What Can I Do to Prevent Heart Disease?
Posted by: Tampa Cardio
On: November 17, 2014
Heart disease is a term that encompasses a variety of conditions related to the heart, the blood vessels, or both and some are extremely severe. Though the mortality rate has decreased in recent years, heart disease is still currently the leading cause of death across the entire world, a statistic that is likely to keep its hold for many years to come. While heart disease most commonly effects older adults, warning signs and antecedents can be present from childhood and even birth, and, as a result, prevention is often a person’s most powerful weapon against the dangers of heart disease later in life.
What preventative measures a person takes depends largely on the risk factors already present in their life. Some risk factors are completely out of a person’s control; males, older adults, post-menopausal women, people with a family history of heart disease, and people of certain races (African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans) are all at an increased risk for developing heart disease. Other risk factors can be controlled; smoking, obesity, and general physical inactivity can increase a person’s risk for heart disease greatly. The presence of certain other medical conditions, especially uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, can also contribute greatly to heart disease.
While hereditary and genetic factors cannot be modified, the risk factors for heart disease that can be controlled should be controlled with every possible effort made. Actions that you can take in preventing heart disease include:
- Quit smoking – Smokers are at more than double the risk for heart disease than non-smokers, and even exposure through second-hand smoke can have a serious effect on others.
- Stay active – Most doctors recommend around 30 minutes of exercise a day, with more benefits seen with vigorous activity. Even something as simple as taking a daily walk can make a huge impact on one’s heart health.
- Maintain a healthy diet – A healthy diet helps in keeping cholesterol and blood pressure levels within a good range and contributes to your overall health. Typical foods to avoid are those high in trans and saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol, and refined sugars.
- Maintain a healthy weight – The extra weight of obesity puts an added strain on the heart and all of the blood vessels connected to it. Obesity can also contribute to related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Manage stress levels – Unmanaged stress levels and extreme anger can eventually culminate in the form of a heart attack or stroke. Many techniques are available for reducing stress levels, which can both reduce the risk for heart disease as well as improve a person’s overall quality of life.
- Manage and control related medical conditions – High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes can all contribute to the development of heart disease. Staying active and maintaining a healthy diet and weight can help manage these conditions, which in turn helps to prevent heart disease from occurring as well.
It is extremely likely that you or someone close to you will experience a battle with heart disease at some point during your lifetime, so it’s wise to be aware of the risks and stay informed about prevention. The cardiologists at Tampa Cardiovascular Associates are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and are happy to offer advice regarding the prevention of such conditions. While activity and nutrition are extremely important for maintaining a healthy heart, never begin a diet or exercise program without consulting with a medical professional first.
Posted by: Tampa Cardio