Cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of death in Argentina and the world. Many risk factors are preventable.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. In Argentina they also occupy the first place: they are associated with 29% of deaths, followed by cancer (19%) and respiratory diseases (19%).
Although some risk factors for heart disease cannot be changed (such as family history, gender, or age), a high proportion of diseases that put the heart at risk can be prevented by changing habits, including They include adherence to a healthy diet, regular physical exercise, and not smoking, among other measures.
An article prepared by specialists from the Mayo Clinic, in the United States, brings together 7 keys to taking care of heart health.
One of the best things you can do for your heart is to stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco. Even if you don’t smoke, avoid secondhand smoke.
The chemicals in tobacco can damage the heart and blood vessels. Cigarette smoke reduces oxygen in the blood, which increases blood pressure and heart rate because the heart has to work harder to supply enough oxygen to the body and brain.
Although there is good news. The risk of heart disease begins to decline just a day later to quit smoking. After a year without cigarettes, this risk drops to about half that of a smoker. No matter how long or how many cigarettes you’ve smoked, you’ll start to reap rewards as soon as you quit.
Try to do at least 30 to 60 minutes of activity per day. Regular, daily physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease. Physical activity helps control weight and reduce the chances of other conditions that can put a strain on the heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
If you’ve been inactive for a while, you may have to work slowly toward those goals. However, your goals should be at least the following: 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as running) and two or more sessions of muscle strengthening per week.
Even shorter periods of physical activity offer benefits for your heart, so if you can’t stick to those guidelines, don’t give up. Moving for just five minutes can be helpful; activities like gardening, cleaning, climbing stairs, and walking the dog they count towards the total. You don’t need to exercise vigorously to gain benefits; however, you can see greater benefits if you increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of your workouts.
A healthy diet can help protect the heart, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
A plan of heart healthy eating includes the following: fruits and vegetables, legumes, lean meats and fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whole grains, healthy fats (such as olive oil).
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan and the Mediterranean diet are two examples of heart-healthy eating.
Limit your intake of the following: salt, sugar, processed carbohydrates, alcohol, saturated fat (found in red meat and whole dairy products), and trans fat (found in fried fast foods, French fries and in bakery products).
Being overweight, especially around the waist, increases your risk of heart disease. Being overweight can lead to conditions that increase your chances of developing heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
One way to see if your weight is healthy is to calculate your body mass index (BMI), which uses your height and weight to determine whether or not you have a healthy percentage of body fat. A body mass index of 25 or more is considered overweight and is generally associated with higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Waist circumference can also be a useful tool for measuring how much belly fat you have. Your risk of heart disease is higher if your waist measurement exceeds 101.6 centimeters in the case of men, or 88.9 in women.