Heart Health: Everything you need to know

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Our heart keeps us alive. It is working 24/7, pumping blood throughout the body. This beautiful organ works hard to keep us alive. It pumps blood and oxygen to all parts of your body.

The heart is the most important muscle in our body. And so, it is our responsibility to take care of it. It is our responsibility to keep it healthy. If we don’t look after our heart, we develop heart problems and diseases.

It is our responsibility to understand the conditions that affect our heart health. And to adopt healthy ways to prevent life-threatening heart conditions.

Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

When it comes to heart health, these two are the most important topics. Cholesterol and blood pressure affect your heart health the most.

 

So what is cholesterol?

You may have heard tales of people having high cholesterol. And you may think that cholesterol is all bad. But that is not true.

Cholesterol is vital for your body to work at its best. It is a wax-like substance that our body makes. The food we eat also converts into cholesterol.

There are two types of cholesterol in the body. One is the good cholesterol which doctors call high-density lipoprotein (HDL). And the second one is the bad cholesterol which doctors call low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

The body needs good cholesterol to make vitamin D and other hormones. With the help of cholesterol, the body produces estrogen in women and testosterone in men.

So, it is essential to have a healthy amount of good cholesterol in the body. And fewer amounts of bad cholesterol. If you are young, your body may not show any symptoms of cholesterol imbalance.

And so, it is essential to get a check-up done every four to six years to make sure your heart is healthy. If your LDL (bad cholesterol) is at an optimum level, it should be below 130 mg/DL.

If your HDL is at an optimum level, it should be above 40 mg/DL in men and above 50 mg/DL for women. Here are some of the symptoms of high cholesterol:

  • You may feel dizzy, light-headed and eventually faint
  • Chest pain is also a common symptom of high cholesterol
  • High cholesterol leads to excessive sweating and blurred vision
  • A person with high cholesterol may also experience confusion and anxiety.
  • Increase in bad cholesterol can also lead to high blood pressure.

 

Blood pressure and heart health

Your blood pressure is closely related to your heart health. When your blood pressure is normal, it is above 90/60 mm Hg and below 120/80 mm Hg.

The problem occurs when blood pressure increases or decreases above healthy limits. High blood pressure can pose severe risks to your health. In high blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing in your arteries is high.

When we cannot control this high force, it can lead to heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. The damage to the arteries can cause memory loss, chest pain, erectile dysfunction and other serious problems.

Here are a few common symptoms of high blood pressure:

  • You may feel severe headaches
  • A person with high blood pressure may have bouts of severe anxiety
  • Fast heartbeats are also a symptom of high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure can also manifest as strong pulsating feelings in the head and neck
  • The person may experience nose bleeds and shortness of breath

 

Although these are common symptoms you may experience, it is best to do a blood pressure check in with your doctor. Only the blood pressure test will give you accurate results.

 

Prevention and Treatment

Here are a few ways you can prevent and treat heart diseases and disorders:

Eat nourishing foods

Include more fresh fruits and vegetable in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre. Fibre is excellent for the body. It cleans the digestive tracks and boosts the immune system.

Include whole grains, low-fat foods and lean meat in your diet. Avoid eating processed foods, red meat, trans and saturated fats and added sugar. These foods increase bad cholesterol and blood pressure.

Also, pay attention to your meal size. Avoid overeating or starving yourself and eat only how much your body requires.

Quit smoking

Nicotine contributes to the hardening of the arteries’ walls that can cause a heart attack. Smoking also increases heart rate, blood pressure and toxins in the body.

If you are not a smoker, avoid inhaling second-hand smoke as that too is very dangerous. And it is dangerous whether you have a heart condition or not.

Detox your body and mind

To maintain good heart health, it is good to detox your body from time-to-time. With proper detox, you can cleanse your body from the saturated and trans fat, which cause an increase in LDL (bad cholesterol).

To have a healthy heart, it is also essential to have a healthy mind. Take a break from technology and give your mind a digital detox.

Stay Active

If you do not have a heart condition yet, stay active and exercise regularly. This keeps the blood flowing and release toxins from the body through sweat.

If you have a heart condition, first check with your doctor regarding your exercise routine. You can start slow and increase the amount of exercise gradually.

Be careful about your weight

It is best to have a healthy body and keep your weight in check to avoid heart conditions. Being overweight can cause more pressure on the heart, which can lead to severe heart conditions.

De-stress

Find activities that help you release the accumulated stress from your body and mind. Apart from diet, stress is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure.

Spending time in nature, relaxing, exercising, dancing and finding a hobby can help you de-stress. Often when we feel alone, we feel more stressed. Developing healthy connections with friends and family is also a great stress reliever.

Reduce your alcohol intake

If you do not have a heart condition yet, doctors advise you to limit your alcohol intake. Drinking too much alcohol increases blood pressure and creates excessive toxins in the body.

Take your medications

If you have a heart condition, take your medications regularly and look after your precious heart. Check-in with your doctor from time-to-time to make sure you are on the right track.

 

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