According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for persons of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease with approximately 647K Americans dying every year from heart disease. With time, this will only get worse. We know that metabolic syndrome (diabetes, heart disease and obesity) all contribute to each other. With a surge in new cases of diabetes diagnosed in children and young adults, we can anticipate a surge over the coming years in heart disease-related deaths.
The good news is that it does not have to be this way. Both of these diseases are heavily influenced by diet and lifestyle factors: our diet, exercise habits, sleep hygiene, stress levels, social connections, relationships and outlook on our life. All of these are assessed and addressed during your functional medicine consultation. We will also help you with approaches to improve your sleep, reduce your stress levels and overall sense of wellbeing. Expect that we will recommend exercise as a means to reducing stress along with breathing exercises and meditation. Where is the data?
- In prospective cohort studies, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. In 2017, an international panel concluded that a healthy lifestyle, including the Mediterranean, DASH, Nordic, or vegetarian diet, is crucial for the prevention or delay of the onset of metabolic syndrome, CVD, and type 2 diabetes. Western-type diets, which are characterized by a high intake of red meat, processed foods, refined grains, sugars, and saturated fatty acids, have been associated with a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome, especially in women. We will help you review these dietary approaches to adapt them to your lifestyle during your consultation.
- Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of prevalent diseases such as metabolic syndrome, CVD, and type 2 diabetes. A 2018 study found that high-velocity circuit resistance training improved biological markers, health-related quality of life, and overall CVD risk in adults with cardiometabolic syndrome and CVD risk factors.
- A 2019 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association evaluated the connection of short sleep (less than six hours a night, independent of obstructive sleep apnea) with adverse health outcomes.19 Short sleep, which affects approximately 35% of the population, has been identified as a novel contributor to cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRs) and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (CBVDs). The findings suggest that short sleep duration increases the mortality risk of middle-aged adults with CMRs who have already developed CBVDs. Clinically, these findings further support the inclusion of short sleep duration as a modifiable factor in assessing the prognosis of individuals with CMR and CBVD.