cardiovascular risk

  1. Bleeding gums can kill you

    Minty fresh breath isn't the only reason to keep your mouth clean--good oral hygiene will also help protect your heart.

    While that connection has been confirmed by repeated studies over the years, the reason for it hasn't always been well understood... until now.

    Researchers say they've found the missing link between dental health and cardiovascular risk--and it turns out the same bacteria responsible for toothaches and gum disease are making their way right into your cardiovascular system.

    The problem is the common Streptococcus, the same bacteria that put the "strep" into "strep throat."

    These bacteria are present in the mouth more often that you might want to believe... in fact, they're almost certainly in your mouth right now.

    Don't panic--because in most cases, they're harmless.

    The problems begin when you let your dental health go to pieces. Bleeding gums offer these bacteria easy access to your insides. In fact, you can think of bloody gums as the entrance ramp to the superhighway of your circulatory system.

    And these bacteria are only too happy to hop on and make a beeline for the express lanes.

    Anyone who's seen what too many big trucks do to a highway can appreciate what then starts happening in your arteries: traffic jams. The researchers say the bacteria use a protein on their surface to force the platelets in your blood to clump, creating the clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.

    And just to show you how clever these guys are--and why they're so hard to beat--the researchers also found that by causing the clots, the bacteria also create a suit of armor out of platelets, covering them completely and protecting them from antibiotics.

    If that doesn't have you reaching for the floss and mouthwash, I don't know what will.

    Streptococcus isn't the only oral bacteria that can put a stop to your heart. One study last year found that people with Tannerella forsythensis had a 53 percent increased risk of heart attack, while the presence of Prevotella intermedia led to a 35 percent increase in that risk.

    That same study also found that people with the most bacteria in the mouth--any type of bacteria at all--have the highest risk, so the message is pretty clear: Keep your mouth clean and you'll have a healthier heart.

  2. Blood pressure med in heart scare

    The last thing you'd expect from a blood pressure med is an increased cardiovascular risk--yet that's what may be happening with one common drug.

    Two recent clinical trials indicate that patients who take olmesartan--sold under the name Benicar--have a higher rate of death due to heart-related problems than patients taking a placebo.

    So naturally, the FDA is telling patients to keep taking these drugs while they "evaluate" the new data.

    Don't hold your breath waiting for them to act.

    The long-term studies, carried out on diabetics, were actually created to see if these meds could slow either the diabetes or reduce the risk of kidney problems.

    Instead, they found one more potentially disastrous side effect.

    In the first study, more than 4,400 patients were given either the med or a placebo. Fifteen people taking the meds died of stroke, heart attack or other cardiovascular problem, versus just three in the placebo group.

    The second study involved 557 patients. Again there were just three heart-related deaths in the placebo group-- versus 10 of the patients who had been taking Benicar.

    A small risk overall? Maybe. But why risk it at all?

    Some people might think this means it's time to switch meds... but the truth is, it's time to get off these drugs completely. All of them have problems, and--as the new studies show--we may not even be aware of all the possible side effects yet.

    So instead of changing prescriptions, change your approach. Blood pressure is something you can control on your own, without drugs, by simply committing to the same lifestyle changes that will also make you healthier than you've ever been in your entire life.

    Switch to a diet of real food--and avoid anything that comes ready to heat and eat. That means no cans, boxes, freezer bags or anything that might come with fries and a soda.

    In addition, consider some of the key nutrients that have helped millions of people overcome their blood pressure problems naturally. Make sure you're getting at least three times as much potassium as sodium--which, for most people, will mean seriously cutting back on the salt (something you can do easily if you give up those packaged, processed foods).

    Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3) can also help--just be sure to get it from either diet or a simple, natural supplement and not one of Big Pharma's expensive lab- created nutrients or combo drugs.

    And of course the great omega-3 fatty acids you can get from fish oil may also help lower your blood pressure.

  3. Skip the carbs and live better

    The latest science shows more clearly than ever how even the most "healthy" of the Torture Chamber foods can contribute to these conditions.

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