The cardiovascular disease manifests as a silent condition for years. The right approach to maintain your cardiac health is to address the risk factors as early as possible without waiting for any emergence of definite cardiovascular disease symptoms. Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in men and women worldwide, and the studies say self-care can considerably reduce the risk of death.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused the greatest medical challenge in decades. Though COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, it also affects multiple organs, especially the cardiovascular system. Patients with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions like hypertension had higher morbidity (10.5%) following this infection.
Self-care is a crucial step in maintaining your own health and is essential for preventing and managing cardiovascular disease or stroke.
Often patients and even health care providers consider pharmacological interventions as more effective tools than lifestyle changes. This has worsened cardiovascular disease risk factors over time; hence there is a need for a greater emphasis on self‐care. But, as Goldman et al. said, the disease-driven model has resulted in “investing in sickness rather than health.” So we need to shift our focus on self-care, early diagnosis of risk factors, and disease prevention.
3 Simple Steps to Improve your Heart Health Naturally
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the causes of many health issues. Most adults do not achieve the recommended levels of physical activity. Reports say just following an active lifestyle can bring a 21% reduction in coronary heart disease events for men and a 29% reduction in women.
Physical exercise or even walking can significantly help to improve your heart health. Walking is ideal and a gentle start-up for the sedentary lifestyle. Even for inactive older adults, it brings a sense of independence and social well-being. It is considered as the first step to prevent heart disease.
Also, people with cardiovascular disease like coronary heart disease, heart failure, and stroke can benefit from being physically active. Research studies say that being physically active reduces the complications associated with these diseases.
Modern lifestyle stresses have been a major contributory factor to many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases. Yoga blends physical exercise with breathing techniques and is the best lifestyle intervention that can result in improved cardiorespiratory fitness. Studies have indicated that performing mindfulness-based stress reduction such as yoga can contribute to general health as well as cardiac health.
Another study revealed that a yoga-based relaxation during the cardiac rehabilitation program improved risk factors like body weight, lipid profile, blood pressure, smoking, psychosocial stress, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Yoga helps in the prevention and better management of heart diseases.
The daily practice of yoga significantly impacts cardiorespiratory fitness like any other aerobic exercise and is highly recommended for cardiovascular disease prevention.
Lifestyle factors, including nutrition, play an essential role in strengthening your heart health. Guidelines for heart-healthy food include diets high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes; moderate consumption of low-fat dairy and seafood; and reduced processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains, and sodium.
An unhealthy diet pattern negatively impacts your heart health. The way people eat has changed dramatically across the globe. Snacking and snack foods have grown in frequency. Eating more and more processed food is increasing the risk of heart diseases.
The Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was assembled in the 1990s. It was mainly designed to lower blood pressure, and therefore cardiovascular disease incidences. This diet comprises vegetables and fruits and low-fat dairy products, whole grains, chicken, fish, and nuts.
The Mediterranean diet is believed to be beneficial for heart health. It supports a relatively high fat intake and seasonal, local, fresh vegetables, fruits, whole bread and grains, legumes, nuts, and olive oil consumption.
Both dietary patterns are useful in reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors and have also shown a favorable effect on improving cardiac issues. You should adopt a healthy diet approach based on your personal preferences to keep your heart healthy.
Negative implications of not taking care of your heart health
According to the CDC, heart disease is the most common cause of death worldwide. Increased blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, and lifestyle habits are the top risk factors of cardiac conditions.
Obesity, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and neglecting own health can lead to heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is often preventable; increased awareness of risk factors and preventative measures can help keep your heart healthy.
The self‐care guidelines should be practiced by individuals of all ages and should not be restricted to those who already have cardiac diseases. Adapting to a healthy and active lifestyle at an early age is an excellent way to strengthen your heart health. Following self‐care habits to prevent chronic cardiovascular disease should become a part of your daily life.
Dr Rashmi Byakodi is a Health and Wellness writer and the editor of Bestfornutrition, a site with evidence based content on nutrition. My medical background has given me the much-needed skill and knowledge to create powerful health content for healthcare and pharmaceuticals.