Having good cardiovascular health and maintaining it should be a priority. Here are seven tips to help you reduce your risks of getting a stroke, at any age.
Good cardiovascular health is something you may take for granted, but it is very important. The statistics of deaths caused by strokes and heart failures may sound simple – after all, strokes are the fifth most common cause of death, while heart diseases are the leading cause of fatalities, both in the United States alone, and these cases are unfortunately on the rise.
Among the leading causes of these problems is the lack of people who commit themselves to following a healthy lifestyle promoting cardiovascular health. The lifestyle you live is not only the guarantee to preventing heart diseases, but you are also responsible for the choices you make. Here are some steps that you can follow to reduce the risk factors you have for getting these issues.
Everyone has an idea of the dangers smoking presents to the body, but do you know that smokers have higher chances of developing heart attacks instead of cancer – by up to three times? When you smoke five cigarettes per day, you effectively increase your risk of getting a heart attack by 40%. Even medication or resources from the ND recovery village cannot help in this instance.
Smoking leads to the heart vessels clamping down and makes the heart pump blood harder to push blood through. The pressure makes it easier for calcium and fat deposits to accumulate on artery walls, narrowing the blood vessels even more, and reducing the oxygen supply to your tissues.
This is a difficult rule to enforce, but it needs to happen. If you smoke, then it is in your best interest to quit. If someone in your family is a smoker, then they should be encouraged to quit – even though the ultimate decision is theirs. It is harder to recover from chronic heart illnesses or live with the effects of strokes.
Note the problems that happen with high blood cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is harmful – higher HDL cholesterol levels are good – but if you have fat within your arteries, that is simply a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. It has high chances of leading to a stroke or a heart attack.
You need to reduce your intake of Trans-fats, saturated fat and start an exercise program (even a light one such as walking). In case exercise and diet changes do not help effectively, medication is the key to prolonging your life.
Total cholesterol levels are calculated using both HDL (the good cholesterol) and LDL (the bad cholesterol). The rise of LDL cholesterol is mostly due to the lifestyle you lead and the diet you consume, so make sure you get those levels down by exercise and proper nutrition. As for the HDL cholesterol, higher numbers reduce your chances of getting heart diseases, and this mainly comes from plant sources, varying according to your gender and age.
One of the best weapons you have in fighting your risk of cardiovascular diseases is your diet choices. The food you consume is literally who you are – it even affects your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and determines your likelihood of getting lifestyle diseases such as diabetes.
Make sure your diet has foods rich in nutrients – vegetables, whole grains and fruits, which give your body fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates. Always go for the foods that are nutrient-dense but have lower calorie amounts, and reduce your intake of red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.
Know your healthy weight and work towards it
The more weight you have, the higher your cholesterol levels are, as well as the chances of you getting Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension, all which lead to your chances of getting heart diseases.
When you lose 10 kg of weight, you are reducing your blood pressure by 20 mmHg, which is good enough – so start being active and work towards getting and maintaining your ideal weight.
The best way to know if you are at your ideal weight is using the BMI (Body Mass Index), which should be the ideal range of between18 and 22.9.
Your body shape also influences your chances of getting heart diseases – apple body shapes have higher risk because fat accumulates around their waist, compared to ‘pear’ body shapes that have fat accumulate at their hips or thighs.
Manage your stress effectively
Stress can lead to a host of health problems – apart from causing problems with digestion, headaches and insomnia, it can also lead to increasing cholesterol levels and blood pressure because the person will tend to smoke more or eat too much.
You may not know it, but research shows that within two hours of angry outbursts, the heart attack risks of a person multiplies by up to five times – use this to make your coping mechanisms better, since you cannot avoid stressful situations entirely.
Some of these methods include regular exercise, having quiet moments alone when you get stressful situations, and having enough sleep hours – at least six hours a day, and not less than four.
Eat some dark chocolate
It may surprise you that dark chocolate is more beneficial to your health than you think, and it actually promotes heart health. This is due to dark chocolate containing compounds called flavonoids that assist the arteries to remain flexible and free of clogging.
Other benefits is has is stopping the bad cholesterol (LDL) from oxidizing due to its antioxidant content, and therefore makes it have less chances of forming plaque. However, avoid milk chocolate because of its high butterfat content, therefore leading to increasing cholesterol level.
Drink tea (at least two cups daily)
It does not matter whether it is black or green tea. Studies on the effects of tea showed that people who drank at least two cups daily had a lower chance of getting heart disease compared to people who never drink tea. In fact, regular tea intake reduces the chances of strokes by almost 11%.
Even though modern advances in technology have had us dying less often, the risk of cardiovascular diseases has not gone down – mostly due to lifestyle and diet choices. It is more preferable to avoid this problem, but it takes effort on your part – the good news is these tips are simple to implement and increase the quality of your heart health.
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