Globally, the number one cause of death being heart disease. It is the cause of 1 million deaths per annum. A heart condition occurs when plaque, made up of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances in the blood, deposits inside the coronary arteries and restricts oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart muscles. This restricted supply of blood causes a heart attack or stroke or sudden cardiac arrest.
As per statistics, an estimated 17.9 million people die of cardiovascular diseases or CVDs, especially strokes and heart attacks every year. Tobacco smoking forms a critical cause for deaths and increases manifold the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease.
Some of the tips that can help you reduce the risk of developing critical cardiovascular diseases include the following:
It is surprising that we are advising to consume fat. It has been advised by one and all that fat is injurious to health. However, the complete truth is that fats or cholesterol are of two kinds. In simple terms, cholesterol comprises bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. While bad cholesterol or LDL or low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol and forms the major part of your body’s cholesterol. Increased levels of LDL raise your risk for stroke and heart disease. On the other hand, there is good fat or cholesterol known as HDL or high-density lipoprotein that absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver for it to flush it from the body. HDL cholesterol at high levels can lower your risk for stroke and heart disease.
Fish, vegetables, seeds, and nuts can reduce the risk of heart disease with lower bad cholesterol and higher good cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids help lower the risk of heart diseases by decreasing triglycerides.
Shred your intake of added fats from your diet by reducing dressings, fried foods, sauces, and spreads.
Philosophically speaking being sedentary in life is injurious to us because change is the only constant state. Similarly, if we practice a sedentary lifestyle it forms one of the five major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The other factors being abnormal blood lipids level, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking.
Like our body muscles, it is pertinent for our heart muscles to gain strength which can be achieved through regular exercises. Exercise makes our heart more efficient and improves the capability to pump blood throughout our body and hence allow our heart to maintain a normal heartbeat as well as blood pressure level.
Types of exercises that are recommended for a healthy heart include aerobics like jogging, walking, swimming, or biking. A bit of weight training is also good for the heart muscles. It is advisable to exercise at least thrice a week. 5-10 minutes of stretching and warm-up before the exercise and a cool-down process is also advisable to prevent any sudden injury to your body.
Regular exercise benefits in the following way to reduce cardiovascular risk factors:
- Increase in exercise tolerance
- Reduction in weight loss
- Maintaining blood pressure level
- Increase in insulin sensitivity
- Lowering of bad cholesterol
- Increase the level of good cholesterol
For smokers, the following statistics could be annoying since they are addicted to tobacco and would not like to quit smoking. However, the statistics are eye-opening and people who have heart conditions in their family should take quitting smoking seriously. As per an estimate of the World Heart Federation, one in every ten deaths caused by cardiovascular disease is linked to tobacco.
Having said that, you need not necessarily be a smoker to be at risk of CVDs. People who are exposed to second-hand smoking and are nonsmokers are 25-30% more prone to heart diseases than those not exposed.
Smoking is also one of the causes of constricting the blood vessels by the formation of plaque thus reducing blood flow to the heart. Also, toxins in cigarette smoke also cause the thickening of blood and blood clots in veins and arteries.
Similar to smoking regular drinking, alcohol abuse and alcoholism is the cause of 1 in 20 deaths globally per year as per the World Health Organization.
Heavy drinking could be the cause of poor health including high blood pressure, heart conditions, stroke, or heart failure. Cardiomyopathy could be caused due to excessive drinking. It’s a disorder that impacts the heart muscle.
Alcohol abuse for a long period of time weakens or thins the heart muscle thus affecting the ability to pump the required quantity of blood into the body, thus disrupting your body’s major functions leading to heart failure and other life-threatening health issues.
Lose excess weight
If your body mass index is 25.0 to 30, you are an overweight person. In such a scenario losing bodyweight is essential as overweight and obesity can increase blood pressure leading to stroke. Excess weight can also lead to issues like high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Proper sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Most severe health conditions are linked to lack of sleep. People who don’t have proper sleep run the risk of developing a higher risk of CVDs and coronary heart disease regardless of factors like age, weight, exercise, and smoking habits. Getting quality sleep is of utmost importance if you want to lower your risk of heart disease.
Listen to music
You might be a music lover or a mere bathroom singer. However, you might not have realized that music not only engages your auditory system but many other parts of your brain as well.
As per recent research, music also improves the health of patients living with a heart condition. Studies have proved that music not only reduces pain and anxiety, it may also help decrease heart rate and lower blood pressure.
Music’s widespread effect on the brain, which cultivates a phenomenon called entrainment, can also help stroke survivors improve their ability to move and speak.
Take care of teeth
How is oral care related to aggravating heart issues you may think. However, recent studies have shown that the bacteria responsible for gum disease could also responsible for raising the risk of heart disease.
Yoga is a panacea for almost all health conditions. It has been proved that patients with heart failure who went through weeks of yoga program showed significant improvement in the quality of life. They also recorded lower blood levels of markers for inflammation, which contributes to heart disease. In addition, cardiac yoga can help you prevent, slow, slow, or even reverse heart diseases.
Adopt a pet
Several studies have shown that owning a dog reduces stress levels compared to those who do not own a pet. This is probably because pets have a calming effect on their owners and maybe dog owners tend to be more active. Owning a pet is linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and helps to lower unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels as per the American Heart Association, .
The power of touch also appears to be an important factor in reducing stress levels. Several studies also show that when a person pets a dog the blood pressure goes down.
Take a bike ride
Half an hour bike ride every day will burn nearly 40,000 kilocalories over a period of one year. Cycling regularly invigorates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation and reducing your risk of CVDs.
Contrary to beliefs eating dark chocolate is actually good for your health. Most dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids subtype called flavanols that lower the risk of heart disease. Cocoa consumption lowers the risk of insulin and high blood pressure says some studies. So go ahead and take a bite of that dark chocolate you have been dying for.
Eat soy food
Eating plant-based proteins have more health benefits than eating meat. Red meats have high saturated fat levels which contribute to heart disease. On the other hand eating tofu which is rich in isoflavones, an estrogen-like substance produced by soy plants, lowers the risk of heart disease. You can now make and eat burgers, bacon, hot dogs, and sausages made up of soy and keep heart diseases at a safe distance.
Reduce salt intake
Excessive salt intake eventually increases fluid in the body and leads to an increase in blood pressure and puts a strain on blood vessels, kidneys, and the heart. This increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
To manage your salt intake choose your food, whether packaged or prepared, carefully. Choose food products with the lowest amount of sodium. Buy poultry that’s not injected with a sodium solution. Choose condiments with care. Look for a low sodium version of any food item.
Sugar is bad for your health. It can increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and increase the risk of stroke and heart ailment. In addition, it may spike blood sugar levels thus increasing your risk of obesity and heart disease.
High levels of triglycerides in your blood may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Excessive high triglycerides can cause acute inflammation of the pancreas.
In order to prevent any further health conditions to develop avoid soft drinks, fruit juice, and sweets.