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How to save your heart – key tips

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“We would save far more people if they knew how to save themselves” – said Dr. Kate Ball, a member of the British Royal Society of Cardiology.

Protection against heart disease, in recent decades, has certainly made the average life expectancy of people on this planet extended. We live longer than our ancestors. However, living longer does not mean living better. The most important thing is to preserve the health and serenity of the spirit. In the text below you will learn the key tips on how to save your heart. It’s not as difficult as it seems. It is enough to change the established views on everyday life a little.

Here are some quick links to what we’ll cover in this article. If you’re in hurry, or for any other reason, feel free to use the quick links to jump straight to the section you want to read:

Your heart is a mirror of your way of life

What is talked about a lot today, as an important element in the protection of the heart and blood vessels, is exactly that lifestyle. If you have given yourself more attention and accepted what will be said here about prevention, then you have given your loved one, and it is you, ten years of life and many years of happiness and satisfaction.

red heart on table in nature

Heart diseases represent almost 50% of all diseases, and they also have the most severe consequences. And all this usually starts with seemingly harmless changes in the body – high blood pressure, which many people do not even know they have, or find out only when major damage occurs in the body.

The increase in the number of people suffering from heart and blood vessel diseases is a global problem, and in recent decades it has been especially pronounced in countries in transition. If appropriate prevention measures are not taken, it is predicted that this number will continue to increase.

Heart health and development of the country

High blood pressure occurs, as they say, due to the modern way of life, poor (actually good) diet, smoking, stress, due to the fast way of life, and ambitions that are not in line with the possibilities. There are more than 20 million people in America who suffer from hypertension, and the number of patients is increasing every day all over the world, especially in developing countries, which until recently were spared this evil.

different demographics and heart healt

It has been established, namely, that the number of people suffering from heart disease is slowly decreasing in highly developed countries, although so far it has been considered that these diseases are related to a high standard and development of technology.

That was true, but only to a certain extent of development, to the extent that people found many technical and chemical means that cure these diseases and when they began to return to the beginning – the cause of the disease.

And while Europe and the rest of the world laughed at the American mania of running and the almost hysterical ban on smoking, the pursuit of “natural” food, apples with worms, and the like, Americans became less and less suffering from coronary heart disease, and Europeans increasingly, of course, accompanied “third world” countries.

And so prevention has become the most important area of cardiology.

Expensive sick heart

Prevention reduces costs.

Due to heart and blood vessel diseases, the countries of the European Union allocate over 200 billion euros a year for treatment. Experts warn that better prevention is necessary so that these costs would not increase even more.

The most important thing is to prevent the disease, but also to drive away from the fear of it – and that is achieved with advice regarding prevention.

healthy food in heart shaped bowls

Preventive medicine is of great importance for human life. A healthy person who has no pain or other symptoms of the disease should control his health condition in order to avoid illness and premature death.

For the doctor, the symptoms of the disease are the reason to perform all the examinations that are necessary, in order to make an accurate diagnosis. And an accurately determined disease is a prerequisite for successful treatment.

Prevention measures include good control, ie action on all risk factors, in order to achieve the best possible quality of life.

4 main groups of cardiovascular diseases

Priority in the prevention of heart disease have:

– Patients with already established coronary disease
– People without symptoms but with a high-risk factor (hypertension), diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, or too many associated risk factors
– As well as persons who have members in the close family with early onset of coronary heart disease

heart disease and treatment

All of them are divided into 4 main groups:

1. Ischemic or coronary heart disease
2. Congenital or acquired heart defects
3. Disease of the heart muscle and heart sac
4. Arterial hypertension

The first group is the most common and according to the latest classification of the World Health Organization, it includes angina pectoris and heart attack. In cardiovascular pathology, these diseases make up half of the total disease and two-thirds of the causes of death.

That is why in the more developed world, in the 1940s, there was talk of an epidemic of coronary heart disease. And because of that, measures for their prevention were taken in America at the beginning of the sixties.

