Did you know that February is American Heart Month? Heart disease is a common condition that can increase your risk of developing heart failure, having a heart attack or having other complications. Find out more about heart disease and steps you can take to keep your heart in healthy condition.
Causes of Heart Disease
Heart disease refers to several conditions that can occur due to cardiovascular or heart issues, such as atherosclerosis disease, valvular heart disease or heart infections. The causes of heart disease depend on the type of disease that is present:
- Cardiovascular disease can occur when plaque builds up inside your arteries, which affects blood flow. This can happen due to a diet that is high in saturated fats and cholesterol, a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight.
- Heart arrhythmias can occur due to high blood pressure, heart defects, smoking, stress, coronary artery disease, and several other causes.
- Cardiomyopathy occurs when your heart muscle becomes thicker or larger. This can happen due to blood flow problems to your heart, genetic conditions or damage from heart attacks and other heart problems.
- Heart infections occur when bacteria, parasites or viruses enter the heart muscle.
- Valvular heart disease can occur due to a genetic condition, heart infections or an illness, such as rheumatic fever.
- Heart defects can occur due to problems with heart development or changes that occur in your heart as you get older.
Maintaining a Healthy Heart
There are several steps that can help you protect your heart from heart disease. Keep the following tips in mind for lowering your chance of developing serious heart problems:
- Diet- Limit or avoid foods that contain high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol. Focus on including heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as salmon, nuts, and berries. Eating healthy can help prevent plaque from building up in your arteries while also helping you lose excess weight.
- Exercise- Getting physical activity on a daily basis can lower your risk of heart disease. Aim for about 30 minutes of activity per day to start and increase this amount gradually. Ideas for exercise include going for walks or jogs, playing tennis or another sport and doing workouts on a treadmill or rowing machine.
- Maintain a healthy weight- Being overweight is among the most common risk factors for heart disease. Eating a nutritious diet and exercising can help you lose excess weight and keep it off for a healthier heart.
- Get regular medical checkups- Routine annual physicals are an important part of making sure that your heart is healthy. Your doctor can listen to your heartbeat during these visits to check for any abnormalities and look for other signs of heart disease, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Practice stress management- Stress can have a big impact on your risk of heart disease. Learning to manage stress effectively helps you keep your heart in good shape. Different ways to manage stress include doing yoga, meditating, keeping a journal and practicing mindfulness.
If you’re at risk of heart disease or if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of heart disease, contact Boulevard Medical Healthcare to set up an appointment. Our cardiologists are highly experienced and committed to finding, treating and preventing heart disease.