The impact of cardiovascular disease represents one of the greatest challenges confronting the modern healthcare system. Within the wide ranging spectrum of cardiovascular disorders there is a complexity that makes it a formidable challenge to both public and private healthcare organizations around the world. The estimated toll in human life and economic cost, combined with the inestimable effect on the quality of life for individuals and their families, transcends all gender, racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups.
In the United States alone it is estimated that around 71 million people suffer some form of cardiovascular disorder. Within the State of Nevada, heart disease and stroke accounted for 5,649 deaths in 2004, corresponding to 32% of all deaths in the State. That same year the estimated financial cost to the State with respect to diseases of the circulatory system was a staggering $3,085,109,650 (Department of Health and Human Services, 2006).
We are currently in the midst of an ever-increasing obesity epidemic. Currently, Nevada has the 32nd highest rate of adult obesity in the nation at 25.1% and the 11th highest rate of overweight youths (ages 10-17) at 34.2% (Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2010). In Washoe County it is estimated that 21% of the population are obese, while this value is slightly higher in Carson City, where it is estimated to be 24% (Nevada Public Health Foundation, 2010).
Diet and nutrition can have a direct and profound effect on the risk factors related to heart disease and stroke, both from a detrimental and a beneficial perspective. For example, eating diets high in saturated fats, triglycerides, and cholesterol increases the development of atherosclerosis. In addition, improper nutrition can also lead to excessive weight gain and obesity. On the other hand, dietary intervention can have a positive impact on the risk factors for heart disease and current key recommendations for addressing obesity in Nevada include ensuring that every adult and child has access to coverage for preventative medical services, including nutrition and obesity counseling, and screening for obesity-related diseases.
This project aims to extend previous studies by assessing the ability of a grape seed extract that is rich in procyanidins to lower serum triglyceride levels by providing further insight into its’ molecular mode of action. This extract is marketed as a health product that can be incorporated into dietary supplements or functional foods. Consequently, since the extract can potentially aid in the eradication of factors associated with heart disease, such as high serum triglyceride levels, its use as a nutritional supplement to aid in lowering the prevalence of CVD is of particular relevance to the citizens of the State of Nevada.