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Carbs and Their Influence in Heart Disease

Carbs and Their Influence in Heart Disease

With the rise in cardiovascular disease and heart disease and the deaths occurring from it, it’s a wonder that this major cause of it is still allowed to be advertised, as much as it is. With over 17,300,000 deaths alone, in 2013, our society thinks it’s more important to find new drugs to suppress the symptoms instead of finding a lasting cure, that doesn’t include any drugs at all. I guess there’s no money in it.

Carbohydrate influence in many heart diseases is clearly undeniable. Whereas cancer is a catch all term, for a myriad of diseases, heart disease and cardiovascular diseases are catch-all phrases for all diseases involving the heart and circulatory system. That alone makes it difficult, to nail down any one agent, source or reason for its pervasiveness in these diseases. Yet, there is one common thread that shows up in at least half of these diseases – inflammation. Inflammation’s largest contributor is glucose. Glucose’s largest contributor is carbs. They’re woven from two strands, sugar and flour – grain based products from wheat (gluten ),corn, rice and oats in particular. This article is going to look at carbs influence on as many cardiovascular diseases as we can and I’m going to talk about carbs influence, in each one, again showing just how dangerous these food staples (flour and sugar) are. (Of course when I mention flour, I’m talking about all wheat and grain products, because the two most prevalent, wheat and corn, are ground into flour before their preparation, to make into foods, before marketing.) It’s this grinding into flour that takes away any fiber that the food ever had. Flour and water make paste which is so quick to digest and break down to its basic form, glucose, that it loses any nutrition that it ever held. To get a better idea of the scope of cardiovascular diseases and the role carbs play in each one, I’ll list as many of them as I can, and attempt to tie each disease to what influences it most.

There are many cardiovascular diseases involving the blood vessels. They are known as vascular diseases as well as cardiovascular diseases.

Vascular diseases include:

  • Coronary artery disease(also known as coronary heart disease and ischemic heart disease)
  • Peripheral arterial disease– disease of blood vessels that supply blood to the arms and legs
  • Cerebrovascular disease– disease of blood vessels that supply blood to the brain (includes stroke)
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Aortic aneurysm

There are also many cardiovascular diseases that involve the heart and since all vascular diseases deal with plaque in the arterial walls, we going to be looking at the ones that deal with the heart itself; “Together they resulted in 17.3 million deaths (31.5%) in 2013 up from 12.3 million (25.8%) in 1990.

With an increase like this, don’t you think it’s time for a cure?

  1. Cardiomyopathy– diseases of cardiac muscle
  2. Hypertensive heart disease– diseases of the heart secondary to high blood pressure or hypertension
  3. Heart failure
  4. Pulmonary heart disease– a failure at the right side of the heart with respiratory system involvement
  5. Cardiac dysrhythmias– abnormalities of heart rhythm
  6. Inflammatory heart disease
  7. Endocarditis– inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, the endocardium. The structures most commonly involved are the heart valves.
  8. Inflammatory cardiomegaly
  9. Myocarditis– inflammation of the myocardium, the muscular part of the heart.
  10. Valvular heart disease
  11. Congenital heart disease– heart structure malformations existing at birth
  12. Rheumatic heart disease– heart muscles and valves damage due to rheumatic fever caused by Streptococcus pyogenesa group A streptococcal infection

“There are several risk factors for heart diseases: age, gender, tobacco use, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, obesity, family history of cardiovascular disease, raised blood pressure (hypertension), raised blood sugar (diabetes mellitus), raised blood cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), psychosocial factors, poverty and low educational status, and air pollution. While the individual contribution of each risk factor varies between different communities or ethnic groups the overall contribution of these risk factors is very consistent.[18] Some of these risk factors, such as age, gender or family history, are immutable; however, many important cardiovascular risk factors are modifiable by lifestyle change, social change, drug treatment and prevention of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes.”

