Be More Physically Active
Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way of maintaining a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure.
Regular exercise will make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Exercising regularly reduces your risk of having a heart attack. The heart is a muscle and, like any other muscle, benefits from exercise. A strong heart can pump more blood around your body with less effort.
Read more about fitness and exercise.
Medicines To Prevent Heart Attacks
Depending on your medical history, your doctor may also recommend certain medicines to reduce your heart attack risk.
Commonly prescribed drugs include:
Antiplatelet Drugs These drugs can also help prevent clots by preventing platelets in your blood from sticking together.
AspirinAspirin is the most widely used antiplatelet drug.
Angiotensen-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure by expanding your blood vessels, which makes your heart’s work easier.
Beta-BlockersBeta-blockers slow your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure and reducing strain on your heart.
Calcium Channel Blockers Calcium channel blockers block the movement of calcium into your heart and blood vessels, which helps them relax and lowers blood pressure.
Cholesterol And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced naturally by your body . It is used for many different things in your body but is a problem when thereâs too much of it in your blood.
High total cholesterol causes fatty material to gradually build up in your bodyâs arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. It is mainly caused by eating foods high in saturated fats and trans fats.
Your total cholesterol includes two types of cholesterol, which are:
- Low-density lipoprotein â also known as âbadâ cholesterol because it can add to the build-up of plaque in your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- High-density lipoprotein is also known as âgoodâ cholesterol because it helps to protect you against heart attack and stroke.
Most of the total cholesterol in your blood is made up of âbadâ LDL cholesterol. Only a small part is made up of âgoodâ HDL cholesterol.
You should aim for low LDL cholesterol and higher HDL cholesterol on advice from your doctor. If you are having trouble with your cholesterol levels, a dietitian can help you to eat healthily for your specific needs.
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Lower Your Risk Of Heart Disease And Stroke
About half of all Americans have at least one of three key risk factors for heart disease and stroke: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
Both heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in the United States. Small but gradual lifestyle changes can have a big impact in preventing disease, or in keeping it from worsening. They can also help you prevent serious complications like heart attack.
Find out what you can do to decrease your risk of developing these conditions. Learn the signs and symptoms and what to do if you or a loved one has them.
Getting Help From Your Doctor
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Maintaining A Good Diet
Diet is essential in the prevention of heart disease regardless of a genetic predisposition. Eliminating foods that increase your risk, such as those high in cholesterol like animal foods or those rich in sugar or containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, avoiding refined carbohydrates as well as alcoholic beverages while incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and omega-3 rich foods such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, and avocado may help prevent heart disease.
Diet And High Blood Pressure
The advice on eating a healthy, balanced diet also applies if you have high blood pressure. In addition, cut down on the amount of salt in your food.
Salt raises blood pressure. The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. You should aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day that’s around 1 teaspoonful.
Find out how to cut down on salt.
Eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre such as wholegrain rice, bread, pasta and plenty of fruit and vegetables has been proven to help lower blood pressure. Fruit and vegetables also contain vital vitamins and minerals and help keep your body healthy.
You should aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day.
Find out more about getting your 5 A Day.
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Gender Age And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Generally, men have a higher risk than women of developing CVD in middle age. The risk rises as they get older.
However, the risk of developing CVD is an important issue for women, especially as they get older. It is not clear why women tend to get CVD at a later age than men, although it is likely that hormonal changes after menopause, combined with changes in their risk factors, play a role.
Despite your gender and age, you can reduce your risk of developing CVD if you follow a healthy lifestyle and take medicines as prescribed by your doctor.
Heart Disease Statistics In America
Having detailed the number of individuals already diagnosed with heart disease in America since 2016, lets take a closer at some additional statistical data related to the various forms of the disease.
Studies by the CDC show that heart disease accounts for 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States, which equates to roughly 610,000 deaths every year. Also, the same CDC report states that coronary heart disease is considered the most common form of the disease. The condition occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. And its is responsible for more than 300,000 deaths every year.
Lastly, CDC shares that heart disease is linked to more than 735,000 heart attacks every year in America. While these statistics are alarming, there are things that you can do to avoid heart disease. Of course, you must recognize the early signs and symptoms of the disease. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of heart diseases often occur before an individual ever experiences a heart attack. Some of which include:
- Chest pain
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, arms, or stomach
- Difficulty breathing
- Lightheadedness, cold sweats, and nausea
Of course, this is not an all-encompassing list of the primary symptoms. Moreover, it is a list of the most commonly reported symptoms amongst those who have either experienced a heart attack or have been formally diagnosed.
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Who Is Most At Risk
You are more likely to be hospitalized or to die from heart diseases and conditions if you are a:
- man who is 45 years of age or older
- woman who is 55 years of age or older
There is also a higher risk of heart disease for women who:
- take birth control pills
- this increases the risk of high blood pressure and blood clots, but the risk is even greater if you also:
- smoke and are over 35 years old
- already have high blood pressure
- already have a blood clotting problem
People with lower incomes are more likely to develop heart diseases. This is because they are more susceptible to risk factors associated with social disadvantage, such as:
- high blood pressure
Some ethnic groups tend to have very high rates of heart disease. This is due to family history or cultural reasons, including diet and physical inactivity. These groups include Aboriginal Canadians and Canadians whose origins are:
- maintaining a healthy weight
- quitting smoking
If you have already had a heart attack or stroke, these changes can reduce the risk of having another.
