World Heart Day: 5 Tips to Avoid the Risk of Heart Disease

World Heart Day: 5 Tips to Avoid the Risk of Heart Disease

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
September 28, 20228 mins read

Synopsis

This World Heart Day focuses on beating cardiovascular diseases. CVDs relate to heart and blood vessel disorders. Heart diseases have many risk factors. Read these 5 tips to sidestep these risks. 

Key Takeaways

  • World Heart Day aims to preach the importance of a healthy heart
  • Following a healthy diet, keeping a check on cholesterol, etc., are some ways of avoiding cardiovascular diseases
  • Making lifestyle changes like avoiding smoking, regular exercising, etc., also help prevent cardiovascular diseases

We celebrate World Heart Day every year on September 29th. It is a way to remind everyone across the world of the importance of a healthy heart. It is an important health awareness day celebrated after World Rabies Day, which raises awareness regarding rabies, its prevention, and control.  

The World Heart Day 2022 theme is "Use heart for every heart." It focuses on beating cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). [1] "Cardiovascular disease" is a term often used for heart disease. Cardiovascular diseases are the top cause of death worldwide. [2] They are disorders related to the heart and blood vessels. These include heart disease, stroke, heart attack, arrhythmia, and heart valve issues. So, with World Heart Day 2022 in mind, we should pay attention to how healthy our heart is. It is easy to forget about or overlook, especially with a pandemic and busy lives with an endless list of things on our plates.

The risk of heart disease is scary, regardless of the form it may take. However, there are ways to avoid it if you take suitable measures. Here are five tips to sidestep the risk of heart disease in today's stress-ridden lives:

Tips To Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Have a healthy diet 

A healthy diet can go a long way in keeping diseases away. It is especially true for heart diseases. If you follow a balanced and healthy diet, you can avoid the risk of heart disease. There are many components of a diet that you should be aware of. Do the following for your diet: 

Include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet 

Vegetables and fruits can protect your heart from ailments and keep it healthy. Vegetables, in general, are healthy. Onions, leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and carrots are particularly beneficial for your heart. There are plenty of fruits that can help keep your heart healthy. Apples are high in fiber and help prevent high blood pressure, a major cause of heart disease. Apricots are rich in vitamins K, C, A, and E and have carotenoid antioxidants. They are good for a balanced diet. Bananas have vitamins C and B6. The fiber, magnesium, and potassium in them help control blood pressure. Berries like strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are rich in vitamin C. They are also high in fiber which helps reduce cholesterol and the risk for heart disease. Oranges and peaches are also good choices. 

Eat whole grains 

Whole grains are rich in fiber and many other nutrients that help control blood pressure, leading to a healthy heart. You can have whole wheat flour and whole grain bread like wheat, oatmeal, etc. Limit refined-grain products like refined flour, donuts, white bread, muffins, etc. 

healthy lifestyles for Heart

Have limited unhealthy fats 

Not all fats are bad. However, limit foods rich in trans fats and saturated fats as these can increase cholesterol levels and lead to a risk of heart disease. Celebrate World Heart Day by controlling these fats in your diet. 

Low-fat proteins and less salt 

Have proteins that are low in fat, like lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy products. Have legumes like lentils, peas, and beans. Limit the amount of salt. Eating a high amount of salt can increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. 

Go For Regular Health Check-ups

Going for regular health check-ups can save you or at least alert you of any possibilities of heart disease. Set an appointment on this World Heart Day if you haven't already. Many factors can pose the risk of a heart problem. Getting checked for them can be of great help. Major things you should keep an eye on are: 

Blood pressure 

The pressure the blood exerts on the walls of the blood vessels is called blood pressure. Hypertension is the condition of high blood pressure when this pressure is very high all the time. Known as the "silent killer," high blood pressure shows no obvious signs and can continuously damage the body. Therefore, you should get your blood pressure checked for any abnormalities. If you don't get it checked and it is high, there are risks of a stroke, heart attack, kidney problems or failure, eye damage, etc. Some people are at a higher risk if this condition runs in the family. They consume food with a lot of salt (sodium), are above 55 years, are overweight, smoke tobacco, or drink alcohol heavily. 

Additional Read: Yoga for High Blood Pressure

Cholesterol 

World Heart Day should remind you to check your cholesterol level because it is crucial. Cholesterol helps build cells, minerals, and vitamins in the body. The liver produces cholesterol; anything more than this comes from food sourced from animals like dairy products, meats, and poultry. The fats in these foods make the liver produce more cholesterol, leading to a higher-than-normal level. There are other ways of having an excess of it in the blood. Excess cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. There are two kinds of cholesterols- LDL and HDL. LDL is harmful, while HDL is good for the body. Too much LDL and too little HDL can cause cholesterol to build up in the arteries. Get these checked to avoid the risk of heart disease.  

