How to Keep Your Heart HealthyheadingContent
Cardiovascular diseases are very common throughout the world and they are the number one killer of both men and women. They include diseases of the heart, such as heart attacks and heart failure, as well as diseases of the major vessels and circulation, such as strokes, aneurysms of the aorta and other vessels, and high blood pressure. Over 600,000 people a year die in the US due to heart disease.
The good news is that many of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases are preventable, or at least, controllable. Below are the most well-established risk factors for heart and vascular diseases:
- Quit Smoking – this is one of the strongest risk factors. Many people are aware of the risk of cancer with smoking, but people who smoke are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.Quitting smoking is one of the best things a person can do to improve his/her health and in some cases, it can improve life expectancy more than medical treatments.
- Manage Diabetes – this is another very strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The risk of diabetes increases proportionally with the body weight. It is easy to get checked for diabetes with a fasting blood sugar level, and there are many effective treatments for this disease.
- Control High blood pressure (hypertension) – this is a very common disease and the prevalence increases dramatically with age. Many factors can decrease the risk of hypertension, such as regular exercise, avoiding excessive dietary salt, and avoiding alcohol. It is very easy to screen for hypertension and when hypertension does develop, it is important to treat it by taking medications on a daily basis.
- Lower Bad Cholesterol – cholesterol is contained in most foods, which we consume on a daily basis, and a moderate amount of it is healthy and necessary. Everyone should have a cholesterol check, which is a simple fasting blood test. Regular exercise will decrease the cholesterol levels in many cases, but sometimes medication is required, especially in patients who already suffer from cardiovascular diseases.
- Stay in Shape – Obesity has become a major epidemic in the world, especially in highly developed countries. Obesity predisposes a person to diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, along with a whole host of other problems.
- Eat Healthy – Studies have shown that fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products can help protect your heart. Fatty, processed and fast foods, and foods high in sugar and salt are less healthy for you.
- Be Active – People who move more tend to live longer and healthier than people who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Remember the saying “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.”