One of the hardest parts of any diagnosis is considering how it affects your overall health, not just that select part of your body. It's easy to zero in on your condition, but your whole body is connected, and when something is wrong with your heart health, your whole body feels it. Thankfully, giving your body a full consideration isn't as daunting as it sounds and it will ultimately make you feel better holistically as you figure out how to prevent heart disease.
To stay your healthiest, it's always better to be prepared and proactive. Small, healthy changes are easy once they become part of your daily routine, and they add up to better overall health so you can spend more time doing what you love.
First Off: Know Your Risk Factors
While heart disease, necessarily, may not directly cause other conditions, it's common for them to occur together. Your first step is to figure out why all these things are entangled like a spider-web. That's because these other conditions share many of the same risk factors as heart disease, including smoking, poor diet, obesity, stress and sedentary lifestyle.
Research has found that heart disease is linked to several other diseases, including diabetes, COPD, bronchitis, thyroid disorders, peptic ulcers, sleep disorders, renal disease, gout, eye and ear diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. Keep a check on your health numbers, such as blood pressure, blood glucose level and cholesterol level. If your doctor has given you medication for any of these factors, keep taking them as prescribed, even if you feel OK.
Obesity is also a major factor in heart health and several lifestyle diseases. Extra weight can alter your body metabolism, making way for diseases like diabetes. Obesity is also linked to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, sleep apnoea and respiratory conditions such as asthma and COPD. You want to take steps toward a healthier diet, including eating a lot of leafy greens and breakfast, and establish an exercise routine to keep these problems at bay.
You know smoking not only affects your lungs, but it affects nearly every organ too. Studies have found a link between smoking and health issues ranging from infertility to cancers, while invariably hurting heart health. Quitting smoking (that includes vaping) can add healthy years to your life.
How to Prevent Heart Disease Beyond Diet and Exercise
You already know what you eat and how much you move is important to your heart health. Here's what else you need to consider:
- Prioritise Oral Health
Oral health isn't only about fresh breath or pearly white teeth; it's the window to your overall health. Studies indicate a possible connection between oral disease and serious conditions such as heart diseases. Diabetes can make you prone to gum diseases, too. Make sure to brush, floss and gargle every day, and visit your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning.
- Boost Your Vitamin D
The role of vitamin D extends way beyond bone health. Adequate vitamin D is important not only for your bones but also for your heart health and immune system. Low vitamin D levels have been related to heart disease, diabetes, mood disorders and cancer. Ask your doctor if you need a vitamin D supplement, and go soak up that warm, nourishing sun, especially in the morning hours.
- Get Enough Sleep
It's important to prioritise getting enough rest (at least eight hours a night) and to talk to your doctor about any issues you have with sleeping. This is especially vital if you have sleep apnoea or repeated and brief cessation of breathing at night. When you're not getting enough oxygen when you sleep, your blood pressure goes up, which can lead to hypertension and heart disease. Keep a regular bedtime and try to rise at the same time each day. Your doctor may recommend a sleep study or certain medications to make sure you get your zzz's.
- Stay Positive
The stress due to hectic lifestyles may lead to health issues, from sleep disorders to digestion problems. Figure out what causes your stress, then learn how to relax and cope. Most importantly, recognise that you're alive and active! Appreciate what you have and stay positive to keep your health in its best shape.
Heart disease can be an indicator of other problems, but these conscious choices will help you protect your heart and other aspects of your health.
Disclaimer: This content is meant for awareness and educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.