12 Lifestyle Changes for Heart Disease Prevention

 

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains to be a leading threat globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CVD takes around 17.9 million lives annually.

CVD may be caused by: 

 

 

Complications may also occur alongside such as diabetes, among others.

Those who suffer from cardiovascular ailments may have increased blood pressure and glucose and lipid levels and are usually obese. However, even individuals who appear physically healthy could unknowingly be having CVD. 

Heart disease affects the entirety of the human heart, while CVD is the umbrella term for conditions that affect other parts of the circulatory system. Treatment varies from type to type and is affected by many factors, including the patient’s symptoms, age, and overall health status. 

Knowing that cardiovascular disease could strike at any time, even during one’s prime years, it’s reason enough for you to do everything to prevent its occurrence. 

If you or someone you care about has cardiovascular ailments, changing your lifestyle and adopting healthier habits could help you manage the condition. Heart disease prevention is better than cure or going through the tumultuous heart disease treatment process.

Here are some of the healthy lifestyle habits you can start doing now so you can be on your way to excellent heart health.

 

Infographic guide to lifestyle changes for the prevention of heart disease

 

How to adopt heart-healthy lifestyle changes1,2,3,4,5,6,7

 

Changing your lifestyle will not happen overnight. But with time and consistency, these changes will be done out of habit to truly become part of your lifestyle.

 

Quit Smoking

Smoking cigarettes can cause lung cancer and respiratory ailments, but people fail to realize that it can also increase the risk of CVD. Smoking raises the heart rate and blood pressure, constricts major arteries, and causes irregular heart rhythm.  

Smokers must be encouraged to break the horrid habit to prevent temptation, especially if they have been long-time smokers. There are many support groups and various resources available to aspiring quitters who want to break the habit in the name of better health. 

 

Limit alcohol consumption 

Alcohol consumption raises blood pressure and increases the risk of deadly diseases such as stroke. While moderate drinking is believed to be good for the heart, the operative word is “moderate.” For reference, one drink is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits. 

 

Reduce stress

Poor cardiovascular health could result from physical or mental stress. Finding time to relax and minimize stress through healthy activities like exercise, meditation, yoga, sports, or art therapy will lower your risks of having any form of CVD. 

 

Consume healthy food 

Consume a diet rich in vitamins and minerals while aiming to have a balanced meal. Stay away from refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, and sodium. Eat healthy doses of fresh fruits, whole grains, vegetables, lean meats, and fish. 

If you can afford to, opt for low-fat or fat-free dairy products and go for healthier fats like olive oil. 

 

Increase your physical activity 

The overwhelming benefits of regular exercise in preventing CVD are undeniable. At least 3060 minutes of physical activity daily is enough to help your journey to a healthier heart.

Getting a fitness tracker to monitor your step count daily can help motivate you to move more if you mostly live a sedentary lifestyle. The first step is always the hardest to take, but once you’ve set your mind to it, you will see how the benefits far outweigh the discomforts brought by exercising. 

 

Get high-quality sleep 

Studies show that poor sleep quality may be associated with a higher risk of CVD. Adults need over seven hours of sleep nightly, and sticking to a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule helps prevent CVD. Ensure that your environment is quiet and free of distractions conducive to sleeping. 

 

Do not buy or store junk food in the house 

Frequently eating your favorite flavorful treats could be taking a toll on your heart. Stay away from fatty, sugary, or salty food that could raise your bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and your risk for diseases like diabetes. 

You can start by fixing your shopping habits. Scour the aisles of fresh produce and stay away from the empty calories section where the chips, soda, and sweets are. 

 

Manage diabetes

High blood sugar levels can damage vital nerves and blood vessels responsible for controlling the main functions in your heart. Stay vigilant by constantly monitoring your blood sugar, and when you can, go for regular check-ups so you can adjust your diet and routines accordingly. 

 

Maintain a healthy weight 

After losing all the extra weight, the challenge continues as you keep it off. A healthy, balanced diet, combined with regular exercise and great stress management techniques, is critical in maintaining a healthy weight. These lifestyle changes work hand in hand with your willpower to keep weight gain at bay. 

 

Maintain normal blood pressure

If you have suffered from a heart attack before, maintaining a normal blood pressure level becomes critical. Your doctor will know if medication is necessary or changes must be made in your diet to facilitate the process. 

Consulting a doctor or dietitian to develop a plan for maintaining blood pressure and heart health is recommended. 

 

Check the label 

Your food may contain saturated fats or trans fats, so it’s always best to check the nutrition facts label. It has all the necessary information about the food you’re going to eat, including the serving size, calories, and nutrients to help you make informed decisions for a healthier diet. Make it a habit to go through it when picking up food items at the supermarket, so you’re sure everything’s going to be good for your heart.

 

Find support 

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with CVD, joining a local support group may help you deal with the emotional challenges brought by the condition. 

If you enjoy a little healthy competition, simply buddying up with a friend with the same health and fitness goals may help keep you accountable and stay on track, especially on the harder days. 

 

Here’s to better heart health

 

Get started on the path to better heart health. Take control and adopt healthier lifestyle habits like increasing physical activity, making better food choices, finding alternative ways to manage stress, and seeking support from friends and health experts. 

Do not be discouraged when you face obstacles along the journey. Making small changes and getting started may be hard, but consistency can lead to impactful improvements. 

ForYourSweetheart.ph offers the researched-based Framingham Risk Score assessment test, with results you could download and show to your doctor on your next check-up. Try it out to see how you fare and determine what steps you can take to prevent CVD.

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References:

 

1 https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventheartdisease.html
2 https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-disease-prevention/art-20046502
3 https://www.healthline.com/health/heart-disease/lifestyle-changes-after-heart-attack#1.-Up-your-food-game
4 https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/heart-attack/prevention/
5 https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/lifestyle-changes-to-lower-heart-disease-risk-2019110218125
6 https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-read-food-labels-if-you-have-heart-disease/
7 https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/reduce-your-stress-to-protect-your-heart
8 https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/life-after-a-heart-attack/lifestyle-changes-for-heart-attack-prevention