Healthy Habits To Prevent Heart Disease
Heart diseases can develop at any age—it’s important to make heart-healthy choices at a young age to protect oneself.
People often assume that cardiac events are only associated with old age, but it’s becoming more common among middle-aged and even younger adults. As per the WHO, India reported 63% of total deaths due to NCDs (noncommunicable diseases) in 2016, of which 27% were caused by CVDs (cardiovascular diseases). The same study also found that CVDs account for 45% of deaths in the 40-69 year age group. More attention to heart health needs to be given early on, and healthy heart habits should be taught and encouraged.
Here are a few ways to lead a heart-healthy life:
- Understand Your Family History & Get Tested
Part of cardiovascular protection is understanding your genetic makeup—if a direct family member has had a cardiac event at a young age, the likelihood of you having one becomes higher. If there have been such incidents, it’s best to visit a healthcare practitioner to determine your cardiac risk and seek appropriate treatment. Along with this, get your blood sugar tested and check your weight regularly—abnormal blood sugar levels can indicate diabetes, which is linked to CVDs, as is obesity.
- Revamp Your Diet
Your diet has a direct impact on your cardiovascular risk. A diet high in trans and saturated fats can increase one’s cholesterol levels, which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. High blood sugar can also have an adverse impact on heart health. Try and avoid processed foods, and instead opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fatty fish. Consult a nutritionist if you need to lose weight—they will help create a plan for you to follow that is safe, and which can be maintained over time.
- Get Moving
Regular physical activity is one of the most important ways to protect your heart—but one must do so at a regulated pace, and not increase the intensity suddenly. The WHO recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-level physical activity per week; this can be brisk walking, running, cycling, or any other form of aerobic activity.
- Quit Smoking & Excess Alcohol
Smoking causes damage to blood vessels making cardiac incidents more probable. Consult your healthcare practitioner to find out the best way for you to quit smoking—they will be able to help you with a programme. Excess alcohol consumption is also a risk factor and should be monitored.
- Know Your Blood Pressure & How To Take A Reading
Understanding blood pressure numbers is an important step in maintaining heart health, and an abnormal reading can alert you to a problem. Usually, 120/80 mmHg and lower is considered to be the normal level. High levels can indicate hypertension, which is a major heart disease risk factor. Taking a blood pressure reading is easy to learn, and can be done at home.
- Take Your Medicine
If you are at risk for developing a cardiac disease and have been prescribed medication, be sure to take it at the right time and intervals. Missing doses can be extremely dangerous, so follow your treatment plan diligently.
- Manage Stress
Stress has a physical impact as well—it can lead to an increased heart rate and high blood pressure, both of which are cardiac risk factors. Find a stress management method that works for you. This could look like meditation for some, or exercise for others. Whatever it is, make it a lifelong habit to protect yourself.
At Seva At Home, we produce a wealth of free health information to help individuals and families live healthier, happier lives. This has been produced by independent research carried out by the Seva At Home team. This information is not a replacement for medical advice. Please consult your physician for relevant medical diagnosis and advice.