The major risk factors for coronary heart disease include smoking, lack of exercise, high blood pressure or hypertension and high blood cholesterol. Smoking has been recognized as a risk factor since the 1950’s. The fact that blood pressure reduction was necessary to cut down the risk of heart disease and a stroke has become the focus of attention since the 1970’s.
The cholesterol story is a comparatively recent one. Although scientists and physicians have suspected high cholesterol to be a risk factor for over forty years, it is only during the past decade or so that results of several scientific studies have already demonstrated a strong relationship between high cholesterol level and heart disease. Furthermore, it has been established by reducing your cholesterol by 1%, you can reduce your risk of heart disease up to 2%. A still remarkable discovery is that you can even reverse the hardening and narrowing of your own coronary arteries through a low fat and low cholesterol diet and other changes in your lifestyle.
The National Institute of Health in United States, for example, found that people with blood cholesterol readings of over 265 mg were, at least, four times more at risk of CHD as compared to those with readings of 190 mg or less. It has been noted that only a very small percentage of people with cholesterol levels below 160 mg have heart attacks. Large population studies have found a definite and a substantial increase in the rate of heart attacks in those with blood pressure readings of 240 mg and over. Your chances of heart attack start rising significantly if your cholesterol rises over 200 mg. High cholesterol, like blood pressure has been termed as Silent Killer, since there are no symptoms of high cholesterol itself.
One day it is possible that your heart may experience lack of oxygen due to insufficient blood supply caused by the slow clogging and blockage of coronary arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis and is due to the deposition of fat and cholesterol in the walls of the arteries. – Small sized pipes that carry blood to the different parts of the body, including the heart. If a major artery leading to heart is completely blocked, this will immediately cut off the blood supply to a part of the heart and cause a heart attack.
The US Food and Drug Administration Department requires that most food items in tins and packets must carry information regarding their nutritional contents. It is a common sight to watch people in the big supermarkets looking very carefully at these tablets. It is only through these steps that the population there has succeeded in lowering the risk of heart disease.
In India, people have lagged behind in their efforts. There are many possible reasons for slowness. Lack of education and resources is a major factor. The scientists and physicians in India have however, attributed the problem of increasing deaths to CHD and high cholesterol. That, of course, is not enough. There is a paramount need to understand the problem of high cholesterol and to do all that is necessary to control high levels of it. We cannot really afford to complacent. It is now well established that a persistently high cholesterol level can almost certainly precipitate a catastrophic event such as heart attack in your life. So the need to take appropriate action is an urgent one. High cholesterol is dangerous for your heart and doing nothing about it may prove to be lethal. You cannot really wait for the government or your own doctor to talk to you about this problem.
Frankly speaking, you have to be in charge of your own health. If you continue to ignore these important matters, you may not even be alive to complain against the government or even your doctor. The ultimate responsibility is for your health is you!