What Causes Heart Disease?
What causes heart disease? This is a question I always asked myself too. Are you wondering what the answer to this question is too? For a while I wondered too, until I decided to delve deeper.
Let me start my clear explanation with the part cholesterol plays within the causes of heart disease. I know what you may be thinking. Is cholesterol what causes heart disease? Well, no.
Our bodies can actually produce all the cholesterol we need. So when we eat foods that contain too much cholesterol, or that are high in saturated fat, you end up with much more than need – high cholesterol.
Cholesterol is essential to the body. Cholesterol in itself is not bad. It is needed to build hormones and cell membranes. It circulates in your blood stream. It is present in every cell of your body.
But high cholesterol is what is bad for you. In fact, it can be dangerous.
Excess cholesterol in your body builds up in your arteries and impedes or blocks the blood flow in your body. It can cause a reduction in blood flow to your brain, heart and other important body organs. It can also lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack, heart failure or a stroke.
A diet high in meats, animal fats and dairy products is a significant risk factor for high cholesterol. This is because those foods are high in saturated fat, which in turn raises cholesterol in your body. Diet is not the only risk factor for high cholesterol. Age is too. As you grow older, you are more likely to develop high cholesterol.
Genes may also play a part, but not in the way most people like to think. What gets passed down really is the lifestyle, diet and eating habits your ancestors and parents had; rather than high cholesterol itself. You cannot ‘give’ high cholesterol to someone. You only pass it down through eating habits and lifestyle.
Keeping your cholesterol levels under tabs is the best single thing you can do to insure yourself against heart disease. Your levels of LDL will particular matter. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) transport cholesterol to the cells of the body. They are made up of combinations of fat and proteins in the body.
LDL carry cholesterol to tissues and organs in the body, while HDL carry cholesterol away from the tissues and organs to the liver, for disposal. When there’s too much LDL in the blood, it can combine with other substances in the body and cause plaque to build up. If there happens to be a blood clot anywhere around a plaque in an artery, the reduced blood flow can cause a heart attack or other forms of heart disease. If the particular artery leads to the brain, then the end result can be a stroke.
A blockage of flow to the heart from a blood clot or clogged artery is what causes heart disease to occur; and can also be caused by a ruptured artery.
HDL is good in the sense it can carry LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and other organs for disposal.
Artery walls get ruptured normally while the body is carrying out its normal day to day activities. They also can get injured through extra strain on the heart if a person is stressed, or if a person has high blood pressure.
Trans fats are another type of fat that is known to clog up the arteries. Cooking and frying with fats and oil can produce some trans fats, so be careful. Olive oil is best eaten raw as cooking or frying with it will produce some trans fats.
If you really have to fry with olive oil, then always fry at the lowest temperatures possible to avoid damaging the fats. There is not much point frying with it if it’s going to contribute to clogging your arteries in such a negative way.
Another type of fats in the body that can lead to a heart disease is called triglycerides. This type of fat also clogs up the arteries. High triglyceride level can be caused by excess sugar and excess calories in your diet.
When the amount of blood flowing through the heart is highly reduced or blocked, it can lead to a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
Artery passages become narrower as they get clogged with fatty deposits. This reduces the flow of blood through these arteries. Plaques develop most easy on injured, damaged and ruptured arteries.
What causes heart disease is more than just cholesterol, it is a process that can result if you have excess cholesterol levels in your blood.
So, in summary, you should be clear now about what causes heart disease. High cholesterol collecting around the coronary arteries is the cause. Our lifestyle choices on diet, smoking, stress and exercising determines where we stand. You are responsible for your health.
The information here is for general guidance only.
Talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet and lifestyle.