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Protecting Yourself Against Heart Disease And Cancers

May 11, 2008
Heart disease is a number of abnormal conditions affecting the heart and the blood vessels in the heart. Types of heart disease include coronary artery disease, Angina, Heart attack, Heart failure, Heart arrhythmias.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type and is the leading cause of heart attacks. When you have CAD, your arteries become hard and narrow. Blood has a hard time getting to the heart, so the heart does not get all the blood it needs. CAD can lead to.
Angina is chest pain or discomfort that happens when the heart does not get enough blood. It may feel like a pressing or squeezing pain, often in the chest, but sometimes the pain is in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back. Angina is not a heart attack, but having angina means you are more likely to have a heart attack.

Heart attack occurs when an artery is severely or completely blocked, and the heart does not get the blood it needs for more than 20 minutes.
Heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood through the body as well as it should. This means that other organs, which normally get blood from the heart, do not get enough blood. It does NOT mean that the heart stops.

Heart arrhythmias are changes in the beat of the heart. Most people have felt dizzy, faint, out of breath or had chest pains at one time. These changes in heartbeat are, for most people, harmless. As you get older, you are more likely to have arrhythmias. Don't panic if you have a few flutters or if your heart races once in a while.

Sedentary people are about twice as likely to die of a heart attack as people who are physically active. In Canada, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the number one cause of premature death. It claims the lives of 79 500 Canadians each year and costs the health-care system over $7.3 billion in direct costs. By 2011, the annual growth in deaths due to CVD will be over four times the population growth. Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of this disease.

In addition to its effects on the heart, exercise makes the lungs more efficient. They take in more oxygen, and their vital capacity (ability to take in and expel air) is increased, providing more energy for you to use. As demonstrated in a 20-year study of almost 4000 men, regular physical activity also makes blood less likely to clot and cause a stroke or heart attack. There are many different types of cancers. All of them are characterized by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in some part of the body.

An estimated 153,100 new cases of cancer and 70,400 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2006. The most frequently diagnosed cancer will continue to be breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men. The leading cause of cancer death for both sexes continues to be lung cancer.

Recent studies have shown that physical activity can reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 50 percent. There were 5900 deaths in Canada from colorectal cancer in 1997. Physically fit men are less likely to die of prostate and colon cancer than others. Research also shows that physical activity may protect against breast cancer in women by lowering blood levels of estrogen in postmenopausal women.

There are many known risk factors for cancer such as tobacco use, poor diet and other risks. Tobacco Use is the cause of almost 30 per cent of all fatal cancers in Canada and a major cause of lung cancer, one of the most preventable cancers. Diet with a high proportion of dietary fat causes about 20 per cent of fatal cancers. Colon and prostate cancers are associated with diets high in fat. Other Risks include workplace hazards, family history, alcohol use, reproductive factors, sexual activity, sunlight, drugs, and ionizing radiation.

Furthermore, Weak and brittle bones are common among people who dont exercise. Osteoporosis, a condition in which bones lose their mineral density and become increasingly susceptible to injury, affects a great many older people. Women, in particular, are more vulnerable because their bones are less dense to begin with. Close to 25 percent of women over age 50 and half over age 70 will develop osteoporosis.

Researchers estimate that a minimum of two 45-minute exercise sessions per week may protect the bones of postmenopausal women.

Moreover, moderate exercise correlates with a reduced number of sick days. Exercise may enhance immune function by reducing stress hormones like cortisol that can dampen resistance to disease.

In recent studies, women who walked briskly for 35 to 45 minutes five days a week experienced half the number of sick days with cold symptoms as inactive women. While moderate exercise seems to bolster a persons immune system, heavy training may increase the risk of upper respiratory tract infections for endurance athletes.

Additionally, Exercise makes people feel good from the inside out.

Exercise boosts mood, increases energy, reduces anxiety, improves concentration and alertness, and increases the ability to handle stress. This may be the result of increased levels of mood-elevating brain chemicals called endorphins.
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