Want to learn the truth about heart disease? Do you know what the number one cause of death in the United States is? Heart disease. (2) That is a scary fact! The American Heart Association has reported that every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack. (3) Considering that, it is no wonder that the estimated number of heart attacks in the United States is 720,000. (1) This is why this article needs to be written. Everyone needs to know the truth about heart disease. The truth could save your life. Let’s discuss this topic.
What Is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is also referred to as a cardiovascular disease. Generally, it refers to many conditions that affect the heart. These conditions can cause your blood vessels to narrow or be blocked. That is what could lead to a heart attack or stroke. Other possible conditions of the heart are irregular heartbeats and congenital heart defects.
As we previously stated the number one cause of death is heart disease. Unfortunately, the number five cause of death is also heart-related. That one is a stroke. (3) A study done in 2017 found that 46% of Americans have high blood pressure. It also predicted that by 2030, 45.1% of the population will have some form of cardiovascular disease! (4)
Now that you have a better understanding of what heart disease is, we will discuss some signs and symptoms so toy can learn the truth about heart disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Heart Disease?
There are a few symptoms to look for to see if you may have heart disease.
- Chest Pain, Tightness or Discomfort
- Shortness of Breath
- Pain in the Jaw, Throat, Neck, Shoulder, Arm, Upper Abdomen, or Back
- Pain, Numbness, Weakness, or Coldness of the Legs or Arms
Any chest pain or discomfort occurs when your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. This usually feels like squeezing in your chest. The discomfort can also be located in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. (3)
When you have heart disease, you may also have shortness of breath and feel tired. Some people even get swelling. The swelling can be located in their ankles, feet, legs, and abdomen. This occurs because the heart is not strong enough to function properly. (3)
If you have pain, numbness, or coldness of the legs or arms, you should be concerned. This is important because it can mean blood vessels in those parts of the body have narrowed down. This results in poor circulation which is obviously not good for the heart. (3)
Fainting is obviously a very serious symptom of heart disease. This can occur because your heart is damaged and can’t pump the blood properly. Fainting can be a warning sign of heart arrhythmia. Unfortunately, that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death. (4)
Now that you understand some symptoms of heart disease, we will now discuss what is causing it so you can better understand the truth about heart disease.
The main cause of heart disease is inflammation. It’s important to note that there are two different types of inflammation. There is acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a normal immune response to illness or injury. If you get sick or injured, inflammation helps fight off germs. It also induces healing. Acute inflammation hurts. However, it will not kill you.
Chronic inflammation is what kills you. You often don’t even know it exists. Low levels of inflammation can irritate your blood vessels. This can encourage the growth of plaques and loosen plaque in your arteries. It can even manage to trigger blood clots. Blood clots that block an artery to the heart, give you a heart attack. Blood clots to an artery in the brain is a stroke.
Now that you can see how important it is to control your inflammation, we will discuss how you can do that.
There are a few steps to take in order to take control of inflammation.
- Quit Smoking
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
- Increase Activity
- Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Smoking is a bad habit. It damages your blood vessels and promotes atherosclerosis. If you can quit smoking, your risk of heart disease will be cut in half!
Being overweight is a risk factor for many diseases. Excess fat around your belly is a risk factor for heart disease. This is because visceral fat (fat around the belly) causes inflammation. Additionally, eating fast food produces inflammation.
Whole foods are anti-inflammatory. Therefore, you should eat more healthy foods. Some examples of these are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and fatty fish.
You should also try exercising for 20 minutes a day. That decreases inflammation. Exercise doesn’t need to be intense. For example, fast walking is just as effective.
Chronic inflammation usually does not produce symptoms. The best way to measure it is with a blood test. Unfortunately, most patients aren’t screened for inflammation on a regular basis. This is why making healthy lifestyle choices are the best way to reduce Making healthy lifestyle choices is the best way to lower that risk factor, although doctors may also prescribe a statin drug for those with a higher risk of heart disease. Your doctor can determine your risk level and what the next steps are most appropriate for you.
As you have probably heard, cholesterol is another cause of heart disease. Cholesterol gets a bad reputation for this reason. However, it is important to remember that cholesterol is an essential molecule in your body. But too much cholesterol in your body is not good. There are two main types of cholesterol. One type is high-density lipoprotein (HDL). The other type is low-density lipoprotein (LDL). (5)
HDL is called“good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and take is to the liver. The HDL levels should be kept above 60 milligrams/dL. (5)
LDL is called “bad” cholesterol. LDL cholesterol carries cholesterol to the cells that need it. There are two subtypes of LDL cholesterol. Subtype a is harmless. Subtype b contributes to heart disease. The smaller the particles are, the more dangerous they are. So this type of cholesterol can clog your arteries. Therefore, you should keep your LDL levels below 100 milligrams/dL. This will make sure you are not at risk for heart disease or stroke. (5)
Now that we know that cholesterol is a major cause of heart disease, we will discuss what you can do to reduce your chances of heart disease from cholesterol.
Overall, monounsaturated fats are healthy. This is because they decrease harmful LDL cholesterol while increasing good HDL cholesterol. They also reduce harmful oxidation. (8)
Here are a few great sources of monounsaturated fats for you to add to your diet.
- Olives and Olive Oil
- Canola Oil
Additionally, the following supplements can help support heart health.
- Grape Seed Extract
- Olive Leaf Extract
COQ10 is beneficial to heart health for a few reasons. It is good for general overall cardiovascular support. Additionally, it manages your blood pressure so it stays at a healthy level. Furthermore, it is a powerful antioxidant protecting you from free radicals.
Cordiart alters our blood cells to allow natural dilation. This controls the blood flow and pressure. Grape seed extract has been suggested for lowering blood pressure in individuals with mildly elevated levels. Olive leaf extract has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure measurements.
Now that we’ve discussed how to control your cholesterol, we can discuss how to make sure you get the proper testing done.
There are some tests that you should make sure your doctor does for you. We will explain each of them to you below. Here is a list:
- LP (a)
- Coronary Calcium Scan
The NMR test is often used as a screening tool for wellness checkups. Patients who should consider this screening once a year are:
- Those with Diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
- Family History of Heart Disease
- High Triglycerides
This blood test uses advanced testing to evaluate and count how many LDL and HDL particles are in the blood sample. It is considered a more accurate test than the traditional LDL and HDL cholesterol tests. (8)
A fibrinogen test evaluates how well your blood clots. A fibrinogen antigen test measures how much fibrinogen is in your blood. Fibrinogen is produced by the liver. Then it is released into the blood along with other clotting factors. (8)
The LP (a) test measures the amount of lipoprotein (a) you have in your blood. Lipoprotein (a) is a type of LDL cholesterol. This test is to check for the risk of heart disease. This test is not a routine test. They only give this test to patients with a family history of heart disease or stroke. If you have a high level of lipoprotein (a) in this test it means you are at risk for heart disease. (8)