Published on February 3, 2016
February 3, 2016
February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is responsible for one out of every three (about 800,000) deaths in the United States. It is the number one killer of American women and men, and it is a leading cause of serious illness and disability. In 2011, health care costs and lost productivity due to CVD was estimated at $320B by the American Heart Association. They cite the major risk factors for cardiovascular disease as smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, excess weight, and physical inactivity.
As with many conditions, we believe vitamin D deficiency to be another risk factor to consider. There are a number of ways in which vitamin D helps prevent CVD. Vitamin D has been associated with lower blood pressure, reduced risk of arterial stiffness, diabetes and insulin resistance, and maintaining glucose regulation and a healthy lipid profile.
It appears that 20-50% of CVD could be prevented if everyone had an adequate level of vitamin D (40 – 60 ng/ml). As it is heart health month, we cry out to public health officials to take notice. Even with the conservative 20% reduction – this would result in 300,000 fewer heart attacks and strokes each year, and $64B saved.
Learn more about the research on vitamin D and cardiovascular health.