In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds, and many times they are preventable. “Ninety percent of the nearly 18 million cases of heart disease worldwide could be prevented,” said the Cleveland Clinic states Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women, it doesn’t have to be inevitable. Practicing healthy habits can greatly reduce your risk. “There are many things that women and men can do to prevent a heart attack,” says the UC Irvine physician. Dr Shaista Malik, a cardiologist specializing in cardiovascular imaging and public health. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.
One way to help avoid a heart attack is to “Start by knowing your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers,” says Dr. Malik, medical director of the UC Irvine Preventive Cardiology Program. “Nearly 50 percent of people who die suddenly from a heart attack have no previous symptoms. Keeping track of these numbers gives you a good idea of the health of your heart.”
the Mayo Clinic state, “One of the best things you can do for your heart is to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco. Even if you don’t smoke, be sure to avoid secondhand smoke. The chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke reduces oxygen in the blood, which increases blood pressure and heart rate because the heart has to work harder to deliver enough oxygen to the body and brain.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, “People who don’t get enough sleep are at increased risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Make sleep a priority in your life. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it by going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Keep your bedroom dark and quiet, so it’s easier to sleep.”
Most of us cannot completely get rid of stress; it’s just part of life, but getting it under control can help improve overall health and reduce the risk of a heart attack, says the Mayo Clinic. “Some people cope with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating, drinking, or smoking. Finding alternative ways to manage stress, such as physical activity, relaxation exercises or meditation, can help improve your health.”
Living a healthy lifestyle does wonders for your health, including lowering your risk of a heart attack. the American Heart Association state, “Obesity is very prevalent in the United States, not only among adults but also among children. Fad diets and supplements are not the answer. A good diet, control of caloric intake and physical activity are the only way to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity puts you at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes, the same factors that increase your risk for cardiovascular disease. Your body mass index (BMI) can help you know if your weight is healthy.”
The Mayo Clinic shares how to measure your ability to tell if you have too much belly fat and why losing excess weight is vital.
“Waist circumference can also be a useful tool for measuring how much belly fat you have. Your risk of heart disease is higher if your waist measurement is greater than:
- 40 inches (101.6 centimeters or cm) for men
- 35 inches (88.9 cm) for women
Even a small weight loss can be beneficial. Losing weight by 3% to 5% can help lower certain blood fats (triglycerides), lower blood sugar (glucose), and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Losing even more helps lower blood pressure blood pressure and cholesterol level in the blood.
Eating clean and healthy not only feels good, it also helps prevent major health problems. The AHA says: “A healthy diet is one of the best weapons you have in fighting cardiovascular disease. The foods you eat (and the amount) can affect other controllable risk factors: cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight. Choose foods nutrient-dense foods, which have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients, but are lower in calories, rather than nutrient-poor foods Choose a diet that emphasizes eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, including low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and nuts, and limit your intake of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and red meat. And to maintain a healthy weight, coordinate your diet with your level of physical activity so that you you’re using as many calories as you need to take in.”
Sometimes it’s hard to think about exercise because of how busy our lives and schedules can be. But sweating daily can help save your life. The Mayo Clinic says: “Regular daily physical activity can reduce your risk of heart disease. Physical activity helps control your weight. It also reduces your chances of developing other conditions that can put pressure on your heart, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol high and type 2 diabetes.
If you haven’t been active for a while, you may need to work slowly to reach these goals, but in general, you should aim for at least:
- 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking
- 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running
- Two or more strength training sessions a week”
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing on health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently works as a freelancer for various publications. read more