To take a closer look at each one, you need to examine the risk factor I consider the most important, lifestyle. When I talk about lifestyle, I’m talking mostly about eating habits and the foods that we ingest the most, simple carbohydrates. As mentioned before, and it’s something that you all know, you are what you eat. You know that sugar kills. Carbohydrates are sugars amplified. The term carbohydrate is defined as a multiple sugars and this is what makes it so dangerous. It’s its ability to be turned into glucose, with little to no other nutritional value. That is precisely what makes it so deadly.

Just looking through the various causes of the different types of cardiovascular disease, was enlightening, to say the least. What I found to be a prevalent factor, throughout many of the causes for many of the diseases, was evidence of carbohydrate consumption, so I attempt to point out the fact that if this one factor was taken out of the equation of heart disease, that would change the end result of the equation.

Only by looking at each one individually and learning, will we know;

  • Cardiomyopathy– literally “heart muscle disease”) is the measurable deterioration for any reason of the ability of the myocardium (the heart muscle) to contract, usually leading to heart failure. Common symptoms include dyspnea (breathlessness) and peripheral edema (swelling of the legs). Those with cardiomyopathy are often at risk of dangerous forms of irregular heart rate and sudden cardiac death. The most common form of cardiomyopathy is dilated cardiomyopathy.Although the term “cardiomyopathy” could theoretically apply to almost any disease affecting the heart, it is usually reserved for “severe myocardial disease leading to heart failure.” Cardiomyopathy and Myocarditis resulted in 443,000 deaths in 2013, up from 294,000 in 1990. Of all the types shown on Wikipedia, only the last one was obesity related, as “Obesity-associated Cardiomyopathy”. We all know what causes obesity – carbs.
  • Hypertensive heart disease– diseases of the heart secondary to high blood pressureor hypertension. Hypertension or high blood pressure affects at least 4 billion people worldwide. Hypertensive heart disease is only one of several diseases attributable to high blood pressure. Other diseases caused by high blood pressure include ischemic heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, aneurysms and kidney disease. Hypertension increases the risk of heart failure by two or three-fold[6]and probably accounts for about 25% of all cases of heart failure.[15]In addition, hypertension precedes heart failure in 90% of cases,[6] and the majority of heart failure in the elderly may be attributable to hypertension. Hypertensive heart disease was estimated to be responsible for 1.0 million deaths worldwide in 2004 (or approximately 1.7% of all deaths globally), and was ranked 13th in the leading global causes of death for all ages. A world map shows the estimated disability-adjusted life years per 100,000 inhabitants lost due to hypertensive heart disease in 2004. The risk of cardiovascular disease and death can be reduced by lifestyle modifications, including dietary advice, promotion of weight loss and regular aerobic exercise, moderation of alcohol intake and cessation of smoking. Drug treatment may also be needed to control the hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,[6]manage the heart failure, or control cardiac arrhythmias. Patients with hypertensive heart disease should avoid taking over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or cough suppressants, and decongestants containing sympathomimetics, unless otherwise advised by their physician as these can exacerbate hypertension and heart failure.

To get an idea of how carbs influence hypertension, read article 7. My abstinence from carbs for the last two years has given me, for the first time in my adult life, absolutely perfect blood pressure, 120/60. And I attribute it to the lack of carbs in my diet plus the conversion of my diet to a ketogenic diet. My doctor told me I still have high blood pressure (it used to always run high). I just control it better now. Even she is astounded by what my diet has done for my health.  I know what causes high blood pressure more than anything else, carbs. High blood pressure is a major influence in most types of cardiovascular disease, as you’ll see in the following explanations of various forms of heart disease.

  • Heart failure often referred to as congestive heart failure(CHF), occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body’s needs. The terms chronic heart failure (CHF) or congestive cardiac failure (CCF) are often used interchangeably with congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms commonly include shortness of breath, excessive tiredness, and leg swelling.[5] The shortness of breath is usually worse with exercise, while lying down, and may wake the person at night.[5] A limited ability to exercise is also a common feature. The underlying mechanisms vary depending on the disease in question. Coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease involve atherosclerosis. This may be caused by high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption, among others. High blood pressure results in 13% of CVD deaths, while tobacco results in 9%, diabetes 6%, lack of exercise 6% and obesity 5%. Rheumatic heart disease may follow untreated strep throat.

