Cardiovascular health is an important subject both for an individual’s health and the United States’ collective fitness as a whole. Heart disease affects many Americans and is the leading cause of death in the United States today, killing one person every 34 seconds.
Cardiovascular health is an important subject both for an individual’s health and the United States’ collective fitness as a whole. Heart disease affects many Americans and is the leading cause of death in the United States today, killing one person every 34 seconds. Factors for heart disease are divided into controllable and uncontrollable causes. Uncontrollable factors include age, gender, and genetic predisposition to cardiovascular problems based on family history. Controllable causes include physical activity, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
By knowing about controllable factors, people can actively reduce their chances of developing this serious illness of the cardiac muscle. The first and most basic step that doctors and health professionals recommend is to increase exercise levels and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise improves heart and lung function, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and boosts energy. Obesity forces the heart to work harder, creating unnecessary stress. It is recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Additionally, the exercise does not need to be all at once but can instead be broken up into intervals, if that is more convenient.
Additionally, eating a healthy diet is another important way to keep your body healthy. A diet low in fat, cholesterol and salt, and high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and fiber is recommended. Once healthy eating becomes a routine, the occasional slice of pizza with sausage or large bowl of ice cream is not problematic. Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can be achieved through a combination of exercise and a healthy diet. Specific diet recommendations to lower blood pressure include eating less red meat, sweets, sugary drinks, and salt. To lower blood cholesterol levels, eating less fried foods, eggs, butter, and processed cheeses is advised.
Finally, heart health can be improved by stopping smoking and minimizing overall stress levels. Smokers have twice the rate of heart attacks and disease than non-smokers. Stress management is important because pressure and anxiety have been linked to high blood pressure. Additionally, medical professionals warn patients to not take diet drugs, such as Fen-phen or Redux, which have been linked with the development of the lethal heart disease called primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH).