Category Archives: Health

Heart Disease Lower, Stroke Risk Higher for Vegans and Vegetarians

Human head nerves model Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash
Human head nerves model Photo by jesse orrico on Unsplash

Emergency medicine physician Zachary Lutsky, MD, has served as an attending physician in the emergency department at such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical. Through these roles, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has become familiar with such things as stroke prevention and recognition.

According to research from the University of Oxford, the risk of heart disease in people who have a vegan or vegetarian diet is about 22 percent lower than people who eat meat. This benefit is also seen in pescatarians, who eat only fish, though at a reduced incidence of a 13 percent lower risk of heart disease.

Unfortunately, this benefit could come at a cost. Both vegans and vegetarians were about 20 percent more likely to experience a stroke than people who ate meat. Specifically, they had a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke, a specific type of stroke associated with greater amounts of damage than ischemic strokes. Not only that, but hemorrhagic strokes were more deadly.

To get these results, researchers examined nearly 48,200 individuals with no history of stroke or heart disease. Of these, 16,254 people were vegans or vegetarians, 24,428 ate meat, and 7,506 only consumed fish. Each group was followed for 18 years, and the researchers tracked the number of stroke and ischemic heart disease that occurred during that time.

At the end of the follow-up period, there were 2,280 cases of heart disease and 1,072 cases of stroke. Based on the results, about 10 more meat eaters out of 1,000 people develop heart disease over 10 years. Meanwhile, about three more vegans and vegetarians out of 1,000 subjects experienced stroke over the same period. While more research is needed, it’s believed that the increased risk of stroke is linked to a lack of essential nutrients in vegans and vegetarians.

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How Common Are Heart Attacks?

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As attending physician, Dr. Zachary Lutsky cares for people in need of emergent medical attention through several Emergency Departments in Los Angeles. Emergency physicians like Dr. Zachary Lutsky often save patients facing common life or death cardiac events.

A heart attack occurs when the body is no longer able to provide the heart muscle adequate blood to sustain its function. When deprived of blood, muscle cells begin to die, and if too many die, then the heart can no longer pump blood throughout the body, leading to death.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the United States heart attacks occur frequently, about once every 40 seconds. In a 12-month period, there are nearly 800,000 heart attack victims in America. Of those attacks, 580,000 happen in patients who have not had a heart attack before, and about 200,000 happen to people who’ve suffered a heart attack in the past.

Not all heart attacks are deadly. In fact, of the people who have a heart attack each year, only about 14 percent pass away as a result. It’s important if a person exhibits heart attack symptoms that emergency services are called immediately, as prompt medical intervention can save the person’s life.

Heart attacks manifest classic symptoms like pain radiating from the chest into the back, jaw, and neck. During a heart attack, people may also experience shortness of breath and nausea, among other symptoms.

Commonly Overlooked Symptoms of Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks
Image: webmd.com

A board certified emergency medicine physician, Zachary Lutsky received his MD from RFU/Chicago Medical School more than 15 years ago. Since then he has served as an attending physician at such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical. Over the course of his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has dealt with such conditions as heart attacks.

Most people are familiar with the typical symptoms of a heart attack, such as pain in the arms and chest discomfort. However, not every heart attack victim experiences pain in these areas. In fact, some individuals have pain or aches in other areas of the body, including the neck, stomach, or jaw. This pain often appears after exercise and will disappear as someone rests, thus leading many people to believe the pain is exercise-related.

Beyond pain, individuals struggling with a heart-related problem may experience fatigue that is unrelated to medicines or illnesses. When heart-related, fatigue is often described as a general weakness in the body that is associated with subtle symptoms, including shortness of breath. Since these associated symptoms are often minimal, individuals often overlook them.

Another common symptom of heart attack that gets overlooked, particularly in women, is indigestion. While indigestion and other stomach issues are a common occurrence for some, they may also precede a heart attack. For this reason, individuals should always contact their doctor whenever they have any unexplained indigestion.