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The Pathway to a Healthy Heart: Essential Steps to Avoiding Cardiovascular Disease

The Pathway to a Healthy Heart: Essential Steps to Avoiding Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an umbrella term for diseases of the heart and blood vessels. A leading cause of mortality in Australia, it continues to be one of the biggest health and economic issues in the Land Down Under. According to Australian statistics, CVD causes death every 12 minutes. 1.4 million Australians haven’t been enjoying a full, quality life because of the inconveniences and disabilities brought by this health crisis. Are you one of them?

If you are one of our fellow Aussies who suffer from heart disease or have a high predisposition to such ailments, read on, and save yourself the heartache.

Quit or avoid smoking

Heart disease can be prevented. And the single most preventable and modifiable risk factor for heart disease is smoking. It is as detrimental to cardiovascular health as it is to respiratory health. In Australia, tobacco smoke is a more potent killer than alcohol and illegal drugs combined. Its components get into the bloodstream and hasten the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries (atherosclerosis). These fatty plaques gradually narrow the pathway of blood to the heart, leading to coronary artery disease. Smoking also damages blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to all internal organs and peripheral parts of the body. It remains to be a number one cause of ill health worldwide.

Encourage people in your home or workplace who smoke to gradually quit. You can’t “not care” and let them slowly kill themselves. It’s difficult, yes. But recovering from CVD is tougher.

Monitor cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure levels

Keeping track of your triglyceride, blood pressure and blood glucose levels helps you in managing them better. Even if you’re not diagnosed with CVD, it is advisable to have yearly or quarterly check-ups with your physician, especially if you have risk factors that make you more likely to develop CVD. Regular consultation is important for early diagnosis and treatment.

Eat right and take the right supplements

Diet remains to be an issue when it comes to dealing with heart disease. With so much highly-processed and preservative-laden food around us, it has become more difficult for us to maintain healthy eating and achieve normal body mass index.

In the food we eat, there are good and bad fats. But most of the food sold in the popular market contain Trans fatty acids, which are unsaturated fats that increase low-density lipoprotein levels in our body. These are known to cause or worsen arterial blockages and other related cardiovascular illnesses.

You need NOT go on a very tight diet to achieve a healthy weight. You just have to make better food choices, along with proper exercise. So instead of going to fast food restaurants, buy fresh, natural, and organic food from trustedhealth food stores instead. Aside from selling fresh and healthy goods, these health stores also stock a variety of food supplements for better cardiovascular health, such as magnesium powder and fish oil. Just remember to consult your physician prior to taking heart supplements.

Regulate your alcohol intake

Social drinking is not a problem. For instance, red wine when taken in moderation is even healthy for the heart since it’s known to contain antioxidants that fight against arterial damage. The problem comes in when you’re taking alcohol excessively that you can pass for an Alcoholics Anonymous session. Too much alcohol, especially in the long run, contributes to the weakening of heart muscles. On top of that, excessive alcohol intake predisposes you to liver disease, nerve damage, digestive problems, muscle and joint ailments, and even cancer. So start drinking wisely to protect your heart and keep it healthy.

Be active

Obesity and sedentariness often coexist and both are implicated in CVD. Brisk-walking for at least 30 minutes a day is better than not having any exercise at all. You can then gradually increase your level of activity with proper and constant training.

Exercise programs have to suit your level of endurance. That’s why it is important to consult a health expert or an experienced and licensed physical trainer to know the amount of exercise or physical activity suitable for your current health status. With continuous self-motivation, you can progress from being a sedentary couch potato to a highly active and holistically healthy individual.

Manage your stress properly

Stress generally is classified into two—physical and emotional. Both kinds predispose people to heart disease, and too much of both is bad for those with an existing heart condition.

Stress, however, is inevitable. The key to avoiding its unpleasant effects to the heart is managing it well. There are lots of ways people can deal with stress, but not all ways are proper.

Start practising healthy coping mechanisms against stress like: getting enough sleep; avoiding too much pressure in your career and personal life; taking time to relax and have fun with family and friends; engaging in healthy, cathartic activities that allow you to release negative thoughts and emotions; yoga; and meditation. You may also take herbal and organic supplements that help in stress relief and mood enhancement, such as magnesium, omega-3 and olive leaf extract supplements. Ensuring proper nutrition and practising a healthy lifestyle are also very effective in easing your stress and boosting your immunity.

No matter how cliché you think it is, “prevention is always better than cure.” So save yourself from the heartache that kills. Start your way to a healthy heart now.

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