Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for both men and women worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that 32% of all deaths are related to heart disease. That includes heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, among other conditions.
While not always the case, cardiovascular disease is largely preventable. The American Heart Association reports that 80% of cases can be avoided with the right diet and lifestyle.
Across the board, experts have stuck to the tried and true steps to better heart health.
Follow a healthy diet
The unanimous consensus is that eating better can reduce your risk of heart disease. The CDC recommends you eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. Remember the Mediterranean Diet? All those healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocado are great for your heart.
While you’re at it, avoid the bad fats, or saturated fats. Those can raise your cholesterol and lead to plaque build-up in your arteries.
The CDC also recommends you reduce your intake of foods with added sugar and salt. Research from the National Institutes of Health found too much sodium causes you to retain water and that makes your heart work faster.
The AHA recommends 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week, which is just over 20 minutes a day. Moderate activity could include a brisk walk, dancing, gardening, tennis, casual biking or water aerobics.
Higher intensity activities would be running, aerobic dancing, hiking uphill, cycling or swimming laps.
The AHA also says to spend less time sitting.
Smoking causes 25% of deaths from cardiovascular disease, according to the CDC. It does a lot of bad things to your body. Smoking can lower your good cholesterol, make your blood stick and likely to clot, damage cells, and cause blood vessels to thicken and narrow.
Reduce your stress
We’re beginning to learn that stress is the root of all evil. The AHA says stress may lead to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Other research looks at the ways that stress causes an increase in white blood cells and inflammation, which affect how your body functions.
Meanwhile, cardiologists have pointed out stress causes people to act in ways that could increase their risk of heart disease. That may mean turning to comfort foods or alcohol, curling up on your couch instead of exercising or smoking more.
Experts say it’s beneficial to your overall health to find time to relax each day. Find activities that are calming and enjoyable.
Also take a moment to acknowledge the great things in your life. According to the NIH, gratitude can improve your well-being and help you cope with stress.
About Advena Living
At Advena Living, we support our residents on their wellness journey, whether that means mental health support, smoking cessation, or an overall healthier routine.
Our rehab-to-home programs help individuals who need intensive physical, occupational and/or speech therapies get stronger and return to independence. Alternatively, long-term care is an option for those who need assistance with routine activities on a daily basis. Our team will work hard to make newcomers feel comfortable, happy and engaged.
We specialize in assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and long-term care throughout the state. Our locations include Bonner Springs, Cherryvale, Clay Center, Clearwater, Rose Hill, Topeka, and Wichita.