Figures cannot lie. According to recent statistical data –
- 23.5% of deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease.
- 26.6 million US adults are diagnosed with heart disease.
- WHO says heart disease is the leading cause of death in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
Remember; any damage to the heart valve and muscle can reduce its pumping power.
- Your heart is almost the size of your fist
- Each day your heart beats for 100,000 times
- Each day your heart sends 2,000 gallons of blood through the body
- Your heart keeps the blood flowing through 60,000 miles of blood vessels
- The heart weighs between about 10 to 12 ounces in men & 8 to 10 ounces in women
- An adult heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute
So, how to ensure that the heart remains in tip-top shape? Keep your body in good health in order to keep the heart healthy. Simply put; eat healthy diet, don’t smoke and stay active throughout the day.
Before talking about the prevention of heart disease let’s take a look at some of the most common types of heart disease first –
Angina: Medically termed as ‘angina pectoris’, angina typically occurs when a particular area of the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen. Technically angina is not a heart disease, but a symptom of coronary artery disease. The victim may experience symptoms such as chest pain, discomfort and tightness.
Arrhythmia: Technically, irregular heartbeat is known as Arrhythmia. This problem with heart rhythm occurs when the electrical impulses of the heart, which coordinate the beats don’t work in sync, thus making the heart beat either too fast, slow or often erratic.
- When the heart beats too fast it is known as Tachycardia
- When heart beats too slow it is called Bradycardia
- When the heart beats irregularly it is known as Fibrillation
Congenital heart disease: Well; this is the general term for birth defects that further affect the way the heart works. Examples of congenital heart disease include –
- Septal defects – It occurs when there is a hole between the two chambers of the heart. This condition is generally called, ‘hole in the heart’
- Obstruction defects – When the blood flowing through the different chambers of the heart is wholly or partially blocked.
- Cyanotic heart disease – This condition arises when due to some heart defects not enough oxygen could be pumped around the body
Coronary artery disease: The coronary arteries are responsible for supplying oxygen, nutrients and blood to the heart. Coronary artery disease occurs when these coronary arteries become diseased or damaged, because of plaque accumulation. The narrowed arteries then fail to supply the essential blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
Dilated cardiomyopathy: As the name signifies, this occurs when the heart chambers become dilated due to coronary artery disease.
Myocardial infarction: Commonly this is known as cardiac infarction, heart attack and coronary thrombosis. Blood clot which may develop in one of the arteries may cause Myocardial infarction.
Heart failure: Medically known as congestive heart failure, it occurs when the heart fails to pump blood around the body.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy: Well; this is basically a genetic disorder in which the left ventricle wall becomes thick thus making it hard for the blood to leave the heart.
As briefed already; heart disease stands as a leading cause of death; however that does not mean you have to accept fatality as fate. Although you cannot change some of the risk factors such as age and heredity, still there are a lot you can do to reduce the risk.
Make an effort to prevent heart disease with 7 simple tips
- Say NO to tobacco– Using Tobacco and smoking can pave the way to a heart attack
- Exercise for 30 minutes – Moderate aerobic activity for 150 minutes a week.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet – Eat beans, fish, and lean meats, fat-free or low fat dairy products as part of a healthy diet
- Maintain healthy weight – Consider your BMI numbers and waist circumference to measure unhealthy fat
- Get some quality sleep: You need 8 hours of sleep every night
- Don’t stress: Do everything in your control to manage stress
- Get your numbers checked: high cholesterol, blood pressure & sugar can damage your heart.
Say NO to tobacco of any kind: Using tobacco of any kind or smoking may damage your heart and blood vessels. Smoking can lead to narrowing of the arteries thus paving the way to a heart attack.
Exercise for 30 minutes, daily: Getting some daily exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease. Department of Health and Human Services recommends – moderate aerobic activity for 150 minutes a week and a combination of moderate and vigorous activity for 75 minutes a week. Even shorter amounts of exercise than the recommended amount can benefit your heart. You can even break up your workout time into three 10-minute sessions for 5 days a week.
Eat a heart-healthy diet: Conform to a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eat beans, fish, and lean meats, fat-free or low fat dairy products as part of a healthy diet. Limit your salt and sugar intake as well. Limit your alcohol intake.
Maintain healthy weight: Overweight may lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes and at the same time increases the risk of heart disease.
Calculate your BMI number to determine the unhealthy percentage of body fat. Keep in mind; BMI numbers 25 and above are associated with high increased level of cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of heart disease
Consider waist circumference as a useful tool to measure your abdominal fat.
- For men waist measurement which is greater than 40 inches is considered overweight
- Women are considered overweight with a waist measurement greater than 35 inches
Get some quality sleep: You need 8 hours of sleep every night. Stick to a sleep schedule. Sleep disorder carries the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, depression and heart attack.
Don’t stress: Do everything in your control to manage stress. Do not cope with stress in unhealthy means such as drinking, overeating or smoking. Relaxation exercises, breathing exercises, meditation and physical activity can help manage stress better.
Get your numbers checked: High cholesterol and high blood pressure can damage your heart. Get regular blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings to stay informed
Watch for the obvious as well as the subtler warning signs, which your heart may send. Do not take the signs for granted. Consult an experienced cardiologist at the earliest.