A Human heart is the most delicate organ. It throbs relentlessly, without fail, thereby sustaining life in us. The vital function of pumping blood is entirely shouldered by our tiny heart, day in and day out. Like every machine, it does wear out over time, leading to problems. So, in order to keep it fit and rejuvenated, doctors recommend several healthy practices. Let us explore ten suggested habits to have a healthy heart and enjoy a long lifespan.
#10- Kick the Butt
Smoking is a strict no-go area to have a healthy heart. Several studies have established that active or passive smoking are, more often than not, directly responsible for coronary heart disease. This is a direct fallout of smoking, which causes a waxy substance (plaque) to build up in the coronary arteries, thereby constricting the passage of blood through them. A victim of coronary heart disease is always at a risk of chest pain or cardiac arrest, which, in most cases turns out to be lethal.
Do not let your heart rot! Give the butt a head-butt!
#9- Exercise Regularly
A sedentary lifestyle has become more of a compulsion than choice in the 21st century. We are often compelled to spend hours remaining almost stationary in the confines of our workplace and are deprived of any worthwhile exercise. Like any machine, the heart needs some conditioning. A regular regimen of healthy exercise is just what the doctor would order for this purpose. Doing just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, even in 10 minute chunks, can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as reducing your risk of developing a stroke and high blood pressure. It is therefore recommended that a daily session of light exercise, preferably early in the morning, revitalises your heart. Its capacity to pump blood and keep the normal functions of the body going, is given a huge boost.
Those who think that they have time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for heart disease!
#8- Watch your diet!
A high blood cholesterol level can clog the arteries, which carry blood from the heart to different parts of the body. Clogged arteries can obstruct blood flow and in turn, increase the pressure on the heart. The efficacy of the heart to pump blood properly is highly impaired in this case and a strain on the heart can lead to a severe risk of cardiac problems, even in cases where they are not hereditary. So, reducing cholesterol must be accorded high priority on the check list. High cholesterol foods like the spicy ones which we so lustily devour, must be restricted. Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of cholesterol lowering dietary fiber. Therefore, it is highly imperative for us to increase our intake of fruits and vegetables and keep the cholesterol level under check.
Go natural! Go healthy!
#7- Stress Management
The direct relationship between heightened stress levels and the risk of heart diseases have been firmly established by medical studies commissioned worldwide. Coronary heart disease is also much more common in individuals subjected to chronic stress. Stress is normally the result of a faulty response on our part to adverse changes in the environment or our inability to cope with a higher workload. Following a few simple steps to combat stress and mentally bracing ourselves to cope with an enhanced workload is part of the stress management tactics which we must adopt. Maintaining our equanimity and composure all times is a part of this effort. Not getting unduly stressed out or depressed due to adverse circumstances is also highly imperative to combat the invisible monster of stress. It is advisable to regularly meditate and have some deep-breathing exercises for this purpose.
Beat the stress. Make it disappear without a trace!
#6- Have Adequate Sleep
Inadequate sleep has been linked to higher chances of cardiovascular disease. Persons with cardiovascular disease can also have their sleep disturbed due to this. Thus, this is a vicious cycle. Poor sleep has been shown to be the reason for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc- all of which are closely interlinked. Therefore, it is high time that you stop neglecting this part of your routine. Proper sleep goes a long way in rejuvenating the heart and brain and can lead to enhanced productivity. On an average, putting in 7.5-8 hours per day of sleep is considered healthy and the risk of heart disease is considerably reduced.
#5- Cut Down on the Booze
In the United Kingdom, a study has demonstrated that excessive drinking or ‘binge’ drinking over a long period of time can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. This cause is blamed to account for a sizeable chunk of the 191,000 people who die in the U.K. each year due to heart disease. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol raises blood pressure which is one of the most important risk factors for having a heart attack or a stroke. Increase in your blood pressure can also be caused by weight gain from excessive drinking. It has also been found that heavy drinking can considerably weaken the heart muscles. The strength of the heart muscles is especially vital to the function of pumping blood. So, drinking can directly hinder this ability and lead to heart disease.
Prevention is better than cure. Abstention from alcohol is prevention of heart disease. Mind it!
Obese people frequently have abnormal blood-cholesterol levels and higher blood pressure. Even if blood pressure and cholesterol are normal, extra weight can mean extra risk for heart disease. Thus, its high time you monitor your weight regularly and keep it under check. The Standard Operating Procedure for this, as oft recommended, is to go for a healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy diet and cutting down on the fats and carbohydrate intake is a part of this regime.
#3- Dental Health
Experts have concurred that people with periodontal or gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems as compared to those with healthy teeth and gums. Inflammation caused by periodontal disease can cause the arteries to swell, thereby inhibiting regular blood flow and pressurising the heart. Also, bacteria from infected gums can enter the blood stream and attach themselves to the fats which have already been accumulated in the arteries, aggravating the problem further. For perfect dental health, the cardinal rule is ‘Brush Twice, Daily’. Also, go for regular dental checkups.
Dental health and cardiac health are closely related. Do not neglect your teeth and gums. If you do, that would be at the expense of your heart!
#2- Family History
Heart disease is hereditary. Its all in your genes. If you inherit it, it is bound to increase your chances of affliction. You cannot do anything about genes. But surely, some preventive steps can be taken, which greatly reduce the risk. Before consulting a cardiologist, you must make sure that you know about the history of cardiac problems (if any) in your family. Such an information can be quite helpful for the cardiologist to prescribe a medical regime for maintaining perfect cardiac health.
Family heart profiling is a must!
#1- Regular Heart Checkup
Cardiologists advise that it is quite important to have a thorough cardiac checkup, once in every 6 months. This is especially important for people above the age of 40, who are at a higher risk of having heart problems. A regular cardiac checkup goes a long way in diagnosing heart ailments at an early stage for follow up action and complete recovery. A normal report for a healthy heart is also effective in alleviating lingering fears. Thus, a regular heart checkup is a must.
Follow these steps religiously. Heart problems will avoid you, religiously!