Is Your Diet Killing You?


My husband has heart disease. He is 51 years old and was diagnosed this year. Both of his parents have heart issues and have had bypass surgeries. He’s genetically wired for the same, but does that mean he will suffer the same fate? We’re not panicking, but we are dedicated to educating ourselves to prevent a cardiac event from occurring. Allow me to share with you my research.

Statistically Speaking…

According to the American Heart Association, the statistics for 2018 concluded the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease, listed as the underlying cause of death, accounts for nearly 836,546 deaths in the US. That’s about 1 of every 3 deaths in the US.
  • About 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 38 seconds.
  • Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease combined.
  • About 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke. Direct and indirect costs of total cardiovascular diseases and stroke are estimated to total more than $329.7 billion; that includes both health expenditures and lost productivity.
  • Nearly half of all Non-Hispanic black adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, 47.7 percent of females and 46.0 percent of males.
  • Coronary Heart Disease is the leading cause (43.8 percent) of deaths attributable to cardiovascular disease in the US, followed by Stroke (16.8 percent), Heart Failure (9.0 percent), High Blood Pressure (9.4 percent), diseases of the arteries (3.1 percent), and other cardiovascular diseases (17.9 percent).
  • Heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the US.

If you weren’t blown away by what you just read, please re-read it. 1 out of 3 deaths is from heart disease! Staggering! This is an epidemic. Let’s did a little deeper.

According to Joseph A Hill, MD, PhD Internal Medicine, Cardiology, about half of our heart disease risk is genetic – we’re born with specific genes, which we can’t control. This is my husband, but more on that later.

Dr. Hill continues, “Probably the biggest factor why heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the U.S. is the dramatic deterioration in lifestyle in the past 25 years across the globe. The epidemic of obesity is shocking, and it’s changing the face of medicine in many ways.” “There has been dramatic success over the last 50 years in treating some forms of heart disease. The risk of dying from cardiovascular disease has decreased 75 percent. This means that the risk of a 65-year-old man dying of a heart attack in 1966 is 75 percent less likely to occur today.”

“While that’s a great accomplishment, people who previously would have died from a heart attack (which still happens, though less often) are now surviving and yet are going home – alive – but with a damaged heart and at increased risk of developing heart failure. That is, they’re living with injured hearts.”

For half of the population, the risks can be lowered or even eliminated. The American Heart Association gauges the cardiovascular health of the nation by tracking seven key health factors and behaviors that increase risks for heart disease and stroke. They call these “Life’s Simple 7” and they measure them to track progress toward their 2020 Impact Goal: “to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020.” “Life’s Simple 7” are:

  • Not Smoking
  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Diet
  • Body Weight
  • Control of Blood Pressure
  • Control of Cholesterol
  • Control of Blood Sugar

Follow up research at the end of next year will determine if anyone has been listening.

I’m Genetically Doomed

Let’s talk about the other 50%. Those, like my husband, who are genetically predisposed to heart conditions. First of all, you’re not doomed, however, you are going to have to work a little harder and you need to start digging. I have to say, we were pretty shocked to learn Steve has heart disease, we felt as though we had done all of the right things to prevent it but here we are looking at it straight on.

Standard care may not be good enough. While the “Simple 7” are a great start, you could still be a ticking time bomb. You’ve got to find out what’s going on from the DNA level. There are at least 4 DNA tests that can reveal your personal approach to your heart health and care:

  • 9P21 Genotype: Identifies Carries of the Heart Attack Gene
  • Apo E Genotype: Predicts Heart Disease and the Best Diet to Avoid it
  • K1F6 Genotype: Predicts Statin Response and Heart Attack Risk
  • Interleukin 1 (IL-1) Genotype: Escalates the Body’s Inflammatory Response

For the last several months I have worked with a nutrition client who has heart issues. His doctor, Dr. David Wright, the client, and I are a team. We all have the same goal and we monitor this person carefully.

We’re currently waiting on results from Steve’s DNA test to determine the dietary changes we need to make, and how to keep the door closed to further disease in his heart. While this is not in any way a commercial for Dr. Wright, finding a doctor who practices actual health care over disease management will most likely be the difference in Steve’s continued heart health.

Educate Yourself

To learn more about heart health and what you can do for yourself if in fact you too have a family history of heart disease, pick up the book, Beat the Heart Attack Gene by Bradley Bale, MD and Amy Doneed, ARNP. If you need help with “Life’s Simple 7’s, reach out to us here at NBS Fitness. We can help reduce your risks and help you live a healthier life.