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Having a healthy heart is vital to your overall health. An unhealthy heart can lead to many serious health issues and death too. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, responsible for about 17.9 million deaths each year. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is an umbrella term for a group of disorders of the heart and blood vessels. These include coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions. Four out of 5 CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes, according to the WHO. These statistics are a wake up call for all of us to take our heart seriously. After all, a strong heart is one of the pillars of healthy living. As we celebrate prepare to celebrate World Health Day tomorrow, let's pledge to make the necessary lifestyle changes for a healthy heart.
World Health Day celebrated on April 7 every year to promote awareness to different health topics. The WHO sees this day as an opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. This year, World Health Day will honour the contribution of nurses and midwives and recognize their vital role in keeping the world healthy. We take this opportunity to bring to your attention the various risk factors of heart disease and how you can prevent them.
There are several risk factors for heart disease, both controllable and uncontrollable. Uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease include sex, age, family history, being postmenopausal and race.
By making changes in your lifestyle, you can control many risk factors of heart disease. Controllable risk factors for heart disease include smoking, uncontrolled high blood pressure, physical inactivity, poor diet, alcohol use, uncontrolled diabetes, etc.
Lifestyle changes can prevent up to 80%-90% of the hearth disease. Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
It is one of the most preventable causes of heart disease. Smoking tightens your arteries and makes your heart work harder. Smoking can also trigger an irregular heart rhythm and increase your blood pressure, which are leading causes of stroke. Smokers are more likely to suffer heart attack and they also more likely to die from a heart attack.Stop smoking to prevent the risk. However, nonsmokers who are exposed to constant smoke also have an increased risk of heart attack.
Avoid intake of sodium, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and refined sugars to keep your heart healthy. Include more foods rich in vitamins and other nutrients, especially antioxidants, as these can lower your risk for heart disease. Eating plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains are also good for your heart.
Obesity is known as a risk factor for heart disease. Being overweight can also worsen several other heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Poorly controlled stress and anger can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Control your stress by practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, massage, Tai Chi, or yoga.
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to significant heart damage, including heart attacks and death. Control your diabetes to reduce the risk. You can do so by eating a healthy diet, doing exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and taking medications as prescribed by your doctor.
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