Life Saving Heart Health Facts
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Learn here the facts about heart health that could save your life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. And a majority of women don’t know this. Frightening facts! But an upside is that there’s much we can do to prevent problems going forward and even reverse turn back the clock on some damages that might already be hurting your heart.

In this article, you will learn about Heart Health Facts that can help you prevent heart diseases and might save your life.

Any amount of smoking harms the heart

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, smoking can harm almost every organ in your body, including your heart. It hurts how they function, their structure, the blood vessels, and the blood itself. And vaping too ups your risk. Vaping is not only harmful to your lungs but your heart & brain as well. There’s a 71% higher risk of stroke and 59% higher risk of developing a heart attack when you vape.”

Do this: If you smoke, make sincere efforts to quit.Begin by talking to your health care professional, who can direct you to programs and possible tips that can help. Also, remember that secondhand smoke also increases your risk, so request any smokers to do it outside!

Sitting too much puts your heart at risk

Many studies have shown that sitting for prolonged periods – whether at your desk or in front of the T.V.- ups your risks for heart disease. That is because too much sitting raises both blood pressure and blood sugar. Reason: When you sit or lie down, the muscles in your legs (the body’s largest) don’t contract much. Therefore, they don’t do their regular job of consuming sugar from your bloodstream and helping break down fatty acids in the blood—result: Too much fatty acids and sugar build-up.

Do this: Move your ass.It doesn’t take much movement to counteract this: A prominent small study reported that getting up every thirty minutes and just moving for as little as three minutes can help. A mood-boosting idea: Make a playlist of your favorite cheery songs that are about 2-3 minutes long, and get out of your chair every half-an-hour for a bop. In the office? Take breaks and walk up & down a couple of flights of stairs.

Easing stress is a big heart-health booster

A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)—and many other earlier studies—found that mental stress is a solid potential cardiac risk factor. The reason: Stress releases hormones that trigger certain changes in your body (for instance, increased blood pressure and body fat over time). Stress also causes greater inflammation in the arteries.

Do this: Add something interesting to your life. Here is an excellent resource to help you lead a stress-free, calmer life.

Inflammation is a strong indicator of heart risk

Not every inflammation is bad — it’s a natural way your body fights off injury and trauma. But when it gets chronic, it remains in the body, intensifies, and harms your health, including grave heart problems. For example, inflammation can stimulate the growth of plaques, loosen plaque in the arteries and set off the formation of blood clots — the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Moreover, several autoimmune diseases — like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, and Sjogren’s Syndrome — are associated risks with inflammation. And so is obesity.

Do this: The good news is that you can reduce & even prevent inflammation with lifestyle changes. The same lifestyle changes also help lower bad cholesterol, control blood pressure, and decrease high blood sugar.

Following are the ways to fight off inflammation:

  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight, especially lose belly fat (Learn Here How)
  • Heart-healthy diet

Healthy-eating plan can maintain your heart in good health

A heart-healthy diet can lower your risk of heart disease. And it’s entirely in your hand to eat in a way that saves your ticker!

Do this: Follow these five steps & tips.

  • Cut down on processed foods intake.
  • Decrease the amount of salt you eat (step 1 will help you achieve this step as well!).
  • Cut back on simple carbohydrates consumption (such as white bread, white rice, pasta, and sugar).
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, at least five servings per day, to add fiber and essential nutrients.
  • Eat less saturated fat (like in fatty meats and high-fat dairy products) and trans fats (fried foods and bakery products)

An effective way to hit all these is to follow the Mediterranean diet,  which is proven to reduce heart disease risk.

Cardio exercise and strength training are excellent heart boosters

Exercise is a great way to improve heart health. It controls your blood pressure, cuts down stress hormones, loses fat, and helps muscles pull oxygen out of the blood, among many other things. All in all, doing regular exercise — a mix of aerobic exercise and resistance training  — lowers the risk of potentially fatal cardiac events, including sudden heart attacks.

Do this: For optimal heart health, “get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week,” says Dr. Goldberg. “And do some upper and lower strength training two or three times per week.”

Overeating sugar ups your risk of dying from heart disease

Most Americans overeat added sugar (the sugar added in processed foods companies, not the natural sugar contained in fruit). According to a study reported in JAMA, there’s a direct, significant link between added sugar intake and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Do this: Cut back on added sugar. A great way to get started? Check out these sources. They explains every thing you should know and how to cut back on added sugar.

Sources: (1), (2), (3)

Your family heart-health history influences your heart health

Having family members, particularly your parents and siblings, with heart issues increases your own risk. Knowing about this will make you aware and prompt you to take steps against developing your own ticker problems.

Do this: Find out your family health history. Don’t assume that you know everything about your parents’ health! Check with them, and your relatives as well (their siblings, your grandparents, etc.) share the information with your doctor.

Belly fat is especially hazardous for the heart

It’s true: After a certain age, we tend to start stockpiling fat in our bellies. Even more dangerous is visceral fat deeper in the abdominal cavity, which we can’t see. Studies have shown this is true even if your overall weight is within the “healthy range.”

Do this: Keep a watch on your belly fat. Contrary to some people claim, no diet or exercise can target belly fat. However, as per the American Heart Association (AHA), if you follow the federal guidelines on physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week), this may help successfully reduce your abdominal fat.

Diabetes can lead to cardiovascular issues

According to AHA, Type 2 diabetes, if it’s not controlled, can increase your risk of heart disease, damage your arteries, and up the chance of stroke.

Do this: Take the necessary steps to cut down on your risk of diabetes. There are many things you can do to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, such as: maintaining a healthy weight (reducing your body weight, getting a half-hour of exercise at least five days a week, and eating healthy foods most of the time can help prevent or put off diabetes

High blood pressure increases your heart attack and stroke risk

The American Heart Association (AHA) refers to high blood pressure as a “silent killer” because HBP typically shows no symptoms. That explains why getting blood pressure monitored regularly is a critical heart-health step. HBP not only damages blood vessels and the heart but also hurts the brain, kidneys, and eyes.

Do this: Get your blood pressure monitored regularly. Talk to your doctor about how often it should be checked. If your BP remains on the high side, you will need to change your lifestyle to bring it back to a healthy range. Many things stated in this article can help control BP, including eating healthy, exercising regularly, easing stress, keeping an eye on your weight, and losing belly fat. Also important are reducing your sodium intake and maintaining a healthy lid on alcohol consumption.

A healthy cholesterol level helps avoid blockages in your arteries

A high LDL (bad) cholesterol level can result in fatty substance (plaque) buildup in your arteries. And low level of HDL (good) cholesterol—which helps eliminate cholesterol from your arteries—is also bad you’re your heart health. High triglycerides level is also unhealthy. If it’s high and the other two levels are also lopsided, your heart attack and stroke risks increase.

Do this: Get your cholesterol tested. Here again, healthier eating and regular exercise will help. If the levels do not improve, you will need to consult your doctor, and he may put you on medication. (Learn Here How To Improve Your Cholesterol Levels)

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Fitness Buffhq - Renu bakshiPersonal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”

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