What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease refers to multiple heart-related conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and more. All of these are chronic conditions that may lead to severe — sometimes life-threatening — symptoms, including:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Cardiac arrest
Living with cardiovascular disease can be extremely challenging, often dictating what you can and cannot do with stringent physical limitations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Causes and Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease may develop due to trauma or lifestyle factors. In some cases, there is a genetic component, but personal choices and medical conditions may increase the risk. The most common risk factors include:
- Physical trauma to all or part of the heart
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- A large consumption of alcohol
- Being overweight or obese
- Poor dietary choices
- Low activity levels
- High stress and anxiety levels
Traditional Treatments for Cardiovascular Disease
Medications are among the most popular treatments for heart disease. There are countless forms of medications that are aimed at slowing the progression of cardiovascular disease and lessening symptoms. The major options often include:
- Anticoagulants or blood thinners
- Antiplatelet therapies
- Cholesterol-lowering medications
While medications are an effective treatment for some individuals, they may come with a long list of side effects. Medications also tend to be a life-long commitment, meaning there is a high demand on sustainable treatment methods without a heavy dependence on medications.
In most cases, commiting to a healthy lifestyle can actively work to prevent cardiovascular disease in adults. However, making positive health choices can also help reverse heart disease in patients who already have it or who are at great risk for developing it. Healthy lifestyle changes may include:
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Consuming a healthy diet
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Adopting a Keto lifestyle
How Ketosis Treats Cardiovascular Disease
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state that allows your body to burn fat for fuel. During ketosis, your body produces ketones from your fat stores, which can be used for energy when there are no more carbohydrates left to burn. Although you always produce a small amount of ketones, you can dramatically increase your ketones (and the fat you burn) by reducing the calories you eat, fasting, reducing carbohydrates in your diet, or increasing your activity with exercise.
When practiced regularly, entering ketosis has countless benefits, including weight loss, decreased inflammation and improved mental clarity. Maintaining a state of ketosis can even help reverse heart disease.
A 2020 study revealed a critical role for mitochondrial pyruvate use in cardiac function and highlighted the potential of dietary interventions to enhance cardiac fat metabolism to prevent or reverse cardiac dysfunction and remodeling in the setting of MPC deficiency.
A 2021 report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that the ketones released in ketosis and even exogenous ketones can help protect the heart in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Research on cardiovascular disease treatment is ongoing. Stay up-to-date on the latest studies that test how ketosis and autophagy may affect heart health.