It’s that time of year again. As we enter the time when bacon eaters from all over the Sacramento, California come to the local restaurants to sample every type of cuisine featuring bacon, we become blissfully unaware of a deadly killer lurking behind the smoky goodness.
It is a killer so pervasive that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has listed it as 2013’s leading killer of American middle-aged males (age 45-54), even surpassing Cancer. That killer is called heart disease, and each year, an East Sacramento walk in clinic diagnoses thousands of cases.
So How Can Bacon Kill You?
It’s not so much the practice of eating bacon that can kill you. Eating one or two pieces of bacon every once in a while isn’t going to kill you and may even be beneficial. Nor is bacon by any means a fast killer – it slowly kills over time. As with most things though, it’s an overabundance of bacon that kills you. That’s because bacon contains a lot of fat, salt and nitrates.
Two Kinds of Cholesterol
I’m sure you’ve heard a host of doctors talk about how you should avoid cholesterol, and how too much cholesterol can kill you. We know that there are two forms of cholesterol – good cholesterol (or HDL cholesterol) and bad cholesterol (or LDL cholesterol).
The fat, salt and nitrates in bacon contain high levels of LDL cholesterol – exactly the type you want to avoid, and exactly the type that can create a nasty plaque buildup within your arteries, the blood vessels that move Oxygen-giving blood to your heart.
HDL Cholesterol Keeps Your LDL Cholesterol Low, But Has Its Limits
The reason you don’t “keel over” from eating bacon (as long as it’s not in excess) is because of your HDL cholesterol, which is designed to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol. Here’s where the game becomes more dangerous – as you get older, your HDL cholesterol levels decrease, which means your body is not as effective at keeping your LDL cholesterol levels in check by itself, and your HDL cholesterol will need help building itself back up.
However, your LDL cholesterol can overwhelm your HDL cholesterol when you eat too much bacon, and as that LDL cholesterol sits in your bloodstream, it creates a sticky sludge in your arteries called plaque. When the plaque hardens, it forms a blood clot, which is the deadliest enemy of a healthy heart. This is because blood clots interfere with normal blood flow. Remember, your heart and brain are your most important organs for keeping you alive, and they need oxygen to function correctly. If a blood clot is interfering with blood flow, your blood cannot carry enough oxygen to your heart and brain to keep them functioning properly. Eventually, the affected organ will die out from a lack of oxygen, creating either a heart attack or a stroke.
Have A Safe And Happy Bacon Fest!
East Sacramento urgent care providers strongly advises you to exercise caution when eating large amounts of bacon at any time, and especially during Bacon Fest. Be sure to enjoy yourself, and have a safe and happy festival!