Heart disease is the #1 killer of people in America. Coronary
heart disease is caused by a narrowing of the blood vessels
leading to the heart, which restricts the amount of oxygen-
and nutrient-carrying blood that can reach the heart muscle
fibers. When the blood vessels become so narrow that critically
insufficient supplies can reach the heart, a person may experience
angina (chest pain), arrhythmia (changes in heart beat rhythm),
heart failure (the heart continues to beat, but does so inefficiently),
or heart attack (death of some or all of the heart).
Arterial narrowing is called atherosclerosis, and it occurs
when cholesterol and fat in the blood builds up on the walls
of the blood vessels (arteries). Just like mineral deposits
in a water pipe, the soft fats and waxy cholesterol slowly
build up layers over time. This narrows the internal diameter
of the vessel, and can increase the pressure of the blood
traveling through. Imagine putting your thumb over part of
the end of a garden hose, the narrowing of the diameter increases
the pressure of the water exiting the hose and causes it to
jet out forcefully.
Although some factors, like heredity, gender, and increasing
age, will have an impact you cannot control, there are many
ways that individuals can keep themselves healthy.
Contributing to Heart Disease
|High body weight
||Be sure to keep your body
weight at a normal level.
|High fat diet
||Choose low-fat foods such as fruits, vegetables,
and whole grains. When you select dairy and meat products,
try to choose the leanest products. Avoid high-fat foods
such as butter, desserts such as cheesecake, chocolate,
and cake, and deep-fried foods like potato chips, fried
chicken, French fries, and doughnuts.
|High cholesterol diet
||Cholesterol is a special
type of fat, often found in liver, egg yolks, butter,
ice-cream, and high-fat cuts of meat. It can clog in your
arteries and cause many problems.
|Limited physical activity or exercise
||You should get 30-60 minutes of physical
activity every day. Vigorous exercises, the types of activities
that make your heart beat faster, your lungs breathe deeper,
and your skin sweat, are really healthy.
||Heart disease is one of
many reasons you should not smoke.