Cholesterol And Heart Disease – The Basics

February 8, 2007 by  

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By James Madisonic

Heart disease is a potential threat to millions of people worldwide. A killer disease like heart attack can strike anytime, and threaten people with improper diet, lifestyles and certain genetic preconditions. Coronary Heart Disease afflicts about 14 million Americans.

Cause Of Heart Disease

Heart disease is caused by a buildup of fat and tissue in the arteries, the vessels that carry blood from heart to various parts of the body. The arteries are clogged with the buildup that leads to improper blood flow. This causes heart disease since the heart cannot receive oxygen carried by blood. This type of hardening of arterial walls is known as arteriosclerosis.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors for heart disease. They include cholesterol, tobacco, fat containing diet and sedentary lifestyle. Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure can also cause heart disease. Heredity is another major predictor of heart disease. If you lead a stressful life, then chances of heart disease are also high.

Risk factors are classified into modifiable and non-modifiable depending on whether you can reduce the risk by controlling the risk factors. Heredity, age and gender are non-modifiable risk factors, while cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure are modifiable risk factors.

Are The Risk Factors Good Predictors Of Heart Disease?

Heart disease is caused by the interplay of various risk factors, including cholesterol. Cholesterol is one of the major predictors of heart disease. Heredity, as mentioned, is another; people whose family members have been afflicted by heart disease should go for regular screening.

Symptoms Of Heart Disease

Heart disease may be known, as a “silent killer” since the onset of the heart attack can often be fatal. However, there are certain symptoms you should watch out for.

1. Pain in the chest.
2. Pain in upper abdomen.
3. Panting after strenuous activity.
4. Nausea and vomiting.
5. Dizzy spells.

Timely medical attention can spell the difference between life and death.

Preventing Heart Disease

Preventing heart disease is easy and a few precautions can go a long way in reducing your chances of getting heart attack. Keeping bad cholesterol levels low is very important. Traditional risk factors can identify people most at risk, so it is important to consult a medical practitioner and be sure that risk is minimized.

Lifestyle changes can have a huge impact on occurrence of heart disease. If you do not lead an active life, chances of heart disease go up multiple times. Stress is another major cause of heart disease. In order to prevent heart disease, you need to be physically active and have a low calorie, high fiber diet. Smoking and too much alcohol can also make heart disease a difficult condition to treat.

Tests For Heart Disease

Your doctor may ask for tests to confirm heart disease if he suspects you fall in the high-risk category. The tell tale signs physicians look for in a routine check include irregular heartbeat and murmurs. Tests include coronary angiography, ECG or electrocardiogram and CT scan. Your medical practitioner will recommend the best test. A chest x ray might also be recommended.

Heart disease can be prevented through changes in lifestyle and by reducing mental stress. Proper diet, exercise and a stress free lifestyle go a long way in countering one of the leading killers of the modern age. Modern medicine has also found better ways to cure heart disease, even for those prone to it due to hereditary and other factors. If you have crossed the age of 30 and think you are in the moderate or high-risk category, you should visit your medical practitioner today and get a thorough check up done.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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