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heart disease

Five steps to prevent heart disease 

Heart disease causes death. A frank, devastating reality, especially in the western world, that relies on a processed diet. Heart disease is lifestyle-related, but there are also certain unavoidable risk factors such as family history, sex or age. 

Heart disease is a broad spectrum of cardiovascular problems, explains Healthline. 


This includes:

  • Arrhythmia is a heart rhythm abnormality.
  • Atherosclerosis is the hardening of arteries.
  • Cardiomyopathy causes the heart’s muscles to harden or grow weak.
  • Congenital heart defects are heart irregularities at birth.
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries. Also called ischemic heart disease.
  • Bacteria, viruses, or parasites may cause heart infections.

The term cardiovascular disease refers to heart conditions that specifically affect the blood vessels.


Here are five ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. 

Stop smoking 

Stopping smoking or using smokeless tobacco is best for your heart. Non-smokers should avoid secondhand smoke. 

There are chemicals in tobacco that can negatively affect your heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke reduces your blood oxygen level. It increases your blood pressure and heart rate. The smoke makes your heart work harder to supply sufficient oxygen to your brain and body. 

The good news is that your risk of getting heart disease drops a day after you quit smoking. And after a year, that risk drops even more. 

Get moving 

According to Mayo Clinic, physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease. Regular or physical activity should do the trick. It assists with controlling your weight and decreases the chances of developing other related conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. 


But which exercise? 

If you have not been active for a while, aim for 150 minutes a week of walking at a brisk pace. You can also include 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running. Other aerobic activities include two or more training sessions a week. Short bouts of exercise are beneficial to your heart. Five minutes of movements can help. Gardening, housekeeping, using the stairs or walking your dog are also forms of activity. More considerable benefits include increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts. 

Enjoy a heart-healthy diet. 

Eating healthy can protect your heart by improving your blood pressure and cholesterol. A healthy diet can also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. 

A heart-healthy plan consists of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, whole grains and healthy fats, such as olive oil. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and Mediterranean diet are two examples of heart-healthy eating plans. 

Limit your intake of salt, sugar, processed carbohydrates, alcohol, saturated fat and trans fats. Saturated fat is in red meat and full-fat dairy products. Fried fast food, chips and baked goods have trans fats. 

Good, quality sleep 

We need sleep. It doesn’t just rest your mind. Your body relies on sleep to heal. It can also have you yawning at the wrong times – for instance, during a very important business meeting. If you don’t sleep enough, you have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. 

Adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Sleep should be a priority in your life. A sleep schedule may help you to regulate the times you go to bed and wake up. Try to keep your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible. This makes sleeping easier. 

You may feel like you are sleeping enough but still feel tired throughout the day. If this is the case, visit your doctor. They can evaluate you for obstructive sleep apnoea – a condition that can increase your risk of heart disease. Obstructive sleep apnoea comes with signs of loud snoring, no breathing for short periods of time and waking up while gasping for air. Treating this condition includes losing weight or using a continuous positive airway (CPAP) device. 

Regular health screenings 

Testing for high blood pressure and high cholesterol is crucial. Without the tests, you will not know whether you have any of the conditions. Regular screening can provide you with this information and what action to take. 

Regular blood pressure screenings begin in your childhood. Your blood pressure measures one every two years from 18. The screening will monitor the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

People who are 40 and older test annually. 

Adults measure their cholesterol at least once every four to six years. At 20 you can have a screening. Test even earlier if you have a family history of early-onset heart disease. 

Get an early screening of type 2 diabetes if you are overweight or have a family history of diabetes in your family. At 45, screenings are recommended. Retesting will be every three years. 


Did you know heart disease presents differently in women?

Females often experience different signs and symptoms of heart disease than men, specifically CAD and other cardiovascular diseases.

Several studies have investigated the presentation of the same heart malfunctions in women and men and noted striking differences. A study in 2003 noted the top symptoms of heart disease in women don’t include “classic” heart attack symptoms. These include chest pain and tingling. Women were apparently more likely to experience anxiety, sleep disturbances, and unusual or unexplained fatigue.

In addition, 80% of the women in the study reported experiencing these symptoms for at least one month before their heart attack occurred.

Symptoms of heart disease in women are confused with other conditions. This includes depression, menopause, etc.


Doctors know best 

Your doctor may prescribe medications and potential lifestyle changes. Make sure that you follow a healthy lifestyle plan while taking your medication.


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