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DIET AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects the heart and blood vessels. It is theleading cause of death and permanent disability in the United States today. The grief and economic distress it causes are staggering. Organizations, espe-cially the American Heart Association, are promoting programs designed to alert people to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and thereby reduce its frequency. A group of risk factors have been identified and are known as the metabolic syndrome, previously known as syndrome X. These risk factors apply to children as well as adults.
• Abdominal obesity
• High blood lipids such as high triglycerides, low HDL, and high LDL
• High blood pressure
• Insulin resistance
• Elevated highly sensitive C-reactive protein in the blood
Those diagnosed with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular disease can be acute (sudden) or chronic. Myocardialinfarction, or MI, is an example of the acute form. Chronic heart diseasedevelops over time and causes the loss of heart function. If the heart can maintain blood circulation, the disease is classified as compensated heartdisease. Compensation usually requires that the heart beat unusually fast.Consequently, the heart enlarges. If the heart cannot maintain circulation, the condition is classified as decompensated heart disease, and congestive heart failure (CHF) occurs. The heart muscle (myocardium), the valves, the lining (endocardium), the outer covering (pericardium), or the blood vessels may be affected by heart disease.
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