Heart disease is rampant all over the United States. While over 600,000 people die from it each year, there are millions more who live “with” heart disease. These people are struggling every day to preserve the quality of life as the disease negatively impacts. Studies show that people with heart disease have higher cases of depression and those with heart failure have reported an 80% decrease in their quality of life.
The heart is about the size of an adult fist and is best known for its pumping action which circulates nearly 2,000 gallons of blood per day, providing water, nutrients and oxygen with each. Part of the body. The heart is also part of an electrical system that manages the rate and rhythm of a heartbeat. When the heart gets sick or does not work properly, it generally breaks down into two types of problems: one where blood cannot reach the heart due to a blockage or when the electrical system is shorted. We generally define these problems as different types of heart disease.
While we don’t always know the direct causes of heart disease, we do know that if we tackle general risk factors we can minimize or even eliminate the effects of the disease. Modifiable risk factors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, high triglyceride levels, and lifestyle changes to reduce risk can modify all diabetes. Many potential lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, are widely discussed, but others are less well known.
1. Hydrate: Your blood contains approximately 94% water. Without water, the blood becomes thick and less viscous. A 2016 study conducted at the University of Arkansas – Fayetteville found that mild dehydration resulted in impaired vascular function almost as much as smoking a cigarette.
2. The reversal of large fats and cholesterol: The 1950s hypothesis that saturated fat and cholesterol should not be consumed due to their low impact on heart health is no longer supported by research. While cholesterol (the partner of saturated fat in food) is a concern for people with heart disease, it’s the cholesterol that the body makes on its own that is of concern.
“Despite popular belief among doctors and the public, the conceptual model of dietary saturated fat clogging a pipe is simply wrong. … studies have shown no association between saturated fat consumption and (1) all-cause mortality, (2) coronary heart disease (CHD), (3) coronary heart disease mortality, (4) stroke ischemic or (5) type 2 diabetes in healthy adults, “according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine (April 25, 2017). The review also stated that “LDL cholesterol is not associated with cardiovascular disease and is inversely associated with all-cause mortality.” The statement is supported by UCLA’s David Gaffen School of Medicine (2009), where they found that 75% of heart attack victims have “normal” LDL levels.
Saturated fat can be part of a heart healthy diet and can lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts, seeds, avocados, fish, whole eggs, quality meats, and quality oils, such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil are worth another look.
A risk factor for the largest subset of people with heart disease (those with coronary artery disease) is sugar consumption. It has been shown to increase triglycerides, LDL, blood pressure, and produce fat in the body. Eliminating added sugars and things that produce high blood sugar levels could be a big step in protecting your heart.
3. The variation in heart rate: A normal resting heart rate depends on age, but is usually between 50 and 100 beats per minute. The lower part of this number is an indication of better heart health. Wearable devices with heart rate monitoring are a great way to track this simple measurement or you can calculate it manually by placing your fingers on your neck pulse and counting the beats per minute. The rapid fluctuations and elevations over time in resting heart rate can be discussed with your doctor.
The heart also strengthens with the variation of the rhythm. Targeting your heart rate in a healthy zone during exercise can help stimulate muscle growth. Target numbers range from 180 minus your age (example: at 21, your target zone is 159) to 220 minus your age, which gives you the upper end of the heart rate zone. A watch or heart monitoring device can give you near real-time heart rate information to help you fine tune your heart health. If you’re new to varying your heart rate, enlist the help of a professional trainer and target activities that will help you build strength with pleasure.
Nothing in this article constitutes medical advice. All medical advice should be sought from a health professional.