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Heart Disease

By Edgar Castillo

When my mom was suffering from a mild heart attack last year, I overheard some of the surrounding family members in the hospital discussing how many of our family had suffered, and in some cases passed away from heart diseases. This really scared me.

If this affliction is hereditary, then what could I do to stop it from happening to me and my children. I knew a person several years ago who made the decision not to have any kids because he wanted to wipe out the chance of future generations suffering as he did from an eye problem that led to eventual blindness. It had been a problem in his family for several past generations.

I was afraid not only for myself, but the possibility that if I have any children in the future, maybe they would suffer also. And it wouldn’t be fair on my future wife, if I ever find one.

Maybe you think that I was being a little paranoid about a situation that might never occur. But the thought of it, and remembering the torment my friend with his eye problem went through, really gave me cause for concern. After several sleepless nights, I decided to visit my doctor to ask for some advice and guidance.

My mind was put somewhat at rest when the doctor said that just because there was a family history of cardiovascular disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will definitely succumb to the same affliction, it just means that we could be more likely to suffer from them. “Disease is not imminent, and your health can be managed by making lifestyle changes.” He said.

The Real Causes

For years, many medical professionals said that heart disease was mainly caused solely by ones diet. But this is not necessarily the only cause. Here are some other factors;

• smoke 

• high blood pressure

• high cholesterol level

• not exercising

• diabetes

• overweight

• a family history of heart disease

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is mostly caused by a build-up of fatty deposits (atheroma) on the walls of the arteries around the heart. Increased levels of atheroma causes the arteries to become narrower, thereby restricting the flow of blood to the heart muscle. This process is called atherosclerosis. 

A build-up of plaque narrows your coronary arteries, decreases blood flow to your heart, and can cause chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, or other coronary artery disease symptoms. A complete blockage will cause a heart attack.

Last year, the American Heart Association reported that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes.

Self Help

Eat more foods in their natural state. We need to eat more protein to build muscle. Raw fruits and vegetables provide us with the much needed amount of carbohydrates. 

Being overweight increases your risk for multiple diseases. But carrying excess fat around greatly increases the risk of heart disease. Exercising for at least 20 minutes each day can help you lose weight and decrease inflammation. You don’t have to do go over the top (that can be dangerous as one gets older). Keep to moderate workouts. Only exercise as much as your body will allow you to. Try walking longer distances to your car. Don’t park as close to the lift or exit as you can. Walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Walking to the local shops and back instead of taking the car or bus for just a few stops will make you feel much better, and it helps the blood flow better. Explore a nearby park on foot or by bike, and take the dog for a walk.

If you’re a smoker, then stop now. Nicotine clogs the arteries and it will help kill you quicker. Keep away from environments where you are exposed to smokers. Even secondhand smoke poses a serious health threat. Smoking is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Both nicotine and carbon monoxide from the smoke put a strain on the heart by making it work faster. They also increase your risk of blood clots. Other chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage the lining of your coronary arteries, leading to furring of the arteries. If you smoke, you increase your risk of developing heart disease by 24 percent. Smoking damages your blood vessels and promotes atherosclerosis. By quitting, you can cut the risk of heart disease by 50 percent.

Surgical Help

Should we suffer from heart diseases, there are many surgical procedures that can help us such as angioplasty, stents, balloon valvuloplasty and defibrillators, to name but a few. Heart surgery has become quite a common procedure over the years and the surgical methods mentioned above have saved the lives of millions of suffers worldwide.

It’s important to get urgent medical help as early as possible if you’re having a heart attack or stroke. Here’s a few of the symptoms to be aware of so that you can get to a hospital as quickly as possible;

• Discomfort, pressure, heaviness, tightness, squeezing, or pain  in your chest or arm or below your breastbone

• Discomfort in your back, jaw, throat, or arm

• Bloated, indigestion, or heartburn

• Sweating, upset stomach, vomiting, or dizziness

• Severe weakness, anxiety, fatigue, or shortness of

• Quick or uneven heartbeat

However, to lessen my risk of having to have any of the surgical help above, I’ve decided to eliminate inflammatory foods and add essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food to my diet. For me, preventive measures are better than cures.

Please don’t hesitate or put it off. If you have a history of heart disease in your family, or you feel that you might suffer from it, go to see your doctor right away.


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