Coronary Heart disease remains the number one Risk of Death in the United States and is now becoming a global concern. Affecting upwards of 13 million Americans every year. CHD is the single greatest cause of death for both men and women in the United States, eclipsing all other causes, including HIV, cancer and lung disease. The American Heart Association goes on to report that nearly half of all U.S. adults have some type of cardiovascular disease. Often referred to as The Silent Killer. Coronary Heart Disease occurs when the heart’s coronary arteries are constricted due to the accumulation of plaque. The narrowing and blockage of the arteries by plaque is called atherosclerosis which in turn may lead to Hypertension on or Heart Blockage. Predisposing factors are: heredity, high blood pressure, diabetes, high serum cholesterol, daily stress, poor dietary intake and smoking which includes E-Cigarettes.
As a preventative, The American Heart Association is beginning to focus on monitoring high blood pressure or Hypertension. Dr. Emelia J. Benjamin, a professor of cardiology at Boston University states “We’re becoming more and more aware of the importance of high blood pressure”. “Levels we used to think were normal we now associate with worse outcomes, and treating them makes a big difference.” Many people in America are not aware of their elevated blood pressure which is a major modifiable risk factor for Coronary Heart Disease, heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and premature cardiovascular death. Achieving and maintaining a healthy blood pressure level below 130/90 can markedly lower the risk of these cardiovascular events for men and women, young and old, and all race ethnic backgrounds.
A second leading concern is Heart blockage, a blood clot cutting off a supply of blood to the Heart. Physical manifestation of this can be characterized as Angina, pain normally felt in the chest which may also occur in the jaws or abdomen. In some cases, it may cause no symptoms (a condition called silent ischemia.) Heart blockages, which can develop for a variety of reasons are the main cause of most heart attacks and strokes. Fortunately, if detected early, diet and lifestyle modifications can help counter the risk of serious heart disease, possibly helping prevent heart blockages. Ayurvedic Medicine has long recognized heart disease as one of the primary threats that can be managed through diet and lifestyle modifications.
Faulty diets are widely regarded as the biggest contributor to heart disease, as they can exacerbate various conditions or parameters that set the stage for Hypertension and Heart blockages. Poor dietary choices put you at risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Keeping the role of diet in mind, the main causes of heart blockages would include:
- High intake of sugar and salt
- High intake of foods containing trans fats and saturated fats
- Nutritional deficiencies resulting from high intake of processed foods and inadequate intake of whole foods
Other risk factors that should be considered include:
- lack of physical activity
- high stress levels
- family history
Most causes of Heart disease are preventable. As emphasized in Ayurvedic Medicine preventive strategies involve diet and lifestyle choices which are crucial to lowering the risk of heart disease. One of the biggest and most avoidable risk factors for heart disease is smoking. Quitting smoking, won’t just save your lungs, it will save your heart too.
Of course, despite our best efforts, heart disease can sometimes develop as a result of factors that are beyond our control. In such situations, timely detection makes all the difference, which is why it is important to go for regular health checks once you reach your 30s. Know your family history and do not disregard it. Heart disease is after all known as the “SILENT KILLER”. Discuss this history with your heart Doctor. There may be something the Doctor is missing if there is a reoccurring hereditary factor of Coronary Heart Disease.
Please if you have any questions or concerns follow these links provided by the American Heart Association. Below is a Blood Pressure Fact Sheet Chart and more links to Heart Health.
Check. Change. Control. Is also a program supported by The American Heart Association helping to educate and provide tools to monitor blood pressure. Call Customer assistance at 1-800-242-8721 (1-800-AHA-USA-1) to speak with a community partner resource near you.
If there is a chance of High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease in your family, be proactive before it is too late. Follow your Heart and get a cardio check up yearly, follow your mind and change bad habits, follow your spirit and eat delicious organic food and exercise regularly. For more ideas on following your heart, check out our pages on nutrition and get moving.