8 Things You Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke
The main causes of death globally are heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. However, there is also good news: cardiovascular disease can be prevented in about 80% of instances. While certain risk factors, such as family history, gender, or age, cannot be changed, there are several approaches to minimise one’s risk of heart disease. By altering one’s lifestyle, especially by incorporating certain basic and uncomplicated tasks, one can significantly reduce the risk.
Let’s get started with these eight recommendations for improving heart health:
Avoid the consumption of tobacco or smoking
The best thing a person can do for their heart is to stop smoking or using cigarettes. Even if someone is not a smoker, they should make sure to avoid second-hand smoke. Tobacco’s chemical components can harm the heart and blood arteries in several different ways. Smoking hastens the production of clots and, in addition to making the blood thicker, it makes it more difficult for the arteries to accumulate plaque. Smoking causes the heart to work harder to pump adequate oxygen to the body and brain, leading to a drop in the blood’s oxygen content, which raises blood pressure and heart rate.
Within a day of quitting, the risk of developing heart disease begins to decline. After a year of quitting smoking, the risk of heart disease is roughly halved. The benefits of quitting smoking start right away, regardless of how much or how long someone has smoked.
Get moving and start exercising
The risk of heart disease can be reduced by engaging in regular, everyday physical exercise. Exercise also makes weight management easier and lessens the likelihood of developing additional diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which can strain the heart. Devoting at least five days a week to moderate exercise is recommended. Every morning after breakfast, start by going for a stroll around the neighbourhood. While one doesn’t need to work out vigorously to reap the benefits, increasing the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercises will result in greater rewards.
Consume heart-healthy diet
A nutritious diet can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure, and improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The most effective diet for avoiding heart disease is one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs, whole grains, nuts, and vegetable oils, while cutting back on red and processed meats, refined carbs, foods, and beverages with added sugar and salt.
The following food products should be consumed in smaller quantities:
- Processed carbs
- Saturated fats
Try to reduce Blood pressure
High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and can significantly increase the likelihood of experiencing one. The primary risk indicator for stroke in both men and women is a high blood pressure reading. Monitoring blood pressure and effectively managing it if it is high are likely to have a major positive impact on the condition of the vascular system. The ideal target to strive for is a blood pressure reading of less than 120/80. Some individuals could benefit more from a slightly less demanding target, such as 140/90 or lower.
Keep a healthy weight
Heart disease risk is increased by being overweight, especially in the central region of the body. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes are just a few of the problems that can be triggered by excess weight, raising the risk of developing heart disease. The body mass index (BMI), determined using a person’s height and weight, can classify whether they are overweight or obese. A BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight and is often linked to elevated blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Even a slight weight loss can be beneficial. Just a small amount of weight loss can help lower levels of certain blood fats (triglycerides), and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar. Further weight loss can also contribute to lowered cholesterol and blood pressure.
Get adequate rest
Lack of sleep increases the risk of obesity, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression in individuals. Typically, adults require at least seven hours of sleep every night. By going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, one can establish a consistent sleep pattern and adhere to it. If a person feels like they are getting adequate sleep but still experiences fatigue throughout the day, they should consult a doctor. The physician will assess for obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that can elevate the risk of heart disease. Two potential treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to keep the airway open during sleep and reducing weight.
Routine health checks
The heart and blood arteries can be affected by high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. However, one is unlikely to be able to tell if they have these problems without getting tested for them. Regular screening can provide numerical values and indicate whether any actions are required. As early as the age of 18, blood pressure should be checked for signs of high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure should be checked at least twice every two years. Additionally, adults should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every four to six years. While the average age for starting cholesterol testing is 20, earlier testing may be recommended if a person has additional risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease.
Everyone is impacted by stress in a different manner. Some people resort to harmful coping mechanisms, including binge eating, excessive drinking, or smoking, to deal with stress. Lack of sleep, pain, and headaches are all symptoms of stress that can wear down the body. The heart may have to work harder when there is ongoing stress. Any additional heart disease risk factors will worsen as a result. Finding alternative means of stress management, such as exercise, breathing practices, or meditation, can contribute to one’s overall health.
Omni Hospital is a leading cardiac facility that provides comprehensive cardiovascular disease treatment. Highly experienced cardiologists offer excellent heart care services at an affordable price while utilising modern equipment and facilities. The department is fully equipped to provide services around the clock, manage cardiac emergencies, offer immediate assistance, and ensure quicker recovery. Our highly qualified team of nurses and support staff diagnose, treat, and monitor patients with cardiovascular conditions using cutting-edge technologies.