Heart Disease-Intro, Risk factors & Prevention

Heart disease describes a series of conditions that affect your heart. Among them, diseases in the category of heart disease include vascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rate problems (arrhythmia); and heart defects that are born at birth (congenital heart defects).

The term “heart disease” is often interchanged with the term “cardiovascular disease”. Cardiovascular disease generally refers to a condition involving narrowing or obstruction of blood vessels that can cause a heart attack, chest pain (angina), or stroke. Other heart diseases, such as conditions that affect your heart muscle, heart valves, or heart rate, are also considered to be forms of heart disease. Healthy lifestyle can prevent many types of diseases.

Risk factors

Certain circumstances and lifestyle habits may increase the risk of heart disease. Some conditions can be controlled, while others are very dangerous. Experts from the International Cardiopulmonary and Vascular Organization claim that increasing age and family inheritance are uncontrollable factors that cause heart disease. At the same time, many risk factors may also increase the risk of heart disease. Knowing how to avoid these factors can take you on a path to heart health. These risk factors include:

High cholesterol levels

Hypertension

Diabetes

Smoking

Obesity

Unhealthy diet

Not doing exercise

As long as we take active action to control risk factors, it will help prevent or alleviate heart disease.

Strategies to prevent heart disease

Many people ask how to control heart diseases? Heart-healthy lifestyle can prevent heart diseases. Heart disease is the main cause of death now-a-days. Although some of the risk factors cannot be changed such as family history, gender or age, but there are still some ways. You can start following these seven suggestions to improve your heart health.

Do not smoke or use tobacco.

One of the most beneficial things you can do for your heart is to quit smoking or use smokeless tobacco. Even if you do not smoke, you must avoid second-hand smoke. The chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels. Smoking will reduce the oxygen in the blood, so this will increase blood pressure and heart rate, because your heart must work harder to provide enough oxygen to the body and brain. However, there is still good news. Even if it is only one day after you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease will start to decrease. One year after quitting smoking, your risk of heart disease will drop to half of that of smokers. No matter how long you smoke or how many cigarettes you smoke, once you start quitting, there will be immediate rewards.

Exercise: exercise at least 30-60 minutes a day

Regular daily physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease. Exercise helps you control your weight and reduce the chance of other diseases that may stress your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. If you have not been active for a while, you may need to achieve these goals slowly, but in general, you should at least set the following goals:

150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, like brisk walking

75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise per week, such as running

Strength training twice or more per week

Even short exercise will benefit the heart, so if you cannot follow these guidelines, please do not give up. Just five minutes of exercise can help, and activities such as gardening, housework, climbing stairs, and dog walking will help your overall health. You can get benefits without high-intensity exercise, but by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of exercise, there will be greater benefits. Check out this article to know more about exercises you can do at home.

Enjoy a heart-healthy diet

A healthy diet helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Heart healthy eating plan includes:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Legumes
  • Lean meat and fish
  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
  • Whole grain
  • Healthy fats, such as olive oil

Limit the intake of the following foods

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Processed carbohydrates
  • Alcohol
  • Saturated fat (found in red meat and full-fat dairy products) and trans fat (found in fried snacks, potato chips and baked goods)

Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight, especially if the waist circumference is too large, increases the risk of heart disease. Being overweight may lead to an increased risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. One way to determine whether your body is healthy is to calculate the body mass index (BMI), which uses height and weight to determine whether the body fat percentage is healthy. BMI 25 or higher should be considered overweight and is usually associated with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Waist circumference can also be used as an effective tool for measuring abdominal fat: If the waist measurement is greater than the following values, the risk of heart disease is higher:

Male 40 inches (101.6 cm)

Female 35 inches (88.9 cm)

Even a small weight loss effect can be very useful. Simply reducing your weight by 3% to 5% can help reduce certain fats (triglycerides) in the blood, lower blood sugar (glucose), and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing more weight will help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

Get high quality sleep

Not enough sleep will not only make you feel restless, but also damage your health. People who don’t have quality sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.

Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Pay attention to sleep in life. Set a sleep schedule and insist on going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, so it is easier to fall asleep.

If you feel you have enough sleep but are still tired throughout the day, you should ask your doctor if you need to assess whether you have obstructive sleep apnoea, which may increase your risk of heart disease. Signs of obstructive sleep apnoea include loud snoring, shortness of breath during sleep, and wheezing after waking up. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea may include weight loss, if you are overweight, or use a continuous positive pressure device (CPAP), which can keep your airway open during sleep.

Relieve stress

Some people treat stress in an unhealthy way such as excessive eating, drinking, or smoking. Finding other ways to relieve stress such as physical activity, relaxation, or meditation can help improve your health.

Regular health screening

High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage CVS. But without examining them, you cannot know whether you have these diseases. Regular screening can tell you the value of the items checked and whether you have these diseases.

Blood pressure:

Regular blood pressure screening should start in childhood. From the age of 18, blood pressure should be measured at least every two years to screen for hypertension as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. If you are between 18 and 39 years old and have risk factors for high blood pressure, you will most likely need to be screened once a year. People aged 40 and over also need to take a blood pressure test once a year.

Cholesterol level:

Adults should measure cholesterol at least once every 4-6 years. Cholesterol screening should start at the age of 20, but if you have other risk factors, such as a family history of early heart disease, it is recommended to be tested as soon as possible.

Type 2 diabetes screening: 

Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease. If you have risk factors for diabetes, such as being overweight or having a family history of diabetes, your doctor may recommend early screening. If your weight is normal and there are no other risk factors for type 2 diabetes, it is recommended to start screening at the age of 45 and then recheck it every three years.

If you have illnesses such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, your doctor will prescribe medicines and advise you to change your lifestyle. Make sure to take your medicine as directed by your doctor and follow a healthy lifestyle plan.

You should not ignore oral problems

The Cleveland Clinic (one of the world’s leading medical institutions) said that good dental hygiene is important for heart health. Because the bacteria that cause gum disease may enter your blood when you are not paying attention, causing inflammation of the blood vessels, which will increase your chances of heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it is recommended that you brush your teeth and use dental floss every day, which will not only protect your mouth, but also protect your heart.

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