According to the World Health Organization, around 26% of deaths in 2015 were due to heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease. If you’re safe from poverty-related diseases, then your chances of suffering from heart issues will be even higher than this. Around 1 in 3 deaths in the United States are heart-related, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.
The most common cause of heart problems is the build-up of plaque on the inner walls of arteries that go to the heart. Arteries are large blood vessels that connect the heart to the rest of the body and carry oxygen and nutrients to/from the heart and the rest of the body. They should be flexible and elastic to efficiently deliver blood, but age and plaque build-up can make them less elastic and harder.
Plaque is made up of an accretion of blood, cholesterol fats and other substances that clog or even block the arteries to the point where less blood can flow through the heart and a heart attack ensues. Where the heart cannot deliver enough blood to the brain, a stroke can result in damaging parts of the brain. A weak heart can cause or make worse any number of other symptoms which can be directly or indirectly life-threatening.
The clogging up of the arteries is, in part, due to a bad diet and poor lifestyle choices. It is said that only one percent of people eat what doctors recommend as a healthy diet, so it is likely that the rest of us can do better to clean up our act – and our arteries. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent and even reverse the arterial damage by eating well and living a healthy lifestyle.