Taking care of health is key to having a healthy heart. Every year, on May 14, Cardiovascular Risk Prevention Day is celebrated. Therefore, we want to review ways to avoid suffering from a disease of this type. How to take care of the heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases? Firstly, it should be noted that, although this type of pathology is quite present among older people, it is not exclusive to old age. A young person can have heart problems, even when they appear healthy to the naked eye. Also, although there is a genetic component, not having anyone in the family with these problems does not exempt us from being able to suffer them in our own skin.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death , and while factors such as family history cannot be changed, a lifestyle change can help prevent heart disease . Here are some steps that are key to prevention:
- Avoid smoking and using tobacco. Smoking is one of the most important risk factors for the development of heart disease, since it speeds up the heart rate and constricts the main arteries. Also, some chemicals that cigarettes contain, such as tar and carbon monoxide, can damage blood vessels, since they cause the accumulation of fat in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of tobacco is safe. Smokeless, low-tar tobacco and low-nicotine cigarettes are also risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke (passive smoking)
- Exercise daily for 30 minutes . It is important to exercise regularly, doing it every day could reduce the risk of developing fatal heart disease. When exercise is combined with other healthy lifestyle habits the benefits are greater . Physical activity helps control your weight and reduces the chances of other conditions that can put your heart at risk, such as high blood pressure , high cholesterol and diabetes . Exercise also helps reduce stress, which can be a risk factor for heart disease.
- Follow a healthy diet. Following a healthy eating plan can help protect your heart . Try to eat foods low in fat, cholesterol and salt. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products are best. Beans and other low-fat protein sources, such as fish, may also reduce the risk of heart disease. Following a heart-healthy diet also means drinking alcohol in moderation . At a moderate level, alcohol can have a protective effect on the heart (red wine); although care should be taken if you have a predisposition to alcohol. Excessive drinking becomes a health hazard.
- Maintain a healthy weight. When you gain weight in adulthood, the weight gained is mostly fat and not muscle. This excess weight can increase your chances of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/or diabetes. One way to maintain your healthy weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) , consider your height and weight to determine if you have a healthy percentage of body fat. Body fat index numbers of 25 or higher are associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke .
- Get tested regularly and measure your blood pressure. High blood pressure as well as high cholesterol damage the heart and blood vessels. But without testing for them, you probably won’t know if you have these conditions. The regular review will set the tone for you to take the necessary measures.