Happy February All!
Cheers to a new month and a new theme!
However, we don’t want you to get off track with your new year’s goals and resolutions. Remember we are always here to support you and cheer you on!
February is heart health awareness month- so, I will be talking ALL about heart disease, how to help prevent and help treat it. This is one of my favourite topics y’all! Whether or not you have heart disease, you can benefit from eating a heart healthy diet.
This week I will be talking about the basics of heart disease and the risk factors. Next week we will get into the diet! So, stay tuned for that!
What is Heart Disease?
Heart Disease (CVDs) is the number one killer of humans globally! Did you know that?!
More than double the deaths of cancer worldwide! So we MUST pay attention to our heart health and do what we can to prevent heart disease because our eating patterns and lifestyle can have a HUGE impact on our life, health and fate.
What is CVD aka Cardiovascular disease?
It is a disease of the heart, or blood vessels commonly referred to as heart disease or stroke (World Heart Federation). It can include the following:
- Blood vessel disease, such as coronary artery disease
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
- Heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects)
- Heart valve disease
- Disease of the heart muscle
- Heart infection (Mayo Clinic)
Risk factors for developing heart disease include:
- Age. Growing older increases your risk of damaged and narrowed arteries and a weakened or thickened heart muscle.
- Sex. Men are generally at greater risk of heart disease. The risk for women increases after menopause.
- Family history. A family history of heart disease increases your risk of coronary artery disease, especially if a parent developed it at an early age (before age 55 for a male relative, such as your brother or father, and 65 for a female relative, such as your mother or sister).
- Smoking. Nicotine tightens your blood vessels, and carbon monoxide can damage their inner lining, making them more susceptible to atherosclerosis. Heart attacks are more common in smokers than in nonsmokers.
- Poor diet. A diet that’s high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol can contribute to the development of heart disease.
- High blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can result in hardening and thickening of your arteries, narrowing the vessels through which blood flows.
- High blood cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol in your blood can increase the risk of plaque formation and atherosclerosis.
- Diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease. Both conditions share similar risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
- Obesity. Excess weight typically worsens other heart disease risk factors.
- Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise also is associated with many forms of heart disease and some of its other risk factors as well.
- Stress. Unrelieved stress may damage your arteries and worsen other risk factors for heart disease.
- Poor dental health. It’s important to brush and floss your teeth and gums often, and have regular dental checkups. If your teeth and gums aren’t healthy, germs can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart, causing endocarditis. (Mayo Clinic).
What are some basics that can aid in prevention?
Certain types of heart disease, such as heart defects, can’t be prevented. However, the same lifestyle changes that can improve your heart disease can help you prevent it, including:
- Don’t smoke.
- Control other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week.
- Eat a diet that’s low in salt and saturated fat.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce and manage stress.
- Practice good hygiene (Mayo Clinic).
What is treatment?
The type of treatment you receive depends on the type of heart disease you have. In general, treatment for heart disease usually includes:
- Lifestyle changes. You can lower your risk of heart disease by eating a low-fat and low-sodium diet, getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol intake. (of course, we will be talking more about this over the next few weeks be sure to check for the newest blog every Tuesday!)
- Medications. If lifestyle changes alone aren’t enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to control your heart disease. The type of medication you receive will depend on the type of heart disease.
- Medical procedures or surgery. If medications aren’t enough, it’s possible your doctor will recommend specific procedures or surgery. The type of procedure or surgery will depend on the type of heart disease and the extent of the damage to your heart. (Mayo Clinic).
I hope this has helped you learn and become aware of a few of the basics of heart disease! I hope you are inspired to do all you can to prevent and or treat heart disease to the best of your ability! Again, even if genetics are against you, that doesn’t necessarily mean your only outcome is that of a statistic. YOU are in charge!