Heart attacks commonly are the result of narrowed and hardened arteries. While we are all born with clean, flexible arteries, years of foods high in fat and cholesterol narrow and harden the walls of the coronary arteries to the extent that they can cause plaque break offs that can then interrupt the blood flow to the heart muscle depriving it of desperately needed oxygen, leading to oxygen starvation and a heart attack.
Unfortunately, there are few-sure fire indicators for clogged arteries. Some people may experience angina, a feeling of tightness in the chest, which usually suggest some 70% narrowing of some of the coronary arteries. For most, however, the first sign of clogged arteries is a heart attack. And for some 35%, the first sign of heart disease is sudden death.
What can we do? Know the risk factors of this killer disease! And then do something about your lifestyle to cut that risk! Just by making some simple dietary improvements, you can bring down your blood cholesterol by some 20%. And just that alone will cut your coronary risk in half. You can do this in just weeks. By age 60, smokers are 10 times more likely to die of heart disease than nonsmokers. If you smoke, stop! Your coronary risk will drop within days! Every third American adult has high blood pressure which triples the coronary risk. By making better lifestyle choices, about nearly 80% of us could lower our blood pressure. Obese men (BMI >30) are five times more likely to die of heart disease by the age of 60 than their normal weight friends. Other risk factors include diabetes, elevated triglycerides, a sedentary lifestyle, and not dealing with stress very wisely. And yet, here again, fortunate for many of us: we can lower the level of these risk factors; we can actually eliminate them by making better lifestyle choices. When it comes to coronary risk, it’s largely a matter of choice and not chance.