I can eat McDonald's today. I am still young.

I can eat McDonald's today. I am still young.

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women. In fact, heart disease will kill more women than men. While we are getting better at decreasing heart disease deaths with improved medical care, prevention is the key to the improvements.

People often believe that they can eat whatever they want when they are young because heart disease is not something they have to worry about. NOT TRUE. Heart disease is not a disease of the elderly. It is a spectrum disease that starts in the young. If you look at Korean and Vietnam war soldiers autopsies, there were notable fatty streaks and cholesterol plaque in their heart arteries.

A study was done in JAMA in 1999 that looked at 2876 autopsies of men and women, ages 15-34, who died of external causes. Plaque was noted in ALL of the aortas (pipe that exists the heart and gives the body blood). More than 1/2 of the right coronary arteries (arteries that give blood to the heart so it can pump) in the 15-19 year old age group had plaque and more as the group aged. Fatty streaks were more notable in the black patients, than the white patients.

This is a compelling picture that shows the plaque in the heart arteries. The darker the colors, the more the plaque. Notice the plaque in the youngest group.

What you eat matters. What you feed your children matters. If you think you can feed your children McDonald’s or eat it yourself, think again. You likely already have plaque in your heart arteries. What can you do to change this? Change your diet, decrease the triggers for plaque and prevent inflammation. A moment on the lips, truly is a lifetime in the body.