TV Star Conchata Ferrell Dies of Heart Problems. Be Proactive About Your Heart Health With Omega-3s
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
I was extremely sad to hear about the recent passing of actress Conchata Ferrell. The star of the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men reportedly died due to complications from a cardiac arrest “...after several months in poor health, beginning when she contracted a kidney infection in December. She fell ill again in May and spent several weeks in intensive care, later being transferred to a long-term care facility after suffering a heart attack.”
She was 77-years-old.
It’s way too often that we hear about deaths due to cardiovascular disease events. As you may already know, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both American men and women.
To add insult to injury, a recent study published by the Journal of the American Heart Association found evidence which exhibited that heart attacks and strokes occur more frequently during winter months, when cold and flu season is at its peak.
"We found that if someone's going to have a heart attack, it's going to occur within seven days of the flu-like illness, during the acute phase," said one of the lead researchers, according to this Medical Xpress report.
I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel helpless but to tell you that we must be proactive, especially because we are in a more vulnerable position with the threat of COVID-19 and the flu.
The good news is that you may be able to significantly protect your heart from disease by getting a high intake of omega-3s.
If you need a bit of a refresher of what these are, omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in foods like flaxseed and oily fish such as salmon, are a type of polyunsaturated fat, a healthy fat (along with monounsaturated fats (found in avocado, for example)).
There are many different types of omega-3s but the three main ones are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
And one recent study that focused on EPA and DHA found evidence suggesting that increased omega-3 intake better protected the heart and improved cardiovascular outcomes. What they mean by this is that if you get enough of these omega-3s, you may not only be able to prevent heart disease but also have a better outcome should you have some type of heart disease.
“EPA and DHA omega-3s are long-chain, marine-based fatty acids. Eating fish, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies and sardines, is the optimal way to get EPA and DHA omega-3s, since fish also provides other beneficial nutrients. However, most people around the world eat much less than the amount of fish recommended, so supplementing with omega-3s helps close the gap,” according to this recent Medical Xpress report discussing the study.Consult your doctor before supplementing.
And, of course, not everyone eats fish. Before you supplement with omega-3s, it is ialways good to consult your doctor or a competent healthcare professional.
To give you more of an idea on how effective omega-3s appear to be in protecting your heart health, the study found that EPA and DHA supplementation significantly reduced the risk of:
- Fatal heart attack (by 35 percent)
- Heart attack (by 13 percent)
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) events (by 10 percent)
- Coronary heart disease mortality (9 percent)
"The study supports the notion that EPA and DHA intake contributes to cardioprotection, and that whatever patients are getting through the diet, they likely need more," said one of the lead authors of the study.
(Again, ask a competent healthcare professional about how much is appropriate for you).
Omega-3s are great nutrients because they may help heart health by:
- Reducing triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood
- Reducing the risk of developing an irregular heart beat
- Slowing down the buildup of plaque in the arteries
- Lowering blood pressure
- Easing inflammation (which may also help prevent other health issues such as depression and cancer)
There is so much we can do to be proactive about heart disease - the #1 killer of American men and women.
Another recent study, published in the European Heart Journal, suggests that more than two-thirds of deaths from heart disease worldwide could be avoided by eating a healthier diet.
“Our analysis shows that unhealthy diets, high blood pressure, and high serum cholesterol are the top three contributors to deaths from heart attacks and angina - collectively called ischaemic heart disease," said study lead author, in this report.
“This was consistent in both developed and developing countries."
Furthermore, “More than six million deaths could be avoided by reducing intake of processed foods, sugary beverages, trans and saturated fats, and added salt and sugar, while increasing intake of fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.”
The foods we eat are usually within our control. It is also extremely important to exercise regularly, avoid smoking, drink alcohol in moderation (if at all) and get about seven to eight hours of sleep every night. It helps to take routine nutrient tests in order to identify whether we are deficient in any nutrients that our heart health really depends on, such as magnesium and calcium. If you are deficient or have any nutrient imbalances, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.
For additional ph blogs about heart health, read here.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.