heart attack risk

  1. Why meatless diets can be deadly

    Anyone who still believes a diet of sprouts and beans is healthy should hop on the next flight to India, where they can get a firsthand look at the ravages of the vegetarian lifestyle.

    Trust me -- you'll be back in the steakhouse in no time.

    India just so happens to be one of the most vegetarian-friendly nations on the planet, thanks in part to their worship of cows. And a new study finds that the nation's plant-eaters -- up to 42 percent of the population -- are paying a hefty price for shunning the heifers.

    When researchers studied 300 vegetarian patients at Hiranandani Hospital for a year, they were stunned to find that 70 percent of them were either suffering from heart disease or were at high risk of heart attack.

    The reason was pretty simple: Nearly all of the patients were badly deficient in vitamin B12, an essential nutrient found in meat. That deficiency caused a surge in levels of homocysteine -- a much better marker of heart risk than cholesterol.

    The high homocysteine levels led to atherosclerosis -- hard, narrow arteries that make the heart work overtime and put the patient at risk for heart attack and stroke.

    Dr. Shashank Shah presented the study at the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders in Los Angeles. He said that most vegetarians are so badly deficient in B12 that they need injections to correct their levels.

    "Those who are at risk shouldn't delude themselves by simply popping a pill," he said.

    Even Indians who do eat meat are at risk, says Dr. Shah, because they typically don't eat enough B12-rich foods such as beef, liver and fish.

    Of course, I've only been saying this since the Beatles were hanging around with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi -- so none of this is surprising to me. After all, the answer has been there for anyone willing to look. Despite its cow-happy, leaf-eating population, India's leading cause of death is the same as it is here -- heart disease.

    The answer is pretty simple: Heart health begins with what you eat.

    And if you eat the wrong things, whether it's a vegetarian Indian diet or a carb-happy Western one, it'll end there too.

  2. How your personality affects stroke risk

    If you're the "glass-half-empty" type, you might want to consider getting an attitude adjustment. It turns out that the more disagreeable you are, the more likely you are to have a stroke. This is especially true for women. (Hey, don't shoot the messenger!)

    If you think this doesn't apply to you, listen up anyway. Chances are, someone you love -- or someone you've tried to love, anyway -- is completely insufferable (and for your sake, I hope it's not your spouse).

    Researchers looked at data on 5,614 residents of Sardinia, an island off Italy. They were given personality assessments to measure agreeability (or lack of it) and ultrasound tests to measure the thickness of their arteries.

    Those in the bottom 10 percent of agreeability -- especially those ranked as "manipulative" or "aggressive" -- were 40 percent more likely to suffer from thicker carotid arteries.

    And those thickened arteries are a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

    When it comes right down to it, I don't know how much a bad attitude will really increase your risk of stroke or heart attack... and neither do the researchers behind this study, so don't take it too seriously.

    You could be sweet as a kitten... but if you're living a carb-filled life of sugary shame, Oscar the Grouch up the block may be watching from his window -- and probably smiling -- when they pull you out in an ambulance one of these days.

    But while your risk reduction should begin with your diet, there are other reasons to tone down the riot act. All that anger and cruelty leads to stress, misery and loneliness -- three risk factors for life-shortening diseases and illnesses.

    And besides... no one likes a jerk.

  3. Feds halt Avandia trial

    The feds scored a few cheap points when they ordered the suspension of a new trial on the dangerous diabetes drug Avandia.
  4. More problems linked to Avandia

    Listen up diabetics: If you're looking for a quick way out, get your hands on some Avandia.
  5. Deadly side effect linked to blood pressure meds

    One minute you're trying to lower your blood pressure, the next you're battling cancer -- and that's only if you didn't drop dead of a heart attack first.
  6. How milk and cheese protect the heart

    More mainstream lies are being put out to pasture -- because a new study proves that the fatty dairy foods you've been told to avoid are actually good for you.
  7. Recent Increase in Women with Heart Disease

    You'd have to be under a rock to be unaware of the dramatic recent increase in heart disease - especially among women.

7 Item(s)