Your heart is a vital organ in the body, pumping blood throughout your cardiovascular system to keep you alive. Although the heart is essential in proper body function, many people overlook their heart health until it develops a life-impairing condition. This has led to a high rise in heart disease cases.
What is Heart Disease ?
Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death in women and men. Heart disease consists of different heart conditions, but it is a comm on term for coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD), the two most common heart conditions .
In coronary heart disease, the arteries transporting blood to the heart become blocked or narrow. This condition often occurs from the build- up of fatty materials called plaque and cholesterol in the arteries resulting in a heart attack or chest pain.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack occurs when the heart does not receive blood. This may cause death in part of the heart or cessation of l ife. Some signs of heart attack to look out for include:
Discomfort or pain in the upper body or upper stomach
Discomfort or pain in the left or center of the chest, leaving a fullness or pressure
Stomach ache or heartburn
Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
Feeling light-headed, unusually tired, or dizzy
Who is at Risk of Developing Heart Disease?
Anyone can develop heart disease, but the following are common risk factors for heart disease:
Overweight or obese
Lack of healthy diet
Lack o f physical activity
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
Family history and age can also increase your risk of heart disease. You have a higher risk of developing heart disease under the following conditions:
Your sister or mother developed heart disease before 65 years
Your brother or father developed heart disease before 55 years
You are a man over 45 years
You are a woman over 55 years
Maintaining a healthy heart
Taking the steps below can help keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
Eat Healthy Foods
A heart-healthy diet containing sufficient fruits and vegetables with low sugar and sodium can preserve your heart health. You ca n opt for foods with high-fiber content and healthy fats.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Excess alcohol consumption significantly increases the risk of heart disease. One drink or less is advisable for women, while men can have two drinks or less daily.
Engage i n Physical Activities
Regular exercise keeps your body active, improv ing your heart and blood circulation and reducing your risk of heart disease. The recommendation for an adult is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. The activity may include cycling, walking, or dancing.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
People with obesity or a high body mass index (BMI) have an increased risk of different health issues, including type II diabetes and heart disease.
Avoid Tobacco Products
Smoking and using other tobacco products are risk factors for several health conditions, and they can increase your risk of heart disease.
Identifying your stress triggers and taking conscious steps like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to avoid st ress can prevent life-threatening health issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
Your heart is constantly working to circulate blood in your system and keep you healthy, but you can easily overwork the heart, leading to heart disea se. You should talk to your doctor about ways to keep your heart healthy, but taking the above steps can also be helpful.