If you thought heart disease was a health problem of the modern age, brought about by junk food and our internet-fixated sedentary lifestyles, then think again. CT scans of ancient mummies have revealed our ancient forefathers also suffered the hardening of the arteries that this disease brings. These latest findings from researchers at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, suggest that cardiovascular disease might be a result of aging as much as lifestyle. However, rather than see this as a reason to abandon an active, healthy eating lifestyle, this should spur you on to keep your body in the best possible condition.
Out of the 137 mummies from Peru, Egypt and the US, that were analyzed with a CT scan, over a third of them showed probable or definite signs of atherosclerosis which has often been attributed to unhealthy lifestyles. In mummies over the age of 40 when they died, over 50% had coronary calcifications which lead to heart disease and strokes. CT scans though are unable to show that any of the mummies had in fact died from this condition.
If heart disease has been around for much longer than first thought it could be because of a genetic predisposition. This means that there is no total get-out clause and as people age. Some cardiovascular problems may arise no matter how healthy people are. If a hunter-gatherer from ancient times can get clogged arteries then what hope is there for modern man, in countries where a cheeseburger can be picked up on any street?
Control what you can control
Rather than seeing this latest research as a sign to accept humanity's inherent health failings, the evidence should motivate you to take control where you can. As Dr Samuel Wann of Columbia St Mary's Healthcare in Milwaukee, who was involved in the study, is reported as saying: "we may have less control of this disease than some people would like to think we do, but that's all the more reason to control the risk factors that we think we can control."
Don't be fatalistic
The ancient hunter gatherers were out and about leading really active lifestyles and weren't sitting around waiting for fast food deliveries. So if even they could develop cardiovascular problems then imagine what the average overweight, inactive, stressed out individual is doing to their body. Knowing that ageing is an inevitable process doesn't mean you have to accept your fate without trying to make a change! How you live your life is important and while you might not be able to eradicate the risks of this disease you can minimize your chances by living a healthier lifestyle.
Change your lifestyle today
Much more is known about exercise and fitness today compared with 20 years ago, let alone a few thousand. While ancient people might have led active lives, today's generation can benefit from greater understanding of effective exercise and how diet and nutrition impacts the body too. Not only that, but with state-of-the-art fitness facilities modern humans have every opportunity to keep in as great a shape as generations past. Scientists, doctors and dieticians are finding out more about the body and health all the time. What you know right now, regardless of the factors you cannot change, is that a good exercise plan and healthy diet can work wonders, promoting not just longevity but helping you to improve your quality of life.
How are you combating the ill-effects of some aspects of modern day life? What are you doing to combat the ageing process and take control of your health? Let us know and let us help you out!