Five simple tips to prevent heart disease

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. That doesn’t mean that everyone would get this fatal disease in their life. Although, there are few risk factors you can’t change like family history, sex or age, you can prevent heart disease by taking some precautionary steps.

And, by adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking a balanced-diet today, you can avoid getting heart disease in future. Here are five simple heart disease prevention tips for you to follow:

Exercise regularly: Engage yourself in some type of physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day (five days per week or more). Daily exercise can also decrease stress, which is a risk factor for developing fatal heart disease. Regular exercise or physical activity also helps you maintain a healthy weight and reduce the chances of developing conditions that can lead to poor heart health such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Avoid all tobacco products: If you smoke, find a right method to quit smoking. If you do not smoke, then don’t get into it. Stay away from all forms of tobacco products including the smokeless tobacco. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries. Nicotine in cigarette narrows your blood vessels, forcing your heart to work harder. Also carbon monoxide in cigarette replaces some of the oxygen in your blood when inhaled, which forces your heart to work harder to supply enough oxygen, elevating your risk of heart disease.

Get enough sleep: Ensure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep daily. However, your sleeping hours should not exceed nine hours. Studies have shown that those who sleep less than seven hours or more than nine hours have a slightly higher risk of heart disease.

Eat a healthy diet: Eat a heart-healthy diet, which is low in fat, cholesterol and salt. This can help protect your heart. Limit your intake of certain types of fat such as- saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans-fat. Trans-fat and saturated fat enhance the risk of heart disease by raising blood cholesterol levels.

Red meats, full-fat dairy products, palm oils and processed baked goods are major sources of saturated fat.

Sources of trans-fat include: Deep-fried fast foods, bakery products, packaged snack foods, margarines, crackers, etc.

Regular health screenings: Make sure that you get your blood pressure (at least every two years) and cholesterol levels (at least once every five years) checked regularly as they can damage your heart and blood vessels. However, you may need more frequent checks and testing if your numbers are not in the normal range or have other risk factors for heart disease.

Diabetes screening should be done, especially if you have a family history of the disease. Consult your doctor about performing a fasting blood sugar test to check for diabetes. Your doctor may recommend your first diabetes testing sometime between the ages of 30 and 45 depending on your risk factors, and then retesting it for every three to five years.

Compiled by: Salome Phelamei

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