“It is estimated that 90% of CVD is preventable. Prevention of atherosclerosis is best done by decreasing risk factors through: healthy eating, exercise, avoidance of tobacco smoke and limiting alcohol intake.  Treating high blood pressure and diabetes may be most beneficial.

Common causes of heart failure include coronary artery disease including a previous myocardial infarction (heart attack), high blood pressure, Atrial fibrillation, Valvular heart disease, excess alcohol use, infection, and Cardiomyopathy of an unknown cause. These cause heart failure by changing either the structure or the functioning of the heart.[5] There are two main types of heart failure: heart failure due to left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure with normal ejection fraction depending on if the ability of the left ventricle to contract is affected, or the heart’s ability to relax.  The severity of disease is usually graded by the degree of problems with exercise. Heart failure is not the same as myocardial infarction (in which part of the heart muscle dies) or cardiac arrest (in which blood flow stops altogether). Other diseases that may have symptoms similar to heart failure include obesitykidney failure, liver problems, anemia and thyroid disease.”

A majority of inflammation and plaque that builds up in the blood is directly due to oxidative stress and the byproducts it produces, free radicals in the form of cytokines that form macrophages, that wreak real havoc in all systems.

With all the cytokine activity going on in the blood, I wonder if the influence of glucose on our hormones (hormones are what influences thyroid disease), doesn’t also have an influence in thyroid disease? We know that carbs influence our hormones. We learn that in The Payoff Of Life Without Carbs, as well as Carbs, Why The Addiction Is So Hard To Break,  and touched on it in Carbs, How They Cause A.G.E.s, Your Ticket To Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Heart Disease and More I don’t think too many studies were done on the influence that carbohydrates have on the hormones that effect thyroid disease. Other forms display the influence of carbs a lot more, with inflammation.

  • Pulmonary heart disease– a failure at the right side of the heart with respiratory system involvement
  • Cardiac dysrhythmias– abnormalities of heart rhythm
  • Inflammatory heart diseas
  • Endocarditis– inflammation of the inner layer of the heart, the endocardium. The structures most commonly involved are the heart valves.
  • Inflammatory cardiomegaly
  • Myocarditis– inflammation of the myocardium, the muscular part of the heart.
  • Valvular heart disease is any disease process involving one or more of the four valves of the heart(the aortic and mitral valves on the left and the pulmonary and tricuspid valves on the right). These conditions occur largely as a result of aging. Most people are in their late 50s when diagnosed, and more than one in ten people over 75 have it.
  • Congenital heart disease– heart structure malformations existing at birth
  • Rheumatic heart disease– heart muscles and valves damage due to rheumatic fever caused Rheumatic fever is a disease of inflammation. Nothing more needs to be said because we know what causes inflammation.

I can see where glucose plays a major part in more than a few of these causative factors. We know that glucose is the major player in high blood pressure because of the way it’s digested into fat. We know that wheat has a propensity to cause muscle tics and spasms. The question I ask myself is, why can’t wheat affect the heart muscle as what happens with Atrial Fibrillation when the heart starts to race for no apparent reason?

“Heart failure may also occur in situations of “high output,” (termed “high output cardiac failure”) where the ventricular systolic function is normal but the heart cannot deal with an important augmentation of blood volume.  This can occur in overload situation (blood or serum infusions), kidney diseases, chronic severe anemia, Beriberi (vitamin B1/thiamine deficiency),  Thyrotoxicosis, Paget’s disease, Arteriovenous fistulae, or Arteriovenous malformations.”