Diabetes 

Diabetes is a dangerous ailment. If it stays undetected, it can cause significant issues, including heart disease. High blood sugar can, over time, damage the nerves and blood vessels of the heart. Therefore, it is beneficial to check for diabetes so you can control it in time. People with diabetes run the risk of heart failure, where the heart is unable to pump blood properly. Take this World Heart Day as an opportunity to get all these tests done.

World heart day and treatment

Sustain a Healthy Weight 

Sustaining a healthy weight is important in avoiding heart disease. A healthy weight can be judged using body mass index (BMI). BMI measures body fat using weight and height for calculation. BMI ranges from "less than 18.5" to "above 30". [3] Based on the score, you can be underweight (lowest score), normal weight, overweight, or obese. With World Heart Day focusing on CVDs, you can focus on getting and maintaining a healthy weight. For a healthy weight, do the following: 

  • Eat proper meals. Avoid skipping any meals to lose weight, as you will lose nutrition because of it. Instead, spread out the meals into smaller portions. 
  • Eat a balanced diet that covers all the essential food groups. 
  • Eat foods with high saturated fats, sugar content, and calories within limits. 
  • Stay active and exercise regularly. 
Additional Read: Weight Loss Smoothies

Avoid Smoking 

Smoking harms the body, and the heart and blood vessels are no exception. If you already smoke habitually, take a step towards quitting this World Heart Day. Cigarette smoke can hinder the normal functioning of the body. The normal function of the lungs is to carry blood rich in oxygen to the heart and the rest of the body. When you inhale, the lungs take in the oxygen and deliver it to the heart. The heart then pumps the oxygen-rich blood to the other parts of the body through blood vessels. However, when you inhale cigarette smoke, the blood that goes to the rest of the body has chemicals from the smoke. These chemicals can cause damage to the heart and blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular diseases.  

These cardiovascular diseases can also occur due to a change in the blood chemistry caused by smoking cigarettes. This change leads to the formation of plaque in the arteries, where plaque is a waxy substance made of calcium, fat, scar tissue, cholesterol, and other elements. [4] The smoke's chemicals can cause plaque to build up and blood to thicken in the arteries. This can, in turn, make it difficult for the blood cells to go through arteries and other blood vessels to reach important organs such as the brain and the heart. This can lead to blood clots, heart attack, stroke, or death.  

With such severe effects of smoking, World Heart Day is an excellent reminder to think about your heart's health. Quitting smoking can be difficult. But it is possible. You can take appropriate measures depending on how addicted you are to smoking. Professional help is effective as it helps you cope with the withdrawal that results from quitting. If the addiction is mild, you can try quitting on your own, with the help of family and friends. 

Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle 

Taking care of your heart requires an all-around effort. You should maintain a healthy lifestyle in all aspects. With September being the month to celebrate health awareness days like World Heart Day and World Alzheimer's Day, take a deeper look at your life to find areas of improvement. 

Here are some of the aspects of your lifestyle that you should maintain well: 

  • Get a healthy amount of sleep every day. Sleeping for an insufficient amount of time or too much can adversely affect the factors related to heart disease risk, like weight, blood pressure, etc. 
  • Include physical activity in your daily life. This can be exercise, running, brisk walking, etc. Staying physically active through a regimen can help avoid heart disease. You can also try yoga for heart health. It can calm you and allow the body to rejuvenate. There is no need to strain yourself. A 30-minute walk every day can prove beneficial. Avoid leading a sedentary life as it has the opposite effect of exercising. It opens the door to heart ailments and other issues. Choose a regimen that suits your schedule, and pick this World Heart Day to start. 
  • Manage the stress in your life. Stress can increase the risk of heart disease. Exercise and yoga can help. Avoid overwork as it can add to stress. Taking breaks and meditation is also helpful.

Make this World Heart Day count. Take a step towards a healthy heart by following the tips mentioned above. WHO's initiative to promote health on a personal level through World Heart Day, on a general level through World Patient Safety Day, and other initiatives prove how important health is. And if you have any health issues that need attention, you can easily get an online consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health.

World Heart Day: 5 Tips to Avoid the Risk of Heart Disease banner
  1. https://world-heart-federation.org/world-heart-day/about-whd/world-heart-day-2022/
  2. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cardiovascular-diseases-(cvds)
  3. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm
  4. https://www.fda.gov/tobacco-products/health-effects-tobacco-use/how-smoking-affects-heart-health

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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