Deep In The Heart
Focus On Being Heart Healthy.
Cardiovascular disease takes many forms. These include high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, valvular heart disease, stroke, and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat). Astoundingly, the World Health Organization estimates that worldwide 17 million people die annually from cardiovascular disease. In this country about 80 million people have some form of cardiovascular disease, and it’s responsible for half the deaths in the U.S. each year.
The good news in all this, if any, is that Texas is trending slightly better than the nation as a whole. According to statistics gathered by the United Health Federation in 2017, slightly more than 3.5 percent of adult Texans have been told by a health professional that they have angina or coronary heart disease, compared to slightly over 4 percent in the entire country.
Those statistics are small comfort, however, considering that the Texas Department of Health and Human Services says that heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three killers of adult Texans annually.
These are the things that contribute to your chances of developing heart disease. Some, such as gender, age and genetics, are beyond your control, but there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Yes, we know, many of these are very familiar, but for the sake of good health and longevity, they bear repeating.
Exercise – A key factor in your health, you need to exercise aerobically (brisk walking, jogging, or cycling) at least three times a week for 30 minutes. Short bouts of exercise that add up to 30 minutes daily are equally good for you.
Diet – Heart-healthy eating includes limiting salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams daily, and consuming a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, lean meats, and fish. This diet can reduce your blood cholesterol level by 5 to 10 percent.
Obesity – Doctors measure obesity by body mass index (BMI), and anything over 30 is considered obese. Losing that extra weight can help reduce all the risk factors for heart disease.
Smoking – This habit greatly increases the risk of heart disease by, among other things, increasing the heart rate, tightening arteries, and creating an irregular heartbeat. If you smoke, please stop.
Stress – Among its adverse effects, stress can injure your arteries through increased hormones and extra blood flow during the stress response. As your arteries heal they thicken, making them prone to plaque buildup and a narrowing of the arteries.
While not always easy to accomplish, by making one or more lifestyle changes, it’s possible to add years to your life.