6 Lifestyle Choices That Can Lead to Heart Disease
Heart disease can be caused by a variety of factors, but lifestyle choices can account for a massive number of cases. The term “heart disease” covers a number of issues relating to the heart, including arterial disease and conditions relating to the heart itself. The good news is that if you are guilty of any of the poor choices below, it’s very easy to turn things around for yourself with some better and more healthy choices.
Diet is one of the most important factors that can lead to heart disease. A poor diet has been proven to cause heart disease through several factors. Diets that are high in saturated fat, low in fiber, and high in salt can actively cause heart disease in the form of high cholesterol levels. Diets that are high in sugar can aggravate diabetes, which can cause nerve damage in the heart. The key is to eat a diet low in processed food and high in fresh and natural foods.
The heart is a muscle, like any other part of your body, so it makes sense that exercise is good for your heart. The more you exercise, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood around your body and the stronger it becomes. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, swimming, or cycling is the best type of exercise to strengthen your heart, as it pushes the heart to work harder to keep you active. While an exercise routine can feel intimidating, you can start small by walking short distances and building yourself up until you feel comfortable doing something more vigorous, like running.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and it is a truly terrible thing to do to your heart. When you smoke, the level of oxygen in your blood is lower, so your heart has to work even harder to keep blood pumping around your body, because your cells need more oxygen-rich blood. As well as introducing carcinogens, or cancer-causing chemicals, into your body, smoking actively stresses your heart without encouraging it to strengthen the way exercise does. At the end of the day, it’s an expensive habit with no pay-off, so ditch the cigarettes for the good of your whole body, as well as your heart.
You may not think that stress is something that can cause heart disease, but there are several ways in which they have been linked. If you have existing issues like high cholesterol, there is evidence that suggests that stress makes it worse. Stress can also cause high blood pressure, which, if left untreated, can place massive strain on your heart. To remedy high stress, take time out for yourself, start meditation, or take up yoga and ensure you get enough sleep. The world can be a tough place, but try not to let stress take over.
5. Drug Abuse
You should know that drugs are never a good idea, but they are particularly bad for your heart. Some “party drugs,” including cocaine and ecstasy, can cause your heart rate to spike, which is in no way sustainable for your heart. With sustained abuse, your heart muscles will become weaker and you will be at a higher risk for heart attack. Cocaine has been shown to stiffen the arteries, which can affect blood flow to the heart, and also to thicken the heart muscle, making it less productive. There is no reason why illegal drugs should be a part of your life.
6. Prescription Drugs or Supplements
If you are taking several kinds of prescription drugs alongside over-the-counter supplements, you could unwittingly be putting your heart at risk. It is so important that you tell your doctor about every tablet you take, just in case some of them react badly together. There have been cases of people who accidentally cause heart disease or heart attacks due to mixing supplements and prescription pills that contraindicate each other. As always, the best thing to do is to be honest and seek your doctor’s advice so that they can suggest alternative supplements if you’re putting yourself at risk.
If you decide to make the change, the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor and to get advice on the best way to incorporate more healthy choices in your life without giving your body too much of a shock. If your heart disease is advanced, you may have to make certain adjustments, like getting a disabled parking permit, but your doctor will be able to tell you the best steps and changes to take to ensure that you’re living the healthiest live possible. Big changes start with little steps and it’s never too late to get healthy!