Our heart beats continuously throughout our life, without taking a break even when we sleep or rest. Despite this fact, you will be shocked to know that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. While a healthy heart ensures a long life, an unhealthy one can increase your risk for cardiovascular diseases and death. From cholesterol deposition in the blood vessels to increased blood pressure and irregular heartbeat, these heart conditions can result in heart attack, stroke and even heart failure. Here are some habits that may compromise your heart health.
Healthy Heart Vs Unhealthy Heart
Spotting the signs of an unhealthy heart is vital to prolong life and seek timely care from a healthcare professional. Here are some signs of unhealthy heart to watch out for:
Shortness of breath
Pain in the chest or shoulder on the left side
Swelling in the feet and legs
Shortness of breath and fatigue
Feeling dizzy or light-headed
It is common to pass off these signs and symptoms of an unhealthy heart as non-serious medical issues. While having one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have an unhealthy heart, getting a routine check-up done by your doctor is advisable.
5 Heart-Damaging Habits to Avoid
Many factors can damage your heart. While genetics and family history are factors that you can’t control, avoiding unhealthy habits can protect your heart.
Here are the top 5 habits that can affect your heart:
Smoking is one of the major causes and risk factors for cardiac diseases. Smoking of any form results in the deposition of harmful chemicals in the body. One by-product of smoking is carbon monoxide that binds to red blood cells in your body and reduces their oxygen-carrying capacity. As a result, your heart muscles do not get enough oxygen, resulting in temporary or permanent damage to your heart. This can increase your risk for heart disease. Smoking also increases blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, increasing your risk for cardiovascular diseases.
Lack of exercise
There are no two ways about it – to keep your heart healthy, you must work out! According to the American Heart Association, we must get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day or 150 minutes every week. Moderate exercise can help reduce your blood cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and help you maintain optimum weight– all of which keep your heart healthy.
We all have hectic lifestyles and busy schedules. Whether juggling a few projects at work or managing the dynamics at home, life can get stressed pretty quickly, isn’t it? Chronic stress increases your blood pressure and can strain your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk for heart disease. Stress can also start a vicious cycle of coping mechanisms like overeating, drinking and smoking, all of which can damage your heart.
While having your favourite glass of wine or pint of beer occasionally is acceptable, excessive consumption of alcohol can harm your heart. Excessive and chronic drinking can increase your blood pressure that can damage your heart and blood vessels over a period of time.
Also, alcohols are usually high in carbohydrates that get stored in the body as triglycerides, increasing your risk for cardiac ailments. The high calories in alcohol can also lead to weight gain and lifestyle conditions like obesity, further increasing your risk for heart disease.
Poor dietary habits
While it can be tempting to binge ear pizzas or takeouts every day, these foods are high in saturated and unhealthy fat. Poor dietary habits resulting in weight gain, obesity, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. These lifestyle conditions increase your risk for heart ailments.
Eating healthy, nutritious food protects your heart and lowers your risk for heart disease. Even in our busy lives, we must monitor what we eat, how much we eat and how the food we eat can impact our heart health. Here’s how you can ensure your takeouts and meals at the restaurant can be healthy:
Pick healthy dishes from the menu
Stick to your diet and avoid any temptations
Choose dishes that come in smaller portions
Avoid unhealthy toppings like dressing, cheese, sauces or high-fat meats like bacon
Ask for healthy oil options for your dish
Whether you eat at home or outside, taking care of your heart is vital.
While routine physician checkups are recommended for every adult, making heart-healthy lifestyle changes helps you protect your heart and cardiovascular system from damage. Keeping your heart healthy is easy and begins with you. While your heart works hard for you all the time, you must work to keep it hail and hearty!