According to the United States Centers For Disease Control, 1 in 4 deaths is caused by a heart disease and it is a leading causing of death for both men in women. In addition to this number, each year over 700,000 people in the US encounter a heart attack. None of these numbers is pretty and points to how much work we all need to do as employees to ensure that we keep heart disease at bay.
Keeping heart disease away means we will be able to contribute to the workforce longer and also have the opportunity to enjoy our family and friends. The good news is that, research studies have shown over and over again that lifestyle changes are effective at preventing the development of serious heart disease.
In this post, we will go over 7 ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Know the warning signs.
Knowing the warning signs of heart disease will help you take fast action if you or someone you know is going through a heart attack. The chances of surviving a heart attack rely heavily on how quickly a person receives emergency treatment. Call 911 (or ask someone to call for you) if you or somebody you are with starts experiencing the symptoms below:
- Chest pain.
- The pain may spread to the arms, shoulders, back and stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea, lightheadedness and cold sweats.
Know the risk factors.
Knowing the risk factors that make a person more susceptible to developing heart disease is important because behavioral modification can reduce the risk. Smoking, weight gain, a lack of exercise and poor diet are contributors to the development of heart disease. Knowing where you may fall short on these behaviors is helpful.
Incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
As we mentioned above, a lack of physical activity can lead to heart disease. It is recommended that you move at least 30 minutes everyday. It does not have to be an activity you don’t like. Walking your dog, taking a walk during your lunch break or a short swim at a local pool count as physical activity and go a long way to keeping heart disease away.
Stay away from foods that increase your blood cholesterol.
Contrary to what you might have heard in the past, not all cholesterol is bad. There are good fats (also called high density lipoproteins) and bad fats (also called low density lipoproteins). You want to stay away from the foods that contribute to increasing bad fats/cholesterol in your body. You can do this by picking unsaturated fats over saturated fats. Saturated fats come from animal products like red meats and fats from animals. Unsaturated fats on the other hand can be found in olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, tuna, trout, walnuts, butternuts and sunflower. Eating a healthy, balanced diet overall will help keep heart disease away.
We know it’s hard to quit smoking. But for the sake of your health and that of your family’s it is best that you do. The chemicals in cigarettes cause the cells that line your blood vessels to become swollen and inflamed. This leads to a narrowing of the blood vessel- a precursor to heart disease. Smokers who quit immediately reduce their risk for heart disease. In a literature review by the Journal of the American Medical Association of 665 publications, it was found that people who quit smoking were able to reduce their risk of getting heart disease by as much as 36%. And this was regardless of sex, age or race.
Maintain a healthy weight.
If you are consistently eating a healthy diet and exercising, chances are that you will maintain a healthy weight. Obesity contributes heavily to heart disease so you can reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight.
Believe it or not, stress can increase your risk for heart disease as well. In this post, we shared 15 ways to improve your mental health and reduce stress. There is enough research to link psychological stress to heart disease. If you can reduce the stress in your life, you can also reduce your risk for heart disease.
Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
Heart disease is an unfortunate health condition that takes the lives of more than 500,000 people each year. While we cannot always predict who might suffer from heart disease, the research is clear that the seven lifestyle changes we discussed above will help you reduce your risk of heart disease.
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