Cause of Heart Disease

Risk factors as cause of heart disease.

Can high cholesterol levels be the cause of heart disease? Lipoprotein (a), [Lp (a)] is shown to be an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease. Lowering lipoprotein (a) will take care of maintaining normal cholesterol levels. Lowering lp (a) will also reduce the risk of heart disease.

cause of heart diseaseIn the United States, more than 60 million Americans have some form of heart disease. About 2600 people die every day of cardiovascular disease. Cancer, the second largest killer, accounts for only half as many deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases cause 12 million deaths in the world each year. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for half of all deaths in the United States and other developed countries, and it is a main cause of death in many developing countries as well. Overall, it is the leading cause of death in adults.

Coronary artery disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death in America today. This number one killer strikes a new victim every 2 seconds!

Many people understand that there is a connection between poor diet, lack of exercise and the development of heart disease. But your risk of developing cardiovascular disease is the result of a combination of many risk factors. There are two main categories of risks that contribute to heart disease—those that you can’t change (uncontrollable risks), and those that you can (controllable risks).

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

These variables are out of your control. Although you can’t do anything to change them, it’s important to know whether you fall into any of these higher-risk categories. How many of these risk factors do you exhibit?

Age and Cause of Heart Disease.

Men over 45 and women over 55 are more likely to develop heart disease than their younger counterparts. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that more than 83 percent of people who die of coronary heart disease are 65 or older. Why? Plaque begins to slowly deposit in the arteries starting in childhood, so simply getting older increases your risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack. The older you get, the more likely you are to have damaged arteries and/or a weakened heart muscle. Most people have plaque buildup in the arteries by the time they reach their 70s, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, but only about one-quarter of these people will exhibit signs or symptoms of cardiovascular disease.

Your Gender and cause of heart disease.

Overall, more men have heart attacks than women do, and they experience them earlier in life, too. While a woman’s risk of dying from heart disease increases after menopause, it’s still lower than a man’s.

Heredity and cause of heart disease

If people in your family have heart disease—especially close or immediate relatives, your risk of developing it increases. If a parent or sibling developed heart disease at an early age (before age 55 for men, or before age 65 for women), your risk is even higher. Developing heart disease isn’t necessarily in your DNA, however. Lifestyle habits (diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, etc.) tend to be passed down from generation to generation, which means that some portion of this risk is controllable.

Race or Ethnicity as the cause of heart disease.

Somewhat related to family history, your race can also predetermine part of your risk of heart disease. African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, and native Hawaiians are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians, but this is partly due to other risk factors that these populations tend to experience, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Obesity and cause of heart disease

Whether or not you become overweight or obese is mostly within your control, but you cannot control your weight distribution, which refers to where your body stores fat. For years, experts warned that people who tend to carry excess weight in their belly area (known as “apple” shapes) are at a greater risk of several health problems, including heart disease, while “pear” shaped bodies that store more fat in the lower body don’t have the same risk. However, one 2010 study published in The Lancet dispelled that idea, saying that being overweight (regardless of where your body stores the fat) is a heart disease risk factor. Your genetics determine your body type; if you are apple-shaped now, you will always be apple-shaped, even if you lose weight. Still, maintaining a healthy body weight—which would decrease your waist circumference—is a controllable risk factor (more on that below) that can reduce your heart disease risk.

Controllable Risk Factors

Some factors that you can control are related to your lifestyle—the choices you make each day about what to eat and whether or not to exercise. These are areas of your life where you can take control to reduce your risk of heart disease and enhance your overall health.

Smoking and cause of heart disease.

Most people think of lung cancer when they think of smoking, but did you know that smoking is the leading preventable cause of heart disease and heart attack? People who smoke are 2-4 times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers, according to the AHA. Smoking damages the walls of your arteries, constricts blood vessels, and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Quitting smoking can stop (and potentially reverse) a lot of the existing damage to your body. The American Lung Association says that after one year of quitting, an ex-smoker’s heart disease risk is half that of a smoker’s, and after 15 years without lighting up, it’s as low as a nonsmoker’s. Don’t smoke? Good! But stay away from tobacco smoke anyway. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease even for nonsmokers.

Diet and the cause of heart disease

A diet that’s high in saturated fat, Trans fats, sodium, added sugars, cholesterol can raise your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Some research shows that diets too high in animal-based foods (meat and high-fat dairy products) and too low in plant-based foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts can lead to heart disease, too. Learn more about the foods that help fight heart disease.

