By now, it’s common knowledge that smoking is dangerous and that several lifestyle habits like unprotected sun exposure can lead to cancer. With this information, many people adjust their lifestyles to avoid such toxins and build up healthy habits to protect their bodies from harm. But, how many of us take the same precautions to prevent heart disease? Heart disease is the number one leading cause of adult deaths in the United States, and yet many Americans don’t know the first thing about what causes it and what we can do to stop it. Let’s bridge this knowledge gap with some useful information and valuable tips that you can put into action immediately to keep your heart strong and healthy!
1. High Cholesterol
When people talk about high cholesterol, they are referring to a buildup of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the arteries. A person with high levels of LDL has a greater risk of heart disease because if a piece of plaque breaks off, it could potentially block the artery and cause a heart attack or stroke.
There are several medication options to treat high cholesterol. Many high cholesterol patients use statins to lower their cholesterol levels, and some additionally use blood thinners to reduce their risk of a blood clot in narrowed arteries. Both of these solutions, however, come with risks. Statins have been found to cause muscle and liver damage as well as cognitive issues, while blood thinners have a high risk of severe bleeding. Take for example the anticoagulant Xarelto. There are nearly twenty thousand current Xarelto lawsuits being filed by patients and their families because of severe, and in some cases fatal, bleeding events.
Sometimes these medications are necessary, and their benefits outweigh the potential risks. However, if you can actively work to keep your cholesterol low by natural means, you could save yourself a lot of potential harm. Did you know that limiting your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugars, and processed grains can go a long way in reducing your LDL levels? Replace these foods with cholesterol-lowering foods like strawberries, avocados, and beans to reduce your “bad” cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.
2. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is diagnosed when a patient’s blood is consistently and forcefully pushing against the walls of the blood vessels. Hypertension requires the heart and blood vessels to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. vertime, if the problem is not resolved by lowering the pressure, this can cause the heart and blood vessels to become less efficient in their task.
There are several causes of high blood pressure. Smoking, leading a sedentary lifestyle, dealing with too much stress, and eating a diet high in sodium can all be the culprit of high blood pressure. To avoid or reduce your hypertension, go through a simple checklist and tackle each task to lower your blood pressure.
- Quit smoking; not only will this help your blood sugar levels, but it will also decrease your risk for other serious health conditions as well.
- Add more exercise into your daily routine. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. You can start with an activity as simple as walking and make great strides to lower your blood pressure.
- In our workaholic society, stress can sometimes be a difficult hurdle to get around when it comes to reducing high blood pressure. But, it’s important to make time for relaxing activities in your week. Not only will it benefit your physical health, but you will see mental rewards as well.
- Reducing the amount of sodium and processed foods in your diet can do wonders for your high blood pressure. If you’re looking for an easy place to start, consider trying the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. Consisting of whole grains, nuts, lean meats, and vegetables, this diet provides all the nutrients you need to protect your heart and live healthier overall.
For many, it’s surprising to learn that people living with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing heart disease than a person without diabetes. It’s not a small discrepancy either; a type 2 diabetic is two to four times more likely to die from heart disease. With worse odds, it’s important for diabetics to manage their diabetes and maintain healthy, steady blood sugar levels.
As with high cholesterol, there are several types of drugs like SGLT2-inhibitors that block glucose from being absorbed into the bloodstream and help a diabetic keep their blood sugar low. Nevertheless, to avoid the need for additional medications and treatments (most type 2 diabetics are also undergoing insulin therapy as well), blood sugar levels can be controlled with a healthy diet. The American Diabetes Association recommends using the glycemic index to plan meals for diabetics. The glycemic index ranks foods and ingredients based on how foods will affect blood sugar levels, making it easier to make a balanced meal and avoid spikes in blood sugar.
No matter how many risk factors you are up against, heart disease doesn’t have to be inevitable. Take these valuable tips and tricks into account, and make some positive life changes today. One change today can make the difference for a healthy tomorrow.
It is Health the real Wealth 😉
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