When blood flow is restricted to the heart, the dangers of a heart attack are imminent. It’s when the heart muscle is starved of oxygen that the deadly incident occurs. Here’s how to minimise that risk.
There are certain conditions, pointed out by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that increase the likelihood of coronary heart disease.
These are: high blood pressure; unhealthy blood cholesterol levels; diabetes and obesity.
High blood pressure
This condition requires the heart muscle to work extra hard to pump blood around the body.
This extra strain on the heart isn’t doing it any favours; In fact, it could be making it weaker over the long term.
This waxy, fat-like substance is made in the liver and is found in certain foods you eat.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered to be “bad” cholesterol, as it can stick to the walls of the arteries.
This leads to narrowing of the arteries and can decrease blood flow to the heart.
Uncontrolled diabetes means there is an excess of sugar floating in the bloodstream. This excess sugar can damage the arteries.
A factor that can contribute to all of these health conditions is obesity – check your weight here.
Thus, it makes sense that maintaining a healthy weight (or losing some if needed) is a great preventative measure for coronary heart disease.
And one of the most effective ways to do this is through physical activity. It only counts as physical activity if your heart rate increases a little bit.
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This means doing your food shop, going for a leisurely walk, or doing simple household chores do not count.
Instead, taking the stairs (instead of the lift or escalators) may be a good place to start.
Joining a sports team would be one of the easiest ways to maintain motivation.
Have you considered sports, such as hockey, judo, football, badminton or wrestling?
If you’d rather go more easy on your joints, then consider taking up swimming or water aerobics.
Other activities to think about include yoga, pilates and Thai chi.
As well as being more physically active, the National Institute of Health draws attention to what you eat.
In order to lose weight, it’s imperative to burn off more calories than you eat.
This can be achieved by eating smaller portions, and choosing “low-fat, low-calorie foods”.
In terms of diet, eating fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains is encouraged.
On the other hand, it’s best to avoid foods with added sugars and foods high in salt.
It’s also recommended to swap sugary drinks for water to aid weight loss.