Heart disease is the leading cause of death around the world. Coronary and peripheral artery diseases, which develop as a result of plaque formation within the walls of the arteries, can begin to restrict the passage of oxygen-rich blood over time. This can lead not only to increased blood pressure but an elevated risk of obstruction of the arteries that supply the heart and the brain. This is the most common type of heart disease. Heart attacks and strokes account for the vast majority of the 600,000 heart-related deaths that occur annually in the United States alone. Heart disease is serious business, but the good news is it's also largely preventable.
It's time to address some of the habits that can help improve heart health now.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Obesity is one of the biggest factors in the development of heart disease, as well as many of the contributing factors. Carrying excess weight, especially around the belly, puts individuals at risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive sleep apnea, and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease. Fatty tissue contributes to the development of dyslipidemia, or an unbalanced blood cholesterol content, by encouraging the manufacture of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ('bad' cholesterol) and lowering the heart-protective high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ('good' cholesterol). What's more, fatty tissues require a hefty blood supply, so the more weight individuals carry, the more blood volume their heart is forced to pump to keep up with demand. Body mass index (BMI) is a calculation of height and weight used as a guideline to help individuals maintain a healthy weight. The higher an individual's BMI is, the greater their risk for heart disease is. Individuals should aim for an index of twenty-four or less. Weight loss is relative, so individuals shouldn't be discouraged if their BMI starts out higher than they wanted. A weight loss of just ten percent, regardless of where someone starts, significantly reduces their risk and puts them on the path to a healthy heart.
Uncover more habits to help with heart health now.