Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is considered to be the leading cause of death worldwide. It’s thought that this is a direct correlation in lifestyle changes (physical activity, dietary changes and tobacco use). Cardiovascular disease is a term for a number of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels. CVD that are included are: Coronary, Heart attack (heart disease), Stroke (Cerebrovascular disease), High blood pressure (Hypertension), Heart failure and Rheumatic heart disease.
Risk factors for CVD : ( changeable risk ) factors such as lifestyle, biochemical and physiologic characteristics, (non-modifiable risk) factors like as age, sex, genetics and family history of premature cardiovascular disease.
Advancing Age – When age increases so does the risk of developing CVD. There is a significantly higher risk in males over 45 yrs old than in females 55 yrs old and higher.
Gender – Being male increases the risk of developing CVD, men are at a greater risk of having a heart attack than women, generally they also have attacks earlier.
Genetics – Kids of parents who have heart disease are more likely to develop CVD
Risk Factors that we are able to changed:
Smoking – People who smoker are at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, they are in fact 2– 4 times at risk that a non-smoker. Smoking is a prevailing risk factor of sudden cardiac death. Also together with other risk factors greatly increases the risk for coronary heart disease.
High Blood Cholesterol – When blood cholesterol increases, so does the risk for coronary heart disease. If other risk factors like high blood pressure and tobacco smoking are existing, this risk increases. Cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity and diet. Blood cholesterol consists of LDL bad cholesterol and HDL which is good cholesterol. The relation of good to bad cholesterol is a significant risk factor in CVD.
High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, triggering the heart to thicken and become stiffer making hindering the heart. Making it unable to perform properly. Also there is an increase in the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. When high blood pressure occurs with other risk factors like obesity, smoking, high blood cholesterol levels or diabetes, the risk of heart attack or stroke increases significantly.
Physical Inactivity – A sedentary lifestyle is a big risk factor for CVD. Inactivity adds to obesity, high blood pressure and low HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Regular physical activity can aid in regulating blood cholesterol, also can help lower blood pressure in some people.
obesity People who have excess body fat particularly around their abdomen are more likely to progress to having heart disease and strokes. Additional weight increases the heart’s workload this also increases blood pressure and total blood cholesterol while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Obesity increases the risks of developing Type 2 diabetes, CVD is three times more common in people with diabetes than without diabetes. The prevention of diabetes can be thought as a changeable risk factor in CVD. Even when glucose levels are under control. The diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the risks are greater if blood sugar is not well controlled.
Lifestyle Changes you can make
Reduce the energy intake from total fats by removing or reducing as much as possible the saturated fats, which can increase cholesterol by increasing LDL (low density lipoprotein) which is the bad cholesterol and decreasing HDL (high density lipoprotein).
Reduce Trans fatty acids , Sources of trans fats: Palm Kernel, palm oil, animal fats, butter, milk, hydrogenated oils. It is very common in fast, fried, baked and snack foods.
Have more omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil or plant sources.
Eat a diet high in fruits vegetables, nuts and whole grains.
Avoid processed foods
Avoid sugary foods
30 minutes of regular physical activity a daily.
Keep within a healthy weight range, obesity is a key risk factor for CVD also a risk factor for numerous other diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, gallstones and osteoarthritis.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to increase HDL, stabilise the heart rhythm and makes the blood more free-flowing. Studies have shown eating plenty of omega 3 reduces the risk of getting heart disease. Good sources of omega 3 are herring, kippers, mackerel, pilchards, salmon sardines trout and tuna (canning tuna eliminates most of the omega 3 fat).
Fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are a rich source of antioxidant vitamins. Antioxidants help remove free radicals and stop the oxidative damage to LDL and the resulting arterial plaques.
Antioxidant vitamins & b-carotene are found in brightly coloured fruits & vegetables like carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, apricots
Vitamin C: Is found in citrus fruits, kiwi, blackcurrants, potatoes, green leafy vegetables Vitamin E: Is found in green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils & their margarines and also in whole grain cereals
Lycopene is additional compound thought to be useful in CVD prevention and treatments. Lycopene is a carotenoid – a yellow to red pigment found in plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria.
Flavonoids are compounds also found in fruits, vegetables and drinks. Dark chocolate contains twice the amount of flavonoids than milk chocolate. Current research suggests a role of flavonoids in CVD protection with their benefits thought to be linked to their activity as antioxidants. Many of us love chocolate, sadly chocolate is high in calories 500kcal/100g and contains an average of 30% total and 18% saturated fat.
Garlic has been said to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of CVD, garlic decreases blood clotting, decreases total & LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol.
Soya protein there is evidence to suggest that the consumption of 25g soya protein per day can reduce CVD. It’s been shown that the consumption of 25g soya protein per day can reduce total cholesterol by 9.3%, LDL cholesterol by 12.9% and confer up to a 10% reduction in the risk of CVD.