Attacked from Inside
What is the leading cause of death in the U.S.? Many people would guess cancer, but they would be wrong. The leading cause of death over the past few years has been heart disease. Last year, heart diseases claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans. The most common of these is acute myocardial infarction, better known as a heart attack. Each year, about 720,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack. That averages to almost two thousand heart attack cases a day! So why are there so many heart attacks? The answer is simple: by eating unhealthily, not exercising, and smoking, millions of people put themselves at risk of suffering a heart attack.
One of the main causes of a heart attack is an unhealthy diet. Because eating healthily costs more, people turn to cheap fast food instead. This fast food is loaded with cholesterol, an important lipid used in the membranes of cells. However, if a person eats too much cholesterol, the excess begins to build up along the wall of the person’s arteries. This substance, called plaque, inhibits the flow of blood to the heart. Consequentially, the heart has to pump much harder to circulate the blood. An unhealthy diet also leads to high blood pressure which further increases the build up of plaque and other fatty matter in the arteries. All of this plaque causes decreased blood flow to the heart which makes it weaker. Although the decreased flow of blood can cause heart problems later on, the real danger is the risk that a piece of the plaque could break off, leaving a gap. If this happens, red blood cells form a clot on top of the plaque which could result in the blockage of the entire artery, causing a heart attack. Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best ways to lower the risk of having a heart attack.
Another factor that increases the risk of having a heart attack is lack of exercise. The heart is a muscle and like any other muscle, it becomes stronger by exercising. Sadly, many...
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