It is quite unfortunate that heart disease does not spare the young. It does not discriminate based on age, overall health and whether or not it runs in your family, while you can’t change things like age and family history, the good news is that even modest changes to your diet and lifestyle can improve your heart health and lower your risk. These factors can work together to reduce the risks:
- CHOOSE A HEALTHY EATING PLAN: You are what you eat, what you eat can reduce your risk of heart diseases. Choose food low in fat and sodium, drink lots of water, and eat lots of raw fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains. As much as you can eat less meat, if you must; select the leanest cuts, Select low fat dairy products, reduce or avoid intake of sugar, alcohol beverages and also use of partial hydrogenated vegetable oil rather use olive oil.
- BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE: Consistent physical activity has many benefits such as helping you quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase HDL cholesterol. Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, it doesn’t have to be rigorous, simple activities like walking, cleaning the house, etc. The key is to stay active. Exercise does more than burn calories; it also activates genes that are beneficial to health in other ways. Plus, exercise is one of the best treatments for depression and anxiety and lowers your blood pressure and reduces the risk for other complications.
- MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE: High blood pressure, called hypertension goes without symptoms in most individuals. High blood pressure causes wear and tear of the delicate inner lining of your blood vessels. The higher your blood pressure (BP) the greater your risk. Measuring blood pressures at home reflects more accurately your risk than having the blood pressure taken at a physician’s office. It is worth the investment to get a cuff meter; High blood pressure can cause increased stress on your cardiovascular system and contribute to heart diseases.
- REDUCE STRESS: Stress contributes to cardiovascular disease and, if severe, can cause a heart attack or sudden death. There are plenty of options that help reduce stress, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, striving for a good marriage, laughing, volunteering or attending religious services. Watching TV generally does not relieve, but can aggravate stress. Also, try to avoid situations and people who make you anxious or angry.
- MANAGING DIABETES: Diabetes is a severe risk factor for heart disease. It has harmful effects on multiple organs in the body when left untreated and can lead to peripheral artery disease, stroke, and other complications. If you have diabetes, manage your condition to prevent heart disease. Prevention includes regular check-ups with your health care provider, eating a healthy diet, and exercising. Diabetes is managed with medications in some cases. By choosing a healthy lifestyle, you can limit the effects of diabetes and reduce your risk of heart disease.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP: Sleeping daily for fewer hours than the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep for adults can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, and diabetes. A good way to know if you are getting sufficient sleep is when you feel refreshed, waking up from your bed. However, if you feel so weak and tired, after waking up, it’s a sign that you need more sleep.