Love Your Heart and Avoid Heart Heart disease belongs to the top ten causes of death worldwide. Heart disease or cardiovascular disease refers to a number of health conditions that reduce the ability of the cardiovascular system to work properly.
Since the heart is the center of the cardiovascular system, any health problem that affects the heart’s ability to perform its function properly is associated with a lot of health complications. In fact, if the heart and the blood vessels become problematic, other organs in the body like the kidneys and lungs suffer as well. Ultimately, these health complications can affect the person’s ability to perform his or her activities of daily living. Eventually, if the heart condition becomes severe, death can result.
Heart Disease and Other Related Conditions
There are many health problems that belong to the heart disease category. Every one of the conditions has a significant effect on the heart as well as the body in one way or another. Despite such differences, all of the conditions have one thing in common and that is the reduction of the ability of the heart to function properly.
While some heart conditions are congenital and cannot be prevented, there are many other heart conditions that can be prevented and treated through lifestyle modification and medical interventions.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease or CAD is considered the most common type of heart disease. This is also the leading cause of heart attack. CAD is characterized by blockage and narrowing of the arteries or atherosclerosis. This is caused by the buildup of cholesterol and fat inside the arterial walls. When cholesterol and fat plaques start to block the arteries, blood supply to the heart becomes scarce. Without adequate blood flow, the heart will not get sufficient amount of oxygen and nutrients. This condition can lead to angina or chest pain and heart attack. Angina is not heart attack. However, if you are having angina, you are more likely to experience heart attack. Heart attack, on the other hand, is life threatening and must be treated right away.
Heart failure is another heart condition which is different from a heart attack. This condition occurs whenever the heart fails to pump blood efficiently throughout the body. When this happens, organs that normally receive blood from the heart will not be able to receive ample amount of blood supply. This condition can cause shortness of breath, swelling of the feet, legs, ankles and extreme tiredness.
Heart arrhythmia is characterized by the abnormal beating of the heart. While the normal heart beat ranges from 60 to 100 beats per minute, it can get out of rhythm. The heart beat pattern can be erratic, too fast or too slow. Occasional changes in heartbeat may be normal especially if this is simply caused by intense emotional response and adrenaline surges. However, if the heart flutters and other symptoms like shortness of breath and dizziness are experience, immediate medical consult must be sought.
Stroke is another condition associated with the cardiovascular system. This condition primarily affects the brain, as it fails to get enough oxygen due to a blood clot or a bleeding blood vessel. If blood flow is not restored in a few seconds, the brain will not get enough oxygen and the brain cells can die. This can result to permanent brain damage.
Other types of cardiovascular diseases include congenital heart disease, heart valve disease, cardiomyopathies or heart muscle diseases, pericarditis or the inflammation of the lining of the heart, and aorta disease.
Lifestyle Choices for a Healthier Heart
Since heart disease is considered one of the leading causes of death in the world, it is important to learn how you can strengthen your heart and prevent heart disease through adhering to healthy and smart lifestyle habits. In fact, even people who are already diagnosed with heart disease can still live a longer and healthier life through making smart and healthy lifestyle choices.
Quit Bad Habits, Stop Smoking
Smoking has tons of negative effects on the body. Quitting smoking is considered as one of the most important thing to improve heart health. Smoking can harden the arteries and ultimately compromise the ability of the blood to carry oxygen to the cells. In addition, this can also increase blood pressure and cause irregular beating of the heart. If smoking is already a habit, it can be difficult stop it. However, with proper interventions and support, quitting the habit is possible.
Be Active and Exercise Regularly
The good thing about exercising is that you do not need to try too hard to give your heart a healthy workout. With only modest amount of exercise, you can still reduce the risk of heart disease. You can do simple exercises like brisk walking, jogging, and doing chores like washing the car and gardening.
Do Not Eliminate Fat, Reduce It Instead
When it comes to fat, it is important to remember that your goal should be reducing fat intake instead of totally eliminating it from your diet. You can do this by making changes in your dietary habits. You can cut back on fatty foods, high fat dairy products, high fat dairy products and fried foods. There are good kinds of fat that you should consider like those foods and oils that are rich in monounsaturated fats as they help lower bad cholesterol.
Avoid Harmful Stress and Go for Eustress
If you are too stressed, your heart will be stressed, too. Avoid harmful stress triggers in your life. However, you should remember not to eliminate all stress, as there are some stress concepts that are good for the health. This type of stress is known as eustress. Examples of this kind of stress include exercise, studying for an exam and planning a wedding.
Seek Support from Your Friends and Family
It will become easier to go through lifestyle changes if you have help and support with your friends and family. You do not have to go through these lifestyle changes alone. You can seek help if you need it.