Heart disease kills more people in the world than any other health condition. Your heart is your most important organ, so it’s never too early to start taking good care of it. Here is a complete guide to heart disease and some tips to help you lower your risk.
What exactly is heart disease?
Heart disease is also known as coronary heart disease (CHD). The main symptoms of CHD are chest pain, heart failure, and heart attacks. Chronic chest pain is also known as angina. There are many possible causes of heart disease, and some are linked to lifestyle factors. Heart disease risk can be increased by high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. You may also be at risk of you are overweight or obese, or you have family history of heart disease.
Your heart is unable to function properly when blood flow is interrupted or reduced. This occurs as a result of atherosclerosis. This is a term used to describe the buildup of fatty deposits within the arteries. These collections restrict blood flow to and from the heart, increasing the risk of a heart attack. If blood flow to the brain is disturbed, this results in a stroke.
What are the implications of heart disease?
Heart disease affects people in different ways. In some cases, the symptoms of mild heart disease are manageable. In severe cases, symptoms can be life-threatening. According to CDC statistics, around 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year.
Heart disease can restrict activity levels and prevent you from working. If you rely on physical strength or mobility to work, you may find your job increasingly challenging. Many people with heart disease are forced to give up work completely. Although you may be entitled to disability payments, illness is likely to affect your income. Living with a serious illness may also affect your ability to socialize and pursue hobbies and interests. It may also affect your mental wellbeing. You might perceive your illness as a ticking time bomb and worry about what the future holds.
How can I lower my risk?
It’s not always possible to prevent heart disease. But many cases could be avoided. Eating well, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising can help to eliminate risk factors. If you’re not sure if you are a healthy weight, check your BMI. You can do this online by entering your height and weight. Giving up smoking and sticking to alcohol consumption guidelines also decreases heart disease risk. See your doctor for regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks. These risk factors often don’t present clear symptoms. You may have sky high blood pressure without even realizing. Try and avoid fatty and processed foods, and increase your intake of whole grains and fruit and vegetables.
Heart disease is a potent killer, which could affect anyone. If you’re worried about heart disease, now is the time to take action. Keep tabs on your diet and try and keep active. If you’re overweight, adopt a healthy eating and workout regime. Seek help to quit smoking, and keep an eye on how much you drink. Minor lifestyle changes could make the difference between life and death.