As our lives are becoming busier, the incidence of heart attacks is on the rise. Hence, it is a must that we make some simple changes in our lifestyle to keep the heart conditions at bay.
Heart diseases are the leading cause of death around the globe. Each day being more hectic than the previous, people are spending lesser time to keep themselves fit. However, the statistics have proved that it is necessary to modify our lifestyle in a way that we can make the most of our time and keep ourselves fit.
The key to preventing heart attack revolves around various factors that lead to rise in blood pressure and higher amount of cholesterol, thus atherosclerosis. Let us discuss these factors in detail.
1. Take healthy diet
Consuming unhealthy diet that is rich in fats on a regular basis puts an individual on the risk of getting a heart disease. The fat-rich diet has high quantities of cholesterol, put leads to plaque formation. The plaque buildup in arteries causes atherosclerosis. In the end it’s the atherosclerosis that is responsible for heart diseases and heart attack due to poor blood supply to the heart.
I’m sure you’re already aware of the types of cholesterol. In common language we refer to them as the good cholesterol and the bad cholesterol. Low density cholesterol (LDL) constitutes the bad cholesterols along with VLDL. High density cholesterol (HDL) on the other hand is referred to as the good cholesterol. It is the bad cholesterol that is responsible for blocking the arteries in atherosclerosis. On the other hand, the good cholesterol reduces the blocking by transporting the bad one.
Also, the fatty acids can be classified into saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, the latter being healthier.
Although, the amount of dietary fats should be restricted to minimum, foods that contain healthier fats can be taken in place of others.
Food that contain saturated fatty acids are butter, clarified butter (ghee), lard or other animal fat, hard cheese, biscuits, cakes, coconut oil. Avoid these foods if possible.
The foods that contain unsaturated fatty acids are fish oils, nuts, avocados, sunflower, olive oil, rapeseed oil. Use them more often if you need to take fats in your diet.
2. Say no to smoking
Smoking can raise blood pressure and progress atherosclerosis faster. Moreover smoking is also proven to play a major role in all kinds of heart diseases, lung diseases, cerebral strokes, and peripheral vascular diseases. Hence, it’s important that you quit smoking as soon as possible.
3. Maintain blood pressure
A constant increased blood pressure elevates the risk of heart attack by putting the heart and blood vessels under excessive stress. You should constantly measure the blood pressure. To control the blood pressure one can adopt various healthy habits including a healthy diet, keeping weight in check, regular exercises and restricting the alcohol intake.
4. Control the cholesterol levels
As I explained previously there are different types of cholesterols (in common language, good & bad). The levels of cholesterol depend largely on three factors: dietary intake, production in liver, and age. Controlling cholesterol starts from improving the dietary intake, take foods with more HDL (good cholesterol) and low triglycerides & LDL (bad cholesterol). Refer to previous section of healthy diet for more information on this.
If diet alone isn’t capable of improving the cholesterol levels, medication might be necessary, especially in people with advanced age.
5. Regular workouts
Stagnant life and lack of workouts has become a major factor in leading to problems like obesity and diabetes which increases the risk of heart attacks greatly. Hence, it’s important to exercise regularly. Even a two mile walk is good enough for overall health, but more rigorous workouts may be required in obese people to control weight. Workouts not only burn calories but also benefit in several other ways. They activate many genes beneficial to overall health and have some role taking care of anxiety and depression.
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6. Avoid stress
Stress is another factor that has been known to aggravate cardiovascular diseases. In severe cases stress may even led to heart attack and sudden cardiac death. Stress can be alleviated by various simple methods including workouts, yoga and meditation, proper sleep, laughing regularly and engaging in social activities. Healthy familial relations and marriage usually keep stress at bay. Television especially late night is associated with increase in stress and improper sleep. Avoid situations and people that may lead to stress.
7. Keep yourself updated
Each day science progresses and new research results come up that may find useful information related to disease and better life. It’s important to keep ourselves updated and adapt ourselves accordingly.