, have less education and be more likely to drink.

The vast difference in mortality rates is partly due to the increasing health standards of the nonsmoking population, according to the study.

Another study measured trends in death rates across three time periods: 1959 to 1965, 1982 to 1988 and 2000 to 2010. The analysis showed a troubling trend: Women's death rates from smoking, which had long lagged behind men's, had pulled even.

It's an unsurprising glass ceiling to break, doctors said. Women began smoking routinely after World War II, about two decades after men took up the habit, so it was only a matter of time until their mortality rates caught up.

Taken together, the studies point to a need for far more effective efforts to reach potential and current smokers, Schroeder added.

The message needs to get out to young and old smokers alike, he said: "There's a ray of hope. It's never too late to quit."

Current research demonstrates that omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent and reduce plaque formation inside arteries, lower harmful cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride levels, enhance the protective effects of cholesterol (HDL), decrease inflammation, and lessen the likelihood of forming a clot. Omega-3’s are superior to Omega-6 and Omega-9’s because they feed the anti-inflammatory cascade, where as the others can actually contribute to inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in wild Alaskan salmon, grass-fed beef, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, fish oil and cod liver oil.

One way to keep your Omegas in balance is to take one supplement a day. We recommend our Omega 3-6-9 Complete™ (click here to view) . This is a comprehensive blend of Fish Oil, Borage Oil, and Organic Flax Seed Oil. This combination provides a unique balance of Omega-3 and Omega 6, plus Omega-9 and Vitamin E.

Another good way to help maintain a healthy heart is with our Healthy Heart Essentials™ . This easy to take supplement contains Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which provides many benefits.

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