Causes of Heart Disease

Nondietary Risk Factors

  • Family history (and possible genetic factors).
  • Concurrent diseases:
    • Diabetes.
    • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Lack of exercise, and psychological stresses.
  • Cigarette smoking.

Diet-Related Risk Factors

  • Increase in blood fats (hyperlipidaemia).
  • Carbohydrates.
  • Overweight.
  • Water hardness and other mineral factors; proteins.

Of these, the most significant are increased blood fats, elevated blood pressure (hypertension), cigarette smoking and lack of exercise.

If your parent died from or sustained a premature heart attack or stroke, then the risks for you are much higher. There is a definite genetic factor involved, and one of the first questions asked by a doctor carrying out a full examination for the first time is in relation to this.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to pick and choose one’s parents. But the key fact is that if this factor is present, then additional care in regard to all other potential risk elements is essential.

Experiments have indicated that about 5 – 10 per cent of newborn babies have blood-cholesterol levels well above normal.

Many of these are not serious and may return to normal levels with the progression of time. But a certain number arc so-called “familial hypercholesterolacmic” individuals – that means they have an inherited tendency for a markedly raised cholesterol level in their blood. The outlook for such persons is not good, and there is a decidedly increased risk factor for premature heart disease.