Heart Disease


Today heart disease is a very commonly occurring condition. Previously we saw it occurring among the elderly ( above 50 years of age). Now even those in their late 20's are having attacks or finding blocks in their blood vessels and women are showing high blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels too. The main cause for this is genetics, some ancestor has passed down heart disease genes to you.

Besides this a leading cause is stress and work pressure. People are working for much longer hours. Earlier it was 9 am -5 pm but today it is 9 am to 9 or 10pm. Also challenges and competition is much higher and companies are pushing employees with targets which are way beyond their human capacities.

Also eating habits have changed, instead of eating a good hearty breakfast and lunch and labouring all day and eating a lighter meal at dinner when you know you are just going to sleep, it has changed to meager breakfast and lunch and very heavy, rich dinner. A lot of eating out, especially at night, more oily food and a lot of fast foods and café food throughout the day, even for children, as parents are busy working.

Last but not the least and a very major cause is the total decline in physical activity. Nobody walks anywhere. Everybody can afford transport and nobody has the time for a regular exercise session. All this has to be changed or this generation may not even live beyond their 50's.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is present in all animal fat like milk, butter, ghee, cheese, paneer, egg yolk, prawns, poultry, organ meat and red meat. It is also manufactured in the body from saturated vegetable fats like coconut, dalda, vanaspati etc. Large consumption of any of the above fats will increase the cholesterol levels in the blood. Cholesterol levels above 170 enters the danger zone and precautions have to be taken immediately. This cholesterol in the blood sticks to the walls of the arteries and blocks blood vessels, which may lead to heart attacks.

What is Triglycerides?

Triglyceride is another fat in the blood. It is the simplest form of storage fat. All excess amount of oil and carbohydrates like rice, bread etc, as well as excess sugar or alcohol is converted to triglyceride. South Indians consuming large amounts of rice are prone to having high levels of triglycerides. Also, those consuming high amounts of alcohol exhibit the same problem. Triglycerides too are deposited on the walls of the arteries causing blocks and heart attack. Levels above 150 are dangerous. Fat stored in the body is mostly in the form of triglyceride. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in foods and in body fat stores. We have also seen that those going through a period of very severe stress may find triglyceride levels suddenly rising at an alarming pace.

What are fat carriers?
HDL, LDL & VLDL are fat carriers or vehicles used to transport cholesterol and triglyceride from the liver to the rest of the body.
HDL is called the good cholesterol because its work is to carry cholesterol away from the heart towards the liver. The level should be above 45 mg/dl. The only way you can raise the HDL level is to walk for 30 minutes in the morning and evening regularly.
LDL is the transporter of cholesterol towards the heart and other parts of the body. Levels higher than120-150 are dangerous. Total fat consumption in the diet must be reduced to keep this level low.
VLDL is the transporter of triglyceride from the liver to rest of the body. Its levels should not be above 40 mg/dl. For lowering triglyceride and VLDL, total fat in the diet must be reduced and overeating of any kind of food or excess alcohol consumption must be strictly controlled .

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