Heart disease is among the most widespread and dear health problems experienced not only in the United States but also in the world; and yet it is among diseases that are easily preventable.
I chose this topic because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US right now. Another reason for me to pick this topic is that my mother’s side of the family has a history of heart disease, therefore it relates to me personally. The aim of this research is to inform and educate people on how heart disease can affect them and the preventive measure they can take for their health and well-being.
According to data records, close to 151,000 Americans who died because of heart disease in 2005 were below the age sixty-five years. This makes the heart disease a number one killer in the United States. This is a startling number of citizens lost to the heart disease given that this can be reduced through good diets.
Also known as the cardiac disease, the heart disease has its most common cause in the narrowing or clogging of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself which happens slowly over time and has been attributed as the main cause of heart attacks (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009).
History of heart disease and its prevalence in US population
The problem caused by heart disease cannot be measured in terms of deaths alone. It has had its impact in the United States health care expenditures and lost productivity from the disability and deaths projected to be close to four hundred and seventy-five billion US dollars.
The predictions are also that as the US population ages, the economic impacts of heart disease on the nation’s health care system will become even a greater burden (McKeever, 2008).
Altogether, the overall death rate has somehow declined in the United States in recent decades, but the rates of deaths continue to be disproportionally high in some populations, including members of certain ethnic and racial classes, the socio-economically poor, and those habiting the southeastern United States.
For instance, death rates from heart disease are thirty-two percent higher among African Americans than among the whites. Surveys show that more than one in three US adults currently are affected by heart related disease with an overall estimate of 935,000 heart attacks occurring every year. An average of seven million people are hospitalized because of heart diseases (Braverman & Braverman, 2004).
Healthy nutrition as a preventive measure
It is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away and prevention is better than cure. Heart disease can be prevented if only we can eat the right diets that provide the health nutrients for the heart to function properly. Esselstyn & Campbell (2007) point out that there are those habits and addictions like smoking which increase the chances of heart disease which should be avoided for a healthy heart.
A diet low in processed food and good lifestyle (not smoking, managing stress well, and exercising) improves ones health and helps prevent heart disease. It may be normal to believe one is consuming the right diet but the same may translate to one not getting the right vitamins levels the body.
Science shows that a heart healthy diet is one with a relatively high amount of unprocessed foods including some fruits and vegetables, and grains that retain some of their original kernel structure to slow digestion.
These diets are what many miss as many foods are processed or refined, and mostly are deficient in vitamins B6 and 12, folic acid and others factors that boost our fat break down. Fish is highly recommended as it does not have high cholesterol compared to meat (Esselstyn & Campbell, 2007).
Oily and fatty foods are rich in cholesterol which clogs the blood vessels especially those supplying blood to the heart. McKeever (2008) reminds us that the heart performs the important function of pumping blood and if the cholesterol blocks the arteries in the heart, then one is in a serious problem. The youth or those actively involved in physical activities have an advantage as they burn fat effectively.
But those at risk are the ageing people who are less active and therefore consume fat that is not burnt in the body hence leading to clogging of blood vessels. A good balance of vitamins and minerals can help fix the problems associated with heart disease. It is therefore advisable that we practice healthy food choices as they reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
By encouraging healthy living while promoting control of blood pressure and levels of cholesterol, the goal of a healthy nation and countless saved lives can be achieved at almost no cost (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). Access to early, appropriate and affordable treatment will ensure the health of Americans is checked and eventually reduce disability and medical costs.
Doctors recommend healthy people and those who have heart disease to ensure they eat meals rich in omega-3 fatty acids for the benefit of a healthy heart. Fish is also recommended as a source of protein for it does not contain high saturated fats as is the case with other meat products.
Foods like tofu, soybeans, walnut, canola, and flaxseed and the oil extracted from them is also good for the body. The alpha-linolenic acid content in omega-3 fatty acids has been shown via research to lower blood pressure which reduces the risk of arrhythmias which can lead to sudden cardiac death (American Heart Association, 2009).
Those with heart disease are advised to seek physician’s counsel so that they can be advised appropriately on how to manage their condition. To smokers, they should be committed to quit if they value their lives. Exercises play an integral role to a healthy body and so everybody is advised to do exercises to keep the body fit. These do not have to been strenuous but just to sweat out the body and burn extra calories (Braverman & Braverman, 2004).
American Heart Association, (2009), Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Retrieved July 8, 2009, from http://126.96.36.199/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4632
Braverman, E, R & Braverman, D (2004), The amazing way to reverse heart disease naturally, North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2009), Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, Retrieved July 8, 2009, from http://www.cdc.gov/NCCDPHP/publications/AAG/dhdsp.htm