About 50% of all U.S. citizens have at least one of the three crucial risk factors for heart disease and stroke: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or smoking. Sadly, both heart disease and stroke are among the five leading causes of death in the U.S.
Nevertheless, small but gradual lifestyle changes can have a significant impact in preventing heart disease and even in keeping it from worsening. Even for people who already have heart disease or are at risk of developing one, for people who already take prescribed meds like Atorvastatin Calcium to decrease the number of fatty substances, cholesterol, and triglycerides in their blood, implementing a few healthy lifestyle changes can help them prevent more severe complications like heart attacks, chest pain, and strokes.
So, while you certainly can’t change some risk factors like age, gender, ethnicity, and family history, there are particular things that you can do to help reduce the risk of these severe conditions and live a long and healthy life. This article will go through the top four healthy lifestyle changes that can help you lower your risk of experiencing heart disease and stroke:
Start Eating A Healthy Diet
To begin with, eating a healthy diet can help you keep your cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check, which downsizes heart disease risk. To do that, you might want to follow the so-called Mediterranean diet, which avoids processed foods and prioritizes foods like fish, fruits, beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, poultry, vegetables, and whole grains.
Moreover, type 2 diabetes increases your risk of heart disease because when your body has a hard time handling sugars, it inflames your blood vessels, leading to problems with kidneys, triggering a cascade of vascular events. Eating a healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet that is low in sugar can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and lower the risk of developing heart diseases.
Smoking cigarettes and vaping are primary heart disease risk factors, as they cause 25% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease. In addition, smoking causes damage over time to the lining of the blood vessels around the heart, leading to plaque buildup and, in many instances, strokes and even heart attacks. This applies not only to cigarettes but also vaping, as the juice used in these battery-operated vaping devices often contains chemicals that can also increase your heart disease risk.
Kicking the habit can be a challenging task to tackle, so if you’re struggling to quit, make sure to speak with your doctor, as there are certain services like smoking cessation programs that can certainly help.
Manage Your Stress
Stress causes strains on the heart, creating a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases. For that reason, professional cardiologists recommend regular exercise for all people who experience mild to moderate stress daily. When people start to work out and feel the endorphins, they feel better both mentally and physically. In addition, exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of death after a heart attack.
In addition to physical workouts, meditation or any other form of spiritual practice can also help you keep the stress in check. For example, a recent study presented at an AHA conference found that people with heart disease who meditated had nearly 50% fewer heart attack rates, stroke, and death than those who didn’t practice meditation.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Last but definitely not least, weight extremes can also grow your risk for heart diseases and strokes. In that manner, heart disease is the most frequent cause of death for people dealing with severe anorexia and becoming drastically underweight. Anorexia can generate complications like dangerous heart rhythms, imbalance of electrolytes, and low blood pressure, all of which are vital for maintaining a regular heartbeat.
On the other hand, obesity can increase the risk for heart disease even when you don’t have any other risk factors included in your daily routines. For that reason, maintaining a healthy weight is essential to protecting your heart from fatigue or damage. In addition, when your body weight is in a healthy range, your blood circulates more effectively, and necessary fluid levels are managed, thus preventing strains on your heart.
Despite where you’re currently are in terms of heart health, you can begin making improvements by incorporating specific lifestyle changes that will protect your heart going forward. Simple steps like eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, efficiently managing your stress levels, and kicking some bad habits away from your life can significantly impact your heart and overall health for the years to come.
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