The American Heart Association (AHA) states stroke as the fifth leading cause of death in the United States in their latest published “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2020 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association.” In fact, cardiovascular disease has always been in the country’s top ten list of leading causes of death among Americans.
Of course, it doesn’t help that most of us lead stressful, hectic lives where multitasking is encouraged and young people are made to feel too busy and successful to ever get sick.
The fact of the matter is that cardiovascular disease is something we can prevent and manage through lifestyle changes. So, without further ado, below are tips for preventing cardiovascular disease from the doctors and vascular ultrasound techs at Champion Heart and Vascular Center.
Familiarize yourself with known risk factors
When it comes to cardiovascular disease risk factors, most of these are manageable through exercise and nutrition. They are as follows:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Smoking and tobacco use
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Age: 65 years or older
- Family history of heart disease
- Poor dietary habits
- Chronic stress
- High cholesterol
- Exercising or engaging in some form of physical activity every day
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Changing your lifestyle
- Monitoring your health
By being aware of these common risk factors, it should be easier for you to make lifestyle modifications, where possible.
Take charge of your health
There are general tips you can implement in your life to help reduce your risk of having a heart attack. These include:
Strive to have light to medium intensity aerobic exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week. This includes taking a stroll around the neighborhood, walking your dog, and brisk walking. Even daily household chores like cleaning your house, mowing the lawn, cleaning the car, grocery shopping and doing the laundry can be counted as moderate exercise.
You can also engage in 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as jogging and plyometric exercises three times a week. If you want to integrate some light exercise into your daily routine, walk to work if it’s feasible and opt to take the stairs where possible.
Make an effort to include fresh vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, beans and seeds in your daily diet. Minimize your consumption of red meat as it’s high in fats and cholesterol, and opt for lean meats and poultry. Consume fatty fish like sardines and salmon, or have at least two servings of fish twice a week. Avoid fast food, as well as heavily processed foods (especially those containing trans fats and added sugar). Mind your sodium intake and ensure you consume less than 6 grams of salt per day.
If you can, quit smoking altogether as it offers zero benefits to you and the people around you. Maintain a healthy weight – which shouldn’t be difficult if you’re getting enough exercise and are eating healthfully.
Take control of and reduce your stress. A lot of psychosomatic disorders are linked to stress, as well as other life-threatening health conditions, including cardiovascular disease. Learn to relax, take deep breaths and meditate when under stress, and cultivate a positive mindset.
Ensure you get a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day, and keep a regular sleep schedule.
If you do not have yearly checkups with your doctor, schedule periodic health assessments every two to three years if you’re 30 or younger and in generally good health. For those who hit 40, it’s usually advisable to have annual health examinations as this is the stage when certain age-related diseases begin to manifest themselves.
By getting routine checkups, your healthcare provider can monitor your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, weight, BMI and general health.
Champion Heart and Vascular Center is here for you
If you have cardiovascular concerns or general questions about your health, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Champion Heart and Vascular Center. We have clinics in Henderson and Dunn, North Carolina.
Here, our doctors, nurses, vascular ultrasound techs and other staff are always ready to listen and lend a hand. Get in touch with us today.