If your heart is working well, you probably don’t even think about it very much. But perhaps you should. After all, it’s undoubtedly the most important organ in your body. And if you begin paying attention to it only when it starts showing signs that something’s not right, it may be too late.
Heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death. In fact, in Australia alone, around 40,000 people die from cardiovascular disease every year. This number may be on the decline right now, but it’s still rather huge. So don’t take any chances. It’s never too early to start taking care of your cardiovascular health.
Common Heart Conditions
When we say cardiovascular disease, we don’t just refer to a single condition. In fact, numerous health issues can affect your heart. So, let’s take a look at a few of the more common heart problems.
Your heart beats because of its own supply of electrical signals. Under normal conditions, these impulses are regular, and so is your heartbeat. But when these electrical impulses become disrupted or unbalanced, your heart can start beating too quickly or too slowly.
Arrhythmia is a chronic heart condition, meaning that it’s typically a long-term condition that doesn’t happen just once and then disappear. In fact, at first, the symptoms may only show as barely noticeable fluttering or quivering of the heart. As time goes by, though, they can develop into dizziness and light-headedness, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Typically, arrhythmia might be caused by other heart problems, high blood pressure, or thyroid issues. However, your lifestyle can have a huge impact on its development, especially if you drink too much, take drugs, or ingest a lot of caffeine.
When your heart doesn’t pump blood properly, your body’s demand for oxygen isn’t met. That can result in a range of problems including fatigue, loss of appetite, coughing, and fluid build-up. Ultimately, if left untreated, heart failure can lead to a full-on heart attack.
And what exactly causes this serious condition? Well, there are many possible underlying factors including cancer treatment, high blood pressure, and diabetes. There are also a number of preventable or avoidable causes such as smoking, poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle.
A heart attack occurs when a blood clot forms in some part of your heart muscle and completely blocks it. Blood flow to the heart is interrupted and the affected part of the heart suffers damage.
Usually, the main cause of a heart attack is cholesterol or fat build-up in the arteries that feed your heart. These substances form a plaque and when a part of that plaque breaks, a blood clot forms. The most common causes of heart attack are poor diet, obesity, lack of physical activity and stress.
Cardiac arrest is the deadliest of the conditions mentioned here. Many people mistake it for a heart attack, but they are actually nothing alike. While a heart attack is caused by a blood clot, cardiac arrest occurs when the heart’s electrical supply malfunctions and the heart stops beating abruptly.
Though heart attacks and cardiac arrests are serious and life-threatening conditions, the cardiac arrest is definitely the more severe. It can occur with no warning signs whatsoever, and it can kill extremely quickly. The only thing that can save the patient is administering CPR or using a defibrillator. But you must act fast — even one minute can make a difference between life and death.
How to Take Care of Your Heart
As you can see, not giving your heart the treatment it deserves can result in some devastating consequences. You may not pay with your life, but you certainly will with your health. So start taking care of your heart early on, and you’re much more likely to live a long and healthy life.
Eat Healthy Food
Junk food may be delicious, but it is incredibly bad for your heart health. Junk food contains simply too many fats, cholesterols, and other harmful substances that can build-up in your arteries. And that can lead to heart failure or heart attack.
So instead, turn to healthier but still delicious alternatives. Try to eat more fish, greens, seeds, olive oil, and avocados. Try to avoid salt as much as possible, and replace it with vinegar, lemon, or other herbs that add flavour.
A sedentary lifestyle is becoming more prevalent in today’s society, but no one can deny that it comes with some serious risks, including contributing to heart problems.
Your heart is a muscle, and just like all muscles it needs exercise to stay strong. And that’s where cardio comes in. Exercises like running, jogging, aerobics and yoga raise the heart rate and strengthen your heart. Cardio also helps to control weight problems, which means you can avoid another serious health problem: obesity.
It goes without saying that smoking is bad for you, but it’s especially damaging to the lungs and the heart. So quit smoking and avoid inhaling cigarette smoke as much as possible. Your heart will certainly thank you.
Get Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can negatively impact your mental and physical health, including your heart. But did you know that too much sleep can be just as damaging? Both extremes can cause heart and blood pressure issues, so you should avoid them as much as you can. Try to get around eight hours of sleep every night and don’t go much over that limit.
We all live busy lives, and sometimes we forget to take some time to relax and unwind. Although it may not seem like a big deal, this build-up of stress over time can lead to serious heart problems. High blood pressure is one of the most common diseases of the modern age and it directly impacts your heart health.
Put Your Health First
If you aim to live long, and have a happy life, put your cardiovascular health first. After all, the most important muscle in your body is working tirelessly to keep you alive. The least you can do is pay it back in kind by leading a healthy lifestyle.