The number one global killer is a lifestyle related disease.
Cardiovascular diseases are abnormal conditions affecting the heart and or blood vessels. Heart and circulatory diseases account for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. This equates to 160,000 deaths each year in the UK, 450 deaths daily and one death every three minutes (BHF, 2019). There are roughly 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, this figure more prevalent in men than in women (BHF, 2019). There are many different forms of CVD the most common – coronary artery disease. This condition is the most common cause of heart attack and the number one cause of death, worldwide (BHF, 2021). Some of the many CVD’s include coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, valvular heart disease, heart failure and cardiomyopathy.
These types of diseases are mainly caused by atherosclerosis, a build up of plaque in the arteries, in which may be life threatening.
Many people live with plaque in their arteries due to our westernised societies and lifestyle habits. Cardiovascular diseases are clearly lifestyle disorders with lesser implications from genetic factors. A poor diet and sedentary habits facilitate the growth of these plaques.
Modifiable risk factors such as diet and lifestyle have been shown to be effective methods to help prevent the onset of CAD (coronary artery disease) and to aid in its management (Chiuve, et al, 2014). Research suggests that 70% of coronary artery diseases can be prevented or delayed with positive dietary choices and lifestyle modifications (Forman and Bulwer, 2006). Our global obesity epidemic and chronic physical inactivity is a few of the very important risk factors causing such devastating mortality statistics every year from CAD (Forman and Bulwer, 2006).
What can we do about these risk factors? Fortunately for us, we have a level of control over our lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Of course, there are many factors that affect our lifestyle behaviours and it is not as simple to suggest we all have control over our diets and behaviours as many individuals choices are limited and restricted by many factors including money, availability and time.
Many of us are privileged enough to make some changes (if need be) in our lives to prevent ill health and the onset of diseases such as this one. If this is you, let me tell you the facts!
Regular physical activity would be helpful in improving CAD disease risk factors and would prove beneficial in many aspects of health. Regular aerobic and resistance training will help to reduce the prevalence of CAD and aid in its management. Common benefits of exercise include reduced chronic disease risk, increase bone and muscle density, coordination and flexibility, decreased BP, increased insulin sensitivity, improved depression and anxiety (Vina, et al, 2012).
The research is leaning more and more towards a plant-based diet providing the best benefits for our health. It seems as though the more plant based the diet, the better it is for our health and especially the health of our arteries and heart.
Making a few, small changes in your life would make a huge difference to your health. Here is a few ideas to get you started.
- Try eating one meal that is considered plant based (no meat, dairy, eggs, no animal products) a day or a week or even a once in a month.
- Find an exercise that you enjoy and do it often. It doesn’t need to be vigorous and can be as light as walking.
- Eat more vegetables and fruit. Add some leafy greens and other vegetables to your savoury meals. Eat fruit as a snack or dessert (there is so much you can do!)
Your body is just that, YOURS, it’s perfectly made, let us all provide our bodies with the food, nutrients, water, movement and sleep it needs to flourish. Trust me, your body will thank you and you will feel 100x better.
- Less fatigue.
- Brighter, healthier skin.
- Weight loss.
- Increased concentration.
- Decreased chronic disease risk.
- More energy.
- Healthy, whiter teeth.
- Healthier hair and nails.
- Less colds, infections, pains, aches, inconveniences that we believe to be normal (they aren’t). Listen to your body!
- Less mood swings.
- Improved depression and anxiety.
- Improved self-esteem.
- Less bloating.
- Regular and healthier bowl movements.
- Better and more relaxed sleep.
- Living a longer, healthier life.
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE! You’re going to have to try it for yourself 🙂
Thank you for reading.
Remember, small, sustainable changes!
You’ve GOT THIS!
This week’s podcast episode might help you get things started:
- BHF analysis of latest UK mortality statistics: ONS/NRS/NISRA (2019 data) Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/contact-the-press-office/facts-and-figures[Accessed: 19th May]
- BHF/University of Birmingham calculated rates in partnership with UK statistical agencies: ONS/NRS/NISRA (2016-18 data) Available at: https://www.bhf.org.uk/what-we-do/news-from-the-bhf/contact-the-press-office/facts-and-figures [Accessed: 19th May]
- Chiuve, S.E., Cook, N.R., Shay, C.M., Rexrode, K.M., Albert, C.M., Manson, J.E., Willett, W.C. and Rimm, E.B., 2014. Lifestyle‐based prediction model for the prevention of CVD: the Healthy Heart Score. Journal of the American Heart Association, 3(6), p.e000954.
- Forman, D. and Bulwer, B.E., 2006. Cardiovascular disease: optimal approaches to risk factor modification of diet and lifestyle. Current treatment options in cardiovascular medicine, 8(1), pp.47-57.
- Vina, J., Sanchis‐Gomar, F., Martinez‐Bello, V. and Gomez‐Cabrera, M.C., 2012. Exercise acts as a drug; the pharmacological benefits of exercise. British journal of pharmacology, 167(1), pp.1-12.