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THE LEADING CAUSES OF HEART DISEASE
AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STAY SAFE
In the last few years, the risk of heart disease has increased drastically for both men and women due to a variety of factors around the world. Now, more than ever, is the time to place an emphasis on bolstering personal health to ensure the longevity of your life. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the leading causes of heart disease and the dangers that heart disease presents, which creates a cavalier attitude towards the issue. Rather than ignoring this danger, learn everything there is to know about heart disease so that you can stop it in its tracks.
What is Heart Disease?
As defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is an umbrella term that actually refers to a number of different heart conditions. The most common of these in the United States, however, is coronary artery disease, or CAD, which directly impacts blood flow to the heart. This can result in a heart attack stemming from decreased blood flow. The real danger of heart disease is that it’s often symptomless until a person actually experiences a serious event related to it, but potential signs include:
- Noticing some or all of the following at once: chest pain or discomfort, upper back or neck pain, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness.
- Constantly feeling fluttering in the chest (heart palpitations).
- Noticing swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, and more.
The Deadliness of Heart Disease
While heart disease can be easy to brush off for those who have never experienced the signs or for those who are too young to fall into the most at-risk group, understanding the dangers is crucial. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of almost all racial and ethnic groups within the broader United States. In fact, one person dies every thirty-three seconds from a type of heart disease, going to show the seriousness of this issue.
The Top Causes of Heart Disease to Be Aware Of
The best way to prevent the risk of heart disease from impacting your life is to learn the leading causes of heart disease so that they can be addressed earlier on. The following five items are the most prominent of those causes:
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the amount of force your blood uses in order to get through your arteries and having chronic high blood pressure can put you at-risk for heart disease. This is because, over time, high blood pressure can damage the lining of your arteries and make them susceptible to a buildup of plaque, which ends up narrowing the arteries that lead to the heart and brain.
Smoking directly contributes to the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels which, as mentioned above, restricts blood flow to the heart. It is the chemicals in cigarettes specifically that cause the blood to thicken and form these clots.
An Unhealthy Diet
A diet that is high in saturated and trans fats allows for cholesterol to buildup in your arteries over time which will restrict blood flow. While you are young, a diet that is relatively unhealthy may be fine, but building these habits means breaking them when it matters will be more challenging.
Naturally, when a person works out and their blood starts pumping, it acts as a sort of cleaner for the veins and helps to get rid of fatty material that may have built up over time. For those who do not work out, though, the fatty material can stay built up and lead to heart disease in the future.
The excess fat in the body that comes from being obese can directly result in buildup within a person’s arteries which, over time, can become dangerous. Specifically, if the buildup occurs in arteries that lead to the heart then the arteries can be damaged which can cause a heart attack.
Protecting Against Heart Disease: Top Tips to Consider
The best time to start protecting against heart disease is right now, especially if you have habits that align with one of the risk factors above. Utilize the following top tips to improve your health as soon as possible:
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
As much as possible, try to cut out unhealthy and processed foods from your diet. Aim to only put healthy products into your body that aren’t full of chemicals which could potentially damage you. On top of this, consider women’s or men’s heart health vitamins when you get older if your doctor agrees that they could be helpful.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Long-term drinking can result in chronic high blood pressure which, as covered above, can lead to heart disease in certain people. By cutting back on the amount that you drink, you can reduce your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease in the future.
Try to Be More Physically Active
As much as possible, try to be physically active whenever you are able to. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity during a week, and this can be broken up however a person likes.
Get Plenty of Sleep Each Night
Finally, a lack of sleep can lead to a slew of health issues over time that contribute to the leading causes of heart disease. Try to get at least six to eight hours of rest on a nightly basis, with the more sleep the better.
Keep your mind and body healthy today
While there is never a guarantee that a person’s actions will completely prevent a disease from occurring in their body, practicing healthy habits on a daily basis is never a bad decision. Each of us is guilty of poor habits in some facet of our life which is perfectly alright. What isn’t alright, however, is letting those habits degrade and get worse over time. Take action to improve your livelihood and reduce your risk of succumbing to disease in the future.