Here are the first warning signs and what causes them…
“Could you tell me about your disease history?” Harvard professor Dr. Leaf asked the old man.
Dr. Leaf said, “This hospital file of yours is only one page long. All it has is your birth certificate and that’s it. Tell me about your health history.”
This man was one of hundreds – maybe thousands – of men over the age of 100.
“Have you ever been in the hospital?” asked Dr. Leaf.
“Yes, the day I was born. That’s the only time,” the man said.
“I was never sick or in need of medical attention.”
If you want this kind of immunity from diseases and viruses, you can have it right now…
A month before a heart attack, you will get these 5 warnings.
The phrase “heart attack” strikes fear in us. Pretty much as soon as we hit 30 we are being told we’re in danger.
And it’s true:
“Hypertensive heart disease (HHD) is a major etiologic factor contributing to the appearance of heart failure, a global health problem that has reached epidemic proportions.”
A heart attack is a frightening thing – out of the blue.
But is a heart attack really a bolt from the blue?
Or does it take time to get to that point?
If so, maybe we can find out what it is that goes wrong.
Then, maybe we can take steps to protect ourselves.
I wanted to get to the bottom of those words “HEART ATTACK” –written in our minds in letters as big as the “HOLLYWOOD” sign…
So I did some looking, and I found a study that discusses how hearts are damaged through scarring:
“Replacement fibrosis appears at sites of previous cardiomyocyte necrosis to preserve the structural integrity of the myocardium. However, such scarring has adverse functional consequences.”
Decoded: Cells in the heart die.
Lots of them. And the body replaces them with scar tissue.
But at a cost…
“The extensive distribution of fibrosis involving the right and left heart suggests cardiomyocyte necrosis is widespread.
“Together, the loss of these contractile elements and fibrous tissue deposition…contribute to the progressive failure of this normally efficient muscular pump.”
Scar tissue is stiff, so the heart can’t contract in an elastic way.
Stiff hearts can’t pump blood properly.
But why do cells die in the first place?
“…the crucial pathogenic role of intracellular Ca2+ (calcium) overloading…oxidative stress…followed by necrotic cell death.”
Calcium enters the cell, and it does not belong there…
But we know calcium as a good and helpful mineral, right?
In its proper place, yes it is. But its place is outside the cell, not inside.
Why would calcium enter a cell when it’s not supposed to?
It’s due to aldosterone, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands.
Aldosterone regulates levels of sodium and potassium via the kidneys.
According to Wikipedia: “When dysregulated, aldosterone is pathogenic and contributes to cardiovascular and renal disease.”
And aldosterone can damage other things we value too.
I wrote a newsletter about the damage aldosterone can do to the penis.
So why do we have too much aldosterone?
Aldosterone often rises when we avoid salt.
We are advised to avoid salt to reduce blood pressure.
(Avoiding salt is not even effective at that, as a quick search of this site will reveal.)
Aldosterone also hurts the kidneys…and the heart.
It also knocks other key minerals like zinc and magnesium out of balance.
You end up excreting calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Which lowers the levels of these minerals in your blood.
In an attempt to fix this, your body raises PTH (parathyroid hormone), which releases calcium from your bones.
But PTH causes calcium to go where it shouldn’t.
“This interaction (between aldosterone and PTH) may be one of the mechanisms responsible for hypertension and increased cardiovascular risk.”
When calcium enters heart muscle cells it kills them.
This leads to scarring and heart failure.
“In both man and rats, inappropriate elevations in plasma aldosterone…are accompanied by…excretory losses of calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
“At the same time, intracellular calcium overloading occurs…and cardiomyocyte necrosis…the subsequent fibrosis, or scarring, contributes to the adverse structural remodeling of the heart.”
Long story short: aldosterone → PTH → calcium kills heart muscle cells → scar tissue → heart can’t pump properly → heart fails.
How do we protect against this heart damage?
We have to keep our aldosterone from rising.
That goes against what we’ve all been taught. But…
An easy way to do this is to not restrict salt. Use salt to taste.
You can run this by your doctor, who may mention things like spironolactone.
Spironolactone lowers aldosterone too, and it is often prescribed for high blood pressure.
The side effects of spironolactone run from mild (headaches) to severe (kidney failure).
So just ask your doctor: Why shouldn’t I just stop avoiding salt instead?
Maybe your doctor will start asking that question too.
But don’t be surprised if the only answer you get to that simple question is a blank stare.
Personally, I like to be cautious with anything that involves the all-important kidneys.
And I also know that, in the case of most healthy people, the body knows best.
It cues us when it needs liquids and minerals.
It does this through thirst and a desire for certain tastes, like saltiness.
So I salt to taste, drink to thirst.
And a lot of what I drink is milk.
Calcium in the wrong place is deadly.
But in the right place, it’s enormously helpful.
Calcium plays a big role in the diet.
I also watch my Vitamin D3 and K2 levels.
And I have written about another mineral that’s crucial in relation to heart health: potassium.
This just in: How this man fixed the blood flow to his penis.
This is the diagram Larry was referring to:
- FIBROSIS IN HYPERTENSIVE HEART DISEASE: MOLECULAR PATHWAYS AND CARDIOPROTECTIVE STRATEGIES
Atta U. Shahbaz, MD, Yao Sun, MD, PhD, Syamal K. Bhattacharya, PhD, Robert A. Ahokas, PhD, Ivan C. Gerling, PhD, Jesse E. McGee, MD and Karl T. Weber, MD
- Aldosterone and parathyroid hormone – is there a connection?
- Mara Ventura, Miguel Melo, Diana Oliveira, Diana Martins, Adriana Lages, Nelson Cunha & Francisco Carrilho
- Aldosterone | C21H28O5 - PubChem
- Aldosterone overload: An overlooked cause of high blood pressure?