Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, according to WebMD.
Each year, this deadly disease claims the lives of nearly 600,000 people in the U.S. alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That is one in every four people.
Although there are some risk factors that you cannot control, such as your age, gender, and family history, there are many things that you can do to help prevent this from becoming your fate.
We all know that smoking is not good for your body, but many of us choose to do it anyway. According to the Mayo Clinic, the nicotine in cigarettes constricts blood vessels, and the carbon monoxide damages the inner lining of the heart. Within the first year of quitting smoking, your risk of developing heart disease drops significantly. If you need help quitting, visit these websites for tips and support: www.cdc.gov/tobacco and www.smokefree.gov.
This may sound like common sense, but many people do not realize that what they are putting in their bodies can greatly impact their health. Diets that are high in salt, sugar, and cholesterol can increase the risks of developing heart disease. Eating a diet composed of fish, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Get off the couch and get moving! Exercise is key to lowering your risk of heart disease. According to WebMD, regular exercise “strengthens your heart, may improve congestive heart failure symptoms, lowers your blood pressure, makes you stronger, helps you reach (and stay at) a healthy weight, helps manage stress, boosts your mood and self-esteem, and improves sleep.”
Don’t Get Stressed Out
Prolonged stress can affect your heart. Being stressed out can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, and irregular heartbeats. Managing your stress level in healthy ways (not smoking, overeating, or lounging on the couch) can help lower your risk. Some things you can do to reduce stress are staying connected with those you love, staying active, make it a point to relax daily, don’t bite off more than you can chew, and accept that there are some things that are out of your realm of control. Stress can also be caused by depression, which is also linked to heart disease. If you think you are depressed, seek help from your doctor.
Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be yours.