Heart Attack Reasons? The Risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Eating Your Heart Out! | “Never morning wore to evening, but some heart did break.” – Tennyson, In Memoriam. The scientist looked proud of himself as he addressed his audience. He was talking about coronary heart disease, and the audience was spellbound.
‘I predict, he said, it will take five or ten years for the myths now commonly held that there is a link between animal fats and heart disease to disappear.’ The audience burst into applause. This is what they wanted to hear.
Heart Attack Reasons? The Risk of Coronary Heart Disease!
“We need to present meat and animal fats as part of a well balanced diet: he continued. If you give up meat, it is almost certain that you will not live any longer – but it will almost certainly seem like it for those people who enjoy eating, which after all, is one of the great pleasures of life. He permitted a smile at his own joke. As far as cholesterol is concerned, he went on, ‘I can safely say that the amount of cholesterol in the blood has little or no effect on heart disease!”
The scientist’s audience were not disinterested parties. He was addressing a group of beef producers, and the conference was arranged by Britain’s meat industry – one of many such conferences to take place recently. They go into schools, colleges, gatherings of health care professionals, and anywhere else a body of opinion
formers may be found.
Eating Your Heart Out!
They are cleverly organized, and seek to present impartial scientific evidence that portrays meat as the ideal health food. Perhaps some people ever believe them. Another scientist, this time paid to come to Britain by the Milk Marketing Board – was recently flown over specially to utter these immortal words: I’m confident there is no data showing high-fat diets cause heart disease! His words were widely reported. A major sausage maker produces a leaflet all about sausages that is circulated to Britain’s schoolchildren.
The leaflet tells them about the wonderful protein in sausages and Vitamin B’, and thiamin: It even gives a complete nutritional analysis of an average sausage meal including protein, calcium, fibre, vitamin C and lots more But what of fat? The leaflet doesn’t even mention the word, not once. It’s as if fat doesn’t exist. Their boss says: The great British banger is here to stay. Forget the non-fat food fad and the vegetarian vogue, we are still sticking to sausages – children love bangers!
So what are we – and our children – to believe? The facts – the real facts — are pretty clear. Some of the more important studies that connect diet with heart disease are presented to you in this chapter. Unfortunately, this is one of the few places that you’ll easily find them.
Heart Attack Reasons? The Risk of Coronary Heart Disease!
Today, just like every other day in the United Kingdom, about 930 people will die from some disease of the heart and circulatory system. That’s one person every one and a half minutes. Or the equivalent of wiping out an entire metropolitan borough the size of Coventry, every year. In fact, of the 630,000 people who die each year in the United Kingdom, over half of them will die from a circulatory disease.
It’s the biggest single cause of death. And yet, a very large number of people do not die immediately. The lives of those people who linger on are rapidly changed beyond all recognition. After a lifetime of activity, they may suddenly have to get used to being incapacitated. Depression and worry is commonplace, not least over family finances. The quality of life almost inevitably deteriorates. And the increased risk of suffering another, perhaps fatal, heart attack is always present,
What is a Heart Attack?
In the fifth century BC. the Greek doctor Hippocrates noticed that obese people were more likely to crumple up and die suddenly but he couldn’t explain why. Another clue emerged when Leonardo da Vinci described finding plaque-like deposits in the arteries of corpses he was dissecting during the course of his anatomical
But it wasn’t until 1912 that the first clinical observation of a coronary thrombosis, or blockage, was described by Chicago physician James Herrick. We now know that the plaque like material that Leonardo found is none other than cholesterol. And we also know that strictly speaking, it’s not the thrombosis (or blockage) itself that is usually the cause of death in a myocardial infarction, it is the ensuing reduced flow of blood, that directly causes a part of the heart muscle to die.
Heart Attack Reasons? Here’s the Terminology
Angina pectoris is often a warning sign that there is severe underlying heart disease. There is a deep-seated pain behind the breast-bone, which can radiate all the way down the left arm The victim may feel extremely anxious, experience palpitations, or feel strangulation. It is often induced by physical or emotional stress. Angina may develop into a heart attack, or sometimes it may gointo remission Arteriosclerosis is the term that is used to describe any disease which hardens’ the arteries, so making it difficult or impossible for the blood to flow through them. Atherosclerosis is quite simply the most common type of arteriosclerosis.
It involves the creation of fatty deposits (mainly cholesterol) in the lining of the arteries thus restricting the blood
flow. Although we’re primarily concerned in this section with atherosclerosis as it affects the heart, it is important to realize that this is not the only target area of the body. Atherosclerosis of the arteries of the brain, for example will cause a stroke.
Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic Heart Disease (1.H.D.) is the general term to describe any disease that results in a restriction of the blood flow to the heart. It’s the same as coronary heart disease (also abbreviated to CH.D.). A Myocardial Infarction is what we usually think of as a heart attack The walls of the heart muscle are called the myocardium, and when the blood can no longer reach the myocardium that part of the heart will die in forty per cent of all myocardial infarctions, the victim is completely unaware of any previous symptoms.
