cardiovascular problems

  1. Curry favor with your heart

    It's the help your heart needs when your heart needs help the most: A new study finds that the curry spice turmeric can help you survive bypass surgery and avoid a heart attack during your recovery.

    Researchers from Thailand randomly assigned 121 bypass patients to either a gram of curcumin -- the main compound in turmeric -- taken four times a day, or a placebo for three days before and five days after the procedure.

    Those who got the curcumin were 65 percent less likely to have a heart attack in that time than those who got the placebo, even after adjusting for other possible risk factors.

    Those who got the real deal also had lower levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein as well as malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress -- and I'm sure that's because curcumin is both a powerful anti-inflammatory and a terrific antioxidant.

    And you don't have to be a heart patient to enjoy those benefits.

    Get some now, and you can lower your risk of even getting those cardiovascular problems in the first place, since studies on mice have shown that curcumin can help clear fatty deposits from the arteries.

    Other studies have shown it may help prevent arrhythmias, while still other research has found that curcumin can fight everything from inflammatory bowel disease to cancer to arthritis.

    One study I just told you about found it might even help reverse the damage of Parkinson's disease.

    Indian foods might be the most delicious way to get curcumin, but it's not the most efficient -- especially here in the United States, where most people simply don't eat it all that often.

    Fortunately, curcumin supplements are inexpensive and easy to find -- just make sure yours comes from a company you trust and not the local dollar store.

  2. A clean mouth for a healthy heart

    It's no secret that people with clean teeth and healthy gums have a lower risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, and two new studies again confirm the link.

    In the first, researchers in Taiwan found that people who get a scaling done less than every two years have a 24-percent lower risk of a heart attack and a 13-percent lower risk of a stroke than people who never get the procedure.

    Now, if you're asking, "what's a scaling," then I'd say you're probably overdue for one.

    It's basically a more intense cleaning that goes between the teeth and under the gums -- and as someone who's spent plenty of time squirming in that vinyl chair, I can tell you that it'll hurt a bit if you've slacked off on the flossing.

    You don't need to get scaled every year to get the benefits, though. The researchers say their review of data on more than 100,000 patients found that those who had the procedure every other year were still 13 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 9 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those who never had it done.

    In a second new study, researchers in Sweden found that people who suffer from more gum infections have a 53-percent higher risk of heart attack than those with fewer gum infections, and people who have bleeding gums have a higher risk of stroke.

    The same study found that people who lose 11 teeth or more for whatever reason have a 69-percent higher risk of heart attack than people with all or most of their chompers. Those who lost the most teeth also had a higher risk of congestive heart failure.

    Obviously, you put it all together and it's important to keep your mouth clean -- and not just to avoid bad breath, painful cavities, and the loss of your teeth.

    But don't just rush off to any old dentist. Take the time to find someone who can care for your teeth without the use of fluoride and mercury, and with minimal use of X-rays.

    A good place to start your search is with the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.

  3. The manly way to lower your heart risk

    You already know how testosterone can bring your sex life back from the dead. Now, the latest research shows how it can keep the rest of you out of the grave as well. In fact, this manly hormone can slash your risk of two of the greatest killers of seniors: heart attack and stroke.
  4. Don't let dialysis break your heart

    I know that one of the biggest concerns when you begin dialysis treatment is the threat of cardiovascular problems. But a new study points out a way to significantly reduce that risk.

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