In average life, the heart beats approximately 2.5 billion times, delivering millions of gallons of blood into every part of the body. It carries oxygen, fuel and hormones and a host of critical cells, along with other compounds. It also removes the metabolism of waste materials.
Some functions almost immediately fail when the heart stops. Given the constant workload of the heart, it is a wonder for so many people that it is doing so well for so long. It may also fail, however, because of unhealthy diets and lack of exercises, smoking, diseases and unhappy genes, etc. Hence, a healthy heart is a gift that promises the entire health of your body.
Atherosclerosis is a big concern. This is the deposition in the arteries of pockets of cholesterol-rich gunk. These pockets known as plaques will restrict the flow of blood through the heart – coronary arteries – and other blood arteries throughout the body. It may cause a heart attack or stroke when a plaque breaks down.
Whereas many people develop some kind of cardio-vascular problems as they get older. A healthy lifestyle is a long way from preventing cardiovascular diseases, especially when starting at a young age. Changes in lifestyle and medicine can nip cardiac patterns in the bud until it suffers damages, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. And a range of drugs, operations and devices can help with heart injury.
The following are the do’s and don’ts for a healthy heart
- Quit smoking
You may take several precautions to protect your heart and your health, but if you are a regular smoker, other measures may go in vain. Tobacco avoidance is one of the best things a smoker can do to save himself from a possible heart risk.
There could be several factors affecting our heart health, and smoking is one of them. Indeed, smoking is one of the worst risks by which one can expose himself to heart diseases. The American Heart Association (AHA), the National Heart, Lung and Blood (NHLBI) advise you to leave smoking or other tobacco products. Not only your heart but also your overall wellbeing will make a big difference. They also conducted research in which it was found that smokers are more likely to catch a heart disease than non-smokers.
- Cut on salt
Salt is found in every India staple diet across regions and states. India is a diverse country with different cultures and ethnicities, but salt remains that staple for every Indian. Salt minerals give important electrolytes to your body which regulates your muscle contracture, fluid balance and its transmission throughout the body. Your body needs little salt – roughly 1-2 grams a day.
Sodium and chloride form the salt and are the sodium portion which can harm health. The majority of Indians eat more than the required amount of salt and expose themselves to major heart risks. It is necessary to maintain this balance because too much or too little salt may cause problems in health.
- Exercising regularly
One of the five key risk factors, as defined in the AHA, is a sedentary lifestyle (including high blood pressure, malnormal blood lipid values, smoking and obesity). Data from several clinical studies suggest that lowering these risk factors decreases the likelihood of a cardiac attack or another heart attack, such as the stroke, and reduces the risk of coronary revascularization (bypass surgery or coronary angioplasty). In order to stay fit and healthy, one must exercise regularly. Including cardio can help reduce heart risks.
- Don’t stress
Stress may influence actions and factors that raise risk of heart and related disease. It can elevate the level of blood pressure and cholesterol and make you engage in smoking, physical inactivity, excessive eating and other such bad habits. Some people can prefer to drink too much alcohol to get some relief from their chronic stress, but these behaviours may increase the pressure of blood and damage the walls of the artery instead. A chain of events resulting in fatalities can be triggered by such behaviour and stress in general.
When you stress, your body releases adrenaline, which momentarily accelerates your respiration and your heart rate and raises your blood pressure. Therefore, stressing may lead to danger and expose you to heart and other risks.
- Regular check-ups
All of us are so busy in our life that at times we neglect our health. It’s crucial to keep the heart safe by periodic blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol control check-ups and physical exams. One is usually not aware of certain things that may affect their heart health– high blood pressure and high cholesterol – until you have had an appointment with the doctor. Visit your doctor once even if you do not feel any symptoms. Engage in regular check-ups so that not only heart-related risks but other such fatalities can be detected at a curable stage.
- Keep alcohol intake in check
Heavy drinking is associated with a variety of adverse health effects, including cardiac problems. Excessive intakes of alcohol can lead to hypertension, heart disease or stroke. Excessive drinking can also lead to cardiomyopathy, a heart muscle disease. Long-term misuse of alcohol dilutes the cardiac muscle, affecting the ability to pump blood.
The loss of blood supply disrupts all the main functions of your body when your heart cannot pump your blood efficiently. This can result in heart failure and other health conditions that endanger life. One must not drink regularly as it can affect your liver and heart
- Taking a well-balanced diet
Consuming a healthy balanced diet is very important to maintain a good heart. A balanced diet includes the following:
- Green vegetable
- Whole grains
- Fish and fish oil
- Dry fruits (especially walnuts)
- Beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Dark chocolate
- Seeds (chia, flax, hemp)
- Switching to olive oil
- Green tea
- Red wine
One must keep in mind that they must include all the above-mentioned points to have a healthy heart. Just quitting smoking and enjoying junk food will not keep your heart healthy. You have to inculcate certain healthy habits to fight and stay away from any such diseases.