When it comes to cardiovascular diseases, a lot of people blame genetics as the main culprit. While there is some truth to this, it’s also important to stress that it is a lot easier to blame something as terrifying as heart disease on something that you can’t control. There are, however, so many factors that you can affect by being more responsible when it comes to your own lifestyle habits. With that in mind and without further ado, here are the top seven things you can do in order to prevent heart disease.
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Know Your Risks
In the introduction, it may have sounded like we discarded the impact of genetics in its entirety. Nothing can be further from the truth. Genetics is still a huge factor and one of the first steps on your path to prevent heart disease would be to run some tests and know your risks. Other than genetics, your risks are also affected by your age and lifestyle. The latter can be rectified by following some tips from this list.
Regularly Check Your Blood Pressure
While prevention is important, keeping track of your progress can make all the difference in the world. Early detection is your safest bet in preventing the worst-case scenario. It also gives you a second chance to turn your life around and adopt some of the habits that we’ll mention on this list. Regularly checking your blood pressure and taking your blood for analysis is incredibly important.
Sure, this will cost you a bit, but it’s an investment worth making. You need to buy yourself a blood pressure monitor so that you can check your blood pressure at any time. As far as the bloodwork goes, you can take it for analysis once every year (ideally once every six months). Those who are really committed can even try to get an ACLS certificate. This way, you will be able to help others (friends and family) and keep your own heart-healthy much more efficiently.
Keep a Healthy Weight
There are layers to how and why eating healthy helps you keep your heart healthy. First of all, every extra pound that you have means that your heart needs to pump blood through five more miles of blood vessels. Add to this the fact that your heart pumps (on average) 100,000 times per day and you’ll get a better idea of what’s going on. Other than this, upon gaining weight, fat accumulates on your heart and your cardiovascular system, making a clog far more likely to occur. Keeping a healthy weight is often achieved through physical exercise and a healthy diet. Fortunately, both of these issues will be addressed later on.
Eating healthy is pivotal for keeping your heart in great shape. We’re not just talking about keeping a healthy weight. You see, some foods have different effects on your body. For instance, there are foods that positively affect your cardiovascular condition like:
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish
- Dark chocolate
- Leafy green vegetables
Aside from this, there are also some foods that can put your heart through a lot of stress and affect it in negative ways. For instance:
- Soft drinks
- Processed meats
- White rice
Foods like bacon, pizza, and red meat are not something that you have to avoid 100% of the time but you shouldn’t base your diet around them. Just by being aware of these two lists, you’re already on the right path.
Avoid Alcohol and Cigarettes
There are so many reasons why you should quit alcohol and cigarettes but even on this impressive list of caveats, heart disease comes to the very front of the list. Why? Because it’s the deadliest (according to all the statistics) and most likely to happen as an outcome. Both alcohol and cigarettes are proven to cause all sorts of cardiovascular diseases, which is why persisting in these bad habits may cause all sorts of problems. If you have a genetic predisposition towards cardiovascular diseases, you have one more reason to quit.
Work Out Regularly (But Not Too Much)
Simply put, there’s nothing healthier than recreational sport and there’s nothing unhealthier in the world than a professional sport. This is also the explanation why (while all the doctors are saying that the sport is good for your health), so many athletes die at a relatively young age. These people are pushing their body past the limits that it was intended for. No, the human body was not designed for 10-12 training sessions per week. There’s also a limit to why you can only take so many nutrients through food and why pushing it with supplementation is not always recommended.
If you want to stay healthy, the first thing you need to do is engage in cardiovascular exercise – cardio. Try cycling, jogging, swimming, and walking. Other than this, two “boxing” exercises that can help are punching a heavy bag and skipping rope. Overall, doing this 3-5 times per week can make a massive difference when it comes to your health.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Previously, we’ve discussed that high blood pressure may affect the health of your heart. Well, stress is one of the factors that can cause your blood pressure to rise, thus putting you in a dangerous spot. Sure, having a rise in blood pressure is a dangerous thing but what if it becomes chronic, which is not uncommon for those who are constantly under stress.
The best possible idea would be for you to try and remove yourself from people and situations that cause you to be stressed out. It’s impossible to avoid stress, which is why you’ll simply need to learn how to live with it.
The best thing regarding the above-listed seven tips is the fact that they’re great regardless of your cardiovascular health. Staying fit, eating healthy, dropping all your vices, and staying clear of stressful positions in life is generally a good idea. In other words, there’s no need for you to specifically take care of your heart or attempt to directly prevent heart disease. Take care of yourself and the rest will fall into place on its own.