Diet and Cardiovascular Disease

In France, cardiovascular problems are responsible for a third of all deaths. It is the leading cause of death among women and the second leading cause for men. However, these death rates are the lowest in the European Union for unknown reasons. The food there is certainly no stranger. It plays a vital role in the development of these cardiovascular problems.

Among the causes of cardiovascular disease, the most important is atherosclerosis, degenerative phenomenon that affects the arteries by reducing their elasticity and creating a decrease or cessation of arterial flow.

Many factors involved

This condition, which covers several diseases (ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, etc…) Many factors: genetic, nutritional, obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco, hypertension, diabetes. Among these causes, dietary factors have a very important place and role in cardiovascular disease is the subject of much research over the past 50 years in order to better prevent and control these diseases.

The relationship between dietary fat and atherosclerosis has been demonstrated since the 1960s. Too high a rate of cholesterol in the blood, or cholesterol – is tied to the arterial atherosclerosis, including coronary arteries. This rate depends in part on the balance between intake of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. It was thus demonstrated in epidemiological studies a reduction in the frequency of coronary artery disease after modification of dietary lipids. Meanwhile, we used drugs to lower cholesterol, with the same results.

In the 1970s, we distinguished the amount of circulating cholesterol carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which have a preventive effect on coronary heart disease, to those worn by the low density lipoprotein (LDL), which increase the risk . HDL cholesterol tended to increase with the addition of fat in the diet, regardless of the nature of the fatty acids.

Too many carbohydrates or alcohol…
Measuring HDL and LDL blood has a value of more precise meaning in terms of risk only to the extent of cholesterol. On the other hand, the increase in other lipid components present in the blood, triglycerides, is an additional risk factor for atherosclerosis. It is favored by a diet too high in carbohydrates and high doses of alcohol.

In addition, the decrease in coronary risk, if it is related to the reduction of saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids increase, answers to complex mechanisms not yet fully identified, including those of genetic nature. We talk for a long time “familial hypercholesterolemia”, and there would be other responders and non-responders to the elevation of LDL cholesterol after a diet rich in cholesterol due to the presence of a particular gene. This line of research is growing much now.

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