10 Keys to Maintaining A Healthy Heart

Cardiovascular diseases are characteristic of Western societies pathologies. Although some of the risk factors are easily preventable, the global rate of such ailments is very high. They are the leading cause of mortality in the world, surpassing any type of cancer and AIDS. Usually there are no symptoms until it is too late. So, to prevent these cardiovascular diseases, it is important to know 10 basic keys to maintain a healthy heart.

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1. Practice physical exercise every day
Physical activity is beneficial for both sexes and all age groups, as long as they practice regularly, regardless of when they start. The most recommended is the aerobic exercise: jogging, brisk walking, swimming, or biking. And studies show that performing this exercise for 30 minutes three times a week will strengthen the heart.

2. Follow a healthy, balanced diet
Following a healthy eating habits can help reduce three of the major factors involved in heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess weight. Limiting salt intake and alcohol is the basic key to keep a healthy heart. In addition, your meals should include mainly vegetables, fruits, grains, fish, and lean meats. It is advised to reduce consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol (whole milk, fatty red meats, cheese made with whole milk, eggs, dishes with lots of cream, and desserts that are high in fat), and prioritize the fat that comes from olive oil, nuts and oily fish, for its benefits on the cardiovascular system. The amount of fiber (whole grains, legumes, fruits) is also very important.

3. Quite smoking
Smoking has a deleterious effect on the cardiovascular system. It promotes the risk of thrombosis and causes a reduction in diameter of the coronary arteries. It is therefore essential to avoid both active and passive smoking. People who relapse again after seasons without smoking should seek advice from a professional.

4. Limit alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption (one or two glasses of red wine a day) has been associated with decreased cardiovascular disease. However, there is evidence that alcohol abuse is harmful to health. Several studies have noted an association between excessive alcohol consumption and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, limit the consumption  to a glass of red wine to accompany meals.

5. Keep an optimal weight
Approximately 40% of the incidence of CHD is attributed to a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25. So it is crucial that everyone knows their BMI and act accordingly. BMI is calculated by dividing weight (in kilos) by the square of height (in meters). If the result is higher than 30 it means that this is a clear case of obesity. It is important to start slowly to lose weight, because it significantly reduces the risk of stroke.

6. Do fun activities and eliminate stress
We have a high chance of suffering a heart attack when we are stressed, because the heart rate is accelerated and the blood pressure increases. This does not mean that stress leads to heart disease, but it looks like it may aggravate them. It is important, therefore, to find time for relaxing and enjoyable activities, such as walking, yoga, etc. Also get reasonable work schedules that allow you to enjoy leisure time and get away from work stress daily.

7. Control the diabetes
In people with diabetes, strict control of their glucose (sugar) levels prevents what is known as the complications of diabetes. Basically, continued high level of glucose causes a deterioration of the arteries that affect organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys and vision.  It is recommended to analyze the level of glucose in the blood once every three years from age 40. This will help detect diabetes early and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and premature death.

8. Monitor blood pressure
High blood pressure is associated with potentially serious heart disease such as heart failure and myocardial infarction. It is considered hypertension when blood pressure numbers are above 140 / 90mmHg. Call your doctor regularly to control the numbers and if they appear high, it is important to follow a series of hygienic dietary measures (exercise, lose weight, limit salt).

9. Keep cholesterol in check
High cholesterol is a major factor in the onset of cardiovascular disease. It is shown that people with blood cholesterol levels of 240 have twice the risk of suffering a heart attack than those with numbers 200. Prevention is as simple as eating healthily, controlling body weight and exercising.

10. Perform health reviews
From the age of 40 it is recommended that we conduct medical examinations periodically to maintain a healthy heart. This is especially important in people with risk factors such as family history of heart disease, hypertension, cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and smoking.