It has been well established that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a condition that leads to chronic symptoms that are generally thought of as a primary disease. However, vascular injury leads to subsequent disease such as metabolic disease, obesity, high blood pressure and kidney disease. There are several contributing factors starting a person on the path of having cardiovascular disease. Some of these include:
- Oxidative (ox)stress—potentially results in DNA damage
- Increased low density lipid (LDL) that can become oxidized into oxLDLs
- Overeating/over-nutrition leads to hormonal imbalances and subsequently obesity and/or metabolic disease
- Distress/Eustress is controversial, but the body does not know the difference and they can both lead to shear stress due to increased blood flow through laminar areas of the vascular system.
- Toxins that come produced within the body (endobiotics) or enter the body from outside source (xenobiotics). Environmental effects have strong impacts on how the body responds. It is important to manage the things that are within one’s control such as smoking, exercise, and consuming a well-balanced diet.
With people livings becoming busier, it is easy to miss the warning signs. A slight weight gain here or a headache there. What then can be done about the progression of CVD and other disease states such as hypertension? I am glad you asked. Controlling hypertension for example can be maintained by making lifestyle changes consisting of exercising at least 150 minutes per week, modifying one’s diet to potentially include the dash diet, and reducing stress levels. This sounds like a lot but planning ahead is key. Often times I find myself going to a fast food restaurant because I have gotten too hungry to cook, or because I have not had time to go shopping. When I plan ahead and purchase my food for a week and pack healthy snacks, I evade the urge to go for those french fries (my go-to weapon against hunger). Additionally, I find I am less stressed if I spend some time performing rigorous exercises or get moving throughout the day. I attempt at least 250 steps every hour and 10,000 steps over the course of the day.
However, the symptoms are not the same for everyone, thus one should know what to look for to identify vascular disease early as well as forming a trusting relationship with a primary care provider because, “You’re the Cure”!! Let’s keep this conversation going. Follow me on Twitter (@AnberithaT) or on my site. I will take a deeper look at each of these topics and discuss what, if anything, can be done to combat or control these symptoms.
Anberitha Matthews, PhD is Vascular Scientist and Wellness Coach at Redefining Health, LLC. She is living a dream by researching vascular injury as it pertains to oxidative stress utilizing the data to help clients improve their quality of life, serves as Vice Chair for ATVB Communications and Membership Council of the AHA as well as perform consulting work with regard to scientific editing, grantsmanship, and protocol development. @AnberithaT