Cardiovascular diseases are recognized as a prime cause of mortality in most countries around the world. The symptoms of these diseases are often left undetected for years and thus eventually result in a heart attack, cardiac arrest, or stroke. It is critical to recognize that a heart attack is different from a cardiac arrest, wherein the former involves impairment in the flow of blood to the heart, whereas the latter is associated with the cessation of blood circulation. Physicians and biomedical researchers have thus focused their attention in identifying risk factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing cardiac arrest, heart attack, or stroke.
The Cardiac Health and Heart Attack Study
According to a recent article published in the journal International Journal of Preventive Medicine, the incidence of cardiovascular conditions such as cardiac arrest, heart attack, or stroke is actually preventable if proper dieting is followed. Leading a good diet may thus improve the cardiovascular system and prevent the development of damages to the muscles and blood vessels. The study of Dr. Stoner’s group focused on establishing the relationship between specific lifestyle components and the occurrence of cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke. The study also examined the impact of various lifestyle components on a specific human population, namely the indigenous groups in Australia and New Zealand. The interest in conducting such a study on indigenous populations was fueled by their significant difference in life expectancy, as compared to non-indigenous populations around the world. For example, the indigenous people of Australia had a life expectancy rate of 62 years, whereas that of the non-indigenous individuals of the same country was 81 years. The same observations have also been reported for indigenous populations in New Zealand and the United States.
The most compelling finding that was highlighted in the report involved the relationship between poor dieting and the number of cases reported for cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke. The researchers also looked into other lifestyle components such as exercise, alcohol consumption, and smoking. Interestingly, these activities have also been showed to further speed up the deterioration of health, especially when the prime risks factors for cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke were high.
The Effect of Unhealthy Food on Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
The study mainly described poor dieting as the consumption of meals that contained low to negligible amounts of fruits and vegetables. These food items contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that impart a cardioprotective effect on the body. In turn, the risk of cardiac arrest, heart attack, and stroke are more likely to decrease when fruits and vegetables are included in the daily diet. The article also cited several reports that describe the lowered risk for heart disease and stroke, especially when at least five servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed on a daily basis.
Poor dieting is also associated with the consumption of unhealthy food items, which are generally rich in sugars and fats. These macromolecules could be easily deposited in various tissues of the body, especially when an individual refrains from engaging with regular exercise. The risk of suffering from cardiac arrest, heart attack, or stroke is thus significantly increased over an extended period of time when an individual follows a poor diet.
The report of Dr. Stoner’s group emphasizes the importance of lifestyle change to improve one’s health. Poor dieting, exercise, alcohol consumption, and smoking are all considered as modifiable activities, which can prevent the deterioration of the body and development of cardiovascular diseases. The authors considered poor dieting as the main cause of various physiologic disorders, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension. In addition, coupling poor dieting with lack of exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol beverages, and smoking can further increase the likelihood of suffering from cardiac arrest, heart attack, or stroke.
Related Reading: 10 Foods to help prevent clogged arteries