How to have a healthy heart and good health – the most important and proven tips

Change your diet and lose weight

Given the variety of foods, for the vast majority, it should not be a problem. Reducing calories will also regulate overweight.

loosing weight

The main principle is as follows:

  • A lot of fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
  • Total fat must not exceed 30% of the calories consumed, and only one-third can be saturated fat.
  • Less than 10 grams of salt

Most heart weights are caused by fatty deposits in the arteries, which originate from cholesterol, and due to which the heart strains to push blood through the arteries.

That is why it is crucial to rebalancing the intake of fats, which we must never get out of the body.

It is necessary, first of all, to reduce the intake of saturated animal fats, and to stick to good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Essential fatty acids (polyunsaturated) are not produced in the body, so it is necessary to take them from food. This is especially true of omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fish meat, soy, sesame, and sunflower oil, as well as in other vegetable oils. They all reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Fish and fish oil as the strongest weapons

Fish oil is recommended at least twice a week, and of course other unrefined vegetable oils. It is extremely useful because it contains a rare type of fat (docosahexaenoic acid DHA). It is useful in many ways: it protects against heart diseases, helps prevent autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and various allergies, prevents thyroid dysfunction, and also helps with depression.

healthy fish food

Men who eat at least 30 grams of fish a day are 50% less likely to develop atherosclerosis. This is associated with omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids (data from Dutch doctors). It is enough to eat a portion of fish a week (say, Russian doctors).

In Japan, where the diet uses half the amount of fat than in the UK, the risk of fatal coronary heart disease is very low. This is all the more significant and interesting when you consider that the Japanese are passionate smokers. However, when the Japanese move to America and adopt the American way of life and diet, their mortality from coronary heart disease increases sharply.

Norwegian scientist Kaare R. Norum conducted an original experiment to convince the public of the existence of a link between the prevalence of coronary heart disease and diet. Namely, he sent a questionnaire to the most famous specialists in 23 countries.

The answers were sent by 208 cardiologists (more than 97%) and they admitted that there is a certain connection between the character of the diet and coronary heart disease, and also that it is completely justified to require a rational diet in order to prevent it.

Eat foods rich in antioxidants

They neutralize free radicals, particles that damage tissues, and are destroyed by vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene. Eat fruits and vegetables daily (carrots, red peppers, spinach, and oranges).

As little as possible sugar, salt, and caffeine

Due to sodium from the salt, the cells retain fluid, which increases blood volume and pressure. Foods with a lot of sugar usually have a lot of fat, and caffeine in larger quantities causes additional stress on the heart. If you can’t do without coffee already, when preparing it, don’t let it boil for a long time.

Also, avoid larger amounts of Russian tea, as well as carbonated drinks.

Moderate alcohol consumption

Two glasses of red wine or two glasses of 2-deciliter beer or 1 small glass of strong drink a day.

red wine in glass

The American Medical Association conducted the most extensive study on the impact of alcohol on health so far, which lasted nine years and included 49 thousand middle-aged women and men.

Research has confirmed the beneficial effect of small amounts of alcohol in the prevention of heart disease, but the main conclusion is that all the beneficial effects relate to really small amounts of spirits. Also, a moderate amount of wine is good for your health.

An epidemiological study from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) proves that today there is no doubt that moderate regular drinking of wine significantly reduces the mortality rate. This study examined the link between wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages and heart disease and proved that red wine has the most beneficial effects on human health.

On the other hand, in moderate doses of wine that are taken regularly, alcohol reduces the part of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is called bad cholesterol, because it actively participates in the formation of atherosclerosis and thrombosis in blood vessels.

These diseases also occur when alcohol is taken in large quantities because it stimulates the growth of these lipoproteins. There is also a high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It is often referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL picks up excess cholesterol in your blood and takes it back to your liver where it’s broken down and removed from your body.

Wine and heart attacks

The anticoagulant effect of wine is followed by a completely opposite reaction, which is manifested by an even greater tendency of blood clotting and which is observed in the period of abstinence. This explains the particularly increased number of heart attacks in the Nordics and the British, where they drink a lot of alcohol during the weekend, while during the week they drink moderately and irregularly.

Don’t smoke

stop smoking cigarettes

Smoking is one of the main causes of increased heart disease in women. There are more than 4,000 chemical compounds in smoke, and two do the greatest damage – nicotine, and carbon monoxide.

