Cardiovascular disease (CVD) isn’t just something ‘old people’ need to pay attention to anymore!

Cardiovascular (CVD) is an abnormal condition of the heart, and/or blood vessels. Atherosclerosis, and hypertension are common examples of CVD. CVD is the leading cause of death in the US, and nearly half of Americans with die from CVD!

Atherosclerosis is considered the hardening of the arteries, in which plaque (cholesterol and other substances) build up on the vessel walls, reducing the width of the blood vessel. This cuts down the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, leading things like a stroke, angina, or a heart attack. Risk factors include age, family history, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, being overweight, and lack of physical activity. Dietary and lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis include, consuming a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, loosing weight, reducing cholesterol, quitting smoking, reducing blood pressure, and keeping blood glucose balanced.

            Hypertension is when you have consistently high blood pressure. It does not have specific symptoms, or warning signs, but it can be deadly. It is characterized by resting blood pressure measuring over 140mm Hg or 90mm Hg. Risk factors include obesity, high salt intake, lack of physical activity, high alcohol intake, African American heritage, age, and heredity. Dietary and lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of hypertension include reducing sodium, loosing weight, increasing physical activity, limiting alcohol, and eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables.

            I feel like I should repeat that CVD is the leading cause of death in the US, and nearly half of Americans with die from CVD! These statistics alone should want to make people with CVD risk factors start taking prophylactic measure to help limit their chances of developing the deadly disease!! In clinical trials, consuming 10 fruit and veggie servings a day lowered high-blood pressure as much as standard blood pressure drugs. Do you also know that the average fresh-pressed organic juice has over 10 servings of fruits and vegetables? If you are over 45 years old, have a family history of CVD, or are overweight, a great way to start taking preventative action is by adding a juice or smoothie to your diet...especially in the morning, where the average american rarely ingests any fresh fruits or vitamins. 

Let's start eating to live instead of living to eat. There are so many better things to live for...and to live longer for!

Resources:

Insel, P., Ross, D., McMahon, K. & Bernstein, M. (2014). Nutrition. 5th ed. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Jamison, J., (2003) Clinical Guide to Nutrition & Dietary Supplements in Disease Management.  Churchill Livingstone. Australia