Heart-Strengthening Strategies to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

8 Ways to Avoid Heart Illness

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide, and as such it’s a fundamental human health issue. 

Fortunately, scientists and health experts have conducted studies and experiments for decades to understand the factors that lead to heart disease. The results gave us fact-based guidelines on heart-healthy living.

Here are some basic self-care and lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of cardiovascular illness at any age. 

Photo by Tim Bish on Unsplash

Protect Yo Heart!

Heart disease is a general term referring to a few different internal conditions related to the heart and veins. Most often, the term refers to coronary artery disease, which when left untreated can lead to heart attack, arrhythmia, and stroke. 

Unfortunately, age, sex, race, and family history all play roles in the risk of developing heart disease. While we might not be able to mitigate these factors, other major contributors to cardiovascular distress like blood pressure, triglycerides levels, and sleep dysfunction can be managed through simple lifestyle changes. 

1. Develop a stress management practice

Stress can raise your blood pressure levels, and in severe cases even cause a heart attack or stroke. Some stress relief methods can be awful for the heart, such as smoking or binge drinking. Pay attention to stress levels and manage them through healthy coping mechanisms like exercise, creative pursuits, meditation, or talk therapy.

2. Eat a well-balanced diet

Avoid processed foods with high trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, or sugar content. Opt for a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients, with plenty of whole fiber and protein. Make sure to practice portion control and keep a consistent meal schedule.

3. Tune up your sleep hygiene

The average adult needs about seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Those who sleep either more or less than that are linked to a higher risk of developing heart disease. Practice good sleep hygiene techniques like compartmentalization, making your bed, and avoiding blue light as much as possible during the hours before your hit the hay.

4. Get regular aerobic exercise

Doctors recommend getting 30-60 minutes of some type of exercise each day to keep your body in active shape. Aerobic exercise works your heart like a muscle (because it is one), encouraging healthy blood pressure and circulation.

5. Maintain a healthy body weight

Learn your optimal body weight through a conversation with your general medical practitioner or by completing an online BMI evaluation. Everyone’s healthy body weight is different, but research has proven that overweight and obese people place elevated strain on their hearts.

6. Watch your alcohol intake

Avoid binge drinking, as alcohol is loaded with sugar and calories. Drinking to excess can skyrocket your blood sugar and triglycerides, as well as damage your heart’s rhythm. The average adult should have no more than fourteen alcoholic beverages per week (1-2 per day maximum).

7. Pay attention to your health

Self-care can feel like a full-time job on its own, but the rewards heartily outweigh the costs.

Cheating heart disease is like cheating death, so give yourself an upper hand each day by taking care of your body and mind.

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