Heart problems especially heart disease may be a leading cause of death globally. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate. There are many things that can raise your risk for heart disease. They are called risk factors. Although you lack the power to change some risk factors such as family history, sex or age, there are many that you can control.
Fortunately, basic lifestyle changes can go a long way towards keeping heart disease at bay. Learning about them can lower your risk of heart disease. Moreover, these practices can also prevent further illness and even death in people who already have heart disease. This article offers practical advice on what you can do to lower your risk of heart disease. Here are 9 heart disease prevention tips.
How to Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease
Everyone knows cigarette smoking causes lung cancer but did you know that smokers are 3 times more likely to have a heart attack than to develop lung cancer? If you smoke, stop. Daily smoking increases your risk of a heart disease. Smoking causes blood vessels to clamp down. This forces the heart to pump harder and faster to push blood through the smaller vessels. This leads to fat and calcium deposits to accumulation, further narrowing the arteries. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke also reduces the oxygen supply in tissues. This puts pressure on your heart.
Lower your blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Because, it makes the heart pump harder and can cause artery walls to bulge or burst. It is therefore important to control your blood pressure (BP). Check BP regularly; at least twice a year. But if you have high blood pressure check more often. Make lifestyle changes, such as exercising, eating healthy and rest and sleep.
Regular daily exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease. Especially when you combined with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater. Exercise can help you control your weight as well as reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
You should do moderate exercise for about 30 minutes daily. A total of 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity. Don’t exercise strenuously for benefits, but increase the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts for bigger benefits.
Maintain a healthy weight
Excess weight is associated with a higher incidence of high cholesterol, hypertension and type 2 diabetes. All of these contribute to the onset of heart disease. Accumulation of fat around the waist has been linked to a higher cardiovascular disease. Because, it increases cholesterol levels, plaque, and inflammation of arteries.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease. Try to limit saturated fats, foods high in sodium, and added sugars. Eat plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan, can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, two things that can lower your risk of heart disease. Also, eat less to reduce total calorie intake. This reduces fat that raises cholesterol.
High cholesterol results in accumulation of plaque in the arteries. This can clog your arteries and raise your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.
Manage your stress
Apart from causing headaches, insomnia and digestive problems, stress can also raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Besides, it can also encourage you to eat too much and smoke more. Recent research shows that within two hours of an angry outburst, a person’s risk of heart attack nearly gets multiplied by 5. While no one can eliminate stress entirely, you can learn to cope with stress better. Take short walks, have quiet moments and get enough sleep.
Drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease. Men should have no more than two alcoholic drinks per day, and women should not have more than one.
Get enough quality sleep
Sleep deprivation can do more than leave you yawning throughout the day; it can harm your health. People who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you wake up without your alarm clock and you feel refreshed, you’re getting enough sleep. But, if you’re constantly reaching for the snooze button and it’s a struggle to get out of bed, you need more sleep each night.
Make sleep a priority in your life. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it by going to bed and waking up at the same times each day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, so it’s easier to sleep.