What is cardiovascular disease?
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a class of disorders that involve the heart, arteries, veins, or capillaries. Many of which are mainly caused by a blockage that narrows the blood vessels and prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain.
List of common CVDs:
Coronary heart disease – Damage or disease in the heart’s major blood vessels.
Cerebrovascular disease – Conditions that affect blood supply to the brain.
High blood pressure – The force of blood exerted against arterial walls is too high.
Congenital heart disease – Abnormal heart conditions developed before birth.
Peripheral artery disease – Disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs.
Arrhythmia – Abnormal heart rhythm, whether irregular, too fast or too slow.
Congestive heart failure – The heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should.
The most important cardiovascular disease risk factors are unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, tobacco use and alcohol use. The effects of behavioral risk factors are raised blood glucose, raised blood lipids, high cholesterols, and overweight and obesity.
Some key facts from World Health Organization(WHO):
CVDs are the number 1 cause of death globally: more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause.
An estimated 17.7 million people died from CVDs in 2015, representing 31% of all global deaths. Of these deaths, an estimated 7.4 million were due to coronary heart disease and 6.7 million were due to stroke.
Over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.
Out of the 17 million premature deaths (under the age of 70) due to noncommunicable diseases in 2015, 82% are in low- and middle-income countries, and 37% are caused by CVDs.
Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol using population-wide strategies.
Lipid metabolism and CVDs
A lot of people hate fats, because accumulation of fat destroys the shape of body and lose weight became a lifelong event for some of them. However, fat has an important role which is a form of energy storage in our body. When the body needs energy, the subcutaneous fat will be mobilized and transported to the liver to activate hepatic combustion for energy.
Visibly, the liver is the center of fat metabolism. When the liver is damaged from cardiovascular disease risk factors such as use of alcohol, tobacco smoking, unhealthy diet and lifestyle, there will be problems with fat metabolism and deficiency in body’s utilization of fat. Large amount of fat will accumulate in the liver cells and body, which lead to fatty liver and occurrence of obesity and hyperlipidemia.
Vascular occlusion, a blockage in blood vessel – caused by a large number of lipid substances lie on the wall of blood vessel and lead to slow blood flow. As the problem continue to worsen, clinical manifestations such as angina, myocardial infarction, or cerebral venous thrombosis will start to show up and lead to major CVDs.
Treatment for CVDs
Treatment from hospital is mainly to dilate blood vessels or use aspirin to reduce blood coagulation. Stenting or coronary artery bypass graft surgery may be required for significant stenosis or narrowing of the coronary arteries. However, the root cause – large deposits of lipid within the blood vessels did not eventually deal with. Therefore, the recurrence of CVD happens frequently for those who don’t change lifestyle and diet after treatment.
As mentioned earlier, the occurrence of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases is mainly due to the abnormal lipid metabolism, leading to hyperlipidemia, blood lipid deposition to the vessel wall. Therefore, it is a consequence of liver function degeneration. In fact, your liver also produces a lot of blood-cleaning substances daily, lecithin is the most famous one.
When the liver is functioning well, large amounts of lecithin are produced to cleanse all the trash on the walls of the blood vessels, and your blood vessels will never be plugged and always maintain a smooth and good condition. In order to completely treat CVD such as coronary heart disease and cerebral thrombosis, restore liver health is the first step; provide efficient raw materials – the nutrients (protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins, magnesium etc.) to liver, so that the liver can produce “the cleaning team” efficiently to remove plaque on the vessel wall constantly, and eventually reduce and cure the CVD conditions.
High blood pressure (HBP) and CVDs
Blood pressure refers to the force of blood exerted against arterial walls as the heart pumps blood. HBP is a major risk factor for CVD, increasing the likelihood of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. One of the main reason that causes essential hypertension is due to poor vascular flexibility, it does not relax and shrink normally, in medical term it’s called decreased vascular compliance. This is due to several factors including genetics, lack of exercise, smoking, harmful use of alcohol, stress, chronic kidney disease, too much salt in the diet, and obesity.
Doctors use anti-hypertensive drugs to treat HBP in hospital. However, blood vessels will have passive expansion over time under the effect of the drug and lead to degeneration of vascular wall – blood vessels are easy to break and bleed due to decrease in toughness. Therefore, taking anti-hypertensive drugs cannot solve the fundamental problem but worsen the condition of the vessel wall. That explains why stroke has higher chance to occur on HBP patients.
The nutritional medicine will approach to solve the problem of poor blood vessel wall elasticity, by providing essential nutrients to rebuild the structure of vessels. Such as protein, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium etc., the vessel wall will repair by themselves if sufficient amount of nutrients are delivered. Treat HBP with nutrients requires long time and also depends on the level of damage. The positive sides are reduced risk of stroke, retinopathy, kidney disease, and other complications.