Doctors spend years learning anatomy, chemistry, physiology and other sciences to fix things that go wrong with the human body. Cardiovascular disease is scary because even the medically naive realize the potential outcome. However, the flip side is the heart’s ability to get better. The following are six tips to keep your heart strong and healthy:
Everyone should schedule a consultation with their family physician before beginning or changing exercise routines. The main issues are overdoing it or doing the wrong things, but overall the benefits outweigh the risks when it comes to exercise. Proper exercise is prescribed to cardiac patients, even those who have survived heart attacks. Exercise, when done properly, is proven to offer better outcomes and improved quality of life. Exercise raises good cholesterol and lowers the bad cholesterol, lowers average blood pressure, helps stabilize blood glucose levels and has direct effects on improving other metabolic functions that can lead to or worsen heart disease.
A single cheeseburger does not cause clogged arteries, though on a chemical level it does promote arterial plaque deposits due to the gut’s production of trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) when eating red meat. The real culprit behind dietary issues that lead to heart disease is not the occasional piece of cheesecake, but the overall daily Standard American Diet (SAD) of high fat, high sugar highly processed foods that are high in calories and lacking in nutrient density. If it is fast food, boxed or packaged food, has sugar and oils in the top few items on ingredient lists, then it is likely going to contribute to health problems. Not necessarily today, but sometime in the future. A change in mindset to eat better now for a healthier tomorrow is what is needed.
Families, jobs, debt, economic instability, home repair, keeping up status with peers and so many other things are stressors today. All of this has a strong negative effect on cardiovascular health. The answers are not easy, and they vary from individual to individual. However, the point is to assess what are the highest stress-causing issues and systematically improve or remove them one by one as time goes on.
Sleep apnea is associated with heart disease, and many people do not even know they have it. Poor sleep for other reasons than central or obstructive sleep apnea can also be a problem when it comes to heart health. People work longer hours while still wanting recreation. Sleep suffers greatly in this modern society. Snoring while asleep and sleepiness during waking hours are signs of sleep apnea. A sleep study can detect this and other sleep disturbances. Caffeine is another culprit of lost sleep.
Get Off The Caffeine
Caffeine is a drug that permeates society. Cardiologists recommend against its use, especially in children whose hearts are still developing. Caffeine is still socially viewed as a benign substance that gives a boost to the mind and body when sluggishness is about to overtake one’s day. Caffeine restricts blood vessels, can cause heart arrhythmia and, in people with underlying or hidden cardiac conditions, can lead to sudden death.
Pain Pills to Get Through Daily Life
Painkillers, even over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, are recommended for continued use only with specific patients. That is because there is a cardiac risk for their continued use. Just because it can be purchased OTC at the local pharmacy does not mean it is inherently safe. Cardiologists, rather than family physicians should be consulted about the personal risks of continuing on daily pain medication. Also, no person should ever start a daily low-dose aspirin regimen on his own. Daily aspirin therapy is prescribed for specific patients for a specific need. Daily aspirin therapy has its own risks, and doctors only prescribe it when the potential benefit outweighs the risk.
Following these tips can help healthy hearts stay healthy and can help ailing hearts not lose ground or maintain current status. For some, it is all about staying as healthy as they are right now. For others who have been diagnosed with any form of heart disease, it is about not getting worse and possibly even improving. The heart is a complex organ susceptible to many diseases and issues, but it is part of the overall organism. Take care of the body, and the heart will come along for the ride too.
Informational credit to ICE, Institute of Cardiovascular Excellence.