Flaxseed and Heart Disease
Persons of all ages, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds can develop heart disease and it is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Heart disease contributed to 26% of the deaths in 2006 in the United States, about 1 in 4 or 206,636 persons.
While heart disease was considered to be a mostly male problem a quarter century ago, today half the deaths attributed to heart disease were women. HD is the leading cause of death (in the U.S.) for both men and women.
The leading type of heart disease is coronary artery disease and in 2005 445,687 persons, both men and women died from this type of heart disease.
Currently, 785,000 American annually suffer their first heart attack. Almost an equal number who have already suffered one or more attacks, have another attack.
This year heart disease will cost the U.S. $316.4 Billion dollars in the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
Health care professionals frequently propose invasive surgical procedures as a potential means of extending the longevity of heart patients. Obviously, these procedures usually follow the failure of diet changes, exercise, and prescription drugs for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
In addition to radical changes in diet and exercise and more closely monitored blood pressure and cholesterol levels, health care professionals routinely advocate much more invasive surgical procedures as a means of (potentially) extending the lives of heart disease patients.
The more common procedures include heart bypass surgery, heart valve reconstruction, angioplasty, stenting, coronary artery bypass, cardiac catheterization, and transmyocardial revascularization.
In recent years the success rate of these (first time) procedures is relatively high, at 92% - 95%. However, the extended life-expectancy following heart surgery is at best, about the same as the average life-expectancy of someone without heart disease.
Several factors come into play when attempting to calculate surgery survival rates and longevity following surgery. Males seem to perform better than females (due to the simple fact that their arteries are larger and easier to bypass), and younger people in the target age group 50-55 have lower mortality rates as compared to older persons over 75.
As a point of interest it must be noted that these surgical procedures do nothing to resolve the underlying cause of the disease. As a result, patients will frequently be forced to endure the same surgery again and again, often within 5 to 7 years of the initial operation. Succeeding procedures statically do not prove to have as high a success rate as the initial surgery.
Perhaps due to these facts and the extremely high costs inherent with these procedures, some health care professionals are beginning to suggest that many of the aforementioned surgical procedures are unnecessary and that non-invasive techniques perform just as well at a fraction the cost.
In spite of the costs, Americans have historically led the world in opting for the more invasive and immediate treatment plans. The reasons for this difference is likely due (historically) to inexpensive employer provided health care, inactive life-styles, lack of sufficient daily exercise, poor eating habits, and the desire for a quick fix rather than life-style overhaul.
Americans opt for surgery as the first choice 4 to 1 over their Canadian and European counterparts, though heart disease is nearly as rampant in these geographical regions.
Again, the numbers seem to indicate that Americans want to take more immediate action rather than making (relatively) slow changes to diet and exercise to achieve similar health results.
The reason for continued escalating health-care costs (in the U.S.) are directly attributable heart disease.
Unfortunately, due to the recent economic down turn, many Americans no longer have health care support of any kind.
As a result of this and other determining factors, Americans are beginning to more aggressively research the availability of alternative safe, effective, and economically viable heart disease treatment plans.
A recent study reported in the “Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology” (November, 2009) conducted at The Department of Physiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, concluded that “flaxseed and its components improve Cardiovascular health”, and that flax hull lignans containing quantities “SDG (secoisolariciresinol diglucoside) (the prominent phytoestrogen found in flax hull lignans) reduce the development of hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease associated with elevated cholesterol levels).”
In vivo studies have shown that the “SDG (lignan) is a very potent hypotensive (anti-high blood pressure), angiogenic (formation of new blood vessels), and antiapoptotic (prevents cell death and degeneration) agent” and has an important “role in cardio-protection in ischemic (constriction or obstruction of the blood vessels surrounding the heart) heart disease.
“Lignans in general reduce serum total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and raises serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol” and “SDG” lignan “and its metabolites have antioxidant activity.”
FemFlax® is a concentrated and encapsulated (27 full-spectrum) flax hull lignan product and has one of the highest concentrations of SDG lignan bioavailability of any similar product on the market.