Heart disease is one of the biggest killers of both men and women, with as many as one in four deaths being directly connected to heart disease. Lifestyle factors are largely responsible for many cases of heart disease, which means that the condition is often preventable. Here are five things you can do to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Smoking is often cited as a cause for many serious diseases, including heart disease, atherosclerosis and cancer, as the long-term effects of smoking can lead to a wide range of health problems and cause damage to the body. Smoking damages the lining of arteries, which can cause fatty material to build up, increasing the risk of problems with the heart and cardiovascular system. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
Modify Your Diet
Diet plays an important role in the prevention of many different diseases, including heart disease. Eating a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruit, vegetables, oily fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy products help to protect the heart. Avoiding harmful trans fats, which are often found in processed food, is also important for maintaining a healthy heart. Unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and sunflower oil, are healthier choices.
Manage Stress Levels
Chronic stress takes its toll on on the heart and contributes to the development of hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease and other serious health problems. Managing stress levels effectively is important for long-term health. While it’s often difficult to avoid stress completely, most people can reduce the impact it has on their body by taking time out to relax and unwind at the end of the day.
Take Regular Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle has been shown to have a negative impact on both physical and mental health, contributing to the development of several serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Regular exercise reduces the risk of these diseases and helps to improve your heart health. Most experts recommend alternating cardio workouts with strength training exercises, as this helps to provide a workout for the whole body.
Monitor Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels
High blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol in the blood can both contribute to the onset of heart disease. Monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels will alert your doctor to any potential problems in their early stages. Simple lifestyle changes are often enough to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but some people may need medication to reduce the risk of long-term damage.
Heart disease is one of the biggest killers of both men and women, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing the disease. Quitting smoking, eating a balanced diet, managing your stress levels, taking regular exercise and monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol levels will all help to keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of many serious health problems.