Cardiovascular diseases include the several type of conditions related to the heart. The causes of heart disease are high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, alcohol and tobacco use. There are certain other factors that affect a healthy heart such as: –
- Elevated levels of Homocysteine: – Homocysteine is an amino acid found in blood, during the impaired conversion of methionine form of cysteine to cysteine. If a person is relatively deficit in Folic acid, Vitamin B6, or Vitamin B12, there will be an increase in homocysteine. Elevated Homocysteine level (Hyperhomocysteinemia) is an independent risk factor for developing a heart attack, stroke, blood clot formation and peripheral vascular disease.
- Magnesium – It is an essential macro-mineral which is needed by the body in large amounts. It helps in proper functioning of the entire cardiovascular system and plays a critical role in preventing heart disease and stroke. The best dietary sources of magnesium are Tofu, Legumes, Seeds, Nuts, Whole grain and Green leafy vegetables. In acute MI (Myocardial Infarction, medical term for heart attack) magnesium shows a beneficial effect, by its ability to improve energy production within the heart. It dilates the coronary arteries, resulting in improved oxygen delivery to the heart and increased heart rate.
- Essential fatty acids – The human body cannot function properly without two polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are Linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid. These fatty acids are referred to as “essential fatty acid “. Alpha- linolenic is also called Omega-3 fatty acid, which helps improve different health conditions like high cholesterol level, stroke, heart attack, angina, high blood pressure and arthritis. People who consume a diet rich in omega-3, either from fish or vegetable sources have significantly reduced the risk of developing heart disease.
- Low antioxidant status – The term antioxidant and free radical are becoming familiar to most health-minded people. Loosely defined, a free radical is a highly reactive molecule that can bind to cells and destroy body components. Free radicals are shown to be responsible for the initiation of many diseases, including heart disease. Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage. Nutrients, such as beta- Carotene, Selenium, Vitamin E and C, have shown a very important role in protecting against the development of heart disease and cancer.
- Type “A” personality – Type “A” behavior is characterized by an extreme sense of time urgency, competitiveness, impatience and aggressiveness. This behavior carries, a two-fold increase in coronary heart disease as compared to non-type A behavior. The regular expression of anger is particularly damaging to the cardiovascular system.
- Increased Fibrinogen formation – Elevated fibrinogen level is a major risk factor for blood vessel dysfunction and stroke, also high cholesterol level. Fibrinogen builds up on the wall of blood vessel and causes their blockage.
- Increased Platelet aggregation – Excessive stickiness of blood platelets is another independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Once platelets aggregate, they release potent compounds that dramatically promote the formation of the atherosclerotic plaque or they can form a clot, which can get stuck in small arteries and cause heart attack or stroke. The stickiness of platelets is largely determined by the type of fats and the level of antioxidants in the diet.
By living a healthy lifestyle, a person can keep his blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar under control and lower the risk of heart diseases.