The heart is the body’s engine, working tirelessly to pump blood, hormones, and other vital substances throughout the body. When this organ is not functioning well, the body collapses, and it could lead to fatalities. While there are some unavoidable genetic heart conditions, others are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices.
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to keep your heart healthy. These changes impact not only your physical health but also your mental health. With the frequent practice of heart-friendly habits, you improve your wellbeing.
1. Stay Active
Sedentary lifestyles are the culprits in the upsurge of heart conditions in the world today. With modern technology, people access services and also work remotely, eliminating the need to be mobile. This immobility, however, compromises your health. Exercising the body improves its ability to take in oxygen and enhances the functionality of the heart. This is one of the most important ways to fight off illness.
In addition to heart benefits, other advantages of body exercises are weight loss, lowered blood pressure, muscle and bone strength, improved skin health, among others. Studies have shown a correlation between physical activity and cardiovascular health. Scientific reports show that physically active people have fewer heart conditions than inactive ones.
2. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
Consuming unhealthy diets like processed foods, fatty/greasy foods, sugary foods, etc., compromises your heart’s health. You should ditch such unhealthy foods and replace them with fruits and vegetables to improve the heart’s wellbeing. A rule of the thumb in selecting heart-healthy foods is opting for those in their natural state and additives-free.
There are many heart-friendly foods, including nuts, fish, whole grains, olive oil, vegetables, and fruits. Such foods not only enhance cardiovascular health but also cause weight loss. Meals do not have to be bland because you are eating healthy. You can get creative and swap the ingredients of recommended diets to serve up tasty meals and accompaniments.
3. Regular Health Checks
If you are at risk of heart disease, it is vital to see a doctor for a routine physical examination. People with heart disease risk include those with a family history of genetic heart conditions, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and smokers. If you experience any signs of a cardiovascular ailment, you should also seek immediate medical attention.
Common symptoms of heart conditions are chest pains/pressure, shortness of breath, numbness of limbs, and pain in the jaw/neck/back. The symptoms could mean heart diseases like heart attack, myocarditis, heart failure, and cardiac arrest. Myocarditis is a rare heart disease and may go undetected because there is still limited research on the ailment.
A doctor can help you to understand the symptoms of myocarditis and diagnose the condition. In some cases, myocarditis is asymptomatic, but when symptoms are there, they are similar to other heart condition signs. In addition to the other heart conditions symptoms, unique ones to myocarditis include fluid retention on legs and symptoms of viral infections, i.e., headache, joint pains, fever, etc.
4. Manage Stress
The pressures of modern-day living can make people susceptible to stress. In particular, unmanaged stress levels may contribute to high blood pressure and consequently exposure to heart diseases. In some cases, high blood pressure does not have symptoms rendering the condition challenging to detect unless the pressure levels are so high, prompting emergency care.
To circumvent the chance of getting high blood pressure/heart conditions, you should properly manage your stress levels. You need to find ways of relaxing and give your body and mind a break when they need it. Failure to control stress means exposure to a stressful situation could lead to a surge of hormones. The hormones increase your blood pressure, and it is only a matter of time before the condition worsens.
Some simple ways of managing stress include getting enough sleep, exercising, deep breathing, taking breaks, talking about stressful experiences, and eliminating known stress triggers. You can also look into counseling for outside help. Find the avenue that works best for you.
5. Quit Smoking
Smoking is a common trigger for many cardiovascular diseases. The fumes have harmful chemicals like tar that change the blood chemistry and permanently damage the heart and blood vessels. Exposure to secondhand fumes also places you at risk of heart disease.
To prevent heart diseases, you should quit smoking and also avoid proximity with people who smoke. Apart from reducing cardiovascular conditions risk, quitting smoking has other benefits like lowering the risk of cancer, diabetes and enhancing longevity. The benefits of quitting smoking start from day one of being smoke-free when the body experiences less risk of exposure to disease.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
The bottom line is to beware of all practices that compromise your heart health, avoid them, and keep healthy. Family genetics or other risk factors can also expose you to heart ailments. In case of such exposure, you should go for regular health check-ups for early detection. Early diagnosis of heart conditions help to save lives, so take precautions and stay healthy.