Cardiovascular disease, or it is commonly called as Heart Disease, is a general term for all disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Heart disease is caused by atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries which is manifested by the formation of plaque in the arteries. It gives no warning! The first sign or symptom of heart disease is often a heart attack, a third of which are fatal. It's the number one killer worldwide, killing 7.2 million people a year.
Although heart attacks can occur without warning, they don't just happen. The conditions that lead to a heart attack was build up over many years. Heart attack, strokes and other serious cardiovascular disorders, are usually a consequence of atherosclerosis.
Atheroschlerosis is a condition depicted by a constant narrowing of the artery brought about by a growing plaque on the arterial wall, mostly caused by an earlier injury, causing a stenosis or a blockage. In many cases too, the presence of the plaque will cause a hardening of the artery which may result in ruptures that can lead to a fatal heart attack.
One of the main cause of atheroma or plaque is the presence of PEROXIDIZED LIPIDS in our body. Lipid peroxidation refers to the oxidative degradation of lipids. It is the process whereby free radicals "steal" electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. Lipids that are most susceptible to peroxidation are found in most lipoproteins such as the LDL. Most of us are familiar with the term LDL and some of us do understand that high LDL levels usually means high risks of Coronary Heart Disease. What most of us do not know is that LDL has a specific and important function in delivering cholesterols to all over our body where it is an ingredient that we cannot do without. The real danger comes when the contents of the LDL especially the triglycerides and cholesterols that it is carrying are oxidized, promoting free radicals. It has also been found recently that a fair amount of oxidized cholesterols are being ingested from food, causing an exacerbation of atheroschlerosis. Due to the function of the LDL in ferrying lipids from the liver to the body, peroxidation of lipids in LDL will have the most profound effects as these peroxidized lipids will be deposited for use by our body.
So in essence, LDL and cholesterols are not the danger. They will be more of a danger when allowed to be oxidized (when exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS) in our body) or when a fair amount of oxidized cholesterols (oxycholesterols) are being consumed which can make normal cholesterols being susceptible to oxidation - a dangerous chain reaction leading to development of atheromas or plaques.
Injury occurs on the inside surface of artery. Plaque begins to develop inside artery wall Plaque buildup causes the wall of the artery to bulge inward, restricting blood flow. There is one cause that is gaining a great deal of attention recently and that is the relationship between chronic infection and atherosclerosis. Recent research demonstrated that certain microorganisms can cause or at least be involved in the development of arterial plaque, which leads to heart disease. In the early 1990s, a cardiologist by named of Brent Muhlestein from LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and University of Utah discovered the presence microorganisms in atherosclerosis plaque. Brent and colleagues found evidence of Chlamydia in 79% of plaque specimens taken from the coronary arteries of 90 heart disease patients. Leading to animal studies which provided more direct evidence that the bacteria might contribute to chronic inflammation and plaque formation. It was shown that infecting rabbits with Chlamydia measurably thickens the arterial walls of the animals. Removing the Chlamydia with antibiotics later lead to a reversal of the arteries to normal sizes.
Although many risk factors are associated with heart disease including age, gender (male), smoking, stress, lack of exercise, heredity, blood cholesterol levels, overweight, diabetes, hypertension, homocysteine level and arterial inflammation plus the presence of some specific pathogens, the incidences of atherosclerosis leading to Coronary Heart Disease can be moderated and assisted by the use of the virgin coconut oil.
Remember that it is not the fat or the cholesterols but the peroxidation of these lipids that gave rise to atheroschlerosis. Due to the varied factors that can be contribute to lipid peroxidation and hence, atheroschlerosis, it is important to manage the risks better over a longer term by limiting exposures to factors that could increase the levels of free radicals in our body. Abstinence from smoking, excessive drinking, moderating stress levels and eating healthily apart from having an active lifestyle will go a long way in keeping atheroschlerosis at bay.