Heart disease is the principal cause of death in the United States, and it also leads to a host of debilitating disabilities, which is why medical professionals put so much emphasis on tackling the risk factors for the disease, many of which can be alleviated.
It is true that there are some risk factors for heart disease over which we have no control. Age is one of these, as it has been found that the risk increases with age and men over 45 and women over 55 are more susceptible to the condition. Family history, gender and even ethnic background can all be contributory factors. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Control blood pressure
One of the leading risk factors for heart disease is high blood pressure. It is therefore important for adults to get their blood pressure checked on a regular basis. That should be at least once a year, and more often if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. In addition, you should follow your physician’s advice on keeping your blood pressure under control.
Get more sleep
Many of us aren’t getting a full night’s sleep, which leaves us more at risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity – all potential contributors to heart disease. Fortunately, awareness of the importance of sleep is increasing, and that has led to an upsurge in interest in sleep technology, including celebrity endorsed mattresses. Whether you pay attention to celebrity endorsements or not, it is important to take your sleep quality seriously.
Another important factor in reducing your heart disease risk is to take steps to control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. We know that high levels of cholesterol in the blood can lead to clogged arteries, increasing your susceptibility to heart attacks and coronary artery disease. Triglycerides are also a potential cause of artery disease, particularly among women. Lifestyle changes, particularly cutting down on fatty, processed foods can have a significant impact on your cholesterol levels.
Eat a healthy diet
It is also important to control your weight. Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing heart problems. Weight problems are often correlated with other potential heart disease contributors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. The best way to tackle both high cholesterol and weight problems is by eating more healthily. Cut out or limit saturated fat, high sodium foods and foods that contain a lot of added sugar. Try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly vegetables, and switch to whole grain products.
No-one wants to have to think about the risk of heart disease, but by making a few changes to your lifestyle, in terms of diet, sleep and exercise, and taking steps to control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, you can help to reduce your risk and live a healthier and longer life.