Heart Disease: An Epidemic That Is Preventable and Reversible
Heart disease is our nation’s number one killer, accounting for 1 out of every 4 deaths each year! The primary cause of heart attacks and strokes is the gradual clogging, hardening and damage done to the inside walls of our blood vessels.
Heart attacks major warning signs and symptoms may include:
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats
You can prevent and even reverse heart disease by following a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Here are 10 strategies to help you protect your heart:
- Eat a healthy wholefood diet – Eat at least 8 to 10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, which contain important disease ﬁghting micronutrients. Also eat lots of beans and legumes, raw nuts, seeds, avocados, whole grains and some lean meats. Reduce or avoid processed foods. These usually contain high amounts of sugar, salt, harmful trans-fats and artiﬁcial chemicals.
- Avoid too much sugar – which can raise your blood pressure and damage your arteries-maintain a fasting blood sugar between 70 – 85 mg/dl.
- Get Moving – avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Regular physical activity is a must for having a healthy heart. Exercise helps you maintain normal weight. Excess weight is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco – Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most signiﬁcant risk factors for developing heart disease.
- Take time to relax – We live in a fast-paced hectic world that’s often stressful. Take some time daily to meditate. Sit quietly for 10-15 minutes, take slow, deep breaths and think peaceful thoughts.
- Take care of your teeth – people with periodontal disease are more likely to have heart disease and suffer a heart attack than those with healthy gums. Floss daily!
- Check your cholesterol – Your total cholesterol should be under 200 and your LDL should be ideally under 80. But more importantly, your ratio of HDL to total cholesterol should be more than 24%. Your ratio of triglycerides to HDL should be below 2.
- Know your blood pressure – Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury.
- Limit alcohol – In addition to raising blood pressure, too much alcohol can add unneeded calories to your diet. If you drink alcoholic beverages, have only a moderate amount – one drink a day for women, two drinks a day for men.
- Get regular health screenings – Regular screening can tell you what your risks are and whether you need to take action.
Make sure to consult your healthcare professional for any questions concerning your heart health or when to begin any exercise regimen.
BY Dr. Vladimir Diaz