One of the biggest killers of adults is heart disease. For this reason, there’s been a recent push to get healthier at a younger age. Here are a few ways to decrease the likelihood of succumbing to heart disease.
You’ve been meaning to get around to this. You’ve told yourself that one more won’t hurt. The truth is, every single cigarette you smoke shaves just a little bit off of your life. By smoking, you’re doubling your chance of having a heart attack and increasing your chance of dying from a heart attack by 70 percent. Smoking is also the leading cause of sudden cardiac death. Whether you quit cold turkey or find a way to slowly wean yourself off of it, find a way to stop. If you don’t smoke, never start. This also applies to smokeless tobacco, which also contains nicotine. Nicotine restricts your blood vessels and makes your heart work faster, leading to elevated blood pressure and heart rates.
Stay active by exercising, no matter your age. Exercise reduces blood pressure, raises HDL cholesterol, and helps people maintain a healthy weight. Ideally, you should exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, for five days a week. If you can’t fit 30 minutes of exercise into your schedule, change your lifestyle a bit. Instead of taking the elevator at your office, take the stairs. Take frequent breaks and walk around as much as you can.
Maintain Your Weight
This shouldn’t be an issue if you’re staying physically active and eating a healthy diet. Losing five to ten percent of your current weight can lower your risk of heart disease if you’re overweight or obese. You can try all of the different weight loss methods as you’d like, but there’s really only one way to lose weight: count calories and exercise. Burning off more calories than you’re taking in is the only way to achieve your weight goal.
Watch What You Eat
In addition to always watching your portion sized, you should also try to eliminate all trans-fat and saturated fat from your diet. These types of fats are found in red meat, full-fat dairy products, fried food, packaged food, and processed baked goods. Both trans-fat and saturated fat have been linked to an increase in blood pressure, which leads to a higher chance of developing heart disease. The effectiveness of plavix as a preventative to strokes has been well documented, so if you’ve had a stroke in the past and are worried about having a heart attack, look into plavix.
Drink in Moderation
Drinking in excess will always have negative effects, but it’s been said that drinking in moderation can help prevent heart attacks. Men, ideally, can have two 12 oz. cans of beer a day, and women can have one 12 oz. can of beer a day. Anything in excess of this can lead to heart attack, stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, and possibly cancer.
This should only be done after you’ve consulted with your physician because some aspirin does have side effects. Baby aspirin or half of a regular aspirin can lower the risk of a heart attack by about one-third. Aspirin reduces the ability of the platelets in blood to congeal and form clots.
Go through a number of screenings every two to three years. Have your blood pressure checked. If a high blood pressure is detected, you’ll have to have it checked more often than that. Have your cholesterol level checked. Get your blood sugar tested, especially if you have a family history of diabetes.
Manage Your Stress
It’s extremely important to keep your stress levels low, which is probably easier said than done. There are many options to relieve stress, such as aromatherapy or yoga. You could combine this with exercise and go for a stress-relieving bike ride.
Another very important factor in the prevention of heart disease is something that could probably be easily achieved, but something that we usually skip over: sleep. By exercising, eating healthy, drinking in moderation, not smoking, and getting a full night’s sleep, you have a 65 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 83 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
No matter what age you are, there are many things you can do to be proactive in losing weight. Whether you’re making a lifestyle change or doing something outside of your comfort zone, any of these tips will lower your risk of succumbing to heart disease.