Heart Disease is an umbrella term that encompasses many different health conditions of the heart, including heart attack and Arteriosclerosis.
But put all together, Heart Disease is a top killer, slick and stealth and in many cases, predictable and completely preventable.
We never think it could happen to us. But could it? Is it on its way?
Many early indicators have been identified which we should be aware, and attentive to.
Some risk factors for heart disease are out of your control, such as genetics, sex and age.
However, an INTER-HEART study, one of the largest studies of its type ever conducted, leveled the playing field and identified the majority of risk factors which are very much self induced.
This study looked at more than 29,000 individuals from around the world, roughly half of whom had had prior heart attacks. The other half had never had heart attacks. Indeed, these risk factors appeared responsible for over 90% of the heart attacks seen in these patients. The risk of heart attack for individuals who had all of these factors, amazingly, was almost 130 times higher than for somebody with none of them
Further, these same risk factors "worked" in predicting heart attacks for every racial and ethnic group in every region of the world.
The telltale indicators were as follows~
¨ Increased LDL/HDL ratios.
¨ Diabetes and Sugar Intake:
Diabetes was considered a "controllable" risk factor on this list because, while type I diabetes is not preventable, the much more common type II diabetes is absolutely preventable with proper diet and exercise.
¨ Abdominal obesity:
Interestingly, obesity itself was not a high concern, however where you store that extra fat was. That spare-tire you carry around increases you risk of heart attack dramatically. In the Nurses' Health Study of nearly 50,000 subjects, women who had larger waists had more heart attacks. Women with a waist-to-hip ratio (waste measurement divided by hip measurement) of 0.76 or higher, or a waist circumference of 30 inches or more, had a 200 percent greater chance of developing heart disease. The waist to hip also applies to the men, the larger the difference between the two measurements, the greater the risk. For most men, the risk factors for heart disease and other diseases increase with a waist size greater than 40 inches.
¨ Psychosocial (increase in stress level or depression)
¨ Failure to eat fruits and vegetables daily
¨ Physical inactivity - Regular, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity helps prevent heart and blood vessel disease. The more vigorous the activity, the greater your benefits. However, even moderate-intensity activities help if done regularly and long term. With over half of North Americans, and now children, classified as living sedentary lifestyles, this is playing a far greater role than ever.
Although, the signs are crystal clear heart disease does not appear over night. It is something that is developed over 20, 30, 40 years of putting yourself at risk with poor health choices.
If you found yourself falling into to many of the above categories, take heart (pardon the pun) it is never to late to slam the brakes on this speeding vehicle and turn it around.
Dramatic results have been obtained in a very short time.
Next time we start with “where do I go from here”.
What you can do, today, to reverse and repair heart damage and protect yourself for the future.