When it comes to having a healthy heart there are some things that are not under our control such as heredity and age. However, there are some things that should definitely be checked to have a healthy heart. Some of the things that should be controlled to prevent heart diseases include:
Smoking is the major culprit in increasing blood pressure, causing blood clots and also making physical activity hard. According to the American Heart Association, smoking is the most important and common cause for premature death in the country.
This is one habit that is very difficult to control and stop, but quitting this habit is one of the most rewarding ones with immediate health benefits. Quitting smoking reduces the risk of heart diseases by one half within a year of quitting the habit. Within 10 years, the risk is as normal as a non-smoker, adds Nieca Goldberg, MD, cardiologist and medical director of the New York University Women’s Heart Program.
Ignoring the Chest Pain
Any type of chest pain requires medical attention. The most important warning signal is the heart pain while exercising. The pain may be felt like a pressure in the heart region. In most of the cases the pain is felt in front of the chest which sometimes may extend to the shoulders, jaws or even down the left arm. If the pressure is accompanied by profuse sweating, it needs immediate help. Direct attention is required for the doctor to decide the treatment plan for the person. Never wait for the pain to subside when it might be too late!
Accepting Heredity Quietly
Family history of heart diseases is a very important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. An American Association Report shows that an individual with one parent who had an early heart attack doubles the risk of heart diseases. In females, the risk increases by 70% in those who have a family history of heart attacks.
In most of the cases, the risk can be lowered by changes in life style. For example, reducing the LDL levels by 50% lowers the risk by half. A study conducted in 1998 reported that taking statin, the cholesterol-lowering drug, helps to reduce the risk of heart disease to a very low level.
Do not allow family history to deter your health. Have regular checkups and follow a healthy life style.
Regular checkups with the doctor help to identify any hidden risk factors for heart diseases. Most of the common risk factors of heart diseases, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, could be easily treated.
Federally-funded health centers are the best options to go about with a routine checkup, as they are more pocket-friendly. One can also opt for clinics that accept sliding scale payments.
Being a Couch Potato
Fonarow, the Director of Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, suggests that sedentary nature increases the risk of heart diseases while physical activity enables a longer life. Regular moderate exercise lowers the blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, encourages loss of weight, smoothens the functioning of blood vessels and reduces stress.
One can start the activity even if they have been inactive for quite a long period. Discuss with the physician before starting a new exercise regimen.
Stopping Regular Medications
Consistency in taking regular heart medications is very important in maintaining a healthy heart. These drugs are supposed to provide an ‘insurance’ against heart diseases and stroke. Many people realize the importance of being consistent with the medications only after having a heart attack or other chronic illness.
Presence of extra fat in the abdominal section is the primary symptom of metabolic syndrome. It is a combination of more than 5 risk factors for diseases like heart problems, stroke or diabetes. The extra fat layers around the abdomen increases the chance of hardening of arteries, insulin resistance and inflammation.
A large waistline doubles the probability of heart diseases. It is not just about the size or fitness of clothes, but it is totally about health. Get back the healthy shape and size through a healthy lifestyle.
Ignoring a Fluttering Heart
Heart flutters are not something to be ignored – they may be signs of heart arrhythmia, which is an electrical problem in the muscles of heart that makes the heart to beat faster or slower than normal. If the fluttering is only for a second, it may not be something to be concerned about and may be triggered by caffeine, chocolate, asthma or some medications. Medical attention is surely required if the fluttering is repeated and is associated with other symptoms.
Not Regulating Blood Pressure
One of the most common risk factors of heart diseases is high blood pressure and most people leave it unchecked. Elevated blood pressure causes the heart to enlarge and work harder. It may also lead to hardening of arteries which further increases the probability of heart attack, stroke and other diseases.
Symptoms of high blood pressure are relatively easy to identify. Simple lifestyle changes like diet, regular exercise and medications can keep the pressure under control.
Overweight is the main cause of heart diseases and heart failure. Even though weight loss is bit tough to accomplish, even a moderate loss of weight may improve the health risk factors.
A healthy diet including lots of fruits and vegetables, very low saturated fats and cholesterol helps in preventing weight gain. Healthy fats as in nuts, olives and fish should be taken in moderation.