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Is your heart sick?

Development of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the major cause of death worldwide. Heart disease is a term that refers to variety of disease affecting the heart.

According to experts, most common cause of heart disease is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition featured by accumulation of cholesterol and other material inside the blood vessels. This fatty material hardens and forms plaque which eventually blocks the blood vessels. When the plaque forms it narrows the blood vessels and hinders the blood flow. If the plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart it can cause chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.

However, the condition may further complicate since plaque is brittle and easily breaks. When this takes place, pieces of plaque can form blood clot and block the blood vessel result in damage or death of the tissue. A blood clot that obstructs blood flow to the heart can cause heart attack while blocked blood flow to the brain may result in a stroke.

Cholesterol Levels and Heart Disease

Most people are not aware of the condition their blood vessels are in. Also, one can never be sure when heart attack is going to happen. However, by measuring blood cholesterol level the state of the heart can be exposed.

There are 2 main types of cholesterol in the blood. They are HDL or “good” cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. The risk of heart disease increases with elevated levels of LDL cholesterol whilst high levels of “good” cholesterol help to prevent heart disease.

Causes of High Cholesterol

Unhealthy diet is the major cause of high blood cholesterol levels. Excess intake of foods rich in saturated fats such as red meat, cheese and processed and junk food lead to rise of cholesterol levels in the blood. Smoking also reduces HDL cholesterol level in the blood and contributes heart disease.

Overweight and obese people usually suffer from high cholesterol, high blood glucose and high blood pressure which all can easily result in heart disease.  

Physical inactivity can also considerably increase “bad” cholesterol and lower “good” cholesterol. People who regularly drink too much alcohol typically have high level of LDL and low level of HDL cholesterol in the blood.

People with family history of high cholesterol are particularly susceptible to the condition.

How to Prevent Heart Disease

There are several ways that can help to prevent heart disease. One of them is regular exercise. People who have a habit of exercising at least 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week have much lower chance of developing high cholesterol, obesity and heart disease. Cardio exercises like running, walking, jogging, cycling and swimming are especially recommended as they help to strengthen the heart.

You can also prevent heart disease with healthy and balanced diet. This means that you have to limit intake of saturated and trans fats and restrict the amount of calories. On the other hand, sources of fibers such as fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains help to reduce cholesterol and avoid heart disease.

Finally, you should have regular medical checkups to know the state of your heart.

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