What You Need to Know About Heart Disease

Heart disease (or cardiovascular disease) is a general term that includes a large number of cardiovascular problems, including:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmia)
  • Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Heart infection
  • Congenital heart defects

Heart attacks, strokes, and other complications can occur when a blood vessel is blocked or narrowed. Although heart disease can be deadly, most people can prevent it. By adopting an early healthy lifestyle, you can potentially live longer with a healthier heart.

What are the factors that trigger the risk of heart disease?

There are many risk factors for heart disease, some can be prevented and others cannot be prevented, some of which include:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • High cholesterol (and low HDL levels)
  • Smoke
  • Obesity
  • Do not exercise actively

Smoking, for example, is a risk factor that can be prevented. Smokers double the risk of heart disease, according to the National Diabetes Information Center.

People with diabetes may also be more at risk of developing heart disease because high blood sugar levels increase the risk:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Coronary artery disease

If you have diabetes, it is important to control glucose to limit the risk of developing heart disease. The American Heart Association reports heart disease is the most common cause of disability in people with type 2 diabetes.

Family history, ethnicity, gender, and age are other risk factors. This risk factor cannot be prevented. Family history, according to the Mayo Clinic, is defined as family members who have heart disease:

  • Under 55 years of age for men (especially fathers or brothers)
  • Under 65 years of age for women (mother and sister)

Ethnicity is an important factor. Asian and African descent groups are more at risk than other groups. In addition, men have a greater risk than women.

Age can increase the risk of stroke. According to the World Heart Federation, after 55, the risk of stroke has doubled every decade.

How to prevent heart disease

As mentioned before, some risk factors for heart disease cannot be prevented - family history, for example. However, it is still important to reduce the chances of developing heart disease by reducing the risk factors that you can control.

Having healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels are the first few steps you must take for a healthy heart. Healthy blood pressure is considered to be less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic (often written as "120/80 mm Hg"). Systolic is a measurement of pressure when the heart contracts. Diastolic is a measurement when the heart rests. Higher numbers indicate that the heart is working too hard to pump blood.

The purpose of cholesterol reading will depend on risk factors and heart health history. If you have a high risk of heart disease, have diabetes, or have a heart attack, target levels will be below those recommended for people with low or average risk.

Although it sounds simple, coping with stress can also reduce risk. Don't underestimate chronic stress as a cause of heart disease. Talk to your doctor if you constantly feel burdened, anxious, or face stressful events, such as moving home, changing jobs, or divorcing.

Eating healthy food and exercising regularly are also important. Make sure to avoid foods high in saturated fat and salt. The Mayo Clinic recommends 30-60 minutes of exercise almost every day. Check with a doctor to make sure you can meet these guidelines safely - especially if you already have a heart condition.

Stop smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes causes blood vessels to constrict, making it more difficult to circulate blood full of oxygen, which results in atherosclerosis.

What can I do after being diagnosed with heart disease?

If you have recently been diagnosed with heart disease, talk to your doctor about steps you can take to stay healthy as much as possible. You can prepare a visit schedule by creating a detailed daily habit list. Possible topics include:

  • The medicines you drink
  • Sports routine
  • A typical diet
  • History of heart disease or stroke in the family
  • Personal history of high blood pressure or diabetes
  • Whatever symptoms you experience (such as rapid heartbeat, dizziness, or lack of energy)

Meeting a doctor regularly is just one habit that you can do. In this way, potentially emerging problems can be detected immediately. Certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure, may be treated with drugs that reduce the risk of heart disease.

The doctor may also provide tips for:

  • Quit smoking
  • Control blood pressure
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Lose weight
  • Eat healthy food

Doing all these changes at once is impossible. Discuss with health care providers about which lifestyle changes will have the greatest impact. Even the smallest step to this goal will help you stay healthy.

Is there a cure for heart disease?

Heart disease cannot be cured. Heart disease requires strict care and supervision for life. Many symptoms of heart disease can be reduced by medications, procedures, and lifestyle changes. If this method fails, coronary intervention or bypass surgery may be utilized. However, there is no way to restore the arterial damage. It is important to maintain health starting today.

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