The statistics about heart disease are very sobering for both men and women since the condition is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Almost 13 million people develop the disease and approximately a half million of them will die every year. It is just one of several cardiovascular diseases that also include strokes, high blood pressure, coronary failure, congenital defects, bacterial endocarditis and arrhythmias. There are other health issues as well within the broad scope of cardiovascular problems that are the eventual cause of disabilities and early death among the population at large. Before getting a handle on a prevention or treatment plan, it is necessary to understand the underlying causes of coronary heart disease.
When the arteries harden and become too narrow for a healthy supply of blood to reach the heart, the condition can begin to develop. Most of the fundamental causes of coronary heart disease are attributed to plaque that forms along the walls of arteries. Plaque is a fatty buildup of cholesterol that can accumulate over time. It can build up to the extent that blood flow can be completely cut off in one or more arteries. Statistics about heart disease have shown that men generally experience more heart attacks than women due to excessive plaque accumulation. While plaque is the culprit behind most conditions, there are many causes that stimulate plaque development.
People who understand the risk factors can have some control over how acute their personal risk is for coronary problems. Typical risk factors associated with the causes of coronary heart disease include cholesterol levels, heredity, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, age, gender and amount of physical activity. Cholesterol levels are one the main factors related to coronary problems. The body normally makes cholesterol through its liver function that affects cells and hormones. When a person eats foods high in cholesterol, a more than normal level of LDL develops in the body’s system causing plaque to form. Heredity is a very common cause of heart disease which can affect several people in the same family to develop serious health conditions.
Research has shown that if there are immediate family members who developed problems before the age of 55, relatives have a much higher risk as well. Statistics about heart disease have shown that some diseases are more common among racial groups. African Americans have a much higher risk factor than do their white counterparts. Other causes of coronary heart disease are obesity and diabetes. Usually diabetes and obesity are negatives that work together to cause serious stress on the heart. Obesity is generally a factor that can more likely be controlled which in turn, may reduce some diabetic symptoms. In some cases of type II diabetes, it can altogether be eliminated by dieting and exercise. High blood pressure is a serious condition that can cause strokes and heart attacks. “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee…” (Isaiah 26:3)
A person can develop high blood pressure along with other factors or may simply have high blood pressure without other conditions. This is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease and requires serious attention from medical professionals in order to get it under control. Age is a determining factor and statistics about heart disease has shown that a higher risk of developing the condition grows for men after the age of 45 and for women after the age of 55. While this factor cannot be changed, it can be monitored very carefully in order to detect any early warning signs. Both men and women should receive routine physicals especially at mid-life and beyond to circumvent any developing problem. Gender also affects the likelihood of developing health problems. Men tend to have a higher probability of developing the disease than women throughout most of their lifetimes. Women, however, reach approximately the same likelihood after the age of 65. At this time, both sexes are just as equally at risk for coronary health concerns.
Benefits of physical activity are sometimes taken too lightly by those who may be at risk for certain artery problems. Exercise makes the arteries stronger, burns calories, helps to control diabetes and can help to lower cholesterol as well as blood pressure. Statistics about heart disease has also shown that people who burn off up to 3, 500 calories a day will typically live longer than those who do no physical activity. Just walking three or four days a week can significantly lower risk factors associated with artery conditions. Other factors that must be carefully considered are smoking, alcohol consumption, synthetic hormones and excessive stress. These are secondary issues that a person has some measure of control as to the use of the products. Stress, of course, is something that can be managed to a degree, but an individual must be committed to making some hard choices for a healthy lifestyle when it becomes an issue.