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Heart Disease

What is heart disease?

There are many types of heart disease. About 25% of all Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease. The major types of heart disease are atherosclerosis, coronary, rheumatic, congenital, myocarditis, angina and arrhythmia.  Heart disease can arise from congenital defects, infection, narrowing of the coronary arteries, high blood pressure, or disturbances.

The first stages of heart disease are lesions and cracks forming in the blood vessel walls normally at the points of highest pressure or stress (near the heart). The second stage is the body trying to repair itself by depositing fatty substances (cholesterol, lipoproteins) inside the blood vessels to fill the cracks. Over time, without the proper body nutrient, vitamin C, to help keep the blood vessel walls from cracking and requiring constant repair, these fatty substances can begin to build up and clog the blood vessels causing stroke and heart attack.

Symptoms of heart disease

Symptoms of heart disease varies according to the type of heart disease.  Unfortunately, some heart diseases cause no symptoms early in its course. When symptoms occur, they vary from person to person.  Symptoms may may include chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue, palpitations (the sensation of the heart beating in the chest), lightheadedness, and fainting, or feeling about to faint.

Can heart disease be prevented?

Some forms of heart disease can be prevented.  To prevent coronary heart disease, one must exercise consistently, have a low salt and low fat diet, restrain from smoking and lose a couple of pounds if overweight. Healthy diets also help prevent heart disease. 

Women and heart disease

Since 1984, heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases have killed more women than men.

Women who snore regularly may increase their risk of heart attack or stroke by 33% notes a researcher from the Harvard School of Public Health of Cambridge, Massachusetts. A temporary shortage of oxygen during snoring can activate the sympathetic nervous system, like heart rate and breathing, possibly leading to high blood pressure. 

More than 1 out of 5 women have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular diseases kill more women than all forms of cancer, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, diabetes, accidents and AIDS combined.

In 64% of women who died suddenly of coronary heart disease, there were no previous symptoms of this disease.

What is a heart-healthy diet?

A heart-healthy diet is a diet high in vitamin C , low in sodium, cholesterol, and fat. Foods that best meet these requirements are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. A diet high in sodium, fat and cholesterol is associated with higher blood pressure, increased weight, and elevated blood cholesterol levels, all of which increase the chances that atherosclerosis will occur.

Bad News about heart disease

  • Individuals suffering from heart disease are at risk of having a stroke.
  • Menopause increases a woman's risk for heart disease.
  • When a woman has a heart attack, she has a poorer chance of survival than a man does. The poorer chance of survival is largely because women usually have vague symptoms that can result in delayed care.
  • Heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancer, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, diabetes, accidents and AIDS combined.
  • Individuals who suffer from depression are three to four times more likely to die of cardiac causes than individuals who do not suffer from depression.
  • Heart attacks and strokes could be an early form of scurvy.

Heart Disease in the News

According to the National Heart Foundation, winter is the most dangerous season for people with all types of heart conditions. Why? Researchers think respiratory infections like the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis pose a special threat for people with heart conditions.

Heart Disease Statistics

Heart Disease and Smoking

Good news about heart disease

Without cardiac disease people would live seven years longer. Vitamin C helps prevent development of heart disease.

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