How to Prevent Heart Disease?

prevention of heart disease

How to Prevent Heart Disease?

Heart disease claims nearly 7 lakhs lives every year in America. It is not only the leading cause of deaths in the USA but also one of the major causes of disability. The scenario is not much different in India. 

There are several factors that raise the risk of heart disease. A few of these risk factors cannot be controlled but you can definitely control the rest. By controlling these controllable risk factors, you will be able to reduce the risk of heart disease to a great extent. 

The heart disease risk factors that you cannot change are as follows:

Age: The risk of heart disease increases proportionately with age. Men aged 45 years ore more and women aged 55 years or more are at a greater risk of having heart attack.   

Gender: Some risk factors have different effects in men and women. For example, estrogen is a female hormone that safeguards women against heart disease until menopause whereas diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women than in men. 

Genetics: If any of your family members suffered heart attack before the age of 55, you are at a greater risk. 

Race or Ethnicity: When it comes to heart disease, African Americans are at higher risk than the whites. Hispanic Americans have a lower chance to have it. South Asians have higher risks of heart disease though East Asians are at lower risk. You are in luck as there are several factors that you can control and lower the risk of heart disease.

Control Your BP: High blood pressure is called ‘silent killer’ and one of the major risk factors for heart disease. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly – at least once in three months if you don’t have high BP and once in every fortnight if you have high BP. Change your lifestyle and control stress to keep your blood pressure normal (120/80). 

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Control Bad Cholesterol & Triglyceride: Total cholesterol has two parts – Good Cholesterol (HDL) and Bad Cholesterol (LDL). Cholesterol is a waxy substance. LDL cholesterol is the main culprit to clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Lifestyle change is a must to control bad cholesterol and triglyceride. If cholesterol is very high, your doctor will prescribe medicines to lower it. 

Triglyceride is another type of fat in your blood. High level of triglyceride increases the risk of coronary artery disease, particularly in women. 

Exercise Regularly: Exercise has several benefits. Exercising regularly strengthens your heart muscle, reduces LDL cholesterol in blood, lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is linked to coronary artery disease and heart attack. Obese people are more prone to having high blood pressure, diabetes, bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce the risk. 

Follow a Healthy Lifestyle: Avoid taking foods high in sodium and saturated fats. Also limit your sugar intake. Eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. 

Do you drink regularly or occasionally? If ‘yes’, try to give it up. If avoiding alcohol is not possible, try to limit alcohol intake. Alcohol adds to your weight, blood pressure and calories, which are closely linked to cardiovascular disease. Women should restrict alcohol intake to only one alcoholic drink per day and in case of men, it should not be more than two drinks daily. 

If you have a habit of smoking, quit it as early as possible. Talk to your physician for finding the best way to quit smoking. 

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Manage Diabetes: Diabetes is linked to heart disease. By keeping your sugar level under control, you can minimize the risk of having heart problems.

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 Manage Stress: Stress increases the risk of heart disease in several ways. Extreme stress triggers heart attack. Stress also increases blood pressure. Avoid overeating, smoking and drinking as these raise stress level. Socialize with people and do meditation regularly. It’s also important for you not to bottle up your problems; instead share those with others for solutions and to cope with stressful situations. 

Have Enough Sleep: Researchers have proved that not getting plenty of sleep raises the risk of both heart attack and stroke. Adults need 7-9 hours of sound sleep every night

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