Heart Disease is America's number one killer, and stroke is the number three killer. The major problem with this statistic is that most of these deaths could be prevented by a change in lifestyle and diet. Obesity is rampant in America -- it is most commonly caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. The damage to your body resulting from obesity and a poor diet mainly comes in the form of clogged arteries due to high cholesterol, which causes poor circulation. This puts a strain on your heart, as it must work harder to pump blood through the body. Obesity also leads to a sedentary lifestyle, which only augments the problem.
A major pitfall for many people is that once they get on the path to obesity, it becomes increasingly harder to become and stay active. This slippery slope is a problem for many people, which will usually plague them for the rest of their life.
Heart disease is the deterioration of your heart and/or blood vessels that affect your body's ability to pump blood through the body. The manifestation of heart disease is typically through stroke or heart attack, and is usually quite fatal. The links between heart disease and lifestyle have been shown through scientific research, as well as countless studies that correlate various diet and exercise aspects strongly linked to heart health. As terrible as the consequences of heart disease are, it is made even worse by the knowledge that the majority of casualties could have been easily prevented.
Detection & Treatment
There are numerous warning signs that you are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and you should find out as much as you can about symptoms and warning signs with your doctor. However, there are some major signs that are common to many forms of heart disease. These symptoms are only signs that you might be experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or other emergency.
A major sign is when you experience pain or discomfort in the chest area; strokes can often begin as a mild pain or discomfort, and worsen over the next while. Pain or tingling in other areas of the upper body can also warn you that something may be imminent. Shortness of breath can also let you know if you are experiencing a heart attack. You may also suffer from dizziness, cold sweat, or nausea.
If you aree experiencing a stroke, signs could include numbness in any part of the body, especially on entire halves of the body, such as the left side. Confusion, dizziness, unresponsiveness, headache, or dizziness are strong indications of stroke.
If you are experiencing a heart attack, the best measure to follow is to call 911 immediately; it is better to have ambulance technicians come and help, even in the case that you are not actually having a heart attack.
There are many methods of determining if you indeed suffer from heart disease, many are tests that range from simple to more complex, but that can give accurate representations of how healthy your heart is and your likelihood of experiencing a stroke or heart attack. They will also allow you to be prescribed medication and/or lifestyle changes that can prevent these possibly fatal attacks.
How Your Diet Affects Your Heart
There is loads of research that prove that heart disease and stroke is almost always caused by diet. Eating a lot of fat, especially saturated fat, leads directly to high cholesterol and heart problems. Cholesterol is a major contributor to clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular conditions. Cholesterol is found in food, especially fatty foods. The information on the nutritional value label on your food packages tells you how much cholesterol is in your food and what percentage it represents of your daily recommended intake. You should always try to limit your intake of cholesterol; however there are some instances where you should allow some. Since there are two forms of cholesterol, one good and one bad, you will have to eat the good kind in order to enjoy its benefits. "Good" cholesterol helps control the effects of "bad" cholesterol, and is found in foods that provide a lot of good fats. Foods high in mono and poly-unsaturated fats typically give you better forms of cholesterol.
Nevertheless there are many other facets to eating properly to regulate your cardiovascular health. Eating your recommended 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruits daily will enable your body to continue working properly. Also, eating fish that contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids will provide your body with many vitamins and nutrients.
Another huge aspect to preventing heart disease is exercise. The Heart and Stroke Foundation says that heart disease risk may be reduced by over 50% with regular cardiovascular exercise. Taking walks or jogs can dramatically increase your heart's ability to pump blood. Exercising in its many other forms also helps greatly to avoid the perils of heart disease.
Overall, you diet can either help you keep your body functioning ideally, or it can help turn your body into a clogged-artery, poorly functioning machine. Damage to your arteries and heart is difficult to undo, it is also hard to lose fat once you have put it on over many years. Take the time to add exercise to your life, start eating properly and ask your doctor for any tests that could help screen for risks.