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Resveratrol and heart disease as well as stroke

Heart disease - with heart attacks and degenerative cardiac problems on the increase in the Western world, and millions of dollars are spent annually on medication as well as surgical intervention. A novel natural ingredient - resveratrol - shows great promise to help win the fight against heart disease. (Also see Resveratrol and cholesterol)

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Other pages dealing with the beneficial effects of resveratrol:

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD's) reducing risk of heart attack

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD's) includes a variety of problems with the heart and blood circulatory system – from heart attacks to cerebrovascular disease (problem in supplying the brain with blood), high or raised blood pressure (hypertension), peripheral artery disease (problems with the blood vessels supplying the arms and legs), rheumatic heart disease (damage to the heart muscle caused by rheumatic fever), congenital heart disease (inherited problems with the heart structure), heart failure and deep vein thrombosis which can cause a clot in the leg to dislodge and move to the lungs or heart causing a pulmonary embolism.

Main causes of cardiovascular diseases reducing risk of heart attack

The main sources of cardiovascular disease are smoking, being inactive and an unhealthy diet. In 2005 nearly a third of all deaths - an estimated 17,5 million people -died of cardiovascular disease and was made up of 7.6 million dying of heart attacks and an estimated 5.7 million due to stroke.

Heart attacks and strokes reducing risk of stroke

If the flow of blood is interrupted or a blockage occurs in the arteries, heart attacks and strokes can result as it prevents the blood from reaching the brain or the heart.

The most common cause of these blockages is caused by a build-up of LDL cholesterol – also referred to as plague. These are formed by deposits of the LDL cholesterol from the blood onto the inner wall of the blood vessels – making the blood vessels narrower and less flexible – called atherosclerosis - or hardening of the arteries. The arteries are then far more susceptible to becoming clogged by blood clots, thereby totally cutting of the supply of blood.

Helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes reducing risk of stroke

It would be wise to give up smoking and to avoid second-hand smoke, following a diet rich in fruit and vegetables and avoiding foods that are high in saturated fats and trans fats, excessive sugar and salt, and maintaining a healthy body weight while doing some physical exercises for at least 30 minutes per week.

If you are suffering from elevated LDL cholesterol levels then medication would be used to lower the cholesterol blood serum level and if you have elevated blood pressure medication to control and lower the blood pressure may be required. Taking aspirin daily can also help with keeping the blood less “sticky”.

Surgical intervention reducing risk of stroke

In some cases some level of surgical intervention may be required and may make use of devices such as pacemakers, prosthetic heart valves, and also patches for closing up holes in the heart.

Other surgery that can be used will include coronary artery bypass surgery, balloon angioplasty (where a tiny balloon device is moved through a blocked artery to open the blockage), heart valve repair or replacement as well as human heart transplantation or artificial hearts – depending what is required.

Preventative measures reducing risk of stroke

To prevent any of these above mentioned surgical interventions a lifestyle change may be necessary and some dietary supplementation could also be of some use.

Vasorelaxing and lowering heart disease reducing risk of stroke

Many flavonoids show vasorelaxing properties, and this has been associated with a lower incidence of heart disease – although this works in a rather intricate manner. With this in mind it is interesting to note that resveratrol – mostly known as the compound extracted from the seeds of grapes – have some rather good vasorelaxing properties apart from all the other health benefits. REFERENCES

Reducing heart attack and stroke injury reducing risk of stroke

After a heart attack or stroke, when the blood flow returns to the area that was starved of blood, injury can follow – and this is referred to as "reperfusion injury". The tissue is damaged when the blood supply returns, as the restoration of circulation results in inflammation and oxidative damage through oxidative stress.

This is due to the inflammatory response of the damaged tissues where white blood cells are carried to the area by the restored circulation and many inflammatory factors is released - such as interleukins as well as free radicals.

The restored blood flow also restores the supply of oxygen which damages cellular proteins, DNA, as well as the plasma membrane. This also plays a part in stroke and brain trauma.

Here again, resveratrol has a role to play and can assist in minimizing damage. REFERENCES

Protykin, a natural extract of trans-resveratrol derived from the dried rhizome of Polygonum cuspidatum, demonstrated excellent in vitro peroxyl radical [generated by 2,2'-azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride] and hydroxyl radical (in a 7-OH -coumarin-3-carboxylic acid model) scavenging abilities; and provided significant cardio protection in vivo. Myocardial (heart attack) protection of protykin was assessed in vivo to determine whether protykin could preserve the heart during ischemic arrest. In an in vivo ischemia-reperfusion model, three weeks of protykin supplementation to rats significantly improved postischemic left ventricular functions [dp, dp / dtmaxl and aortic flow. It also reduced myocardial infarction (determined by TIC staining) and reduced malondialdehyde formation (a presumptive marker of oxidative stress) in the coronary effluent. Thus the researchers demonstrated that protykin offers dramatic cardio protection, presumably by virtue of its potent free radical scavenging ability.

Decreased platelet aggregation and resveratrol reducing risk of stroke

Platelet aggregation (the stickiness of the blood platelets) plays an important role in arterial thrombosis as well as heart disease, stroke as well as arterial disease.

So although platelet aggregation has no direct bearing on cholesterol, we have included it on this page, since it does influence proper blood flow.

Another plus point of resveratrol is that it helps to decrease platelet aggregation of the blood – in simple terms – it helps to make the blood less sticky – and is therefore beneficial to help prevent heart problems and thrombosis. A lot of doctors prescribe to their patients to take aspirin every day, as aspirin also helps with decreasing platelet aggregation. REFERENCES


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