Heart health is something every person should be concerned about. You may not pay attention, but your heart is working round the clock for you. Your heart is really the most crucial organ in the body as it pumps oxygen and blood into your body. When you don’t give the care your heart needs, it can result in severe issues, including a blockage in arteries, plaque formation, etc. You should understand the factors contributing to heart disease and the measures that help to prevent them.
Risk Factors Contributing To Heart Disease
- High blood cholesterol – One of the significant factors contributing to heart disease is cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance carried in your blood that is found in every body cell. Extra cholesterol comes in your body when you eat animal products or anything high in saturated fat. If you develop too much bad cholesterol, it can lead to heart disease.
- High blood pressure – High blood pressure increases the risk of heart stroke, heart attack, and any disease related to the heart. It varies with age and activities, but a standard reading for a resting adult is 120/80. If you smoke, or you are obese or have high cholesterol with high blood pressure, the chances of heart disease increases.
- Diabetes – Heart disease is the leading cause of severe illness or even death among people with diabetes, especially those who have type 2 diabetes. It is estimated by The American Heart association that about 65 percent of diabetes patients die due to cardiovascular disease.
- Obesity – Extra weight is the main reason for high cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, all factors that contribute to heart disease.
- Physical Inactivity – People who are not active are more prone to heart diseases than those who exercise daily. Workout helps to maintain a healthy weight, diabetes, and cholesterol level. Also, you can strengthen your heart muscles and arteries more flexibly with exercise.
- Age – The risk for heart disease also increases with increasing age. As we age, our heart tends to work less efficiently. The arteries stiffen and harden, and the heart’s wall thickens with age, because of these changes, the risk increases.
1. Keep Moving
Being too much inactive is a significant risk of heart disease—exercise and maintaining a healthy weight lowers the bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. According to the experts, being active for at least 30 minutes a day proves beneficial to minimize the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The exercise doesn’t have to be intensive; the motive is to stay active. Also, regular workout results in weight loss, which cuts down the risk of obesity. If you want to begin some activity you can start with:
- At least two strength-training sessions a week;
- Minimum 150 minutes a week of any moderate aerobic exercise;
At least 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity.
2. Quit Smoking
You can favor your heart by quitting smoking or any other tobacco product. Your blood vessels may get damaged due to the chemical present in tobacco. Cigarettes reduce the oxygen in your blood that eventually increases your blood pressure because your heart has to work harder to supply an adequate amount of oxygen to your body. As soon as you quit smoking, the risk of heart disease starts to decrease. A year without cigarettes and the risk of heart disease would be half than any smoker.
3. Heart-Healthy Diet
A healthy diet rich in nutrients helps to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, bad cholesterol, obesity, and blood pressure. Load your diet with vegetables and fruits, beans, whole grains, fat-free dairy products, and healthy fats. Also, limit the intake of sugar, salt, alcohol, trans fat, and saturated fat.
4. Enough Sleep
A lack of sleep not only leaves you yawning but also harms your health. Those who can’t get enough sleep have more chances of high blood pressure, obesity, heart attack, depression, and diabetes. We require a minimum of seven hours of sleep per day. Enough rest should be a priority in your life. Make sure you stick to the sleep schedule and go to bed and wake up at the same time daily. If you feel you’re tired the whole day despite getting enough sleep, consult your doctor because chances are that you’ve developed obstructive sleep apnea. This condition increases the risk of heart disease.
5. No Stress
You may have seen many people who cope with stress in absolutely unhealthy ways like overeating, drinking, smoking, etc. These are really harmful to your heart. Find more healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise, meditation, and other means of relaxation. Working out has proved beneficial to fight stress. When people work out, they feel endorphins that make them feel better.
6. Maintaining Proper Weight
Excessive weight also increases the risk of heart disease. It increases inactivity, laziness, and risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. On the other hand, if someone is drastically underweight, heart disease could be very harmful to them as it could be the reason of death. Maintaining a healthy weight is vital as it protects your heart from damage. When your weight is maintained, it encourages the blood circulation and flow of essential fluids, preventing load on your heart.
7. Manage High Blood Pressure
Most of the people are suffering from high blood pressure nowadays. It is the most severe cause of heart disease as there are no physical symptoms of high blood pressure, you have to get it checked to know whether you’re in the heart-healthy range. If not treated, high blood pressure can damage the arteries and heart. The good news is your blood pressure can be maintained, and if you have really high blood pressure, consult a doctor.
8. Control High Cholesterol
About one in six adults has high cholesterol, which increases the chances of heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein is termed as bad cholesterol, and High-density lipoprotein is termed as good cholesterol. Excess of bad cholesterol or a shortage of good cholesterol may build up plaque on the walls of arteries. Over the period, the arteries harden and become narrower, which leads to severe heart diseases. Also, high cholesterol reduces the blood flow due to which you may feel a shortage of breath or chest pain.
9. Control Diabetes
Diabetes is such a severe issue that can start a chain reaction of other medical issues in the body. It may cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which leads to heart disease. About 65 percent of diabetes patients die of heart disease or stroke. Consult your doctor, and come with a treatment plan that can keep you on the right track.
10. Proper Medications
If you have a medical issue, your doctor may prescribe medications for controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. Make sure you take all the medications as directed.
The Bottom Line
The key to avoiding many heart and brain diseases is healthy living. This means being active and fit, managing your sugar and blood pressure levels, checking up on cholesterol, and saying NO to tobacco. Make sure you take proper nutrients in your diet and limit the intake of fat. Another key to staying fit is exercising. Regular workout reduces the chances of a heart attack, but if you have a heart problem, already consult your doctor before taking up any training or workout plan. You must manage those conditions that can put you at risk. Do not ignore any signal your body is trying to give you and consult a doctor immediately if needed.