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Cardiovascular disease

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Cardiovascular disease

Risks factors for cardiovascular disease that can and can not be changed.

The risks factor for cardiovascular disease have been categorize by the American Heart Association (AHA) as the following: (1) Major risks factors that can not be changed (increasing age, male gender, and heredity). (2) Major risk factors that can be changed (cigarette/tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and physical inactivity).(3) Other factors diabetes, Obesity, and stress.

Physiological Benefits of physical Activity

Research shows that moderate, not necessarily extensive exercise is sufficient for good health. For example, for both women and men, the chance of dying from cancer and several other diseases is greater for individuals with sedentary life-styles than those who engage in a daily brisk walk of 30 to 60 minutes (Cufman, 1993). Moderate regular exercise, lasting say 15 to 30 minutes, five times a week also has been found to improve health. In fact, high levels of exercise increase the risk of injuries (Edlin p.130 ).

If you exercise regularly, your overall risk of a heart attack is about 50 percent less than if you are inactive and out of shape. With routine exercise you can reach a level of physical fitness comparable to an active person ten to twenty years younger. Regular exercise may also lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce the risk of diabetes.

Exercise increases the size of coronary arteries and reduce clogging due to atherosclerosis. Exercise also increases the efficiency of your blood's oxygen-carrying capacity and your muscles' uptake of oxygen.

Exercise has been linked to increased levels of high density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol and decreases low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. After exercising for 6 to 12 months, lowered cholesterol levels can mean as much as a 30 percent reduction in the risk of coronary artery disease (Edlin p.130).

Psychological Benefits of physical Activity

Regular physical activity can result in periods of relaxed concentration, characterized by reduced physical and psychic tension, regular breathing rhythms, and increased self-awareness. This effect is often compared to meditation and is the aim of all eastern body workouts, including Hatha yoga, t'aichi ch'uan, and many martial arts.

Moderate exercise for middle-aged and older adults is emerging as an important aide to the treatment of many diseases. These include diabetes, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, insomnia, deconditioning, and (to a degree) obesity. A recent report from the United States Surgeon General recommends that most adults exercise most if not all days of the week, accumulating 180 minutes of moderate intensity exercise weekly. If a person have been previously sedentary, encourage them to start a slow, stepwise exercise program. Ongoing support, encouragement, and follow-up can help them commit to and maintain a program of regular exercise.

Exercise has long been recognized as a key component of a healthy lifestyle. In the past decade, increasing emphasis has been placed on exercise to improve health and reduce morbidity and mortality. Until recently, most exercise studies have focused on younger adults. However, we now have convincing data that regular exercise lowers morbidity and mortality rates, even when we start exercising relatively late in life.

Middle-aged and older men and women who engage in regular physical activity have significantly higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels than those who are sedentary(Edlin p.130). Most studies of endurance exercise training of individuals with normal blood pressure and those with hypertension have shown decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Insulin sensitivity is also improved with endurance exercise. A number of factors that affect thrombotic function, including hematocrit, fibrinogen, platelet function, and fibrinolysis, are related to the risk of CVD (Edlin p.130). Regular endurance exercise lowers the risk related to these factors. The burden of CVD rests most heavily on the least active. In addition to its powerful impact on the cardiovascular system, physical inactivity is also associated with other adverse health effects, including osteoporosis, diabetes, and some cancers.


Our bodies were designed to be used. We were not designed to sit around behind desks or computers all day. But we often do. Life has become so filled with conveniences that we tend to sit back and "let our fingers do the walking." We slouch in our sofas and channel surf rather than getting up and changing the TV channel. We drive our cars just a few blocks rather than walking the distance. We have become a nonphysical society (Edlin p.129 ).

The belief that exercise is good for one's health has been the topic of scientific debate for several years. Serious scientific research designed to examine the role of exercise on mortality and morbidity was started in the 1950s, and data now show that suitable amounts of aerobic exercise not only reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, but also extend life expectancy. These data initially came by studying occupations that in degrees of physical activity, and more recently, by the energy expenditure (i.e., calorie expenditure) of various groups of people.

Occupation and coronary Heart Disease Study

A common method used to examine the role of exercise on health was to study occupations that varied in physical activity and compare heart disease rates of the various groups of workers. In general, these studies have shown that individuals who had the most physically demanding jobs suffered fewer fatal heart attacks than their sedentary counterparts. For example, conductors who walked up and down the stairs of double-decker buses in London had fewer heart attacks than the more sedentary bus drivers. In the United States, postal workers who walked and delivered the mail had a lower incidence of heart disease than those who just stood and sorted it.

One of the classical studies of the role of occupation physical activity on heart disease was conducted by medical scientists from the University of Minnesota. They studied more than 191, 000 American railroad workers. Because of union rules and benefits, railroad workers had excellent medical records, which provided the data for the study. In addition, union rules discouraged shifting from one occupations class to another. A 55-year-old person with 20 years of service was likely to have spent all 20 years at the same job.

The occupational groups studied were clerks, switchmen, and section men. The clerks represented men in jobs requiring little physical activity, while the work of the section men was the most physically demanding, and the work of the switchmen were moderate. The trends show the well established influence of age on heart disease, and that it was independent of occupation group. For each age group, the most physically active workers had the lowest heart disease rate while the least physically active clerks had the highest rates. The section men were between the two extremes.

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Keywords: cardiovascular disease statistics, cardiovascular disease symptoms, cardiovascular disease definition, cardiovascular disease treatment, cardiovascular disease meaning, cardiovascular diseases list, cardiovascular disease risk factors, cardiovascular disease cause

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