Heart disease has been ranked among the top 3 causes of fatal health conditions in New Zealand. It is also one of the major causes of disability in humans. Certain causes of heart disease aren’t in our control, but there are some that we can avoid. This blog post will outline the causes of heart disease and give tips on lowering your risk of catching it.
What are the heart disease risk factors that I cannot change?
The following are the risk conditions of heart disease that are not in our control. They are:
As you become older, your chances of getting heart disease increase. Men and women over the age of 45 and 55 are at a higher risk.
Certain risk factors might impact women differently than men. For example, estrogen protects women against heart diseases, while diabetes is known to increase the risk of heart disease in women, more so than in men.
If you have a close family member who had heart disease at a young age, you are at a higher risk.
What can I do to lower my risk of heart disease?
Thankfully, there are ways through which one can reduce or even reverse the presence of heart disease. They are as follows:
1. Check your blood pressure at regular intervals
Despite the widespread literature on this subject, high blood pressure is a common cause in humans and often indicates heart problems.
It's important to get your blood pressure tested on a regular basis — at least once a year for most individuals and much more often if you have consistently high blood pressure. You should take action to avoid or manage high blood pressure, including making lifestyle changes like getting enough exercise.
If you’re keen to learn more, sign up for our highly-reviewed first aid and resuscitation course on how to treat a patient’s heart disease under unexpected circumstances.
2. Keep your cholesterol and triglyceride levels under control
“Our children are obese, either have or are being threatened by diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and not socially adjusting properly to others because of a lack of fitness.”
--Richard Simmons, celebrity fitness coach
High levels of cholesterols can cause blockage in arteries, increasing your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack. Cholesterol can be reduced by combining certain lifestyle modifications and medications (when necessary).
Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the bloodstream. High triglyceride levels may also increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
“Obesity affects every aspect of a people's lives, from health to relationships.”
—Jane Valez Mitchell, celebrity journalist.
Obesity or being overweight may increase your chances of developing heart disease due to associated risk factors such as high blood cholesterol and pressure, triglyceride levels, and diabetes. If you maintain a healthy weight, you should be able to avoid such problems.
In either case, having the skills to perform CPR allows you to master the situation, increasing the chances of survival during a heart attack brought on by the above symptoms. Sign up for EMCARE’s first aid and resuscitation course and learn how today!
4. Eat a healthy diet
Avoid eating food high in saturated fat, sodium or added sugar. We advise that you include different kinds of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Adopt the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) approach to curb your risks of blood pressure and cholesterol problems.
5. Get regular exercise
Exercise offers several advantages, including strengthening the heart and increasing blood circulation. It also aids in the maintenance of a healthy weight, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure. All of these steps, taken together, will help you avoid heart disease.
6. Limit your alcohol intake
Too much alcohol might cause your blood pressure to rise. Alcohol is known to have ‘empty calories’ (meaning, the calories in alcohol have little to no nutritional value), which eventually leads to weight gain. Again, this increases your chances of developing heart disease.
7. Don't smoke
It’s a known fact that smoking cigarettes every day are linked with lung disease and breathing problems. But do you know that it also majorly affects your heart? The lungs and the heart work together to supply oxygen to the bloodstream. Without either of the two, our bodily functions won’t work.
Smoking cigarettes affects your blood pressure and increases your risk of heart attacks or strokes — so pat yourself on your back if you aren’t a smoker. But if smoking is a habit you developed over the years, then you need to work on getting rid of the habit immediately. Start reducing your cigarette or tobacco intake. You may get help from your healthcare professional to determine the best method to quit.
8. Manage stress
Stress is connected with heart conditions in several ways. It has the potential to increase your blood pressure, while extreme stress can even trigger a heart attack. Furthermore, popular (yet temporary) stress-relieving behaviours, like overeating, excessive drinking, and smoking, are harmful to your heart.
On the other hand, habits like exercising, listening to music, concentrating on something quiet or serene, or meditating are great techniques to handle stress and are terrific for your health.
But what do you do if someone suddenly collapses due to a heart attack, brought on by stress or something else? Learn effective methods on how to administer vital resuscitation through EMCARE’s first aid and resuscitation course in New Zealand.
9. Manage diabetes
Diabetic heart disease is two times more likely if you have diabetes. High blood sugar from diabetes damages your blood vessels, as well as the nerves that regulate your heart and blood vessels over time. As a result, it's critical to be tested for diabetes and, if diagnosed, to keep it under control.
10. Make sure that you get enough sleep
You increase your chances of high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes if you don't get enough sleep. These three factors might increase your chances of developing heart conditions—adults on average need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Make sure you're getting enough sleep.
If you're having trouble sleeping, make an appointment with your doctor asap! Sleep apnea is a condition that causes individuals to stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. This makes obtaining a decent night's sleep difficult and increases your risk of heart disease. If you suspect you have it, speak with your doctor about entering a sleep study for observation. Also, if you do have sleep apnea, make sure you get it treated.
We hope this blog post helps you understand the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking a first aid and resuscitation course with one of New Zealand’s best CPR trainers.
Sign up at EMCARE today! For further queries, feel free to give us a call.