Preventing Heart Disease: How To Stay Heart Healthy

Overview of Heart Disease, Possible Causes & Risk Factors 

Heart disease is any problem that affects the heart. Cardiovascular disease is a disease of the heart as well as the blood vessels. Any problem that affects the blood vessels can impact the heart and cause heart problems. Heart disease is a leading cause of death and disabilities.

The risk factors for heart disease are of two types. Those that one can control and those that one cannot control.

The risk factors that cannot be controlled are family history, race, age, and gender. A family history of cardiovascular disease increases one’s risk for the same. Certain ethnic groups have a higher predisposition to having heart disease when compared to others. South Asians have a higher risk of heart disease. The risk of heart diseases increases with age. For men, the risk increases after the age of 45 and for women after 55. It is found that estrogen in women is a protective factor against heart disease in women. But diabetes makes the risk of heart disease higher in women than in men. You have a greater risk if you have a close family member who had heart disease at an early age.

How to keep heart healthy
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The risk factors for different types of heart disease that can be controlled are

Smoking

Smoking affects the blood vessels and causes plaque build-up and eventually atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. It increases blood pressure and reduces the amount of good cholesterol.

Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol 

The high levels of blood sugar in diabetics can over time damage the blood vessels as well as the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels. High blood pressure stresses the heart as well as the blood vessels and leads to heart disease. High cholesterol levels can contribute to the build-up of plaque in the arteries and may cause heart disease.

Sedentary Lifestyle

A lifestyle that has little physical activity contributes to weight gain and other health complications that may lead to heart diseases.

Poor Diet

A diet that is low in nutrition and high in sugar, salt, and saturated fats is a contributing factor for heart problems.

Stress

Considering the modern sedentary lifestyle, stress is something that’s hard to avoid. Thus, it is a prominent risk factor for high blood pressure that may ultimately lead to heart diseases.

Obesity

Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease as well as other health complications. However, it is a factor that can be controlled to minimize the risk of heart-related complications. Adopting a wholesome nutrition & exercise regime is highly advised to keep your weight under control and your heart healthy.

Alcohol

Excessive intake of alcohol increases one’s blood pressure as well as adds calories to one’s diet, both of which are contributing factors to heart problems.

Lack Of Sleep

Lack of proper sleep makes one prone to diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. If one has conditions such as sleep apnea that prevent a restful sleep, it adds to the risk.

Tips For Staying Heart Healthy 

The simplest tips to stay heart healthy are to focus on the key aspects of exercise, diet, sleep and controlling high blood pressure, high sugar and cholesterol.

 Quit Smoking

Smoking is hazardous, not only to the heart but also to other organs. The best way to minimize the risk of heart diseases and associated complications is to quit smoking. When it comes to quitting smoking, you must also avoid exposure to passive smoking.

Keep Diabetes, Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Under Control

One should get tested regularly and keep blood sugar levels, blood pressure levels and cholesterol under control by lifestyle changes as well as medication as recommended by a doctor.

Exercise

Exercise has multiple health benefits. It helps to strengthen the heart and the circulatory system, maintain a healthy weight and prevent other health complications. One should get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five times a week. One should also try to be as active as possible in daily life.

Eat Healthily

Eating a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and limiting sugar, salt, and fat content can go a long way in lowering the risk of heart diseases.

Stress Management And Sleep Habits

One should learn to handle stress by meditation, yoga, listening to music, or any other activity that helps one to relax. Good sleep habits are essential for good heart health. A person needs about 7 to 9 hours of sleep a day. If there are problems such as sleep apnea that make it hard to get a restful night’s sleep, timely medical intervention is suggested.

Weight Management

Combining adequate exercise with a nutritious diet is a good way to maintain a healthy weight. One must learn to balance the intake of calories with one’s level of activity.