6 Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Heart Disease
Heart disease, also known as Cardiovascular disease, is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States and a leading cause of death worldwide.
Heart disease also reduces the quality of life for many people and leads to a great deal of pain and suffering. However, if you make a few lifestyle changes you can drastically decrease your chances of dying from heart disease or suffering any ill effects from having poor cardiovascular health. In this article we will go over some the lifestyle changes that you can enact right now to lower your risk for heart disease.
Don’t Drink to Excess
Over consumption of alcoholic beverages can be a big contributing factor to poor heart health. Drinking too much will increase your blood pressure past safe levels and can lead to heart failure when taken in excess amounts. Alcohol is also a major contributor to gaining weight and becoming obese which can take a serious toll by straining your heart and cardiovascular system. Oddly enough, moderate drinking (3-7 alcoholic beverages a week) can contribute to a healthy immune system and cardiovascular system. So it isn’t that you should never drink… but rather, just moderate your intake.
Engage in Daily Physical Activity
This is a huge part of lowering your heart disease risk. Even if you are not able to do a ton of physical activity every day 30-45 minutes of moderately strenuous activity can do wonders for your heart health. Not only will you help to lower your weight and reduce stress on your body physical activity also increases the levels of stress reducing hormones in your body which can take a toll on a healthy heart. Regular physical activity also helps to reduce levels of bad cholesterol and helps to keep your blood pressure down. Instead of hooking yourself up on your computer playing Subway Surfers all day, try to get some outdoor activity going on, and your heart and body will thank you.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
Eating well is one of the building blocks for lowering your risk of heart disease. Fatty foods can clog up your arteries and this leads to a much higher chance of having heart complications or a heart attack. Eating poorly increases your overall weight placing massive amounts of stress on your heart, veins, arteries and other integral parts of your cardiovascular system. Your goal should be to eat whole foods that are high in vital nutrients such as fruits and vegetables as well as moderate amounts of meat and healthy grains. The occasional cheeseburger will not kill you but like anything if you eat unhealthy foods in excess you will seriously increase the risk of having complications related to heart disease.
Reduce Stress as Much as Possible
Life can be very stressful at times but it is in your best long term interest to find ways to manage stress. There have been studies that show proven links between the incidence of coronary heart disease and high levels of stress. Dealing with stress the wrong way also leads to other behaviors that will damage your heart health such as smoking, drinking to excess, over eating and avoiding physical activity and exercise. Find ways to calm yourself down and relax whenever you can, instead of straining your eyes, head or mind! Sleep and rest is important – especially for your overall body health!
Stop Smoking Immediately
Unlike drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food there is no level where it is safe to smoke cigarettes or even cigars. Not only do these habits lead to increases in cancers like mouth cancer and lung cancer, they also have a profound effect on your circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Smoking also reduces your ability to get possibly life saving physical activity daily which will increase the negative effects associated with overeating and drinking to excess.
Keep Your Cholesterol in Check
Cholesterol is an often overlooked part of the heart health puzzle. Your doctor can help you find out what your levels are at and how to get them to normal if they are unhealthy. Typically you want less than 200 mg/dL total cholesterol and this number goes down depending on your personal risk for heart disease which your doctor you can help you find.
If you follow these strategies you will greatly reduce your personal risk of heart disease. Many of these factors play into each other so it is best to try to engage each strategy as part of a wider plan to improve your general health. You do not need to spend huge amounts of time and energy to have a healthy heart just exercise some restraint and engage in moderate exercise and you will be most of the way there.