Nutritional advice for cardiovascular disease
Lifestyle and diet have a large part to play both in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Changing the way you eat, from cutting out saturated fat and increasing omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats to eating more fruits and vegetables, can make a big difference to your health and well-being.
Cardiovascular disease covers a range of disorders in which strain is put on your arteries, other blood vessels, or the heart, leading to narrowed or blocked arteries and preventing the heart from pumping blood efficiently.
The table here defines each cardiovascular disorder and outlines the main dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to treat the condition.
In addition to the advice given here, it is very important to give up smoking if you are a smoker; avoid exposure to cigarette smoke; limit your intake of alcohol (or avoid it completely if your triglyceride levels are high); lose weight if you are overweight; and increase your level of physical activity.
|Disorder||What is it?||How you can help|
|Hyperlipidaemia||A combination of high levels of cholesterol, LDL, and/or triglycerides in the blood, which can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels and clogged arteries. If untreated, you could develop angina and eventually suffer a heart attack.|
|High blood pressure (hypertension)||Persistent blood pressure above 140mmHg (systolic) and 90mmHg (diastolic), which may increase the risk of most other cardiovascular diseases.|
|Coronary artery disease||This occurs when the arteries surrounding the heart become clogged and narrowed by plaque (deposits of lipids such as cholesterol). This build-up is known as atherosclerosis, and can restrict blood flow to the heart, potentially causing angina or a heart attack.|
|Angina||Chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygenated blood due to the narrowing of the coronary arteries. It is triggered by exercise or stress.|
|Heart attack||A heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI) occurs when one or more of the coronary arteries become blocked by a combination of plaque (deposits of lipids such as cholesterol) and/or a blood clot (coronary thrombosis).|
|Stroke||A stroke can be caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain; by a blood vessel breaking (interrupting the flow of blood to an area of the brain and destroying brain cells); or by bleeding into the brain from a broken blood vessel. Stroke can lead to a loss of abilities, such as speech, movement, and memory.|
|Heart failure||Heart failure occurs when there is a reduced efficiency of the heart, which is defined as the amount of blood pumped by the heart in one minute. The disorder is characterized by the pooling of fluid in the extremities, especially in the legs and ankles, sodium retention, organ failure, and undernourishment caused by loss of appetite.|
- A bit about cardiovascular disease
- Cardiovascular disease and nutrition
- Case study: busy accountant with metabolic syndrome
- Dietary advice for heart failure
- Dietary advice for high blood pressure
- Nutrients that help cardiovascular disease
- Omega-3 and fibre - cardiovascular allies
- Reducing total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels
- Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) diet
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