Heart Disease in Young Adults Term Paper

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Young Adults & Heart Disease

Research Considerations

For this paper, this writer chose to examine the subject of heart disease in young adults, with the aim to present information for young adults to help them increase their understanding of CVD. Many young adults consider heart disease as an old person's disease. From this paper, some of these young adults may become more aware that individuals of all ages, even their age, can have CVD. In turn, they will gain access to strategies presented to combat heart disease.

Questions this writer considered during the research of this paper included:

Why is heart disease a current concern for young adults?

What strategies can be implemented to combat heart disease in young adults?

The following figure (1) relates a number of components used to create this paper, which "reports" on CVD, and addresses concerns regarding heart disease and young people.

Current and Projected Concerns What is currently known about heart disease, as the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, because young adults are "increasingly adopting unhealthy lifestyles," (Reinhardt), resulting increasing consequences of those lifestyle choices also increase. Currently, cardiovascular disease (CVD) ranks as the leading cause of death globally, reportedly contributing to one third of all deaths each year. "The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke, published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in conjunction with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was launched on 26 September 2004 to coincide with the fifth annual World Heart Day, a major driving force for encouraging heart disease and stroke prevention worldwide. The report shows that heart disease and stroke are also becoming more deadly, with a projected combined death toll of 24 million by 2030." (Reinhardt)

The following figure (1) depicts projected percentages of deaths from coronary heart disease.

Figure 1: Projected Percentages of Male and Female Deaths Caused by Coronary Heart Disease (Reinhardt)

Figure 2 presents current prevalence of CVD among young adults in America

Figure 2: Comparison of CVD in Young Adult Males and Females ("Heart Disease and...")

The following facts are reported in the Atlas by Judith Mackay, and Dr. George Mensah of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Over 100 risk factors... associated with coronary heart disease... are now significant in all populations. In developed countries, at least one third of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is attributable to tobacco and alcohol use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

Risk factors, including dietary habits and smoking, are determined to a great extent by behaviours (sic) learned in childhood and are starting to appear earlier throughout the world.

High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most important preventable causes of premature death.

High cholesterol causes around a third of all CVD worldwide.

There is a larger risk of developing CVD than lung cancer from cigarette smoking. The risks are much higher in people who started smoking before the age of 16.

People are becoming obese due to the availability of food, changes in the kind of food eaten, and decreased exercise.

A low socio-economic status is associated with an increased risk of CVD due to lifestyle and behaviour patterns, lack of access to health care and chronic stress.

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for the loss of 10 per cent of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

Although genetics coplay (sic) a part, 80 to 89 per cent of persons dying from coronary heart disease have one or more major risk factors that are influenced by lifestyle.

Death rates from coronary heart disease have decreased in North America and many western European countries. It is expected that 82 per cent of the increase in coronary heart disease mortality will occur in developing countries.

Health problems related to obesity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, cost the United States an estimated $177 billion a year.

The capacity of virtually all CVD control organizations, including NGOs, and numerous other partners is inadequate to meet the challenge of the CVD epidemic.

Strategies to Address Concerns

The following figure (4) depicts CVD as the leading cause of death in the U.S. during 2002. On November 28, 2006, the reported heart disease still to be the leading cause of death, not only in the U.S., but worldwide. ("AIDS to be...")

Figure 3: Comparison of Causes of Deaths in U.S. during (Reinhardt)

The Causes and Cures Contributed to Heart Disease

Causes and cures contributed to heart disease range from research-based facts to confusing, conflicting contentions. One study proposes: "... young adults who consume more dairy products may be less likely to become obese and develop insulin resistance syndrome (IRS), a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease." ("Dairy Curbs Heart Disease" 8) Some the studies report hardening of the arteries (that atherosclerosis) the "begins in childhood." ("Study Shows Programs Can") Children over the age of approximately 2 years, as well as all adults of all ages, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program, need to adopt heart-healthy eating patterns to reduce their risk of developing heart disease as they age. Children and young adults also reportedly lower their risks for CVD when they remain physically active and maintain a healthy weight. ("Study Shows Programs Can") Elias Zerhouni, M.D., director of the National Institutes of Health, relates concerns regarding young people who maintain unhealthy weights. He stresses that the time to begin to combat heart disease is "now," by countering obesity.

Linda Van Horn, Ph.D., R.D., professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University, agrees. "You can raise a child to enjoy healthy eating and to be selective about food choices," she states. "Habits developed in childhood will hopefully last throughout their lives. With the right guidance and nutrition education, children learn to prefer healthy foods such as carrots and raisins or cereal as snacks, for example." ("Study Shows Programs Can")

Programs Can

One program initiated by the NIH labels foods as either "Whoa" foods or "Go" foods. Less healthy "Whoa" foods are high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, while more heart-healthy "Go" foods have low levels of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. ("Study Shows Programs Can") Although NIHI's science-based, national public education program targets parents and caregivers of children from 8 to 1, it presents a positive strategy for young adults to also utilize to decrease their risks for heart disease. ("Study Shows Programs Can")

The We Can! Program recommends that children:

the Eat a sufficient amount of a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.

Choose small portions at home and at restaurants.

Eat fewer high-fat foods and energy-dense foods that are low in nutrient value such as French fries, bacon, and doughnuts

Substitute water or fat-free or low fat milk for sweetened beverages such as sodas

Engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week

Reduce recreational screen time (such as television, computers, and games) to no more than two hours daily." ("Study Shows Programs Can")

New Considerations

Seth J. Baum, MD, FACC, regularly presents speeches regarding the latest scanning technology for the heart: "angiography using computed tomography (CT) images." (Pathways to Healing)

This method, less expensive than current methods for diagnosing heart problems, produces three-dimensional images of clogged cardiac arteries. Baum also regularly presents integrative strategies to prevent heart disease. To decrease risk of heart disease, Baum recommends that individuals take nutritional supplements, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and incorporate and practice stress reduction techniques, not only to prevent, but also to reverse heart disease.

Coffee... Tea... Vitamin C Claims

Some studies claim that drinking from one to three cups of coffee or tea a day reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, due to the antioxidants rather than caffeine. "A new study has shown that people who drink four or more caffeinated drinks daily have a 53pc lower risk of death from heart disease, compared to those who drink less than half a cup a day. Those who have two to four caffeinated drinks a day have a 32pc lower risk." The bad news, however, is the protective effect from coffee and tea was experienced by individuals with very high blood pressure - or in young adults under 65. (Financial Times Ltd.)

Recent research findings reported in Seminars in Preventive and Alternative Medicine shows vitamin C may help protect against a range of health disorders, including cardiovascular disease. ("Clinical Data Shows...")

Steps to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease an old adage some adults may be familiar with contends that 1000-mile journey begins with one step. This writer proposes one strategy young adults may want to implement to combat heart disease, the 10,000 steps program, is worth considering. Three Canadian researchers, however, recently challenged the concept which promotes walking 10,000 steps a day. They argue in their article: "Aerobic Exercise Better Than 10,000 Steps... The intensity of the exercise, not the exercise itself, determines if it is aerobic and if it can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity." Katrina Chan,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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