Heart disease and heart attacks are major problems in modern times. According to the CDC, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year, and those numbers are expected to continue rising. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent heart attacks; in fact, there are 5 lifestyle changes that could prevent almost 80 percent of heart attacks.
1. A healthy diet
This is one of the most important lifestyle changes an individual can make to help prevent heart disease and heart attacks. The average diet is stripped of nutrients and highly processed, filled with excessive sugars, fats, and salt. It’s also common to eat more red meat than is necessary each day, and recent studies have linked the consumption of red meat with increased risk of heart disease.
Add in the fact that most people don’t get the proper vitamins and nutrients that their bodies need to function, and it’s no wonder that there are more cases of these problems every year.
2. Get active.
One of the major contributors to bad health and increased risk of heart disease is the lack of movement in daily life. Many people work jobs which require sitting at desks for long periods of the day, and many don’t exercise either.
Exercise is important for a few reasons; it strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure, decreases stress, and helps you sleep better. Improving all of these areas of your life will greatly reduce your risk of having a heart attack. It’s important to get some exercise such as biking or walking, at least 40 minutes a day and more than one hour a week.
3. Healthy waist circumference.
Getting exercise will help you lose weight, which is also very important for decreasing your risk of heart disease. Many people desire a slimmer waist for appearance purposes, but there are many benefits to your health with having a smaller waistline.
There have been many studies which show that a larger waistline increases the risk of many diseases and early death. The reason for this is because of the vital organs in this area being subjected to increased fatty acids and inflammatory agents because of increased fat, which can lead to high cholesterol, blood pressure, and many other issues.
A healthy waist should be no more than 40 inches for a man, and 35 inches for a woman. If your numbers are higher, you should consider some lifestyle changes to lose weight.
4. No smoking.
It’s old news that smoking is bad for you; in fact, it causes about 1 in 5 deaths every year, and is the main preventable cause of death and illness in the nation. Smoking causes damage to almost every organ in the body, including the blood vessels and the heart. It can cause atherosclerosis, which is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries. This restricts oxygen-rich blood, which can ultimately lead to a heart attack.
5. Moderate alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is another substance that can cause major damage to the body. Drinking too much can raise triglyceride levels in the blood, and is also a source of increased calorie intake. Alcohol over-consumption can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart failure.
It’s okay to drink in moderation, meaning one to two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day for women. Of course, not drinking at all will be the most beneficial to your health.
Heart attacks can strike anyone, so it’s important to take your own health into your hands. Many times, heart attacks are preventable, and these lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk of experiencing one.