World Heart Day: heart healthy tips to prevent heart disease.

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World Heart Day: Preventing Heart Disease & Promoting Healthy Living

World Heart Day is a great time to take stock of your heart health and make better choices for the future.

World Heart Day: Preventing heart disease and promoting healthier living

“Listen to your heart.” It’s a phrase we hear a lot. It might be your favorite line from a classic romantic comedy or sound advice delivered to you by a cherished loved one. Regardless of where you first encountered the phrase, the idea that our hearts are central to who we are as people has existed throughout history. Perhaps that’s because the heart is quite literally the engine that drives us as human beings.

As World Heart Day is celebrated around the world this September, it’s a great time to “listen to your heart” and take stock of your health. Understanding what your body is telling you is key and by making a few simple changes, you can lower your risk of heart disease and get on the path towards a healthier lifestyle. Join us, as we get to the heart of the matter, by taking a look at what makes us tick!

What is World Heart Day?

So, what is World Heart Day, anyway? World Heart Day is an annual global event, created by the World Heart Federation, in order to promote awareness and help combat cardiovascular disease (CVD). CVD continues to have a devastating impact on the world’s population, killing 17.5 million people every year; making it the number one killer among non-communicable (or chronic) diseases. The goal is to dramatically reduce the number of preventable CVD deaths brought on by factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity and tobacco use. From social media campaigns to localized events, World Heart Day is a great chance to “share the power” by showing the world how you power your heart. But, beyond the global conversation, World Heart Day is about making small changes to ensure a healthy future for you and the people you care about. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the ways you can take care of your heart.

Heart Health Numbers: Know Where to Start

World Heart Day: blood pressure

In many ways, heart health comes down to a numbers game. Risk awareness is the first step in prevention and, as they say, “knowing is half the battle”. The World Heart Federation recommends that you keep track of your blood glucose levels, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI). These health numbers are significant indicators of cardiovascular risk and working towards improving them can only increase your heart health. A simple trip to your physician can reveal this critical information, but some of these tests can be done at home and the American Heart Association’s website has some great information on this topic.

Eating Well: The Perfect Recipe for a Healthy Heart

Eating well: The Perfect Recipe for a Healthy Heart

Eating well and making sound nutritional choices is another important factor in sustained heart health. The World Heart Federation offers the following tips to “fuel your heart”:

These changes may seem like common sense, but they can make all the difference. Your diet is one factor you can control in preventing heart disease, and making healthier choices can also lower your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions related to obesity and high cholesterol. For more tips on healthy eating, check out this video from UEFA, as some of the greatest soccer players in the world discuss the impact diet has on their performance.

Get Moving: Take Action with Heart Healthy Exercises

Heart Healthy Exercises

While eating well is an important step in promoting heart health, consistent physical activity is just as critical. Inactivity can be a significant factor in cardiovascular disease, so it’s important to stimulate your heartrate through exercise. The World Heart Federation recommends the following:

Additionally, yoga is a great alternative form of exercise that can lower stress and CVD risk through poses that lead to physical stimulation and measured breathing techniques.

Say Goodbye to Tobacco

Say goodbye to tobacco: improve heart health

We’ve touched on some important factors that can help you improve your heart health and lower your risk of CVD; but so far, we haven’t mentioned what is perhaps the most important step in reversing heart disease. According to The World Heart Federation, “Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do to improve your heart health.” Smoking makes it harder to exercise, raises your blood pressure and can harm others through the negative effects of second-hand smoke. This World Heart Day consider the facts below and breakup with tobacco for good:

Where to Start

Improve heart health

So, what to do next? Scheduling an exam with your primary care physician is a great first step. Depending on your age, family history and other risk factors, you may also be referred to a cardiologist. Keep track of your numbers and set goals for better heart health. Cut down on processed foods and swap out sugary snacks and fatty meals in favour of more nutritious alternatives. Make sure to exercise regularly and keep yourself moving, even if that just means taking a more active approach to your daily life. If you’re already struggling with the effects of a heart attack or stroke, activity should be measured; and you may want to consider making changes to your home to make your life safer going forward, such as a stairlift or other mobility aids. Most of all, if you’re still smoking, seek out ways to quit today. It’s really the best thing you can do to lower your risk level. These changes may seem simple, but the effects of cardiovascular disease can be devastating and a little bit of work and regular maintenance can go a long way to preventing heart disease. This World Heart Day, listen to your heart and get on the path toward a healthier life!

Written by fernando at 27-09-2017