Measures To Prevent Heart Diseases

Deaths due to cardiovascular diseases have jumped globally from 12.1 million in 1990 to 20.5 million in 2021, according to a new report from the World Heart Federation (WHF). High blood pressure, air pollution, tobacco use, and elevated LDL cholesterol were among the leading contributors to CVD deaths, as highlighted by the report.


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However, these deaths could be avoided by following simple measures to prevent heart diseases, such as quitting alcohol and tobacco. In this article, we will be discussing various essential yet straightforward measures to prevent heart diseases. These measures can keep a lot of heart-related life-altering diseases at bay if followed sincerely.


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Deaths from cardiovascular disease have surged by 60% globally over the last 30 years – all thanks to our sedentary lifestyle. Along with our lifestyle, our eating habits have also shifted towards a more fat and carb-rich diet. While our predecessors also used to eat carb-rich food, their active lifestyle would compensate for it.


Coming to our generation, there is no physical exertion. Motorbikes have replaced cycles; cooking has been replaced by ordering fast food; using stairs has been supplanted by elevators and escalators; video games have overshadowed traditional outdoor games; handwashing clothes have been replaced by washing machines, and so on. With automation becoming an integral part of our lifestyle, previously available avenues to burn fat have been closing at a steady pace.


Due to the closing of such fat-burning avenues, this fat accumulates in our body – around our organs, inside the coronary arteries, etc. This leads to diseases affecting various organs of our body, like the liver and the heart. Although the use of alcohol and tobacco has been a part of our socio-cultural tapestry for a long time, a sedentary lifestyle coupled with fat-rich food has made the consequences more prominent.


But despite our ongoing situation, there are some simple measures to prevent heart diseases. You can easily incorporate these measures with practice and willpower in your daily life.


1. Stop Smoking and Using Tobacco Products


Tobacco is one of the main culprits behind all the life-threatening heart diseases. Tobacco laced with chemicals can damage the blood vessels and, eventually, the heart. Cigarette smoke lowers the oxygen level in the blood, and because of this, the heart has to work harder to supply blood to various parts of our body. This strains our heart, raising the blood pressure and heart rate.


Chemicals in cigarettes also thicken the blood, which leads to clot formations inside our blood vessels. These clots can disrupt the blood flow, leading to heart attacks or strokes. Strokes can cause permanent brain damage and death.


But there is good news! The risk of heart disease starts to drop in as little as a day after quitting. After a year without cigarettes, the risk of heart disease drops to about half that of a smoker. No matter how long or how much you smoked, you’ll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.


2. Eat a healthy and balanced Diet


Another measure to prevent heart diseases is a healthy diet, a cornerstone of heart health. It can help protect the heart, improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A heart-healthy diet typically includes the following recommendations:


  • Low-Fat, High-Fiber Foods: Emphasize foods low in saturated fats and high in dietary fibre. This includes fresh fruits and vegetables (aim for at least five portions daily) and whole grains.


  • Limit Salt Intake: It’s crucial to restrict your daily salt intake to no more than 6 grams (0.2 ounces), which is roughly equivalent to 1 teaspoonful. Excessive salt consumption can raise blood pressure.


  • Differentiate Between Types of Fats: Be mindful of the fats you consume. Saturated fats, found in foods like red meat and full-fat dairy products, can increase LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels in your blood. Instead, focus on unsaturated fats, typically healthier for your heart. These can be found in olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish.


3. Maintain a Healthy Weight


Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall cardiovascular health. Excess body weight, especially around the abdomen, is a risk factor for high blood pressure. Physical activity plays a significant role in keeping your heart and circulatory system in good shape. Regular exercise improves heart efficiency, lowers cholesterol levels, and helps maintain healthy blood pressure. It strengthens the heart muscle, enabling it to pump blood more efficiently with less effort. This enhanced cardiovascular fitness lowers the risk of heart attacks and improves overall heart health.


A balanced diet and portion control can help with weight management. Remember that your calorie intake should equal or less than the calories burnt. This will help you maintain an ideal weight for your heart’s health.


Your heart will thank you later!


4. Reduce Alcohol Consumption


There might be some benefits to alcohol, but the cons supersede the pros considerably. Excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption can lead to detrimental effects on the structure and function of the heart, elevating the risk of heart-related issues such as heart attacks and heart failure.


Heavy drinking may also cause complications like high blood pressure, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and an increased risk of stroke. It’s crucial to be aware of these risks and consider moderation or abstinence from alcohol to safeguard heart health.


5. Include Physical Activities in your Daily Routine


Apart from eating right to maintain a healthy weight, physical activity is also one of the measures to prevent heart diseases. You should dedicate 30-90 minutes daily to physical activity. It can include brisk walking, playing any sport, etc. These activities make the heart work harder and keep it healthy in the long run.


 If dedicating time to a particular activity like aerobics or swimming is not feasible, try to incorporate physical activity into your daily life in small bits. For example, walk to your nearby store rather than take your car.


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