In this article I’m going to share what heart disease is and some of the statistics about why you should care, then tomorrow I’ll be sharing a post about what causes heart disease. Sign up here to get an update about that.
Now I don’t like to be fear mongering and sometimes reading statistics is not our favourite thing to do because we all want positive reinforcement, we don’t like to think about the negative and the possible consequences. I get that. But it is important to know the stats, get things in perspective, and then we can decide to take things into our own hands. One thing is for sure, we can positively influence the development of heart disease, so I will leave you with a positive at the end of it all, I promise 🙂
What Is Heart Disease
Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is not just one thing but covers a spectrum of disorders of the heart and blood vessels including ischemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, oedema, heart failure, and all diseases of the arteries, arterioles and capillaries, stroke and vascular conditions.
That’s quite a lot of things.
Atherosclerosis is the predominant underlying problem contributing to incidence of angina, heart attack and stroke. Angina, heart attack and stroke are the ones that are going to lead to death so having an understanding about how atherosclerosis occurs is important. I’ll be covering that in a post tomorrow. For now a brief explanation of what atherosclerosis is. It’s our arteries developing lesions and getting blocked, that’s why we start developing problems that can lead to stroke and heart attack.
Risk Factors For Heart Disease
Non-modifiable risk factors
That means we can’t change them, heredity is in my family so I already have one primary risk factor.
- Male gender
Modifiable risk factors
Our modifiable risk factors are the things we can change and are related to our lifestyle.
- Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure
- Physical inactivity
- Alcohol consumption
- Poor nutrition
Poor nutrition contributes to hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
All of these conditions greatly increase your risk of heart disease, so taking care of what you eat is very important. It’s also important to know that hypertension (high blood pressure) is the single best predictor of risk of heart disease, contributing to 49% of all heart disease events and 62% stroke events. We’ll be discussing hypertension in future posts too, so subscribe here.
Why You Should Care About Heart Disease
The reason why all of us want to have a slight concern about heart disease is because it is the leading cause of death worldwide. Here are some statistics for Australia and these apply just the same for US and UK – in fact the stats are probably higher because our population is small compared to the US and UK. And like I said heart disease is also a primary killer all around the world, regardless of location.
- Affects more than 3.4 million Australians – remember our country is small 22 million
- Over one quarter of people 75+years have heart disease
- More men than women have heart disease, men 5.5%, women 4.5%
- One Australian dies every 12 minutes from heart disease
- Accounts for around 35% of all deaths
The Good Thing
The good thing is that most of the risk factors for heart disease are modifiable, meaning they are within our control to change. We can change our diet and nutrition, we can change the level of activity we do, and that’s a great thing.
We’ll be going into the details on diet and nutrition for heart disease very soon.
Nutrition & Health Coach