Half the people do not survive their first heart attack. Some people with cancer find out they have less than a year to live. Is there a connection?

It seems we get more diseases as we grow older. It might start with high blood pressure. Then, maybe diabetes. A heart condition might develop after that. Then, the Big C may appear. Is there a link between these diseases?

Today, I came across this article about an observational link between people who had heart failure and later developed cancer. https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/heart-failure-cancer-heart/2021/06/28/id/1026687/.

One hundred thousand people with an average age of 72 and with heart failure and no detected cancer were compared over ten years with another one hundred thousand people who did not have heart failure. The cancer rate after ten years was over 25% for those who had heart failure compared to just over 16% for those without heart issues at the beginning of the study.

There was a nearly 29% cancer rate in women with heart issues than the control group with an almost 19% cancer rate. The same trend was seen in men, with just over 23% of those with heart failure developed cancer than those without heart problems (14%) and were diagnosed with cancer at the end of ten years.

Obesity and diabetes are two common ailments that many cancer and heart failure patients share. However, one does not cause the other. There was no evidence suggesting heart failure caused cancer. This was an observational study to look for links that can be explored further.

Heart Disease

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/causes-and-risks-for-heart-failure/causes-of-heart-failure. What are the primary causes of heart failure? Medical researchers list quite a few; however, the leading causes are coronary artery disease and high blood pressure. Diabetes, smoking, sleep apnea, and obesity were also listed as potential causes.

Coronary artery disease tends to develop as plaque builds up inside the walls of the arteries. Plaque can consist of oxidized cholesterol and calcium. Our bodies make cholesterol, and it is needed in every cell in the body. We also get cholesterol from the foods we eat. However, our food choices convert healthy cholesterol into oxidized cholesterol which can become plaque inside our arteries.

Food choices – margarine, fried food, excess polyunsaturated fats, trans fats, and more oxidize cholesterol. Many of these are combined and found in fast foods that many choose to eat more often than we should. So it is not cholesterol that is a problem, but the amount of oxidized cholesterol you have in your body.

Calcium build-up inside the arteries is more straightforward. Dietary or supplemental calcium can enter our bones and teeth and make us healthy when magnesium, vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 are present. When those other chemicals are not in our bodies, calcium will be extracted from the bone to balance the pH of the blood, or when vitamin K2 is deficient, the excess calcium in the bloodstream goes to the heart valves and arteries.

High blood pressure is typically caused by aging, obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, and a few more. Food choices also enter the picture when assessing the cause of high blood pressure. Salt, deli meat, frozen pizza, pickles, canned soups, tomato products, sugar, and packaged foods can contribute to raising your blood pressure.

Cancer Causes

https://www.cancerresearch.org/blog/april-2019/what-causes-cancer-risk-factors?gclid=Cj0KCQjw5uWGBhCTARIsAL70sLItlVM0D_H4lrTtUfcyxlnO8B0HQu4WOVpzqazY6iXt1VBG6xXL5xwaAgdrEALw_wcB. I have asked several oncologists and radiologists about the causes of cancer. Most tell me they do not know. Some offer a thought or two, but most of the time, it is difficult to determine when approaching the medical community.

The link above surprised me because it gave a lot of good information. Behavioral causes include alcohol, smoking, tanning, unsafe sex, diet, and inflammation. In addition, viruses, such as hepatitis B and C, Epstein-Barr, and others, are associated with cancer.

Environmental causes include excessive exposure to the sun, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal drugs, immune-suppressing drugs, radioactive materials (radon, for example), and exposure to carcinogens.

When I speak and write on the causes of cancer, I use the acronym – STRIDE – to help me remember. S stands for stress. Stay stressed long enough, and the risk of cancer goes up. T is for toxins. Our personal care products and foods have more toxins than most people realize. It is difficult to find products and foods without toxins.

R is for radiation. That makes a lot of sense. Yet, the electromagnetic field around you is something we never consider. The intensity, time, and amount of exposure determine the risk level for cancer development. For example, stand in front of a nuclear reactor for a few hours is a higher risk than watching television for the same amount of time. Electricity, appliances, cell phones, and more provide different levels of radiation.

I is dual purposed – infection and inflammation. People with ulcers have a higher risk because helicobacter pylori increase the risk of cancer in some people. It is a bacterial infection usually found in the stomach.

Inflammation is caused by free radicals from many places – thinking, eating, digesting foods, personal care products, exercising, and more. Disease starts at the cellular level. Chronic, low-level cellular inflammation over time can develop into many diseases.

D is for diet. I believe we all know the good and bad foods. Healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats are needed. Excessive amounts of sugar, omega-6 fatty acids, trans fat, and more can cause many health issues.

E is for expectations. This is not something many of us think about. What we think about matters. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we expect to get cancer because a close relative, parent, or grandparent had cancer, the likelihood of getting that or a similar disease increases.

Linkage – Heart Failure & Cancer?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6452432/. There are many common risk factors between heart failure and cancer. Several have been mentioned in this article. The classical connections are lifestyle choices – smoking, physical inactivity, dietary choices, stress management, obesity, and a few more. When we have a risk factor, take smoking, for instance, that risk is spread among several diseases. Smoking is associated as a risk factor for cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, etc.

When a person has a risk factor for future diseases – heart failure and cancer – is it a simple roll of the dice that produces heart failure before cancer? Probably not. Disease starts with inflammation at the cellular level but progresses based on other factors. The mutation of cells develops into a tumor in a specific location – an organ, if you will. If that inflammatory mutational cell is in the lung, kidney, brain, or heart, the resulting disease is named after the location of the disease – hence, heart disease, cancer of the colon, etc.


As I wrote this article, I have been thinking about our bodies’ changes as we age. This study involved a large group of people who averaged 72 years of age. Their human growth hormone (HGH) levels were probably low because of their age and their lack of knowledge of increasing HGH levels. https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/growth-disorders/growth-hormone-deficiency-symptoms. Keeping HGH levels high might lower risk factors for various diseases.

Inflammation is the critical starting ingredient for disease. Controlling inflammation is another arrow in the quiver of remaining healthy as we age. Unfortunately, most of us do not have our bodies’ inflammation measured – ever. Annually, I have a c-reactive protein (CRP) test done as part of my physical to give me an idea of the inflammation level in my body.

CRP will not pinpoint a location of high inflammation, but it will begin the journey to find it. For example, if I had near-zero readings of CRP for the last five years and this year my CRP was 30 mg/L, then something happened in the past year that I want to know about quickly.

Being a couch potato for decades is not healthy. On the other hand, continuing physical inactivity well beyond our 70s might not be the right decision. Lack of exercise is a risk factor for several diseases.

We need to look at this objectively. What risk factors can you not control? Age, gender, hereditary genes, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, dietary choices, toxin awareness, and many more.

Being healthy starts with understanding and continues through education and action. Control what you can and become aware of tests that can give you an advance warning of future disease.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com



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