12 things in your home that Lead to Heart Disease
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High Blood Pressure: 7 Deadly Impacts

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Many call high blood pressure “the silent killer” for a reason. It may not cause any serious problems for many years…until it does. Elevated blood pressure alters the cardiovascular system over time, causing gradual damage. This can cause sudden deadly consequences that seem to come out of nowhere. But in reality, these conditions can build momentum over a long period.

Pharmaceuticals may bring down your blood pressure numbers. But they aren’t a true safeguard against other related health risks and only cover up the problem. By treating the root causes of high blood pressure, you stand the best chance of reversing this devastating condition.

Heart attack

Heart attacks are one of the most fatal outcomes of high blood pressure. They’re responsible for over half of all cardiovascular deaths. A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, happens when there is a blockage in blood flow to the heart. 

Because of oxygen deprivation, the heart muscle may not be able to pump blood as well. Heart attacks can cause sudden death or long-term damage to the cardiovascular system.

Hypertension causes heart attacks by altering the structure of blood vessels over time. Research shows that elevated blood pressure causes atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, and arterial stiffness. These changes build, resulting in the blockages responsible for heart attacks. 


Strokes are a leading cause of death and disability. In fact, every four minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a stroke. Strokes occur when there are blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the brain. This lack of blood supply deprives the brain of oxygen and nutrients. 

Within minutes, brain cells can start dying off, possibly resulting in permanent brain damage. Signs of a stroke include vision loss, numbness, lack of coordination, confusion, and headaches.  Severe strokes can have long-lasting effects on motor skills, speech, cognitive ability, and more. 

Hypertensive individuals have a four times higher risk of stroke than those with normal blood pressure. Endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness caused by high blood pressure increase the risk of arterial blockages. High blood pressure is also linked with a higher mortality rate and risk of a repeat stroke.

Heart failure

Heart failure is another leading cause of hospitalization and death. Heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart suddenly stops working. It’s usually a condition that progresses over time and could require lifelong management.

Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump blood effectively and starts to work harder, leading to an enlarged heart and fluid buildup throughout the body. Congestive heart failure causes severe respiratory problems since fluid can back up into the lungs.

Hypertension is a significant contributor to heart failure. Elevated blood pressure can increase vascular resistance, putting the heart into overdrive. Over time, this can lead to thickening of the heart muscle and progression towards heart failure. Effective treatment of hypertension can reduce the risk of heart failure by 87 percent.


Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to convert sugar into energy. Untreated diabetes can lead to severe complications such as nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness, and a higher risk for severe infections.

Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease have many overlapping root causes and risk factors. Research supports that high blood pressure increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, over two-thirds of people with type 2 diabetes have underlying hypertension. If you have both conditions, you’re at a much higher risk of death, which is why it’s essential to treat both simultaneously.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most commonly diagnosed abnormal heart rhythm. Electrical signals control the pumping mechanism in the heart. With AFib, these signals misfire, causing a fast-paced quivering heartbeat. 

Without effective contractions, the heart can’t move blood through the body properly. This can cause blood to pool in the heart, potentially leading to the development of a blood clot, which can be life-threatening if it travels to the heart or lungs.

High blood pressure increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, especially in older adults. Hypertension may cause thickening of the heart walls, sympathetic activation, and oxidative stress, all contributing to the development of AFib. 

Kidney failure

Kidneys have the critical job of filtering blood and maintaining fluid balance in the body. When the kidneys take on injury, they can’t do their job, leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD).  This can progress to kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At this point, a kidney transplant or dialysis is necessary for survival.

High blood pressure is the second most common cause of kidney disease after diabetes. If the kidneys can’t filter blood properly, blood pressure may become more uncontrolled. This can lead to a vicious cycle, causing even more damage to the kidneys and possible kidney failure. It’s important to reverse hypertension as soon as possible to prevent this dangerous spiral.


Dementia is a blanket term describing the loss of cognitive functioning, including memory, reasoning, and decision-making. Dementia isn’t inevitable. It’s possible to stay mentally sharp as you age, and your heart health can play a major role in this.

There are several different types of dementia with varying causes and risk factors. Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia and can be caused by high blood pressure and stroke. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, brain cells and connections die off, making this type of dementia irreversible and untreatable. Controlling blood pressure is vital, as it can aid in prevention.

Next steps

These life-threatening conditions may sound scary and complex. But the solution is simple – get blood pressure under control. Some doctors may put you on medication to control blood pressure in the short term, but this doesn’t solve the problem. 

Pharmaceuticals aren’t a complete safeguard from hypertension-related morbidities and mortality. The only way to truly protect yourself is by addressing the root causes of high blood pressure.

At Natural Heart Doctor, we know that you can reverse hypertension by addressing lifestyle factors. Eat an organic diet of real food and support your nutrition with supplements. Keep stress low, get sunshine, and move your body every day. You should also address any exposure to environmental toxins. 

Blood pressure becomes more risky and problematic the longer it remains elevated. It’s important to start making these lifestyle changes as soon as possible. You should also monitor your blood pressure daily to ensure that you’re headed in the right direction. 

Remember, without testing, figuring out what is causing high blood pressure is a shot in the dark. Our lab testing is specific and comprehensive. We can identify underlying factors such as leaky gut, nutritional deficiencies, and toxin exposure to help you get control of your blood pressure once and for all.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 

Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD


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With his professional qualifications as a certified family nurse practitioner, a doctor of chiropractic, and a fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture, Dr. Smigiel offers patients comprehensive care from a broad perspective of conventional and alternative medicine. He also has extensive experience in functional rehabilitation and chronic pain management.

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About Dr. James Kneller, M.D., Ph.D., FHRS

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

As a Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society (FHRS) and Certified Cardiac Device Specialist (CCDS), Kneller provides comprehensive patient care, combining best medical practice with invasive procedures using state-of-the-art technologies to treat heart rhythm disorders.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

I dedicated the next 4 years to the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona where I attained my Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine. I served as Class President all 4 years, Board of Trustees – Student Trustee, spoke as the Club President for our branch of Toastmasters, and was voted by my peers and attending physicians to earn the Outstanding Leadership Award for the Class of 2020. Throughout medical school I took it upon myself to work alongside MDs, DOs, chiropractors, and functional medicine practitioners in addition to naturopathic physicians.

As a Spanish speaking student, I was able to volunteer with community clinics around Phoenix and provide free healthcare to low-income families. Due to this combined exposure, I came to find my passion in treating cardiometabolic and digestive disorders that are all too common, yet largely preventable. I took the opportunity to learn the broad spectrum of healthcare so I can ensure that I am able to provide my patients with the best options.

About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

For more than two decades, more than one million people have enjoyed the warmth, compassion, and transformational power of his natural heart health courses and events.

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Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

IV Therapy

We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

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Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

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Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

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Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

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Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.