Our heart health is vitally important to our overall health, of course. Our heart is a muscle which pumps blood to the entire body, like an engine, keeping the body going. So if our heart is not “working” properly, this can lead to more issues.
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease as it can be called, is caused by atherosclerosis which is the buildup of fatty deposits, or plaques, in the walls of the coronary arteries over many years. The coronary arteries surround the outside of the heart and supply blood nutrients and oxygen to the heart muscle. When plaque builds up inside the arteries, there is less space for blood to flow normally and deliver oxygen to the heart. (Referenced: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/heart-health-and-aging)
Heart disease describes a range of conditions that affect your heart. Diseases under the heart disease umbrella include blood vessel diseases, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects); among others. (Mayo Clinic, 2019)
Some Symptoms or Signs of Heart Disease:
- Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina).
- Shortness of breath.
- Pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, and back.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion.
- Headaches, cold sweats, nausea/vomiting.
Some Causes of Heart Disease:
- Congenital heart defects (heart defects you’re born with)
- Coronary artery disease(plaque buildup in arteries).
- Excessive use of alcohol, caffeine, or drugs.
Some Risk Factors of Heart Disease:
- Age, Gender, and family history
- Poor diet, inactivity, and obesity
- High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
Prevention of Heart Disease:
- Exercise -Staying active and trying to get 150 minutes of intentional exercise each week will help reduce or prevent heart disease.
- Quit smoking – If you smoke, work on quitting. This will prevent heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
- Eat a proper diet – Eating a heart healthy diet will prevent and help those suffering with heart disease. This consists of colorful fruits & veggies; avoid high fat dairy or meat; eat plenty of nuts & high fiber foods.
- Reduce your alcohol intake – Intake of excess alcohol daily can make heart conditions worse. Try to limit it to 1-2 per day.
- Minimize stress in your life – Managing stress will help blood pressure, and in turn heart disease. Find ways to do this, possibly with exercise, breathing meditations, socialization, or talking with someone.
- Watch Your Weight – Balancing proper caloric intake with exercise output.
With just a few changes, you can make heart health a priority…And keep yourself All Over Strong!
Stay happy, healthy, and positive always!