A while ago, I wrote a blog about cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how you can prevent it. I thought it might need some updates.

First, I find it curious that although CVD is more likely to kill you, fear of CVD is not on the top 30 list of fears. Instead of fear of things that aren’t necessarily dangerous like flying, heights, spiders, dentists, clowns and the like. Meanwhile, CVD is the number one cause of heart attacks and the number three cause of strokes. 

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About 800,000 people in the U.S. fall victim to stroke each year, with about 140,000 of those instances being fatal. Many of the people who don’t die are left with permanent impairment. Stroke is so common you most likely know someone who has been affected.

Heart disease affects about 28 million American adults and causes around 614,000 deaths per year.

What if any of the top fear items actually caused this number of death or impairment? What if spider bites killed 140,000 people a year and maybe left 3 or 4 times that number permanently impaired?  What if avoiding certain foods lowered your risk of these deadly spider bites?

What if clowns hurt 28 million people and killed 600,000 per year? I know these are silly comparisons but I think you get the idea.

Maybe it is better to think of heart disease and strokes like a bunch of scary clowns and spiders. If you take certain steps, you can dramatically decrease the probability of encountering them.

Let’s start with the basics of preventing cardiovascular disease.  You should maintain a decent weight and stick to eating a prudent diet. You should also cut out smoking, which means cutting out second-hand smoke too. These measures will eliminate about 80% of the CVD problems.

Sounds easy enough, but eating a decent diet will probably mean giving up some of your favorite foods. One person I know ate himself into a stroke eating too many convenience store hot dogs and a large bag of Cheetos each day. If he had thought about a stroke as fear of heights or dentists, maybe he would have had the motivation to make some dietary changes.

We can’t talk about CVD without cholesterol. First, I need to point out that I will be using the conventional terms LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and related terms. I want you to know that I know that we don’t actually measure cholesterol but the lipoproteins (HDL and LDL etc) that transport cholesterol in the blood. HDL and LDL are like train cars. We look at the type of train car and assume they are all full.

Cholesterol plays a very important role in the formation of CVD. The risk of heart attack is highest in men and women who have low HDL levels and high total cholesterol levels. A 10% decrease in cholesterol levels can result in a 20%-30% decrease in CVD.

Approximately 20% of Americans have high blood cholesterol levels and 31% have borderline high levels. About 40.6 million Americans have total cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dl or above, which is considered high risk in adults. Although some variations in laboratory reference ranges may exist, you are considered to be at high risk of heart disease if your cholesterol levels are above 240 mg/dl. You are at moderate risk if your levels are between 200 mg/dl and 240 mg/dl and low risk if your levels are below 200 mg/dl.

Next week, we’ll talk more about cholesterol and why it’s seen as the primary villain. We’ll also discuss how you can regulate and test your cholesterol.  In the meantime, for more on cardiovascular health or to shop cardiovascular health supplements, visit us at OVitaminPro.com.