Heart Disease is a huge global problem, with the World Health Organization calling it an “epidemic” in their Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke and estimating that it claims 17 million lives each year. It is just as prevalent in the US, where the Centers for Disease Control stated in their report, Summary Health Statistics for US Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010 that 25 percent of adults were told by medical professionals they suffered from heart disease.
The Mayo Clinic has defined heart disease as a broad term encompassing a range of illnesses that affect your heart: Diseases of your blood vessels, like coronary artery disease; problems related to heart rhythm, also called arrhythmias; heart infections; and heart defects you may have been born with, like congenital heart defects.
Although you cannot help the congenital defects but you can definitely avoid the acquired heart problems.
Symptoms of Heart Disease
Because heart disease is an umbrella for many problems affecting your heart, there are a number of symptoms you should look out for, which may indicate a serious health issue. Some of these may be subtle and vary from person to person, and will often subside after physically or emotionally stressful activities:
- Chest pains or discomfort often caused when your heart is not getting enough blood or oxygen.
- Feeling as if your heart is being squeezed. This also can occur under your breast bone, neck, arms, stomach, or upper back.
- Shortness of breath.
- General physical weakness.
Tips to Prevent Heart Disease
Have you ever been told you can eat, drink, or do anything you want, but in moderation? That is a good piece of advice to live your life by, but especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart. Here are some other basic tips to keep your ticker in tip-top shape:
- Avoid smoking or tobacco use – If the carcinogens spare your life, the stress it causes on your heart and vascular system may not.
- Exercise regularly – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that adults try walking 30 minutes every day.
- Keep your body mass index (BMI) below 24.9. A BMI of 25 is considered overweight, while 30 tags you as obese, and 35 and over is considered morbid obesity.
- Follow a heart friendly meal plan, which includes a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Choose lean protein (fish, chicken, beans) but stay away from salt, saturated fats, and fewer foods derived from animal products. As a rule of thumb, drinking eight to 10 glasses of water each day will not only keep your heart healthy, but flush impurities out of your body that may cause cardiovascular issues.
Maintaining a healthy heart can be challenging, but the reward that it brings in the long run far outweighs the inconveniences of eating a balanced diet and daily exercise – namely, a longer, healthier life.
Dr. Deepika Garg – Dentist, Internet Enthusiast. She is currently helping patients find low cost surgeries in India. These include IVF- surrogacy, dental treatments, orthopedic treatments like knee and hip replacement, heart surgeries like coronary bypass, coronary stents, and mitral valve repair in India.