What is heart disease and how does it develop? What are the major risk factors for heart disease?
One the risk factors for heart disease is the cholesterol level in the blood. Cholesterol exists in our blood in two forms LDL and HDL.and one needs to be extremely concerned about ones LDL cholesterol level. This is because having high LDL cholesterol greatly increases one risk to heart disease.
What is interesting about LDL is that it's levels can be changed by altering your diet, what is the impact of the amount of cholesterol in your diet on your blood cholesterol level? What about consumption of saturated and unsaturated fat?
Trans fat have also been called killer fats., they used to be abundant in frying oil, pastries, fast food, certain margarines and many other processed foods.
Another hot topic is Omega-3 fatty acids numerous claims have been made about these fatty acids, particularly in their relation to heart disease.
Cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease
Cardiovascular disease (CVD, also called heart disease) is a class of diseases that involve the heart and/or the blood vessels. The most common form of cardiovascular disease is coronary heart disease (CHD), in which the coronary arteries – the blood vessels providing blood to the heart muscle - become narrow and rigid, restricting blood flow to the heart. Coronary heart disease is also called ischemic heart disease. Another common form of cardiovascular disease is stroke, in which the arteries supplying blood to the brain become blocked and blood flow is impaired. Cardiovascular diseases are most often rooted in a process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis describes the build-up of plaque in the walls of arteries, leading to narrowing of the arteries and gradual obstruction of blood flow. Other cardiovascular diseases include heart failure, diseases of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), heart valve problems, and arrhythmias.
Rates of coronary heart disease or ischemic heart disease differ greatly between countries. The age-standardised, disability-adjusted life year (DALY) rates from ischemic heart disease (CHD) by country (per 100,000 inhabitants, the darker the color, the higher the rates). DALY is a measure of overall disease burden, expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death. One DALY represents one lost year of "healthy" life. The sum of these DALYs across the population, or the burden of disease, can be thought of as a measurement of the gap between current health status and an ideal health situation where the entire population lives to an advanced age, free of disease and disability (Definition from WHO). Use of DALY has become increasingly popular in public health. The highest DALY rates for ischemic heart disease are observed in eastern Europe.
The age standardized ischemic heart disease (CHD) death rates per 100,000 individuals. This measure is calculated differently than the DALY but the overall picture it creates is highly similar: highest rates are observed in eastern Europe, whereas the lowest rates are observed in France and Japan.
Trends in deaths from CVD show a striking pattern. In many western and northern European countries, which originally had the highest rates of CVD, there has been a sharp decline in CVD deaths despite the growing prevalence of obesity. The decrease in CVD deaths is accounted for by a huge reduction in deaths from CHD and stroke and is largely explained by improvements in long-term and emergency medical care, combined with decreased smoking in more recent years. Behavioral adjustments towards diets and exercise are unlikely to have importantly contributed towards the decline
In contrast to western countries, there has been a substantial increase in CVD rates in eastern European countries. The extremely high rates of CVD in Eastern Europe have been linked to tobacco use, dietary behaviors, alcohol use and poor medical care