Lack of exercise and cause of heart disease

If you’re inactive, you’re almost twice as likely to develop heart disease as people who get moving on a regular basis, reports the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Regular exercise naturally decreases the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your blood while increasing your HDL (good) cholesterol levels. It also lowers blood pressure and helps with blood sugar control, not to mention that exercise strengthens the heart and cardiovascular system so that it is more efficient. Exercise does not have to be strenuous to offer benefits. Get a heart-smart workout plan here.

Stress and cause of heart disease

Experts aren’t sure why people with chronic stress have higher rates of heart disease, but they believe that stress (and the hormones it releases) may damage the arteries over time and make blood clots more likely to form. Just one stressful episode can elevate the heart rate and blood pressure for a short period, and even lead to a heart attack. Some people find unhealthy ways to deal with stress, such as overeating, smoking, or drinking (all risk factors in their own right). Identifying your stressors and dealing with them in a healthy way can help protect your heart.

Drinking Alcohol and cause of heart disease

Drinking too much—and possibly too little—seems to increase one’s risk of heart disease. People who drink moderately (defined as an average of one drink day for women and two drinks daily for men) have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers. However, the AHA does not recommend that teetotalers start drinking (or that drinkers increase the amount they drink) in order to achieve these purported benefits. Drinking too much has far more risks than not drinking. Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure and triglycerides, as well as contribute to obesity, irregular heartbeat, cardiomyopathy, alcoholism, heart failure, cancer, stroke and other diseases. To protect your heart, cut back on drinking; if you don’t drink often—or at all—don’t start.

Other Major Risk Factors

The following risk factors are largely controllable. Some people think of them as “symptoms” of heart disease, where others may view them as precursors.

High blood pressure and cause of heart disease.

Hypertension (high blood pressure)can increase the workload of your heart, as well as harden and thicken the arteries, making it harder for blood to pass through. According to the AHA, high blood pressure coupled with other risk factors like obesity, smoking, high cholesterol or diabetes increases the risk of heart attack and stroke several times over. In many cases, high blood pressure can be controlled through lifestyle changes and medications.

High cholesterol and cause of heart disease

As cholesterol levels rise, so does your risk for cardiovascular disease. High cholesterol (especially high levels of LDL or “bad” cholesterol) can lead to artery blockage and damage, which contributes to heart disease and can lead to a heart attack. If you have high cholesterol along with other risk factors (like high blood pressure or tobacco use), you are at a much higher risk for heart disease. While some people are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol levels, lifestyle changes and medications can help control cholesterol levels.

Type 2 diabetes and cause of heart disease.

People who have type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to experience heart disease or stroke—even if it is well managed. 65% of people with diabetes die of some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the AHA. If poorly managed, the risk is much higher, as uncontrolled blood sugar levels can damage the heart and veins. Type 2 diabetes is preventable. If you have diabetes, it’s extremely important to work with your healthcare provider to manage your condition and reduce any other risk factors you may have.

Some of these risk factors put you at greater risk of heart disease than others. The more risk factors you have, the higher your chances of developing heart disease. The good thing is that you can break that chain of progressive disease at any point by working to reduce your controllable risk factors. You should work closely with your doctor to develop a heart-smart plan that is safe and effective for you. These plans usually involve some combination of dietary changes, exercise, medication and weight loss.

Recent developments in cause of heart disease.

Are your levels of emerging risk factors high?

Recent developments include the emergence of new risk factors, called as emerging risk factors, for heart disease. Some of these emerging risk factors are directly linked to risk of heart disease. The prominent emerging risk factors are high lipoprotein (a) levels, high C-reactive protein levels and homo-cysteine levels. There are two major theories to explain the cause of heart disease. One is nutritional deficiencies, especially deficiency of vitamin c as the cause of heart disease. The other thought is that inflammation causes heart disease. Both these theories can be explained or traced back to nutritional factors as the cause of heart disease. The true cause of cardiovascular diseases or coronary artery disease is now known. The true cause offers the true solution.

High lipoprotein (a) levels and cause of heart disease.

