Heart disease is a modern epidemic. Before the industrial revolution—when people had to do almost everything by hand (and foot), manual labor and diets rich in protein and low in carbs, fats and salts, kept the bodies of our foremothers and forefathers fit and their heart muscle strong.
Of course, there were other risks to life in those times ranging from tuberculosis, pneumonia, accidents, childbirth and diarrhea to name a few. But the point is, prior to the onslaught of machines to do our work, the heart muscle was exercised by daily labor and the cardiovascular system was far less prone to “sclerosis.”
Today, the most common type of heart disease in adults is coronary artery disease (CAD). Coronary heart disease describes the condition in which the arteries serving the heart harden and restrict blood flow to the heart. This type of heart disease can be chronic—caused by narrowing of the coronary artery or acute—in which plaque from the artery wall breaks loose and blocks the artery.
Biggest risk factors for coronary artery disease?
If you have high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history or diabetes, if you smoke, if you’re a post-menopausal women or a man older than 45—or if you’re overweight—get an annual heart check. It’s easy.
And here’s the lecture you knew was coming:
Incorporate good nutrition, weight management, and plenty of physical activity in your modern life. Carry wood and water or take the stairs whenever you can. It’s good for the heart.