Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in most parts of the world. Scientists have recently found that more than half of all cases of heart disease could have been prevented. It's the lifestyle, that can make a difference between dying of a heart disease, and getting a second chance at life when a heart attack happens.
While you can not change your genes, there are ways to act proactive and protect your heart health.
You can help your heart immediately when you ditch the cigarettes and moderate your alcohol consumption. Smokers are twice as likely to have a hear attack than non-smokers. Drinking alcohol can damage your heart muscles and increase your blood pressure. Binge drinkers are also more at risk of having a heart attack.
Your heart is a muscle, and as such it needs exercise to stay healthy. Engage in some form of exercise: any activity that gets your heart rate up, even cleaning the house or gardening. Use the time you dedicate for staying fit as your time to de-stress, and not to add even more stress to your life with self-torturing exercises. You do not have to run or do aerobics (if you do not want to). Yoga, Thai-chi and Pilates immediately come to mind as forms of both enjoyable and effective exercises you can take on.
Control your weight: carrying a lot of extra way can tax your heart. Give your best shot at trying to eat healthy! You already know you should choose skimmed instead of full-fat milk, leaner cuts of meat, and avoid too much fried and processed food in your diet.
You should eat as much vegetables and fruit as you can. Cut out processed and trans fats from your diet, and embrace Omega 3 fatty acids rich food, such as oily fish or nuts: this will lower your cholesterol and that will in turn lower your risks for heart attack. Learn to enjoy your meals without over-salting them: too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which is in itself a heart disease risk factor.
To stay heart-healthy, you need to know your numbers: check your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. If you're already taking medicine to treat these health problems, be sure to take them regularly.
If you're a happily married volunteer who has a large social circle, you have, unknowingly, already put yourself in a lower risk status for heart disease – according to one recent study on heart health. It turns out that those people have significantly lower blood pressure numbers and other risk factors for heart disease. Looks like that what's good for your heart – is good for your heart!