Heart is a vital muscular organ of our body that pumps blood throughout the circulatory system. It beats about 2.5 billion times over the average lifetime, pushing billions of gallons of blood to all parts of the body. This steady flow carries oxygen, nutrients, hormones, specialized cells and other essential compounds and takes away waste products of metabolism.
Cardiovascular diseases have high rates of morbidity, mortality and disability irrespective of age and sex.
According to the World Health Federation:
- One-third of adults over the age of 25 suffer from cardiovascular diseases
- 17.5 million people die from cardiovascular diseases worldwide annually
The most common causes of cardiovascular diseases are due to environmental factors, unhealthy living habits and genetic components.
Some of these factors can be enlisted as follows-
It is crucial in the development and prevention of cardiovascular disorders. Abnormal blood lipid and cholesterol levels are caused due to a diet rich in saturated fats which are harmful. Unsaturated fats like those found in fish, nuts and seeds are beneficial for the heart as these contain essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6.
It influences a variety of cardiovascular regulatory peptides and lowers C-reactive protein (CRP) levels that help to delay the development of cardiovascular diseases.
Exercise also reduces body fat levels and improves insulin sensitivity.
It is closely related to coronary artery diseases and hypertension as smoking enhances oxidation of Low Density Cholesterol (LDL) and reduces High Density Cholesterol (HDL). Nicotine also causes transient constriction of coronary and carotid arteries.
Environmental pollution affects the development of fetus during pregnancy and can ultimately cause congenital heart disease. Breathing polluted air reduces the amount of blood flow to the heart increasing risks of myocardial infarction and arrhythmia.
Why is your heart at risk?
To calculate the risk of heart disease, the following points must be considered-
Risk of cardiovascular diseases increases as one gets older, commonly being over 45 years for men and over 55 years for women.
If Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is too high or High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is too low (below 40 mg/dl), the person is at risk.
Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg and should not increase above 140/90 mmHg. This can occur due to multiple factors and can cause myocardial infarction or ventricular failure.
Poor sleep quality and sleep apnea can increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmia and stiffen arteries.
If a person has a close male relative with heart disease before the age of 55 years or close female relative with heart disease before the age of 65 years, the person is at risk.
High blood pressure and your heart
Hypertension is a common disease that occurs when blood pressure in the arteries is higher than 140/80 mmHg consistently.
It can cause multiple complications in the body if left untreated like-
The following factors can increase chances for developing high blood pressure-
Treatment and medication options for hypertension-
Most people who have high blood pressure require lifelong medication to help ward off or delay health problems. Along with lifestyle changes, doctors may recommend the following drugs-
- Thiazide diuretics
- Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
Performing CPR in an emergency
In less than six minutes, brain damage and death can occur if pumping of the heart or breathing stops. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a conventional and simple procedure that can avert a potentially dead emergency situation. It gets oxygen flowing and lets blood keep circulating through the heart.
These should be checked before performing CPR-
- Airway obstruction
Dietary recommendations to maintain a healthy heart
Three keys to a healthy-heart diet are-
Be smart about fats
- Cut out trans fats
- Limit saturated fats
- Eat healthy fats (mono and poly unsaturated fats)
Don’t replace fats with sugars or refined carbs
Focus on high fiber food
Apart from these, the following steps should be followed-
- Control portion size
Eat large portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich food such as fruits and vegetables and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium and refined food.
Keep track of the number of servings you eat.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Select whole grains
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and help in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Refined white flour should be substituted with whole wheat flour or grains such as brown rice, barley or buckwheat
- Reduce sodium intake
Eating a lot of sodium increases the risk of heart diseases.
It is recommended that-
- Healthy adults have no more than 2,300 mg of sodium in a day
- Most adults ideally have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium in a day
Laugh out loud
Don’t just put LOL in posts on social media, but laugh in your daily life. Whether you like watching funny movies or cracking jokes with friends, laughter is good for the heart and our health. According to the American Heart Association, research suggests that laughing can lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation in the arteries and raise levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL).
See the doctor for a heart health check
During a heart health check-up, the doctor assesses risk factors for a heart disease.
A heart health check-up involves 3 key steps-
- Speak to the doctor
- Learn about the risk
- Manage the risk
Keeping your heart healthy is easy when you look at the big picture-
Putting these goals into action, of course, is not so simple but habituating oneself for the healthy way of life matters most when one feels good while strengthening the heart and having a healthy body. To learn more about having a healthy heart, speak to our team of highly trained professional who can let you know about the best hacks to keep your heart healthy.
Stay Home, Stay Safe!!!
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