Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S, accounting for over 600,000 deaths each year. The umbrella term heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions and can occur to people of all ages, including children. On a positive note, almost 80% of heart conditions, such as heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, can be prevented if you are willing to make long-term lifestyle changes. Here is what you need to do to keep heart diseases at bay.
- Become physically active
Being active for most part of the day is an effective way of keeping your blood pressure in check and preventing heart disease. Experts say that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity workout for five days a week is good enough to strengthen your heart. Becoming physically active is not only limited to exercise; you can go swimming, cycling, rowing, or engage in similar heart-pumping activities to keep your heart healthy. Remember, the more physically active you become, the better it is for your heart. Utilizing modern technologies such as digital watches and mobile apps to track the number of steps and your heart rate can keep you motivated.
- Eat healthy
Diet plays a key role in preventing heart diseases, even if you have a genetic predisposition for heart conditions. Changing your diet overnight is virtually impossible, so it’s best to start making little changes to your diet. Creating a diet plan that is rich in raw fruits and vegetables is a great place to begin. You can then include whole grains, olive, and foods rich in omega-3s such as fish. Experts strongly recommended to keep your red meat intake to a minimum or eliminate it completely, if possible, since it worsens your heart condition. You can replace red meat with legumes and nuts to meet your daily protein requirement.
- Give up smoking
For those who smoke, this is probably the most crucial step they can take to significantly lower the risk of developing heart disease. Smoking builds up fatty substances called plaque, in the arteries over time, which eventually leads to its hardening or atherosclerosis. It damages your body organs, lowers the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in the blood, and increases your blood pressure, all of which lead to a heart attack or other heart conditions. People who quit smoking have soon observed their blood pressure levels getting under control. Furthermore, even oxygen supply and blood circulation in the body greatly improved.
- Managing diabetes and other conditions
Diabetes is a serious condition that can cause heart disease. If uncontrolled, diabetes can damage multiple organs in your body over time and can lead to peripheral artery disease, stroke, or other serious complications. The best way to manage diabetes is to visit your doctor regularly for checkups, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. Your doctor will likely put you on medication to limit the effects of diabetes and alleviate the risk of developing heart conditions.
Other conditions like high blood pressure or hypertension, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar can also put you at a greater risk. You must see a doctor if you have either of these conditions and bring them under control so that it does not lead to any heart conditions.