Forms of Cardiovascular Disease Are the # 1 Killer of American Adults – Could You Be Next?
By Jennifer P. April
Almost ¼ the American population has some form of cardiovascular disease. With heart disease, high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) and strokes affecting more than 70 million Americans it’s obvious there’s a problem.
Let’s look at these forms of cardiovascular disease more closely. I mean, what does “heart disease” really mean anyway? This is basically a catch all term for all heart conditions including hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure.
The risk factors include smoking, not exercising and not maintaining a healthy weight and having diabetes.
You may have heard of “hard arteries”. This is also known as atherosclerosis. This is a form of heart disease that means your arteries have a lot of plaque build up or have become “hard”.
Plaque build up is dangerous because it can prevent blood from getting through to your heart and giving it the oxygen it needs. And blood clots can form which may cause a heart attack.
Clots form because the plaque gets hard, hence “hardening of the arteries”. See, the outer shell of the hard plaque can crack. Then blood platelets come to the area and form clots around the ruptured area. This clot can block the artery not allowing blood through and cause a heart attack.
Now, let’s look at how high blood pressure relates to this atherosclerosis disease.
According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure affects one in three American adults.
It’s difficult to detect and very dangerous. Left untreated, this condition can affect your arteries and cause a heart attack or a stroke.
See, high blood pressure means the pressure on your artery walls is too high. It actually causes microscopic tears in your artery walls which, in turn, become scar tissue. This scar tissue is like a spiderweb that traps cholesterol and other fatty deposits. These become plaque. The plaque builds up and can cause your arteries to harden, blood clots to form and a heart attack or a stroke to occur.
Really, all the forms of cardiovascular disease are some variation on this. Your heart needs oxygen to keep pumping and therefore it needs your cardiovascular system working at its top capacity.
To protect yourself from these diseases, you should maintain a healthy weight, not smoke and eat plenty of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s are proven to protect against heart disease and may lower your blood pressure.
Some cardiologists recommend omega 3 fish oil supplements because they have high levels of these fatty acids.
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