Posted by: pumzy | June 17, 2009

Coronary Artery Disease

I would like to share something i read a moment ago from Manila Bulletin. This is something about your heart’s health. Read on…
By DR. GARY S. SY
June 16, 2009, 7:26pm

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a condition that occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked entirely by deposits of plaque, a thick, yellowish, waxy substance. Plaque consists of cholesterol, a fat or lipid that is produced in the liver, as well as many different types of cells. When the flow of blood is cut off to the heart, the result is a heart attack.

Fatty deposits, or atheroma, can form in your arteries, and this narrowing of the passageways is part of a condition that is called atherosclerosis.

If your coronary arteries become narrowed, they can fail to provide your heart with enough oxygen and other nutrients. Also, the blood that flows through the arteries may form a clot, or thrombus, which can block an artery. In response to any physical or psychological stress, your heart beats faster and your blood pressure goes up. Your heart requires increased oxygen and nutrients, but severely narrowed or blocked arteries cannot cope. The resulting discrepancy between demand and supply causes angina, or chest pain. If the blood flow to part of your heart muscle is suddenly reduced by a clot in one of your coronary arteries, you will have a heart attack (myocardial infarction). More on CAD:

1. Coronary artery disease affects people of all races, but the incidence is extremely high among whites. However, race itself doesn’t seem to be as important a factor as a person’s lifestyle. Here are some facts that can help you determine whether you are likely to have coronary artery disease.

2. More young men than young women have coronary artery disease, but the risk to women increases at menopause, and women over sixty-five are almost as susceptible to the disorder as are men

3. If you smoke cigarettes, you are at least twice as susceptible as a non-smoker. Deaths from the disorder in the 35 to 45 age group are five times more common in smokers.

4. There is an increased risk if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. Males with diabetes are twice as susceptible as other men, and females with diabetes are five times as susceptible as other women.

5. Coronary artery disease seems to run in the families. You are more at risk if several of your close relatives have had it.

6. If you are overweight, you are more at risk than a person of normal weight.

7. If you have a sedentary job you may be at risk than other people whose work include some physical labor.

8. If you are a woman over 35 who take birth control pills and also smoke cigarettes, you are at increased risk of having coronary disease.

9. If you have an extremely high cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

What should be done?

Coronary artery disease is much more easily prevented than it is treated. If you are worried that you may be at risk, start taking preventive measures. Too often, sudden death is the first sign of the disease.

First, you reduce your risk of having a heart attack by maintaining normal blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.

Ideally cholesterol levels should be below 200 mg/dl. More important, you should have a good ratio between LDL (low density lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol and HDL (high density cholesterol) or good cholesterol. To ensure the right amount of each type of cholesterol, the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL should not exceed 6: 1. Therefore, if your total cholesterol is 240 mg/dl, HDL should be 40 or more.

Triglycerides, type of fat that can be found in the blood, over 190 mg/dl in women increases the risk of heart attack; for men, levels of above 400 mg/dl are a sign of potential danger.

Diet influences the total cholesterol level – and thus the risk of coronary artery disease. Changing the diet (and taking prescribed medications if needed) can lower cholesterol levels. Lowering levels of total cholesterol and bad cholesterol slows or reverses the progress of coronary artery disease.

The benefits of lowering levels of bad cholesterols are greatest in patients with other risk factors of coronary artery disease. These risk include cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, inactivity, high triglycerides level, and a genetic predisposition.

Quitting smoking, lowering blood pressure, losing weight, and increasing exercises decrease the risk of coronary artery disease.

Recommendations:

1. Include in your diet the following foods to help in lowering cholesterol: Apples, bananas, carrots, cold-water fish, dried beans, garlic, grapefruits, and olive oil.

2. Take plenty of fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Oat bran and brown rice is the best foods for lowering cholesterol.

3. Do not eat any nuts except walnuts, which can be eaten in moderation. Eat walnuts only if they are raw and have been kept tightly sealed or refrigerated.

4. Reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. Saturated fats include all the fats of animal origin as well as coconut and palm kernel oils.

5. Do not consume alcohol, cakes, candy, carbonated drinks, coffee, processed or refined foods, fried or fatty foods.

6. You may consume non-fat milk, low-fat cottage cheese, and skinless white poultry meat (preferably turkey), but in moderation.

7. Get regular moderate exercises. Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

8. Try to avoid tension and learn stress-management techniques.

9. Other foods that lower cholesterol include: prunes, cucumber contain a compound called sterol in their skin; chili pepper- contain capsaicin, a substance that reduce cholesterol and triglycerides; Green tea contains catechins; Grapes and wine contain resveratrol which reduces cholesterol.

Remember:

Many people live for years with coronary artery disease and have no trouble. Others may be forced to modify their activities because of recurrent attacks of angina. Many of these people can also lead relatively active lives as long as they keep the disease under control and take medications that help restore the balance between demand for oxygen and nutrients and the ability of the narrowed or obstructed coronary artery meet this demand.

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