Nicotine causes narrowing of the arteries, rapid heartbeat, and secretion of hormones that make the blood susceptible to clotting. Carbon monoxide blocks some of the oxygen that would otherwise reach the heart.

Research conducted in the UK has shown that in men aged 35-45, who suffer from coronary heart disease, smoking was the leading cause in 80% of deaths, and in men between 45 and 64, this number is significantly lower – 28 % of such cases.

Avoid stress

If your job is such that it causes constantly tense situations, which leads to increased adrenaline secretion, you must learn to switch off whenever possible. If it is not possible to sit down and relax, take a few deep breaths and count to 10.

Do physical exercises

old man doing exercises

Regular physical exercise walks, gymnastics, and similar sports have a very favorable effect on body weight, blood lipids, blood pressure, glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, and mental stress.

There are many benefits to regular exercise, ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing the risk of heart disease. However, you should not overdo the exercise. It must be individually tailored. The program of exercises should be made according to the age of the individual, physical ability, and interest.

That is why it is necessary to constantly monitor the pulse, as well as blood pressure, during training, and the best way to do that is to choose one of the watches or fitness bracelets and trackers to control your heart rate and blood pressure. There is a large selection of these devices on this page, and some will surely suit your needs, whether it is the brand, the characteristics of the device itself, or the price.

Basic exercises and walks are advised for people who are already ill, those at high risk, as well as people older than 40 years.

The minimum duration of exercises should be 30 minutes, four or five times a week, with warm-up and cooling phases of 5-10 minutes. 60-75% of the maximum heart rate is recommended, which is enough to cause mild shortness of breath without excessive fatigue.

Take a look at this great video on How Exercises Improves Heart Health (Less than 2 minutes of watching and listening):

People at high risk, those with established heart disease, as well as those after heart surgery, should consult a doctor – a cardiologist.

It was also shown that the risk of heart attack was halved in the case of administrative officers who performed intensive exercises on a daily basis than in those who did not perform sports at all.

See a doctor, but also do a self-control

man measuring blood pressure at home

At least once a year, go for a regular check-up with a doctor.

Control your blood pressure. It is desirable for patients to control their own blood pressure, to have self-measuring devices. Systolic (upper) pressure is at least as risky as diastolic (lower) pressure.

Both systolic and diastolic are now receiving the same attention, although the benefit of treating isolated systolic hypertension has only been established in the elderly.

Give blood voluntarily

give blood save life

Voluntary blood donation not only saves others but can also save donors. Finnish scientists have announced that a middle-aged man, who periodically gives blood, reduces the risk of heart attack by 85%. Excessive iron reserves in the body cause damage to the cells of the heart arteries. With blood loss, as well as with voluntary donation, iron reserves in the body fall sharply.
Drink green tea

Japanese scientists have discovered that green tea has a great influence on preventing heart and liver diseases. They conducted a study in which people older than 40 participated, and it was shown that the use of green tea has a significant effect on lowering cholesterol. The tea contains polyphenols and red wine, whose protective effect we have already mentioned.

Prevention from the beginning

As one of the important factors for the development of heart disease is atherosclerosis, which begins in childhood, this means that prevention measures for a healthy life should begin in early childhood.

health life

Primary prevention is the process of early detection of risk factors, in order to suppress them and prevent them from developing their childhood.

Only in this way is it possible to reduce the occurrence of heart diseases, as well as the occurrence of coronary heart disease and heart attack. That this is possible is shown by the results of many countries in the West (USA, Finland, Sweden).

Special attention in primary prevention must be paid to patients with multiple risk factors because they are actually in the so-called preclinical phase of coronary heart disease and it is only a matter of time before the disease appears, often suddenly and very dramatically.

That’s it!

We hope this post helped you learn some basic things about heart health, as well as key tips for its preservation.

It is clear now that healthy life, getting rid of bad habits, as well as prevention, are the key to everything.

And if you are looking for more ways to improve your heart health, you should check our other great Majota Blog posts.

Also, if you have any questions or feel that there are some other important key tips about saving your heart health we have not listed, feel free to leave a comment, it will mean a lot to us and we will be grateful for it.


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