Beating Heart Disease: A Strategy for a Healthy Heart

by Sam Malone


Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among both males and females. Certain factors that predispose an individual to heart problems such as age, gender and genetics may be uncontrollable. However there are many preventive measures that can also be taken to prevent heart disease.

Cigarette smoking is a major contributing factor in heart disease. Tobacco contains many chemicals that can have adverse effects on the blood vessels and heart. This can increase vulnerability to atherosclerosis or the narrowing of arteries. Cigarette smoke also exerts excess pressure on the heart as it narrows the blood vessels and elevates heart rate and blood pressure. Women who are on birth control pills are at a higher risk of heart disease if they smoke. Regular physical activity can decrease the risk of heart disease, when combined along with other lifestyle changes such as healthy diet. Physical exercise helps to regulate weight and also decreases the risk of developing certain conditions that can add stress to the heart. Thirty to sixty minutes of intense physical activity is recommended. Exercise can also be divided into ten minute sessions. Activities such as housekeeping and gardening also help to maintain physical fitness. The diet plays a very important role in the health of the body. Restricting your intake of foods that are high in fat and sugar will help to reduce the risk of heart conditions. Incorporate vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low fat dairy foods into your daily diet. Consuming legumes and other low-fat sources of protein is also helpful in reducing heart disease.

As an individual ages weight gain is more likely to consist of fat. This increased weight gain can contribute to conditions that can trigger heart disease such as high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight is very important in preventing hypertension and diabetes. Studies have shown that even a ten percent reduction in weight helps to lower blood pressure levels and cholesterol. Regular medical checkups help in the early detection of conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Adults should undergo blood pressure screenings every two years. Cholesterol levels may be screened once in five years. Individuals that are already at a risk of heart disease will need to have more frequent cholesterol level screenings. Heart disease is an avoidable condition, and simply adhering to certain lifestyle changes will enable you to enjoy better health and fitness.


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