Heart Health Tips

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

The power to prevent a heart disease lies wholly in your hands. It is just necessary to start off right away. The following will help you start off:
Manage your weight:  Extra weight in form of fat increases the workload on the muscles, causing an elevated heart rate. It could also build up plaques in the blood vessels thereby reducing flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart.  Fat, especially intra-abdominal fat, which was thought to be inert has been found to adversely affect body metabolism. The relationship between your height and your weight can help you know if you are obese or overweight or normal weight. It is known as body mass index (BMI= weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters). Persons with BMI greater than 25 are overweight while those with BMI less than 18.5 are underweight.
Eat right: A poor diet full of saturated and trans fat, sugary and salty foods are risky for your health. Omega 3 from oily fish is good for the heart. Palm oil consumption does not give rise to elevated serum cholesterol levels so it is not atherogenic (promote the formation of fatty plaques in the arteries).  Palm oil consists of vitamins A and E, which are powerful antioxidants and has been scientifically shown to protect the heart and blood vessels from plaques and ischemic injuries. Vegetables and fruits supply the body with antioxidants that help to modulate cholesterol (reducing the risk of atherosclerosis). They contain dietary fibre that may also help to lower blood pressure. Whole grains are also good for the heart.
Be active: Moderate-intensity aerobic activity carried out at least for 150min each week can put you at a lower risk for heart diseases. It helps you manage your weight. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels by boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreasing unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Sleep well: Research has shown that insufficient sleep alters established cardiovascular risk factors in a direction that is known to increase the risk of cardiac morbidity. Sleep deprivation may be associated with increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure and higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
Mind your environment: Air and noise pollution increase the risk of heart disease. Tiny fine particles from fuel combustion within and outside the home including tobacco smoking could clog the lungs and surrounding blood vessels overtime. This increases the rate of build up of plaque in the arteries. Same goes for noise pollution which increases production of some stress hormones which could cause elevated blood pressure overtime.
Manage high blood pressure: High blood pressure is a risk factor for many heart diseases including stroke and kidney disease. Check your blood pressure routinely, eat right, be physically active, manage stress effectively and maintain a healthy weight. Kidney disease and diabetes are also risk factors for high blood pressure.

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