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The top 5 health care tips for you to prevent heart disease

Heart disease is an inclusive word used to describe a wide range of diseases that affect the heart. Such diseases include those of blood vessels, for example, coronary artery disease; arrhythmias or heart rhythm disorders; heart infections; and congenital heart defects. Heart disease can also be used to mean cardiovascular disease, which refers to conditions involving narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pains, or even stroke.

How heart diseases come about

Many a times we talk about heart diseases and we think of rich or wealthy people. Many of us in society tend to think that any disorder associated with the heart can only come as a result of the so called eating too much.

Any person, whether rich or poor, young or old, can be a victim of heart disease depending on the kind of lifestyle they live.
This has led to the misconception, especially in most African contemporaries, that this kind of diseases can only result due to the lifestyle rich people are assumed to live, which includes waking up, eating, watching TV and back to sleep. In the real sense, cardiovascular diseases or otherwise known as heart diseases, are not a preserve of the rich.Any person, whether rich or poor, young or old, can be a victim of heart disease depending on the kind of lifestyle they live.

Causes of Heart Disease

Major causes of heart disease include high blood cholesterol level, high blood pressure or hypertension, avoiding regular exercise, smoking, to mention but a few.

Cholesterol

 

Cholesterol comes from the saturated fats that we eat and even though it is considered essential for healthy cells, too much of it can lead to the development of heart diseases. Cholesterol is carried in the blood stream by molecules called lipoproteins, the major ones being Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is also referred to as bad cholesterol because it builds up on the walls of coronary arteries, increasing risk of heart disease. HDL is also referred to as good cholesterol” because it carries cholesterol from cells and back to the liver, where it is broken down or passed from the body as a waste product.

High blood pressure

This is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is measured at two points during blood circulation. Systolic pressure; measured when the heart contracts and pumps blood out. Diastolic pressure; is measured when the heart is relaxed and filling up with blood. The systolic pressure is the first higher number to be recorded when measuring. High blood pressure is defined as a systolic pressure of 140mmHg or more, or a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg or more.

Smoking

 

Carbon monoxide, that comes from the smoke, and nicotine both put strain on the heart by making it work faster. They also increase your risk of blood clots. Also chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the lining of coronary arteries, leading to furring of the arteries. Research shows that smoking increases your risk of developing heart disease by 24%. These are considered the major causes of heart diseases. Having discussed and known some of the causes of heart disease, it is important to find out how heart diseases and related complications can be prevented, and this is discussed below. As we all know, prevention is cheaper and better that cure.

How you can prevent heart decease

Exercise regularly

This is by far the cheapest yet manageable way to keep heart disease at bay, and when combined with lifestyle measures, the result is even better. Physical exercise helps you to control your weight and reduces your chances of developing other conditions that may strain your heart. This is so due to the burning of cholesterol or otherwise fat while having regular workouts.

Quit smoking

Smoking as stated above is a major cause for heart-related complications. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke also replaces some of the oxygen in the blood. This forces the heart to work harder so that enough oxygen is supplied, and in turn this increases blood pressure. Good news about quitting smoking is that the risk of heart disease drops drastically, and no matter how long or how much you have smoked, you reap rewards as soon as you quit.

Avoid cholesterol (check your diet)

This simply means eating foods that are low in cholesterol and salt. Such foods include red meat, dairy products, coconut products, deep-fried fast foods, packaged snack foods, margarines and many more. Developing and following a healthy diet isn’t one of the simplest duties but in the end, the hard work and the principle pays off.

Check your blood pressure

Without checking your blood pressure you may never know when your heart is at risk. Blood pressure checks should be a regular starting from childhood all the way to adulthood. Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80mmHg. This helps in checking whether the heart is being overworked or not.

Check your weight

Obesity, commonly known as overweight contributes to increased risk of heart diseases. Research has shown that obesity, especially abdominal adiposity is an important factor for heart diseases in women.

All said and done, it is important to acknowledge the gravity of heart diseases, and that they are not a preserve of certain people in society but they affect all of us both directly and indirectly.

Read more about heart disease

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