It’s time to take charge of your heart health. With Heart Failure Awareness Week happening this week (February 12th-18th), this is a topic that hits close to home, so we want to ensure that our readers and customers recognize the significance of looking after one’s heart for a long-term healthy life.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, refers to any type of condition that impacts how well your heart pumps blood throughout your body. It can be genetic or due to a lifestyle choice. Coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and some heart muscle diseases are all examples of preventable forms of heart disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; however, we can protect our hearts from a large portion of heart disease-related damage by simply making some lifestyle changes. Let’s take a look at these preventable types of heart diseases and how we can protect ourselves from them.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease, or CAD, occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries of your heart, narrowing them and making it harder for blood to flow through. This plaque build-up is most commonly caused by high LDL—or low HDL—cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes. To avoid this type of heart disease, it is essential to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly, as well as refraining from smoking or secondhand smoke exposure.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure—or hypertension—can cause serious damage to your body over time if left unchecked, including damage to your heart and other organs like your kidneys. High blood pressure is caused by any number of factors, but some of the most common are lack of sleep, stress, poor nutrition, and too much alcohol consumption.
To mitigate these risk factors, you should strive for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, practice healthy coping mechanisms like yoga or meditation for reducing stress levels, eat nutrient-rich foods that are low in saturated fats and sodium, and limit or stop your alcohol intake.
Heart Muscle Disease
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is one of the more common forms of heart muscle disease. This type of heart muscle disease is when the heart becomes unable to pump blood effectively, which can weaken the heart and result in an enlarged left ventricle. It can be brought on by prolonged stress or a genetic condition and is more prevalent among those who are obese, suffer from hypertension, have chronic alcohol consumption habits, possess coronary artery disease, or struggle with diabetes.
To reduce the risk of dilated cardiomyopathy, monitor your blood pressure, reduce or completely cut out your alcohol intake, and practice stress management techniques. You should also maintain an active lifestyle full of aerobic activities such as jogging or swimming 3-4 times per week so you can keep your cardiovascular system strong and healthy.
Heart disease is no joke. During the upcoming Heart Failure Awareness Week (February 12th – 18th), let’s all commit to taking some action against heart disease. Let’s quit those bad habits of smoking or vaping, eating high-sodium and processed foods, and excessive alcohol consumption. Let’s start some heart-healthy habits like eating whole, nutrient-rich foods and getting regularly active with aerobic exercise so we can all live longer healthier lives free from fear about our cardiovascular health.