Your heart is the core of your health, and it goes without saying that your heart’s own health is of prime importance! Take a moment to reflect on your daily lifestyle. How did you begin your day today? Did you invest time in any kind of physical exercise? Did you make sure that your meal was heart-healthy?
It is critical to keep your heart strong and healthy, to ensure that you are able to live a long and healthy life. However, rising susceptibility to cardiovascular diseases is becoming a global phenomenon owing to unhealthy lifestyles among all ages. They are claiming the lives of millions each year. People as young as thirty are falling prey to various heart issues. We live in a country that is set to very soon become the ‘heart disease capital of the world’. Indians, especially those living in the metros, are increasingly leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Awareness about the causes of cardiovascular diseases and the right preventive measures is an absolute essential since even though the death toll due to heart disease across the globe is alarming, it can easily be prevented.
Cardiovascular Disease: Causes and Symptoms
The reason for most cardiovascular issues is the build-up of plaque and fat deposition in the arteries, which restricts the flow of blood. This puts a pressure on the muscles of the heart, which has to pump harder to ensure optimum blood flow through the body.
A heart attack or stroke occurs when a blood clot gets in the way and puts a stop to the flow of blood. Such blockages can lead to the death of the cells and tissues of the heart as well as the brain, leading to other serious health issues such as:
- Heart failure due to insufficient distribution of blood and oxygen throughout the body
- Abnormal heart rate or rhythm, known as Arrhythmia
- Problems with the heart valve such as insufficient opening/closing, prolapse, or bulging of the valves
Causes of Heart Disease
Here are some factors, other than a family history of cardiac disorders, ethnicity, and age which can trigger a heart attack:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Diabetes and pre-diabetes
- Overweight or obesity
- A sedentary lifestyle
Symptoms of Heart Disease
It is extremely important to identify the symptoms of heart problems since early detection can go a long way in disease prevention. Pay heed to the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in the extremities
- Fluttering in the chest
- Racing or slow heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
Heart Disease Prevention Tips
Poor diet habits and physical inactivity are the main culprits to blame for a deteriorating heart condition. Focusing on heart-healthy lifestyle benefits not just those suffering from a cardiovascular disease but also healthy individuals for overall good health and lasting wellness.
The right diet, exercise, and adequate sleep are the key ingredients to keep your heart in good shape. Read on to know more!
- Read labels on food items before you buy them. Take conscious decisions to pick items low in sugar, sodium, and fat.
- Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet, and go slow on the quantity of sauces, salt, and sugar.
- Consume fiber-rich foods, such as pulses and whole-grain products, fruits and raw vegetables.
- Limit the amount of sugar intake in the form of beverages as well as whole foods. Added sugars include glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice, and honey.
- Choose foods made with whole grains, which comprise whole wheat, oats/oatmeal, rye, barley, corn, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, triticale, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa, and sorghum.
- Keep those tempting pastries and bakery items to the minimum.
- Choose milk and dairy products that are either fat-free or low in fat.
- Reduce your salt intake. It is ideal to manage in 1 teaspoon of salt for the entire day
- Avoid deep-fried food and choose wiser cooking options such as baking, grilling, and broiling which need less oil.
- Stay away from processed and red meats as much as you can.
- Junk the junk-food lifestyle and embrace healthy and nutritious food! While it is easy to reach out for a deep-fried snack out of a packet when hunger pangs attack, it is just as easy to keep fruits and nuts handy. Nuts, especially walnuts, almonds, and pistachios are great for heart health which helps to reduce bad cholesterol levels since they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.
- Be regular with your health checks and keep a journal to record your weight, physical activity, and calorie intake.
- Prepare and consume smaller dish portions.
- Start integrating physical movement into daily activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevators.
- Reduce and gradually eliminate smoking.
- Drink in moderation. It is ideal if women take no more than one drink per day. Men should ideally not go beyond two drinks a day.