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Heart Disease

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Vast amounts of individuals die each day from HIV and AIDS, various types of cancer, diabetes, suicide, homicide, traffic accidents, and drug overdoses. The massive numbers of individuals perishing from these conditions, diseases, and epidemics, are alarming, distressing and startling. HIV and AIDS were once thought and are still considered by many to be the number one killer in the United States. In the state of North Carolina alone, where I reside, it is estimated that 11,112 people are infected with HIV while another 7,128 people are infected with full blown AIDS ( These figures only represent the cases that have been reported. North Carolina represents only 2% of the United States, so one can imagine how astronomical the numbers are for the country as a whole! Frightening isn't it? Suppose I make the claim that HIV and AIDS are not the leading causes of death in the United States. You now probably find yourself wondering just what the number one assassin in the United States is. America heads the world in deaths rates from cardiovascular disease or what is often referred to as heart disease. It is the leading executioner of Americans, now causing half of all U.S. deaths (Goldberg, 14).

Cardiovascular disease or what has been termed (CVD) was once thought of as something only the in up age individuals should be concerned with. Many young adults, those individuals in their thirties and forties, believe they are not affected by this disease. The actuality is that not only is CVD the nation's leading killer for both men and women, it is also the leading killer among all racial and ethnic groups ( With some conditions and diseases certain groups of people are more susceptible to them. For example, in the U.S. sickle cell anemia is most commonly observed in African Americans and Hispanics ( With CVD no one is safe. This disease has chosen no target group. Approximately 1,000,000 Americans die of CVD each year, which adds up to 42% of all deaths. "Heart disease doesn't just kill the elderly -- it is the leading cause of death for all Americans age thirty-five and older. Heart disease accounts for over 1,000,000 deaths each year. In 160,000 of those deaths the individuals were thirty-five to sixty-four years old. ("

There are six major health-related self-governing risk factors for CVD that each and every individual can modify or control. They are cigarette and tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. The excessiveness of some: high blood pressure, and blood cholesterol and the lack of others: exercise and good nutrition greatly contribute to CVD (

Individuals that smoke have twice the risk of heart disease as nonsmokers. One-fifth of the yearly 1,000,000 deaths from CVD are attributed to smoking. Study data indicate that an estimated 1,000,000 young people become "regular" smokers each year. Cigarette smoking is so extensive and important as a risk factor that the Surgeon General has called it "the most important of the known modifiable risk factors for coronary heart disease in the United States." Cigarette smoking raises the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When it operates with other factors, it greatly increases the risk. Smoking raises blood pressure levels, reduces exercise tolerance and increases the tendency for blood to clot. Cigarette smoking is the most significant risk factor for young men and women. It creates a greater relative risk in persons under age fifty than in those over fifty (

According to Jeffery Bland, Ph.D., the chief nutritional problem in the U.S. is "overconsumptive undernutrition (Goldberg, 45)." The diet of Americans is loaded with trans-fatty acids which many studies have connected to heart disease risk (Goldberg, 45). People who are



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