Cardiovascular disease remains one of the biggest causes of death in the United States so How Can You Prevent Cardiovascular Illness?
Roughly 655,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, accounting for more than 1 in 4 deaths and equating to 1 person dying every 36 seconds.
Despite being such a prevalent and destructive health condition, most instances of cardiovascular disease are preventable in some way.
There are many strategies that can help you in this journey.
Preparing for the Worst
First, you need to understand that even if you take every possible safety measure, there are some instances of heart disease that can’t be prevented.
Accordingly, you need to protect yourself with some combination of the following:
Healthcare is expensive even with insurance.
Without insurance, it’s practically impossible to budget for.
Make sure you have a good health insurance policy in place and that you understand its benefits and limitations.
Critical illness insurance
Critical illness insurance is a supplementary form of insurance that can provide you with even more benefits if you ever suffer from a critical illness like a heart attack or stroke.
When the policy kicks in, you’ll receive a lump sum that can help you pay your medical bills (or make up for lost income).
An emergency plan
If you’re ever in an emergency situation, what will you do?
Have designated emergency contacts in place and create an emergency fund to cover several months of expenses.
With these plans in place, you’ll be in a much better position if you ever have to deal with cardiovascular issues.
But how can we prevent them in the first place?
A healthier diet can greatly reduce your risk profile.
Reduce caloric intake
First, keep the number of calories you consume in check.
If you eat too much on a regular basis, you’ll gain weight—which can make you much more likely to experience cardiovascular issues.
Eat more vegetables and fruits
Fill your diet with more vegetables and fruits.
They’re rich in dietary fiber and full of valuable nutrients.
Reduce intake of sugar and unhealthy fats
You’ll gain weight and face a higher risk if you eat too much sugar or foods with unhealthy fats.
Fast food and overly processed foods are often the culprits here.
Avoid foods high in sodium
Studies suggest that sodium-heavy diets can increase blood pressure, which in turn can increase your risk of other cardiovascular problems.
You can also improve your cardiovascular health with regular exercise.
Both resistance exercise and cardiovascular exercise are beneficial, so try to get a mix of both; for example, you can run a few days a week and lift weights the other days.
If possible, get at least 20-30 minutes of vigorous activity every day—even if it’s just walking around the block.
The more you move around, the better.
Reduce Unhealthy Habits
Many unhealthy habits can increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, so it pays to avoid them:
Get more sleep
Adults should be aiming to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
If you’re struggling to get this, you need to make sleep a priority; schedule it the way you’d schedule any important event and invest in your bed and nighttime environment.
Excessive alcohol consumption is bad for your heart.
Drink in small quantities, and only occasionally.
Smoking is horrible for your cardiovascular health, so it should be avoided entirely.
If you currently smoke, find a way to quit.
Excessive stress can increase your likelihood of dealing with cardiovascular illness.
If your job is consistently stressful, consider reducing your hours, delegating more tasks, or finding a different line of work.
Otherwise, manage your stress regularly by taking frequent breaks, going on vacation, and utilizing mindfulness meditation.
See Your Doctor Regularly
The best way to avoid cardiovascular illness is to catch it early—before it becomes unmanageable or catastrophic.
Accordingly, you should see your doctor on a regular basis. Attend your annual physical and follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Unfortunately, even with the right habits in place, there are some risk factors that can’t be avoided, like:
- The older you become, the more susceptible you’ll be to cardiovascular issues.
- Men tend to be at higher risk of heart disease—though women aren’t exempt.
- Race/ethnicity. Some races and ethnicities are at higher risk than others.
- Family history/genetics. Your genetics also play a role in your susceptibility; if you have a family history of heart disease, you’ll be more likely to suffer it yourself.
Those risk factors aside, heart disease is largely preventable and/or controllable.
If you follow the strategies laid out in this article, you’ll be far less likely to die from cardiovascular complications.
Take a few moments and read these articles; 5 Bad Habits that are Good for you, How to Manage Common Cold Weather Illness in Your Child and Hand Foot Mouth Disease in Adults.