For Women’s History Month I want to talk about diseases and disorders that affect women, especially from a nutritional aspect and heart disease tops the list. Did you know that heart disease is America’s number one top killer? Heart disease kills more American than all the wars combined that this country has had (referenced from the book “How Not To Die by Dr.Gregor).
The thing about this about heart disease is that it is totally 100 percent preventable. That is if we aim to eat a healthy diet of course. The typical standard American diet is far from healthy, unfortunately. The American diet is made up of mostly what is considered fast foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, pizza, onion rings, chicken nuggets, and milkshakes. Now that is not a diet we can survive off of for a long time because it’s so detrimental to our health and is doing so much damage to our bodies on the inside.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women killing about 1 in every 5 female deaths (CDC). Now that is a high very high number and very frightening. Many things can fall under the bracket of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, hypertension, heart failure, and heart attack.
I will explain what each is that falls under this category.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle and are the large arteries found on the surface of the heart. When someone had CAD the arteries become diseased or damaged. This is caused by the buildup of cholesterol plaque in the arteries blocking the blood flow to the heart.
Arteriosclerosis: This happens when blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients away from the heart to the rest of the body become thick and stiffen up. Healthy arteries should be flexible and elastic.
Atherosclerosis: This is a type of arteriosclerosis where the buildup of fat and cholesterol forms something called plaque in the arteries. This can eventually lead to arteries being blocked.
High Cholesterol: The level of cholesterol in your blood is high which can be a predisposition to heart disease.
Hypertension: High blood pressure which can affect the heart leading to a heart attack or stroke
Heart Failure: In this condition, the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.
Heart Attack: Total blockage of an artery leading to the heart
Despite knowing all this the rate of heart disease continues to rise. Some things you can do to improve your heart health are
- Limiting your intake of fast foods. Fast foods are meant to enjoy once in a while not eat everyday
- Limit your intake of processed foods. Sometimes it can be hard to avoid processed foods because these days it can seem like everything is processed but try swapping out processed foods for whole foods. Whole foods like eating fruits and vegetables are more filling and don’t raise your blood sugar so high and keep you fuller throughout the day.
- Drink WATER! Drinking water is essential to life. Drinking water helps keep our circulatory system moving along and helps rid of the toxins in our bodies. Stay away from juices and sugary drinks that provide nothing but empty calories.
- Limit your intake of certain types of meat such as red meat. Yes, it can be hard do that but consuming too much meat can clog up our arteries
- Lastly, keep those sweets in check! Avoid eating too many candies, cookies, pastries, and cakes. It may be good in the moment be eating this regularly does not do any good for our bodies.
References: Centers of Disease Control: Lookup Heart Disease
How Not To Die By: Dr. Gregor