Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the heart, veins and the heart’s blood vessels. Coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart failure, congenital heart disease are some examples of cardiovascular disease. They are the leading cause of death in India in India and around the world.
Until some years ago, this was labeled as “senior citizens disease” because most of its sufferers were aged 65 and above and were predominantly men. Nowadays it is quite common for 45 year-olds to have a heart attack.
The main cause for the rapid spread of this disease is mostly social in nature. Tobacco use is on the rise and clean, healthy eating has taken a backseat. A major gap in heart-health awareness is also a big factor.
Medical science suggests some ways CVD can be prevented:
- Quit smoking – This is probably the most important thing you can do for your health.
- Diet and exercise – The need for a healthy diet and regular exercise cannot be stated enough. It is crucial to maintaining cardiovascular wellness.
- Try to stabilize any other conditions you might have like diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Proper care of these three problems can prevent the progression of CVD.
Since the early 80’s, a trend has been circulating research studies that suggest there might be a link to having a Vitamin D deficiency and being prone to CVD. However, there is not enough concrete proof to say with a great degree of certainty that the two are connected.
The reason for the link between CVD and vitamin D deficiency were studies that made a connection between people who didn’t get enough sun exposure in northern European countries (that is to say, a deficiency was noticed) and those that had chronic conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. However, the results were declared inconclusive as they did not meet the criteria for guaranteeing cause and effect.
The scientific community is still working on data regarding a vitamin d deficiency and CVD. Perhaps clinical trials over the next decade or so might shed some new light on this topic and have sufficient proof to back it or disagree with it.
Having said that, Vitamin D is a hormone that does an impressive amount of work. Without Vitamin D your body cannot absorb calcium to build and regenerate bone growth. Without this essential vitamin, the bones of kids and adults alike face a number of problems like rickets and osteomalacia.
Vitamin D deficiency has recently been linked to a number of chronic diseases such as cancers of the breast, the colon, the prostate, depression and weight gain. Studies show that people who get enough vitamin D have a lower risk of diseases. However, this does not definitively prove that lack of vitamin D causes diseases to occur or that taking supplements of vitamin D would lower the risk of diseases.
What’s the best source of Vitamin D?
Food alone won’t meet your vitamin D needs. Exposing your skin regularly to sunlight has been proven beneficial but see that you don’t overdo it or you could end up with skin cancer in the long run.
If you’re going to take supplements to meet your daily requirement, keep in mind that the daily requirement across all ages is a range of 400 – 800 IU per day, the upper limits of which have been set at 1500-4000 IU per day.
The best thing that one can do to prevent the progress of CVD is to read as much information as you can from the right sources and always act upon the advice given only by a medical professional. Symptoms of a heart attack resulting from CVD are not always the same for everyone. If you have chest pain that doesn’t go away, don’t overlook it. Instead, seek immediate medical attention.