The heart works beat by beat, second by second, never resting. Over the average lifetime, the heart beats about 2.5 billion times, pumping blood to every part of the body. This steady flow carries oxygen, fuel, hormones, other important compounds, and a host of essential cells.
When the heart stops, all vital functions fail, some almost instantly.The most occurring cardiac problem is atherosclerosis. It is the collection of pockets of cholesterol-rich gunk inside the arteries. These pockets are called plaque, which can limit blood flow through arteries that nourish the heart (the coronary arteries) and other arteries supplying blood throughout the body. When a plaque breaks apart, it may result in a heart attack or stroke. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially when started at a young age, may help in preventing cardiovascular diseases. Lifestyle changes and medications can nip heart-harming concerns, like high blood pressure, over-weight or high cholesterol, before they originate any damage.
Apart from the hereditary factors which cannot be controlled, here are a few ways to improve the lifestyle to minimize the risk of developing heart disease:
1. Get moving
The initial step towards a heart-healthy plan is to make time for physical activity. Many research recommends being active for at least 30 minutes each day. Regular exercise helps in controlling weight, which is important as obesity is associated with numerous heart diseases.
2. Quit smoking
Smoking tobacco and cigarettes raise an individual’s risk of developing heart disease by two to four times. This happens because smoking caused plaque builds up and harden the arteries, both of which make the heart work harder.
3. Manage stress
Stress can result in a strain on the heart, which creates a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise or meditation can help keep stress in check.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity can elevate the risk of heart disease, even if someone has no other risk factors. That is why keeping up with a healthy weight is important to protect the heart from damage or fatigue. When a person’s weight is in a healthy range, more effectively, the blood will circulate, and vital fluid levels are managed, preventing strain on the heart.
5. Eat a healthy diet
The foods eaten play a huge role in whether they gain too much weight or develop high cholesterol levels, both of which can increase heart disease risk. To prevent or manage cholesterol, steer clear of foods containing saturated fats such as processed foods, and desserts like packaged cookies, candies, and cakes. The fat in these food products raises levels of bad cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to plaque in the arteries. Eat a variety of healthy vegetables and fruits regularly.
6. Manage high blood pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is considered one of the most deceptive risk factors for heart disease because most of the time, there are no physical symptoms.Untreated high blood pressure (hypertension) can cause damage to arteries and organs, including the heart. Keeping a regular check on blood pressure is important.
7. Manage high cholesterol
Higher levels of cholesterol increase the risk of developing heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is also known as the “bad” cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is also known as the “good” cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol and insufficient good cholesterol can result in plaque formation on the arterial walls. With time, arteries harden and become narrower, which can result in coronary heart disease and stroke.
8. Control diabetes
Diabetes is an example of how a person’s health condition can start a series of other medical issues, namely high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. According to WHO, more than 65% of the population with diabetes die from stroke or heart disease.
Consuming a varied diet of healthy foods can help with weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Here are a few changes people can make to their diet to help prevent heart disease:
Heart disease is the number one cause of death globally (according to WHO). The three major risk factors for heart disease include high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking. Preventing high blood cholesterol begins with understanding the risk. Get yourself, and your family regularly screened for these crucial health issues.
Medical Tests and Health Checkups Available At House of Diagnostics (HOD).