Preventing Heart Disease In the Womb
Currently, children are screened and treated for heart disease long after the damage has already been done, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Preventing heart disease should be the primary goal of healthcare providers seeing as how heart issues are the leading causes of death in the United States. Because of its status as the number one killer in the country, many people view heart disease simply as an inevitability or an unavoidable stroke of bad luck, but the science says that we can eliminate 90% of the risk.
There are two ways we can go about preventing heart disease. The first is the usual go-to in the Western world; the clinical method. A patient is diagnosed with a high risk of developing heart disease and is then asked to make severe lifestyle changes and/or set the child on a drug regimen that could potentially last a lifetime. This method is unreliable due to the fact that doctors exert less effort in recommending lifestyle changes since preventative health care is not profitable. If all you have to do to get better is change your diet, the doctor can’t prescribe an expensive pill and make money. In addition, the lifestyle change needed when attempting to prevent heart disease in young children means that their diet can be limited to almost exclusively plant-based foods. While a mostly vegetarian diet in itself is not a bad thing, what is bad is that it can be difficult for a kid to give up foods they have come to love the taste of when the surrounding culture promotes the consumption of the very foods that give rise to cardiovascular issues.
The good news is that expecting mothers can help eliminate the vast majority of their children’s risk of developing heart problems such as atherosclerosis later on in life by altering their diet. Studies have found links associated between a mother’s cholesterol level and a baby’s likelihood of developing heart disease. So while it may be difficult to get a child to willingly embrace a better lifestyle, if the mother makes that decision before the baby is even born, the baby will grow up with healthy eating habits and preventing heart disease will already be a normal part of life. It may be difficult for some to switch to a more plant-based diet, but the safety and well-being of our children should absolutely trump the inconvenience that the change may pose.