March 08, 2008

How to Prevent Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attack

by Knut Holt

Coronary heart disease and heart attack like heart infarction can in great extend be prevented by lifestyle measures.

THE DIRECT CAUSES OF HEART DISEASE

The direct causes of coronary heart disease and heart attack are factors like these:

- Narrowing of blood vessels in the heart and the rest of the body by arteriosclerosis.
- High blood cholesterol level.
- High blood pressure.
- Over-weight.
- Diabetes.
- High level of the amino acid homocystein in the blood.
- High content of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and low content of high density lipoprotein (HDL) in the blood. Lipoprotein is a combination of protein and fatty substances bound together.
- Inflammation in the circulatory system.
- High age.
- Inherited tendencies for high cholesterol levels and heart disease.
- Men have somewhat greater chance of getting heart disease than women.

These factors are interrelated in complicated ways, and are causing or amplifying each other. For example, arteriosclerosis will cause higher blood pressure, and high blood pressure will cause even more arteriosclerosis. Many of these factors are ultimately caused or aggravated by these lifestyle factors:

-A too high consume of fat, cholesterol and sugar.
-Consuming the wrong fat types.
-Lack of fibre, vitamins, minerals and other diet deficiencies.
-Stress at work and in the daily life.
-Smoking.
-Lack of exercise.

Lifestyle adjustments will therefore be the main methods of preventing heart failure.

GENERAL DIET ADVICES

A diet with the aim of preventing heart disease is generally the same as a diet to prevent cancer and other diseases. Here are the general diet advices

- Avoid or reduce the amount of food that are industrially processed, artificially made or heavily fried.
- Eat fish at least every second day. Also eat seafood and fouls.
- Do not eat very much red meat.
- Eat 5 fruits or vegetables each day. Each piece should be of the size of an apple or carrot. They should be raw or carefully boiled so that the nutrients are not washed out.
- Eat full corn bread, full corn cereals, peas, beans and potatoes.
- Eat just a moderate amount of fat.
- Consume cholesterol rich foods like egg, spawn or liver in just moderate amounts.
- Ideally most fat you eat, should be of the type mono-unsaturated. You also need some poly-unsaturated fat of the types omega-3, and omega 6, but not too much of omega-6. The consumption of saturated fat should be moderate.
- In order to achieve right fat balance, much of the fat supply should come from a blending of sources like olive, olive oil, canola oil, nuts, nut oil, sunflower, sunflower oil, linseed oil (flax oil), fish and fish oil.
- Use only a moderate amount of soy oil and corn oil in the diet. Only using such oil types will give you too much poly-unsaturated fat of the omega-6-type.
- Use just a very moderate amount of fat sources like butter, coconut oil and palm oil. A high consumption of these fat sources gives you too much saturated fat.
- Avoid altogether fat that has been chemically altered, giving so-called trans-fat. This type of fat is often found in margarine, cookies, snacks, fast food and other pre-made food.
- Consume just a very moderate amount of sugar, refined flour or refined cereals.
- Consume just a moderate amount of tranquilizers and stimulants like alcohol and caffeine.
- Use just a moderate amount of salt in the food. However, in warm weather and by hard physical work, you will need more salt.

DIET SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP PREVENT HEART DISEASE

Evidence suggests that it will be helpful to take some supplements of natural substances to prevent heart disease and help to ameliorate already manifest heart problems. These supplements are:

- Omega-3-fatty acids derived from fish and other marine sources, especially the fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and alfa-linolaeic acid. 1 gram a day of each of these substances may be taken as a supplement. Higher amounts should only be taken under medical supervision, since higher amount of these substances may cause bleeding tendencies, and may suppress the immune system.

- Supplement of vitamin C has been thought to help prevent heart disease, but newer findings cast doubt upon this.

- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), folic acid / folate, vitamin b12 and riboflavin seem to prevent the building up of the substance homocystein in the blood and thereby help prevent heart disease, according to results from research projects.

GET RID OF OVER-WEIGHT

The lifestyle measures listed in this article will also help you loose weight. If these measures are not enough, you should consider engaging in a more specific weight reduction program. You should choose a program that has a moderate fat content philosophy. Some weight reduction programs have a higher fat and low carbohydrate consume philosophy, and those are probably not the best ones to reduce the chance of getting heart disease.

EXERCISE

You should do some exercise of at least half an hour at least every second day. Condition training as vigorous walking, jogging, cycling or swimming is best for reducing the heart attack probability. Muscular building exercises are also of value, especially exercises building leg muscles

STOP SMOKING

If you smoke, stopping or reducing this habit radically will decrease the chance of getting heart problems.

CONTROL DIABETES

If you suffer from diabetes type 1, a good control of the disease by insulin medication and by diet adjustments will help to prevent heart disease.

Many people over the age of 50, and an increasing number of young people suffer from diabetes type 2 because of bad lifestyle. This disease does not necessarily give dramatic symptoms, but the disease increases the chance of getting serious heart problems, and many have the disease without knowing it. This disease can be prevented by the same lifestyle measures depicted above. If you already have got the disease, a more rigorous control of carbohydrate intake is necessary. And sometimes also medication must be used. People over the age of 50 and younger people that do not feel well should find out if they suffer from this condition.

TAKING ASPIRIN

Low doses of acetyl salicylic acid or aspirin prevent heart disease by persons bearing a high risk for heart disease. However, this medication increases the risk of bleeding and should not be used without constant medical supervision. For persons with a low risk of heart disease, the dangers of aspirin will be greater than the benefits.

Knut Holt is an internet consultant and marketer focusing on health items.
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