Cardiovascular disease refers to any disease that affects the cardiovascular system, principally cardiac disease, vascular diseases of the brain and kidney, and peripheral arterial disease. The causes of cardiovascular disease are diverse but atherosclerosis and/or hypertension are the most common. Additionally, with aging come a number of physiological and morphological changes that alter cardiovascular function and lead to subsequently increased risk of cardiovascular disease, even in healthy asymptomatic individuals.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths worldwide, though since the 1970s, cardiovascular mortality rates have declined in many high-income countries. At the same time, cardiovascular deaths and disease have increased at a fast rate in low- and middle-income countries. Although cardiovascular disease usually affects older adults, the antecedents of cardiovascular disease, notably atherosclerosis, begin in early life, making primary prevention efforts necessary from childhood. There is therefore increased emphasis on preventing atherosclerosis by modifying risk factors, such as healthy eating, exercise, and avoidance of smoking.
This is how the heart works;
To understand heart disease, it helps to know how the heart works. Your heart is a pump. It's a muscular organ about the size of your fist and located slightly left of center in your chest. Your heart is divided into the right and the left side. The division protects oxygen-rich blood from mixing with oxygen-poor blood. Oxygen-poor blood returns to the heart after circulating through your body.
The right side of the heart, composed of the right atrium and ventricle, collects and pumps blood to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries. The lungs refresh the blood with a new supply of oxygen, making it turn red. Oxygen-rich blood then enters the left side of the heart, composed of the left atrium and ventricle, and is pumped through the aorta to supply tissues throughout the body with oxygen and nutrients.
Four valves within your heart keep your blood moving the right way. The tricuspid, mitral, pulmonary and aortic valves open only one way and only when pushed on. Each valve opens and closes once per heartbeat — or about once every second while you're at rest.
Here Is How To Prevent Heart DiseaseTo prevent cardiovascular disease include:
- A low-fat, high-fiber diet including whole grains and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day)
- Tobacco cessation and avoidance of second-hand smoke;
- Limit alcohol consumption to the recommended daily limits; consumption of 1-2 standard alcoholic drinks per day may reduce risk by 30%, However excessive alcohol intake increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Lower blood pressures, if elevated, through the use of antihypertensive medications
- Decrease body fat if overweight or obese;
- Increase daily activity to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day at least five times per week;
- Decrease psychosocial stress. Stress however plays a relatively minor role in hypertension. Specific relaxation therapies are not supported by the evidence.
These Are Some Of The Top Heart-Healthy Foods
They are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that help protect your cardiovascular system.The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels. I've also got menu ideas -- so you can easily bring heart-healthy foods into your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
- Flaxseed (ground)
Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods -- yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
- Black or Kidney Beans
Give soup or salad a nutrient boost -- stir in some beans.
Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
- Red wine
Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve "good" HDL cholesterol.
Here's lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep "Salad Spritzer" - a light dressing -- in your office fridge.
Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice "firm" tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
- Brown rice
Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
- Soy milk
Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too -- for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
- Sweet potato
Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.
- Red bell peppers
Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.
Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon. It's a pretty side dish.
Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrient-packed blends.
For a flavor twist, try oil-packed tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas.
- Acorn squash
Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sautÃ©ed spinach, pine nuts, raisins.
A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners. Simply cut and enjoy!
Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.
- Dark chocolate
A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.
Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.
You most eat healthy at all times, take good care of your body.