Shockingly, every year 1 in 3 deaths in the United States are caused by some form of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, many cases of cardiovascular disease can be treated with medication or lifestyle changes, especially if the condition is caught early enough.
Because of this, each year, on September 29th, we celebrate World Heart Day by raising awareness of cardiovascular disease. Learn who is most at risk for cardiovascular disease and what you can do to reduce that risk from your McAllen pharmacists at Saenz Pharmacy.
What is Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of conditions dealing with the heart and blood vessels. These conditions include: heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems.
Who is Most at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease?
Cardiovascular disease can develop for a number of reasons, but studies have shown that common risk factors include the following conditions and behaviors:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Regular smoking
- Infrequent exercise
- Unhealthy eating
- Excess weight
If you think you might be at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss medication or lifestyle changes that might help you avoid or delay any issues.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease?
Although there are some risk factors that make you more likely to develop cardiovascular disease regardless of your lifestyle choices, there are many things you can do to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Before making any medical decisions, be sure to consult with your physician.
1. Avoid smoking and tobacco use.
Cigarette smoke has been shown to reduce the oxygen in your blood, making your heart work twice as hard to supply oxygen to your body and resulting in increased blood pressure and heart rate. The chemicals in tobacco can also cause damage to your heart and blood vessels.
2. Stay active.
Exercising on a daily basis will help you control your weight and reduce your chance of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. If physical activity is hard to fit into your day, start with just 5 minutes of moving and work your way up to longer time spans. For many, they find it easy to start by doing chores around the house such as gardening, mowing, and vacuuming.
3. Follow a heart-healthy diet.
Eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, protect your heart and
improve your blood pressure and cholesterol. A heart-healthy diet should rely heavily on the following foods:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean meats
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats
Ultimately, the easiest way to start eating a healthy diet is by adding more color to your plate. If you are still unsure how to improve your diet, speak with your doctor or a nutritionist for guidance.
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
Excess weight can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, which makes you more likely to develop heart disease. To find out what a healthy weight for yourself is, consult your doctor or medical professional. They will be able to advise you on the best diet and exercise plan for your body type.
5. Get a good night’s rest.
The average adult needs at least 7 hours of sleep. Those who do not get good, quality sleep are at a higher risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, and depression. If you find yourself still tired after a full-night’s sleep, see your doctor to find out if there is an underlying issue.
6. Find a productive way to manage stress.
For many, stress is dealt with in an unhealthy way by overeating, drinking, and smoking. This can do further damage to your heart as stress itself can lead to high blood pressure and put you at a greater risk for a heart attack or stroke. Some productive ways for dealing with stress include: deep breathing, meditation, exercising, and yoga.
7. Get screened on a regular basis.
Having high blood pressure and cholesterol can do major damage to your heart and blood vessels. Those dealing with these conditions are often unaware of the issue until they are screened for the condition in a doctor’s office. Once patients know for sure, they can receive the proper treatment.
8. Take your medication as directed.
Conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are often managed through the use of medication. For the best results and greatest benefit to your health, always take your medication as prescribed by your doctor. If you have questions on how to take your medication or how it will react with other medications you are taking, talk to your pharmacist or physician.
Celebrate World Heart Day with Your Pharmacists at Saenz Pharmacy!
Keeping your heart healthy is the key to living a long, and happy life. While you may not be able to avoid falling into risk groups, you can make choices that will help protect your heart as you age.
If you have questions regarding your medication and how it affects your heart health, make an appointment to speak with one of our knowledgeable McAllen pharmacists.