Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, but how much do you really know about it?
Pumping All the Facts
Heart disease includes a range of critical medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and heart attack. Failure in the heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of the body adequately is what causes heart disease.
This can be due to blocked or narrowed arteries, blood clots, and abnormal heart rhythms. In fact, every 1 out of 4 deaths is due to heart disease according to the CDC. Of all the different types, coronary heart disease is the most common condition, killing 370, 000 people annually.
Heart disease doesn’t usually sneak up on people. There are quite a few factors and indications that can lead to heart disease and must be watched out for.
When it comes to risk factors, you can either control them or you can’t. The former include biological and hereditary aspects such as age, sex and genetics. Older people are generally at a higher risk of getting heart disease than younger ones. The risk is also greater for men than it is for women. Furthermore, a family history of heart disease is usually an indication that you may be at risk as well.
That said, there are other aspects of your lifestyle that put you at risk of contracting heart disease which can be controlled. High cholesterol levels, obesity, physical inactivity, increased stress, and smoking all contribute to a greater probability of getting some form of heart disease.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure!
The good news is, you can still considerably lower your chances of getting heart disease if you follow a healthy lifestyle! With these simple prevention measures, you can keep your heart functioning normally.
Lower Your Cholesterol Intake: For a healthier living, closely monitor your cholesterol levels. Ideally, the HDL (the good cholesterol) should be greater than 40 mg/dl for men and higher than 50 mg/dl for women. The LDL (the bad cholesterol) should typically be less than 130 mg/dl. However, this can vary for different individuals. Add more fiber to your diet to lower your cholesterol.
Exercise Regularly: Stop being a couch potato! Incorporate exercise in your weekly, if not daily routine. Make it fun for yourself and engage in pleasurable physical activities to keep yourself active and in shape.
Control Your Blood Pressure: About 60 million people in the US suffer from hypertension. Don’t take your blood pressure lightly! Stress management, proper diet and exercising can help you maintain the optimal levels and avoid heart disease.
Quit Smoking: Smokers have twice more chances of getting heart disease than non-smokers do. Moreover, passive smoking can also lead to an increased risk. Eliminate this from your lifestyle immediately!