Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) refers to the range of diseases in relation to the heart and blood vessels. The disease encompasses strokes, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and many other complications. CVD can be both fatal and non-fatal. According to the American Heart Association, CVD ranked first among the diseases that caused American deaths especially for African-American males.
The American Heart Association claims that there are several risk factors for CVD. However, most of them are correctable and preventable. Risk factors are often related to one another and they sometimes overlap. The approaches that are used to avoid one factor can often be used for another.
Coronary heart disease is a disease where the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart begin to narrow. This narrowing of the blood vessels is due to the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries; this plaque comes from an overload of cholesterol in the blood system. When the coronary arteries narrow down, blood flow will become affected and slow down and sometimes even stop completely. Once this happens, the person will suffer from chest pains, shortness of breath, heart attacks, heart failures, or even death. As mentioned, the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in general are many.
For coronary heart disease, risk factors may or may not be controllable. The factors you cannot control are heredity; in which there is a family history of CHD especially if they had it before the age of fifty. In addition, age or gender are a factor where men are more susceptible to this disease as well as the disease occurring at an earlier age than women. There are also factors that can be controlled such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, alcohol abuse, lack of exercise, and excessive stress. However, having a high blood pressure level is constant among people who are diagnosed with heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
Relationship Between HBP and CVD
High blood pressure (HBP) is the restriction of blood flow through the vessels. This condition puts extra strain on the heart and damages blood vessels. High blood pressure increases pressure on the arteries. As the heart pumps against this pressure, the heart has to work harder. If left untreated, this condition will cause the heart muscle to thicken and the left ventricle will become enlarged. The enlarging of the left ventricle reduces the amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute and congestive heart failure can occur.
HBP also contributes to the thickening of blood vessel walls which increases the cholesterol deposits in the vessels. This combination increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for strokes. In addition, diabetes, family history, high cholesterol, alcohol abuse, and head injuries also increase the odds of having a stroke.
Lowering Levels of HBP and Risks of CVD
Cardiovascular disease is listed as one of the eight deadliest diseases by the World Health Organization alongside arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and stroke. These diseases are killing millions of people annually and impose suffering on millions of others. However, the World Health Organization has also established the link between nutrition and these chronic diseases. According to the organization, proper nutrition as well as vitamin supplementation is very powerful in preventing the onset of degenerative diseases.
Although it sounds simple enough, it can be observed that many people do not have proper nutrition and immunity against these chronic diseases whether by choice or not. Although modern technology has increased the average life expectancy of the world’s population, it has by no means made people invulnerable to chronic diseases. Proper nutrition has the higher capability to prevent cardiovascular diseases from occurring more often. Even though people are now given the chance to live longer, many of them are not living healthier. This is one reason why many people still attract deadly diseases like cardiovascular disease.
If you want to lower your high blood pressure and help prevent cardiovascular disease in the long run, one way to do so is to eat more plant-based foods. Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains could decrease the risk of developing CVD. There is a huge role that fruits and vegetables have when decreasing a person’s vulnerability to CVD. Plant-based foods, when consumed in high amounts, can significantly lower the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains have protective capabilities because of beneficial nutrients embedded in them. Some of these nutrients include mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids, n-3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and plant proteins. Proper diets do not necessarily just have to be low in fat; it also needs to include nutritional elements from unsaturated fats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and more plant-based foods. Diets with a high amount of plant-based foods can lead to many health benefits in general. However, its distinctive power is the ability to reduce a individual’s risk against chronic diseases like CVD.