Also follow your health care provider’s plans for managing your heart disease or condition.
Heart Diseases By Race And Ethnicity
It is fairly safe to say that no one is impervious to heart disease as it can affect the lives of men and women of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. However, some individuals are more susceptible to the disease than others. For example, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Asians, and Pacific Islanders are the most likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.
It is also worth noting that heart disease is second only to cancer amongst these groups. Generally speaking, genetics can play a significant role when it comes to whether or not someone will develop heart disease however, lifestyle choices and certain medical conditions can also be contributing factors as well, some of which include
- Excessive alcohol consumption
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Things You Can Do Today To Prevent/reverse Heart Disease
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
If you drink, do not exceed the maximum recommended limits.
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
Always avoid binge drinking, as this increases the risk of a heart attack.
Read more about drinking and alcohol.
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Being Overweight And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of a number of health problems, including:
Carrying extra weight around your middle is more of a health risk, so it is especially important for you to lose weight if this is the case.
Are You Doing Everything You Can To Keep Your Heart Healthy
After decades of steady decline, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease has risen over the past few years, according to the American Heart Association.
The good news is that an estimated 80% of all CVD cases heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke can be prevented. The key is to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol and to maintain healthy habits, such as exercising regularly, eating a plant-based diet, getting enough sleep, and not smoking.
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Ways To Prevent Heart Disease
Luckily, doctors know the types of things we can do to protect ourselves from heart disease. Read on for the top five ways to prevent it and maintain optimal heart health.
1. Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
It may seem like a no-brainer, but modifying your diet to include foods rich in fiber , fruits and vegetables, oily fish, nuts, legumes and seeds will increase your chances of remaining free of heart disease. Youll also want to shy away from foods high in sodium and those that contain trans fats. In addition, be mindful of the amount of sugar-filled drinks you consume and limit the amount of meat in your diet.
2. Exercise Regularly
Even if you maintain a healthy weight, physical activity is vital to achieve good heart health. Choose exercises that you enjoy so youll stick to them and commit to a regular schedule of movement. If youre unsure how much time you should spend and the various levels of intensity, the American Heart Association Provides a convenient article with guidelines to assist you.
3. Limit and Manage Stress
4. Monitor Cholesterol
Too much bad cholesterol can block your arteries, so its important that you know your cholesterol numbers and test regularly to make sure they remain at satisfactory levels. If youve been diagnosed with high cholesterol, consult your doctor for the best ways to reduce it. Usually lifestyle changes can make a huge impact, but in more severe cases, medication may be prescribed to keep it safely under control.
5. Avoid Smoking
What Are Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart muscle becomes blocked. If you have heart disease, youre at increased risk of having a heart attack.
Common symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Pressure, fullness, burning, or squeezing sensations in the chest
- Pain in the chest, neck or back
- Unusual shortness of breath
- Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating
- Unusual fatigue
Its important to note that heart attack symptoms vary among men and women, and from person to person. If youre unsure, dont wait. Call 911 for help.
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Diabetes And Cardiovascular Disease Risk
People with diabetes are at greater risk of heart attack, angina and stroke. Similarly, people with CVD are generally prone to diabetes. For people with both diseases, the risk of heart attack and stroke is higher than for those without them.
The reported increase in diabetes in Australia is thought to be associated with more people being physically inactive, unhealthy eating habits and being overweight. The two main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1â previously known as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes.
- Type 2â previously known as non-insulin-dependent or mature-onset diabetes.
If you have diabetes, manage your condition by being physically active, choosing healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight. You may also need to take medicines to maintain normal blood-glucose levels, as well as making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. Manage your health by reducing total cholesterol, monitoring blood pressure and regularly seeing your doctor for diabetes reviews.
Tips To Reduce Your Risk
1. Know your risk factors. Nine out of 10 women have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Risk factors include:
- high blood pressure
- a family history of premature heart disease
Obesity also increases the risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and pre-diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease. Note: With the exception of family history, you can modify the other risk factors to reduce your risk of heart disease.
2. Manage current health conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Talk to your health care provider to confirm the best treatment plan.
3. Recognize symptoms of a heart attack in womenand call 9-1-1 if needed. Know that symptoms in women can be the same or different as those in men.
Symptoms can include:
- extreme fatigue
- breaking out in a cold sweat
Note: As with men, the most common symptom of a heart attack in women is chest discomfort. But you can have a heart attack without chest pain or pressure. And women are more likely than men to have other symptoms such as back pain, jaw pain, shortness of breath, indigestion, and nausea/vomiting.
If you have these symptoms and suspect youre having a heart attack, call 9-1-1. Call even if youre not sure it could save your life.
4. Do regular physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. You dont need to complete all activity at one set timeand its okay if youre not a fan of the gym.
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Limit Salt And Sodium
The American Heart Association recommends that most Americans consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day for optimal heart health.
The biggest source of sodium in most peoples diet is processed foods. Canned soups, sauces, deli meats, frozen dinners, packaged snacks, and bread are often very high in salt.