The heart is the only organ in your body that you can feel how it is working and how his work changes according to your emotions, activities, and stressors. If your heart beats an average of 80 per minute, it can beat around 4800 times per hour. Do the math and you will find out the amount of activity that the heart does per day. And this beat allows you to pump all the blood in your body, so the blood can reach every other organ, tissues, and cells.
Even though most of the people are aware of these important facts and that most of these diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, representing 31% of all deaths worldwide.
In the United States, heart attacks and strokes represent the leading killers for both, men and women, as well as the most widespread and costly health problems that the nation faces today.
Yes, these facts represent a challenge for all of us, but the most important fact is that you can start taking care of your heart anytime at any place, as heart diseases are also among the most preventable of all. Therefore, the first step to take is to acknowledge that they present as silent killers, without signs or symptoms, and that anyone can be at risk, especially if you keep an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, use tobacco or alcohol in a harmful way. Nowadays there are a lot of online tools that can tell us about our Cardiovascular risk.
Now that we know these things, we should know what can we do to address this problem and prevent the development of heart disease:
1. Take the first Step: Lower your chance of heart disease starting with a 15-minute walk. Increase 5 minutes every week until reaching at least 30 minutes per day. With exercise, you’re training your heart to be more resilient.
2. Know your Numbers: Get your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood glucose checked with your primary care physician. Work closely with your doctor to manage and control these values as having them in good numbers are necessary to reduce cardiovascular risk.
3. Catch some Sleep: Try to sleep at least 7 hours per night, as people who sleep less than five hours or have poor sleep quality have approximately 50% more coronary artery calcium and more arterial stiffness.
4. Chase happy hormones and break problems down: Do activities that give you a natural boost and try to manage your stress.
5. Quit smoking and limit alcohol. Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, especially the heart, causing irregular heartbeat, thickened and narrowed blood vessels and plaque buildup in arteries. Ask your medical provider about programs to help you quit.
6. As simple as more fruit, more veggies, and more water. These three simple activities will help you to have a richer source of nutrients, limit your consumption of bad fats and sodium.
Bibliography “Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs).” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 17 May 2017, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds). Havranek, Edward P., et al. “Social Determinants of Risk and Outcomes for Cardiovascular Disease.” Circulation, vol. 132, no. 9, 3 Aug. 2015, pp. 873–898., DOI:10.1161/cir.0000000000000228. “Heart Disease and Stroke.” Heart Disease and Stroke, Healthy People 2020, www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/heart-disease-and-stroke.