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Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular health refers to the health of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is a group of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, heart arrhythmia, and heart valve problems. There are several risk factors that lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, and diabetes.



What is Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the general term used to include both diseases of the heart (cardio) and the blood vessels (veins and arteries). Most cardiovascular diseases involve the heart. Some, such as strokes and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), involve blood supply to other parts of the body, such as the legs and brain (peripheral vascular disease).

  • hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • coronary heart disease (heart attack)

  • cerebrovascular disease (stroke)

  • peripheral vascular disease

  • heart failure

  • rheumatic heart disease

  • congenital heart disease

  • Cardiomyopathies


Tip:

  • Get regular exercise

We need 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense physical activity every week.

  • Follow a heart-healthy diet

Eating foods that contain polyunsaturated fats and omega-3, such as oily fish, alongside

fruits and vegetables can support heart health and reduce the risk of CVD. Reducing the

intake of processed food, salt, saturated fat, and added sugar has a similar effect.

  • Quit smoking

Smoking is a key risk factor for almost all forms of CVD. Although quitting can be

difficult, taking steps to do so can drastically reduce its damaging effects on the heart.


The Benefits

Exercise works like beta-blocker medication to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure (at rest and also when exercising). High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Especially when combined with a smart diet, being physically active is an essential component for losing weight and even more important for keeping it off, which in turn helps optimize heart health. Being overweight puts stress on the heart and is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A combination of aerobic workouts (which, depending on your fitness level, can include walking, running, swimming, and other vigorous heart-pumping exercise) and strength training (weight lifting, resistance training) is considered best for heart health. These exercises improve the muscles ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. That reduces the need for the heart a muscular organ itself to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles, whatever your age. As smokers become more fit, they often quit. And people who are fit in the first place are less likely to ever start smoking, which is one of the top risk factors for heart disease because it damages the structure and function of blood vessels. Stress hormones can put an extra burden on the heart. Exercise whether aerobic (like running), resistance-oriented (like weight training) or flexibility focused (like yoga) can help you relax and ease stress.

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