Several scientific studies have concluded that lipoprotein (a) is the emerging risk factor of heart disease and is directly linked to heart disease. The material present in the arterial plaque on analysis was found to consist of lipoprotein (a) with minor amounts of LDL cholesterol and some calcium deposits. It has also been determined that lipoprotein (a) is 300 times more atherogenic than LDL (bad) cholesterol. Lipoprotein (a) is similar in structure to low density cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol) with additional protein molecule attached to LDL cholesterol. In heart patients the levels of lipoprotein (a) are found to be higher. Small amount of lipoprotein (a) are present in all of us because of genetic factors. Thus lowering lipoprotein (a) should offer a better way of keeping your cholesterol levels normal and for preventing and reversal of heart disease.

High C-reactive protein levels and cause of heart disease

Apart for lp (a) which is considered as the emerging risk factor of heart disease, there several other risk factors that are identified and linked to heart disease. The other prominent emerging risk factor is C-reactive protein. High levels of c-reactive proteins are observed in patients suffering from heart disease. C-reactive protein (CRP) is an inflammatory marker. Whenever there is inflammation in any part of the body the C – reactive protein levels increase.

But why do C – reactive protein levels increase in the body? It is theorized that free radicals generated form polyunsaturated fats irritates the blood vessels and causes inflammation. Then the LDL particles get deposited in the inflamed area and form an arterial plaque.

Nutrient deficiency

Nutrient deficiency is the main risk factor for all the chronic diseases. Even WHO stresses this point and advises people to eat more of fruits and vegetables which provide the essential nutrients to the body. Several nutrients like Magnesium and vitamin c deficiency are the prime risk factors for heart disease.

Vitamin C deficiency and cause of heart disease

Vitamin C is a vital nutrient required by our body from several functions and also for the synthesis of collagen, the main connective tissue present in the body. Deficiency of vitamin C causes scurvy, commonly known as sailor’s disease. Our body does not synthesize this essential nutrient in the body and is entirely dependent upon the food we eat. Its chronic deficiency causes lesions in the arteries and in order to prevent the blood from oozing out our body produces lipoprotein (a) which blocks these lesions. This is nature’s way of preventing us. Thus vitamin C deficiency is also a major risk factor of heart disease. This explains very well the cause of high lipoprotein (a) levels in the body and why and when their levels increase in the body.

Dietary habits

Dietary habits determine the health of each and every one of us. We are what we eat. Not providing all the nutrients required by each and every tissue of our body is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease as well as for all the chronic diseases. Malnourishment is the major cause of diseases in the under developed countries. In countries like USA eating highly nutritious food is also a risk factor. Our cells perform optimally under slightly alkaline conditions. The body pH should be maintained slightly on the alkaline side, ie between pH7.4 to 7.5.

Blood pH and the cause of heart disease

Eating more of carbohydrates and sugary drinks produces acidosis in the body, meaning the body pH becomes acidic. Under conditions of acidosis, the body loses its immunity and becomes more susceptible to infection and other diseases. The body becomes deficient is certain nutrients which creates most of the problems.

Similarly consuming a diet high in proteins and low in vegetables will also make the blood pH acidic due to accumulation of uric acid in the body. Increase in homocysteine levels is observed in people eating plenty of red meat. The side product formed is homocysteine. If the body is deficient is Vitamin B12 and Folic acid homocysteine levels cannot be removed from the blood fast. In other chronic diseases like cancer homocysteine levels are higher. If you understand these simple principles of nutrition and diet, they can easily help you to reverse and prevent heart disease.

Comments

A healthy heart needs sufficient oxygen and all the nutrients that our cells require and the nutrients should be available in adequate amounts. This way the arteries remain clean and the heart pumps blood to each and every tissue in the body.
Any deficiency of the nutrients leads to obstruction of blood flow caused due to atherosclerosis.

 

The key to optimal health is providing all the nutrients to the body in adequate amount, exercise and eating an alkaline diet menu plan, which maintains the body pH slightly on the alkaline side.

 

 Resources

1)  Better Health, “Heart disease-risk factors”, accessed on 10th May 2013, www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au ;

2)  Sparkle people, “ risk of heart disease”, accessed on 10th May 2013, www.sparklepeople.com;

3)  Chinese School, “Heart disease risk factors” accessed on 10th May2013, www.chinese-school.netfirms.com;

4) WebMD, “Risk factors for heart disease”, accessed on 10th May, 2013, www.webmd.com;

5) World Heart federation, “Cardiovascular disease risk factors”, accessed on 10th May, 2013, www.world-heart-federation.org;

6)  Formulary, “Emerging Risk Factors”, accessed on 10th May, 2013, www.formularyjournal.modernmedicine.com

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