Prevention of heart disease
Heart problems due to lifestyle and ways to prevent the same are explained here
Heart disease may be a leading cause of death, but that doesn't mean you have to accept it as your fate. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors — such as family history, sex or age — there are some key heart disease prevention steps you can take to reduce your risk. You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. Here are seven heart disease prevention tips to get you started.
Don't smoke or use tobacco
Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to second-hand smoke.
In addition, the nicotine in cigarette smoke makes the heart work harder by narrowing the blood vessels and increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces some of the oxygen in the blood. This increases blood pressure by forcing the heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen. Even so-called "social smoking" — smoking only while at a bar or restaurant with friends — is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease. Women who smoke and take birth control pills are at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke than are those who don't do either. This risk increases with age, especially in women older than 35.
When you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically within just one year. And no matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.
Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week
Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce the risk of fatal heart disease. And when combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the benefits are even greater.
Physical activity helps control weight and can reduce the chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on the heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. It also reduces stress, which may be a factor in heart disease.
Try getting at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. However, even shorter amounts of exercise offer heart benefits.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect the heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Limiting certain fats is important. Of the types of fat — saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fat — saturated fat and trans fat increase the risk of coronary artery disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.
Major sources of saturated fat include:
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Coconut and palm oils
Sources of trans fat include:
- Deep-fried fast foods
- Bakery products
- Packaged snack foods
Look at the product label for the term "partially hydrogenated" to avoid trans-fat.
Most people need to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet — with a goal of five to 10 servings a day. Eating that many fruits and vegetables can not only help prevent heart disease but also may help prevent cancer.
Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Some fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are a good natural source of omega-3s. Omega-3s are present in smaller amounts in flaxseed oil, walnut oil, soybean oil, and canola oil, and they can also be found in supplements.
Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol only in moderation — no more than two drinks a day for men, and one a day for women. At that moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on your heart. More than that becomes a health hazard.
Maintain a healthy weight
As put on weight in adulthood, weight gain is mostly fat rather than muscle. This excess weight can lead to conditions that increase the chances of heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
One way to see if r weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which considers height and weight in determining whether have a healthy or unhealthy percentage of body fat. BMI numbers 25 and higher are associated with higher blood fats, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat have:
- Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)
- Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)
Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Reducing weight by just 10 percent can decrease your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol level and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Get regular health screenings
High blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage the heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won't know whether you have these conditions. Regular screening can tell you what your numbers are and whether you need to take action.
- Blood pressure. Regular blood pressure screenings start in childhood. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every two years. May need more-frequent checks if your numbers aren't ideal or if have other risk factors for heart disease. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
- Cholesterol levels. Adults should have their cholesterol measured at least once every five years starting at age 20. It may need more frequent testing if numbers aren't optimal or if have other risk factors for heart disease. Some children may need their blood cholesterol tested if they have a strong family history of heart disease.
- Diabetes screening. Since diabetes is a risk factor for developing heart disease, want to consider being screened for diabetes. Talk to the doctor about when should have a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Depending on risk factors, such as being overweight or a family history of diabetes, the doctor may recommend first testing for diabetes sometime between ages 30 and 45, and then retesting every three to five years.