How to Reduce your Risk for Heart Disease
Heart disease is a debilitating condition for millions of people around the world. Not only is the condition a major cause of disability but the top health risk in the United States. Anyone looking to prevent all cardiovascular diseases must understand that it begins with making smart lifestyle choices. Heart disease claims more than six hundred thousand each year. It’s, therefore, important that you be aware of your risks and make the right choices that will boost your heart health.
Major risk factors for heart disease include obesity, poor nutrition, high stress, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cigarette smoking, increased inflammation, diabetes mellitus, and weight gain. You can reduce your for cardiovascular diseases by taking prevention approaches around these risk factors.
Cigarette smoking is a leading risk factor for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. When you smoke, plaque, and fatty substances build up in your arteries leading to atherosclerosis. Moreover, smoking damages your lungs and other body organs, making it difficult for the optimal functioning of your body. Other effects of smoking include increased blood pressure and reduced amount of good cholesterol. Quitting smoking will increase oxygen supply, improve blood circulation, and decrease your blood pressure. These effects are quite sudden. With increased energy levels, it will become easier to exercise even as your body heals. Secondhand smoke can also affect your health which is why you should always avoid sitting around people who smoke.
Regular Exercise and Weight Loss Management
Regular exercise can help you lower your blood pressure, reduce blood sugar levels and cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight. You don’t have to engage in intensive exercise. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. With a healthy weight and reduced blood pressure, your risk for heart disease significantly reduces.
Control your Blood Pressure
As mentioned, high blood pressure is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. How often do you have your blood pressure checked? Note that high blood pressure increases stress on your cardiovascular system, thereby increasing your risk for heart disease. It’s important that you work closely with your doctor and have your blood pressure checked and monitored on a regular basis. This applies mostly to anyone with high blood pressure. Exercise, weight management, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol, avoiding stress, and eating healthy can help lower your blood pressure.
High stress levels have been shown to increase the risk for heart disease. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation can help reduce the risk of recurrent cardiac problems. Adopt stress-management habits to improve your overall health. Spending time with family, friends, and people who are supportive can also contribute to a healthier lifestyle.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your diet should comprise of foods low in saturated fat and high in fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. A vegetarian diet can also help reduce the risk for heart disease. It’s also important that you avoid foods high in trans-fat and cholesterol as they can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease. Limit salt and sugar in your diet as well.
People with diabetes have been shown to have a higher risk of diabetic heart disease. When left untreated, diabetes has harmful effects on the blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart. The high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels leading to stroke and peripheral artery disease. It’s, therefore, important that you get regular checkups from your doctor and manage the condition to reduce the risk for heart disease.