“The greatest wealth is health.” ~ Virgil
Welcome to the second installment of my Heart Matters trilogy of posts!
And to answer the question posed in the title – cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), are the culprit when it comes to global mortality. I’ll be looking a little closer at the issues we face in battling this silent killer.
Our health is something we generally take for granted right up until the point we lose it – for whatever reason. I’ve been guilty of this myself. In my youth I was extremely fit and healthy, there was no reason to think that would ever change.
However, modern living should carry a government health warning!
It’s time to take responsibility for our health. Someone dies from a cardiovascular illness EVERY 42 SECONDS IN THE USA.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease kills more people than cancer, diabetes and prescription drugs combined.
Recent figures from UCLA indicate that more people are dying of obesity than starvation for the first time in human history.
There are a myriad of reasons why this is the case, here are the main causes:
- Hereditary factors
- Poor diet
- Smoking & drinking
- Sedentary lifestyle
If heart disease runs in your family the chances are your genes are pre-disposed towards some type of cardiovascular illness. There’s not much you can do about that.
Or is there?
That was certainly the case for my mum, who sadly lost her mother and father to heart disease. For as long as I can remember my mum has always struggled with high blood pressure. Late last year she was hospitalised as her blood pressure reached a dangerous level, 210 over 105. She was already taking two lots of medication which didn’t seem to reduce her hypertension and produced unpleasant side-effects to boot. To say I was worried was an understatement. I was petrified.
I’m ecstatic to report that my mother now has a normal average blood pressure of 125/70, her heart palpitations have vanished and she is off all her medications. She looks and feels 10 years younger and the best part is she has achieved this all through natural means. I’ll be going into a lot more detail about how she took control of her health in the next post.
Lifestyle, stress levels and exercise are all activities that we can influence and have a choice over. Eating too much processed foods, smoking and sitting at a desk, doing a job we don’t enjoy could be accelerating our body clock, causing premature ageing and cellular degeneration, potentially taking years off our lifespan.
In our industrialised age it’s difficult to escape the toxins in our environment. Urban areas tend to be worse, but with car emissions and factories polluting the skies, coupled with the devastation of large tracts of rainforest (effectively weakening the lungs of the Earth) a man-made disaster is in the making.
The question is not: are you toxic?
The question is: how toxic are you?
Toxicity in our soil, air, water and food can cause auto-immune problems, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and lung cancer to name a few. Effects of Pollution.
In addition to all of the above, your heart, lungs and blood vessels are working extremely hard to ensure the optimum amount of oxygen and nutrients reach every cell and organ in your body. It has its work cut out, because your circulatory network (including the ultra-fine capillaries) is about 100,000 miles in length and would wrap around the world at least three and half times!
The human body requires a vast network of blood vessels to support every organ and cell effectively. Every invention known to man cannot compare with the complexity and regenerating power of the human body.
Wherever blood flows in your body there is a blood vessel to carry it. Age and lifestyle related problems cause plaque to form in our arteries, restricting the flow of blood, known as atherosclerosis.
This is not easy viewing, but everyone should understand what happens during a heart attack:
Even conditions such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are caused by plaque in the brain and a lack of oxygen to the brain due to a stroke, which in turn is caused by blood clots blocking hard, narrow plaque filled arteries in the brain.
Again and again so many health concerns can be traced to the condition of your circulatory system. Don’t even get me started on diabetes.
- Your heart is the hardest working muscle in your body
- Your heart beats approximately 100,000 times per day, 35 million times per year
- The muscles of your heart work twice as hard as the leg muscles of a sprinter
- During an average lifespan the human heart will beat 2.5 billion times
- Every 24 hours your heart pumps approximately 1800 gallons of blood
- During the average lifetime the heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood
- The average adult heart is about the size of two clenched fists
- On average women’s hearts beat slightly faster than men’s hearts
- The heart of an embryo begins beating around four weeks after conception
- The heart pumps blood to 75 trillion cells, except the corneas, which do receive a blood supply.
- The heart has its own electrical impulse and can continue to beat even when separated from the body as long as it has an adequate supply of oxygen
- Blood is actually a tissue
Some of us spend more money on putting fuel into our cars than we do fuelling our bodies with the right nutrition and lifestyle that will support it enough for us to have a long, healthy life.
As I said in my first Heart Matters post, a loving, happy heart reduces stress and is a key factor in longevity.
I’ll leave you with food for thought until I return with part 3, which I promise will be much more uplifting!