World Heart Day is an initiative which was established in 1999 with the aim of raising public awareness regarding cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. The most common conditions are myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure and various forms of arrhythmia.
Cardiovascular risk factors
Cardiovascular risk factors are categorized into those that can be modified and those that can not be altered. Non-modifiable factors are heredity as well as age.
1. Smoking. Cardiovascular risk is more than twice in smokers as compared to non-smokers, and is related to smoking years and to the number of cigarettes.
2.High cholesterol. Increased cholesterol levels (total and LDL cholesterol) increase the risk of atherosclerotic plaque formation and inflammation.
3. Obesity and body weight. Cardiovascular disease is the first cause of death for obese and overweight people (BMI above 25 kg / m2). Fat tissue is an endocrine organ that produces inflammatory cytokines and contributes to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk.
4. Hypertension. Blood pressure is a major cardiovascular risk factor as it accelerates atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance.
5. Diabetes – Hyperglycemia. Elevated blood sugar and glycosylation cause endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis.
6. Lifestyle. Lack of physical activity is associated with increased cardiovascular risk.
7. Diet. The high consumption of salt and fat is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. Nutrition rich in fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of vascular-stroke, as well as coronary artery disease.
Other tips for heart protection
Consuming healthy food has a big impact on the risk of heart disease, but it is not the only factor to be taken into account. In fact, even small adjustments to your daily routine can have a tremendous impact on your heart’s health. Here are some tips to improve heart health:
- Manage your anxiety
- The goal is to have at least 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week, including walking, cycling or fitness.
- Set up a normal sleep schedule and try to sleep at least seven hours at night.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit intake alcohol intake to a drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
- If you are overweight, try to lose extra pounds. Weight loss of 5-10% has a significant difference in total cardiovascular risk.
- Adopt Mediterranean diet. Thanks to its high antioxidant content and phytochemicals, Mediterranean diet prevents the occurrence of cardiovascular events and coronary heart disease.
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