Cardiovascular diseases – including congestive heart failure, atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke – remain the leading cause of death in the world, accounting for more than 17 million deaths each year, according to the American Heart Association. They claim more lives than all types of cancer combined. While some risk factors, such as age and heredity are beyond our control, there are numerous things we can do to reduce our risk of heart attack. First, no matter your age, if you smoke, it is time to quit. According to the National Institutes for Health, doing so may reduce your risk by 50 percent. Here are a few more way to help you reduce the risk:
We recently discussed the importance of exercise in this post. When it comes to the heart, exercise helps in a number of ways: it strengthens the heart, making it easier to pump blood through the body with less strain. It also help maintain a healthy weight. This is important because obesity is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Exercise can also reduce cholesterol, another risk factor. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, which, for seniors, could include things like jogging and muscle-strengthening exercises such as pushups and leg squats.
Eating well can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. According to a study conducted by the American College of Cardiology, people who followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease. Other ways to eat a heart-healthy diet include controlling your portion size and planning ahead so you’re not grabbing unhealthy snacks from the pantry just to satisfy your hunger.
Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of heart disease in a number of ways. First, it can lead to weight gain. A lack of sleep can hinder the ability of the frontal lobe of your brain – which governs decision-making and impulse control – to perform at its best. Therefore, when you’re tired, the brain starts seeking out something to make it feel better, making it harder to resist food cravings. Also, a study out of South Korea discovered that adults who sleep five or fewer hours a day have 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours day. Calcium buildup is a warning sign for potential heart disease.
According to Harvard Health Publications, constant stress can increase risk factors such as high blood pressure and the formation of arterial plaque that can force the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Stress can also lead to overeating, smoking and other habits that increase your risk factors.
Finally, keeping a positive attitude about life can help reduce your risk of heart disease. An exhaustive review of numerous studies have shown that people who express optimism and are generally exude positive psychological well-being have a reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to helping your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic, a positive attitude can also increase your lifespan, decease depression and increase your psychological and physical well-being.
These are helpful tips we recommend at any age to protect and prevent any heart disease complications. It doesn’t matter how old you may be it can always improve and make a difference in your day-to-day activities.
Additionally, Fedelta’s Heart Disease Program can help with symptom management, medication compliance and assistance with diet and exercise. If you are interested in more information regarding our Heart Disease Care Management please contact us at 206.362.2366.