Cardiovascular disease can affect anyone at any age. Many people assume that it is something that only affects the very old or the very obese. The truth of the matter is that the heart is a delicate organ and it can be affected in many ways based upon your diet, your activity and various other factors. Approximately 600,000 people die in the United States every year as a result of cardiovascular disease – and that accounts for 1 of every 4 deaths.
Deaths can vary by ethnicity and even geographically.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25.1 percent of all Caucasian deaths and 24.5 percent of all African-American deaths in the United States are as a result of heart disease. American Indians are at 18 percent, second only to cancer.
Heart disease was also high in the south and low in the west, which can be tied back to diets, obesity rates and other factors.
What is a Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease, commonly called heart disease, is used broadly to describe a number of diseases that can affect the heart. According to the Heart Foundation, it includes arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, coronary artery disease and more.
Coronary heart disease is the most common and therefore when people say cardiovascular disease, they are most often referring to this. This is a condition where plaque builds up in the coronary arteries that supply the oxygen-rich blood to the heart. The plaque is made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances that can lead to such a blockage that the blood cannot flow effectively into the heart.
Depending upon the situation, a clot or rupture can be caused by the plaque buildup, leading to a heart attack, sudden cardiac death and various other problems.
Various problems can arise and much of it has to do with the amount of plaque that is found within the arteries. This is why it’s important for you to learn about your cholesterol levels and ensure that you have a high level of activity as well as a proper diet.
Cardiovascular Disease Conditions
Various conditions can be taking place within your body that makes you more prone to heart disease. This includes blood cholesterol levels. You don’t want high LDL numbers and you don’t want low HDL numbers. Each of these will affect your arteries in different ways.
High blood pressure is another factor for heart disease. You won’t experience any symptoms for high blood pressure, which is why you want to have it checked by the doctor periodically.
You will also be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease with diabetes. This is because there isn’t enough insulin being made or your body won’t be able to work with what you’re making. Either way, there are too many sugars building up in the blood.
Various behaviors can cause you to experience cardiovascular diseases as well. You will want to look out for tobacco use, alcohol use, as well as obesity.
Tobacco can promote blood clotting and nicotine will also raise blood pressure. The carbon monoxide will also reduce the amount of oxygen within your blood.
Certain dietary patterns may be affecting you in a negative way. Foods that are high in cholesterol and saturated fats are going to raise blood cholesterol levels and form more plaque within the arteries.
Obesity is too much stored fat and can lead to more LDL as well as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Heart disease can run within your family, so you will want to know about these genetic factors to know if you are at an increased risk. While you can’t do anything about your genes, you can monitor your behavior so that you are not increasing your risk without being aware of it.
What You Can Do to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
Regardless of any conditions that you have, behavior that you engage in, or bad genes that you may have, there are ways to prevent the disease from becoming an issue. While you may not be able to eliminate all of the risk, there is much that you can do so that you don’t fall victim at any age, including an early one.
Some of the easiest things include:
- Stop smoking
- Watch what you eat
- Perform 30 minutes of Cardio a day
- Have your cholesterol levels checked regularly
Your doctor can help in all regards, so it can be worth an appointment to talk to your doctor and see what can be done to improve your heart health.