Heart disease is a generalized term for a number of different diseases which affect the heart and is the leading cause of death in the United States as of 2007. The most common heart diseases include coronary heart disease, ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, hereditary heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, and disease of the heart valves.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Leg cramps
- Mild exercise causes exhaustion
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of ankles/feet
- Rapid heart beat
- Irregular heartbeat
- Hacking cough
- Heart murmur
- History of chest pain during activity
Consider These Contributing Factors
- Diet high in trans fatty acid
- Cholesterol that becomes oxidized in the blood
- Dyslipidemia (elevated total cholesterol and LDLs and decreased HDLs)
- Insufficient exercise
- Alcohol abuse
- Diabetes and insulin resistance
- Drug use
- Long-term use of estrogen (birth control pills and/or HRT)
- Gallbladder or liver issues that alter fat metabolism
Diet and Lifestyle Considerations
Here are suggested modiﬁcations to help support optimal cardiovascular function:
- Maintain an optimal weight.
- Exercise after a complete physical exam.
- Practice deep-breathing and relaxation techniques.
- Manage major stressors.
- Manage blood sugar imbalances.
- Use beneficial fats including olive, ﬂ ax, and ﬁsh oil.
- Consider taking an omega-3 essential fatty acid supplement.
- Decrease intake of hydrogenated oils (margarine, lard substitutes, vegetable shortening) and foods fried in hydrogenated oils.
- Drink plenty of water daily.
- Increase consumption of fiber, fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Consider a detoxification program.
- Avoid smoking, caffeine, and alcohol.