Across the globe, heart diseases are the number 1 cause of death. An estimated 17.9 million people die each year from cardiovascular diseases. This accounts for an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide. Of these deaths, 85% are due to heart attacks and strokes.
While there are some genetic factors that play a role in these statistics the most common causes of these diseases are the consequences of the lifestyles people choose to live by. A study showed that 5 simple lifestyle factors like eating healthily, regular exercise, getting rid of fat, reduced drinking habits, and quitting smoking can combine to prevent 80% of first heart attacks.
Smoking or using tobacco of any kind is one of the most significant risk factors for heart attacks and other heart diseases. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. In general, the rule is simple: the more you smoke, the greater your risk.
What are harmful chemicals does tobacco smoke contain?
- Aromatic amines
- Beryllium (a toxic metal)
- 1,3–Butadiene (a hazardous gas)
- Cadmium (a toxic metal)
- Chromium (a metallic element)
- Ethylene oxide
- Nickel (a metallic element)
- Polonium-210 (a radioactive chemical element)
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
- Tobacco-specific nitrosamines
- Vinyl chloride
In one study, men who had either never smoked, or who had quit at least 20 years prior to the beginning of the study had a 36% lower chance of a first-time heart attack. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup known as atherosclerosis, which can ultimately lead to a heart attack.
Obesity Increases Risk of Heart Attacks
Being overweight, especially if you carry excess weight around your abdomen, increases your risk of heart attack by a significant amount. In one study, participants whose waistlines measured less than 95 cm (which is about 38″) over the course of the rial, had a 12% lower risk of a first heart attack when compared with men who had more belly fat.
Excess weight also leads to conditions that increase your chances of heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Getting some regular, daily exercise can help you control your weight and reduce your risk of a heart attack.
In general, you should do moderate exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace, for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. For even more health benefits, aim for 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy diet, the payoff is even greater.
One study showed that individuals with the highest score of a healthy diet had an 18% lower risk of heart attack than those who didn’t eat as healthily. Their healthy diet includes foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, reduced-fat dairy products, whole grains, and fish. In order to prevent heart attack, limit your alcohol consumption.
According to one study, drinking in moderation cut the risk of a first heart attack by about 11%. Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. It also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain. Both of those raise your risk of heart disease.
Here’s another tip: mind your blood sugar!
Too much sugar in your blood can damage your arteries. This happens with prediabetes as well as diabetes. Work with your doctor to control your blood sugar levels. That may lower your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Stress is linked to heart disease in many ways. For instance, it can raise your blood pressure. Extreme stress can be a trigger for a heart attack. To make matters worse, some common ways of coping with stress, such as overeating, heavy drinking, and smoking, are bad for your heart.
So try to find ways to manage your stress in a healthy way that prevents you from getting too worked up or pursuing unhealthy habits! Most importantly, try to have regular checkups! Even if you are living a healthy lifestyle, our bodies can be unpredictable.
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Keeping tabs on your blood pressure, weight and overall body function will help you take better care of your heart and get the most out of it!