Cardiovascular Health

Common cardiovascular disorders include:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, varicose veins, heart palpitations and angina.

circulation-picture.jpgWith 34% of all deaths in Australia being due to cardiovascular disease, it is vital to do everything you can to keep your heart healthy. If you are healthy, your heart and blood vessels work together in a balanced manner to deliver blood to every tissue and organ in your body - keeping you alive and well. Did you know?

  • Your heart can beat over 100,000 times every day!
  • Adults have an average of 4.7 to 5.0 litres of blood in their body.
  • Normal, healthy blood pressure is around 120/80.
  • The World Health Organisation has estimated that one in every eight deaths world-wide is linked to unhealthy blood pressure.

There are many factors that may increase your risk of heart disease, these include eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats, being overweight, not exercising, having high cholesterol, certain health conditions such as diabetes and cigarette smoking.

What about blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force blood exerts on the inside walls of blood vessels as it travels through the body. A build up of cholesterol plaque or fatty deposits in your blood vessels will narrow the diameter of your blood vessels and increase your blood pressure. Continuous high blood pressure can damage your heart, kidney, eyes and blood vessels in the brain, so it is important to ensure that your blood pressure is maintained within healthy limits.

What about cholesterol?

This may surprise you, but cholesterol itself is not bad for you. In fact, cholesterol is a normal component of your body and is needed to keep you healthy. Cholesterol is found in the bloodstream and in all cells of your body. Cholesterol is an important substance, as it is used to produce hormones and other important compounds within the body. It?s normal to have cholesterol, but problems can arise when you have too much cholesterol or too much of the "bad" cholesterol.

There are two main forms of cholesterol: LDL and LDL. LDL is the "bad" cholesterol and when too much of this form of cholesterol is in the blood, it can clog up your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. HDL is the "good" cholesterol: HDL actually helps lower your risk of developing heart disease.

There are many things that can be done to improve your cardiovascular health:

  • Doing regular exercise has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, as it makes your heart work more effectively and helps maintain cardiovascular health.
  • Eat foods high in the good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, from foods such as avocados, lean meats and oily fish, as these are all sources of "good" fats.
  • Reduce foods high in "bad" saturated and trans fats, including cheese, butter, fatty meats and fried food, as these are all sources of "bad" fats.
  • Lose weight. Being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it raises cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Increase foods high in soluble fibre, including oat bran, soybeans and baked beans, as these have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol reabsorption.

You may benefit from a few key nutrients that are well researched for their effects on improving cardiovascular health including magnesium,taurine, fish oils, arginine, folate, B12, B6, trimethylglycine, Co10, hawthorn, bonito peptides, policosinols or krill oil.

Your naturopath can provide a range of personalised options and lifestyle programs designed to keep your cardiovascular system as healthy as possible. If you are concerned with the health of your cardiovascular system, then see a naturopath to discuss the range of options available to help.