He may experience intense pain, like a vice gripping his chest, shortness of breath, cold sweat, and fear of impending death. The attack may frequently be repeated within the hour. Serum is the word used to describe the liquid portion of the blood which does not contain red cells, white cells or clotting elements. Ventricular Fibrillation can follow a heart attack, and if not quickly corrected is invariably fatal. The heart seems to lose its rhythm.
it twitches instead of beating, and can no longer pump the blood around. Blood-pressure drops to zero – sudden death is imminent. Emergency treatment in hospital involves electric shock treatment through electrodes positioned on the chest.
How Does Heart Disease Happen?
We know for sure that it starts young. In the Korean war more than seventy-seven per cent of all soldiers killed were found to have narrowed arteries, due to atherosclerosis. Their average age was twenty-two. It is likely that it first starts with a small injury to the lining of an artery, caused by a virus, chemicals in cigarette smoke, high blood pressure, or injury. In the normal course of events, this small damage would be quickly repaired by the body. But sometimes the body’s maintenance men get the wrong signals
Then, instead of smoothing over the damage the artery lining begins to swell, and the underlying muscle cells start to poke through. Large white blood cells settle on the spot, and start to extract cholesterol from the blood. The cells eventually become so engorged that they burst but this just makes things worse and even more white blood cells are attracted to the site.
Cholesterol may serve
The accumulatine cholesterol may serve as ased to precipitate yer more cholesterolour of the bloodSlowly, the artery becomes more and more blocked, and the odds get shorter and shorter. So what can we do about it is coronary heart disease simply an inevitable consequence of ageing, as some people have suggested? Or can we start to take preventative action now? The evidence suggests that we can do something to protect ourselves,
Heart Attack Reasons? The First Major Study
Two pieces of evidence seemed to indicate that we should examine our diet for a possible cause of coronary heart disease. The first was that cholesterol, which had been found as deposits in the arteries was also present in the food most western people ate. All animals humans included, have the capacity to manufacture
In fact, it is essential to life, and is a necessary factor in the formation of various hormones, as well as vitamin D and helps to metabolize other fats too And as long ago as 1913, a Russian pathologist showed that he could produce atherosclerosis in laboratory animals who were fed cholesterolrich diets.
Diet and Heart Disease!
But the really seminal study that primarily established the connection between diet and heart disease, began in 1947 and involved an international co-operation of researchers in Finland, Greece Italy Japan, the Netherlands, the United States and Yugoslavia, ‘This is the basis for contemporary thinking about diet and heart disease and now has near legendary status amongst researchers in the field.
The study tracked a total of 12,770 men, all aged between forty and fifty nine when the study began, and monitored them for coronary heart disease and also undertook extensive research into each person’s lifestyle The key information that began to emerge is shown in the chart opposite which indicates very strongly that a high intake of saturated fat was linked to a high coronary death rate.
Heart Attack Reasons? The evidence
The evidence looked compelling Deaths from heart disease are shown as columns and are plotted against the left hand axis of the graph. The intake of dietary saturated fat is shown as a line and is plotted on the right hand axis. The simple conclusion to be drawn is that the more saturated fat in a nation’s diet, the greater the mortality from coronary heart disease.
The Epidemic Spreads
The researchers also found other connections. It seemed that there was also a link between the saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol the more fat, the higher the concentration of cholesterol in the blood. This, again, supported the theory that diet and heart disease were related. There was now no time to lose.
As you can see from the next chart, the death rate from coronaries was climbing higher and higher all the time One worrying fact concerning the United Kingdom, however, should be quite obvious from this chart.? In the late 1960s, the death-rate from coronaries in both Australia and the United States (both eating western-style diets) began to tumble But what happened in the UK? Quite the opposite War time rationing had forced the British to eat a surprisingly low-fat healthy diet.
War time is healthy time?
But with the end of scarcity (and cheap butter, meat and milk), the diet and the people began to look sicker and sicker In Australia, the decline in heart disease began in 1900. Research has connected this fall with a decline in butter consumption which started in 1952. And a decline in meat consumption, which started in 1958 in the United States, the fall in deaths from coronaries Warted in 1908.
Again, research has connected this with a decrease in both butter and meat consumption. But in stark contrast both butter consumption and meat consumption kept on rising in the United Kingdom In addition, milk cheese and ese consumption kept on rising and margarine consumption fell.
The picture seemed to be quite clear, Meat as a major source of animal fat in the die seemed to have a distinct effect on coronary heart disease. This was confirmed again in Israel, where another important study showed that deaths from coronaries increased as the Isreal gradually took more and more meat in their diet.
Heart Attack Reasons? Home is Where the Heart Attacks Are
But what of the United Kingdom? While countries such as Australia and the United States were improving their own previously very high death rates the U.K. was falling further and further behind.
Coronaries today kill around forty percent of all men and thirty-eight per cent of all women; a truly disgraceful state of affairs. Today, we have the dubious distinction of leading the world in deaths from heart disease. There’s just one bright feature in an otherwise depressing picture in this country. Studies of non-meat users indicate that they have a greatly reduced risk of contracting coronary heart disease. Chart above says it all.