“Viral infections of the heart can lead to inflammation of the muscular layer of the heart and subsequently contribute to the development of heart failure. Heart damage can predispose a person to develop heart failure later in life and has many causes including systemic viral infections (e.g., HIV), chemotherapeutic agents such as daunorubicin and trastuzumab, and abuse of drugs such as alcohol and methamphetamine. Additionally, infiltrative disorders such as amyloidosis and connective tissue diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus have similar consequences. Obstructive sleep apnea (a condition of sleep wherein disordered breathing overlaps with obesity, hypertension, and/or diabetes) is regarded as an independent cause of heart failure.”

Inflammation is a major influence in most of the various types of heart disease as well as cancer. The number one cause of inflammation is over eating and obesity; with the closer to obese your body is, the more inflammation you get to deal with. We know that over eating is heavily influenced by carbohydrate consumption. We know that carbohydrates are the direct cause of body fat. We know that the most dangerous of these fats, is visceral fat, the kind your body deposits, from eating carbohydrates. Since we know all of the above, why haven’t we figured out that keeping this food out of our diet will eliminate 90% of the reasons for inflammation?

I remember learning about amyloids and amyloidosis when researching cancer. It’s the folding of misshaped proteins caused by glycation of cholesterol, which in turn, is caused by consumption of carbohydrates. It seems everywhere I look I see evidence of carbohydrate consumption involved in the equation too many types of cardiovascular disease. How much closer would the reduction of carbohydrate consumption bring us to controlling these epidemics? That begs the question, in who’s interest is it, that we continue going down this path, we’re on. What corporate industries would rather we stay on this path?

How many more have to die before people will heed these words? I know why the general public can’t. I know why they don’t want to pay attention to this. It’s called addiction. It’s called denial of addiction. The first people to deny this are quite often the ones who have it worst and are in complete denial that this would ever happen to them. This is a denial that we as a society need to face. I know. I was there. I denied it. Read my story in About Me, How hard it is for me to appear normal..

I weighed 205 lbs just 3 years ago. My blood pressure averaged 140/90. I controlled it with diuretics which depleted my body of potassium and calcium, both crucial micronutrients for a healthy heart. Then, I quit bread, alone. Then I quit all wheat products. That started a cascade of miraculous things that began to happen to my health. And they all happened in beneficial ways removing any side effects (from wheat consumption), that existed prior to my conversion. I’m as normal of a person as you can get. If this can happen to me, it will happen to anyone who does the same thing that I did.

I ask myself, why is this food still advertised as “healthy”?

This truly begs the question, if this food staple was replaced in our food supply, with something more nutritious and less glycemic, would we see a decline in the occurrences of these horrendous diseases? This is my biggest what if question, what if society saw the truth and reality in what is really going on when you eat high starch carbohydrate grains and foods, and started to reduce their consumption of these foods, would we see a decline in these diseases? I don’t just think so, I know from experience, that it will. Science says, yes it definitively will.

The question is, will this (food) industry allow us to do that? I seriously doubt they’ll do anything about it, if it’s going to hurt their business in any way. Alternatives need to be found for this food staple, not only in our diet, but in our food industry as a whole. We must make it evident, to the food industrial complex that we need to  reduce our consumption of these high starch foods, if we’re to remain healthy as a society. Where are the warnings: contains glucose? Where does the responsibility lie with the food industry, the grain industry in particular, those who provide the crop seed for our farmers who grow this food for us. Isn’t it about time they took responsibility for the damage their food is responsible for, the diabetes, heart disease and cancer it causes?

That’s going to be a real fun one to tackle, but I try on Carbs, Industry Concerns Of Dispelling Wheat And Grains and Carbs, Industry’s Influence In The Expansion Of Carb Production, Carbs, Why The Addiction Is So Hard To Break, and Carbs! My Life Without Them.

Editing note: Thank you immensely to Wikipedia. Even though it is an open source encyclopedia, I trust their sources to be correct, as all documents on Wikipedia are vetted by volunteer experts in that particular field. Wikipedia’s comments are italicized , while all of my comments are not. I did this to keep everything organized so people can decipher encyclopedic fact from my comments and conjecture.